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NorthCoast
01-14-2009, 10:22 PM
Aggressive Tomlin sets tone for Steelers
AFC Championship: Steelers vs. Ravens
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
By Ed Bouchette, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin shakes hands with fans as he leaves the field after the Steelers win over San Diego in the first playoff game.Mike Tomlin described himself as being aggressive Sunday, even if his name did not appear among the Steelers' tackle statistics from the playoff game.

He went for it on fourth down at the San Diego 1, and that failed. He called for a fake punt that lost 4 yards. He called for a deep pass into the end zone from backup quarterback Byron Leftwich on third down with the Steelers ahead by 18, on his 34, with three minutes left and the Chargers out of timeouts. Limas Sweed dropped it, and the Steelers lost a chance to run off at least 40 seconds.

Five plays later, the Chargers scored a touchdown to cut the lead to 11 with 1:57 left. They let Tomlin off the hook when their onside kickoff try went out of bounds. Leftwich took a knee on three consecutive plays with no more deep passes to run out the clock on the Steelers' 35-24 victory.

If Tomlin makes similar "aggressive" decisions Sunday against Baltimore in the AFC championship game, it could cost his team a trip to the Super Bowl. It also could help put his team into it. The thinking may be unconventional, but there's no rule it cannot work.

"I had no second-guesses whatsoever," Tomlin said.

Tomlin has evolved as a coach in his second season. He is more animated on the sideline, he has made better decisions and he's more guarded with information during his weekly news conferences (Hall of Fame coach Chuck Noll once remarked after one of his own news conferences that it was a success because "no information was passed.").

Tomlin might go for it on fourth down too often to suit more conservative tastes. The Steelers had a remarkable lack of success on fourth down this season; they were 3 of 12 in the regular season, a 25 percent rate of success that ranked last in the league by a wide margin. Next to last was Carolina at 37.8 percent. More than half the teams (17) converted at least half their fourth-down plays.

The Steelers added to their woeful rate by going 0 for 2 on fourth downs Sunday.

Tomlin was asked yesterday if he debated such choices or if he always leans toward being the aggressor.

"There is a debate, and, no, I don't always go on the side of aggression. Specifically, about last Sunday, I thought our opponent had momentum. They had the momentum that was required for them to get into the playoffs. They won a game against a football team that was extremely hot, as hot as any team in football, the Indianapolis Colts.

"We were coming off a bye. I wanted to get our guys going and let them know that we were playing and playing to win. I wanted them to have that same kind of momentum and energy that our opponent had and that's why I chose to take the approach that I took on some of the decisions I made in that football game, particularly in the first half."

It likely is safe to say he would not go for a 2-point conversion early in the fourth quarter after a penalty moved the ball back to the 12 as he did against Jacksonville in the two-point playoff loss a year ago.

And he has become more judicious in another area -- throwing the red challenge flag. Last season, Tomlin used that red flag as if it were a disposable coffee cup. He tossed it seven times and had the call reversed twice. This regular season, he was a perfect 4 for 4 and made it 5 for 5 on his first challenge Sunday. He later lost a challenge, though, when he disputed an incomplete San Diego pass -- he thought Ike Taylor intercepted it -- with about 2 1/2 minutes left and his team ahead by 18.

Tomlin has acknowledged his improvement as a coach from his rookie season to this one.

"I've got too many examples to pick one," he said last week. "It's no big revelation that I'm a better coach this year. I'd better be better next year. It's not always displayed in the win-loss record. I think regardless of what you do for a living, you've got to get better. And that's every day. I know when I walk through those doors, that's my intent every day. So I'm not making a bigger deal out of it than what it is. I'm just better because I am."

The idea that some of his players believe he is a better coach a year later elicited a different response.

"I'm not interested in evaluating my performance and, particularly, I'm not interested in my players' evaluation of my performance." Tomlin said to a reporter at his news conference yesterday. "I'm paid to evaluate them."

Pause.

"How's your editor doing?"

Sometimes, he's even the aggressor off the field.


http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/09014/941547-66.stm

Does Bouchette get on anyone else's nerves? There is something in the tone of his writing that drives me nuts....like it's dripping with cynicism or something...

Back to the subject, I have to say that Tomlin has noticeably improve in some areas of coaching. I like his aggressive playcalling. It sends the message to the defense that they better be ready for anything in the playoffs. And what better way to energize the offense than to force them to make plays early in the game when then could just go 'turtle'. The 'turtle' has definitely been shoved back in its shell in Pittsburgh.

