When Mike Tomlin said the Pittsburgh Steelers would be looking to make some changes ahead of their game against the New England Patriots, it turns out he really was being serious. Not only are the coaching staff preparing Artie Burns and Cam Sutton to start this Sunday, they also brought in Shaun Suisham to give Chris Boswell some real coaching.
However, it would appear that these are not only changes the Steelers have implemented this week after Aditi Kinkhabwala of the NFL Network revealed that Pittsburgh was receiving additional coaching help from someone who has actually had a degree of success against the Patriots, well, sort of.
Former New York Giants, New York Jets and Indianapolis Colts linebackers coach Jim Herrmann has been working with the Steelers during practice this week, helping them prepare for a team he faced a number of times through his 11 seasons in the NFL.
Having started his football career at the University of Michigan as an inside linebacker, Herrmann would go on to coach there for a further 20 years. As the defensive coordinator, he would coach against Tom Brady in practice every day and then go on to see him twice a year when he joined the Jets as their linebackers coach in 2006. Although his team would go 2-7 against New England in a three year span, he would find more success against them with his next team.
As linebacker coach for the New York Giants from 2009-2015, Herrmann would meet the Patriots three times and emerge victorious twice. The second of those memorably coming in the Super Bowl in 2012.
On face value, a 4-8 record against any team should in no way be considered positive, but given Pittsburgh’s limit success against them, Herrmann is a veritable genius when it comes to playing New England and any insights he can give them can only be a bonus. If by some miracle the linebackers play better as a consequence of his input, many fans will be clamoring for the team to hire him full time instead of Jerry Olsavsky or Joey Porter.