It was reported earlier that the Pittsburgh Steelers intended to add a new wide receivers coach to the room following last year’s tragic circumstance. As you’ll recall, Darryl Drake passed away suddenly during training camp. Ray Sherman, who was semi-retired, happened to be shadowing camp with the Steelers and agreed to remain with the team through the season.
It’s presumed that Sherman would like to get back to his semi-retired life, but it’s obvious that he couldn’t be a long-term plan anyway. Pittsburgh has a very young wide receiver room right now with JuJu Smith-Schuster, James Washington, Diontae Johnson, Deon Cain, and even Ryan Switzer, as well as Johnny Holton, who is by far the oldest at 28.
It would be good to get a coach in there who could actually be there for a while. Smith-Schuster is heading into his fourth season and he has already had three different position coaches, as Richard Mann was still on the team during his rookie season in 2017.
Ordinarily, teams like to get their coaching staff in order as early on in the offseason as possible, but the Steelers did make some later additions a week or so into February. The goal is obviously to have things locked in prior to the NFL Combine at the end of the month and once Pro Days roll around, where you have to send your coaches out to evaluate players.
And so, presumably, we should hear any day now about another new hire. Earlier in the offseason, the Steelers did announce the hiring of Matt Canada, a veteran quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator at the college level, to take over the quarterbacks coach role from Randy Fichtner so that he could concentrate on running the offense.
The team has been more prone to making coaching changes over the past few offseasons than they had been in the past. They have made changes at offensive coordinator in that time, as well as the position coaches for quarterback, wide receiver, running back, offensive line, defensive line, outside linebacker, and the secondary, in addition to adding a new position for Teryl Austin. The only static positions are tight end, inside linebacker, and special teams.
Such change is inevitable, of course, when you have continuity for a period of time. Unfortunately, that time is soon coming for the offensive line as well, where the interior in particular has had the exact same alignment since the end of the 2012 season.
Even at wide receiver, you have nobody on the roster who had been here prior to 2017. No Steelers wide receiver has experienced a postseason victory with the team. They do need a strong presence who is also committed to the fundamentals. But ideally somebody who is also considerably younger than their last three coaches.