Ozey74
01-14-2009, 10:25 PM
Bouchette is extremely cynical. He is very well known amoung Steeler fans, but he is far from beloved.

mshifko
01-14-2009, 10:58 PM
lets hope tomlin can be the anti cowher when it comes to home afc championship games...

bouchette gets on my nerves as well...he's very cynical and sarcastic in his articles and doesn't seem to be a "homer" type of guy that most steelers fan would appreciate

Chadman
01-14-2009, 10:59 PM
Chadman likes Bouchette.

Maybe it's just that he has similar views to Bouchette. Not sure.

But he always finds his stuff at the least, interesting.

But Bouchette might not be to everyone's taste.

As for Tomlin- he is more animated this season. Better? yeah, sure. But he was pretty good last year too. He's just limiting his errors.

Chadman finds it hard to critisise a coach or player that tries something only to see it fail. It is far worse to never try at all than to try & fail. Tomlin doesn't let opportunities to attack pass very often. After 12 billion years of passive play calling for the most part, it's refreshing to see the Steelers attack at nearly every opportunity.

Steelhere10
01-14-2009, 10:59 PM
as long as the AFCCG is anti Cowher.

steelcityrules!!
01-14-2009, 11:22 PM
I happen to like the cynical nature of Bouchette. I feel that truly ardent, thoughtful fans take it upon themselves to research, analyze, and critique (sometimes quite heavily) the team they are most passionate about. It's about demanding and expecting degrees of perfection, and only superior play, or at the very least, favorable outcomes will appease.

I don't discount the insights of guys like Tunch and Wolf, but sometimes their homerism and the homerism of certain posters gives me the

:Blah

or

:roll:

attitude.


all that being said, I'm getting a good feeling about our matchups this weekend and think we are coming around and solidifying at the right time.

lets pound these fools sunday.
:Steel

RuthlessBurgher
01-14-2009, 11:24 PM
I just get the impression that Bouchette does not enjoy his job or realize how special it truly is and how many people would give anything to make a living doing what he does. He just strikes me to be a miserable old fart who would shoo away kids who were playing too close to his front yard. I prefer guys who seem to have a passion for the team that they are covering, such as Dale Lolley or Jim Wexell.

RuthlessBurgher
01-14-2009, 11:26 PM
I happen to like the cynical nature of Bouchette. I feel that truly ardent, thoughtful fans take it upon themselves to research, analyze, and critique (sometimes quite heavily) the team they are most passionate about. It's about demanding and expecting degrees of perfection, and only superior play, or at the very least, favorable outcomes will appease.

I don't discount the insights of guys like Tunch and Wolf, but sometimes their homerism and the homerism of certain posters gives me the

:Blah

or

:roll:

attitude.


all that being said, I'm getting a good feeling about our matchups this weekend and think we are coming around and solidifying at the right time.

lets pound these fools sunday.
:Steel

Wolf is a lot of fun in the post game radio shows after a win. He is so out there sometimes that I think he might be the closest thing we can get to Myron (who is irreplaceable)

steelcityrules!!
01-14-2009, 11:38 PM
I happen to like the cynical nature of Bouchette. I feel that truly ardent, thoughtful fans take it upon themselves to research, analyze, and critique (sometimes quite heavily) the team they are most passionate about. It's about demanding and expecting degrees of perfection, and only superior play, or at the very least, favorable outcomes will appease.

I don't discount the insights of guys like Tunch and Wolf, but sometimes their homerism and the homerism of certain posters gives me the

:Blah

or

:roll:

attitude.


all that being said, I'm getting a good feeling about our matchups this weekend and think we are coming around and solidifying at the right time.

lets pound these fools sunday.
:Steel

Wolf is a lot of fun in the post game radio shows after a win. He is so out there sometimes that I think he might be the closest thing we can get to Myron (who is irreplaceable)
ohh, no doubt. I don't dislike wolf, especially after a win... it's the blinders off, real deep look at what goes on with our team that I think guys like bouchette hit on, and are more realistic in their assessments.
If our team has deficiencies and he is a bit salty in pointing them out, I have to admit, i usually feel the same way.

makes for a bit more stressful week after a loss or before a real tough matchup, but it's reality in my world.

SteelerOfDeVille
01-15-2009, 03:14 AM
as long as the AFCCG is anti Cowher.
i dread getting to the SB and losing to AZ... we'd NEVER hear the end of the Whiz talk... I think I'd have to swear off message boards.

