Pittsburgh Steelers’ General Manager Kevin Colbert took to the podium today for his annual ‘question and answer’ at the National Football League Combine in Indianapolis. While there was very little substance or new information, one thing that certainly caught my attention was the fact that Colbert announced the coaching staff would not undergo any changes.
My reaction? Why Not?!?
I have always appreciated the way the Steelers have operated. They like very little alteration to the way they do things and when changes are made they are done with great thought and great care. The idea that you make a change just to “make a change” isn’t something the Steelers have subscribed to for quite some time.
Unfortunately, the most pressing change that was needed was Special Teams’ Coach Danny Smith whose units have under-performed the last two seasons in my opinion. What I’ve found curious in recent weeks are the excuses that some are making for him. One such evasion claimed that Smith has very little talent to with which to work. OK, I’ll give you that but only in terms of kick returners.
If we use that excuse, that he doesn’t have talent, then aren’t we suggesting that the Steelers as a team lack some serious depth? I believe we are because most NFL teams use their reserve players on special teams with a few exceptions here and there. On kickoff and kick return however, those units are almost entirely made up of reserves.
In my view, the lack of success in those areas isn’t the lack of talent, it’s the lack of coaching. Why did return guys like Sammie Coates, Fitzgerald Toussaint and Justin Gilbert (when he got the chance) consistently struggle with the task of just bringing the ball out of the end zone or not? Watching those guys each week was like watching Chris Farley and David Spade escape the “bees” in ‘Tommy Boy.’ I didn’t see other teams have nearly the same issues and again, that’s a coaching problem.
When you go 11-5 and advance to the AFC Title Game, most people assume the coaches have all done their jobs. For the most they have, but I just don’t get it with Smith.
Video link courtesy: YouTube.com