Former Steelers’ Coach Blaine Stewart Explains How Pittsburgh’s Small Coaching Staff Helped Him Grow

Though he’s no longer with the organization, Coach Blaine Stewart is still providing insights into how the Pittsburgh Steelers’ structure works. Hired to be the West Virginia Mountaineers’ tight ends coach earlier in the offseason, Stewart recently had a press conference with reporters and talked about his time in Pittsburgh. As he said last month, he cherished his time with the Steelers but expanded upon the role he had.

“One thing about Pittsburgh is we were pretty small-staffed,” Stewart said via the YouTube channel WVUSports. “So the tight ends did not have an assistant. So I did work quite a bit with the tight ends when it was Coach James Daniel and then Coach Alfredo Roberts who is there now. Alfredo Roberts is like a mentor to me. I told him honestly my goal in football was to get in the tight end room because I needed to expand my knowledge and execution of the run game. So I had been meeting with him for two years on tight end play, getting ready hopefully for an opportunity like this.”

Though Stewart carried the label of assistant wide receivers coach later in his Steelers’ coaching career, he was a man who wore many hats with the team. He did everything from coach wide receivers to tight ends to helping Danny Smith on special teams to running scout team defense and even coached the quarterbacks in an East/West Shrine Bowl Game a few years back. Roberts was evidently a big influence on him and he’s been a quality coaching hire. With tons of experience in the NFL and coaching it, he’s helped build up the room consisting of Pat Freiermuth, Zach Gentry, and Connor Heyward. Watch that group at training camp and no unit is more active than the tight ends.

As Stewart noted, the Steelers traditionally have among the smallest coaching staffs in the league, data we outlined last year and plan to do so again later this offseason. Currently, the team has just 17 coaches on their staff, two fewer than it was for the 2022 season.

So far, the team has lost/removed Brian Flores, Jerry Olsavsky, John Mitchell, and Stewart. They have hired Aaron Curry and Jason Brooks, both defensive coaches. Brooks could potentially handle some of Stewart’s workload on special teams but so far, the team hasn’t appeared to hire an assistant to help WRs Coach Frisman Jackson with the wideouts. It’ll be a curious decision if they don’t, making Jackson handle a big group, especially for training camp, all by himself. At least for tight ends, there are only about four of them on a team throughout the year and only five or six in camp.

Stewart’s can-do attitude served him well and it’s a mild surprise it took him this long to leave. In 2020, he nearly left for West Virginia to be the wide receivers coach but the deal fell through at the last moment. He continued to work and grow his knowledge and he’s finally headed to WVU, where his father the late Bill Stewart was a coach for many years. Blaine’s coaching future looks bright. Now it remains to be seen if Pittsburgh can hire another young face to replace his many roles.

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