Ben Roethlisberger has a chance to be cleared from COVID-19 in time to face the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday night, but the Pittsburgh Steelers will prepare this week for either him or backup Mason Rudolph to start. According to head coach Mike Tomlin, that won’t impact the game plan much.
Tomlin told reporters on Tuesday that he would have “no reservations” about Roethlisberger playing in Week 11 even if he can’t practice. He also cracked a funny joke about how preparing to play won’t be much different either way.
Tomlin has a point. It doesn’t matter if the Steelers start Big Ben or Rudolph against the Chargers — neither will be making many plays with their legs. The game plan likely remains exactly the same regardless of who is under center.
The Steelers clearly missed Roethlisberger on Sunday. They had numerous chances to beat the Detroit Lions but finished with an ugly 16-16 tie. Rudolph had a big opportunity when Roethlisberger was ruled out late in the week, but he threw a bad interception early in the game after the Steelers jumped out to a 7-0 lead. Roethlisberger may not be as effective as he once was, but Pittsburgh is better off with him than Rudolph.
Photo: Nov 25, 2018; Denver, CO, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) warms up before the game against the Denver Broncos at Broncos Stadium at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports
Mike Tomlin has suddenly found his name tied to the USC head coaching vacancy, but the Pittsburgh Steelers coach made it clear on Tuesday that he has no interest in the job. Very clear.
Tomlin became extremely annoyed when asked if he would consider leaving the Steelers for USC or any other college job. He called the speculation a “joke” and said there isn’t an offer in the world that would make him give it a thought.
“Hey guys, I don’t have time for that speculation. That’s a joke to me,” Tomlin said. “I’ve got one of the best jobs in all of professional sports. Why would I have any interest in coaching college football? That’ll be the last time I address it, not only today but moving forward. Never say never, but never. Anybody else got any questions about any college jobs? There’s not a booster with a big enough blank check.”
Tomlin then ended his press conference by asking if any reporters have asked Sean Payton or Andy Reid about college jobs. Of course, Tomlin wasn’t asked about USC out of nowhere. He can thank former Trojans star Carson Palmer for that.
Palmer was a guest on “The Dan Patrick Show” Monday. He said he has given input to USC about the head coaching vacancy and discussed potential candidates. Palmer mentioned Tomlin and then seemed surprised that he was the first one to publicly link the Steelers coach to the job. You can see the funny video here.
If USC thought they had a chance to land Tomlin, they can probably forget about it now. Coaches have lied about their interest in other jobs plenty of times, but Tomlin was quite convincing.
Carson Palmer is one of the best players in the history of USC football, and the former quarterback says he has been consulted on the school’s search for a new head coach. He also may have inadvertently leaked some big information about a coach the Trojans are targeting.
Palmer discussed the USC coaching search during a Monday appearance on “The Dan Patrick Show.” He said he has shared input about candidates and was asked if Penn State head coach James Franklin is the frontrunner for the job. Palmer responded that there are “a lot of frontrunners,” which led to Patrick pressing him further. The former first overall pick then brought up Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin.
“You’ve got a wild card like Mike Tomlin, if Mike Tomlin wants out. … That’s what’s so great about the job,” Palmer said. “It can lure an NFL guy who’s tired of his current situation and worried about, ‘Is Ben Roethlisberger gone. Who are we gonna draft?’ Does Mike Tomlin have to start over with a first-round young rookie quarterback? Everybody is on the table given that job is so big and so coveted.”
The interview took a funny turn from there, as Palmer was clearly unaware that Tomlin’s name hadn’t really been floated as a possible candidate for the USC job. You can see the clip below:
Tomlin has been the head coach in Pittsburgh for nearly 15 years. The Steelers are one of the most storied franchises in the NFL and sports in general, so it seems highly unlikely that Tomlin would voluntarily leave that job for an underachieving college program. Palmer and other USC alumni can dream, however.
USC seems to have one top candidate in mind, but they could be competing with LSU to hire him. They’ll likely make plenty of calls to the NFL, but we’d be shocked if Tomlin has any interest.
