Ok, there's a big difference between a coach and a player who's a leader. A coach is a coach. He's the boss, everyone knows that, and they do what he says. But that's totally different from a player who's a leader. Porter was such an effective leader, in a way a coach could never be, because to the players, he was their peer. He was one of them, not a coach. He was a guy who was respected in the locker room, who always stood up for his teammates, and who was a leader in terms of more than Xs and Os or motivational speeches that a coach might give. Who organized the whole throwback jersey thing for Dick Lebeau and Jerome? Porter. Who held everyone back in the tunnel so Jerome could go out in the Super Bowl first? Porter. Who fired up the team with his trash talk and who lead the "Who ride? We Ride!" chant? Porter. A fellow player can reach guys in ways that a coach can't. So no, Tomlin isn't a replacement for Porter. Not at all. He's a replacement for Cowher, who himself was a great motivator and the team loved him. If anything, Tomlin has to prove HIMSELF to the TEAM, not the other way around. He has to earn the respect and love that Cowher got from the team. And even when he does, he won't be able to fill the leadership role of a Jerome Bettis or a Joey Porter. I'm thinking Foote or Farrior might be able to step up and provide something similar, and Silverback (Harrison) might be able to bring the intensity. But for a while, this team will have a void where Porter used to be, and that void won't be filled right away.
And as for Faneca, his comments last year about Ben weren't criticism, they were realism. Obviously nobody watches their starting QB go down and be replaced by a rookie and gets all excited about it. And that's what Faneca said. Later in the season, as Ben proved himself, he had the full support of Faneca and everyone else. That's perfectly normal.