"Those people who are lacking effort won't be playing," Tomlin said Monday. "It's just that simple. I am angry, disappointed."
Tomlin was speaking of his players, many of them aging ungracefully on a defense that's allowed 34-plus points in three separate games for the first time since 1989. Some have wondered if Tomlin's disappointment also extends to the work of longtime coordinator Dick LeBeau.
Said safety Ryan Clark: "There's nothing anyone can say outside our group about coach LeBeau that bothers us. We know what kind of man he is. We know what kind of work he puts into us, not just as football players but as men. We don't have to defend him. His resume speaks for itself."
We'd need to hear something more tangible from Tomlin before questioning LeBeau's future in the Steel City. Since his arrival in Pittsburgh in 2004, LeBeau's crafted the NFL's most-feared front, with a scheme as creative as it is overpowering. The problem -- today -- isn't LeBeau, it's a host of overripe players tangled in with younger but lesser talent at every level of the D.
We're not sure Pop Warner himself could do much more with what LeBeau's been given to work with.