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mesaSteeler
12-08-2009, 06:01 AM
Which assistant coaches will be fired?
http://community.post-gazette.com/blogs/bobsmizik/default.aspx
By Bob Smizik | Tuesday 12:30 a.m.

The most popular byproduct of an unsuccessful NFL season is the opportunity to secure a better position in the draft. Already there are fans of the Steelers, believing they will not make the playoffs, hoping the team will lose the remainder of its games so as to improve its draft status.

There’s some merit to that kind of thinking. Teams like the Steelers, who regularly make the playoffs, usually pick in the bottom quarter of the draft, at which point the true difference-makers often are gone.

Picking, say, 15th could mean more success in the future than picking 28th.

But a better draft slot is not the only positive that can come out of a disappointing season. There’s something more losing by the Steelers could produce that in the minds of the fans would be considerably better than an elevated draft slot.

I speak of the long-held custom, both in the NFL and other sports leagues, of sacrificing assistant coaches.

There’s nothing that would more please many fans than to see something approaching a housecleaning of coach Mike Tomlin’s staff. Fans have such a belief in the power of coaches they many would take the last pick in the draft if Tomlin would unload many -- or all -- of his assistants.

That housecleaning could well happen, although in his three seasons on the job Tomlin has shown little inclination to changes coaches. In what is highly unusual, there has been no turnover on his staff since he succeeded Bill Cowher in 2007.

Having the same staff for a third consecutive season might not seem unusual since the Steelers made the playoffs in Tomlin’s first year and won the Super Bowl in his second. But after Bill Cowher’s first two seasons, both playoffs years with a team that barely knew the playoffs, his staff had a 30 percent turnover. Cowher was demanding of his assistant and after two winning seasons he had a 30 percent turnover -- replacing three of 10 assistants.

Considering what has transpired with the Steelers this year, it’s likely Tomlin will become more active in reshaping his staff than he was in the past.

Already there’s been much speculation about special teams coaches Bob Ligashesky and Amos Jones. The fact the Steelers have had four kickoffs returned for touchdowns against them and that other special team units have been less than satisfactory could well mean that Ligashesky and/or Jones could be gone.

What about other changes?

Offensive coordinator Bruce Arians is the assistant coach the fans would most like to see go. Offensive coordinators are always on the hot seat because many fans think they can call the plays better. Any time a play doesn’t work, even if the offensive line failed to make a block, the blame goes to the coordinator.

I have been a supporter of Arians and continue to be. Maybe his critics can answer this question: If his play-calling is so terrible and so predictable, how is the Steelers offense ranked sixth in the NFL in yards per game? Better yet, how is it third in the AFC behind the Peyton Manning-led Indianapolis Colts and the Tom Brady-led New England Patriots? How is that possible if the play-calling is so predictable?

I understand that yards gained does not win football games. But it sure does say something about play calling and offensive strategy.

The other knock on Arians is that he doesn’t run enough. If not running enough is a bad thing, how is it that the only undefeated team in the AFC is last in the conference in running the ball? If not running enough is a bad thing, how is it that the team that finished 29th (out of 32) in yards per rush last season won the Super Bowl.

All that being said, Arians could well be in trouble. He was appointed by Tomlin but he was a holdover from the Cowher staff, where he was receivers coach. Tomlin might want his own man in such a key position.

Defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau will not be fired. LeBeau is a legend and there’s no more revered man in the Steelers locker room. But at 72, with an aging defense and with the Hall of Fame almost certain to come calling early next year, LeBeau might find this the right time to walk away from a job he handled with style, dignity and football genius.

Among assistants who would appear to be safe are quarterbacks coach Ken Anderson, defensive line coach and assistant head coach John Mitchell (a Cowher holdover), linebackers coach Keith Butler (Cowher holdover), tight ends coach James Daniels (Cowher holdovr), wide receivers coach Randy Fichtner and running backs coach Kirby Wilson.

Among those whose jobs could be in jeopardy are defensive backfield coach Ray Horton, offensive line coach Larry Zierlein, Ligashesky and Jones.

The fact Tomlin has yet to fire an assistant coach should not be taken as a sign of weakness or indecision but rather that he liked the jobs they were doing. And it doesn’t mean he won’t make changes after this season. He will do what it takes to improve the team.

And if he does, he’ll make a lot of fans happy.

Texasteel
12-08-2009, 06:22 AM
It is hard for me to believe that a fan of the Steelers would actually hope they loose any games. No matter what the circumstance is. How ever, I know there are some that will.

lamberts-lost-tooth
12-08-2009, 06:41 AM
It is hard for me to believe that a fan of the Steelers would actually hope they loose any games. No matter what the circumstance is. How ever, I know there are some that will.

