Mike Tomlin: Working for Jon Gruden as a young coach helped me in a big way

Baltimore Ravens v Las Vegas Raiders
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It’s been a long time, but when Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin was just beginning his NFL coaching career, he worked for his next opponent.

Tony Dungy hired Tomlin to coach Tampa Bay’s defensive backs in 2001. But Jon Gruden kept Tomlin in his position when he took over as head coach in 2002, as the Buccaneers won Super Bowl XXXVII. Tomlin was in that position until 2006 when he became the Vikings’ defensive coordinator. A year later, he succeeded Bill Cowher as the Steelers’ head coach.

But this week, Tomlin said he learned plenty from Gruden in their four seasons together.

Gru has no fear,” Tomlin said, via Ray Fittipaldo of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “He doesn’t. He looks at a problem and sees it as an opportunity. You can’t fake that. It’s every day for him. I probably already had that mentality, but he helped me hone it as a vocation, as a coach. His can-do approach, the positive energy he consistently brings to whatever challenge the job presents helped me and helped me in a big way as a coach when I worked for him as a young guy.”

The last time the Steelers faced the Raiders was in 2018. Gruden got the better of that matchup, with the Raiders defeating Pittsburgh in Oakland 24-21.

7 responses to “Mike Tomlin: Working for Jon Gruden as a young coach helped me in a big way

  1. Mike Tomlin is one of the underrated coaches in the history of the NFL and Gruden is one of the most overrated. What he did with Mason Rudolph and Duck Hodges at QB a few years ago still blows my mind.

  2. Mike can be the most frustrating coach. The season he lost Ben, he went 8 and 8 with Mason and Duck, while the Texans only won 4 or 5 games last year with Deshaun. Some of his best-coached games were games where Ben was not the starting QB. He wins the game we sometimes shouldn’t win and have horrible losses against the team we should beat easily, i.e., the Bengals game last year. One of the big issues I see with him is, he trusts Ben too much with the offense or doesn’t have a choice in the matter, especially when your GM says Ben can call anyone out, including him. I can only imagine the dynamic that goes on in that locker room. I can’t wait for Ben to retire. We get a new young QB and actually see Tomlin control the offense and defense.

  3. Tomlin is a true leader of men and great coach. This is high praise for Gruden. I believe if Mike said it, he means it. Even if Gruden is overrated that doesn’t change the reality that he has certain strengths, strengths that Tomlin recognized and tapped into.

  4. Gruden helped a lot of young coaches become great coaches. A few he had in Tampa Bay were Tomlin, Kyle Shanahan, Sean McVay, Gus Bradley, Raheem Morris, and Jay Gruden. When you look at that list, you might think it would be worth it for aspiring coaches to pay to work for Gruden.

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