News is emerging that former Buccaneers quarterbacks coach Alex Van Pelt is a person of interest for the Steelers, and with that, the offensive coordinator waters get a little more muddied in Pittsburgh.
Van Pelt, a University of Pittsburgh graduate, has offensive playcalling experience, including a stint with the Frankfurt Galaxy of NFL Europe, and as a replacement offensive coordinator in Buffalo in their disaster of a 2009 season.
The Bills were 28th in the league in scoring that year, and was released at the end of the year. He joined Tampa Bay's staff under Raheem Morris (a friend of Steelers coach Mike Tomlin), where he served as the quarterbacks coach for the past two seasons.
Morris' entire staff, including Van Pelt, were let go at the end of the 2011 season.
Here's the mud. La Canfora's report does not say whether the Steelers are interested in him as a quarterbacks coach (the same position for which Chicago is interviewing him, per La Canfora) or for its offensive coordinator position.
If the Steelers' inquiry was in regards to a quarterbacks coach job, it would suggest two things; current QBs coach Randy Fichtner is the front-runner for the team's offensive coordinator job, or, Fichtner is on his way out. As we theorized yesterday, Fichtner has a long-standing relationship with Colts offensive coordinator Bruce Arians, and the Colts clearly have interest in Steelers coaches joining their ranks.
The discussion with Van Pelt, a candidate with, at best, mediocre experience as a coordinator, could be a preemptive move to replace Fichtner, should he not be with the organization.
It could also be Tomlin's way of kicking the tires on all candidates, particularly ones recommended by friends of his, like Morris.