The wave of change promised by head coach Mike Tomlin continued on Monday afternoon, as the team announced the dismissal of running back coach James Saxon.
“I have made the decision to not renew the contract for running backs coach James Saxon,” Tomlin said in a statement Monday “We would like to thank James for his efforts over the past five years, and we wish him the best in his future coaching endeavors.”
The change is one many did not expect to see, since the Steelers running backs have played extremely well under Saxon’s guidance since joining the team in 2014.
Despite James Conner’s superb second season and Jaylen Samuel’s flashes of excellence, Pittsburgh finished second to last in rushing yards gained. In many games last season, offensive coordinator Randy Fichtner abandoned the rushing attack early in games in favor of throwing the ball.
Is Saxon being punished for decisions that weren’t his? His track record certainly claims so. From a strict numbers standpoint, however, Saxon failed to elevate his running back room as a whole in Bell’s absence.
Tomlin promised change, and likely wanted to get fresh faces in valuable places inside the locker room. More change is expected to take place in the coming weeks.