PITTSBURGH (93-7 The FAN) – Mike Tomlin said they are fortunate to be .500 at this point.
The Steelers’ head coach said they are bringing in officials during practice this week to aid in cutting down penalties.
Tomlin said it’s the pre-snap penalties that really bother him, but they can also improve in all areas.
“Obviously, those will never been down to zero, but we have to work to minimize those,” Tomlin said. “We have to be one of the most highly penalized teams in football right now. So, when you look at it from that perspective, you’re minus in the turnover ratio, you’re one of the most highly penalized teams in football. You probably should be thankful to be 2-2.”
Tomlin said he will deal with repeat offenders, but really it was a variety of players committing penalties in the loss to Tampa Bay. Although, Tomlin said it’s a teaching moment for his young leaders like Le’Veon Bell.
“I’m not trying to take the genuine emotions and excitement of the game away from our guys,” Tomlin said. “That’s not me and that’s not the right thing to do. But, I will ask them to do it within the guidelines of the rules prescribed.”
Tomlin did note an exception.
“Cam Heyward was frustrated on the touchdown, ‘cause he thought there was a holding on the play. I thought there was a holding on the play.
Everyone in the stadium thought there was a holding on the play, but it wasn’t called. That’s understandable. If I had been on that side of the field, they would have penalized me.”
Tomlin is frustrated with arguably his best player, All-Pro receiver Antonio Brown. The fifth year pro was flagged for a celebration penalty following his touchdown. As Brown said Monday, he didn’t know it was a penalty to fall to the ground following a score.
“Scoring has got to become routine for him,” Tomlin said. “He’s got to hand the ball to the official and come to the sideline and get ready to do it again. That’s simply what comes with being him.”
Just a coach
Tomlin had a problem with the label “players’ coach” during an interview with Laura Okmin during the FOX pregame show on Sunday. Tomlin told FOX, Defensive Coordinator Dick LeBeau could be called a “players’ coach” too, but that he isn’t because LeBeau is an, “old white guy.”
The context of the questioning is what bothers Tomlin, saying when reporters couple “players’ coach” with questions about how he wears his hair or what he wears on the sidelines or what kind of music he listens to, it gets a little old.
Tomlin said the manner in which he does his job, whether it’s positive or negative, has very little to do with his haircut or the clothes that he wears. That’s when he gets annoyed with the line of questioning.
“I consider myself a coach, I refuse to be put in a box,” Tomlin said. “It’s my job to be what my team needs me to be. Sometimes it’s close and cuddly and sometimes it’s not and I don’t have a problem being any of the above.”
Only Ike Taylor was ruled out of the game against Jacksonville Sunday. Tomlin said they will get linebacker Ryan Shazier moving at some point early this week with his knee injury, but he isn’t optimistic about him playing. Tomlin said they had a number of players nursing minor bumps and bruises. Not to mention that the head coach is suffering from a cold.