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hawaiiansteel
08-31-2010, 01:40 AM
Ron Cook: It's clear -- Tomlin has mishandled Steelers QBs

http://www.post-gazette.com/images4/cook-ron_50x50.jpg

Tuesday, August 31, 2010
By Ron Cook, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette


Steelers coach Mike Tomlin likes to use fancy words. This summer, "clarity" has been a popular choice for him, as in, "We're striving to find clarity with our quarterback position." There's only one problem. Tomlin doesn't appear to understand what the word means.

"We still don't know who's going to be our starting quarterback," Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward said Sunday night.

Nor do the rest of us.

There's only one fancy word that applies here: Ambiguity.

Shame on Tomlin. The way he handled his quarterbacks Sunday night against the Denver Broncos added to the confusion. He started Ben Roethlisberger and played him for a quarter even though he will miss at least the first four regular-season games because of his NFL-mandated suspension. He traded a seventh-round draft pick to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in April for Byron Leftwich and gave him a one-year contract extension through 2011 with the intent of Leftwich being the starter in Roethlisberger's absence. Yet, he didn't play him against the Broncos until the third quarter and then with the second- and third-stringers, who were overrun by Broncos pass rushers and nearly got Leftwich killed. He gave Dennis Dixon way too many snaps with the first team even though he wouldn't have traded for Leftwich if he had any faith that Dixon could be the replacement starter for Roethlisberger.

Clarity?

What clarity?

Roethlisberger shouldn't have played against the Broncos. The snaps he took in that game don't figure to help him much when he comes back from his suspension, presumably for the home game against the Cleveland Browns Oct. 17. He's a franchise quarterback -- a two-time Super Bowl winner -- and is well on his way to being one of the best in NFL history. He had a marvelous training camp and looked good in the two exhibition games in which he played. He should be just fine after getting two weeks of practice before the game against the Browns.

Leftwich should have started and played the first half against the Broncos. He needed the work. He played just four series in the first exhibition game against the Detroit Lions, then three in the second game against the New York Giants. Putting him in with the reserves in the second half in Denver did nothing to get him ready for the opening game against the Atlanta Falcons Sept. 12. He's lucky he wasn't injured. He took a frightful beating behind that second-team line. At least Tomlin did something right that night, getting Leftwich out of the game fairly quickly. Give him credit for that.

Dixon showed against the Broncos that he's not quite ready to be the Steelers' starter. "He didn't play well," Tomlin conceded after Dixon was intercepted twice, one in the Broncos' end zone, the other returned 77 yards for a touchdown. It's OK to put in a package of plays for Dixon to take advantage of his mobility and use him as a change-of-pace quarterback in the first four games. But he can't be the man.

That has to be Leftwich. His experience will be more important to the Steelers in those first four games than Dixon's potential. He doesn't have to win the games, just not lose them. He is far less likely to make the big mistakes than Dixon.

It's a shame that Tomlin didn't do a better job of getting Leftwich ready.

It's too late now to worry about it. The first-stringers aren't expected to play much in the final exhibition game against the Carolina Panthers Thursday night at Heinz Field. Although Tomlin didn't reveal his plans for his quarterbacks when he met with the media Monday, there have been reports that Roethlisberger will start, presumably to get his first appearance in front of the home crowd since his night in Milledgeville, Ga., out of the way and to show everyone, at least symbolically, that he's still the Steelers' guy. That won't leave much time for Leftwich to play with the first team. A good guess is he hardly will play at all -- better, at this point, to keep him healthy for the Falcons.

Good luck to Leftwich being sharp in that opening game.

Blame Roethlisberger for this mess. That's fair. He put the Steelers in a terrible hole by getting himself in the jackpot in that college bar in Georgia.

But blame Tomlin, as well. So far, his search for quarterback clarity has failed miserably.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10243/10 ... z0y9vKlDZD (http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10243/1083873-87.stm#ixzz0y9vKlDZD)

StarSpangledSteeler
08-31-2010, 04:35 AM
See i disagree here slightly. Based on the pre-season so far, any team trying to scout us and game plan their defense against us will have to be prepared for either or both Leftwich and Dixon. That makes their preparation more difficult. And consequently that is smart coaching and smart strategy by Tomlin.