Photo: Nov 26, 2017; Glendale, AZ, USA; Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer (3) looks on after defeating the Jacksonville Jaguars at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports
The Pittsburgh Steelers defeated the Seattle Seahawks in overtime on Sunday night, but Mike Tomlin was in no mood to celebrate after the game. The coach was furious over a sequence that took place at the end of regulation.
The Seahawks got into field goal range to force overtime following a hectic play with seconds remaining. DK Metcalf caught a ball along the sideline and fumbled, but Seattle retained possession. They then hustled to the line of scrimmage for a spike play to stop the clock. The stadium clock got to zero before Geno Smith got the snap off, and it was unclear if Seattle spiked the ball in time.
It didn’t matter, as the officials decided that play was halted with 3 seconds left so they could review the Metcalf catch. No one really knew what they were reviewing, as it was a clear fumble and recovery by Seattle. All the stoppage did was allow the Seahawks to get organized and immediately spike the ball when play resumed. They then kicked a field goal to tie the game at 20-20 as time expired. Tomlin was furious and cursed out the officials.
After Pittsburgh’s 23-20 OT win, Tomlin could be heard saying he’ll be “writing a check to the league office tonight.” He then proceeded to rip the officiating crew during his postgame press conference.
“I hated it. I cannot believe that game was stopped to confirm catch/no catch in that moment,” Tomlin said.
You can understand the officials wanting to get such an important play right. But, again, there wasn’t much to question. Metcalf clearly fumbled and the Seahawks jumped on the ball. Perhaps the officials wanted to see if Metcalf stepped out of bounds before the fumble. Either way, Seattle definitely caught a break.
At least the Steelers won. The same wasn’t true when they were on the wrong end of a much worse officiating blunder earlier this season.
Ben Roethlisberger has looked every bit his age through the early part of the NFL season, and there has been increasing talk that the Pittsburgh Steelers should make a quarterback change. Mike Tomlin says that is not going to happen.
With the Steelers now having lost three straight, Tomlin was asked on Tuesday if he feels Roethlisberger still gives the team its best chance to win. He threw his full support behind the veteran.
Tomlin then spoke about how he appreciates and respects the passion of Steelers fans.
Roethlisberger has had trouble staying healthy in recent years, and he has already dealt with multiple injuries this season. Tomlin said Tuesday that Big Ben has a hip injury. The 39-year-old suffered a pectoral muscle injury two weeks ago, and that may be impacting his ability to throw.
The Steelers have not scored more than 17 points in a game since their 23-16 win over the Buffalo Bills in Week 1. Roethlisberger has a passer rating of 78.9 with just four touchdowns and four interceptions in four games. The Steelers are going to continue to have trouble winning games with that type of offensive inefficiency.
Roethlisberger clearly has Tomlin’s support, but the same may not be true throughout the entire Steelers organization.
Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Tyler Boyd thinks Pittsburgh Steelers players gave up when the two teams met on Sunday. That would reflect poorly on Mike Tomlin if true, but the Steelers coach doesn’t sound all that concerned.
Boyd told reporters on Monday that Steelers players “gave up” toward the end of Cincinnati’s 24-10 win. He said that was evident when their wide receivers committed several drops. Boyd also said the Steelers showed everybody “what they were about” and that the Bengals would never pack it in like that.
Tomlin was asked about the comments on Tuesday. He said Boyd’s opinion is irrelevant to him.
“I don’t care about Tyler Boyd’s opinion on what transpired at any point of that game,” Tomlin said, via Mark Kaboly of The Athletic. “I tip my cap to that team and that organization for their performance and their win. He’s entitled to his opinion but I don’t have to respond to it.”
In a sense, Tomlin did respond to it by saying he doesn’t care about Boyd’s opinion. Though, Tomlin did not say whether he felt his players mailed it in.
Ben Roethlisberger played through a pectoral muscle injury that was painful for him leading up to the game. That likely impacted his and the offense’s performance. The Steelers may have some bigger concerns about Big Ben going forward, but Tomlin-coached teams certainly do not have a reputation for mailing it in. It will be interesting to see how they bounce back in Week 4 in a tough road game against the Green Bay Packers.
