Steelers’ Ryan Clark Admits He Was Wrong on One Critical Mike Tomlin Fact

Steelers’ Ryan Clark Admits He Was Wrong on One Critical Mike Tomlin Fact

The Pittsburgh Steelers’ season seemed to be slipping away headed into their Week 16 game against the Cincinnati Bengals. Their starting quarterback Kenny Pickett was injured, the defense is banged up and they dropped three games in a row to teams they should have beaten. The playoffs seemed impossible, and then Mason Rudolph took the field and unleashed the best quarterback play we’ve seen since Ben Roethlisberger retired. This has led former Steelers safety Ryan Clark to retract a prior statement he made.

 

 

Clark is now an analyst on ESPN and on a recent episode of Get Up, he discussed the huge 34-11 win. He noted that Rudolph can’t take all the credit, but he does deserve the lion’s share. The Steelers looked like a cohesive team again for the first time in weeks with both Rudolph and linebacker Alex Highsmith getting game balls.

 

 

Steelers’ Ryan Clark Admits He Was Wrong on One Critical Mike Tomlin Fact

The rag-tag, patched-together defense, which was full of players recently brought up from the practice squad and many who were fairly new to Pittsburgh, managed to shut down the Bengals’ offense. Their offense had been finding ways to win despite the injury to franchise quarterback Joe Burrow. The Bengals had won three in a row with backup Jake Browning under center. Their last loss was ironically to Pittsburgh when they met at the end of November.

 

 

Steelers’ Mike Tomlin Won’t Be Going Anywhere This Offseason
Clark, among others, felt that there was a good chance this Week 16 game would be Head Coach Mike Tomlin’s last game at home. After the losses, nearly everyone was calling for his head on a platter. The losses weren’t the only issue, it also seemed as though Tomlin was losing control of his team with players acting immature.

Clark was leading the charge among former players that it was time for the Super Bowl-winning coach and the storied franchise to part ways. Now Clark says that he may have spoken too soon.

 

 

Steelers’ Ryan Clark Admits He Was Wrong on One Critical Mike Tomlin Fact

“I will say this. I talked to someone in the building and the one thing they said a lot of what I said was right, but they said the one thing is they could never see Mike Tomlin coaching in another jersey and that’s what that man means in that building,” said Clark.

 

 

This makes it “them versus the world” with everyone counting the Steelers out. That is a place that Tomlin thrives according to co-host Jeff Saturday. No one is better at motivating players and finding ways to bring them together.

Clark agreed and said that he felt he saw a lot of flexibility out of Tomlin. The lack of adjustment or change during the losses was a huge part of what had fans so angry. They want to see that the coaching staff recognizes when a game isn’t going well and finds a way to overcome it. Instead, what we saw was the Steelers laying down for other teams.

 

 

Steelers’ Ryan Clark Admits He Was Wrong on One Critical Mike Tomlin Fact

“This also says a lot about Mike Tomlin. There were changes in offensive philosophy, there were changes in the way that they play defense. I thought this was an adjustment of energy, an adjustment of attitude, and a great answer to all the questions of last week,” said Clark.

Now with Pickett planning to return soon, it begs the question of which quarterback will start. Rudolph may have had an excellent game, but is this sustainable for him, or was it a one-off? Rudolph has been with the Steelers since he was drafted and often came in for an injured Roethlisberger. Consistency isn’t an attribute that has been attached to Rudolph in the past. Clark said that the Steelers shouldn’t choose who plays out of a sense of obligation because they drafted or acquired someone.

“You draft Kenny Pickett, and I am not saying Kenny Pickett isn’t the answer, but he hasn’t been the answer yet. You play Mitch Trubisky over Mason Rudolph because you got him in free agency. They’re going to have to start making decisions inside the Pittsburgh Steelers building like they used to – the best player at the best time, when he’s supposed to be there.”

Steelers’ Ryan Clark Admits He Was Wrong on One Critical Mike Tomlin Fact

Wide receiver George Pickens has taken nearly as much heat from the media and the fans as Tomlin. His frustrations over his targets and the struggles the offense has had in general caused him to be labeled an immature troublemaker. While he may not have had the most targets or receptions, he had a huge impact on the game.

Pickens’s incredible hands were on full display as he reeled in some long passes, including one of 43 yards to help the Steelers win. The Get Up crew called the win a “statement game” saying not only did Pittsburgh need the win to stay in the playoff hunt, but they psychologically needed it to get back on track. But Clark gives Rudolph credit for his part in the win.

“Mason Rudolph saved the season. Like honestly Mason Rudolph was the adjustment that this team needed. We thought it was Matt Canada, but when you look at what he was able to do last night, it starts right away with the second play of the football game. You have the slant to George Pickens, but people are going to see this and not understand. You have to put this football right where you need it to be in order to get yards after the catch,” explained Clark.

Steelers’ Ryan Clark Admits He Was Wrong on One Critical Mike Tomlin Fact

The Steelers still have a shot at making the postseason. They will need to continue to be creative and aggressive. Pittsburgh must win their next two games against the Seattle Seahawks and the Baltimore Ravens. Clark said that Rudolph played like a man with nothing to lose.

You May Also Like