PDA

View Full Version : Tomlin's first camp was tough on players



BlitzburghRockCity
08-17-2007, 06:23 AM
http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/07229/810204-66.stm


Tomlin has a good feeling and plenty of questions to answer as he closes out his first camp at Saint Vincent
Friday, August 17, 2007

By Ed Bouchette, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Mike Tomlin wrapped up the final practice of his first training camp yesterday afternoon with many questions remaining about his football team, but with more insight about what he has.

"It's been as good as could be expected," the Steelers new coach said. "You always come in prepared for the worst and hopeful for the best. I think it's been more toward my hopes; it's been awesome."
Tomlin leaves Saint Vincent College believing he has a team that can compete for a Super Bowl. Like many NFL teams, injuries or the lack of them will decide how serious a bid the Steelers make.

That was the good news coming from his first training camp: No serious injuries. Halfback Willie Parker, perhaps the player the Steelers least can afford to lose, missed a few weeks and two games with what was called slight inflammation of his left knee, but he returned to practice and will start tomorrow night against the Washington Redskins in the third preseason game.

"We have to get Willie P going," Tomlin said.

Tomlin still has not determined the backs he will keep behind Parker and whether he will go young with Carey Davis and Gary Russell, keep veterans Verron Haynes and Dan Kreider or go with a mix.

Decisions must be made everywhere, particularly along the starting offensive line. Tomlin has to decide how many wide receivers/tight ends to keep, which backup defensive linemen after Chris Hoke to maintain, who will fill two starting spots in the defensive backfield and what backup outside linebackers will stay.

Yet, three preseason games remain and the first cutdown does not happen until Aug. 28, when teams reduce their rosters to 75. The tougher cut happens Sept. 1, when teams get down to 53. Teams can add eight practice squad players Sept. 2, after they clear waivers.

Tomlin often used a phrase for the work that took place at camp the past 3 1/2 weeks, and the work that's left before the regular-season opener Sept. 9 in Cleveland. He calls it "team building."

"It's an ongoing process," he said. "I like where we are. I like our skill development. I don't think we're a finished product in that area, but that's why we're here."

Players groaned a little when they first saw Tomlin's training camp schedule, which included no days off the first two weeks and 15 scheduled two-a-day practices. He canceled several of those, however, and some others were rained out.

Still, players considered it a tougher training camp than they have had before.

"He put us through a hard camp," defensive end Brett Keisel said. "I think coming in as a first-year coach you kind of need to do that and see which guys you have on board and which guys are going to fall by the wayside. It was a tough camp, but we made it."

Keisel also saw Tomlin evolve the past month.

"I think he's getting more comfortable. This was his first time up here and when you come up here it's different. He did a good job. We made it through camp without any severe injuries, which is great."

Tomlin's camp may have been different from those run the previous 15 summers by Bill Cowher, yet most NFL training camps look alike. Tomlin held practices at the same time in the afternoon as in previous camps, and for all the talk about there being more hitting, there really was not. He often cut afternoon practices shorter than the scheduled two hours, sometimes by as much as 30 minutes. Cowher often went the entire two hours in the afternoon.

Tomlin held more one-hour special teams practices in the morning, along with the occasional two-hour morning practice. But the morning special-teams drills were more laid back and most of the starters were dismissed from them early.

Curfew was still set at 11 p.m., there was family night and a night off, and movie day, just as there were under Cowher. Camp also lasted about the same length, although they reported earlier because of the extra preseason game.

Still, "they resisted the change," Tomlin said. "But I think they did a nice job of dealing with it and not letting it affect their quality of play.

"It's funny, we're all creatures of habit, particularly the guys that have been here a long time. Guys who were drafted here, they know one way. When you know what's going on, you never have to look at the schedule. You can kind of get on autopilot. That's what we crave. We like to be on autopilot and know what lies ahead.

"But sometimes it's good to get out of your comfort zone a little bit and have to read an itinerary, have to keep up with the schedule and don't really know what's going on next. That's how this process has been for some people."

