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 the Steelers interview any other outside candidates for defensive coordinator, or is Patrick Graham purely a procedural move?
It was reported late last night that the Steelers have requested permission to interview Patrick Graham, who was a part of the recently fired Joe Judge’s staff with the New York Giants. With Judge out of the picture, Graham is free to interview for other positions anyway, and will likely be gone with the next head coach regardless.
Even with the news, it has been reported, and also widely speculated, that Senior Defensive Assistant Teryl Austin, who has spent the past three seasons with the Steelers, will be promoted to that role. Beginning last season, an expansion of the Rooney Rule made it a requirement that teams interview at least one external minority candidate for coordinator positions, which is also why Pittsburgh had to do interviews last year before promoting Matt Canada.
Last time, they did do multiple external interviews, with Hue Jackson and Pep Hamilton. At least, they were supposed to interview Hamilton, but I don’t think that interview ever took place before he got another job.
Let’s not forget that the Steelers also have a vacancy at the offensive line coach position. It’s not a guarantee that Chris Morgan is promoted to that job. Mike Munchak is technically available right now, but it may take the Broncos’ next head coach deciding to look another direction to get him to leave. Given that he is one of the most admired assistant coaches in the league, there’s not a great chance of that happening.