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Mike Tomlin Critical of Steelers Coaching, Including Himself: ‘Starts With Me’



Steelers HC Mike Tomlin
Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin at practice on Dec. 12, 2023. -- Ed Thompson / Steelers Now

PITTSBURGH — Mike Tomlin is often critical of players but rarely openly critical of the Steelers’ coaching staff to the media. On Monday, that tune was different. Not only did Tomlin go at players, but he went at the staff and himself for shortcomings in the game plan and adjustments during the game.

Tomlin included himself in that scorn. But he referred to the defensive injuries and lack of ability to change what they were doing on that side of the ball as the main reasons he was calling out the staff. Then, offensively, they are just not scoring enough points and playing high enough to earn any praise.

“Communication and leverage and fundamental things need to be improved. The schematic component of it needs to be improved. What I mean is and I was really transparent with our team at times, components of a ball looks like September ball where some of the guys that are playing have September levels of playing experience,” Tomlin said. “And so, we can’t make December calls with September people playing experience. So, I think it’s important as we formulate a plan this week, that we’re really thoughtful about the configuration of people that we have at our disposal and making sure that they’re capable of delivering what we’re asking them to do. That’s as big a component as anything when you’re managing less than ideal circumstances from a personnel standpoint and outline that further as I get to some of the personnel related things.”

Steelers HC Mike Tomlin

Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin against the Indianapolis Colts, Dec. 16, 2023 – Ed Thompson / Steelers Now

The Steelers lost Damontae Kazee and Minkah Fitzpatrick on back-to-back plays, and Trenton Thompson got banged up throughout the game. But Tomlin puts all of those shortcomings at his feet because he oversees the operation. Even if there is no obvious fix, something has to give.

“A lot of it, that’s why I opened my postgame the way that I did. I said that it starts with me. Forget the coaching staff, it starts with me,” Tomlin said.

Tomlin is not wrong. The coaching is failing this team. From a schematic perspective, they continue to play man coverage in the red zone with less-than-ideal components for that. It all comes together to make little sense. The group does not have enough talent behind the defensive line right now, but the are exacerbating it through poor coaching.