I really have tried to stay off the fire Tomlin train. It’s tough to not be on it now, though. The Steelers lost on Sunday not because of the players, but because of three people: Mike Tomlin, Keith Butler, and Chris Boswell.
First off, Boswell should be cut. I don’t care what he has done in the past, he has struggled this season to the point where he has cost the Steelers games. If he is on his game today, the Steelers are walking out with the ‘W’. He slipped because he extended his plant too far, which caused his balance to go off kilter. So, should he have stayed upright, that ball was heading far left. Time to cut your losses with Boswell.
Second, Keith Butler and Mike Tomlin have been running one of the worst schemes in football since Butler took over as Defensive Coordinator. It is time for Butler to get the axe for his incompetence, and he should have been shown the door with Todd Haley anyways. It is time to overhaul this scheme, and more importantly, time to actually let this defense’s talent show through. This defense has more than enough talent, but schematically, they simply suck.
However, let’s talk about Mike Tomlin. Tomlin’s teams for years have been criticized for losing and playing down to inferior teams, and before today we never really knew if that was a byproduct of Tomlin himself, but it is clear it is now.
Tomlin noted that Ben Roethlisberger could have come back into the game far before he actually did, and that he didn’t because it didn’t fit the “flow of the game”. My folks, that is a straight up fireable offense. I am sorry to all Steelers fans, because Mike Tomlin cost us the game by not letting the franchise QB come back in when he could have.
Mike Tomlin came across as cowardly and timid today in his press conference, likely because he knew he screwed up. Tomlin clearly pins this one on himself, point blank. That is what I got from the press conference, and I saw that his mindset is that the Steelers can beat any bad team due to having top tier talent. Thus, that mindset has permeated itself throughout the locker room it seems.
Tomlin’s decision to stick with the currently incompetent Dobbs when Ben came back in and drove the field easily is a terrible decision, and just as bad was his clock management. It seemed that he trusted his defense, but if he had used his timeouts, the Steelers could have had near a minute to go and more time to score the winning TD. And I have to tell you, I think Ben would have done it.
Regardless, this was a brutal coaching performance by the whole coaching staff. Mike Tomlin has a big shot to redeem himself. Beat the Patriots and do what you could never do. If you do that, I will gain some faith in you, because, Coach Tomlin, right now, there is no faith in this team, or you, whatsoever.
And, bluntly, that is a shame.