clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Who is Teryl Austin and should Steelers fans be optimistic?

The Pittsburgh Steelers added a defensive coach with questionable credentials. Should Steelers fans be excited?

NFL: Cincinnati Bengals-Training Camp Cincinnati Enquirer-USA TODAY NETWORK

Teryl Austin joined the Pittsburgh Steelers coaching staff on January 11 to be the senior defensive assistant/secondary. Austin brings an abundance of NFL secondary and defensive experience with his 15 years of coaching in the NFL. Not only does Austin come with a vast amount of secondary experience, he also has spent time as a defensive coordinator. Austin has a mixed bag of success that can be seen below with his resume.

Penn State: 1991–1992 Broke in coaching as a graduate assistant

Wake Forest: 1993–1995 Defensive backs coach when he followed Jim Caldwell from PSU.

Syracuse: 1996–1998 Defensive assistant under Paul Pasqualoni

Michigan: 1999–2002 Defensive assistant under Lloyd Carr

Seattle Seahawks: 2003–2006 Defensive backs coach under head coach (HC) Mike Holmgren and defensive coordinator (DC) Jim Mora.

League pass rank and pass touchdowns

Year, Rank, TDs

2003: 27 24

2004: 23 24

2005: 25 18

2006: 16 23

Arizona Cardinals: 2007–2009 Defensive backs coach under HC Ken Whisenhunt and DC Clancy Pendergast and Billy Davis.

League pass rank and pass touchdowns

Year, Rank, TDs

2007: 17 22

2006: 22 36

2009: 23 22

Florida: 2010 Defensive coordinator under Urban Meyer

Baltimore Ravens:2011–2013 Secondary coach under HC Jim Harbaugh and DC Chuck Pagano and Dean Pees.

League pass rank and pass touchdowns

Year, Rank, TDs

2011: 4 11 (Won the Super Bowl.)

2012: 17 15

2013: 12 25

Detroit Lions: 2014–2017 Austin is reunited with HC Jim Caldwell.

League pass rank and pass touchdowns

Year, Rank, TDs

2014: 13 23

2015: 15 27

2016: 19 33

2017: 27 21

Cincinnati Bengals (2018) DC under Marvin Lewis. (Relieved of DC duties on On November 12. The Bengals finished last against the pass and gave up 32 touchdowns.)

The above resume is painted with a wide brush that does not give the full picture of Austin’s success or lack thereof. Besides the stellar 2011 season, he never had a top 10 secondary. Is that because of his lack of coaching ability or the lack of talent associated with the team? A bright spot that is not listed above is the progression of Detroit Lions cornerback Darius Slay.

The Lions drafted Slay with the 36 overall pick in the 2013 NFL draft. From 2014 to 2017, Slay earned a Pro Bowl and a first-team All-Pro selection in 2017. During that span, Slay had 69 pass deflections to go along with 14 interceptions.

Austin will be tasked with molding a Steelers tenth ranked secondary in the NFL in pass yards surrendered, but a secondary that forced a mere six interceptions and four forced fumbles while surrendering 27 touchdowns.

Can Austin get unheralded safety Sean Davis to go beyond the production he had in 2018? Terrell Edmunds’ second half of 2018 was leaps and bounds better than his first half, can Austin get the first rounder to live up to his pedigree? What can Austin do with former first rounder, Artie Burns or a young cornerback if the Steelers draft one? Will Austin be able to resurrect Joe Haden back to his 2014 Pro Bowl form?