As far as the distribution of snaps, you must give Ben his reps. Get him as ready as possible in the pre-season so that he's not starting cold in week 5. If not, it would take him 2-4 additional weeks to get up to speed and then you've lost half the season. As it stands now, it's almost the same as if Ben participated in preseason, then got injured week one, then came back week 5. He will be a little rusty but not cold.

As for Dixon and Leftwich, none of us knew who would be the better starter in weeks 1-4. Not even the coaches. They were literally competing for the job. They were given equal snaps, and Leftwich proved superior. But what if he falters or is injured? You can't expect Dixon to come in an light it up with no first team snaps this year.

I think Tomlin balanced everything well. He even got Batch a few snaps, just in case Lefty or Dixon gets hurt and we have to sign him on short notice. He got all four QB's warm. Plus figured out the proper depth order. Plus got each of them first team reps. While disguising our intentions to some degree.

Crash
08-31-2010, 05:16 AM
He played just four series in the first exhibition game against the Detroit Lions

For a first pre-season game? That's PLENTY of work. You usually get one series, maybe two tops.

They did bungle this because they were afraid of Ben being booed at home. The MINUTE he was cheered in warm ups they should have started him that game, then the game in New York, and then sit him in Denver.

Crash
08-31-2010, 05:17 AM
"We still don't know who's going to be our starting quarterback," Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward said Sunday night.

And of course, because the Mouth of the South says it, it must be true, right?

BURGH86STEEL
08-31-2010, 05:31 AM
I really don't see a problem with the way Tomlin handled the situation. I think he gave guys a fair shot with the limited amount of time the team had. There is no book for how one should handle that situation.

Crash
08-31-2010, 05:56 AM
And if they are as terrified of Dixon starting as some media who actually spend time in the locker room are being led to believe? Keeping Leftwich upright until week one is paramount.

Flasteel
08-31-2010, 06:33 AM
What a reactionary collection of drivel. The only thing I agree with, is that they gave too many reps to Dixon on Sunday. Aikman agreed with the move to start Dixon in the 3rd and I thought it was overkill. I do like what Crash said about starting Ben in games 1 & 2, then sitting him last week...I think it made more sense. But to state Tomlin has mishandled the situation is nothing more than a reflection of how poorly Dixon and Lefty played on Sunday. If either one of those guys shined, then Cook would have kept his cake-hole shut...like he should have.

Discipline of Steel
08-31-2010, 06:45 AM
Cook sounds like a woman...and i apologize to all the women out there.

proudpittsburgher
08-31-2010, 07:38 AM
What a reactionary collection of drivel. The only thing I agree with, is that they gave too many reps to Dixon on Sunday. Aikman agreed with the move to start Dixon in the 3rd and I thought it was overkill. I do like what Crash said about starting Ben in games 1 & 2, then sitting him last week...I think it made more sense. But to state Tomlin has mishandled the situation is nothing more than a reflection of how poorly Dixon and Lefty played on Sunday. If either one of those guys shined, then Cook would have kept his cake-hole shut...like he should have.

^^ :Agree with what he said, especially the last part. Media types, and I assume Cook is among them, were clammering for Dixon for the past two weeks, so Tomlin gives the kid a shot, then some more in the second half to shake off the pick six and see how he reacts. Dixon played poorly, as did Dixon, and somehow Tomlin handled it wrong?

Oviedo
08-31-2010, 08:03 AM
What a reactionary collection of drivel. The only thing I agree with, is that they gave too many reps to Dixon on Sunday. Aikman agreed with the move to start Dixon in the 3rd and I thought it was overkill. I do like what Crash said about starting Ben in games 1 & 2, then sitting him last week...I think it made more sense. But to state Tomlin has mishandled the situation is nothing more than a reflection of how poorly Dixon and Lefty played on Sunday. If either one of those guys shined, then Cook would have kept his cake-hole shut...like he should have.

^^ :Agree with what he said, especially the last part. Media types, and I assume Cook is among them, were clammering for Dixon for the past two weeks, so Tomlin gives the kid a shot, then some more in the second half to shake off the pick six and see how he reacts. Dixon played poorly, as did Dixon, and somehow Tomlin handled it wrong?

