One of the principles that the Pittsburgh Steelers and head coach Mike Tomlin profess to live by is that they don’t care where a good idea comes from. They are not an organization that sharply divides duties and roles and parcels out who is permitted to contribute where.
The most important thing is that everybody is working together and toward the same ends through the same means. And that’s the kind of relationship this new front office believes it has with the coaching staff. While all funneled through Tomlin, assistant general manager Andy Weidl spoke of deeper connections.
“We have an effort with the coaching staff. We bring them into this process, and we collaborate with them, and we make sure there’s a vision there and that we’re all on the same page, which we are”, he said last week, via transcript provided by the team’s media relations department.
“There is, I guess, a synergy with us, with the coaching staff”, he continued. “As I’ve said in the past, we are an extension of Mike and his staff, and we are going to bring in players that fit their system, and they’re going to add to the culture. Any time we can do that, add a player with talent, we will”.
That’s exactly what you want, of course, a synergy between the department that acquires the talent and the department that develops and deploys said talent. It can’t be taken as a given that those two sides will always harmonize.
And as much as it may pain people to acknowledge, the steady presence of Mike Tomlin in the coaching rooms and in the front office is a major part of the reason why we generally see that compatibility between talent acquisition in Pittsburgh and the manner in which the Steelers desire to play.
That doesn’t mean that the Steelers always make the right decisions or acquire the right players, but rarely do they make any moves that might make you scratch their heads as to why they would do that, as in something being out of character.
But because the front office has changed so much in the past year, we are also on the lookout for how priorities might change. The addition of an assistant general manager position in and of itself was a major change, let alone the fact that it happened to be Weidl.
And it wasn’t just the shift from Kevin Colbert at general manager to Omar Khan and the addition of Weidl. There were plenty of other changes, including hiring Sheldon White as director of pro scouting, promoting Dave Petett, and numerous changes on the scouting level.
But they’ve had the better part of a year to get together and figure this all out. If this offseason tells us anything, it is that the Steelers have a good and growing sense of who it is that they want to be. That’s a credit largely to Tomlin, yes, but also to the entire team, and the synergy, in Weidl’s word, between the scouting and coaching departments.