Agreed.

IF they were to lose the rest of their games, I look forward to the draft possibilities....but would never "hope" they would lose to give us a better draft slot. Besides, teams that draft well will trade up (Polamalu), or trade down for more draft picks depending on where the talent lies.

It is complete nonsense for any fan to hope we "lose out" when there is a possibility of a 10-6 season.

stlrtruck
12-08-2009, 07:45 AM
I can see BA getting fired along with the o-line coach
Dickie LeBeau will probably stay
ST coaches not just fired but FIRED!

vasteeler
12-08-2009, 08:00 AM
I can see BA getting fired along with the o-line coach
Dickie LeBeau will probably stay
ST coaches not just fired but FIRED!

I kind of thought DL might hang it up after this year but now I can see at least one more year. I dont think he would want to go out after having a bad defensive year

LamarrWoodleysFade
12-08-2009, 08:11 AM
I hate when people use the old "well if such and such is ranked this way, how could it be bad?"

The D is ranked top 3 in the NFL, does that mean it's doing well? Lol No. Rankings don't mean a damn thing nor do they tell the whole story.

Is the Offense terrible? Not by any strech, but that doesn't change the fact that his play calling is questionable more times than not...

Side Note: save all that bullshit about how Arians isn't to blame. He isn't the SOLE reason, but he can share some blame along with everybody else.

Steeldude
12-08-2009, 09:07 AM
It is hard for me to believe that a fan of the Steelers would actually hope they loose any games

i doubt most fans would be hoping for a loss when watching the game. it really depends on the situation. if your team is 0-15 and another team is 0-15; you could grab the #1 spot. the #1 player could be a huge difference for a position you are in dire need of help.

i wouldn't be hoping for a loss or booing, but i wouldn't be upset with the loss, in the scenario above, as i would from other losses. that particular loss would be beneficial to the team. personally i would start some players on the bench to see what they have and what they could do for the team. it would also give them some real game experience.

KeiselPower99
12-08-2009, 10:43 AM
What a minute. We have 2 Special Teams coaches?? That right there might be why we cant do anything. 2 differant guys in your ear makes ya wanna tune em out. Im kinda old school in thinking and think Tomlin is as well that why fire a guy unless you are sure the guy you replace him with is better.

lamberts-lost-tooth
12-08-2009, 10:46 AM
i doubt most fans would be hoping for a loss when watching the game. it really depends on the situation. if your team is 0-15 and another team is 0-15; you could grab the #1 spot. the #1 player could be a huge difference for a position you are in dire need of help.

i wouldn't be hoping for a loss or booing, but i wouldn't be upset with the loss, in the scenario above, as i would from other losses. that particular loss would be beneficial to the team. personally i would start some players on the bench to see what they have and what they could do for the team. it would also give them some real game experience.

Totally disagree with the above scenerio.

I dont want to be ANYWHERE in the top 5. A top 5 pick is the punishment you get for a bad season... If I was 0-15...I would be PRAYING that we would win the last game so as to not have a #1 overall pick that demands the highest dollar for a talent level potentially equal to picks 2-10.

AllD
12-08-2009, 02:44 PM
#1 pick is getting the D lineman from Nebraska.

MACH1
12-08-2009, 03:15 PM
What a minute. We have 2 Special Teams coaches?? That right there might be why we cant do anything. 2 differant guys in your ear makes ya wanna tune em out. Im kinda old school in thinking and think Tomlin is as well that why fire a guy unless you are sure the guy you replace him with is better.

Why pay two guys to do a lousy job. Get one guy who can do the job right.

Sharkissle29
12-08-2009, 03:37 PM
I hate when people use the old "well if such and such is ranked this way, how could it be bad?"

The D is ranked top 3 in the NFL, does that mean it's doing well? Lol No. Rankings don't mean a damn thing nor do they tell the whole story.

Is the Offense terrible? Not by any strech, but that doesn't change the fact that his play calling is questionable more times than not...

Side Note: save all that bullshit about how Arians isn't to blame. He isn't the SOLE reason, but he can share some blame along with everybody else.

I agree, the points he makes in this article are dumb

devilsdancefloor
12-08-2009, 03:51 PM
I agree, the points he makes in this article are dumb

but if the steelers where winning would you say looky looky we are ranked 3rd on defense and 6th on Offense WE ROCK? Id bet alot of steelers fans would be pointing that out and also that damn power rankings crap.

Sharkissle29
12-08-2009, 04:22 PM
but if the steelers where winning would you say looky looky we are ranked 3rd on defense and 6th on Offense WE ROCK? Id bet alot of steelers fans would be pointing that out and also that damn power rankings crap.

well yea, because im sure other numbers would be most consistent if we were winning...

he fails to point out redzone %, turnovers etc. the reasons we are 6-6

solardave
12-08-2009, 04:39 PM
Agreed.

