Mark Madden: Despite reputation, Mike Tomlin needs to be better for Steelers

Outside linebacker Melvin Ingram of the Miami Dolphins received AFC Defensive Player of the Month. Ingram performed for the Pittsburgh Steelers remaining 12 months till leaving after six video games as a result of he used to be unsatisfied with enjoying time.

Coach Mike Tomlin granted Ingram his asked go out as a result of, as Tomlin says, “We need volunteers, not hostages.”

After departing by the use of industry to Kansas City, Ingram mentioned, “The situation wasn’t what I thought it was going to be.”

Translation: Ingram used to be advised he would get started, then didn’t. T.J. Watt and Alex Highsmith began and nonetheless do. (When Watt isn’t harm. Like he’s now.)

Tomlin mangled the Ingram state of affairs. It’s any other chink within the armor of an elite trainer who hasn’t introduced a lot proof for being elite over the past decade-plus.

Highsmith leads the NFL in sacks with 4½. Ingram had fairly the primary 3 video games for Miami. He scored a defensive landing, recovered two fumbles, pressured any other, had two sacks and 3 tackles for loss.

It’s now not a debate over who’s better. Both are enjoying really well.

But the Steelers wanted each.

Given Watt’s brittle nature — identical to his brother J.J. on the identical age, as predicted on this area ahead of Watt signed his four-year, $112 million contract extension ahead of remaining season — the Steelers want the identical of 3 starters at edge rusher.

If Tomlin begins Ingram remaining season however provides Highsmith a large dose of snaps, Ingram is excited. He finishes the 12 months with the Steelers. Highsmith used to be in his 2nd season. Still on his rookie contract. What’s he going to say?

Ingram and Highsmith may each nonetheless be right here. Watt is harm, so Ingram and Highsmith would each be beginning.

Here’s making a bet that Watt is harm, so much, for the remainder of his occupation. Keeping Ingram would have served the Steelers neatly, by no means extra so than at this time.

Tomlin may have saved Ingram for the remainder of remaining season through ignoring Ingram’s sadness and proceeding to play him. Ingram used to be on a one-year contract. He wouldn’t have long past into the tank on the expense of his subsequent payday.

It would be better to have a hostage like Ingram than volunteers just like the scrubs the Steelers have had to trot out this 12 months and remaining in Watt’s absence.

Tomlin mangled the Ingram state of affairs. That’s fairly glaring. That is going even though Highsmith continues to excel. The Steelers want each Highsmith and Ingram.

There’s no ensure Ingram would have returned this 12 months. He used to be on a one-year contract. He’s averaging 40 snaps in step with recreation with Miami this 12 months, as adverse to 41 in his six video games with the Steelers remaining 12 months. Not a lot of a distinction.

Tomlin’s recognition is difficult to determine. His acumen is respected nationally and in the neighborhood.

But the Steelers haven’t received a playoff recreation in 5 years. (It’s going to be six.) They have received simply 3 playoff video games because the 2010 season. They are 3-6 within the postseason throughout that reach in spite of a Hall of Fame quarterback and numerous high quality enhances. The Steelers have allowed 42 issues in every in their remaining 3 playoff defeats. This in spite of Tomlin’s recognition for protection.

Tomlin has no training tree. That’s as a result of he doesn’t like operating with someone who may know greater than him or is outspoken. He desires yes-men. (This 12 months’s rent of Brian Flores being a welcome exception.)

The Steelers even have the NFL’s lowest-paid training workforce.

So give an explanation for why Tomlin is sensible. Quantify it. If you get started through mentioning Tomlin by no means having a dropping season, that’s about to fall through the wayside. Anyway, isn’t it extra essential to excel, now not simply keep away from failure?

“You can’t ever count out a Mike Tomlin team.” That platitude is so empty, it could as neatly be coming from Tomlin’s mouth.

This isn’t to counsel the Steelers must hearth Tomlin. They received’t. Not ever.

This isn’t to counsel the Steelers may do better. They most probably wouldn’t.

But Tomlin has been no better than mediocre because the 2010 season. Tomlin is within the “business of winning,” as he says. But he simply hasn’t received sufficient.

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