Most likely not this time.
A blowout playoff loss at house to Cleveland nonetheless recent, Tomlin allowed on Wednesday that the upheaval may very well be vital over the subsequent few months. On the floor, an 11-0 begin and an AFC North title appears to be like like a wildly profitable season. In most locations it’s.
It’s not in Pittsburgh. And 4 years faraway from the staff’s final postseason victory, Tomlin feels it extra acutely than most. Given a looming salary-cap crunch and three straight December swoons, the staff’s observe of perpetually kicking the can down the highway so as to stay aggressive could should cease.
“It’s difficult,” Tomlin stated. “The depths of (our scenario) is difficult, so there’s quite a lot of work forward.”
Beginning with whether or not Ben Roethlisberger returns in 2021. The 38-year-old quarterback performed remarkably properly at instances a 12 months faraway from right-elbow surgical procedure however was sometimes mistake-prone down the stretch, together with a four-interception efficiency towards Cleveland.
Roethlisberger is underneath contract for subsequent season and indicated he hopes the Steelers carry him again. On the identical time, he carries a $41 million wage cap hit, which means common supervisor Kevin Colbert must get fairly inventive to fill out the remainder of the roster more likely to be put collectively with out looming free brokers. These embrace exterior linebacker Bud Dupree, huge receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster and cornerback Mike Hilton.
Requested if he anticipates having Roethlisberger underneath heart in 2021, Tomlin stated “we haven’t made any selections about any of our personnel alongside these strains.”
“I believe it’s affordable to imagine there’s a likelihood he’s going to be again, actually,” Tomlin added.
That call, whether or not it’s Roethlisberger’s or the staff’s, will probably should be made earlier than Roethlisberger receives a $15 million roster bonus due in mid-March. It’s one among many forks within the highway the Steelers must navigate, an inventory that features whether or not to retain offensive coordinator Randy Fichtner and defensive coordinator Keith Butler.
Butler helped oversee a protection that completed third within the league in yards and allowed and topped the NFL in sacks for the fourth straight season. The offense grew to become overly reliant on Roethlisberger due to a working sport that completed on the backside in each yards speeding and yards per carry. Tomlin refused to be particular in his criticism of both the scheme or the gamers.
“I believe if you’re useless final in something, it’s the entire above,” he stated. “We higher assess it as such. We is not going to settle for our present place in that space. We’ve acquired to assault that and we are going to.”
The Steelers have put collectively 17 straight seasons at .500 or higher, the longest lively streak within the league. Even with long-term retooling imminent no matter whether or not Roethlisberger opts in for 2021 or not, Tomlin stays adamant the expectations keep the identical.
“It’s our need to be aggressive, compete for and pursue (titles),” Tomlin stated. “That will likely be our mindset, little question.”
But the truth is the Steelers haven’t superior within the postseason for the reason that divisional spherical of the 2016 playoffs. They’ve allowed 37 factors or extra throughout their three-game postseason dropping streak courting again to the 2016 AFC championship, together with giving up a franchise-record 48 to the Browns.
“It has been a disappointment,” Tomlin stated. “I’ll acknowledge that and never preserve establishment and hope the result modifications. That’s the definition of madness.”
The established order has largely labored successfully for 50 years. No franchise has received extra Tremendous Bowls. Solely the Patriots have performed in additional. A decade faraway from the staff’s final look in the one sport by which the success and failure of a season is measured — at the least in Pittsburgh — the Steelers head into an extended than anticipated offseason at a crossroads.
The method of looking for solutions begins in earnest virtually instantly. Nonetheless, the sting of the autumn from a franchise-best 11-0 begin to the ignominy of a 1-5 end stays recent.
“It’s the loss,” Tomlin stated “The character of the loss. The place we had been. How we had been trending. The truth that we’re merely not enjoying this week.”
And received’t be enjoying for some time.
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