Although Burfict and cornerback Adam Jones have come under fire for their actions that contributed to the Bengals' season-ending loss versus the Steelers, Tobin pointed out that the duo did "far more" over the course of the season and that game "to cause us to win than they did to cause us to lose."
"This game is about passion and passionate players are the best players in the league," Tobin explained. "So we're not going to tell him not to be a passionate football player. That's what he is, that's what makes him good.
"Obviously there are some things maybe at the end of the plays and decisions he makes in a fraction of a second that he'll start to do a little differently. But he's an important part of what we do, and we're not going to restrict him to the point where he's ineffective."
An affable and knowledgable Tobin comported himself well in his podium debut, but rejected the notion that his appearance represented a "sea change" in the organizational power structure.
Owner Mike Brown and coach Marvin Lewis are the "direction" of the club, Tobin insisted, while his job is to "facilitate their vision and plan."
"Marvin's still going to be out front. I'm not looking for that," Tobin continued. "I think he does a good job doing it, so he'll still be the focus and the voice of our football team. This is a scouting event, so it's a little more natural for somebody that does scouting to be up here talking."