When the Steelers and Mike Tomlin hired Teryl Austin as defensive coordinator, it was yet another internal hire made by the Steelers for continuity purposes, much to the chagrin of the fanbase.
The Steelers moved forward with the decision and Austin is now squarely the Steelers’ defensive coordinator, but with Tomlin being the one to call most of the defensive plays, anyway, it brings into question exactly how much will change with the transition from Keith Butler to Austin.
While the defense will be Tomlin’s regardless, Austin will likely have some input on it. The Steelers already started moving more towards use more two high safeties, or Cover 2, in 2021, and that is the bread and butter of Austin. The impact that Austin will have on the defense will be felt.
“It’s just really comfortable and natural because he’s been here with us,” Tomlin said of Austin in an interview with Steelers.com. “Obviously, he’s a very capable coach. He understands our philosophical approach to defense. Certainly, his perspective and spin will be felt. He’ll have the latitude to make some changes and put his imprint on the defense.”
Tomlin and Austin go back many years, and thus when he was hired, it was thought that Austin could be the defensive coordinator for the Steelers. For continuity’s sake, Austin will slide in nicely. However, Tomlin made it known that Austin will be able to make his impact on the defense. That could mean more two-high shells and coverages in the coming year. With the league moving more and more to those two-high shells, that’s a move that would make sense.