The Pittsburgh Steelers saw a sparsely utilized but pretty efficient ground game in 2018 without their lead back, sending a backup to the Pro Bowl and watching the position account for 16 touchdowns from the ground and in the air. They got their first double-digit sack season from an outside linebacker this year and saw 20 sacks from the position as a whole, a frequent target goal.
So of course Head Coach Mike Tomlin elected not to renew the contracts of his running backs and outside linebackers coaches, as one does when those positions have productive seasons. That means there will be at least two new faces on the coaching staff in 2019.
And according to Gerry Dulac, there may even be a new coaching position added to Tomlin’s staff heading into next season.
Writing for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette this afternoon, Dulac writes that while the team is in the market for two new assistant coaches “and possibly a third”, likely referring to Mike Munchak, “they are also considering expanding their staff and adding an additional full-time assistant”.
He goes on to say that “it is unclear what position or area the Steelers will address with an additional assistant, but it is among the items coach Mike Tomlin is exploring as he wraps up post-season evaluations with his staff”.
In recent years, Tomlin has indeed expanded his staff. After Keith Butler was promoted from linebackers coach to defensive coordinator, he divided the old job into two, hiring Joey Porter and Jerry Olsavsky to handle the outside and inside linebackers, respectively. Shaun Sarrett was recently given the formal distinction of assistant offensive line coach as well.
Dulac’s report is very vague, so we really have no idea what sort of coach Tomlin may be considering bringing in. is he interested in dividing up the secondary between cornerbacks and safeties? Is he simply bringing in a full-time quarterbacks coach? Or maybe a new assistant head coach? Or even a situational game manager?
For the time being, we don’t have any way to answer that question, but for now it’s notable that the team is looking at adding an additional position to the staff. Yet unless or until that actually happens, it’s impossible to weigh the significance of such a move and the impact it might have.
As for me, I would like to see Tomlin open to hiring an entirely new coaching position that would be able to assist himself specifically, whether it concerns managing players or in-game situations, because I think we can all agree he can use help in both areas—as can all coaches. But some coaches actually make use of assistants in that regard. Up to now, he has not.