The Pittsburgh Steelers are out of Latrobe and back at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex, also referred to as the South Side Facility. We are already into the regular season, where everything is magnified and, you know, actually counts. The team is working through the highs and lows and dramas that go through a typical Steelers season.
How are the rookies performing? What about the players that the team signed in free agency? Who is missing time with injuries, and when are they going to be back? What are the coaches saying about what they are going to do this season that might be different from how it was a year ago?
These are the sorts of questions among many others that we have been exploring on a daily basis and will continue to do so. Football has become a year-round pastime and there is always a question to be asked, though there is rarely a concrete answer, as I’ve learned in my years of doing this.
Question: How many more changes will be made to the coaching staff this offseason in addition to not renewing the contract of Joey Porter?
It’s been less than a week, but we have already seen our first change made for the Steelers this offseason, the team and Head Coach Mike Tomlin yesterday announcing that the contract of outside linebackers coach Joey Porter, who had been with the team for five seasons and in that role for four, would not be renewed.
I’m not sure what the contract status of all the other coaches might be, but it would seem reasonable that that was the easiest domino to fall. Porter’s contract was expiring (one would guess so is Jerry Olsavsky’s, as they came in at the same time), but Porter’s group arguably has underperformed more over the past four years, and he’s also clearly not a disciplinarian.
Porter and Olsvasky were promoted to their current posts in the same year that Keith Butler was promoted from linebackers coach to defensive coordinator. It will be interesting to see if he survives the likely culling that will happen this offseason in Pittsburgh after four years of lack of improvement in situational football.
The Steelers led the team in special teams penalties, and that’s usually an invitation for a firing. Danny Smith has been here for a while now, and he does some good things, but they’re often offset by negative plays.
Three new coaches were already added last year. They won’t be swapped out immediately. James Daniel, the tight ends coach, is always a retirement risk. Mike Munchak could leave for a head coaching job.
Could Tomlin choose to add some type of on-field assistant head coach? That’s something I wouldn’t mind seeing.