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Steelers notebook: Tomlin mum on future of coordinators

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By Alan Robinson
Monday, Dec. 30, 2013, 10:24 p.m.
 

Coach Mike Tomlin often gives a vote of confidence to his assistant coaches during his annual end-of-season news conference, but he didn't do so Monday.

“Any personnel issues (talk), any staffing issues, is inappropriate,” he said.

Two years ago, Tomlin endorsed offensive coordinator Bruce Arians, only to have ownership decide to make a change.

• Numbers game: Antonio Brown's 110 catches were the second most in the league to Pierre Garcon's 113 for Washington. Brown's 12.8 yards per punt return average was No. 4. Ben Roethlisberger's 4,261 yards passing were the eighth most, and kicker Shaun Suisham's 93.8 accuracy rate (30 of 32) ranked No. 3. Rookie Le'Veon Bell ended 17th in rushing with 860 yards, despite missing three games.

• The Steelers will have the No. 15 pick in the first round of the draft, up two picks from last year and their highest since they also chose 15th in 2007. Their earliest pick in the past 10 years was No. 11 in 2004.

• The Steelers' offense improved in the second half of the season, gaining 2,666 yards compared to 2,386 yards in the second half of 2012. But the offense still finished No. 20 overall, so Tomlin wouldn't say the offense was ahead of the defense at season's end. “We've got some work to do in all three phases (offense, defense and special teams),” he said.

• Tomlin met with his players as a group Monday and will continue to hold individual meetings through Thursday.

• While the Bengals (11-5) easily won the AFC North, the Steelers finished with the best division record, 4-2. The Bengals and Ravens were 3-3, the Browns 2-4. The Steelers went 4-5 against teams .500 or above and 4-3 against losing-record teams, including two wins against Cleveland.

• Cornerback Curtis Brown will have ACL surgery Friday; he needed to wait until his MCL healed before having surgery. Tomlin said outside linebacker LaMarr Woodley (calf) won't need any offseason procedures.

• Right tackle Marcus Gilbert was surprised, and a bit embarrassed, when he received attention nationally for his Twitter complaint that Chiefs kicker Ryan Succop might have intentionally missed the 41-yard field goal try that would have sent the Steelers to the playoffs. Gilbert even used the words “point shaving.” “I got caught up in my emotion, and I took it (the tweet) down,” Gilbert said. “Things like that are going to happen in the NFL, people are going to miss field goals. We can't lean on that one kick.”

— Alan Robinson

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