The Pittsburgh Steelers’ 2021 season is over, already eliminated from the postseason after suffering a 42-21 loss at the hands of Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs. They just barely made the postseason with a 9-7-1 record and a little help from their friends.
This is an offseason of major change, with the retirement of Ben Roethlisberger, the possible retirement of general manager Kevin Colbert, and the decisions about the futures of many important players to be made, such as Joe Haden, Stephon Tuitt, JuJu Smith-Schuster, and others.
Aside from exploring their options at the quarterback position, the top global priority, once again, figures to be addressing the offensive line, which they did not do quite adequately enough a year ago. Dan Moore Jr. looks like he may have a future as a full-time starter, but Kendrick Green was clearly not ready. Chukwuma Okorafor is heading into free agency, as is Trai Turner.
These are the sorts of topics 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. There is rarely a concrete answer, but this is your venue for exploring the topics we present through all their uncertainty.
Question: Will one or both (or neither) of the Steelers’ offensive and defensive coordinators return in 2022?
The special teams coordinator is also, of course, a coordinator, but not looked upon the same way as are offensive and defensive coordinators, so we’re not going to be talking about that coaching position here. That, and, you know, Danny Smith Forever. But I digress.
Head coach Mike Tomlin addressed the offensive and defensive coordinator positions earlier this week during his end-of-season press conference. He talked about not anticipating any significant changes, but also leaving that possibility open. He also hinted at the possibility that defensive coordinator Keith Butler could retire (or possibly ‘retire’).
When he spoke of offensive coordinator Matt Canada, however, he certainly seemed to be speaking about a coach whom he was confident would still be around next season. Canada would be going into his third season with the organization, and his second in the coordinator role—now with a quarterback that would inevitably better suit his offense.
That doesn’t mean changes can’t be made, though if we see them, they will likely take place within the next two to three weeks. As we currently sit here, the smart money is certainly on Canada returning. It may also favor Butler exiting, but it’s not nearly as decisive.
Teryl Austin has been with the team under the Senior Defensive Assistant title that was created specifically for him, which allowed him to act as the de facto defensive backs coach while holding broader responsibilities. He would be the favorite to take over the defensive coordinator role—and the team’s history would suggest an in-house promotion—but again, we don’t know until something actually happens.