Steelers Wise To Show Patience In Coaching Hires

The Pittsburgh Steelers haven’t hired an offensive coordinator. They haven’t hired an offensive line coach.

Good, I say.

Patience is a virtue. Pittsburgh’s smart to show some of it this time around.

Because the last time those positions opened up, they were filled immediately. Based on the results they got with Randy Fichtner and Shaun Sarrett, that was arguably the wrong process.

Fichtner was hired the same day the team announced they were parting ways with Todd Haley. Ditto with Sarrett replacing Mike Munchak when he left for Denver. In fact, as Sarrett told the story, Mike Tomlin offered the job in the same moment Munchak said he was headed west.

“Sarrett was actually sitting with Munchak when Steelers coach Mike Tomlin offered Sarrett the job to be Munchak’s replacement. It was more than a little surreal.”

Tomlin would later call the move a “no-brainer.”

There are caveats to those hires. They were in-house replacements. Not outside candidates requiring more careful vetting. Pittsburgh knew who these guys were. In 2018, the Rooney Rule didn’t apply for coordinator positions like it does now, naturally lengthening the process a bit. And I’ll freely admit I praised the Sarrett hire at the time. It ultimately didn’t work out.

But now is the time to reevaluate. And the Steelers clearly are. If they wanted to promote Matt Canada, they could’ve done so earlier in the week after interviewing Hue Jackson. Canada still appears to be the frontrunner but nothing’s yet official. Reportedly, the team wants to choose an offensive line coach before the OC, something that may sound strange on the surface but really isn’t. In Pittsburgh, the relationship between coordinator and line coach is vital. And Tomlin/ownership has final say on hires so the order doesn’t matter as much. Number one goal is to hire the right people.

Showing patience doesn’t mean their hires are guaranteed to work. They could search for three months and end up with the wrong guy. Last time, they made microwave hires, quickly filling those spots for the sake of continuity. Here, they’re at least showing self-refection and an attempt to approach things differently. Here’s hoping to better results this time around.

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