Mike Wallace’s speed is his biggest asset. His slowness in reporting to training camp — at least in the Steelers’ minds — is suddenly his biggest liability.
The Steelers did a not-so-slow burn Wednesday when the super-fast Wallace, ignoring the Steelers’ history of refusing to negotiate when a player is not in camp, declined to sign his $2.472 million tender offer and did not show up at St. Vincent College.
Wallace and the Steelers have been working on a multi-year contract for some time — teammate Emmanuel Sanders suggested the two sides were close — but the Steelers always shut down such talks when a player isn’t in camp. This won’t be an exception.
Let’s see how this plays out. The Steelers are taking a hard line on their policy of no negotiations for players holding out, but this might just spiral out of control.
Meanwhile, Mike Tomlin got a much-deserved contract extension. Shockingly, one idiot on ESPN actually criticized extending a coach that has been to two Super Bowls with one title. It’s another example of too many talking heads debating both sides of every conceivable issue.
Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin argues a call with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger in the background in the AFC Wild Card round at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on January 8, 2012 in Denver. Pittsburgh lost in overtime 29-23 to Denver. UPI/Gary C. Caskey
As a Browns fan, it’s annoying to watch the rock-solid organization in Pittsburgh that produces consistent winners for the Steelers. The Rooney family knows how to run a football team. They find great coaches and stick with them. Continuity is one of their greatest advantages over teams like the Browns who change regimes every couple of years.
With that backdrop, it’s a little surprising to see Art Rooney II interject himself so directly into team affairs with the decision to not bring back offensive coordinator Bruce Arians. Ben Roethlisberger isn’t happy.
“When I get back, I’m going to go up to Mr. Rooney’s office and ask him what he wants from me, what he wants from this offense, because I think that’s a viable question for him,” Roethlisberger said. “He’s our owner and our boss, so I really would like to know kind of what he wants and where he sees our offense going because I’d like to tell him where I see us going.”
Roethlisberger said he thinks Arians was building one of the NFL’s best offenses, and he’s surprised that Arians won’t get to continue doing that.
“We feel like we are really close to being an elite offense,” Roethlisberger said. “For your leader to be gone is kind of a shocker, but you’ve got to be ready for whatever the Rooneys and coach [Mike] Tomlin decide it our next step.”
The Steelers have had some problems, mostly with keeping Big Ben healthy. There’s a feeling in the organization that they need to get back to running the football. But this team had a lot of success with Arians, who basically unleashed Roethlisberger and let him become an elite quarterback with his improvisation skills.
We’ll see how this plays out. The Steelers will have quite a bit of turnover, particularly on defense, as the team is getting older. Now we’ll be seeing some changes on offense as well.
It’s best to do this now, because surely our opinions will be skewed watching the playoffs.
1. Bill Belichick, New England Patriots—The Pats just kept getting better as the season wore on, save for that hiccup against Cleveland. This is actually one of Bill’s best coaching jobs.
2. Raheem Morris, Tampa Bay Bucs—From 3-13 to 10-6. But what might be most impressive is that Morris told everyone this team would win 10 games when he may have been the only one who believed it.
3. Todd Haley, Kansas City Chiefs—The AFC West winner has a home game Sunday. Did anyone pick KC to finish above third?
4. Lovie Smith, Chicago Bears—Kudos to Lovie for sending his A-team out there last Sunday, and either way it’s surely been quite a year for his Bears, especially with that defense.
5. Andy Reid, Philadelphia Eagles—He hasn’t hung around the city of Philadelphia for 11 years for no reason. The man just knows how to win with the talent he’s given.
6. Steve Spagnuolo, St. Louis Rams—So close to grabbing that last playoff spot, but regardless, this is a team that will be reckoned with, maybe as soon as next year.
7. Mike Smith, Atlanta Falcons—The 13-3 Falcons are sharp heading into the big dance.
8. Mike Tomlin, Pittsburgh Steelers/John Harbaugh, Baltimore Ravens—Without Big Ben for four games, and still grabbed the 2-seed in the tough AFC. The Ravens, meanwhile, snuck up on everyone by winning 12 games too.
9. Mike McCarthy, Green Bay Packers—His team was in every single game and could just as easily be 16-0 than 10-6. Keep an eye on these guys, they could win it all as a 6-seed.
10. Sean Payton, New Orleans Saints—You just can’t forget about the defending champs and that win in Atlanta a few weeks ago proved it.
December is when coaches lose jobs or gain big contract extensions for winning big games. And it’s crunch time for coach of the year hype…..
1. Bill Belichick, New England Patriots—Sure, the Pats were exposed against Green Bay. But like usual, the Hoodie’s teams find a way to win.
2. Andy Reid, Philadelphia Eagles—He almost dropped five spots for not throwing that challenge flag on an obvious reversal, but he’s still here for two reasons—his teams know how to win, and he had the balls to name Mike Vick as his starting QB.
3. Mike Smith, Atlanta Falcons—No reason to move Mikey from the 3-spot after disposing of the Seahawks in hostile Seattle.
4. Todd Haley, Kansas City Chiefs—Now the Chargers are breathing down his neck; but hey, he probably feels good that Josh McDaniels is watching games from his couch now.
5. Lovie Smith, Chicago Bears—Did anyone think the Bears could score 40 points against the Vikings on a frigid December night? Lovie’s defense and Mike Martz’ offense continue to gel and look scary.
6. Steve Spagnuolo, St. Louis Rams—Yes, they are 6-8 and might win a division. But the fact remains the Rams have equaled their win total from the past three seasons combined, and Spags told his team they can win the Super Bowl if they reach the playoffs. Ridiculous, but true.
7. Raheem Morris, Tampa Bay Bucs—Still hanging on to a possible playoff berth, but either way, a huge turnaround in 2010.
8. Jack Del Rio, Jacksonville Jaguars—Gambled and lost in Indy, but still tied for first in the AFC South.
9. Mike Tomlin, Pittsburgh Steelers/John Harbaugh, Baltimore Ravens—Two hard-hitting teams are two of the best teams in the NFL
10. Rex Ryan, New York Jets—Backs up against the wall? No problem for this brash leader, whose team did what few teams do—win in Pittsburgh in December.