2021 Offseason Questions: Did Nobody Want Steelers’ OL Coach Job?

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: Was the Steelers’ offensive line coach position truly undesirable?

There are a few outside candidates who have been connected to the Steelers’ until-recently-vacant offensive line coach job. Reportedly, one of them declined to interview for the position, while another stayed put. Pittsburgh let go of Shaun Sarrett after two seasons in the role, and more than half a decade as an assistant prior to that, and ultimately went with his own assistant, Adrian Klemm, who had but in that role since 2019.

No offense to Klemm, but his promotion, given the context, certainly has the feel of being the last man standing in a way, and that is how most seem to be interpreting the hire, as though nobody on the market for the position was interested in it.

There could be valid reasons for that. The team has two starters hitting unrestricted free agency with another possibly retiring. There isn’t a ton of young talent, and the quarterback position is on the verge of tipping into chaos.

On top of that, whoever would be interested in the position would also be tasked in resurrecting one of the worst run games in the league, while also expecting to lose their best running back. With Ben Roethlisberger at quarterback, you’re also limited to some degree.

So, whether or not this ultimately led to Klemm’s being promoted, is this a job that people didn’t want? I think that is the question that a lot of people interested in the Steelers are asking today.

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