"It's been as good as could be expected. You always come in prepared for the worst and hopeful for the best. I think it's been more toward my hopes; IT'S BEEN AWESOME."

-- Mike Tomlin

Camp Tomlin was a lot tougher than our guys were used too, it was a learning experience on all levels for everyone but if nothing else it definitely toughed us up and got a lot of players some much needed experience and a chance to earn a starting spot.

steelerfan11
08-17-2007, 09:50 AM
I hope they don't get rid of Kreider! I would rather keep Carey Davis and Gary Russell and get rid of Haynes and Davenport.

K Train
08-17-2007, 10:05 AM
I hope they don't get rid of Kreider! I would rather keep Carey Davis and Gary Russell and get rid of Haynes and Davenport.
yeah, thats a terrible idea

Iron City South
08-17-2007, 10:12 AM
My guess is that Haynes and Barlow are going to be visited by the Turk. I see Barlow wearing a Bungals uniform in about a month.

Mike Tomlin
08-17-2007, 11:11 AM
My guess is that Haynes and Barlow are going to be visited by the Turk. I see Barlow wearing a Bungals uniform in about a month.They can have him LOL!

Stlrs4Life
08-17-2007, 12:21 PM
I hope they don't get rid of Kreider! I would rather keep Carey Davis and Gary Russell and get rid of Haynes and Davenport.


I hear ya. :plus1:

NOVA STEELERS
08-17-2007, 12:58 PM
I agree, Barlow and Davenport should go.......... Russell and Davis should add some octane to the running game with Willie..............

K Train
08-17-2007, 01:17 PM
haynes and barlow need to go, but are you really that comfortable with russel and davis to let davenport go, that is retarded imo....davenport is a real good player

Mike Tomlin
08-17-2007, 02:02 PM
I think Davenport should stay aleast one more season so the young guys want be depended on that much.

TEEMONT
08-17-2007, 02:46 PM
Dookie should stay, no question. You should def have a somewhat proven vet on teh club. Lose Barlow,pick between Russel and Davis.

K Train
08-17-2007, 03:29 PM
lose barlow and hanyes, keep davenport because hes a hell of a screen runner and can contribute on special teams and at full back, he is a good pass blocker btw...and davis can play FB too, i really like davis and russel...i dunno which one i would pick

Friday133
08-17-2007, 03:45 PM
I like Krieder just as much as anyone else, that said, if the team is serious about changing up their offense I'm not sure Krieder fits into their plans.

K Train
08-17-2007, 03:46 PM
FB is goin, goin....but not quite gone for us

Mike Tomlin
08-17-2007, 03:51 PM
Dookie should stay, no question. You should def have a somewhat proven vet on teh club. Lose Barlow,pick between Russel and Davis.Can we keep Willie, Davis ,Davenport (1 year), and Russell?

TEEMONT
08-17-2007, 04:24 PM
Can we keep Willie, Davis ,Davenport (1 year), and Russell?

Yeah, if you lose Kreider, which I don't know if we wanna do that yet. Although, we coudl keep Haynes, who was originally drafted as a FB. He is a little more versatile than the other guys.

K Train
08-17-2007, 05:29 PM
but he sucks ***

Mike Tomlin
08-17-2007, 05:59 PM
You just can't risk letting Davis and Russell get away. Then again maybe the rest of the preseason will decide it. I just think we have knew coaches with new game plans. Time for some new players.

Iron City South
08-17-2007, 07:50 PM
A lot of people don't want to acknowledge the fact that Haynes' injury was a serious one and that he's probably one good hit away from hanging up the cleats.

Davenport will prove to be a valuable addition to the team this year. He did some good things last year in a relatively short period of time.

K Train
08-17-2007, 07:51 PM
haynes had his chance anyway when bettis left and he fell way short.....he sucks, career special teamer

SteelersfaninPhilly
08-17-2007, 09:21 PM
Will davenport be returning kicks again? That is another reason to keep him.