Before we get all wrapped up in the 2020 season, I wanted to take stock of the Pittsburgh Steelers coaching staff and some names you probably don’t know yet but may soon will. Here are three risers in the organization on the coaching side of things.
Denzel Martin – Coaching Assistant
Martin began his Steelers’ coaching career in 2016, serving as a scouting intern. Mike Tomlin met him while on a Missouri Pro Day trip and reportedly, Martin made a big impression. Martin’s switched over to coaching assistant for going on three years now. He was hired as the East Team’s Special Teams Coach for the 2020 Shrine Game.
I’m not sure where his ceiling is and it may not come in Pittsburgh but it’s hard to see Martin remaining an assistant for too long, given his resume and connections he surely made at the Shrine Game.
Blaine Stewart – Coaching Assistant
I have a hard time seeing Stewart on the Steelers’ coaching staff this time next year. Not because he’s a bad fit for the team. Rather, it’s probable other teams come looking to give him a bigger job. Stewart was in discussions to take the WR coach job at West Virginia this year before that fell through at the last minute. Stewart and Ray Sherman took over the role of WRs coach in Pittsburgh this past year following Darryl Drake’s death.
He’s a bright, offensive-minded person who like Martin, snagged a coaching gig at this year’s Shrine Game. Stewart worked with the West Teams QBs, showing his versatility in coaching up multiple units. I think this time next year, he has a position coach role somewhere at the college level. West Virginia, Penn State, maybe his alma mater of James Madison. But somewhere.
Dennis MacInnis – Scouting Intern
It’s a little harder to get a read on Macinnis’ future. He’s the newest and youngest name of the bunch. The Steelers hired him as a scouting intern in 2018 after serving as the Assistant Director of Player Personnel for his alma mater Oregon.
Macinnis’ name came back to mind when Kevin Colbert was discussing the team’s pre-draft plans for this year. This came from Bob Labriola’s feature piece on how the Steelers handled their first virtual draft. Here’s the relevant excerpt:
“Originally, we were going to do [draft meetings] from the office,” said Colbert, “because at that point it was still me and Phil Kreidler and Brandon Hunt and Dave Petett and Dennis MacInnis (from the scouting department), and Mike was still in the office and the coaches were lingering around.”
I obviously don’t know the inner workings of the team’s draft prep but that’s good company to be part of. Kreidler is the team’s College Scouting Coordinator and been here since the 90s. Brandon Hunt is the Pro Scouting Coordinator and may succeed Colbert as GM. Petett is a long-time area scout and of course, Tomlin is Tomlin. MacInnis surely wasn’t the decision-maker of the group but hey, it’s an important circle to be around.
While “just” an intern, he’s helped run local Pro Days (Duquesne and Youngstown St in 2019 are two who come to mind) and he also attended the Senior Bowl with the rest of the scouting staff. Perhaps he replaces Martin or Stewart as a coaching assistant if either leave or even Matt Symmes’ spot at some point in the future.