STEELERS - MONDAY
By Dale Grdnic
PITTSBURGH -- Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said Monday during his final press conference that the club's performance against the Cleveland Browns wouldn't necessarily boost the 2013 franchise, he acknowledged that certain individuals could build on their respective strong performances for next season.
Tomlin didn't provide evaluations for specific players, but he had overall comments on the team and then individual looks at the offense, defense and special teams as separate units.
"There's a certain level of disappointment that comes with sitting here, even right now, having the season-ending press conference,'' Tomlin said. "Those are never our intentions. Obviously, we desire to be a team that is consistently in the battle for the Vince Lombardi Trophy.
"That didn't transpire this year for a number of reasons. Primarily, we didn't do enough, particularly in the closing moments of close football games. ... We've been in eight games of three points or less, and we were 3-5 in those games. That will produce an 8-8 record that will have you on the outside looking in.
The good teams, the dominant teams,'' Tomlin added, "aren't necessarily dominant inside stadiums. But they are dominant largely in moments, and they do what is required to get out of stadiums with victories. We didn't do that consistently enough. We just didn't.''
Tomlin believed the Steelers started strongly enough on offense, dominating the time of possession and converting third downs, generally just possessing the ball and doing what it takes to win football games.
"Obviously, we were not ascending over the second half of the season in regard to some of those areas,'' Tomlin said. "And that was an Achilles heel for us.''
Injuries and growing pains with a new coordinator also hampered the offense, but Tomlin didn't believe those factors prohibited the Steelers from winning.