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Analyst Thinks Mike Tomlin Will Have First Losing Season



Steelers HC Mike Tomlin

Sean Payton is Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Russell Wilson’s biggest adversary, but former Denver Broncos offensive lineman Mark Schlereth’s disdain for Wilson is a close second.

Schlereth said in March that Wilson was flat-out “garbage” in Denver, but he’s not impressed with Justin Fields, either. He thinks the Steelers’ quarterback play will be the downfall of their 2024 season and Mike Tomlin will have his first losing season.

“Just based on who’s playing quarterback, Mike Tomlin is going to have his first losing season this year,” he told co-host Mike Evens on his The Stinkin Truth podcast. “Based on two guys who played quarterback for him.”

Schlereth’s biggest concern centers around Wilson and Fields’ tendency to hold onto the ball too long and take unnecessary sacks. In the last two seasons, Wilson has taken 100 sacks. Fields has taken 99. No other quarterback in the NFL has taken more than 80, according to former NFL quarterback and current ESPN analyst Dan Orlovsky.

“You’re holding the ball and you’re taking sacks,” Schlereth said. “The sack totals are a quarterback-driven statistic.

“I look at the Pittsburgh Steelers and what an incredible run of never having a losing season… you take 50 sacks, you take 3.2 seconds to throw the football. You take those sacks, you’re not going to win games.”

Mike Clay of ESPN is on the same page as Schlereth, as he projected the Steelers to finish last in the AFC North with a record of 8-9. Along with Mike Tomlin never having a losing season in his 17 years as the Steelers head coach, the organization hasn’t had a sub-.500 record since 2003.

Schlereth, who won two Super Bowls with the Broncos in the 1990s, blasted Wilson during an appearance on the Pat McAfee Show in March.

“He threw the ball behind the line of scrimmage more than any other quarterback in the league last year. He took more time to throw the ball than everybody in the league other than Justin Fields. I think he completed 26% of his passes, intermediate range in the middle of the football field, which was dead last in the National Football League last year. So you can sit there and tell me that he played good and you can look at the numbers and tell me 26 and 8 is good and I will tell you it’s garbage. What I saw was garbage and I’m just letting you know how it is,” Schlereth said firmly.

Schlereth is spot-on that Wilson threw the ball behind the line of scrimmage more than any other quarterback in 2023. According to Warren Sharp of Sharp Football, Wilson threw 27% of his passes behind the line of scrimmage last season, the highest out of 509 QBs since 2005. He also threw 62% of his passes within 5 yards of the line of scrimmage, the second-highest out of 509 QBs since 2005 (*509 QBs in sample with a min 300 attempts in a season).

“Sean Payton had no confidence in Wilson’s intermediate passing. The 2023 Broncos had the least amount of intermediate passing of any offense since 2005,” Sharp wrote on X. “Wilson threw just 26% of his passes between 5-15 yards downfield, the lowest out of 509 QBs since 2005. It was nothing but record breaking rates of underneath passes and the occasional moon ball downfield.”

Wilson is set to face the Broncos at Mile High this season. With the intriguing headlines, it wouldn’t be surprising if the game is in prime time.


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