We are only a couple of weeks into the Pittsburgh Steelers’ offseason, and we have already seen them part with three assistant coaches while bringing a new one in and promoting another one internally. This comes off the heels of a 2018 offseason that already saw a significant amount of change.
The past two offseasons have served as the most extensive shakeup of Mike Tomlin’s coaching staff since he first took the job in 2007. Only seven coaches remain under him from the 2016 season, and one of those seven no longer has an on-field coaching designation. There are already four new faces since that time and there will be at least two more, likely three or four in total.
The most significant change that has been made during this time period is at offensive coordinator, with Tomlin making the decision not to renew Todd Haley’s contract after six seasons. The organization opted to promote quarterbacks coach Randy Fichtner into that role and they had one of their best offensive seasons in franchise history in turn.
Fichtner also remains the team’s quarterbacks coach, but it wouldn’t be surprising if they bring somebody in this offseason to give that role their full-time attention especially with young quarterbacks Joshua Dobbs and Mason Rudolph on the roster, though coaching assistant Matt Symmes handles that role somewhat.
Another significant move last season was wide receivers coach Richard Mann retiring. He was a technician and disciplinarian, and the team looked for a likeminded man in Darryl Drake. I’m not sure what to say of the initial results yet, but some of the things that happened this year were certainly beyond his control.
Longtime defensive line coach John Mitchell was removed from that role and moved full-time to assistant head coach, with his duties being redefined as essentially devoted entirely to off-field concerns.
Karl Dunbar was brought in to replace him as the defensive line coach, and the group had a pretty strong season with each starter recording more than five sacks. Cameron Heyward also made the Pro Bowl outright for the first time, Javon Hargrave having a career year.
Defensive backs coach Carnell Lake resigned last offseason in order to be with his family (yes, coaches are humans who like their families) and was replaced by Tom Bradley, who had previously never coached at the NFL level. This offseason, Tomlin brought in Teryl Austin to assist him in the secondary as well.
Meanwhile, he has relieved outside linebackers coach Joey Porter and running backs coach James Saxon of their duties. Their positions have yet to be filled. With Mike Munchak joining the Denver Broncos, assistant offensive line coach Shaun Sarrett was promoted within.
In the meantime, Keith Butler remains defensive coordinator, Danny Smith remains special teams coordinator, and James Daniel remains the tight ends coach. Daniel is a threat to retire at any time, so that could be yet another replacement in the very near future.