Excerpt from Mike Tomlin's press conference today in the Tribune-Revlew:
"Whether he stands behind oft-criticized offensive coordinator Bruce Arians:
It is so not the time to talk about that, truth be known. We're singularly focused on the men we have in our circle. I won't even dignify that (question) with an answer."
And there you have it. Tomlin CLEARLY sidestepped this question, and for good reasons, but the fact he did not vehemently defend Arians tells me everything I need to know about Arians' future in Pittsburgh, as in, there IS no future for Arians in Pittsburgh.
Tomlin is not a stupid man. He has a better view of what is happening on the field than any single one of us. He knows our creativity on offense is severely lacking. He knows our line is atrocious (and yes, I do believe Zierlein will be gone, too). And you can just tell the immense amount of respect Tomlin has for Ben Roethlisberger and his desire to continue to develop him. For that matter, I think maybe this experience with Arians has been great for Ben. He has finally taken that next step in his growth in terms of having more say over the playbook, to the point he sometimes gets to call his own plays on the field (in the no-huddle). Arians has certainly taken the clamps off Ben in ways Ken Whisenhunt probably never would have. But Tomlin also has a bird's-eye-view of every single criticism of Arians that has been analyzed time and time again on this very blog, and knows he just isn't going to get the job done in the long-term.
Now I'm certainly no "let's let the coaches coach and the front office do its thing because we have no right to criticize" kind of guy. I just honestly have faith in Coach Tomlin's decision-making, and truly believe he will do the right thing in doing some housecleaning of his coaching staff in the offseason. For those who criticize him for not getting rid of these guys after last year, it's extremely important to develop continuity in a system. It was these guys' first year working together. You make too many knee-jerk reactions, you never find out if that continuity can be developed. Obviously it never did develop in this case. It was definitely worth the gamble. And because we now know it is not going to develop, changes can be made. And I think they will.