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: December 30, 2006, 07:43:45 AM

PFT

NAMES EMERGE FOR NEW STEELERS COACH

Since the hiring of a new head coach for the Pittsburgh Steelers happens roughly as frequently as the selection of a new pope, the process that apparently will be kick-started when (as everyone with a pulse believes) Bill Cowher announces his retirement in the coming days figures to be mysterious, compelling, and (in the end) full of potential surprises.

The obvious candidates for the job -- offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt and offensive line coach Russ Grimm -- arguably have been diminished by the team's 7-8 season.  Though these guys haven't suddenly morphed into unworthy coaches, we think that the powers-that-be will be more inclined to go outside the organization in the hopes that a breath of fresh air will get the players who were on the Super Bowl-winning team to quit feeling so good about themselves for winning a Super Bowl, and to start focusing on getting another one.

Scott Brown of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review takes a decent stab at compiling a list of potential candidates not currently on the payroll.  Bears defensive coordinator Ron Rivera is obvious, and one of the few "hot" coordinators this season.  We're also intrigued by 49ers assistant Mike Singeltary, a high-intensity Hall-of-Famer who is still light on coaching experience but who could be exactly what a seemingly rudderless roster needs to get back on track.

Chargers offensive coordinator Cam Cameron gets a mention by Brown, primarily because his team is 13-2.  (Under that same reasoning, San Diego defensive coordinator Wade Phillips also merits consideration, but then again he's not a spring chicken and, he has failed in to head-coaching stints.)

Brown also brings up the name of Rutgers coach Greg Schiano, a 40-year-old up-and-comer who recently declined an opportunity to be considered at the University of Miami. 

The key factors, we believe, will be minority and youth.  Since the rule that has encouraged consideration of minority hiring is named for Steelers chairman Dan Rooney, and given that the team's last two head-coaching hires were both under the age of 40, our guess is that the Rooneys will feel compelled to name the franchise's first African-American head coach, and that they also will want someone young enough to stick around for at least 15 years.

The best guy who fits those two criteria is, in our view, Vikings defensive coordinator Mike Tomlin. 

Tomlin, at 35, has five years' experience as the defensive backs coach in Tampa and one year as a defensive coordinator.  He likely would have had more time as a coordinator, but the Bucs are notorious for refusing to allow assistant coaches still under contract from accepting promotions short of head coach.

And in one year with the Vikings, Tomlin has put together an excellent run defense.  The pass defense has been somewhat suspect, primarily because the team doesn't yet have ideal personnel to run the Cover 2 defense.

That would also be a problem in Pittsburgh, where the 3-4 attack has been the base package for years.  But in an era where plenty of free agents are available every offseason, we think that Tomlin could within a year or two have the right people in place to make the Steelers the next great Cover 2 unit in the NFL.

That's pretty interesting. I wouldn't think that Tomlin would be a HC candidate, considering he just became a DC. I know that a poster on here (Pirates) wants Tomlin to become Bucs HC in 07 as well.

Samari28

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#1 : December 30, 2006, 11:26:23 AM

I would love to have Tomlin as head coach as well as I think he is a great young talent and would be a perfect fit here

coopsxx

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#2 : December 30, 2006, 12:23:57 PM

yeh i think we were really just cought with two much talent in one position (defensive coaches.) - kind of like san diego with 2 good qb's, or denver and there continuous stream of RB's.

Larry Brackins

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#3 : December 30, 2006, 09:14:39 PM

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO



#SaveUsJohnnyFootball

Samari28

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#4 : December 30, 2006, 09:18:48 PM

I doubt Tomlin will get the Steelers job as he does not have enough years as a DC but I am telling you right now we should have done anything and everything to keep him around so I want Mike as our next coach.  I really do not see Gruden lasting past next year as even if we spend a lot of money during free agency and draft we have a lot of holes to fill and there is no way we can fill all of them (QB, OL, FB, DE, DT, SS and FS as well as depth at CB, LB and WR).

Mohawkbucs

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#5 : December 31, 2006, 05:16:59 AM

Mike Tomlin should come back to Tampa

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