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.