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NFL Interested in Longtime Offensive Guru; Could Steelers Bite?



Pittsburgh Steelers OC Chip Kelly

The Pittsburgh Steelers are looking for an offensive coordinator after Mike Tomlin declared that Eddie Faulkner and Mike Sullivan are not being considered for the job. Instead, Tomlin wants someone with experience as a coordinator, a voice from outside the organization that runs a diverse scheme, and, ideally, someone with a quarterback background.

On our Steelers offensive coordinator big board, for the most part aside from Kentucky offensive coordinator Liam Coen, the college ranks were avoided. But on Sunday, CBS Sports’ Jonathan Jones reported that the NFL is inquiring about UCLA head coach Chip Kelly and his availability.

Jones says that multiple teams have looked into Kelly and are interested in him taking their vacant offensive coordinator position. No specific teams were linked into that discussion, but could the Steelers be one of those teams that want to interview him?

Kelly checks most of Tomlin’s boxes. And while he was never a quarterbacks coach before he received his first head coaching job, he has worked closely with that position since becoming a head coach. Tomlin’s quote on a diverse scheme is interesting, too.

He wants the scheme to be diverse to maximize the talent on the team’s offense. They have it, but it needs to be utilized. Given they used a massively diverse run scheme this season, it would seem that Tomlin wants to expand that to the offense overall.

“I want us to be versatile and dynamic. Obviously, you know we got to score more points. I want to be able to keep defenses off balance. I want to utilize all the talent we have at our disposal,” Tomlin said. “…I’m excited about this process and the talent pool out there based on what I’ve seen so far. I’m really open to learning through this process and seeing what people have to say about their visions. Certainly, I have a vision of what it looks like, but certainly open to learning through this process.”

Kelly’s been an NFL head coach and a college head coach. His spread style scheme works in tempo and rhythm like few before it, but many have adopted his style of football over the last decade since he popularized it at Oregon. But his NFL success never came with that, and in recent years, his college success has waned. But he has is a highly-regarded offensive guru throughout league circles.

But this is probably not one the Steelers should look into this offseason. Even if Kelly does get an interview, and that would not be all that shocking, Pittsburgh might want someone who comes from a specific tree, like the Shanahan or McVay tree, given how much they implemented plays from those branches in the season.