Tomlin: Stilted offense was Steelers' 'Achilles' heel'
On a day coach Mike Tomlin spent considerable time discussing the myriad injuries that helped wreck the Steelers' once-promising season, he disclosed a previously unrevealed malady.
Offense: Achilles' heel, out for the season.
Tomlin didn't blame the offense's second-half stagnation for short-circuiting the season, but he said Monday that the lack of progress was significant as the Steelers (8-8) lost five of their last seven. Not coincidentally, those were three games Ben Roethlisberger missed with a major injury, and the four in which he struggled to return to playing the way he did pre-injury.
“I thought we started out on the right foot in terms of dominating time of possession and converting third downs,” Tomlin said. “We did what was required to possess the ball and win football games. Obviously we didn't ascend in the second half of the season in those areas. It was an Achilles' heel for us.”
Or, perhaps more specifically, it was a shoulder and a rib that effectively doomed a season in which the Steelers (8-8) appeared to be peaking, with four straight wins, before the quarterback was hurt Nov. 12 against Kansas City.
At the time. Roethlisberger was on pace for his best season statistically; afterward, his numbers dipped.
“I felt like early on in the year, in the Oakland game (Sept. 23), we were coming on the sidelines and looking at the (scouting) pictures and it was like, ‘We've got everything we want,' ” wide receiver Jerricho Cotchery said Monday. “We were moving the ball so well, and I felt like we were growing. All of a sudden, Ben gets hurt and that slows the progression. … Once Ben got back in, we were just trying to recapture what we had early on in the year, but it just didn't take place.”
Because the offense was so effective early on, Cotchery doesn't doubt Haley and Roethlisberger can work well together.
“I think this year guys did a good job of welcoming change and just trying to get better in the offense, and I think it will be better going forward,” Cotchery said.
Cotchery said the potential was there for much more.
“You look at the Oakland game, you look at the Tennessee game, games pretty much that you had in control, and for some reason they slipped away; the Browns game,” Cotchery said. “You (beat yourself) up the entire night, the entire offseason looking back at those games.”
And now they'll have nine months to do it.
Alan Robinson is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- NFL Draft preview: Safety crop offers no sure-fire stars
- Safety Collins seeks to buck Alabama DB trend
- Miami linebacker Perryman eager to stand tall on draft day
- Steelers legend Blount to announce team’s second-round draft pick
- NFL Draft preview: UCLA’s Kendricks leads deep inside linebacker class
- Steelers wrap up pre-draft visits with four defensive players
- Steelers bring in 2 more cornerbacks for visits
- NFL Draft preview: Running back class is deep, talented
- Wisconsin’s Gordon flashes ahead of the pack
- Steelers open daunting season at Patriots, play 5 prime-time games
- Steelers receiver Brown skipping voluntary offseason workouts