The Pittsburgh Steelers are a team with one of the smallest coaching staffs in the NFL, but that shouldn’t be confused with not providing help for those who might need it.
When you look at the job titles of the team’s coordinators in past years, you can understand why they might be a little overwhelmed at times. Up until 2020, offensive coordinator Randy Fichtner was not just running the offense, but was also coaching the quarterbacks.
It might seem like a simple addition to his current job, but it certainly requires attention to players like Mason Rudolph and Devlin Hodges instead of just focusing on the offense as a whole.
Defensive coordinator Keith Butler’s defense has long had a lagging secondary, and after Carnell Lake’s departure the team addressed it with two new coaches, one being an assistant defensive coach. Even then, after the team parted ways with Joey Porter, Butler assumed the role of outside linebackers coach on top of making the defensive calls.
It may seem like common sense for a coach to ask for help, but pride can also play a role in the process. For instance, Fichtner might not want anyone providing any type of suggestions for his offense. And Butler might feel as if his defense doesn’t need any assistance in the back end.
But that isn’t what these men have done. They have accepted the help, and, at least on defense, it has paid dividends.
Mike Tomlin had this to say about how he appreciates his coordinators willingness to put pride aside and focus on winning.
“I know that it is appreciated here. That’s one of the reasons why we’ve had such longstanding business and personal relationships, speaking on those two men [Fichtner and Butler]. They don’t care who gets the credit. They simply want to win. They display that unselfishness in everything they do and have, over the years in a number of roles and a bunch of different locations. It’s important to me, and I think it’s a winning edge for us. How common or uncommon that is, I really can’t speak to.”
With the addition of Ike Hilliard, who filled the vacant wide receivers coach position, and especially Matt Canada, hired to be the quarterbacks coach, Fichtner understands these men can help make the Steelers’ offense even better in 2020 and beyond. The success of the offense will provide job security for all involved.
Defensively, the additions of Tom Bradley as the secondary coach, and Teryl Austin as a defensive assistant who also focuses on the secondary, has proven to be effective in building the team’s secondary into one of the best in the league.
Pride, or hubris, can be a powerful thing which can also keep people, and in this case teams, from reaching their full potential. This doesn’t seem to be an issue with the Steelers’ coordinators, and the next question will be how it will pay dividends in 2020, especially for the offense.
Stay tuned to BTSC for the Training Camp Confidential which will start Monday as the team prepares to don pads for the first time in the 2020 training camp.