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fordfixer
01-06-2010, 02:23 AM
Rumors swirling around Steelers' coaches

By Scott Brown, PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Wednesday, January 6, 2010
http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsbu ... 60837.html (http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/steelers/s_660837.html)

Quarterbacks coach Ken Anderson retired earlier this week, and his position may not be the only one Steelers coach Mike Tomlin has to fill during the offseason.

At a news conference Tuesday, Tomlin acknowledged he could make changes to a staff that has been intact since he took over as head coach three years ago.

Tomlin was vague about what kind of turnover there may be, in part because he hasn't met one-on-one with his coaches something he is doing this week with his players.

Two names that have generated a lot of discussion among fans are Bob Ligashesky and Bruce Arians.

Under Ligashesky, the special teams coordinator, the Steelers yielded four kickoff returns for touchdowns this season. They also were last in the NFL in opponents' starting field position (31.3) following a kickoff.

Arians remains a lightning rod for criticism because of the wide-open offense he employs, even though the Steelers had a 4,000-yard passer, two 1,000-yard receivers and a 1,000-yard rusher this season for the first time in franchise history.

Speculation over Arians' future intensified yesterday when 1250 ESPN reported that there are "strong rumblings" that Tomlin will part ways with Arians.

Arians worked a regular day at the Steelers' complex yesterday, and there are no indications that a decision already has been made about the coach who has been with the team since 2004. Arians was not available for comment, and a Steelers spokesman declined comment on the coach's status.

If Tomlin decides to go in another direction with his offense, it would contradict what he said yesterday.

Tomlin talked about the value of gathering information and not rushing to judgment before making personnel decisions whether they are players or coaches.

Asked if he expects to make a lot of changes during the offseason, Tomlin said, "I like to use the term, 'appropriate changes', and those aren't knee-jerk reactions or quick decisions. It's built over time as we evaluate what was put on tape. It's a process, starting (Monday), and we're in the infancy of that process, if you will.

"One of the things I've learned about this job the longer I have it is that information gathering is big, reviewing is big. It kind of provides insight into moving forward, so these are very valued meetings that I'm having right now."

Tomlin said he will meet with his assistant coaches individually after he has done the same with all of the players, including those on the practice squad.

The departure of Anderson, who turns 61 next month, means quarterback Ben Roethlisberger will have his third position coach since he joined the Steelers in 2004.

In three seasons with Anderson, Roethlisberger made the Pro Bowl, won another Super Bowl and became the first player in franchise history to throw for more than 4,000 yards in a season.

Anderson, who excelled as a quarterback for the Cincinnati Bengals from 1971-86, had talked with Tomlin last year about retiring following the 2009 season.

"He's an awesome guy and an awesome coach," Tomlin said. "(He's) been in this league 40 years. I guess it's OK to play a little golf if he so desires. More power to him."