View Full Version : Ron Cook: Steelers enter OTAs looking to shed Team Turmoil label

05-17-2019, 07:07 AM
The “cleansing” has been done, to use Mike Tomlin’s word. Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell are gone, thankfully. The Steelers will be a much different team when they gather Tuesday at their South Side headquarters for the start of organized team activities. It won’t be surprising if every player attends and takes part, even though the workouts are voluntary. Ben Roethlisberger, the “undisputed leader of this group,” to use Kevin Colbert’s words, certainly will be there as the Steelers try to put their Team Turmoil reputation aside and take their first baby step down a road they hope leads to Super Bowl LIV.

“We want to show we are here, dedicated to this team,” Roethlisberger told Steelers.com. “We are all about each other.”

The man means what he says.

The start of OTAs will come a few days after Roethlisberger took his receivers, tight ends and running backs on a brief bonding vacation to his lake home in Georgia.

Check out James Conner’s Instagram post to see a bit of the fun.

The camaraderie is wonderful, but it’s going to take more than love and brotherhood to resurrect the Steelers. These OTAs have the feel of being especially important. I would love to hear Tomlin’s message at the team meeting Tuesday morning. This is his first chance to take back control of his locker room. He allowed too much undisciplined mayhem the past two seasons, a major, contributing factor to the Steelers’ embarrassing home playoff loss to Jacksonville in 2017 and their 2-4 collapse down the stretch after a 7-2-1 start in 2018.

Tomlin’s critics will tell you he can’t change, that he is what he is, that he is too soft with his players, that he wants to be their friend rather than their boss. I don’t believe any of that. I think he just was blinded by Brown’s incredible talent and work ethic to the point he allowed Brown to get away with anything and become bigger than the team. I believe Tomlin can and will change. He will learn from his mistakes. He will be a better coach because of it.

The process for Tomlin will be easier with Brown and Bell gone. I don’t think the Steelers have a culture problem. They had a Brown problem. Their players are largely good people. I don’t see another player poisoning the locker room by challenging Tomlin’s authority.

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05-17-2019, 10:49 AM
Talk is cheap. Take care of business in 2019.