The conversation around Mike Tomlin is perplexing. Pittsburgh is playing above .500, and with trips to Seattle and Baltimore still ahead, the worst-case scenario is the coach’s 16-year winning streak in season snaps ending with a record of 8-9.
The Steelers convincingly defeated the Bengals on Saturday with a 34-11 victory, fueled by an exceptional performance from Mason Rudolph, which must have been triggering for Pittsburgh fans who know the potential of their talented players.
It also served as further evidence that Kenny Pickett is undeniably struggling and regressed in his second year. If fans want to get rid of Tomlin because he fails to turn trash into a franchise QB, then they should. Blame the head coach, overreact to perceived issues in the locker room, and see how little juice the next player can get out of this roster.
Tomlin is 51. He has dealt with as many personalities as Phil Jackson and always keeps his house in order. Sure, he had a franchise quarterback for most of his tenure, but Ben Roethlisberger has been incontinent in the last four to five seasons of his career.
Have people forgotten that the most productive years of Antonio Brown’s career occurred under Tomlin? Also, it’s not like Roethlisberger was free from drama. Even in retirement, Big Ben claims to know what „his“ franchise is suffering from. Hey, jackal, shut up and let the adults talk. Start a Miami of Ohio podcast.
George Pickens behaves like any other young, underutilized wide receiver. Najee Harris is doing his best in an offense shackled to the radiator. Be thankful their frustration didn’t involve giving Pickett a swirlie.
If anyone is responsible for this current dilemma, it’s the now-retired Pittsburgh GM Kevin Colbert. Drafting a quarterback from his hometown, whom the locals knew deep down wasn’t the right choice, put the coaching staff in an impossible situation.
Every time Pickett has a decent outing or completes a pass over 20 yards, Steelers fans get a pang in their stomach like parents watching their kid get a base hit. Seriously, Pickett’s claim to fame at Pitt was based on Jordan Addison and a fake slide, which is now illegal.
It’s impossible to be objective when it comes to matters of the heart. Why do you think Ryan Clark is saying all these wild things about his former and declared favorite coach?
Rudolph threw two touchdowns against the Bengals, which is a third of the TDs Pickett has thrown all season. Additionally, Pickens had his most productive game of the year in 2023. If Saturday’s poor performance isn’t enough to convince the draft officials that Pittsburgh needs another quarterback, then someone in the front office is on alert.
This season could have ended in Allegheny months ago, and the only reason experts aren’t praising Tomlin’s coaching job is that he raised the bar sky-high. What did anyone expect to happen with the options of Pickett, Mitch Trubisky, or Rudolph, the red-nosed QB?
If the Steelers go the way of the 2023 Patriots next season, then we can talk about Tomlin’s future. Until then, the only concern of the Terrible Towels is how to let Pickett off the hook.