Steelers president Art Rooney II spoke to reporters Wednesday and here are some of the highlights:
Rooney blamed the Steelers' 8-8 record on turnovers. Pittsburgh had a minus-10 turnover differential (30 giveaways and 20 takeaways). In the NFL, only one of the nine teams with turnover differentials of minus-10 or worse made the playoffs (that was the Colts). "Not to oversimplify it, clearly one statistic that stands out as a problem was turnover ratio," Rooney said. "If you look at the playoffs, teams that are on the negative side of the turnover ratio are not in the playoffs. It’s really as simple as that. That was an area on both sides of the football where we fell short, and certainly it’s something we can improve upon and something we need to improve upon.”
The Steelers are going to face some tough decisions to get under the salary cap by March 10. When asked about the Steelers being a reported $10 million over the cap with 30 players under contract, Rooney said, “That’s probably a little on the lower side of where we might be.” Translation: The Steelers' cap situation is worse than originally believed.
Rooney was supportive of coach Mike Tomlin, who finished with his first non-winning season in his six-year career. “I think Mike did a good job,” Rooney said. “He was accurate in his own assessment of himself -- we were 8-8. We need to be better than that, but I certainly still have a high level of confidence in Mike. I know he’s working as hard as he can already to make sure we get back on the right track.”
Rooney also endorsed Todd Haley as the team's offensive coordinator in 2013. In Haley's first season with the Steelers, his offense finished 21st in yards (332.8) and 22nd in points scored (21.0). Last season, Bruce Arians' offense ranked 12th in total yards (372.3) and 21st in points (20.3). “I thought Todd did a good job," Rooney said. "A lot of the things we were hoping for, we were getting. It should only get better.”