The Pittsburgh Steelers have already had more change than is typical for them during one offseason when it comes to their coaching staff. During the Mike Tomlin era, I can’t really recall any offseason in which more than two, perhaps three, minor tweaks have been made. There was the ripple effect of Dick LeBeau, which elevated Keith Butler to defensive coordinator and assistants Joey Porter and Jerry Olsavsky to position coaches, as one example.
For a team that went 13-3 and secured a postseason bye, the extent to which the coaching staff has been altered is already significant, though some of it was out of necessity, and it is not done. They elected to move on from Todd Haley at defensive coordinator, promoting Randy Fichtner to that role while, for now, remaining quarterbacks coach. Wide receivers coach Richard Mann retired, and has been replaced by Darryl Drake, an outside signing.
Over the past 24 hours or so, they added Blaine Stewart as an assistant coach to the staff, and defensive backs coach Carnell Lake announced that he is going to resign in order to be with his son during his senior season at UCLA. Obviously, they will have to find a new defensive backs coach, as one adjustment, but more could follow.
At least that is what President Art Rooney II suggested yesterday while speaking with reporters. According to Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the team is “still working on some contracts and said Mike Tomlin may add another coach somewhere because they did not replace Haley with an outsider”.
Art Rooney on Steelers coaching staff, says they’re still working on some contracts and said Mike Tomlin may add another coach somewhere because they did not replace Haley with an outsider
— Ed Bouchette (@EdBouchette) February 7, 2018
I have already maintained earlier this offseason that an additional staff hire is very much in the realm of possibility. Fichtner has prior experience as an offensive coordinator in college, but he has never held a coaching tenure above the level of position coach at the NFL level, so asking him to do both without any additional help is ambitious.
The Steelers also have among the smallest coaching staffs in the NFL as it is, and recent changes, voluntary or otherwise, provide the opportunity to consider expanding, as they did when they divided the coaching duties for the linebackers between inside and outside. The same can be done for the defensive backs.
Rooney saying that they are still working on some contracts, to me anyway, suggests that they might still consider termination as one option, which I’m sure many would appreciate, particularly if it comes from the linebackers coaches. But it could also mean extensions, or new hires, as he said a bit later on.
The Steelers have already parted ways with three members from their coaching staff from a year ago in Haley, Mann, and now Lake. They have brought in one new position coach in Drake and an assistant in Stewart (which is a minor role) and shuffled one coach to an expanded role, but it’s clear they are not done. The vacant defensive backs coach position is obvious, but other changes could take place as well.