Now I’m really getting worried about the Steeler injury situation. The top two quarterbacks are hurt. Two offensive linemen are done for the year. Stephon Tuitt has been great. Now he’s got a knee issue too.
Plus the head coach is apparently dealing with a severe case of amnesia.
During his Tuesday press conference this week, Steeler coach Mike Tomlin was asked about his team’s failed two point conversion vs the Cardinals Sunday. He was also asked about his team’s utterly ineffective 3-&-out sequence at the end of the first half with 0:47 seconds left.
He couldn’t readily remember either situation and needed prompts from reporters to recall the specifics.
“I’m sorry. I’ve watched so much tape since then. I get fuzzy rehashing some of this minute stuff. I stand by it. But I don’t remember the scenario to be honest with you.”
That’s good at the least. He has no recollection of the decision… but… he knows it was the right thing to do?
Yet Tomlin was able to launch into a crystal clear description of the first time he ever saw new starting tackle Alejandro Villaneuva.
“We were playing Philadelphia last year in the pre season. And I looked across the field during the anthem. And there’s this guy there standing a head taller than everyone else saluting. And it kinda got my attention. I wanted to know more about this enormous human being saluting.”
It was like Tomlin was channeling his inner Grandpa Simpson or something. “I remember it like it was yesterday. Springfield. 1969. It was the summer of love….”
These in-game memory gaps are also strange because at the outset of the same press conference he could remember (chapter and verse) multiple obscure special teams moments from his club’s win.
“We didn’t give Antonio Brown the type of grass we like to give him in the punt return game. We got dropped inside the 20 on a kickoff return. We missed a block in that instance. We got a penalty on a kickoff return that allowed a drive to start inside the ten yard line.”
No problem with “minute” details there.
So, maybe it’s just selective amnesia? In other words ”I’ll remember what I want to talk about when it comes to the players doing stuff wrong. But I’ll selectively forget the stuff about coaching decisions so it doesn’t seem that important.”
Like, maybe, the entire sideline failing to notice time running off the clock vs the Chargers on Monday Night Football perhaps?
“I wasn’t aware of that, no. It didn’t affect the outcome of the game,” said Tomlin as he LITERALLY shrugged off the question after the final gun in San Diego.
Well, no, Mike it didn’t change the outcome of the game. But don’t you think losing :18 seconds on a potential game winning drive when the clock expired on the final play could’ve…
As Tomlin coaches here longer, the second guessing of his clock management and in-game situational awareness grows more intense. That happens when you have a possible Hall of Famer at quarterback and you’ve still managed to go four straight years without a playoff win.
His strategy to defuse that chatter is clear-”If I act like the coaching mistakes are no big deal, the public and media will care less about them.”
This is easy to do after a few exciting wins in a row, layered with thick storylines of redemption from back up QBs. But if this team fails to win the AFC North or seize a Wild Card slot by a game, for instance, because of how the team mangled its approach in overtime against the Ravens two weeks ago…the fans and media won’t battle amnesia the same way in trying to recall the details of that night.
And maybe that doesn’t matter to Tomlin. Heck, maybe it doesn’t even matter to Art Rooney II. It should very much matter to both of them though since Tomlin is in charge of the on field success or failure of the franchise.
Tomlin certainly has been more successful than not. But those successes are coming less frequently and to a lower degree of late. And while he tries to ignore part of the reason why, I don’t expect that the public will cease to jog his memory.