View Full Version : Cowher's unthinkable folly

House of Steel
09-25-2006, 12:05 AM
Cowher's unthinkable folly

By Joe Starkey
Monday, September 25, 2006

Nobody was surprised when Ricardo Colclough muffed a punt midway through the fourth quarter Sunday and, essentially, cost the Steelers a winnable game against the Cincinnati Bengals.
You don't have to be a coach, scout or player to know this much about Colclough:


That's why so many people were questioning coach Bill Cowher coming into the game, wondering why he would keep putting Colclough back there -- never mind putting him back there on a windy day with a critical game on the line, protecting a 17-14 lead with 8 minutes left.

It was unconscionable, really. Incomprehensible. It made Cowher's decision to leave Tommy Maddox out there in the second half of last year's Jacksonville game look like a stroke of genius.

Colclough's been misplaying punts since the early days of training camp. It didn't stop once the regular season began. He misplayed one in each of the first two games -- luckily recovering them -- and was averaging a robust 3.0 yards on his first two returns. He muffed a few in warmups yesterday, too.

I'd rather see Ricardo Montalban returning punts. (:lol: :lol: :lol: )

The only good return Colclough had was in the preseason against Carolina, and he spiked the ball before he was tackled.

All of which was why I asked Cowher at his news conference last Tuesday if he was going to dress rookie Willie Reid against the Bengals.

Reid, you'll recall, was drafted specifically to return punts. In order to dress him, the Steelers probably would have to de-activate one of their other receivers. I'm guessing they could get by without Santonio Holmes or Nate Washington for a day (Quincy Morgan sure would look good on this team, wouldn't he?).

Meanwhile, running back Najeh Davenport continues to dress and not play.

Anyway, Cowher glared at me and said, "Probably not."

Now, Reid didn't exactly light it up in the preseason, but if the Steelers weren't going to dress him, Cowher should have had Holmes out there late in the game.

Holmes, after all, has been the Steelers punt-return man inside their 10 because, Cowher said, "we feel good about his hands."

Nobody feels good about Colclough's hands. As usual, he tried to catch the punt above his head. It plunked to the ground and bounced off his leg. Cincinnati recovered at the 9 and scored on the next play.


"You can put that one on me, as well," Cowher said, throwing it in with a couple of costly personal fouls his team committed.

For all the Steelers' blunders, this game was theirs before Colclough's muff. They were dismantling Cincinnati's depleted offensive line and had sacked Carson Palmer on three of the previous seven plays. They were running the ball at will.

After the Cincinnati touchdown, Cowher sent Colclough back onto the field, along with Holmes, to return a kickoff.

Yet, after Cincinnati scored again to make the score 28-17, Cowher kept Colclough on the sidelines and replaced him with Ike Taylor.

Having a little trouble making up your mind, coach?

Colclough actually had the nerve to confront Cowher after Taylor went in.

"We talked about it," Colclough said. "I mean, he's the coach. He's going to make the decisions. He's going to make the right decisions."

Not if he ever lets Colclough return another punt, he's not.

Joe Starkey is a sports writer for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. He can be reached at jstarkey@tribweb.com

09-25-2006, 12:08 AM
I see we are not the only ones PO'd about that....lol

09-25-2006, 12:22 AM
i'm still wondering where those two cowher nut huggers are?? i haven't seen online today

09-25-2006, 01:26 AM
Cowher is going to have to dance around this one for a long time...there's simply no excuse to have a guy in the game who's obviously struggled to the degree that Coc has in the return game and has digressed instead of improved.

09-25-2006, 01:44 AM
Coc's problems in the return game are so obvisous it's ridiculous. No way should he have been there and everyone knows it including Cowher. Yet he was there. I say put Willie Reid back there. Isn't that part of the reason we drafted him. He couldn't do much worse than Coc.

