Mike Tomlin Puts DeMarcus Van Dyke & Stevenson Sylvester On Notice

On Tuesday Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin sent a strong message to his special teams players when he said that several could have their helmets taken away from them as a result of all the penalties that have negated some good returns as of late.

Tomlin talked about the penalties in relation to what happened Sunday night in the win over the Cincinnati Bengals as the special teams units were flagged five times in the game.

“In the special teams game we wanted to be explosive in the return game,” said Tomlin. “We\’re capable of that and we believe that we have some dynamic return men and penalties negated that effort. What\’s going on in the return game from a penalty standpoint is disturbing and we must improve in that area. To be honest with you, the multiple offenders, or the egregious offenders, are going to be watching as opposed to playing as soon as we get some options in regards to who plays and who doesn\’t.”

Tomlin did admit though that the health of the team might limit is ability to take action right away.

“Right now with injuries, we have minimal options,” said Tomlin. “We\’ll continue to work with these men, but the first chance we get, we\’ll send a strong message in regards to that – that we won\’t accept that kind of performance.”

The most egregious violators thus far on special teams who Tomlin is referring to are DeMarcus Van Dyke and Stevenson Sylvester. Van Dyke has been flagged five times in the last three games and Sylvester has had two flags thrown in his direction since returning from his injury.

When asked what he can do to help those offenders moving forward, Tomlin was pretty straight forward with his answer.

“You can take their helmet off and make them watch and that\’s what we intend to do if they don\’t improve in that area,” said Tomlin. “The egregious offenders and the repeat offenders.”

Needless to say you can bet that both Van Dyke and Sylvester are well aware that they are in the crosshairs of Tomlin right now.

I am, I'm me. 40 something, retired and a life long Steelers fan.
  • awlcohen

    Hilarious. Is he going to unleash hell?
    Minimal options? There are couple hundred guys on practice squads out there, you’d think they could find 1-2 guys capable of playing decent special teams.
    Tomlin just doesn’t have the smarts, nuts, or work ethic to make a change. I suppose only after it costs the team a game will he do anything.

  • JT

    Thank god Cowher got him to those two Super Bowls, right?

  • SteelSpine

    No-brainer to agree w Tomlin doing that, & it opens up a can-of-worms to add so many other personnel to his list based on the 4 games prior to that game. For bad penalties repeated in games prior to that, Vbarzey & Garza beat me to a couple players, & coulda added Colon’s 1st 4 games. Plus I’d tell our special teams coach he better start knowing what is the max distance of our kicker before we consider a 50+ yarder, ever since a previous game when a kick landed short – that plus the ST penalties I wonder if the ST coach too gets chewed out by Tomlin.

  • Brendon Glad

    The special teams make my blood boil every week. I understand that blocking sled work is probably not high on the list for special-teamers….but dang we sure know how to waste 2 electric returners. Chicago somehow has figured out how to not hit people in the back or grab people so Hester can have an opportunity to do his work…why not us?

  • Brendon Glad

    By the end, it was clear that AB was instructed to let the ball land and roll…to save his energy and to not lose the extra ten yards cuz he did it 3 x in a row. Frustrating

  • Steve Duncan

    Because NFL players and schemes are a dime a dozen?

  • Steve Duncan

    Very frustrating. Brown and Rainey can be great returners, and they are killing it.

  • Steve Duncan

    Well, they already fired one ST coach. I think they would fire this guy if they thought they could.

  • awlcohen

    Ah, yeah, we are talking kick and punt coverage here, not a LB or CB. Van Dufus has only been on the team a few weeks himself. You really think the PS couldn’t find someone who would perform better?

  • Steve Duncan

    Van Dyke has been a problem, yes, but even coverage teams are not plug and play. Not even close. Did you ever think that one of the reasons why Van Dyke is struggling is BECAUSE he is so new to the scheme?

  • awlcohen

    Paulson, Batch, and Johnson don’t seem to have a problem with it. They are new to the “scheme”
    Face the facts. Tomlin and staff are lazy.