Even before the loss to Dallas on Sunday, cracks have begin to emerge in Mike Tomlin’s reign as Steelers head coach. Ben Roethlisberger has been quoted twice now questioning Tomlin’s methods. First taking issue with the physical practices Tomlin employs, which Roethlisberger claims may be resulting in more injuries. Then earlier this week, Roethlisberger made a plea for the team to be more disciplined and held more accountable. Even Le’veon Bell was quoted as saying that the Steelers are making the same mistakes in practice as they do in games. This is the first time in memory where key players have openly criticized Tomlin. It’s not a good sign for him going forward, especially if the Steelers were to miss the playoffs.
We knew going into the 2016 season the defense wouldn’t be the strength of the team. There was hope that the high draft choices would eventually help make this a servicable group. What has happened is the defense has gotten worse, and Tomlin seems unable to fix it. His insistence on staying with the outdated 3-4 defense is major downfall. He’s tried to tweak it by playing more nickel, but that has only left them more vulnerable against the run. To make things worse, it’s a defense that is very undisciplined and seemingly unprepared. They often take bad penalties, and seem confused on where to lineup. Those are things a head coach can’t hide from.
This upcoming game versus the Browns becoming increasingly important for coach Mike Tomlin. A loss to the 0-10 Browns would almost certainly cost the Steelers playoff spot, and send the team into a dangerous tailspin. It’s a scenario that could be the beggining of the end of the Tomlin era.