On Monday afternoon, Larry Zierlein's son, Houston Chronicle writer and radio host Lance Zierlein, broke the news in a radio interview of his father's imminent employment with the Arizona Cardinals as an assistant offensive line coach.
Zierlein coached the offensive line for three seasons after previous coach Russ Grimm left with Ken Whisenhunt to join the Cardinals as assistant head coaches. When both were terminated following the 2012 season, former Pittsburgh offensive coordinator Bruce Arians took over as the head coach in Arizona, and he has been scavenging through former co-workers ever since.
Steelers special teams coordinator Amos Jones was the most recent acquisition, joining the Cardinals in the same role earlier this week. Now, Zierlein has been tossed in the mix.
Zierlein's lines in Pittsburgh left a lot to be desired. As the team watched the departures of veterans Alan Faneca, Marvel Smith and Kendall Simmons, pass protection and running lanes degraded. Younger projects like Chris Kemoeatu and Darnell Stapleton failed to meet the standard, forcing the team to constantly attempt to upgrade the position with little noticeable changes in result. The team continued to win and contend for titles in spite of their lackluster lines.
Eventually, the fault fell far enough to fall on the positional coach, and Zierlein was replaced with former Buffalo Bills offensive line coach Sean Kugler, who will also be leaving the Steelers prior to the 2013 season to become the head coach for the University of Texas, El Paso. Zierlein has also spent time with the Bills during his career, as well as the Cleveland Browns.
Zierlein will have his hands full with the Cardinals, who had one of the least effective offensive lines in the NFL, as the team attempts to pull out of its downward spiral by enduring a complete coaching regime change.