09-25-2006, 02:03 AM
I'd take Willie or Santonio at this point but I don't want to see Coc back there anymore. That mistake, in my opinion cost us the game. Yes, there were more factors than that, but when we have the Bengals O completely struggling and unable to move the ball at all against our D and we give it to them at the 10 yrd. line it's like we want to hand them the points.

09-25-2006, 12:07 PM
Maybe Cowher doesn't want to back pedal with his comments he made about Coc during training camp??? He needs to swallow some pride and realize he may have been blind or getting Coc confused with some other player :dunno:

Can we get some
tages in there HoS... For all I know you wrote the entire article and someone else put their name on it and is getting credit dor it ;)

09-25-2006, 04:26 PM
Like, most of you. I don't blame Colclough one iota. Everyone who has watched him try to return punts realizes that it's something he simply cannot do. This is 100% on Cowher for being so stubborn to leave him in a position where you know he is going to fail.

And like the article says, compare it to last year's Jag game


09-25-2006, 04:56 PM
Koopa, am I one of the "Cowher nut huggers" (as you so eloquently put it), you were referring to? While I could argue that I at no point said Cowher was infallible, and have many times disagreed with his decisions, it's really hard to argue with his record. That said, this is clearly one of those mistakes, that, like any human, Cowher is capable of making. I totally agree that it was an idiotic mistake, and I cannot understand why Reid has yet to dress, Duce has yet to dress (yet they kept him), and Najeh has yet to get a carry. Hopefully this will open Bill's eyes and he won't make this mistake again.

Also, I'm not ready to give up on Ricardo (Lol, the reference to Ricardo Montalban was hilarious). As a punt returner? Sure. But do I still think he has a spot on the team? Yeah. I still think he's going to be a pretty good CB someday, and we all know how bad Ike Taylor was before he figured out how to play.

09-25-2006, 11:41 PM
This is 100% on Cowher for being so stubborn

Cowher being stubborn? "cough" kordell "cough" stewart "cough"

BC can be quite stubborn at times with his players. He is a good coach but could have been one of the greatest had he had the ability to say he was wrong at times.

09-26-2006, 12:06 AM
I am just hoping against SD we don't see Coc returning punts. I might just throw something through the TV if I see him back there.

09-26-2006, 09:48 AM
I'm proud to say that I'm a 100% Cowher supporter...he's the best coach in the league, hands down, because nobody has accomplished more with less. Belichick can have an argument made for him, but he won with a quality QB, something the Steelers lacked since Bradshaw retired.

That being said, Coke returning kicks was him being A) Wrong and B) Stubbornly wrong. Every Steelers fan worth his salt in the WORLD knew that Coke was shaky back there at best. Thankfully, this happened in a regular season game early in the season, so the mistake can be corrected and overcome, and not in a playoff game where a season would have ended over it.

09-26-2006, 11:42 AM
You're absolutely right suit! The one way to correct this problem is to get Coke out of there and get Reid on the roster.

09-26-2006, 12:14 PM
You're absolutely right suit! The one way to correct this problem is to get Coke out of there and get Reid on the roster.
I'm pretty sure I read somewhere that Coke would not be returning punts again...if that's so, then, well, lesson learned...

09-26-2006, 02:57 PM
With what Cowher had to say in his press conference after the game, I have a feelin Coc won't be put back in--certainly at least not in key situations. He learned his lesson the hard way ;)

09-26-2006, 04:28 PM
I am just hoping against SD we don't see Coc returning punts. I might just throw something through the TV if I see him back there.

I already did that last week when he muffed the punt...luckily I didn't break it.

09-26-2006, 04:29 PM
I think we all did that when he muffed the punt.

I swear if BC puts Coc back in there this season for anything short of an injury to the other players the steeler nation will want his head !

09-27-2006, 08:10 AM
well yeah...but c'mon...i read somewhere...forgive me...i cannot remember where haha...that coc will not be returning anymore punts this season but c'mon cowher...get your head into it or ill be coming to take your job haha :banging: