Pittsburgh Steelers Head Coach Mike Tomlin can and is criticized for a whole lot of things, but his personnel decisions when it comes to wide receivers coaches shouldn’t be one of them. The first one he brought in was Randy Fichtner, who’s now their offensive coordinator. Scotty Montgomery is now a college head coach.
Following Montgomery was the great Richard Mann, whose recent retirement sparked yet another search for a wide receivers coach that landed on long-time veteran Darryl Drake. He sat down for his first public interview with Missi Matthews recently for the team’s website.
Asked to give an overview of his thoughts of coaching the Steelers’ wide receivers, he started off with an anecdote in which he talked about always keeping an eye on the groups of wide receivers from other teams during his stops along the way, because he wanted to know what group of guys his guys should be chasing.
He said that so often through that time the name of the Steelers would come up as near or at the top, and it’s easy to see why. From Hines Ward and Plaxico Burress to Santonio Holmes to Mike Wallace to Emmanuel Sanders to Antonio Brown, Martavis Bryant, and JuJu Smith-Schuster, Pittsburgh has had a way with the position over the past couple of decades. And, you know, before that, too.
“I’ve always wanted to see who was considered the best”, he told Matthews. “What group was I chasing? What is the standard? And Pittsburgh has been at the top for quite some time”. It certainly helped that Brown has been a perennial All-Pro for five years now, of course. Still, the talent goes beyond the top.
“I look at this group and I see some extremely talented young men, some guys that have the ability to take over a game”, Drake said. “So I was really excited just about the challenge of coaching those guys. And each one of them have something that can help us win”.
Without getting into the specifics of each wide receiver for a short interview, the Steelers’ new wide receivers coach said that “they’re all different, but each one of them has some intangibles that you look for”. All of them—including Eli Rogers, who is not currently on the roster—offers a little something different that can be exploited.
I don’t think it’s much of a secret that Drake landed himself a pretty cushy job. While he will certainly be tasked with working around and managing some big personalities, he has the gravitas to quickly earn this group’s respect, and they will surely do their part in making him look good on the field.