By Scott Brown
Friday, January 11, 2008
Looking refreshed -- and saying he felt as energized as he ever has been at this time of year since becoming an NFL coach -- Mike Tomlin met with the media Thursday and discussed many things, including why he intends to keep his coaching staff intact, what went into the Steelers' decision to call a run for Ben Roethlisberger on a critical third-down play last Saturday and what positions the Steelers need to upgrade during the offseason.
Given the struggles the Steelers had on special teams and in protecting Roethlisberger this season, there was speculation that Tomlin would shake up his coaching staff a bit. He acknowledged that changes could happen but that his "intentions at this point" are to bring back all of his assistant coaches for the 2008 season.
"Generally I'm pleased with our staff. I think we've got a bunch of unselfish men who are willing teachers," Tomlin said at the Steelers' South Side practice facility. "Do we need to coach better in all areas? Absolutely."
One reason Bob Ligashesky and Amos Jones will apparently return as special teams coaches next season: Tomlin suspected the Steelers might struggle on special teams this season because they had lost players (Sean Morey, Mike Logan and Chidi Iwuoma as identified by Tomlin) that had been so pivotal for them in that area in past years.
"That's why I gave it its just due in preparation leading up to the season," Tomlin said of all the work the Steelers put into special teams during training camp. "I was looking for men to seize those roles and move forward. Obviously, we were unsuccessful in that area.
"We've got to coach better, we've got to play better. We'll leave no stone unturned in making ourselves into an elite unit. That is the standard because it's going to help us be world champs."