Pittsburgh Steelers: Blame Mike Tomlin

Joseph CiracoCorrespondent IDecember 11, 2009

As a Steelers fan, I've been telling everyone how overrated Mike Tomlin is. I know all about his second year championship. Let's look at all the facts before you consider him anywhere in the elite tier of coaching.

The Steelers have won two Super Bowl titles in the last four years. While Tomlin deserves some credit for the second championship, he inherited a very experienced and talented team.  I'm not saying anybody could have won because even Wade Phillips could have failed but he's about the only coach.

Last year, the Steelers had a defense that would have made the Lions competitive.  Throw in the magic of Ben Roethlisberger and you are almost talking about a team of destiny.

The Steelers had a terrible hangover in 2007. After winning the 2006 Super Bowl, the team struggled for most of the year and finished just 8-8.

If the Steelers are lucky, they will also finish 8-8 this year after winning a record sixth championship last year.

I'm well aware of the key injuries to Aaron Smith and Troy Polamalu. There is no question that those injuries were devastating to the team. 

Even with those injuries, the Steelers were in position to win almost every game this year but suffered one fourth quarter collapse after another. While having Polamalu would certainly have helped, the coaching/play calling was awful.

In the last few weeks alone, the Ravens, Raiders and Browns have basically ran the ball down the Steelers throats. Again, losing Aaron Smith was a huge loss but the Steelers defense is beyond talented.

I can't totally blame every member of the Steelers defense.  LaMarr Woodley has been spectacular with nine sacks and 39 solo tackles.  Lawrence Timmons has 64 tackles and six sacks despite playing on two bad ankles this year.

What about James Harrison?  He's been effective in three games all year.  In the last three weeks, he's had zero sacks and just 9 solo tackles. For most players, that would be sufficient but we're talking about the reigning defensive player of the year.

Let's get to the point, shall we?

The Steelers secondary is a joke.  The team has a total of eight interceptions on the entire year and none are from a cornerback. The Steelers defensive backfield play this year and for the last few years has been completely unacceptable.

Last year, the defensive line and linebacker play were so good that the team was able to protect the secondary.  However, since the front seven haven't produced like last year, the secondary has been exposed as less than mediocre.

I thought Mike Tomlin got this job based on his brilliance as a secondary coach with Tampa Bay? What has Tomlin actually brought to the table? Absolutely nothing.

The offense is just as embarrassing.

What is the Steelers identity? Last year, the running game was inept and I could understand the need to throw 56 percent of the time. 3.7 yards per carry just doesn't cut it in the NFL.

So, with Rashard Mendenhall healthy and running well, at 4.3 yards per attempt, how often are the Steelers throwing the ball in 2009?  57 percent. So, the Steelers are running better but throwing more? 

I know the Steelers are built around Ben Roethlisberger and the talent at WR that includes Hines War, Santonio Holmes and now Mike Wallace. I love the talent but if you're not winning, you need to make a change!

Last night, you could see two prime examples of why the Steelers are not a playoff team and why the coaching staff needs to re-evaluate the play calling.

The first two drives had the Steelers at third down with less than three yards in both situations.  What did the Steelers do?  They threw the ball.  Why are you throwing when you have Mendenhall and the Browns are the 29th ranked team against the run?

Tomlin along with offensive coordinator Bruce Arians are to blame for the offensive failures of this talented squad. 

Did I mention Special Teams?  The Steelers kick coverage is beyond disgusting.  Return touchdowns by Kansas City and the Bengals were game changers as was the 55 yard punt return last night by Cribbs.  Tomlin should be blamed for not bringing back standout Anthony Madison.

It seems that Mike Tomlin is loved by his players and I value that.  I think Tomlin is still young and I love his passion.  I'm willing to give Tomlin another year before I really start screaming for his job but that's what I see myself doing in twelve months.

The Steelers shouldn't be 6-7 at this point in the season with the schedule they had.  Losing to Kansas City, Oakland and Cleveland is unacceptable.  Mike Tomlin should be the person who is being questioned for this teams failures.  For some reason, he seems to be getting a free pass.  I don't know why.