PITTSBURGH -- A news conference ostensibly held to review the season turned into coach Mike Tomlin telling reporters several times that he has yet to review the Steelers’ season.
That means Tomlin hasn’t made any decisions regarding his coaching staff and whether his coordinators will return.
“There’s a tendency to try and rush to it and through it. I don’t,” Tomlin said Monday afternoon. “I take my time. I don’t want to make hasty decisions. I don’t want to make emotional decisions. We’ll be very deliberate about how we proceed.”
Defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau wants to return for another season, and I expect him and offensive coordinator Todd Haley to both be back in 2014.
LeBeau is 76 but he is sharp as ever, and it’s hard to imagine the Steelers forcing him given his body of work and how much he has meant to the organization. His players revere him and would try to stop an oncoming train for LeBeau. That also has to count for something.
Yes, the Steelers' defense slipped this season and gave up too many big plays. But injuries and inexperience were as much to blame for defensive lapses and inconsistency as anything. They will lead to changes on defense but those changes should not start with LeBeau.
Haley may actually be on firmer ground than LeBeau given how the offense took off in the second half of the season.
The Steelers scored at least 20 points in their last nine games of the season, and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, in particular, thrived after Haley went all in on the no-huddle attack.
Roethlisberger has posted passing ratings of 97.0 and 92.0 in two seasons under Haley – his career average is 92.6 – and he stayed healthy enough in 2013 to play every snap.
The offense has a lot of young talent around Roethlisberger and is headed in the right direction. The last thing it needs is a new system that would be inevitable if there was a change in coordinators.
Tomlin said the Steelers have plenty to build on from this season, which is why I think we’ll see minimal changes on his staff.
“There’s a lot of reason to be optimistic about what transpired when you look at it over the course of the season,” Tomlin said. “It just speaks to the men that we work with. I learned a lot about them and sometimes you learn a lot about yourself and the people that you work with in the midst of adversity.”