The Pittsburgh Steelers were one of the biggest disappointments of 2018, losing four of their final six games to finish 9-6-1 - missing the playoffs for the first time in five years.
Pittsburgh jumped out to an excellent 7-2-1 start and looked poised to lock up a first-round bye and vie for a Super Bowl championship. But they committed plenty of uncharacteristic late-game gaffes from- missed field goals to fumbles to goal line interceptions - to miss the playoffs.
Head coach Mike Tomlin knows something has to be done after this letdown of a season, and he promised changes while speaking to reporters.
"Change is a part of this, particularly when you are having press conferences like today," Tomlin said, according to Ray Fittipaldo of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. "Our staff doesn't run away from that. I'm acknowledging that change is a part of where we're headed. And I'm open to it because I'm not interested in doing this (again next year)."
Obviously, the Steelers will bid farewell to Pro Bowl running back Le'Veon Bell, who opted to sit out the entire season after a contract dispute. Wide receiver Antonio Brown might be on the trade block now, given his antics and behavior which led to him being benched for the regular season finale on Sunday.
The only major change Pittsburgh made last year was at offensive coordinator, where Todd Haley was fired and replaced with Randy Fichtner. There has been speculation that defensive coordinator Keith Butler could be let go, given the struggles on defense in the second half. Whether or not Tomlin is willing to shake up his coaching staff remains to be seen.
Pittsburgh had a top-10 defense and a very productive offense that included breakout years from James Conner, JuJu Smith-Schuster and Vance McDonald. The roster itself doesn't need drastic changes, but perhaps GM Kevin Colbert will decide to add another impact player or two to complement this talented group anyway.
What This Means
The Steelers have been a model organization over the past 15 years. They've reached three Super Bowl games - winning two of them - and haven't had a single losing season. But missing the postseason is unacceptable in the Steel City, which is why Tomlin is promising some form of change in the offseason.