The Pittsburgh Steelers pulled off one of the bigger surprises of Week 1 of the NFL season last weekend when they beat Buffalo on the road 23-16. The Bills were a 13-3 team last season that reached the AFC Championship Game. Many expected them to keep the momentum going, but the Steelers shut them down. And they did so by doing something perhaps unexpected.
The Steelers only blitzed one time in the game, yet had 18 QB pressures — more than any team in Week 1.
Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin joined “The Pat McAfee Show” for an interview on Thursday. In the interview, McAfee asked Tomlin about the Steelers’ reputation for blitzing, and how they didn’t blitz against Buffalo.
“We embrace that ‘Blitzburgh’ reputation. We try to live it out every Sunday. That’s something that we embrace. We don’t shy away from that. We want to play attacking defense. But we wanted to win that game as well,” Tomlin explained. “So, from time to time, we’re willing to stray from our personality in an effort to do so.
“I think that Josh Allen and company probably wanted us to blitz them, and so we chose not to.”
There you go. With that one line, the typically humble Tomlin slipped in how they may have outsmarted the Bills in the game. Of course, when you have the kind of stacked defensive personnel that Pittsburgh has, shutting down opposing offenses is easier. But you also have to pair it with smart playcalling and strategy too. The Steelers did that.
To say Dwayne Haskins’ preseason finale didn’t go according to plan might be something of an understatement.
Haskins struggled in Pittsburgh’s 34-9 loss to Carolina on Friday night. He went 9-of-16 overall for 108 yards, one touchdown, and one interception, but started just 3-for-9 for 24 yards in the first half.
Steelers coach Mike Tomlin had a blunt assessment of Haskins’ struggles.
“Like the rest of us, I didn’t think it was enough varsity work from him,” Tomlin said, via Brooke Pryor of ESPN. “It wasn’t the type of performance he wanted or we wanted. But such is life.”
Haskins was working against Carolina’s first-string defense, and it went poorly. He’s largely competing with Josh Dobbs for the final spot in the Steelers’ quarterback room. The good news is Haskins seemed to be impressing earlier in camp, which may bode well for him. However, he clearly hasn’t done enough to eliminate all uncertainty as the Steelers move toward making their final cuts.
Does Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver James Washington want out? His coach says no.
Steelers coach Mike Tomlin denied reports that Washington had asked for a trade, adding that Washington has been “great” in camp and is part of the team’s plans.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter had reported Friday that Washington approached the Steelers about a trade request, unhappy with his role.
Washington has wound up behind JuJu Smith-Schuster, Chase Claypool, and Diontae Johnson on the depth chart. A trade request would make sense. There are reasons the Steelers would want to keep him around, so it remains to be seen where this actually stands. Tomlin certainly isn’t going to air any drama publicly.
The Pittsburgh Steelers have had incredible stability at head coach over the years.
Since 1969, the Steelers have had just three head coaches: Chuck Noll (1969-1991), Bill Cowher (1992-2006), and Mike Tomlin (2007-present).
Cowher was interviewed by FOX during the Hall of Fame Game on Thursday between the Steelers and Cowboys. Cowher shared the story of the one item he left behind for Tomlin ahead of the coaching change.
Cowher says he tried to pick Noll’s brain, but Noll didn’t give him much. Cowher deduced that Noll thought it would be best for Cowher to figure out his own style without influence. So when Cowher passed things along to Tomlin, he figured it would be best to do the same.
However, Cowher left one thing behind for Tomlin: an Iron City Beer.
“So as I sat there and Mike came in, I said, ‘I’m not really going to tell anything to him.’ But I am going to leave him one thought: an Iron City Beer. I’m going to leave in the refrigerator — I left that Iron City Beer. He said it’s still there today.
“It’s a Pittsburgh-brewed beer. And beer is kind of a staple of Pennsylvania and Pittsburgh,” Tomlin told FOX’s Tom Rinaldi.
That’s a cool gift. The Iron City Brewing Company opened in Pittsburgh in 1861. The company produces 1.2 million barrels of beer per year and is so critical to the city that the factory has received a historical and local landmark designation. And the company certainly has validation from Cowher.
Tomlin apparently still has that beer left there. He probably isn’t about to share it with one Steelers legend.