We now know that Mike Tomlin will be returning as the head coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2024. With that out of the way, Tomlin and the Steelers can focus their search on their next offensive coordinator to drag this stagnant offense out of the mud.
There are several potential names that could be given looks, and ultimately land the job. These are a handful of candidates that should be in the mix.
Johnson is the current quarterbacks coach for the Houston Texans. Along with offensive coordinator Bobby Slowik, Houston’s offensive staff helped C.J. Stroud become one of the best quarterbacks in football as a rookie. He spent 2022 as the Minnesota Vikings’ assistant quarterbacks coach, so there is connective tissue if the Steelers decide to pursue Kirk Cousins. Regardless of who they decide to make their quarterback, Johnson is only 35, he briefly played for the Steelers, and he is a terrific candidate to be the next OC.
Kubiak’s coaching career has spanned almost 15 years across the college and NFL ranks. He is currently the passing game coordinator for the San Francisco 49ers. In 2022, he was the passing game coordinator and quarterbacks coach for the Denver Broncos. From 2019-21, he was on the Vikings’ coaching staff, serving as their OC in 2021 where Kirk Cousins threw 33 touchdowns to just seven interceptions. Play action and taking advantage of the middle of the field are both focal points of a Kubiak offense, which is the inverse of what the Steelers have done for the last three seasons.
Waldron has had a 20 year coaching career, beginning in 2005 at Notre Dame as a graduate assistant. He joined Sean McVay in Los Angeles when he was hired by the Rams in 2017, working his way up from tight ends coach to pass game coordinator in the matter of a year. He then took on the duty of quarterbacks coach on top of being the passing game coordinator in 2019. In 2021, he became the Seahawks offensive coordinator, most notably helping Geno Smith resurrect his career with a 4,200 yard, 30 touchdown season in 2022.
Another Shane, and another member of the Texans’ coaching staff. Day is the senior offensive assistant in Houston right now under DeMeco Ryans. He was the quarterbacks coach with the 49ers from 2019-20, and became the Los Angeles Chargers’ passing game coordinator and quarterbacks coach from 2021-22. In 2021, Justin Herbert threw for 5,000 yards and 38 touchdowns with day as the passing game coordinator. He threw for almost 4,800 yards the next season. That said, I’d hope (and expect) Day to lean more into the Kyle Shanahan ideology rather than the Joe Lombardi style, which is a good thing. His mind for offense, and his background in the Shanahan style, would be a great addition to Pittsburgh.
Martin has worked his way up from the high school ranks to the Baltimore Ravens’ quarterbacks coach. Along with Todd Monken, Martin has helped Lamar Jackson become a completely different player in the pocket than we had grown accustom to. In particular, if the Steelers were to make a move for Justin Fields, I think Martin would be a great hire to snag from their arch-rivals.
Peetz is currently the pass game specialist for the Rams. His hand in the Los Angeles offense helped make the Rams one of the most dynamic passing games in football with Puka Nacua and Cooper Kupp. Previously, Peetz was the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at LSU in 2021 after two years with the Carolina Panthers from 2019-20. His other notable stops include stints with the Raiders, Commanders, and the University of Alabama.
Alex Van Pelt
Van Pelt is from Pittsburgh, and was just shockingly fired by the Browns after four seasons as their offensive coordinator. He helped the Browns win 11 games with four different quarterbacks this season. He also helped Cleveland get to the playoffs twice, and beat the Steelers in the 2020-21 wild card round. The Kevin Stefanski style of offense would be a welcome addition to Pittsburgh. If he would get the job, I’d suspect Baker Mayfield would be a prime target for the Steelers if he doesn’t re-sign with the Buccaneers.
Bobo is the current OC at the University of Georgia. The Steelers shouldn’t rule out going to the college ranks to find their next guy. The Ravens did it with Todd Monken, and it has worked wonders for Baltimore. Bobo is in his second stint as Georgia’s OC and quarterbacks coach. His previous tour of duty included coaching Matthew Stafford ahead of the now-Super Bowl winning quarterback getting drafted by the Detroit Lions. This should be something the Steelers give serious consideration to.