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Mike Tomlin’s Steelers: A “National Disgrace” In 2022?

The Pittsburgh Steelers are under fire by the national media and fans after an embarrassing blowout loss, and Mike Tomlin is at the center of it.

Mike Tomlin repeatedly utters the quote, “The standard is the standard.” seemingly holding his teams to a higher standard, regardless of the situation. However, over the last several years, the sincerity of those words has felt empty and baseless. If the standard for these Pittsburgh Steelers is mediocrity, then Tomlin’s sentiment would be true. Lack of adjustment to their shortcomings has become too familiar for the Steelers causing fans and media to question the Super Bowl-winning coach’s mentality.

Tomlin suffered the biggest defeat of his Steelers tenure this past Sunday, getting dismantled at the hands of the Buffalo Bills, and fans and media have not been shy about it. An already disappointing start to the season is rapidly spiraling. Reports from the locker room after the game have been unpleasant, as tensions have finally boiled over. Veterans are unhappy with other players’ attitudes, citing that some individuals were laughing and joking around during the Steelers’ blowout loss.

To make things worse, the Steelers are in the midst of their most challenging stretch of the season as the team’s chemistry deteriorates.

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Steelers HC Mike Tomlin (Philip G. Pavely, USA TODAY Sports)

Stephen A Smith On The Steelers

“It is an embarrassment and a disgrace.” Stephen A Smith on the 2022 Steelers via ESPN’s First Take

Self proclaimed Steeler fan Stephen A Smith took to First Take earlier this week to share his thoughts on his “favorite” team, and he did not hold back.

Smith started the segment by stating, “They are an atrocity, this is the worst team I’ve ever seen Mike Tomlin have. It’s primarily because you found a quarterback, he’s just a rookie, and the offensive line is putrid. At the end of the day, the coaching doesn’t look great today either. Brian Flores was added to the staff, we know Mike Tomlin is there, Kevin Colbert, the old GM, left them in a bad spot.”

While Stephen A’s comments on the Steelers’ offensive line aren’t necessarily accurate, his opinion of the coaching staff is something I can agree with. Offensive Coordinator Matt Canada has only proven his incompetence as an NFL coach thus far. Defensive Coordinator Teryl Austin and Linebackers Coach Brian Flores were regarded as an elite coaching duo in the offseason. That hasn’t translated to the field as the Steelers defense has been taken advantage of by every opponent since TJ Watt went down with an injury in week one. Lastly, the team’s shortcomings fall on the shoulders of the head coach for not making changes where needed.

Stephen A Smith would continue to describe the Steelers by saying, “It is an embarrassment and a disgrace. The worst Steelers team that I’ve seen spanning a quarter century.”

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Stephen A. Smith via ESPNs First Take

Ryan Clark On Get Up

Former Pittsburgh Steeler and Super Bowl Champion Ryan Clark has never shied away from sharing his thoughts on his former team since becoming an on-air personality. Clark took to ESPN’s Get Up and Twitter to criticize current Steeler Diontae Johnson, Mike Tomlin, and the team as a whole after their egregious performance in Buffalo.

“The one thing that we always gave the Pittsburgh Steelers credit for was fighting. This team didn’t fight.” Ryan Clark via ESPNs Get Up

Clark pointed out the team’s lack of effort in the blowout and continued to rip the Steelers by saying, “The only player on this team that I’d take in 2008 to go down and ally with me is the young kid that’s playing quarterback… he’s the only one that wanted some yesterday.”

“I can say this, (Tomlin), is my favorite football coach in the world.” Clark continued. “This starts with Coach Tomlin. You no longer have a hall of fame quarterback. You no longer have better players than the other team. You have to have this team ready to play.”

.@Realrclark25 thinks the Steelers gave up in their loss against the Bills 👀 "This team didn't play like winners." — Get Up (@GetUpESPN) October 10, 2022

Ryan Clark also took to Twitter prior to his Get Up appearance to provide his thoughts on his former coach:

Mike Tomlin is my favorite football coach. With that be said no matter what the roster looks like your team has to be prepared, be in proper positions to succeed, and dang fight! The Steelers did not fight today, and that goes back to the head coach. He gotta get’em right. — Ryan Clark (@Realrclark25) October 9, 2022

Cam Heyward’s Butt Retweet?

Earlier this week Cam Heyward, a leader and cornerstone of the Pittsburgh Steelers, retweeted a tweet from a fan that criticized Mike Tomlin. In the tweet, the fan praised Cam Heyward for his efforts during the game but also claimed Tomlin was a “fraud” and a “clown”.

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Disregard the my last retweet. That was a butt retweet 🤦🏽‍♂️🤦🏽‍♂️🤦🏽‍♂️🤦🏽‍♂️🤦🏽‍♂️ dum dum cam — Cam Heyward (@CamHeyward) October 10, 2022

Heyward quickly un-retweeted the fan’s tweet and claimed he retweeted it by accident, describing it as a “butt retweet” I’d like to give Cam the benefit of the doubt and believe him when he says the situation was a complete accident. It’s likely that the All-Pro defensive lineman saw the praise for himself and quickly retweeted the tweet without reading the disrespect directed at his head coach. Regardless of whether it was an accident, it is not a flattering look for Heyward, Tomlin, or the Steelers organization. This is just one of many incidents fueling the drama around the Pittsburgh Steelers this season.

Ok let me be clear when I say that was a complete accident. I challenge myself to be better and don’t look to point the finger. These losses I take personal and I need to be better. My head coach and teammates are the ones I care about. I’m on to Tampa see ya Sunday. — Cam Heyward (@CamHeyward) October 10, 2022

What’s Next For Tomlin And The Steelers?

Pittsburgh faces another heavy hitter this week when they host the Tom Brady-led Buccaneers. While Tampa’s offense hasn’t been as high flying and explosive this year compared to the last couple of years, Tom Brady still knows how to pick apart a Mike Tomlin-coached secondary the way he has for much of his career. Another likely loss would only add fuel to the dumpster fire that is the Pittsburgh Steelers. Mike Tomlin is playing with that fire and could lose control of the locker room if he hasn’t already. Personnel changes, particularly at offensive coordinator, could alleviate that pressure and give fans hope. Unfortunately, the Steelers typically take their time and hold on to unproductive pieces for far too long.

I asked Mike Tomlin if he would make changes in playcallers, coaching staff or starters: Tomlin says he won't change for the sake of change, won't shoot a hostage. Says he'll change if he feels like it'll produce a better desired outcome. — Brooke Pryor (@bepryor) October 11, 2022

Let’s hope that Tomlin deems a change at offensive coordinator as something that will “produce a better-desired outcome” and not just a change for the sake of change. If no change comes, expect to see much of the same from the 2022 Steelers as they limp their way to the 2023 NFL Draft.



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