Exactly!!! All the know nothing, former yearbook staff socalled journalists have been clamoring for Dixon and when he gave them what they wanted he showed what know nothing idiots they were. The coaching staff has known for 6 months that Dixon wasn't ready for primetime and for anyone who wanted to see during OTAs and camp it was clear that it was going to be Leftwich because of experience and Dixon's lack of readiness. You don't turn a back up QB into a front line starter during 3 weeks of camp. That takes years.

The media, and some fans, are the ones who are clueless and screwed this up by falling in love with a notion that was an illusion against 3rd string players.

Slapstick
08-31-2010, 08:32 AM
Oh, Ron Cook! Isn't second guessing someone with the benefit of 20/20 hindsight so much fun?!?

proudpittsburgher
08-31-2010, 08:36 AM
Oh, Ron Cook! Isn't second guessing someone with the benefit of 20/20 hindsight so much fun?!?

Well, there is that, and the fact I think Tomlin handled the QB situation pretty well, actually. He pretty much had to see what Dixon was made of. I wanted to see how he reacted after that pick-6 too. If he is seriously considering letting DD start, you need to see how he reacts in situations like that before pulling the plug on the situation completely. In this case, the plug is likely getting pulled, and he gave DD enough of a shot.

frankthetank1
08-31-2010, 08:37 AM
What a reactionary collection of drivel. The only thing I agree with, is that they gave too many reps to Dixon on Sunday. Aikman agreed with the move to start Dixon in the 3rd and I thought it was overkill. I do like what Crash said about starting Ben in games 1 & 2, then sitting him last week...I think it made more sense. But to state Tomlin has mishandled the situation is nothing more than a reflection of how poorly Dixon and Lefty played on Sunday. If either one of those guys shined, then Cook would have kept his cake-hole shut...like he should have.

^^ :Agree with what he said, especially the last part. Media types, and I assume Cook is among them, were clammering for Dixon for the past two weeks, so Tomlin gives the kid a shot, then some more in the second half to shake off the pick six and see how he reacts. Dixon played poorly, as did Dixon, and somehow Tomlin handled it wrong?

Exactly!!! All the know nothing, former yearbook staff socalled journalists have been clamoring for Dixon and when he gave them what they wanted he showed what know nothing idiots they were. The coaching staff has known for 6 months that Dixon wasn't ready for primetime and for anyone who wanted to see during OTAs and camp it was clear that it was going to be Leftwich because of experience and Dixon's lack of readiness. You don't turn a back up QB into a front line starter during 3 weeks of camp. That takes years.

The media, and some fans, are the ones who are clueless and screwed this up by falling in love with a notion that was an illusion against 3rd string players.

if that really is the case then we are in serious trouble. if mike tomlin is doing whatever the fans and so called experts in the media think he should do then the steelers wont win many games. i think the reality is mike tomlin thinks the gap between lefty and dixon isnt all that big. if lefty wasnt a statue or if he had a quick release or we had a dominant o-line there probably wouldnt be any question of who the starter will be for the first four games. seeing lefty play against denver just magnifies our problem with him. if he is blitzed and the protection isnt there than he is a sitting duck. that is all we will see the first four weeks. at least with dixon he can get away from a pass rush once in a while.

i dont have any problem with how tomlin has handled this situation except for saying lefty was the man months ago. ben should of played against denver and i had no problem with how much time dixon played.

Oviedo
08-31-2010, 08:42 AM
What a reactionary collection of drivel. The only thing I agree with, is that they gave too many reps to Dixon on Sunday. Aikman agreed with the move to start Dixon in the 3rd and I thought it was overkill. I do like what Crash said about starting Ben in games 1 & 2, then sitting him last week...I think it made more sense. But to state Tomlin has mishandled the situation is nothing more than a reflection of how poorly Dixon and Lefty played on Sunday. If either one of those guys shined, then Cook would have kept his cake-hole shut...like he should have.

