The Pittsburgh Steelers season ended abruptly, and everyone knew some changes were going to come afterwards. While these changes may not have been what you expected, it was still change.
Gone is Todd Haley, welcome Randy Fichtner as the new offensive coordinator. Richard Mann retired, and Darryl Drake went from Arizona to Pittsburgh in an effort to fill his shoes at the wide receiver coach position.
Those are the changes, but even no changes brings about questions regarding the coaching staff. I have 5 big questions facing the Steelers’ coaching staff. Check out the questions, read my answers and feel free to answer them yourself in the comment section below!
1. Is Joey Porter officially on notice in 2018?
Porter has been the recipient of several high draft picks at the outside linebacker position, but the lack of development has been evident. T.J. Watt is a tireless worker, and was able to cash in on several hustle plays, but still is very raw when it comes to a technical pass rusher. Bud Dupree is another raw contributor to the defense, but after three seasons with Porter, he has shown little-to-no improvement in the technical aspect of the game. This is a results based business. If Porter doesn’t start to get some production from his bookend pass rushers next year, he could be in the unemployment line.
2. Will Mike Tomlin slowly back away, and let coaches coach?
Reports from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette stated Mike Tomlin was more than just present in defensive team meetings this past year. In fact, he ran a lot of meetings. While putting your fingerprint on the defense is okay, trying to take over is another. If Tomlin doesn’t trust Keith Butler and Carnell Lake to do their jobs, why not get coaches you do trust?
3. Will Randy Fichtner just be the figure head of the offense?
Some are speculating Ben Roethlisberger will essentially be the team’s offensive coordinator this season. If you are wondering what this would resemble, look at the no-huddle offense. In this situation, Roethlisberger is usually the one who is calling the plays the majority of the time. Would this mean the offense would become pass-happy? Or would it result in a balanced approach? While I think Fichtner will lean on Roethlisberger for some things, you only get a shot at being a coordinator in the NFL a few times in your life. This is Fichtner’s first...I doubt he lets Roethlisberger just call the shots while he just sits back and watches.
4. Was their a bigger purpose to Mike Munchak staying?
When Munchak turned down a second interview with the Arizona Cardinals, most thought he might be in line for the offensive coordinator position. That obviously didn’t happen. He could still be in line for a promotion to Assistant Head Coach, or something like that, but maybe Munchak just likes his current gig with a great offensive line, and didn’t want the stress of being a coach of a team without a quarterback? Either way, it would be odd if he turned down the Cardinals without the Steelers doing, or saying, something to entice him to stay.
5. Is Mike Tomlin’s seat starting to warm?
The man has won a Super Bowl, been to two, never had a losing season, is second to only Bill Belichick regarding wins in their first 11 seasons, and is coming off a 13-3 season. Despite a horrible ending, I can answer this question in one sentence:
Since 1969, when Chuck Noll was hired by the Steelers, there have been more Roman Catholic popes than Steelers head coaches.
Think about that for a minute, and you should know Tomlin’s seat is as cool as the other side of the pillow.