I have over the course of the past several seasons turned to a series of articles around this time of year in which I looked to explore the issues and questions facing the Pittsburgh Steelers during the upcoming season and trying to identify the range of possibilities in which any given scenario can end.
I started out with a dual series called The Optimist’s/Pessimist’s Take and switched last season to the Devil’s Advocate series. In an attempt to find a more streamlined solution with a title more suited to the actual endeavor, we are introducing a simple Buy Or Sell segment exploring whether the position statement is likely to be worth investing in as an idea.
The range of topics will be wide, from the specific to the general, exploring broad long-term possibilities to the immediate future of particular players. I will make an argument for why a concept should be bought into as well as one that can be sold, and you can share your thoughts on which is the more compelling case while offering your own.
Topic Statement: Matt Symmes will be the Steelers’ next quarterbacks coach.
He is already being utilized this offseason as something of a de facto assistant quarterbacks coach, so it seems pretty reasonable to believe that he will eventually be given a more proper title. It’s not an exact comparison, but Shaun Sarrett along the offensive line was able to move up from a similar position to Symmes to now being a proper assistant coach to Mike Munchak.
Munchak, however, doesn’t have another job. Randy Fichtner does. And let’s be honest, every offensive coordinator is at least in part also a quarterbacks coach, even if not in title. The quarterback position is far too instrumental for the offensive coordinator to not be involved in the training, prepping, and planning at the position.
Rookie Mason Rudolph has already spoken positively of the work Symmes has done with him, including the fact that he has access to the players at times when the coaches officially do not. Provided that he continues to do well, it seems likely that he is headed toward a more proper job title perhaps as early as next season, but it could also wait a few years as well. Fichtner hinted at wanting to maintain that role while Roethlisberger was still there, which could give the young assistant time to grow into the job.
Symmes still has a long way to go before he can earn a position such as quarterbacks coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers, which has among its depth chart a future Hall of Famer and a promising rookie. He is still a young guy without a very long resume. It would probably take more than a season’s worth of time in Pittsburgh to earn that kind of faith and trust.
And by then, chances are, a more qualified option for the position will come along that the Steelers will jump at the opportunity to land. Dozens of coaches get fired every year, after all. That was how they landed Darryl Drake and Mike Munchak, for example.