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fordfixer
05-16-2010, 06:17 PM
Steelers' Mike Tomlin: 'Coaches around the league don't care about my problems'
Given Ben Roethlisberger's upcoming suspension, the Pittsburgh coach breaks down his options at quarterback
http://www.sportingnews.com/nfl/article ... y-problems (http://www.sportingnews.com/nfl/article/2010-05-16/steelers-mike-tomlin-coaches-around-league-dont-care-about-my-problems)

Sunday, May. 16, 2010 - 4:15 p.m. ET

When the Steelers resume offseason practices Tuesday, the focus will be on the quarterback position. With Ben Roethlisberger suspended for the first six games of the season (it could be reduced to four games by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell), Byron Leftwich, Charlie Batch and Dennis Dixon are battling it out to see who will start the season at quarterback. Coach Mike Tomlin talked to Sporting News' Dennis Dillon recently about how the situation will unfold.


Q: How soon after Roethlisberger's suspension was announced did you and offensive coordinator Bruce Arians start mapping out a survival plan?
Tomlin: We wouldn't necessarily approach it from a survivalist mentality. We're comfortable with the guys we have to work with. We've got experience with all of those guys. All those guys have played winning football for us here in the past. Basically, what we're going to do is spend the remainder of the offseason working with these guys. All these guys are at different phases, if you will, in their careers. We like the group. We're going to work with those guys. We're going to make a decision at the end of the offseason about how we're going to move forward, and then we're going to do it.

Q: How will competition work during spring practices and training camp?
Tomlin: Setting up reps and giving each guy an opportunity to work with the ones (first-team offense) here in the OTA sessions. Prior to going to training camp, we're going to make some hard and fast decisions. I wouldn't necessarily call it a quarterback competition. I've never seen one of those three-headed quarterback competitions come out favorably. We're going to make decisions and move forward and trust our instincts and go.

Q: How soon would you like to determine the starter?
Tomlin: We've mapped out a plan of how we're going to approach this thing, determining a pecking order if you will of the guys by the end of the offseason. We'll go into training camp with that plan in mind, put it into action and prepare ourselves to play football.

Q: So you'll know who the starter is going into training camp?
Tomlin: There aren't enough reps to go around to have a legitimate, three-headed quarterback competition. I've never seen one of those things work out well. We're not going to delve into that. We're going to work with these guys for the remainder of the offseason, make decisions from my gut instinct and move forward.

Q: Could you make cases why each of the three quarterbacks has a chance to be the starter?
Tomlin: Charlie Batch is a guy who has great experience, has great football intelligence. He requires a minimal number of snaps to be prepared to play. I think that's a distinguishing characteristic when you talk about Charlie Batch. He doesn't require a bunch of physical reps to be ready to play above-the-line football.

Byron Leftwich is a guy who knows what it's about to be a franchise quarterback. He was that guy in Jacksonville; he was drafted very high (seventh overall in 2003) when he came out of school. He walks around the building with that kind of charismatic presence. Not arrogant in any way. He has charismatic leadership. He's very comfortable in a franchise quarterback's shoes, if you will.

Dennis Dixon is a talented young man with a tremendous upside. He's not going to do anything but get better with (more) snaps. Of course, he came from a spread offense and operated quite a bit out of the shotgun. He's grown by leaps and bounds in terms of playing underneath the center. Mechanically, the play-action game, reading the coverages he's just grown in just about every area you can name.

Q: The Steelers certainly are in a unique situation. Have you called any other coaches around the league, asking for advice on how to handle it?
Tomlin: I have not. Chances are other coaches around the league don't care about my problems. Or they're glad that I have them.

Q: If the Steelers are unbeaten when Roethlisberger's suspension ends, would you be wary about disrupting that winning chemistry or would Roethlisberger get the job back immediately?
Tomlin: We'll cross that bridge when we come to it.

Dennis Dillon is a writer for Sporting News. E-mail him at ddillon@sportingnews.com.

SanAntonioSteelerFan
05-16-2010, 06:58 PM
I guess we'll find out in the next day or so if Ben has been cleared to return (or did I miss that?).

It'll be really interesting to see how Tomlin decides to allocate QB time - not just between Batch/Lefty/Dixon, but also how much time to give BEN with the 1st team.

One could make the argument that every possible moment working with the 1st team should be given to the other three (to help make the choice and get ready for the 1st 4 games). I don't think he'll do that though.

How would YOU split the time up between the FOUR QBs?

Mister Pittsburgh
05-16-2010, 07:12 PM
If Dixon isn't the starter he has no business being on the roster.

BURGH86STEEL
05-16-2010, 08:26 PM
If Dixon isn't the starter he has no business being on the roster.

Why do some fans live with this kind of extremism?

proudpittsburgher
05-16-2010, 08:55 PM
If Dixon isn't the starter he has no business being on the roster.

Why do some fans live with this kind of extremism?


