The Pittsburgh Steelers don’t like change.
For crying out loud, the team has had three head coaches since 1969. However, the fear of change goes beyond the head coach. The Rooneys and Mike Tomlin don’t like to make many changes even within the hierarchy of the coaching staff. But after the 2017 season, there was some turnover.
Out was Todd Haley as offensive coordinator and promoted was Randy Fichtner.
Out was Carnell Lake as defensive backs coach — in was new hire Tom Bradley.
Retired was Richard Mann as wide receivers coach — in was Darryl Drake.
Out was John Mitchell (sort of) as defensive line coach, and welcome in Karl Dunbar taking over for the legend beloved by his defensive line. Dunbar will now attempt to put his own stamp on the defensive line, and with Mitchell always around as he’s now strictly the team’s Assistant Coach.
Nonetheless, Dunbar is thankful for his opportunity in Pittsburgh.
“Watching them on film, they did an outstanding job doing a lot of things,” Dunbar told Joe Rutter of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “I’m fortunate to have a job here — being the situation Pittsburgh was in last year and going 13-3 and adding coaches to the staff.”
Of course, Dunbar isn’t going to go on and on about his style and what he can bring to the Steelers’ defensive line, but many players spoke about the difference between Mitchell and Dunbar.
“He’s really chill and relaxed,” Joshua Frazier said about Dunbar. “Coach Davis set the foundation for us, then Coach Dunbar came in and built upon it and taught us things Coach Davis didn’t do. He helped me develop my pass-rush moves and stuff like that.”
“You know you could always hear Coach Mitch,” defensive end Stephon Tuitt said. “But (Dunbar) still does a lot of communicating, a lot of talking and emphasizing pass-rushing drills. They’ve got different types of styles, but they both want the same thing, and that’s what is best for the defensive line.”
“It’s been going good so far,” Tuitt said. “It’s kind of hard to explain because it’s early, but we’re taking his philosophies and working hard to get better.”
So far, so good for Dunbar and the defensive line, and his job will be huge for the 2018 team as they try to return to what used to be a stout defensive front vs. the run. Count the defensive line as one of the many positions now needing to get acclimated to a new coach and coaching style.