Pittsburgh Steelers Head Coach Mike Tomlin vowed to unleash hell on his opponents in December. After losing, at home no less, to the pitiful Oakland Raiders, he is unleashing a little hell on his starting lineup. The Steelers are suffering through their longest losing streak since 2003 when they lost five games in a row. The current Steelers losing streak stands at 4, and two of those loses are ugly loses to the Raiders and the Kansas City Chiefs. Since the Cincinnati Bengals swept their AFC North Divisional games, the Steelers are amongst a crowded field to make the 2009 NFL playoffs.
The Steelers are not a team, or really an organization that makes panicky moves with their depth chart. That being said Tomlin believes there is a pattern of behavior amongst his starters that he will no longer tolerate, and has promised to make big changes to the starting lineups before a Thursday night match up with the Cleveland Browns.
Since oft beaten William Gay suffered a concussion late in the Oakland loss, Rookie Joe Burnett may start in his place. Another Rookie CB, Keenan Lewis may also get a start along with, DE Ziggy Hood, and WR Mike Wallace. Wallace will get the start if Hines Ward cannot go, and since this is a short week, and Ward has a hamstring issue it seems likely he will not play.
This is by far the biggest test in Tomlin’s three years as the head man in Pittsburgh. His frustration stems from the two over time loses to Kansas City, and Baltimore where his team was leading in the fourth quarter. Tomlin was noticeably agitated during his weekly press conference last Monday, and stated that loyalty and longevity didn’t count for much when his team is losing games like the Steelers have been.