Oviedo
01-15-2009, 10:06 AM
Tomlin has ben a refreshing change in personality that I think has revitalized the team. This is not a knock on Cowher but the reality is that a coach's "style" can become stale and ineffective with players. I think that Cowher got to that point.

I do not think it was an accident that the Rooney's picked someone who was more like Noll than Cowher. A change is refreshing. Because you are not a "screamer" does not mean you are not effective.

In 10+ years after Tomlin leaves then the next coach will probably be a head exploding screamer.

MeetJoeGreene
01-15-2009, 10:37 AM
as long as the AFCCG is anti Cowher.
i dread getting to the SB and losing to AZ... we'd NEVER hear the end of the Whiz talk... I think I'd have to swear off message boards.

:Agree $$$

On both points -- I hope he is the anti-Cowher in AFCCG.

And IF we lose to AZ, the anti-Tomlin brigade will be out in full-force.

mshifko
01-15-2009, 10:52 AM
as long as the AFCCG is anti Cowher.
i dread getting to the SB and losing to AZ... we'd NEVER hear the end of the Whiz talk... I think I'd have to swear off message boards.
i know, i hope we get past the ravens so we can talk about this stuff, but if we would meet and AZ won, i swear i wouldn't post for probably a month or two

frankthetank1
01-15-2009, 10:58 AM
i wish that people would take into consideration that the steelers playing the cards isnt only about tomlin vs. whiz. there are so many other intangibles, one, two or even three head to head match ups does not determine who is the better coach. its stupid to think if the steelers lose against the cards (if they win on sunday) than that makes whiz the better coach

Oviedo
01-15-2009, 11:11 AM
i wish that people would take into consideration that the steelers playing the cards isnt only about tomlin vs. whiz. there are so many other intangibles, one, two or even three head to head match ups does not determine who is the better coach. its stupid to think if the steelers lose against the cards (if they win on sunday) than that makes whiz the better coach

Clear thinking is always welcome

The Steelers vs the Cards has nothing to do with Tomlin versus Whisenhunt. It will be about execution, turnovers, etc just like any other game. It is only a match up of the coaches only for people who want to rehash their personal prejudices on one side or the other of the argument.

RuthlessBurgher
01-15-2009, 01:08 PM
i wish that people would take into consideration that the steelers playing the cards isnt only about tomlin vs. whiz. there are so many other intangibles, one, two or even three head to head match ups does not determine who is the better coach. its stupid to think if the steelers lose against the cards (if they win on sunday) than that makes whiz the better coach

Yeah, the Raiders beat the Buccaneers in the last game of the season. Does that mean Tom Cable is a better coach than Jon Gruden? Not quite.

eniparadoxgma
01-15-2009, 04:40 PM
I love Tomlin's aggressive play-calling. That's the way I think the game should be played: Always playing to win and opposed to playing not to lose.

As long as he realizes when it's just a bad decision to be aggressive it's all good. I'm the one that almost drop-kicked my TV when Cowher went for the FG in that AFCCG against the Pasterisks*. I'm the one that is always screaming "GO FOR IT!!!" when it's 4th down and we're on our 20 lol. It's just how I be.

"It's no big revelation that I'm a better coach this year. I'd better be better next year"

I like that quote.

feltdizz
01-15-2009, 05:14 PM
players love it when you let them know you believe in them.. sure I was screaming kick the FG... but I wasn't mad at him for going for it. It's house money... The Chargers had no room for error and had to play it conservative...

it kills the clock and also makes it very frustrating for an Offense to finally get the ball and have to give it right back..

I would advise the sweep though.. everyone plays dive.

Steelhere10
01-15-2009, 05:33 PM
as long as the AFCCG is anti Cowher.
i dread getting to the SB and losing to AZ... we'd NEVER hear the end of the Whiz talk... I think I'd have to swear off message boards.great minds think a like , that crossed my mind yesterday at work.

Steelhere10
01-15-2009, 05:35 PM
and that's why i'm pulling for the Eagles the first game.

Ozey74
01-15-2009, 05:58 PM
I'd rather play AZ in the SB. If that were to happen, I would predict that TB would be alot like Detroit was when we won #5: A ton of Steeler fans. AZ doesn't have a strong fan base & Steeler Nation would take over the city. I think that would be too much for the Cardinals to overcome.


:tt2