2021 Offseason Questions: Who Will Be Responsible For Coordinating Run Game?

The Pittsburgh Steelers’ 2020 season is now in the books, and it ended in spectacular fashion—though the wrong kind of spectacular—in a dismal postseason defeat at the hands of the Cleveland Browns, sending them into an early offseason mode after going 12-4 in the regular season and winning the AFC North for the first time in three years.

After setting a franchise record by opening the year on an 11-game winning streak, they followed that up by losing three games in a row, going 1-4 in the final five games, with only a 17-point comeback staving off a five-game slide. But all the issues they had in the regular season showed up in the postseason that resulted in their early exit.

The only thing facing them now as they head into 2021 is more questions, and right now, they lack answers. What will Ben Roethlisberger do, and what will they do with him? What will the salary cap look like? How many free agents are they going to lose? Who could they possibly afford to retain? Who might they part ways with—not just on the roster, but also on the coaching staff?

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: Who will be responsible for coordinating the run game—or helping to do so?

It was more or less publicly known that, during Mike Munchak’s stay here as offensive coordinator, he also had a role in managing the Steelers’ run game. It is believed that Shaun Sarrett inherited that job at some level as well.

Sarrett is, of course now gone, and the team is yet to replace him with a new offensive line coach, though that appointment should come any day now. The question is, will they bring in a new offensive line coach whom they will expect to play a significant role in managing the run game?

It would make sense if they can find the right candidate, especially what with appointing a first-time offensive coordinator after recently promoting quarterbacks coach Matt Canada into that role. He may have extensive experiencing as a coordinator at the college level, but the NFL is a different game.

For obvious reasons, the offensive line coach often plays a role in some form or fashion in putting together a plan for the run game, but to formally be a ‘run game coordinator’ is a different matter entirely.

Head coach Mike Tomlin is very direct in stating that he doesn’t care where good ideas come from, but is it time for the Steelers to have a true ‘run game coordinator’ as part of their job, or their sole job, on the coaching staff? Pittsburgh has one of, if not the smallest coaching staff in the NFL as it is.

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