Mike Tomlin: “There’s A Lot Of Things That Are Capable Of Limiting Your Ability To Run No-huddle”

There is of course a lot of talk this week surrounding the Pittsburgh Steelers use of a lot of no-huddle in the win Sunday over the Detroit Lions. Head coach Mike Tomlin was asked quite a few questions about the no-huddle Tuesday during his press conference and below is a transcript of the questions and answers given concerning it.

Re: Intent on going to no-huddle early against the Lions and stay with it throughout the game?

Tomlin: [Ndamukong] Suh and [Nick] Fairley were big, dominant guys. We thought that we could throw them off balance and maybe minimize some of the things that they were capable doing. Maybe even let fatigue set in a little bit. That was one element of it. Another element of it, obviously, as you change the flow of defensive communication, it maybe minimized some of the things that you see. All of the normal things that you go through in terms of the decisions that you make whether or not you utilize no-huddle. Those were part of the equation for us last week, they’ll be part of the equation for us this week. We have a certain scripted set of questions that we ask, if you will, if we choose to employ it as a weapon. If enough things are favorable for us, then obviously that’s something we’ll consider, work on and prepare, and utilize.

Re: In the right set of circumstances, could no-huddle be the base offense?

Tomlin: In the right set of circumstances, but you also got to understand that you’re not going to be very multiple. There’s limited communication, obviously when you’re snapping the football and not huddling to communicate. There’s audio things to be concerned about, quick frankly. Technology has changed the way that that is viewed. Television copy and no huddle offenses has a lot of information on their video. It’s been something that’s been going on in football for a number of years, so you got to be very cautious about employing it, how much you employ it, how you change your verbal communication. There’s a lot of things that are capable of limiting your ability to run no-huddle besides your willingness or desire to.

Re: On if he is talking about calls be picked up by the game microphones.

Tomlin: Certainly, particularly in prime-time television games when there’s boom mics that work on the cables above the field.

Re: On when the audio goes out in the quarterback’s helmet.

Tomlin: When there’s 15 seconds left on the play clock. As long as there is more than 15 seconds left on that play clock, we have the ability to communicate with him like everybody in the National Football League does. Even at the line of scrimmage.

Re: Confusing for Ben to have someone in his ear like that while trying to see the defense and get guys aligned?

Tomlin: Yeah, but he’s a professional like all of those guys are. You’ve got to be able to give and receive information. That’s part of some of the things that go on in no-huddle-like communication, not only on offense, but on defense as well. I think that’s where we are in today’s NFL. Yes, he is communicating with people and yes, he is getting information in his ear, but I’m sure there’s 31 other starting quarterbacks that deal with similar issues under those circumstances.

  • colingrant

    My Take:

    1) While still slippery, I thought MT did a great job of providing a broader, deeper perspective of factors influencing the deployment of the no-huddle. Lots of logic offered up, actually more than I would have expected.

    2) I think he elaborated more than normal due to addressing a media that he knew would be anxious to sink their teeth into the juicy story of; ” who was the play caller”? It’s the story theme of the week and he knew it. It has enough legs for every sports writer and blogger in Pittsburgh and beyond. It beats last week’s breaking news, and is a more compelling and credible read for informed Steelers fans.

    3) Ben’s choices from the menu of plays offered to him, were on point, big time. Hopefully, the results liberates him a little. If offered more autonomy, the unintended benefit is that it could massage any edginess he may be experiencing, per previous reports of discontent whether true, untrue or partially true.

    4) From my home sofa perspective, when running the no huddle, Ben appears more engaged, more commanding, and the game itself, appears more captivating for him. Perhaps the urgency factor that comes with the no-huddle is an enabler of fun for him, something he hasn’t had much of for the past 2 years or so. It makes sense though, as Ben seems to thrive and enjoy when a degree of chaos is present. Structured, conventional play (Huddle -receive play-run play) is not his forte, and never has been.

  • westcoasteeler

    If BB shows consistency and protects the ball…give it to him. Here’s where you can make your mark Haley, come up w different calls for Ben.
    All I know is I saw a more dedicated and confident team this past weekend.

  • charles

    Half of the plays against Detroit were no huddle which means half were huddle. Which ones resulted in what accomplishments? Your posts are excellent and there is like you said a lot of gossip to be spun about this.
    I really agree with you that Ben thrives on chaos.
    Everybody is forgetting that Ben was not playing that well until the last 2 drives.
    The fake bubble screen and subsequent td pass to Cotch was brilliant chess. And that is the twelfth man.

  • colingrant

    Good point on the last 2 drives part. Didn’t realize it even though I re-watched the game. The fake bubble (chess) was professional football craftsmanship at its best. Cotchery is the wide receiver version of mid 90’s Steelers’ fullback John L. Williams. Dependable, experienced, professional, and more productive then what was expected.

  • Bob Graff

    What happen when the Steelers went out of no huddle??? The answer is , they stalled out and allowed the lions back in the game. Then they went back to no huddle and started scoring again. I think it’s as simple as Haley’s play calling is horrible. Ben ran stuff he was comfortable with and it worked. Why the defense of haley when he was calling plays it was back to bubble screens , inside runs and that slow it down deliberate pace. Why doesn’t Tomlin want more no huddle?? Is it in defense of Haley, Or is he that stubborn to say hey we found something that worked, At this stage in Ben’s career he should have input. My take is simple, I’ll cut off my nose to spite my face