Is Mike Tomlin’s Time Up in Pittsburgh?

Is it time for Mike Tomlin to go?

No. That’s the short answer. Why?

For many reasons.

  • There is no better option
    1. Fans overreact. That is expected. The Steelers win a few in a row, “Mike Tomlin’s the GOAT,” but when they lose a couple, “Mike Tomlin should’ve been fired 3 years ago.” The truth is, Tomlin has been exceptional. He hasn’t been Bill Belichick, but he is a players’ coach who focuses on motivating his players rather than scaring them. It doesn’t work with everyone, but Billicheck’s strict, controlling methods don’t with everyone either. As Steelers fans, we should be grateful that we don’t have to deal with the likes of Hue Jackson and Marvin Lewis. The only way the Steelers can and should make a move is if they see a young, creative defensive coach who is willing to move and take control. Offensive coaches like Matt Nagy and Sean McVay have been on the rise, but Randy Fichtner is doing a good job with the offense. The defense needs help, and it should be Keith Butler on the hot seat.
  • The Steelers defense is exceptional (in theory)
    1. The Steelers defensive playbook is Mike Tomlin’s, but Keith Butler has to execute it. The blitzing schemes aren’t half bad–the Steelers lead the league in sacks without ANY top tier pass-rushers–but the coverage has been horrible. The inability in coverage is due to a lack of execution (which is why Keith Butler is the one on the hot seat). The talent in the secondary is decent at best. Joe Haden could be a top tier No. 2, but he’s a decent No. 1, and Mike Hilton is a great slot corner. Everyone else is wildly inconsistent. Sean Davis started the year off very strong, but has missed a ton of tackles in the last few weeks. Coty Sensabaugh simply can not cover, but he does a semi-decent job keeping a cap on things and making the tackle after the catch. Morgan Burnett, when he plays once every 7 weeks or so, isn’t much of a secure tackler and but usually does well covering bigger guys. Terrell Edmunds has grown since the start of the year, but he really isn’t a capable starter in this league just yet. Cameron Sutton and Brian Allen haven’t developed at all, and are only special teamers at this point. Oh and we don’t talk about Artie Burns here.
  • The Steelers have had bad luck.
    1. Simple as that. It sucks to use that as an excuse, but there is a bit of evidence to back that up. First, they play their worst game of the season against the Broncos, and struggle to close out in a game filled with weird moments and blocking so good it drove 290 lbs to make INTs. Mike Tomlin put his players in the position to win but they simply played their worst, and they lost by only one score. Then they played the Chargers. Even with their weak second half, the Steelers deserved to win. The refs missed two blatant and obvious penalties, one on a false start and one on a block in the back. Both led to long TDs. Never mind the fact that the long-snapper continuously moved the ball pre-snap, the false start calls on the Steelers were very questionable, and that the Steelers defense had an easy interception against an overrated offense, but ran into one another. The Chargers won out of luck, not skill. Mike Tomlin put his players in the position to succeed, but bad referees and the Joe Haden-Sean Davis collision held them back. Finally they play the Raiders. Not only did the Raiders play their best game in two years, but the Steelers still should have won the game. Two missed field goals from a top-3 kicker last year, along with the weird Ben Roethlisberger issue (Did Roethlisberger want to see what Josh Dobbs could do? Or was the X-ray slow? Or was Tomlin over-confident?) and the Steelers lost by 3 points. Mike Tomlin put his players in the position to win (especially with that smart dump off play with 00:20 left on the clock) but dropped INTs, a crazy QB situation, and missed field goals held them back.

What’s the commonality here? Tomlin has put his players in the position to succeed. He has made his mistakes in the past (and the present), but he is clearly the best option they have. The Steelers are still Super Bowl-contenders; the players simply need to execute and Mike Tomlin needs to be a little bit smarter.

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