Steelers Coach Mike Tomlin Defends Quarterback Mason Rudolph

Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin (Marlon Martin / Golden Sky Media)

PITTSBURGH (GSM) — Steelers Head Coach Mike Tomlin took issue with  his backup quarterback Mason Rudolph being “accused” of using racial slurs during a game in Cleveland last season.

A physical altercation resulted in a melee between the Steelers and Browns during the 2019 season where Browns defensive end Myles Garrett forcibly removed Rudolph’s helmet and proceeded to hit him over the head with it. With 8-seconds left to play in the game, Garrett was ejected and suspended for the remaining 6 games of the season.

Coach Tomlin appeared on ESPN’s “First Take” to voice his opinion on the matter and to discuss the allegations against Mason Rudolph:

Part 1:

Part 2:

Steelers’ Head Coach Tomlin released the following statement:

I support Mason Rudolph not only because I know him, but also because I was on that field immediately following the altercation with Myles Garrett, and subsequently after the game. I interacted with a lot of people in the Cleveland Browns organization – players and coaches. If Mason said what Myles claimed, it would have come out during the many interactions I had with those in the Browns’ organization. In my conversations, I had a lot of expressions of sorrow for what transpired. I received no indication of anything racial or anything of that nature in those interactions.


BRIAN COOK IS AN EMMY-NOMINATED INTERNATIONAL JOURNALIST WHO HAS BEEN COVERING THE NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE SINCE 2005. HE CAN BE REACHED AT BCOOK@GOLDENSKYMEDIA.COM.
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EDITORIAL: Mike Tomlin is a Quality Coach that Deserves Respect

Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin during his weekly press conference. December 18, 2018 (Clyde Harris / Golden Sky Media)

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PITTSBURGH (GSM) — I’m sick of all of the “Tomlin didn’t maximize his talent” arguments in Pittsburgh.

Let’s look at the record:

2007: 1st year as head coach, he wins the AFC North but loses momentum and playoff game at home with last-second FG. This was AFTER the NFL’s leading rusher broke his leg in week 15 or 16 (i.e., “Fast” Willie Parker, he of the SB rushing record for longest TD run back in SB XL). Also- his franchise QB throws a pick-6 #ugh.

2008: Won SB as 2nd year coach.

2009: Team collapsed at the end of the year to miss the playoffs. SB hangover. I’ll concede that point. BAD loss to the Raiders at home.

2010: Made it to the SB. Lost to Aaron Rodgers after a(nother) Big Ben pick-6 (no one brings that up) and a bad fumble by Mendenhall (sp). Still lost by 6. Also got to the SB with a banged-up Troy Polamalu, who was the NFL Defensive MVP that was hurt late in the season versus the Bengals (apparently on a pick-6 return).

2011: Lost the Tebow game when his team was VERY banged up. Ryan Clark (starting safety) couldn’t play in Denver after almost dying the last time up there (sickle cell trait). Mendenhall tore his ACL in the past game of the regular season. Multiple injuries everywhere during that game. That was still a 12-4 team.

2012: Big Ben was injured for 3-4 games that year. Missed the playoffs.

2013: Started the season 0-4, including a bad loss in London to MIN. Went 8-4 (67%) the rest of the way, was one missed FG away from making the playoffs by the Chiefs in week 17.

Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin (Brian Cook / Golden Sky Media)

2014: Lost home playoff game after Le’Veon Bell was hurt in the last game of the regular season on a Sunday night (Cincy). This was the LeGarrette Blount season.

2015: Lost to the eventual SB champs (a team with a historic defensive) in the divisional round after Le’Veon Bell was lost for the year (knee vs Cincy again), AB was lost (Cincy concussion game), and Ben was playing with a bad shoulder (also hurt in the Cincy game). Oh, yeah: the backup RB (De’Angelo Williams) was out for the year as well, hurt in the last regular season game vs. Cleveland. Still was one bad fumble away from likely winning that game. Also: their all-Pro center was out for the year.

2016: Went to the AFC Champ game with a hurt Le’Veon Bell. Lost to eventual SB champs. Played the tail end of this season without one of his best defensive players – Cam Heyward (hurt late season).

(***By the way: anyone seeing a theme with some of these late-season IR-leading injuries to top-flight players?!?!

2007?
2011?
2014?
2015?
2016?
2017?

How does Tomlin get blame for that? His fault for foot fractures, tore ACLs, or broken legs?)

Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin (Marlon Martin / Golden Sky Media)

2017: With a 13-3 team, lost in divisional round after losing the heart of their defense one month prior (i.e., remember that the Shazier injury was 13 days BEFORE the NE game), causing their defensive to go from top 8 defense in the league to mediocre AT BEST. Gave up 45 points at home with a dude at MLB (Sean Spence) that sat roughly 12 games of the season on the couch. Still should NOT have been in that JAX game (i.e., should have been the #1 seed playing a BAD TEN team) if not for the “Jesse James” game and HORRIBLE Big Ben INT after the James reversal (again, no one talks about that HORRIBLE decision by a $100m QB…some of these “Tomlin losses” have been due to the QB being “a gunslinger” and losing winnable games much like Brett Favre…another QB who could easily have more rings if his style of play afforded better decisions)

BTW: lost that NE game at home without their best CB (Haden was hurt), best LB (Shazier) and the league’s best WR (Brown was hurt early in that game)…still lost because of James reversal and the bad QB decision afterwards.

2018: 9-6-1 after bad losses mid-season. I’ll give you that. Also will note that Conner was hurt and out for 3 games – when he was playing at a Pro Bowl-level. Bell was out (i.e., his own decision), and Brown was a huge headache all year long. That said: they went from possible #1 seed to missing the playoffs pretty fast.

2019: 8-8 with Duck Hodges (i.e., a 4th string QB to start training camp) and Mason Rudolph (i.e., 3rd string QB in 2018) at QB. JuJu missed 4 games. Conner missed 6 games and left during a 7th. Pouncey missed a game.

Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin during the preseason matchup vs the Carolina Panthers on August 29, 2019 at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte. (Montez Aiken / Golden Sky Media)

My point? I know…injuries happen to everyone. However, how many teams lose Pro Bowl-caliber talent late in the season and then do well (i.e., win multiple games) in the playoffs?

I have been a Steelers supporter as a native Pittsburgher. I wish that they won a few more SBs with this QB there. However, let’s be honest: things haven’t completely fallen into place with this team. This year showed us that there’s a drop-off from best WR or top-5 QB in the league to “next man up”, despite “…the standard is the standard…” Same is true for top-5 LB (Shazier in 2017), top-10 DL (Heyward), top-5 C (Pouncey), top-3 RB (Bell/Conner/Parker), and top-tier CB (Haden).

NE has never made it to the SB without a) playing in a division that was quite the opposite as the competitive AFC North (which often sent THREE teams to the playoffs between 2008-2015), having the 1st round bye, and not losing key components (minus not having Gronk in 2016) late in the season. Their “reign of terror” has so much to do with playing in that LOUSY division for 20 years (i.e., never more than 2 teams in the playoffs at one time – and usually only NE went) than anything else.

Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin during the team’s 2019 training camp in Latrobe, PA. (Sheila Thompson / Golden Sky Media)

Since 2007, the AFC North Champs:

PGH: 2007, 2008, 2010, 2014, 2016, 2017
BALT: 2011, 2012, 2018, 2019
CIN: 2009, 2013, 2015

The AFC North has had (minus Cleveland) some of the most talented and competitive football (and vicious hitting as well) over the past 20 years. Tomlin has been here for the majority of it and has multiple championships (division, conference, and SB) despite it…and the ill-fated injuries that come with all of that to boot.

Can some of us please just stop it with the “Tomlin hasn’t done enough” rhetoric? If 2019 won’t shut you up, please take a look at this year – and the whole record – to get more of why you might not completely get it (i.e., know what you’re talking about/have a waning memory based on your Yinzerism)

…just seems like something some Pittsburghers and some of #SteelerNation should give up on as a New Year’s Resolution for 2020.


LENNY MCALLISTER IS AN AWARD WINNING commentator who is a contributor to golden sky media.

Associated Press Announces All-Pro Players; 3 Steelers Make the Cut

PITTSBURGH (GSM) — Three members of the Pittsburgh Steelers have been named to the Associated Press All-Pro team for 2019.

This honor means you’re the best at your position for that season, and there is one player for each position (22 players) honored each year. This year TJ Watt (edge rusher), Steelers linebacker TJ Watt sacks Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton. (Marlon Martin / Golden Sky Media)

Cam Heyward (interior lineman)

Cam Heyward defensive end for the Pittsburgh Steelers (Marlon Martin / Golden Sky Media)

and Minkah Fitzpatrick (safety) were selected.

Steelers safety Minkah Fitzpatrick (Marlon Martin / Golden Sky Media)

 

Tomlin Discusses Mental Preparation in Week 17

Mike Tomlin, head coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers. (Brian Cook / Golden Sky Media)

BALTIMORE (GSM) — Week 17 of the NFL season is here and there are 2 slots left — in both the AFC and the NFC — for teams to enter the postseason. The 6th seed of both conferences are up for grabs and Pittsburgh is on the outside looking in, needing a win and needing help to reach the tournament.

