Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin clearly doesn’t feel like the team needs to have more “fun” at practices during their three-game winless streak.
Following wide receiver Chase Claypool’s request that the Steelers lighten up the mood of their practice with some music, the head coach shot that suggestion down on Tuesday, November 30.
Via Brooke Pryor of ESPN:
“Claypool plays wideout, and I’ll let him do that,” Tomlin said. “I’ll formulate the practice approach. And I think that division of labor is probably appropriate.”
The Steelers are looking for answers to solve their winless skid — which is currently causing the team to fall in the playoff race at a record of 5-5-1. Claypool’s answer to solve the team’s woes involved non-personnel and non-strategy tactics.
“I think some music would help,” Claypool said. “We had music in the warm-ups and that stuff is fun. People are dancing, having fun, so I think maybe music would make practice a little more fun and a little more up-tempo. That’s my one suggestion, but Coach T has been doing this a lot longer than I have.”
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Heyward Not a Fan of Claypool’s Suggestion
While Claypool didn’t mean any harm in his comments, it did trigger a harsher response than Tomlin from teammate Cam Heyward. The defensive end remarked on Tuesday’s WDVE Morning Show that he hoped Claypool was kidding with his comments.
“I hope he was kidding because as soon as he said it, I was literally about to rip the speaker out,” said Heyward. “That is not what we need right now. It’s Xs and Os, and it’s execution.”
As far as what the Steelers need to actually do to turn their season around, Tomlin didn’t have a concrete answer — but he did say that Pittsburgh is open to changes, via Pryor.
“… What you can’t do is continue to do the things that you’ve been doing and expect a different result,” said Tomlin. “We’re open to some schematic changes. We’re open to some personnel changes, obviously. They won’t be drastic in nature, probably more subtle in nature, but hopefully significant. Significant in a positive way.”
“It might be the repositioning of people or it might be the leaning on depth as a strength,” Tomlin continued. “We don’t overcomplicate things, but we are open to change when change produces or has a chance to produce a desired outcome.
Steelers Close Out Season With Brutal Schedule
One thing is for certain and that’s something needs to change before the Steelers’ season falls apart altogether.
Pittsburgh failed to win against a winless Detroit Lions squad in Week 10, they failed to close out the Los Angeles Chargers by giving up a late lead in Week 11 and they were completely blown out in Week 12 in a key game versus the Cincinnati Bengals — a fellow AFC North rival and playoff contender.
It doesn’t get any easier this week as the Steelers match up versus the division-leading Baltimore Ravens. In fact, it doesn’t get much easier at all for the remainder of the season — each of the Steelers’ final six opponents are in the playoff hunt with a combined record of 42-26 (61.7 winning percentage).
Tomlin and the Steelers better adjust quick before it’s too late.