The further along Mike Tomlin gets in his coaching career, the better he gets with coaching outside of the lines. While he certainly has no love for media, he certainly knows how to use them to his advantage. Two former head coaches were effective in successfully using the media to their advantage, those two coaches were Bill Parcells and Chuck Noll. While there is not a ton of footage to watch from Noll like there is of Parcells, Noll was a master at sending messages through the media to his players to get some points across. He did this quite a bit with the “Blonde Bomber”, Terry Bradshaw. All Bradshaw did was to go on to win 4 Super Bowl championships. Noll did this usually with his cold, non joking demeanor which was true to his character.
Parcells is well documented in using the media. Although I am a Steelers fan, I relished every opportunity to scour the internet for a Parcells press conference. His demeanor was more of a joking one mixed with sarcasm, but you knew exactly what he was saying and who he was saying it about. When the media would ask him to confirm if it was X player he was talking about, he would say yes, without actually saying yes and in the process make the person asking the question look like a fool. They were things of beauty.
Earlier this season, Tomlin took to the media with both Rashard Mendenhall and Limas Sweed. Mendenhall has responded and Sweed, well, I guess you could say he missed the memo. Some people you just can\’t reach. In the latest Tomlin presser on Tuesday, you can see a few examples of this in action.
Question: Along those lines, Stefan Logan said-actually, prior to Denver, where you didn’t give up anything to [Eddie] Royal, who’s a pretty good kick returner-on all the kick returns that he has seen that went for touchdowns, somebody had left the lane, whereas when he’s been returning kicks, we never seem to see anybody who leaves the lane against us. Is there anything you can do to coax the opposing team out of the lane?
Mike Tomlin: No, that’s a perspective of a kick returner who hasn’t run one back yet, so that perspective may not be reality.
Question: On the other end of kickoff returns, how has Logan done in your opinion? Might Mike Wallace get some more opportunities?
Mike Tomlin: He’s been above the line. I think he’s averaging 25 or 26 yards per return. It’s been the best we’ve had since I’ve been here, but that doesn’t mean it’s acceptable. We’re trying to search for the ceiling. We want to be the very best in the world in all areas, because it increases our chances of winning. Mike is a guy who has shown an aptitude for that; he ran three or four back at Ole Miss. He’s handling some of the other tasks that we’re giving him to do, so as the guy shows that he’s capable of handling the things that we’re asking him to do, we’re potentially going to give him more things to do. We gave him an opportunity to return a kick, and he may get some more opportunities in the future.
Tomlin clearly is sending Logan a message. Do your job and don\’t worry about someone else\’s job. If you can\’t do your job, I have someone else I have confidence in that can do the job.
Question: Jeff Reed obviously isn’t paid to make tackles for you, but is there something more than he could have, and should have, done, both against Minnesota and on this last one?
Mike Tomlin: I am not going to get down to evaluating Jeff Reed as a tackler. When it comes down to that, we have failed as a coverage unit, as far as I’m concerned. I don’t lose any sleep on the quality of Jeff Reed’s tackling. Or tackle attempts.
This one is kind of subtle, in fact all you need is the last 3 words. Basically asking Reed for a little more effort.
Going forward it will be interesting to see how the team responds going down the stretch. He has more than called out the special teams unit and should the offense stumble again like they did this past Sunday, they too may be due a media message. All in all, I am glad Tomlin is on our side and using the methods of other great coaches who came before him.