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#pounditFriday, July 19, 2024

Former Steeler critical of Mike Tomlin after latest loss

Steelers coach Mike Tomlin with a headset on

Aug 30, 2018; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin watches the third quarter against the Carolina Panthers at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports

Mike Tomlin is often credited as the reason the Pittsburgh Steelers remain competitive despite a roster that, particularly on offense, seems short on talent and ideas. After Thursday’s home loss to the lowly New England Patriots, however, not even he is safe from criticism.

ESPN analyst and former Steelers player Ryan Clark was critical of Tomlin on Friday, calling out the team’s lack of preparedness and pointing out that that is an issue that falls on the coach.

“When you start a game against the New England Patriots, a team that couldn’t score points the last three weeks but has only given up ten, you realize that if you give up 21 to them, that you aren’t prepared. When you aren’t prepared, it has to start at the head coach,” Clark said on ESPN’s “Get Up!” “Is he my favorite head coach in football? Absolutely. Do I believe he goes about his work the same way every day, every week? Absolutely. And what I’m saying is that has to change.

“He has to also understand that the people in his locker room don’t understand effort. The people in his locker room don’t understand execution. The same messaging that would get across to Troy Polamalu, the same messaging that would get across to the Ben Roethlisbergers, are not connecting with these young men in the locker room.”

Clark’s criticism is tougher on the players than on the coach, but it’s certainly a tougher line than one would usually see regarding Tomlin. It is easy to understand why: their schedule looked to be shaping up nicely for them, but consecutive losses to the Patriots and Arizona Cardinals have put their playoff hopes in serious doubt.

Some Steelers do seem to have a problem getting motivated, particularly on offense. Clark may be right that Tomlin is not connecting with key players, even if the coach is doing the same thing he always has done.

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