Ed: Ward's Chances to Return Better Without Arians Friday, 20 January 2012 08:26 Written by Ed Bouchette Good morning,
It appears the announcement on Bruce Arians may not come until this weekend. That would be convenient for everyone involved because no one would be around to explain it.
Mike Tomlin is headed to the Senior Bowl. Arians is headed to the Pro Bowl, he and his wife (along with Randy Fichtner and his wife) guests of Ben Roethlisberger in Hawaii.
If Arians is out, Tomlin will begin his search for a new coordinator in Mobile next week. It's the NFL's greatest job-seeking convention with every coach but those in the playoffs there and many others out of jobs and looking for one.
And if it happens over the weekend, you can bet your bottom dollar it was a firing, not a retirement. A firing of that nature deserves someone to stand up and take credit for it and explain it. A true retirement should have allowed for a parting press conference by the retiree.
Onto some stuff:
-- If Arians is out, it might increase the chances that Hines Ward returns for one more season. Whether you agree with the move or not, the fact is that Ward's reduced status came at the request of the offensive coordinator, who had been trying to make that move for awhile.
-- When Tomlin was asked if both of his coordinators would be back, Tomlin answered "I anticipate it" and went on to extol continuity. Those comments were made on Monday Jan. 9, less than 24 hours after his team lost its playoff game in Denver. Perhaps on that day, Tomlin truly thought Arians would be back but over the next week learned from others in the organization that they did not want him back.
-- If this truly is not a retirement, do not think that Tomlin did not sign off on it. Even if Art Rooney and GM Kevin Colbert wanted Arians fired, Tomlin could have dug in his heels, as he did two years ago when Arians was practically out the door before Roethlisberger helped reel him back in.
"That's really Mike's decision,'' Rooney told KDKA-TV's Bob Pompeani yesterday. "That's the process Mike's involved in right now."
-- This also would not be the first time Tomlin received "advice" on his coaching staff. He "hired" about half of Bill Cowher's staff when he joined the Steelers in 2007.
-- YOU: you mentioned offering K. Lewis a 3 year deal....wouldn't this also be an ideal time to approach wallace and redman about new deals.....having redman under contract reduces the bargaining power of mendenhall (or at least the need to pay him like an upper tier back) and as good as wallace's numbers from the last 2 years look, his value at moment should be quite reasonable, considering his last 10 games played were basically stinkers...
ME: They said Wallace is a priority, so I assume they will offer him a contract besides the one-year tender required of RFAs. Redman is an exclusive-rights free agent, which means he's not free at all and cannot entertain offers provided the Steelers give him the required one-year contract. I've never seen them sign an ERFA a long-term deal and they won't start now.
-- YOU: Any way to get condolences to Coach Tomlin? It doesn’t matter how old you are – losing a parent is tough. The guy takes a lot of shots from us fans – some earned, many not. At this time, he should know that there are people praying for him. If there’s no way to do it, or no way that you can share, let him know that Steeler Nation is praying for him.
ME: I know we're well into the digital age and email has been around for seemingly forever now. But there remains a way to make sure your message gets to someone -- by U.S. Mail. It's old-fashioned but it works. It's magical. You can send a note to anyone who works for the Steelers and the U.S. Mail will deliver it! Not only that, but because so many people do not know how to actually take a pen and write a note, put it in an envelope, address it and slap a stamp on it, the players and coaches get much fewer snail mail and are more apt to pay attention to it than they were, say, 20 years ago. Here's a modern way to do it -- look up the Steelers address online. It's on the South Side of Pittsburgh, not Heinz Field.
-- YOU: Did you see all of those dropped passes by Green Bay? That was the same thing they did in the Super Bowl last year. Turnovers were the difference on Sunday and in the Super Bowl last year. The Giants created them and the Steelers did not. Oh, what could have been.
ME: Of all the stats from football games, turnover is usually the best at determining the winner.
-- YOU: Thanks for keeping us Pittsburgh ex-pats on top of the Steelers. First off, was it more that Dick LeBeau failed to make appropriate adjustments in Denver or was it reasonable to expect that Tebow wouldn't make the four amazing throws he made?
ME: I think it was reasonable to go into that game thinking Tebow could not make those throws. After he made a handful, I think it was reasonable not to be in that defense that took the field for the first play of overtime.
-- YOU: just wanted to thank you again for awesome coverage – for an out of towner (when I’m not there for home games) – it’s a first thing in the morning read – and as you may remember from my emails over the years I’ve been a devoted reader. Great stuff as always – living in New York and just reading a number of the beat writers overall – you and Gerry are both at the top of the NFL.
Any chance we can get you to cover Men’s Fantasy Camp this year? (Ok – not even a good joke lol!) (on a side note – at fantasy camp Bubby has totally added velocity and accuracy to my throws – which really comes in handy working in banking consulting!)
Hope you have a good offseason (of not covering labor strife this year at least). Cheers and thanks again – while I know it’s part of your job you go above and beyond to interact with us and keep us informed.
ME: Yeah, printing that is blatantly self-serving. Thanks, and, no, you are right in assuming I won't be covering Men's Fantasy Camp.