Tomlin doesn’t ‘run away’ from Keisel’s criticism of Steelers
By Alan Robinson
Published: Tuesday, December 11, 2012, 7:46 p.m.
Updated: Wednesday, December 12, 2012
The Steelers weren't in a state of readiness before playing the oft-beaten San Diego Chargers, and defensive end Brett Keisel sensed it.
Keisel even warned his teammates beforehand of underestimating a struggling opponent but one with talent. Final score: Chargers 34, Steelers 24.
Mike Tomlin not only didn't object to Keisel's candidness, he agrees with him.
Tomlin made a surprising admission Tuesday by saying Keisel's analysis was correct.
“I don't mind a guy speaking the truth as he sees it under any circumstances,” Tomlin said. “I'm a result-oriented guy, and the result of that performance would lead you to believe that's a possibility. So I don't run away from that. ... I felt good about our preparation and our overall game-readiness, but our play didn't display that. I agree with him.”
What particularly bothered Tomlin was the lack of rhythm and execution by an offense that, even with Ben Roethlisberger at quarterback for the first time in nearly a month, punted on its first six possessions and was stopped on fourth-and-1 on the 7.
At the same time, a Chargers offense that included a pair of tackles making their first starts of the season — an almost unheard-of development so late in a season — produced points on four of five possessions during one productive stretch.
“Our inability to establish rhythm and convert third downs and their ability to do it and to play on our half of the field, obviously, that's a concern,” Tomlin said. “That's not a good feeling when you're not establishing rhythm and moving the chains and possessing the ball.”
This week's concern: the Dallas Cowboys (7-6), who have resurrected their season by winning four of five. Dallas has two receivers with at least 75 catches — tight end Jason Witten (92) and receiver Dez Bryant (75) — but they will be defended by an increasingly injury-thinned defense.
“Dez Bryant is a serious matchup problem,” Tomlin said.
Not only will the Steelers be without top cornerback Ike Taylor (right ankle fracture), backup Cortez Allen (hip flexor) might not play. If Bryant plays despite a fractured left index finger — and he plans to — he could be defended by Curtis Brown, Josh Victorian and/or DeMarcus Van Dyke.
Victorian is just off the practice squad. Van Dyke has been in uniform in only two of the past seven games. Allen and Brown gave up completions on 12 of the 13 passes sent their way by Philip Rivers for 130 yards, with 10 catches going for first downs or touchdowns.
“I think it's appropriate that we build a (game) plan around the guys having the capability to execute — and execute at a high level,” Tomlin said. “That may mean a smaller menu. We are fine with that. We are worried about execution.”
Troy Polamalu (calf) apparently is fine after playing his first two games in eight weeks, but his injury remains a worry, especially given that he must help defend against the much-targeted Witten.
The Steelers responded to their previous losses to sub-.500 teams by beating better opponents the following week. They beat the Ravens after losing to the Browns, the Bengals after losing to the Titans and the Eagles after losing to the Raiders.
“We have two football teams that have had ups and downs but still have life,” Tomlin said of Sunday's game at Cowboys Stadium.
Alan Robinson is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at email@example.com.
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Mike Tomlin should stand by this. I have reviewed some of this game and it was marred by a plethora of missed blocking assignments of which I could see. Knowing exactly how the play is supposed to I'm sure he sees many others. Add Ben Roethlisberger having a very poor start to the game, this team gave SD all the confidence it needed to challenge our Steelers. The 1st running play started with a missed block by our FB whereby the DE was able to turn Dwyer into the safety which was crashing down. Considering the huge amount of space outside of that DE had that block been made or Dwyer trucked the Safety, that play had fields of green all over the place. After this Big Ben missed to easy passes and this is how the game went for the part of the 1st half I, a layperson, reviewed. Defensively, our young DBs just got schooled and Curtis Brown reaffirmed my suspicion in his inability to play CB in this league. In order for us to compete this weekend, I believe a defensive adjustment will involved a tpye of a cover 2 where we place extra responsibility on Troy to handle his responsibilities from a position within the LBs. On offense, ben should rebound as he always does from poor game and our WRs need to play like the stars to whom they've compared themselves and the young money mantra they've dubbed themselves. Time for talking is over, grow up and play like you've got a pair. DeCastro may have to show is pedigree. However and unfortunately for him, he's an off-season weight training program away from beginning to realize his potential, but his services are required now. I've gone after this coaching staff hard for lack of vision and ingenuity and letting go of the leadership that is sorely missing from this team. While I still believe they need to get a little more ingenious with a passing game from our running sets to keep defenses from blitzing the A gap, they still called the plays that should have at least flipped the field. Player execution was overwhelmingly the issue last Sunday.
Submitted by: Doug on Wednesday, December 12, 2012
As Don Meredith would say, "Turn out the lights..."