I’ve been a harsh critic of Mike Tomlin ever since late last year. Maybe even prior to that. But I have to give credit where credit is due. Mike Tomlin has been great for the last month or so.
The Steelers got off to a 1-4 start this year. In the offseason they traded their All Pro Wideout and lost their All Pro Running Back. A game and a half into the regular season they lost their franchise Quarterback to injury. It was at this point that the Steelers traded what most assumed to be a top 5 pick to Miami for secondary help in the way of Minkah Fitzpatrick. Currently the Steelers sit at 5-4, and are currently enjoying a four game win streak after defeating the reigning NFC Champion Los Angeles Rams at home on Sunday.
Mike Tomlin has had his guys prepared each week. His next man up strategy has been working. Whether it’s James Conner at running back or Jaylen Samuels, or Benny Snell or Trey Edmonds, they have all risen to the challenge. Injuries have seen a wide cast of characters take over rushing duties. He is slowly letting Mason Rudolph test his skills more and more in games. Young wide receivers like 2nd year pro James Washington and rookie Diontae Johnson are contributing alongside Juju-Smith Schuster.
The third coming of the Steel Curtain
But the real story is the defense, which I predicted would finish top 5 this year. The talk of the Steel City has been Minkah Fitzpatrick, who, since he arrived just prior to week 3, has 5 interceptions, 2 fumble recoveries and 2 touchdowns. He has sparked this defense which is 5-2 since his arrival. Rookie Devin Bush is in line for Defensive Rookie of the Year considerations. Joe Haden is playing out of his mind, and TJ Watt is a factor in just about every game.
Now I have no delusions of grandeur. The Steelers could very well make the playoffs or they could narrowly miss out. They’ve withstood a lot of adversity this year, but they aren’t a team that’s going to go into Foxboro and beat the Patriots, the likely AFC representative in the Superbowl again this year. The 2019 version of the Pittsburgh Steelers are young on both sides of the ball. Their offense has the capability and we may just be on the verge of the 3rd coming of the Steel Curtain. For that I applaud Mike Tomlin for proving me wrong. Keep it up and here we go Steelers, here we go!
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