The Pittsburgh Steelers’ coaching ranks underwent some overhaul this offseason. Gone were the likes of Randy Fichtner and Shaun Sarrett, and promoted to replace those aforementioned individuals were Matt Canada and Adrian Klemm.
Canada’s ability to mold an offense has been on display for years, but not many knew what to expect from Klemm. As a former player, and a two year assistant offensive line coach in Pittsburgh, Klemm has a tall task ahead of him with his first year in charge of the men up front.
While the task might be daunting, the players who played for Klemm are more than confident in his ability to improve the Steelers’ up front.
“Our offensive line needs to get better. We know that, not only as individuals, but as a unit,” tackle Zach Banner told Dale Lolley courtesy of Steelers.com.
“I wouldn’t want to go into an offseason like this with anyone other than Klemm.”
In fact, Banner has credited Klemm for his overall development the past two seasons, seasons where he has gotten new contracts with the Steelers. On top of that, Banner sees a tremendous improvement not just in his game, but also his fellow linemates.
“My development in these past two years is a huge chunk (owed) to him. Head offensive line coaches are so into the week to week, they don’t really get to work with developmental guys. My game, Chuks (Okorafor), Kevin Dotson, J.C. (Hassenauer) a lot of that individual work came from Klemm,” Banner said of backups who have been called into duty for one reason or another.
“That’s one thing I’m very excited about. From a technique standpoint, I’m very excited.”
Talk about a ringing endorsement for the first year offensive line coach. Then again, with Banner just signing a new two-year contract, what else would you expect him to say? What about someone who isn’t affiliated with the team anymore? That is exactly what former left guard Ramon Foster is now after his retirement, but if you thought because he wasn’t in Pittsburgh anymore he wouldn’t still tell the truth about Klemm, think again.
“Man, his ability to relate,” said Foster, who spent only one year with Klemm, but was impressed. ”Never taking the hype of a what the other person can do and focus on yourself. No matter how good the media portrays your opponent, it’s about what you’re willing to do to them instead. The idea of being the hammer and not the nail.
“He takes his job very serious and expects the guys to be the same way. Even while being the assistant offensive line coach, he was well involved with the younger guys and did a lot for us vets too as far as film study and confirmation of what we did right or wrong. He’s a guy I would have loved to play for in a head OL role because I know it’d be all accountability and the focus on pulling the absolute best out of you. Knowing when to press guys and when to pull back in coaching.”
When you see comments like this about a coach like Klemm, you wonder if it is more of an endorsement for the new coach, or a damning comment on the former coach, in this case Sarrett. Either way, the Steelers haven’t had the same offensive line since Mike Munchak departed Pittsburgh for a lateral job with the Denver Broncos. Will Klemm be able to get the Pittsburgh line back to those standards? Only time will tell, but the players who know him best certainly think so.
Be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the black and gold as they prepare for the rest of NFL Free Agency and the 2021 NFL Draft.