Thursday, 24 January 2013 09:15
Mike Tomlin obviously is in no rush to fill the two openings on his staff, the most important his offensive line coach. I was told a long time ago that after the coordinators, the offensive line coach is the most important position on a staff.
Tomlin has had two in his six years as coach of the Steelers, Larry Zierlein and Sean Kugler, each for three years. Zierlein is one of only three coaches Tomlin has fired. The others were both special teams coaches, Bob Ligashesky and Al Everest. Kenny Anderson retired as quarterbacks coach, although I’m not so sure he wasn’t given a little push, and of course there was the Bruce Arians retirement fiasco.
Tomlin will have his third line coach and his third special teams coordinator in seven years. Two good candidates for special teams, Bobby April and Kevin Spencer, have gone elsewhere, April to Oakland and Spencer following Ken Whisenhunt to San Diego. Both April and Spencer coached under Bill Cowher with the Steelers.
Here’s how coaching has changed through the years: Chuck Noll coached the Steelers special teams for years but also had two offensive line coaches for a period in the 1980s. Tomlin has had two special teams coaches and one line coach, although his quality control coaches on offense also have helped coach the line.
Through most of the 1970s, Noll was head coach, offensive coordinator and special teams coach.
Onto some stuff:
--- Don’t have a rooting interest in this year’s Super Bowl? Then root against some things. I have no dog in this hunt so I’m not wishing for any of this, merely making suggestions as to how you can make your Super Bowl party more enjoyable if you cannot root for either team. You can always pull for things such as Ray Lewis to trip coming out of the tunnel, Joe Flacco to throw three pick-sixes, one of the Harbaughs to get tossed in the middle of the game, either a 7-3 thriller or a 51-3 runaway, that Beyonce flubs the words to Crazy In Love during a halftime show that is not lip-synced, that smoke from that halftime show lingers in the Superdome long enough to create the first Super Fog Bowl, that Eddie DeBartolo Jr. nudges his sister from the podium during the Lombardi presentation.
There, I have you started, surely you can think of more.
--- I was asked by someone on Twitter yesterday (@EdBouchette) who the Steelers might draft in the third or fourth round. I would have answered him but then why should I give away all my knowledge on the draft with just three months to go?
--- I pray to god this extended sub-freezing cold snap takes care of the stink bug population.
--- Troy Polamalu will appear on a documentary on the USA Network’s 2nd annual NFL Characters Unite on Feb. 8 at 7 p.m. He and three other NFL players, including former Pitt player Larry Fitzgerald, will share their personal stories of battling discrimination, bullying and hatred.
Polamalu said he faced discrimination and bullying because he stood out as an individual of Samoan descent in the small town of Winston, Oregon. The program pairs Polamalu with two sisters, ages 13 and 18, from Pittsburgh who face similar challenges to what Polamalu experienced. The three talk and have confidence-building activities that show the sisters how they can overcome the teasing and bullying they experienced.
--- And now, we empty our mail bag of a few crumbs:
--- YOU: Why doesn't the NFL HOF use a more simplified and fair means of choosing candidates?
I've been tossing it around and came up with this:
Format should be: 1 QB, 1 Offensive Skill guy(TE, RB, WR, FB), 1 Offensive Lineman, 1 Defensive Lineman, 1 Defensive Back Seven(LB, Nickle/Dime Back, FS/SS, CB), 1 K/P/STer, 1 Owner and 2 Seniors for a total of 9 per year(only two more than now and MUCH more sensible IMHO).
Doesn't that seem more fair and far less arbitrary than the current formless process?
ME: No, I can’t say it does. By requiring X number of players from certain positions you run the risk of inducting much lower caliber players from one area and leaving deserving players off. I mean, you really want to put one kicker/special teams player in each year and at the same time limit one quarterback to going in? Personally, I don’t believe kickers or special teams players (like Steve Tasker) deserve to be in the HOF, nor punters. Sorry, I can’t buy this one.
--- YOU: I was trying to formulate a question around the best, most impactful, draft classes in Steeler history excluding the obvious treasure of 1974. My point I came to and wanted to see if you agree is that 2010 looks like it may turn out to be a really good class? Thoughts? Also, the thing I learned and which shocked me was the 1975 class for its lack of any impact. The only player I remember is Mike Collier as he had some success as a return man. Thoughts on that class? Other decent classes I noticed were 2007, 1998, 1987, 1977, and of course 69-72.
ME: The second-best draft in Steelers history was 1971 with Jack Ham, Dwight White, Larry Brown, Frank Lewis, Moon Mullins and Ernie Holmes. All boats in 2010 lifted by Maurkice Pouncey. 2007 had two players, 1998 had two potential Hall of Famers (Alan Faneca, Hines Ward) and a longtime player in Deshea Townsend but boy did they miss on the second and third rounds. 1987 had a Hall of Famer in Rod Woodson, a star in Greg Lloyd and four starters in Delton Hall, Thomas Everett, Hardy Nickerson and Merril Hoge. 1977 produced a bunch of starters. Since the 1970s, I’m going with 1987 as their best draft in more than 30 years.
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