The Pittsburgh Steelers are about to enter an offseason like they have never experienced under Mike Tomlin.
Barring an undefeated finish to the season, Tomlin will suffer his first losing season as head coach. There are many contributing factors, and none are more important than the fact the Steelers have a rookie quarterback at the helm. However, there are have been a number of deficiencies that point directly to the coaching staff. Which assistants should the Steelers move on from? We discuss below.
Every offseason, fans want to debate Mike Tomlin, but quite frankly, every Steelers fan knows the team is not currently looking to make a change at head coach. When it comes to assistants, though, the opportunity for change is much greater. Mike Tomlin has always displayed loyalty to his assistants, but over the past couple seasons, we have seen significant changes on the coaching staff. Unfortunately, those changes have not necessarily made things any better, as many of the changes were simply poor coaches being replaced by poor coaches.
We can discuss potential replacements in greater depth if these assistants actually get fired, but here are three coaches on Mike Tomlin’s current staff that need to go this offseason.
The on-field performance speaks for itself. Matt Canada has not gotten much help from the offensive line, but the lack of offensive creativity has been perhaps the greatest disappointment of the 2022 Steelers season. The team currently ranks 27th in the NFL with a mere 17.9 points per game, and Najee Harris and Jaylen Warren have barely combined for 1,000 yards through 14 games. Let us not forget to mention the questionable schematics at the receiver position, as Diontae Johnson has become the focal point of the downfield aerial attack despite George Pickens proving to be the hot hand and better downfield threat. Canada has wrongly utilized the tools given to him on offense, and he is running out of excuses. It is time to move on.
My, how James Saxon went underappreciated! Najee Harris may not have been fully healthy for the first part of the season, but there have only been a couple weeks all season when the Steelers running game was not subpar. Najee Harris is once again averaging less than 4 yards per carry on the season, and while many fans want to credit Faulkner for the emergence of undrafted rookie Jaylen Warren, we must not forget that he has been unable to develop Anthony McFarland, a former fourth-round pick who is a much more talented player than Warren overall. The Steelers running game has never once lived up to expectations since Faulkner took over in 2019, and nobody should believe that will change if he remains on staff moving forward.
This one is not as clear-cut as the previous two, considering the Steelers have made several key splash plays on special teams over the past couple seasons. The issue most prevalent to the Steelers on a weekly basis, however, is the punting. For many years, people have placed the blame on the punters themselves, whether it be Jordan Berry, Brad Wing, Mat McBriar, or any other punter in recent memory. It has gotten to the point where one must believe the issue is not the punters themselves, but rather the one coaching the punters.
Danny Smith is a big believer in hang time, but this philosophy is hurting the Steelers’ overall distance per punt. Pressley Harvin never was, and likely never will be, a hangtime punter. He is a distance punter, but somehow he is struggling with the same consistency issues we saw in Jordan Berry. Why? He is trying to punt a different way than what he is comfortable with. Berry by the way, performed better after leaving Danny Smith and the Steelers, recording a career-high 46.5 yards per punt with the Vikings in 2021. It is possible the Steelers make another change at punter in the near future, but do not expect anything to improve until Danny Smith either changes his philosophy or leaves town altogether. It is time to take the next step of action and begin the search for a new special teams coordinator.
Which coaches do you think the Steelers need to move on from? Do you think Mike Tomlin will actually fire any of his assistants mentioned above? Be sure to light up the comment section below with your thoughts on this and all things Pittsburgh Steelers!