^^ :Agree with what he said, especially the last part. Media types, and I assume Cook is among them, were clammering for Dixon for the past two weeks, so Tomlin gives the kid a shot, then some more in the second half to shake off the pick six and see how he reacts. Dixon played poorly, as did Dixon, and somehow Tomlin handled it wrong?

Exactly!!! All the know nothing, former yearbook staff socalled journalists have been clamoring for Dixon and when he gave them what they wanted he showed what know nothing idiots they were. The coaching staff has known for 6 months that Dixon wasn't ready for primetime and for anyone who wanted to see during OTAs and camp it was clear that it was going to be Leftwich because of experience and Dixon's lack of readiness. You don't turn a back up QB into a front line starter during 3 weeks of camp. That takes years.

The media, and some fans, are the ones who are clueless and screwed this up by falling in love with a notion that was an illusion against 3rd string players.

if that really is the case then we are in serious trouble. if mike tomlin is doing whatever the fans and so called experts in the media think he should do then the steelers wont win many games. i think the reality is mike tomlin thinks the gap between lefty and dixon isnt all that big. if lefty wasnt a statue or if he had a quick release or we had a dominant o-line there probably wouldnt be any question of who the starter will be for the first four games. seeing lefty play against denver just magnifies our problem with him. if he is blitzed and the protection isnt there than he is a sitting duck. that is all we will see the first four weeks. at least with dixon he can get away from a pass rush once in a while.

i dont have any problem with how tomlin has handled this situation except for saying lefty was the man months ago. ben should of played against denver and i had no problem with how much time dixon played.


No way was Tomlin appeasing fans or the media. he doesn't care what either thinks. I think they wanted to see if Dixon was capable of running some packages against a first team defense, i.e. the QB bootleg on 4th and 1. I expect they want to be able to put Dixon in as a change of pace and needed to see if he could handle that.

I don't thing in Tomlin or Arians mind the notion of Dixon ever starting was even considered. They just see too much in practice that probably says not ready.

feltdizz
08-31-2010, 10:36 AM
I was surprised to see Ben out there to start the game but he was gone in a flash so no harm no foul.

Dixon was given too many reps but maybe they wanted to see if he would bounce back after the first INT. Way too many people are acting like QB's don't force passes or throw INT's in the endzone. It happens...

I really don't see this as a bad thing because teams still have no clue who are starting QB will be and honestly it doesn't really matter because we are just trying to piece together a puzzle to win 4 games.

Starting Batch would probably be the smart thing to do. But Batch is old and fragile... and anyone who disagrees is lying to themselves LOL!!

2007 Atlanta game (he finished but I think he was listed as hurt the next game)
2008 Green Bay QB sneak,
2009 KC game

and he broke his collarbone in a preseason game somewhere in there too.

but the guy is still good and has composure. Lefty has moments but he hasn't wowed me on the short passes underneath.

Dee Dub
08-31-2010, 02:59 PM
Ron Cook....stick to your job and let the head coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers do his job.

Like this (the Roethlisberger suspension), is an easy thing for any head coach to handle. Wow!! :roll:

Oviedo
09-01-2010, 04:28 PM
Compared to how Whisenhunt has screwed up the QB situation in Arizona, Tomlin has been downright masterful in handling what was a no win situation since Goodell screwed us over.

ikestops85
09-01-2010, 04:33 PM
Compared to how Whisenhunt has screwed up the QB situation in Arizona, Tomlin has been downright masterful in handling what was a no win situation since Goodell screwed us over.

:Clap

Nice :stirpot there O. Job well done!! :lol:

hawaiiansteel
09-01-2010, 05:55 PM
Jon Gruden thinks Steelers should go with Dennis Dixon

Posted by Mike Florio on September 1, 2010


Much debate has occurred regarding whether the Steelers should entrust the short-term quarterbacking job to Byron Leftwich or Dennis Dixon, during the suspension of starter Ben Roethlisberger.

Dixon earned a shot at work with the first-team by dramatically outperforming Leftwich in the first two preseason games, during which Leftwich played with the starters and Dixon played with the reserves. After Dixon stunk it up on Sunday night against Denver's top defense, the pendulum seemed to swing back to Leftwich.

