Monday, January 22, 2007

It Feels Right

Joey Porter’s Pit Bulls like the selection of Mike Tomlin as the new head coach of the Steelers. By all accounts, the man has his act together. He’d better, because it will be a hectic week for him.

Besides conducting interviews with the media, closing out his relationship with the Minnesota Vikings, taking care of personal family business and getting more familiar with people in the Steelers organization, he will have to assume actual head coaching responsibilities RIGHT NOW.

This will entail lining up assistant coaches, dealing with the media and attending the Senior Bowl workouts this week in Mobile, Ala. As St. Louis Rams head coach Scott Linehan observed, “The Senior Bowl’s the best evaluation we've got other than the (NFL scouting) combine,” Linehan said. “The (campus) workouts are fine, but they rank No. 3 in my book. ... At the Senior Bowl, you get to watch them (practice) football. And doing what we do. It's a pretty good measuring stick.”

Tomlin’s players in Minnesota reportedly are universally disappointed he’s leaving them but happy he landed a head coaching position. Here’s just one quote sampling:

“It was the things he said, and sometimes the most important things are the things you don't say,” defensive lineman Ross Kolodziej said. “Sometimes coaches have a tendency to blow stuff up, and he was an extremely cool customer.

“He never loses his composure or his poise, and that kind of trickles down to the players. I never saw him come in at halftime and kick something over. He always portrayed the fact he was in control, and that's important in a leadership role: to always be calm under fire.”

Clearly, the Steelers didn’t want to wait another two weeks or so until Ron Rivera, defensive coordinator of the Super Bowl-bound Chicago Bears, became available. Rivera’s defense did a more than commendable job in limiting the New Orleans Saints’ offense to just two touchdowns while forcing four turnovers on Sunday.

Yet the Steelers’ management staff evidently believe they made the right choice with Tomlin. It’s just a gut feeling, but we do, too.

We’ll have more to say about this hiring over the next few days. For now, suffice to say that it feels right.

One more observation: “Let me tell you something, I've talked to some old coaches who felt Mike Tomlin should have been a head coach (already),” said former Super Bowl MVP quarterback Doug Williams, a personnel executive for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. “It ain't about age. Presence. Charisma. Knowledge. People skills. Organizational skills. I think Mike Tomlin has it all.”

Upon Further Review: Here's the view from Mondesi's House.