Steelers' coordinators likely safe

Updated: January 3, 2014, 4:56 PM ET
By Scott Brown | ESPN.com

PITTSBURGH -- Steelers coach Mike Tomlin fired offensive line coach Jack Bicknell Jr. on Friday, but any other changes to his staff -- if there are any -- aren't expected to include offensive coordinator Todd Haley and defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau, a league source told ESPN.com.

LeBeau, 76, has said he wants to return in 2014, and Haley appears to be safe given the success of the Steelers offense in the second half of the season and particularly after it employed a no-huddle attack extensively.

Tomlin did not commit to either coordinator returning Monday when he held an end-of-season news conference, and he has full control over coaching personnel decisions, the source said.

The head coach sent some shock waves through Steelers headquarters Friday when he fired Bicknell after just one season.

Bicknell's replacement will be the fourth offensive line coach the Steelers have had since Tomlin took over in 2007. Bicknell, the source said, was stunned by his dismissal, which came after the offensive line showed significant improvement over the course of the season.

The Steelers allowed just seven sacks in their final seven games, and rookie running back Le'Veon Bell came on at the end of the season. Bell ran for 214 rushing yards in the final two games.

Pittsburgh, however, fielded one of the worst rushing attacks in the NFL, finishing tied for 27th with 86.4 yards per game. Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was sacked 42 times, seventh most in the NFL.

The line endured constant shuffling because of injury and went through two centers, including Pro Bowler Maurkice Pouncey, who tore his ACL in the season opener. The loss of Pouncey caused the Steelers to scrap the zone-blocking scheme they had practiced extensively in the offseason and during training camp.

Bicknell previously coached the offensive line for the Chiefs (2012) and Giants (2009-11) before joining the Steelers. He replaced Sean Kugler, who left after the 2012 to become the head coach at UTEP, his alma mater.

Scott Brown

ESPN Pittsburgh Steelers reporter

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