We’re now one week into the Pittsburgh Steelers assistant coaching search after Arthur Smith became the team’s offensive coordinator, and the news came in furiously over the last few days, as teams and candidates are starting to find new landing spots.
So, where would Pittsburgh stand in the market for filling in some of their vacant assistant coaching jobs?
Ronald Curry off the Board
Former Saints quarterbacks coach and passing game coordinator Ronald Curry is off the market. He will be heading to the Buffalo Bills as the team’s new quarterbacks coach, and turned down the Saints’ offer to stay on the staff as the wide receivers coach.
On Tuesday, Gerry Dulac reported that the team is hosting interviews for quarterbacks coach, and while that does not mean that Mike Sullivan is gone, it certainly means that his spot is up in the air. And on top of that, the team has held interviews for what appears to be the passing game coordinator job.
If you want connections to the current Steelers staff, there certainly are more than a few. Curry and Mike Tomlin are both from Hampton, Virginia. There is a shared heritage between them, so their connections are obvious. Curry and Smith played with each other in 2001 at North Carolina. Lastly, Director of Pro Scouting Sheldon White was the vice president of pro personnel while Curry played with the Lions in 2009. Those are just three connections, but they are massive, significant connections that should land Curry a potential interview with the team. Regardless, he will be heading to the Bills.
‘Don’t Hold Your Breath’ for Hines Ward
The Pittsburgh Steelers moved on from wide receivers coach Frisman Jackson, and the guy who has most frequently been talked about for the job is former Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward.
He started with Pittsburgh in 2017 but landed with the New York Jets as an offensive assistant for two years from 2019 to 2020, before accepting the wide receivers coach job at Florida Atlantic. Then, Ward would be the head coach of the San Antonio Brahmas for just one season before being let go this winter.
But Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette joined the Chipped Ham and Football podcast and would tell fans to approach that proposition with mild expectations.
“The only thing I will tell you, Brian, and I will tell others, would be to not hold your breath,” Dulac said. “Hines Ward came in a number of years ago…and he helped out the wide receivers to the middle, second part of the season. And then he was interested in the wide receiver job when Darryl Drake eventually got that position. I don’t think Hines liked the way it was handled in terms of after helping them out and throwing his hat in the ring and basically being ignroed for a full-time position.”
All that said, Ward does not have the standout qualifications as a coach to be the favorite for that job. What he does have, though, is the connection between the organization and the aura of what the Smith offense wants. Ward is an old-school, blocking-first mentality guy who could bring one of the most essential attributes to a room that needs it the most. Knowing how the team was like during its last dominant period is another feather in the cap of Ward. But he might not land it, ultimately.
Colts Land Eagles Coach
The Indianapolis Colts have themselves a passing game coordinator. They hired Alex Tanney, who was the former quarterbacks coach of the Philadelphia Eagles, but was fired. He will join up, once again, with Shane Steichen to help bolster that Colts passing attack. Fired offensive coordinator Brian Johnson has not yet been hired, so he is still on the board, but Tanney is going elsewhere.
Reportedly, the Steelers are looking for coaches that might fit into the passing game coordinator title. Still, it’s unknown if that is a standalone title or if they want to pair it with a position coaching position. It seems that both wide receivers coach and quarterbacks coach could be up in the air for this.