It's totally legitimate to blame this loss on Tomlin, IF YOU ARE CITING HIS KEEPING OF BATCH/LEFTWICH YEAR AFTER YEAR. It is not legitimate to blame him for 7 turnovers. If we were outschemed in some way would be one thing. But if professional grown @s$ men can't hang onto a pigskin, how is that Tomlin's fault?
And BTW, where are the Mendenhall apologists: The announcer compared today's fumble to his fumble in the SB. In both cases, he just gave up the ball. Are you going to blame David Johnson (sitting on his couch) for this one too?
This team is good. We're not healthy by any means. But I like that a lot of these guys just keep plugging away. Give me a few healthy players back and we've got a real shot at our next Lombardi this year.
The guys that are hurt are some of the best players in all of football. And we're churning along without them and keeping it close. There's a spark in this team and it's about to explode. The key is getting healthy.
I blame Tomlin for some of this..the mistakes are piling up and you have to blame the HC when a team doesn't have discipline. The sorry fumble was the first fumble.. it set the tone and it wasn't even a hard hit.
As far as Mendenhall aka fumblehall... I don't see how fumbling when barely touched passed the LOS is the sake as getting crushed in the backfield in the SB.
We should have kept JJ but he wouldn't have saved us today... the RB's were determined to lose this game.
There are too many factors at play to singularly blame Tomlin, but certainly there is some level of responsibility there- going all the way back to preparation in Training Camp with roster spot allocations.
Chadman loves the coach that Tomlin is- and isn't even mildly suggesting that his position needs looking into.
But the FO does have a bad/good habit of not taking risks. Good in that the system has proven, more often than not, to work. Stick with guys you know, don't change the gameplan much, play Steeler football etc. All good.
Until time catches up, that is. The FO needed to be more pro-active the last few seasons trying to get ready to move into the next phase of Steeler football. There are some signs that they are doing that- young WR corp, young CB's, young RB's, and now a young OL.
But it took too long for the move to the OL in Chadman's opinion- too much reliance on older players that were declining. But the situation is even more noticable along the DL where they took forver to finally make a move to get younger. The result is mixed play on the DL as they learn to be NFL starters or decline, depending on which end of the age scale you sit. The Safeties are old, with no real, genuine replacements lined up. The QB's, obviously- although, in TC, they had 2 younger QB's & overlooked them.
Regardless- in Chadman's opinion now, we will face a few seasons of 'forced risk' as older players simply NEED to be replaced by untested young players. It is not that big a stretch to think that Hampton, Keisel, Foote, Polamalu, Clark, Taylor, Cotchery, Batch, Leftwich & Harrison could be retired within 2 seasons. And while we have some guys that look ready to step in and replace these guys (Heyward, Sanders), there are just as many 'replacements' with giant questionmarks hovering over them- Worilds, Allen/Brown, McLendon, Sylvester/Spence... any QB or Safety.
The next 2 off-seasons are huge for the Steelers. They'll need to get at least 3 genuine starting quality players out of the next 2 drafts. Maybe 4-5 if some of the young guys on the roster don't step up. And when you look at the quality we are losing, 2-3 of these young guys will need to be better than 'just starters', they'll need to be stars.
Believe it or not, the Steelers have been in a transition phase for about 3 seasons as we've moved away from the aging roster to the younger one. Only problem is that for every step forward (Wallace/Brown/Sanders as an example) the 'tried & true' mentality has held the FO back on similar moves in other positions- DL, Safety, QB as an example.
The defense did its job given the Steelers offense gave the Browns 7 extra posessions
The Special teams were fine
The offense sucked, but the game plan to attack the Browns with their third string quarterback was solid. The coaches can't do a whole lot when the players put it on the ground 5 times, losing 4 fumbles and the 3rd string quarterback throws 3 picks.
The team didn't play well, it looks like the coach didn't have them prepared, because they played poorly. There is culpability on Tomlin and coaches, but this one lies squarely on the offenses shoulders to handle the little things that they have been taught since they were playing pee wee football.
Personally, the one thing I would have done rather than start rotating RBs is keep feeding one of them as if he's the starter. If one player puts in on the ground 5 times then you bench next game move on from there, but rotating backs and each one putting it on the ground seems odd.
I really think they were trying to replay the 70s where the D carried us to 2 SuperBowls, then the next 2 were the O's turn. But what really held us back was we had talent on O but couldn't produce enough points to carry the team. I think we pinned our hopes during the transition that Ben could carry us.
He didn't get there for whatever reason. The OLine, Tomlin, BA, Ben - likely a combination. But the cool thing is during the whole transition, Lebeau's been figuring out how to get something out of the defense. And somehow we're playing great D despite get little pressure or turnovers. And this D keeps making something out of nothing hoping the O will click with Ben and he can carry the load. But we keep waiting. This seemed like it could be the year with Haley to turn the corner.
Ben definitely got more efficient. Better all around. But we still can't score points for some darn reason.
3rd string QB starting
minus their best WR for 3 weeks
minus starting left guard and right tackle
RBs by committee because not a single one seems to be able to lead the pack
minus one of their best pass rushers for most of the game
minus their best DB for most of the season
And yet, the game was a one possession game. A coach can only do so much, then it's on the players. Tomlin sat the ones that didn't perform, but you can't bench the entire offense.
Oh and FYI, the Browns are not a bad football team. Their defense has been improving every game and if Weeden was a real NFL QB the offense would probably have won a few more games.