Steelers coaches: Anticipating changes in coaching staff is difficult

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sport

Given the transient and incestuous nature of the coaching profession, it seems every position coach is in line for a new job with every other staff change around the NFL.

Coaches are nomadic. Their job requires a transient lifestyle, moving from one job to the next like an career solider.

The Steelers saw two coaches leave for other job opportunities before the 2012 season was over. Wide receivers coach Scottie Montgomery returned to his alma mater, Duke University, and offensive line coach Sean Kugler accepted the head coaching position at his alma mater, the University of Texas-El Paso.

Steelers coach Mike Tomlin didn't specifically address any coaching changes among his staff, whether through attrition, departure or promotion. But with several NFL coaches having been fired on Black Monday, several other coaching jobs are now available.

As transient as coaches are, they're also loyal and inestuous. Many of them develop relationships with other coaches at some point in their careers, establishing a complicated web of connections that are called on repeatedly. When the St. Louis Rams hired Lovie Smith as their defensive coordinator in 2003, Smith hired Aliquippa, Pa., native and North Dakota State head coach Bob Babich as a linebackers coach. The two worked together years earlier at the University of Wisconsin.

Babich accompanied Smith to Chicago when he was hired as the head coach, and was out of a job at the end of 2012 when the Bears fired their entire staff.

While Smith spent the year out of coaching, Babich was hired by newly minted Jaguars head coach Gus Bradley as his defensive coordinator. Bradley was previously the defensive coordinator of the Seattle Seahawks, but was a defensive assistant under Babich at NDSU until Babich left for the Bears.

Every coach in the NFL has a similar story. That makes predicting which coaches will stay or go very difficult.

Along with that, there's the issue of underperformance. Franchises keep their position coaches out of the reach of the media by and large, and head coaches shoulder the responsibility, win or lose, not airing dirty laundry about the performance of position coaches.

The Steelers let go of special teams coach Al Everest during preseason in 2012. No particular reason was ever given, just simply that the team wished to go in a different direction. Amos Jones, the assistant, was promoted to replace Everest. After the season, Jones was hired by former Steelers offensive coordinator Bruce Arians, who was just hired by the Arizona Cardinals' head coach. Both Arians and Jones fit the Cardinals requirement of hiring only former Steelers coaches, so the move wasn't a surprise.

Any staff raids by new coaching regimes that will spring up over the next few weeks, could be anticipated by someone with ace research skills and a few contacts. Usually, though, those deep connections are established only after the hirings are made.

It's hard to say whether any Steelers coach would be fired after an up-and-down 2013 season. That isn't to say it won't happen, but stay tuned, you never know which coach once worked with whomever.

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