Steelers at Browns: Tomlin Tuesday

Nov 13, 2016; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin on the sidelines against the Dallas Cowboys during the first half of their game at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 13, 2016; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin on the sidelines against the Dallas Cowboys during the first half of their game at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports /

The Steelers are searching for answers after losing their fourth straight game and coach Tomlin is taking the heat.

With the wounds not completely healed from the recent loss to the Dallas Cowboys the team has to turn around and make sure they don’t deliver the Cleveland Browns their first win of the season this Sunday.

Coach Mike Tomlin took to the podium for his usual Tuesday spot to review the previous game, update injury statuses, breakdown the upcoming game and answer questions.

Reviewing the Cowboys loss

Tensions have been understandably high in the past couple of days since the heart-breaking loss to Dallas and Tomlin assured everyone that he wasn’t going to beat around the bush about it. He pointed to penalties and blown assignments for the loss.

He noted the team isn’t looking to point fingers, place blame or look for comfort.

"“We’re not looking for anything other than a victory.” – Mike Tomlin"

When it comes down to the buzz word of week being ‘accountability’ Tomlin provided his Tomlinism of the week. He explained that there wasn’t one guy, one incident or one play that was causing the downfall of the games and potentially the season.

He called it “popcorn” in saying that it’s not one thing, its multiple things, multiple plays, multiple players that are failing or missing assignments and causing the issues.

“We’re not looking for anything other than a victory.” – Mike Tomlin

"“It’s been popcorn. It hasn’t been one man specifically. It’s been popcorn. But you can’t have popcorn.” – Mike Tomlin"

Tomlin acknowledges that tensions run high during losing streaks and he didn’t avoid that either.

"“We recognize the negativity that comes along with our position.” – Mike Tomlin"

He knows as he sits up there that there are tons of people calling for his head. Everyone talks about discipline and accountability yet he’s the only one who sits up there week in and week out and takes the heat no matter what people are saying about him.

I’m not saying that he’s coached a perfect season by any means but I don’t see a lot of constructive criticism going on when it’s all just “Fire the coach!” and not anything substantial. If Tomlin has a losing record this season it will be his first. Don’t forget that.

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As far as the injuries go the hits keep on coming. Linebacker Steven Johnson was placed on IR after having ankle surgery. The team re-signed linebacker L.J. Fort to the active roster in his place.

The defense was dealt a huge blow when defensive end Cameron Heyward sat out two games with injury and now they’ve lost him for the entire season. Tomlin stated during his presser that Heyward was receiving a second opinion for his pectoral injury but Heyward announced later on Tuesday that he was out for the year with a torn pectoral.

Receiver Markus Wheaton is getting another evaluation on his shoulder injury that keeps creeping up on him while DeAngelo Williams is working his way back from having his knee scoped last week.

Darrius Heyward-Bey can already be categorized as out for Sunday’s game against the Browns and Shamarko Thomas is questionable with a groin injury. Bud Dupree will practice again this week and his ability to participate will determine his ability to be available to play this Sunday.

Breaking down the Browns

When talking about the 0-10 Cleveland Browns Tomlin wouldn’t sugar coat their situation either. He reminded everyone that the Browns are a hungry team desperate for a win but so is Pittsburgh. Cleveland shows each week why they’re winless but that doesn’t mean that the players on the field aren’t trying.

He talked up Jeannette-native Terrelle Pryor, who has transitioned from playing quarterback to wide receiver for the Browns. Tomlin praised Pryor’s abilities as a receiver and as an athlete capable of making that kind of transition.

Tomlin reminded everyone that he’s known Pryor since Pryor’s junior year of high school, which was Tomlin’s first year in Pittsburgh.


When it came for question time it seemed like everyone tried to throw the “how are you doing to hold the players more accountable?” question at Tomlin over and over again, just re-wording it slightly.

Tomlin was pretty lengthy in his responses. He was asked about comments players have made about the accountability and discipline and what the feelings were in the locker room.

"“It’s less about feelings,” said Tomlin. “And I think that’s what’s being relayed by the locker room. It’s more about what’s tangible and what’s on tape. And the tape says we’re not disciplined enough. The tape says there aren’t enough people doing the right things on a consistent basis to produce a victory. We have to, you know, make an accounting of that. We’re a very transparent group. We might not be as downtrodden as we seem, but that’s because we speak truth. We speak truth openly among ourselves. We work to speak truth to you guys. We’re not comfort seeking in terms of the things that have produced our record. It is what it is. We’re not doing enough of the good things well enough to win on a consistent basis. We’ve got to change that. Part of changing that is first, acknowledging that. And so those are some of the sentiments being relayed to you and that you’re sensing and feeling about our present state. You know, we still feel very comfortable that we’re capable of being a good football team, but those feelings are less important than us doing the things that produce wins. So that’s where our focus lies. Us acknowledging the things that have tripping us up and making the commitment to change those is where we start.” – Mike Tomlin"

He talked about the team working to identify the problems and correcting them. He kept insisting that the issues aren’t rampant or constant and it’s just issues here and there that are creeping up at the absolutely wrong moments and ruining games.

Oct 16, 2016; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin during the first inning against the Miami Dolphins at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 16, 2016; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin during the first inning against the Miami Dolphins at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports /

"“We’re just not playing well enough. We’re not in the right place enough. We’re not looking at the right things enough. We’re not finishing plays emphatically enough. And I think it’s all interrelated. When you know what you’re doing and you understand what it is you’re doing in great detail, and you understand how it fits into the larger picture of things, it makes you act quicker. And it makes you act more fluidly. It allows you to have the type of detail that maximizes opportunities when presented. Tipped passes don’t fall innocently to the ground-they’re intercepted, for example. You know, blitz patterns are cleaner and getting to the quarterback, as opposed to getting nicked or knocked off. Route combinations are cleaners; people come open a split second sooner and things of that nature. I don’t want to act like it’s rampant, it’s not. But it doesn’t have to be rampant in terms of it changing the climate, in terms of how games unfold. You hear it said in the cliché-like way all the time, regarding football. Oftentimes, these games come down to a small number of plays. And so when we’re talking about lack of detail or discipline, it’s not rampant. But it’s enough that it’s been changing the outcome of games. And if it’s a splattering of plays, then we need to do whatever it is required to change that. And we are.” – Mike Tomlin"

Tomlin did say that he spoke directly to Antonio Brown about his running out of bounds on that final play as opposed to fighting for more yards and “battling for every blade of grass” out on the field. He addressed that Sammie Coates had several broken fingers and that accounted for his lack of snaps.

But he also maintained that between Coates and Eli Rogers have seen limited playing time for both injury and the accountability/discipline combo. So there’s that.

It’s about time this team got back to winning some football games. There are four division games in the next seven so no time like the present to get back on top. The loss of Heyward is going to hurt but it’s time for guys like Stephon Tuitt to step into a leadership role.

It’s also time for guys like Javon Hargrave and Daniel McCullers to make names for themselves.

He’s still keeping the Obviously’s down this year. After what was a pretty long presser I only caught four.

Next: Keeping the hope alive for the Steelers

You can listen to Tomlin’s entire presser right here.

Let’s do this, guys. Bring on those Brownies! Here we go Steelers! Here we go!