Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Tomlin: Both Sides of Ball to Blame for 8-8 Season Briefs

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Tomlin: Both Sides of Ball to Blame for 8-8 Season Briefs

Article excerpt

Coach Mike Tomlin gave a resounding vote of confidence to defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau, but acknowledged the offense and defense took turns not performing to acceptable standards during the 8-8 season that concluded Sunday with a victory against the Cleveland Browns.

In a news conference this morning, Tomlin said the offense started off well enough this season under new offensive coordinator Todd Haley, but it did not perform nearly as well after the team hit a 6-3 record.

Conversely, he noted that the defense started slow when it blew fourth-quarter leads in Oakland and Tennessee, but it came on late in the season to finish ranked No. 1 in the NFL in total defense and pass defense.

On the offense, Tomlin said, "We started off well in time of possession and third down. Obviously, we were not ascending in those areas in the second half of the season. Those were the Achilles heel for us."

When asked if he thought there was a prolonged adjustment to Haley's offense, Tomlin said, "I didn't believe it would be significant to prevent us from winning and I still don't."

Then, asked for an assessment of Haley's performance, he said, "He was an 8-and-8 coordinator. Like I was an 8-and-8 head coach."

But, when asked if he wanted defensive coordinator LeBeau to return in 2013, Tomlin said, "I think everyone is aware I'm happy with the work of Dick LeBeau. He's a special guy."

Tomlin acknowledged, however, that the injuries to most of the Steelers' top players contributed to the team's .500 record and missing the playoffs for the second time in his tenure.

The Steelers were 3-5 in games decided by three points or fewer.

"Good teams are dominant largely in those moments to get out of stadiums with victories. We didn't do that enough," he said.

Tomlin also said DE Brett Keisel, who sprained his medial collateral ligament against the Browns; and CB Keenan Lewis, who sprained his MCL in practice two weeks ago, will not need surgery.

He also said safety Ryan Clark spent Sunday night in a hospital after sustaining what Tomlin termed a "severe contusion" of the left quad. …

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