Count ESPN's Jon Gruden among those who aren't convinced that Leftwich is the answer.

"The Steelers are a team that really relies on Ben Roethlisberger's improvisation,'' Gruden said during a Monday Night Football conference call, according to Jim Corbett of USAToday.com. "I've never seen a guy create more offense on his own. He gets out of some of the most incredible situations where he makes plays where they have him sacked twice and he still completes a pass.

"The guy who fits them the best right now, the guy I would go with is Dixon.''

Gruden pointed to Dixon's mobility and his time in the system. "I realize he threw a couple of interceptions against Denver," Gruden said. "I just think his escapability, his ability to run for two first downs, create another two first downs scrambling out of trouble, checking it down, or finding a big play down the field gives him the edge over these other two quarterbacks. . . . All they have to do is win like they won in Ben's rookie year, run the ball, play good defense -- don't turn it over and make some timely plays in the passing game . . . . Dennis Dixon can do that.''

Adding an extra layer of intrigue to Gruden's assessment is the fact that, from 2002 through 2005, Gruden's defensive backs coach in Tampa was a guy who is now the head coach of the Steelers.

So will Mike Tomlin listen to the guy to whom he once routinely deferred? Stay tuned.

http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/20 ... nis-dixon/ (http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2010/09/01/jon-gruden-thinks-steelers-should-go-with-dennis-dixon/)

Oviedo
09-02-2010, 08:19 AM
Compared to how Whisenhunt has screwed up the QB situation in Arizona, Tomlin has been downright masterful in handling what was a no win situation since Goodell screwed us over.

:Clap

Nice :stirpot there O. Job well done!! :lol:

Just sayin......

Arizona is a mess. Obvious personality conflict between Whis and Leinert (remember Ben had issues with Whis too) has made that situation untenable. For Derek Anderson to be your go to guy and to do nothing to get a better QB in the off season or through the draft they have totally screwed themselves. Lucky for them they are in the weakest division in all of the NFL.

ramblinjim
09-02-2010, 08:24 AM
yeah, I just can't get over the Cardinals thinking "yeah, Derek Anderson, the guy that was run out of Cleveland.....he's the guy that should be the quarterback..."

If they don't get that mess straightened out, they are going to waste an amazing talent in Larry Fitzgerald.

Oviedo
09-02-2010, 08:41 AM
yeah, I just can't get over the Cardinals thinking "yeah, Derek Anderson, the guy that was run out of Cleveland.....he's the guy that should be the quarterback..."

If they don't get that mess straightened out, they are going to waste an amazing talent in Larry Fitzgerald.

Maybe Whis never paid attention to the Cleveland offense when we played them. A call to Bill Cowher or LeBeau may have been of some benefit.

I'm sure Denver would be willing to trade Brady Quinn. Whis could then get a full blown Browns style QB controversy going.

feltdizz
09-02-2010, 09:37 AM
Whiz definitely screwed this up. He knew Leinart couldn't throw the ball to Fitz... Leinart is just too scared to go downfield and checks down on every play.

RuthlessBurgher
09-02-2010, 10:25 AM
Compared to how Whisenhunt has screwed up the QB situation in Arizona, Tomlin has been downright masterful in handling what was a no win situation since Goodell screwed us over.

:Clap

Nice :stirpot there O. Job well done!! :lol:

Just sayin......

Arizona is a mess. Obvious personality conflict between Whis and Leinert (remember Ben had issues with Whis too) has made that situation untenable. For Derek Anderson to be your go to guy and to do nothing to get a better QB in the off season or through the draft they have totally screwed themselves. Lucky for them they are in the weakest division in all of the NFL.

Yeah, but they are going to get schooled by the Niners this year anyway. No way that team can stomach losing Warner, Boldin, Dansby, and Rolle all at the same time no matter what division they are in.

SteelCrazy
09-02-2010, 11:12 AM
Ron Cook is an idoit. It should write for the Cleveland Bland Dealer........

BradshawsHairdresser
09-02-2010, 12:37 PM
Way too early to say that Tomlin has mishandled the QB situation. There really is no template to follow...he's really in uncharted waters here.

Bring up the question again about six weeks into the season. Then we'll know.