I agree with what you are saying but that being said, I wonder why with Dixon's athleticism, he hasn't really seen the field outside of his emergency start against Baltimore. I really wonder if he is going to make the team this season. You would think, if they want to keep him and promote him as the primary backup to Ben, the coaching staff would want him to get some time on the field, in whatever capacity. Whether it be wideout, line up in the backfield, wildcat, whatever. The fact that they haven't found a place on the field at any time for a guy as athletic as him scares me a bit about his future with the team.

frankthetank1
05-16-2010, 09:59 PM
If Dixon isn't the starter he has no business being on the roster.

Why do some fans live with this kind of extremism?


I agree with what you are saying but that being said, I wonder why with Dixon's athleticism, he hasn't really seen the field outside of his emergency start against Baltimore. I really wonder if he is going to make the team this season. You would think, if they want to keep him and promote him as the primary backup to Ben, the coaching staff would want him to get some time on the field, in whatever capacity. Whether it be wideout, line up in the backfield, wildcat, whatever. The fact that they haven't found a place on the field at any time for a guy as athletic as him scares me a bit about his future with the team.

because we have ben roethlisberger thats why dixon doesnt see the field. we also had a wr's like holmes, ward and wallace. our rb's were mendy, parker and moore. how would dixon get on the field with those players in front of him?

BURGH86STEEL
05-16-2010, 10:03 PM
If Dixon isn't the starter he has no business being on the roster.

Why do some fans live with this kind of extremism?


I agree with what you are saying but that being said, I wonder why with Dixon's athleticism, he hasn't really seen the field outside of his emergency start against Baltimore. I really wonder if he is going to make the team this season. You would think, if they want to keep him and promote him as the primary backup to Ben, the coaching staff would want him to get some time on the field, in whatever capacity. Whether it be wideout, line up in the backfield, wildcat, whatever. The fact that they haven't found a place on the field at any time for a guy as athletic as him scares me a bit about his future with the team.

I'd like to see Dixon start. Maybe the coaches feel Leftwich gives the team the best chance to win based on his experience? Most coaches seem to value experience at the QB position. I think this is what it will boil down to for the coaches. He has a better team around him then the team in Tampa.

I guess they feel they don't need Dixon's athleticism on the field. I can't blame them for not getting him on the field as a QB. I don't think he is built to be a WR or to run a wild cat offense. Do you see teams like the Colts, Pats, or Saints taking opportunities out of their QB's hands for a backup QB with athleticism?

I think he will make the team. Every player that makes the team has a role. Sometimes players get on the field and sometimes they don't. They may need Dixon at some point.
Batch is the QB that probably does not make the team.

I really don't see the point in going to extremes because the players we want to see the field don't get to play. There are reasons the coaches make the decisions that they make.

Northern_Blitz
05-16-2010, 10:32 PM
If Dixon isn't the starter he has no business being on the roster.

I think this is way more true for BL than it is for DD. Why sign Leftwitch to be the 3rd QB? It's too bad, I'd like to see what Dixon has or showcase him for a future trade. But, I think Byron will be the guy. This probably gives us a better shot at having a better record in the first 4.

steelblood
05-17-2010, 07:41 AM
Dixon and Leftwich are the two legitimate choices. Charlie Batch is a china doll who can't finish a game without an injury. It would be ludicrous to give him all the snaps knowing that he'll likely not make it through the preseason, let alone the first game.

Lefty will likely be the starter with Dixon as the backup. Dixon will move into the #3 role when Ben gets back.

To the guy who said that Dixon doesn't belong on this roster if he isn't the starter for game 1, I don't understand your point. Dixon is a young developmental QB with upside. Of course you keep him on the roster. You usually want two vets and a young developmental guy. That is the right mix.

Notleadpoisoned
05-17-2010, 08:10 AM
If Dixon isn't the starter he has no business being on the roster.

Why do some fans live with this kind of extremism?


I agree with what you are saying but that being said, I wonder why with Dixon's athleticism, he hasn't really seen the field outside of his emergency start against Baltimore. I really wonder if he is going to make the team this season. You would think, if they want to keep him and promote him as the primary backup to Ben, the coaching staff would want him to get some time on the field, in whatever capacity. Whether it be wideout, line up in the backfield, wildcat, whatever. The fact that they haven't found a place on the field at any time for a guy as athletic as him scares me a bit about his future with the team.

because we have ben roethlisberger thats why dixon doesnt see the field. we also had a wr's like holmes, ward and wallace. our rb's were mendy, parker and moore. how would dixon get on the field with those players in front of him?
If Dixon could play a little WR like Kordell used to do he'd certainly get on the field a lot more this coming season.

Oviedo
05-17-2010, 08:44 AM
Dixon and Leftwich are the two legitimate choices. Charlie Batch is a china doll who can't finish a game without an injury. It would be ludicrous to give him all the snaps knowing that he'll likely not make it through the preseason, let alone the first game.

Lefty will likely be the starter with Dixon as the backup. Dixon will move into the #3 role when Ben gets back.

To the guy who said that Dixon doesn't belong on this roster if he isn't the starter for game 1, I don't understand your point. Dixon is a young developmental QB with upside. Of course you keep him on the roster. You usually want two vets and a young developmental guy. That is the right mix.