The Steelers will need to win against the Ravens and the Titans will need to lose to the Texans in order to gain the last playoff spot. 

Devlin “Duck” Hodges will get the start after throwing 2 interceptions against the Jets last week and was benched for Mason Rudolph. Rudolph was injured in the game after throwing a touchdown to Diontae Johnson and was ultimately placed on injured reserve.

After the shuffling of quarterbacks and leaving New York in the losing column, it is up to coaches and fellow teammates to help boost the morale of the team’s leader. In this case, “Duck” Hodges, by default. The undrafted quarterback has a chance to rebound from his latest performance and possibly solidify a spot o the roster in the future. Before that, it is imperative that his confidence is repaired. 

In his weekly press conference, Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin was asked about the importance of players being mentally stable.

“Having a hardcore plan; having a level of consistency in terms of the procedure that is preparation, creates a constant that is an anchor for guys. That allows them to build — not only preparation — but confidence associated with it as you get closer to game time.”–Steelers Head Coach Mike Tomlin

The Steelers — who have an uphill battle — now face a Baltimore Ravens team that has already secured the #1 spot in the AFC, are resting their starters and have nothing to play for. 

BRIAN COOK IS AN EMMY-NOMINATED INTERNATIONAL JOURNALIST WHO HAS BEEN COVERING THE NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE SINCE 2005. HE CAN BE REACHED AT BCOOK@GOLDENSKYMEDIA.COM.
FACEBOOK | INSTAGRAM | TWITTER  

Steelers Fall to the Bills After Committing Overabundance of Turnovers

The line of scrimmage in the game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Buffalo Bills on December 15, 2019 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh. (Brian Cook / Golden Sky Media)

PITTSBURGH (GSM) — The last game of the 2019 NFL season at Heinz Field is an “L”. 

The Steelers lost to the Buffalo Bills Sunday in a game that could have solidified their spot in the postseason. Final score 17-10. Quarterback Devlin “Duck” Hodges completed 23 for 28 passes and one touchdown.
 
Devlin Hodges drops back to pass on December 15, 2019 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh. The Steelers fell to the Buffalo Bills 17-10. (Brian Cook / Golden Sky Media)

The statistic that stand out the most however, is that he gave up the ball 4-times by way of interceptions. Hodges had this to say about his performance, “It’s disappointing right now obviously. You hate to lose, but I think after the first loss, how you respond is going to define who I am. Hodges said. “I mean, yeah, I’m disappointed right now, but in a couple days I’m still going to be who I am. I’m still going to be confident, still going to know that I can get the job done.”

 
Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin gazes at the scoreboard as the final seconds tick away in the loss against the Buffalo Bills. The Steelers fell to Buffalo 17-10 at Heinz Field on December 15, 2019. (Brian Cook / Golden Sky Media)
Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin when asked about his team’s performance, gave more credit to how the Bills executed in all three phases also saying his men will learn from this matchup.
 
“They are a rough and tumble outfit. We have to tip our caps to those guys and congratulate them, not only on winning the game, but not blinking and making the significant plays in the significant moments. That is something that we pride ourselves in. We didn’t make those plays today.” – Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin on the Buffalo Bills
 
Pittsburgh Steelers running back James Conner carries the ball against the Buffalo Bills on December 15, 2019 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh. (Brian Cook / Golden Sky Media)
Running back James Conner saw action after returning from a shoulder injury that left him sidelined since week 11. In his eyes, the determining factor to the loss was a result of poor, “…execution and making routine plays.” Conner, rushed for 8 for 42 yards and scored the Steelers’ only touchdown on a reception from Hodges. Despite the score Conner said, “We couldn’t get into a good rhythm where we could be marching up the field and putting up points.” 
 
On a lack-luster showing when attempting to stop Buffalo’s rushing attack, defensive end Cam Heyward — who is usually a dominating force — said about the inability to thwart the Bills’ offensive attack,”Too many times our tackling was very poor in this game. You can’t just bottom down we have to fully wrap and rally,” Heyward said. “They kept the ball moving, got chunk plays and then they hit us for that critical touchdown at the end.”
 
The Steelers (8-6) will play their last two games of the regular season on the road, starting with the New York Jets (5-9) who are coming off of a loss to the Baltimore Ravens 42-21.

BRIAN COOK IS AN EMMY-NOMINATED INTERNATIONAL JOURNALIST WHO HAS BEEN COVERING THE NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE SINCE 2005. HE CAN BE REACHED AT BCOOK@GOLDENSKYMEDIA.COM.
FACEBOOK | INSTAGRAM | TWITTER