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Thread: Ron Cook: It's clear - Tomlin has mishandled Steelers QBs

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    Ron Cook: It's clear - Tomlin has mishandled Steelers QBs

    Ron Cook: It's clear -- Tomlin has mishandled Steelers QBs



    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

  2. #2

    Re: Ron Cook: It's clear - Tomlin has mishandled Steelers QBs

    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.

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    Re: Ron Cook: It's clear - Tomlin has mishandled Steelers QBs

    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.

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    Re: Ron Cook: It's clear - Tomlin has mishandled Steelers QBs

    "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?

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    Re: Ron Cook: It's clear - Tomlin has mishandled Steelers QBs

    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.

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    Re: Ron Cook: It's clear - Tomlin has mishandled Steelers QBs

    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.

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    Pro Bowler Flasteel's Avatar
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    Re: Ron Cook: It's clear - Tomlin has mishandled Steelers QBs

    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.



    "I hate him. Everybody says I'm supposed to be polite when I talk to you all, but I hate him..." "He talks too much, he doesn't make sense, he's fat, he's sloppy, he acts like he's the best thing since sliced bread. He's ugly, he stinks, his mouth stinks, his breath stinks, and basically his soul stinks, too.

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    Re: Ron Cook: It's clear - Tomlin has mishandled Steelers QBs

    Cook sounds like a woman...and i apologize to all the women out there.
    http://i177.photobucket.com/albums/w226/angryasian07/SIGNATURES/DOS2.jpg
    Crush your enemies, see them driven before you, hear the lamentations of their women.

  9. #9

    Re: Ron Cook: It's clear - Tomlin has mishandled Steelers QBs

    Quote Originally Posted by Flasteel
    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.
    ^^ 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?

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    Re: Ron Cook: It's clear - Tomlin has mishandled Steelers QBs

    Quote Originally Posted by proudpittsburgher
    Quote Originally Posted by Flasteel
    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.
    ^^ 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.
    Playing Fantasy Football does not qualify you to be the in the front office or on the coaching staff of the Pittsburgh Steelers. They are professionals and you are not!

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