Monday, September 28, 2015

For Tomlin, Vick will get it done

Sunday, Sept. 27, 2015, 11:45 p.m.
Steelers top Rams 12-6; Roethlisberger injures knee
Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Michael Vick, right, throws under pressure from St. Louis Rams defensive end Chris Long, left, during the fourth quarter of an NFL football game Sunday, Sept. 27, 2015, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Billy Hurst)
It will around a month. It won't be for the season.

The Steelers are looking at life without franchise quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, but it could be worse.
It could be Bruce Gradkowski. It could be Landry Jones.

It's Mike Vick, though.

But really, it's Vick and Mike Tomlin.

And outside of New England, there might not be a bond tighter than the one between the Steelers' new starting quarterback and longtime coach.

So if Vick has anything left of what it was that once made him the NFL's It Guy, the Steelers are going to be all right.

The best motivation is the push to do right by a friend.

“I'm so thankful for Mike Tomlin … because I wasn't ready to give up on football,” Vick said.
“He's seen a lot in me, and I'm thankful.”

Confidence can't be taught. Humility can.

Vick exuded both after replacing Roethlisberger in the Steelers' 12-6 win over the St. Louis Rams on Sunday. From inside the Edward Jones Dome visitors locker room, a lot of people — from Tomlin to Antonio Brown to Art Rooney II — took at least a moment to see how Vick handled himself.

Perfectly, that's how.

He was confident.

“I feel like I was born to do this,” Vick said.

He was humble.

“It's not just about me,” Vick said.

“There's a lot of great players in this locker room that complement the outcome of a football game.”

He was realistic.

“I won't put it all on my shoulders,” Vick said. “I'll take sole responsibility of everything that happens, but I'm just going to prepare myself and get myself into position to help this football team.”

He was leading even as Roethlisberger, his left knee wrapped and braced, limped out of the stadium on crutches.

There are moments that come to define great teams. If the Steelers become a great team, one of those moments will probably be what happened immediately after the final whistle was blown in this dome.

Tomlin, a Vick advocate if not outright fan, pumped his arms repeatedly while crossing the field. He zeroed in on Vick. Upon reaching him, Tomlin slapped the top of Vick's helmet, then pulled his fellow Hampton Roads football brother close.

Whatever words there were, they came only from Tomlin.

And they were uniquely for Vick, who has overcome an awful lot more than having to settle himself and the Steelers when a win was slipping away.

“He got us out of the stadium,” Tomlin said of Vick, who completed 5 of 6 passes for 38 yards.

“That is what the backup quarterback's job is. If he has to play next week, then he gets a full week of preparation. My standards and expectations will be different under those circumstances.

“It was above the line today. He got us out of the stadium.”

Spoken like the man Tomlin prefers the public to hear, see and know.

That man has no time for nonsense or hypotheses. That man dismisses facts as speculation. That man makes statement out of questions.

Part of Tomlin might be that man.

A truer part of Tomlin is the man who found Vick in the middle of the field, and enjoyed a moment that was hard earned.

Only a little over a month ago, Vick could not find a coach willing to give him a look. Now, the best coach for him will look to Vick to steel the Steelers for the games they'll play without their best player.

Vick will make mistakes. He has made mistakes.

Vick will learn from them. He has learned from them.

Vick's it, though.

You don't have to like it. But if you haven't figured it out by now, you need to understand what it is all about in this league.

It's the starting quarterback and the coach.

And the Steelers absolutely cannot replace Roethlisberger.

But it's not all about Vick.

It's Vick and Tomlin.

And it's more than good enough to win.

Rob Rossi is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at or via Twitter @RobRossi_Trib.

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