We keep going back and forth as to what is the better option- Haley or Arians, Lebeau and his 3-4 or someone new. But here is one area where a coaching change would clearly be for the better. Get rid of Amos Jones. With this guy as co-coach, assistant Special teams coach, and main Special Teams coach, we have had some awful special teams. The one exception was when Everest was the main special teams coach last year.
With offense and defense, there are so many variables like player talent, it will be tough to come with a real consensus on what can improve our team. But with how bad our special teams have been, we know that an improved unit would have us in the playoffs.
OAK game: Oakland's 37-yard kick return to start the game, a 51-yarder in the third quarter to set up a touchdown, couple of bad punts, Antonio Brown had a 73-yard punt return for a TD wiped out by a holding penalty and a facemask penalty. In a game lost by 3 points, there were other culprits. But the offense and defense made up for some of their mistakes. The special teams should be at least even in terms of contribution. THey were in the negative. Can't blame the punting on Amos. But you can blame the repeated penalties on big returns that started in the preseason game after Everest was fired.
TN Game: Another loss, that regardless of Ike's problems and the offense sputtering in the second half, the major turning point was a blocked punt that led to a score by a TN team that was close to getting knocked out in the first half. The blocked punt owed as much to TN coaching recognizing flaws in Steelers personnel and exploiting that, something Amos hasn't shown he is capable of.
NYG game: The rare game where Special teams nearly won this game based on some spectacular returns runs by Sanders and Co. Even here, the special teams rears its ugly head as a fake FG attempt was botched. According to the coaches, they simulated the NYG ST's FG unit in practice and it worked well in practice. Well, that statement there tells you that Amos did a lousy job getting a simulation of the real thing going because I see no way that play worked even a quarter of the time. Coaching fail.Thankfully, the Steelers win the game.
Ravens first game; Yes, if the offense did ANYTHING in the second half, Steeelrs win. Still, the fact is Ravens adjusted to a prior return attempt covered well by the Steelers and double viced the Steelers gunners. Interesting point to note: Steelers tried that same tactic in a subsequent game and it didn't work out well.
SD, 2nd Browns games: Bad punting by Butler kills us. However, punt coverage allows a fake punt. inexcusable considering an even easier fake punt conversion takes place in the second Browns game by the Browns special teams where that would work 8 times out of 10. At least, the Steelers win that second Browns game.
2nd Cinci Game: Bad snap leads to the only bad Suisham miss of the season on a kick not much harder than an extra point., Sure a problem with the execution, but makes you wonder why Greg Warren has been sloppy this season on more than a couple of occasions.
And in addition to that, we had other instances of penalties negating big returns in other games not mentioned here. Not to mention, the Steelers never succeeded on any blocks, or fake kick/punts. All the trickery was one sided against the Steelers. The frequent penalties indicate lack of discipline or focus or maybe just plain lack of conviction in the coaching by the players.
Get rid of Amos JOnes. If we had better coaching on Special teams, Steelers are in the playoffs. it's flat out that simple. Sure, one can say that on other units, but the bar is so low on special teams, this is where you can make the easiest upgrade. All we need is competence. We do not need them to win the games. Just do not lose them for us.