Two days after the Steelers finished 9-7, but out of the playoffs, the only real news thus far is that Ken Anderson has decided to retire after three years as the Steelers quarterbacks coach.
But no one wanted to talk about Kenny A today....
Agonizing Over Arians
Yesterday freelance journalist Jim Wexell reported that his sources indicated that Bruce Arians was to be fired. The brief Twitter report revealed that Rooney had told Tomlin to resolve the situation in whatever way he saw fit, but that with the new investors “the culture was changing,” which Wexell explained to mean that Arians was out.
Steel Curtain Rising questioned the Post-Gazette’s Ed Bouchette as about Wexell’s report during his daily chat, but Bouchette did not take the question. (He did indicate at other times that he expected Arians to stay.)
In his weekly press conference Mike Tomlin announced Anderson’s retirement, but refused to rule out further coaching changes.
This came on the heels of an ESPN Radio report indicating that Arians would be fired in the near future. Post Gazette blogger Bob Smizik indicated at mid-day that ESPN was backing off their report, but later he indicated ESPN was standing behind their story.
Just the Fact, Please....
Writing on PG Plus, Ed Bouchette confirmed a few facts, but not the story itself. He indicated that if Arians has in fact been fired, neither he nor the front office know this yet. Bouchette, like Smizik, went at great pains to point out that the ESPN Radio reporter who broke the story is a serious journalist and not someone to traffic in rumors.
However, Bouchette also confirmed that “the front office” wants Arians out, but Tomlin does not. Just who “front office” is remains unclear. It could be Kevin Colbert or Art Rooney II or both.
(Bouchette also reported that Tomlin has fought successfully to save the job of one of his special teams coaches following the 2007 season, a fact was not widely known before today.)
The Tribune-Review's Scott Brown reporting paints a similar story, that Arians has not yet been fired and may not be fired, although Brown hones in on the fact that neither Tomlin nor the Steelers have issued reports affirming Arians' continued employment with the team.
Brown also informed his readers that Tomlin was in the process of meeting with his players, one-by-one, and then would move on to meet with each coach individually.
Both Brown and Ed Bouchette informed readers that no final decision on Arians is likely until Tomlin has completed those meetings, something which might not happen until the beginning of next week.
Of Pundits and Peanut Gallaries
Regardless of whether he ultimately stays or goes, the news that Bruce Arians could be about to go has generated a firestorm.
The Tribune-Review's Joe Starkey, who was critical of many of Tomlin's coaching hires, has written an excellent piece that about the dilemma created by Arians.
As if almost on cue, Ron Cook from the Post-Gazette is defending Arians, contending that it is simply unfair to use Arians as a scapegoat.
As expected, the internet is where the fire burns the hottest. The website Behind the Steel Curtain, one of the best, if not the best fan-run sites, post revealing the Jim Wexell news drew close to 84 comments. The post discussing the ESPN Radio report drew 134 comments, and counting.
That of course only measures the volume on one site out of hundereds, meaning this is only the tip of the iceberg.
Larry Zierlein's Job Also in Doubt?
Bouchette also reported that the Steelers were attempting to resign several practice squad player, specifically he mentioned A.O. Shipley, the man the Steelers drafted in the 7th round of the 2009 draft. Shipley apparently would not sign until the Steelers could confirm who his position coach would be.
The Steelers were not able to make that confirmation today.
Hence, offensive line coach Larry Zierlein could also be on the chopping block.
Thanks for visiting. Time allowing, Steel Curtain Rising will weigh in soon on what should happen with Arians.