Dixon is also only about 210lbs. QBs that size don't take the pounding that QBs take very well especially behind our OL. He is a good NFL back up QB who can do one spot start here and there. I don't think there was ever a thought he would become an everyday NFL starter.

frankthetank1
05-17-2010, 09:58 AM
If Dixon isn't the starter he has no business being on the roster.

Why do some fans live with this kind of extremism?


I agree with what you are saying but that being said, I wonder why with Dixon's athleticism, he hasn't really seen the field outside of his emergency start against Baltimore. I really wonder if he is going to make the team this season. You would think, if they want to keep him and promote him as the primary backup to Ben, the coaching staff would want him to get some time on the field, in whatever capacity. Whether it be wideout, line up in the backfield, wildcat, whatever. The fact that they haven't found a place on the field at any time for a guy as athletic as him scares me a bit about his future with the team.

because we have ben roethlisberger thats why dixon doesnt see the field. we also had a wr's like holmes, ward and wallace. our rb's were mendy, parker and moore. how would dixon get on the field with those players in front of him?
If Dixon could play a little WR like Kordell used to do he'd certainly get on the field a lot more this coming season.

that is true he would definetly get on the field this year at wr. i dont think he has the speed kordell had. he does throw a better ball then kordell and i hope he can read defenses better than kordell.

cruzer8
05-17-2010, 10:05 AM
If he's the 3rd string QB he's not getting on the field as a WR no matter how good he may be at WR.

RuthlessBurgher
05-17-2010, 10:17 AM
If he's the 3rd string QB he's not getting on the field as a WR no matter how good he may be at WR.

Yeah, 3rd string QB's are designated inactive. If they enter the game at all before the 4th quarter, the 1st and 2nd string QB's are not allowed to re-enter the game.

As for him being a WR, I'd rather have Ward, Wallace, Randle El, Battle, Sanders, and Brown running routes, not a back-up QB, thank you very much. Those guys are legit WR's who have played and practiced at WR for years. Dixon is just an athletic guy. Have you ever seen him try to run a full NFL route tree? I sure haven't. Let the real WR's catch passes. Let the QB's throw passes.

aggiebones
05-17-2010, 10:48 AM
If Dixon isn't the starter he has no business being on the roster.

Why do some fans live with this kind of extremism?


Ha, St. Pierre was still on the Arizona roster until maybe this year. I'm not sure he ever played a down in Arizona, but has been there several years. And will NEVER be a viable option in the NFL.

proudpittsburgher
05-17-2010, 11:17 PM
If Dixon isn't the starter he has no business being on the roster.

Why do some fans live with this kind of extremism?


I agree with what you are saying but that being said, I wonder why with Dixon's athleticism, he hasn't really seen the field outside of his emergency start against Baltimore. I really wonder if he is going to make the team this season. You would think, if they want to keep him and promote him as the primary backup to Ben, the coaching staff would want him to get some time on the field, in whatever capacity. Whether it be wideout, line up in the backfield, wildcat, whatever. The fact that they haven't found a place on the field at any time for a guy as athletic as him scares me a bit about his future with the team.

because we have ben roethlisberger thats why dixon doesnt see the field. we also had a wr's like holmes, ward and wallace. our rb's were mendy, parker and moore. how would dixon get on the field with those players in front of him?

I never said he would play QB, but he could be used effectively in the wildcat, yet he isn't. I just don't feel the Steelers have enough faith in him to be on the field. That was my point. Obviously, he isn't the starting QB.

cruzer8
05-18-2010, 07:50 AM
If Dixon isn't the starter he has no business being on the roster.

Why do some fans live with this kind of extremism?


I agree with what you are saying but that being said, I wonder why with Dixon's athleticism, he hasn't really seen the field outside of his emergency start against Baltimore. I really wonder if he is going to make the team this season. You would think, if they want to keep him and promote him as the primary backup to Ben, the coaching staff would want him to get some time on the field, in whatever capacity. Whether it be wideout, line up in the backfield, wildcat, whatever. The fact that they haven't found a place on the field at any time for a guy as athletic as him scares me a bit about his future with the team.

because we have ben roethlisberger thats why dixon doesnt see the field. we also had a wr's like holmes, ward and wallace. our rb's were mendy, parker and moore. how would dixon get on the field with those players in front of him?

I never said he would play QB, but he could be used effectively in the wildcat, yet he isn't. I just don't feel the Steelers have enough faith in him to be on the field. That was my point. Obviously, he isn't the starting QB.

Looks like you missed this so here it is again:



If he's the 3rd string QB he's not getting on the field as a WR no matter how good he may be at WR.

Yeah, 3rd string QB's are designated inactive. If they enter the game at all before the 4th quarter, the 1st and 2nd string QB's are not allowed to re-enter the game.

As for him being a WR, I'd rather have Ward, Wallace, Randle El, Battle, Sanders, and Brown running routes, not a back-up QB, thank you very much. Those guys are legit WR's who have played and practiced at WR for years. Dixon is just an athletic guy. Have you ever seen him try to run a full NFL route tree? I sure haven't. Let the real WR's catch passes. Let the QB's throw passes.