I love coach Tomlin...
But, this is on him. If we gave him credit for leading the Steelers to a Super Bowl victory last year, we have to look at him when the Steelers are stumbling.
Special Teams: The Steelers special teams seem to lack anything approaching heart. How many players started their careers by distinguishing themselves on special teams. Rocky Blier and James Harrison to name a couple. Who is distinguishing themselves this year? No one! This is an attitude problem.
Offense: Definately, coaching. This is squarely on Bruce Arian's shoulders. He as been allowed to under-perform a portion of every game. And sometimes, whole games. The Steelers have too much offensive talent to be struggling in the red zone. They have more talent than do the Hated Patriots, but continually enter games in a mental fog which is compounded by poor play calling. There seems to be a "We'll get it done eventually" type of attitude where the offense relies on the defense to keep the game close with the idea of picking it up in the end. Then, a poor play call or a mistake squashes the win. Bruce Arians needs to be held accountable and made to perform.
Defense: You can't tell me that Troy is all the difference. Not going for it any more. The defense demonstrated the same "We've got this" attitude yesterday in overtime, without actually covering or making the tackle. Mental toughness was lacking.
What do all these things have in common? Poor coaching, period. There is an attitude that is coming from the top which is leading to slacking off. Not all the time, but enough for a few plays to cost a very good team some wins. This started in training camp. Some of you may remember an article last summer about Ving Rhames visiting camp. In it, James Harrison walked away from practice and talked to the movie star for something like forty minutes. That type of attitude is haunting the Steelers now.
Sure, some of the Steelers veterans can regain their focus when they need it, but this is a bad precedent for the younger players. Also, practice is for every aspect of the game, including focus. If the coaches accept lapses in focus at training camp and at practice, there will be lapses in focus come game day.
This all starts with Coach Tomlin. While I believe he is a good coach, I think it is his failure to send the proper message. While he is a good speaker, he is dropping the ball when it comes to action. Everyone has their favorite coach Tomlin one-liners, now let's look for our favorite Coach Tomlin actions to improve the Steelers and get them further than a one-and-out in the playoffs.
While I'm mad as hell at this loss, and now have some very serious doubts about the Steelers season, I know that they have huge talent and the ability to win another world championship. I'm not without optimism. But something has to be done for the Steelers to get back to championship attitude. With that attitude will come wins. The person most responsible for that attitude is Coach Tomlin.