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Tomlin optimistic following Steelers' rebound

The SportsXchange

PITTSBURGH -- Missing the playoffs by a 41-yard Kansas City Chiefs missed field goal will not change the decisions the Pittsburgh Steelers must make heading into this offseason. But their 6-2 turnaround to finish 8-8 might have saved a few coaches their jobs.

There will be no wholesale blood-letting of the staff in Pittsburgh, especially not on offense where, at mid-season, there were reports all over the place that the Steelers would have an upheaval of their offensive staff.

Coordinator Todd Haley's job seems to be secure after two seasons and following much improvement on an offense that opened the season without injured tight end Heath Miller and rookie running back Le'Veon Bell and then lost Pro Bowl center Maurkice Pouncey for the season on the opening drive.

Still, head coach Mike Tomlin would not discuss any possible changes in his staff during his Monday press conference.

"I won't address any personnel or staff issues," Tomlin said. "I will at some point. I acknowledge change is a part of football in staff and players."

There have been reports that Tomlin will make changes in some of his offensive staff below Haley.

"There is a lot of reason to be optimistic about what transpired when you look at it over the course of the season," Tomlin said Monday. "It speaks to the men we work with. I learned a lot about them, and sometimes you learn a lot about yourself and the people you work with in the midst of adversity.

"We had enough adversity starting 0-4, being 2-6 at the turn. It's encouraging to know the type of men you work with that are capable of staying together and continuing to work in the midst of negativity. All of those things are encouraging. There is a lot of reason for optimism and a great deal of pride in this group of men that I work with."

-- Antonio Brown became the first receiver to catch at least five passes for at least 50 yards in all 16 NFL games.

"I was aware later in the year," Brown said of the record. "It's something special that I can say I've done. This league has been going on for a long time. I'm just thankful for the opportunity to have one of those resumes. It's something I appreciate tremendously."

-- The Steelers' list of opponents for 2014 has been set with dates for games usually announced by the NFL in April.

Home: Baltimore, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Houston, Kansas City, Indianapolis, New Orleans and Tampa Bay.

Away: Baltimore, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Jacksonville, New York Jets, Tennessee, Atlanta and Carolina.
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