IF they were to lose the rest of their games, I look forward to the draft possibilities....but would never "hope" they would lose to give us a better draft slot. Besides, teams that draft well will trade up (Polamalu), or trade down for more draft picks depending on where the talent lies.

It is complete nonsense for any fan to hope we "lose out" when there is a possibility of a 10-6 season.

I'm with you guys. I'm upset we're playing like crap but I still hold out hope that we can win out. Unless we start playing at a higher level even if we win 4 straight the playoffs may be one and done. I'd still take one and done over a better draft pick. wanna know why, every year we question our front office on at least one pick they made but the fact is they do a GREAT job evaluating talent. It doesn't matter where we pick they find a gem or two every year. That's good enough for me. That's why we own 6 Trophies. It didn't come from low draft picks because of bad seasons. It came from the system in place. I'm one that would like to see a new STs coach. But if you watched the Raiders game they were talking about how much Ben loves BA. Loves BA= here next year. We better get used to it. Maybe he goes but I'm not sure Ben doesn't go to bat for him and wins that one. And when you think about it the last 4 losses were not the fault of the offense.The Secondary and special teams let us down more than anything. I just want to see us take out our frustration on the poor Browns. I almost fell sorry for them.:chuckle:

MasterOfPuppets
12-08-2009, 05:10 PM
Totally disagree with the above scenerio.

I dont want to be ANYWHERE in the top 5. A top 5 pick is the punishment you get for a bad season... If I was 0-15...I would be PRAYING that we would win the last game so as to not have a #1 overall pick that demands the highest dollar for a talent level potentially equal to picks 2-10.
actually if i remember correctly the rookie contracts changed considerably between the 15th and 16th pick.... so i'd never want tp pick higher than 16 th. plus thats a great position for pulling off trades.

HometownGal
12-08-2009, 05:10 PM
I don't believe Arians is going anywhere but I think Ligashesky and his sidekick will be gone at season's end. Though I am a huge supporter of BA, if the FO and Tomlin feel he needs to move on, I'll be OK with it, as I trust their judgment implicitly. Doesn't mean I have to like it.

As for Coach Lebeau - I wouldn't be at all surprised if he retires at the end of the season, though I pray he doesn't. He is HOF bound and may want to just sit back and enjoy his retirement years. Obviously, we won't know the answer to that quiery for a few months.

markymarc
12-08-2009, 08:20 PM
I thought that was a poorly written article. I would not be surprised to see Ligashesky and his sidekick, Ray Horton fired after the season. While I have supported Arians this season, I truly believe it really is time for a new OC. I will be disappointed if Mike Tomlin doesn't make a few changes on the staff after the season. Changes are needed to help improve and make the Steelers stronger for next season.

ricardisimo
12-08-2009, 08:38 PM
"Loves BA" just translates to "I get to fling it to my heart's content." Trust me, though... I'm pretty sure Ben wouldn't mind handing the ball off and winning instead of setting records and losing.

Not that the formula is that simple, rather just that winning fixes everything and makes these guys love each other. They keep losing and Ben's not going to feel one way or the other about Arians.

Steeldude
12-09-2009, 12:30 AM
I would be PRAYING that we would win the last game so as to not have a #1 overall pick that demands the highest dollar for a talent level potentially equal to picks 2-10

you could always trade down. having the #1 is always better than #2, #3, #4......

FacemeIke
12-09-2009, 08:07 AM
I got irritated reading the beginning of the article. Hoping for losses to move up in the draft doesn't even make sense for this team. We don't have any glaring position holes to fill with a high draft pick anyways. I'm not a fan of Arians (although he's been better this year) and disagree with much of his play calling, but I'll agree with whatever decision Tomlin makes about his job.

KeiselPower99
12-09-2009, 08:14 AM
you could always trade down. having the #1 is always better than #2, #3, #4......

The thing about trading down is you need a team to want the pick. The problem is not alot of teams want to pay the 1st pick the money they get.

fansince'76
12-09-2009, 08:44 AM
The most popular byproduct of an unsuccessful NFL season is the opportunity to secure a better position in the draft. Already there are fans of the Steelers, believing they will not make the playoffs, hoping the team will lose the remainder of its games so as to improve its draft status.

There’s some merit to that kind of thinking. Teams like the Steelers, who regularly make the playoffs, usually pick in the bottom quarter of the draft, at which point the true difference-makers often are gone.

Picking, say, 15th could mean more success in the future than picking 28th.


Is that why the Lions are such a "strong contender" - by picking in the top 5 every year? :rolleyes:

SteelMember
12-09-2009, 09:24 AM
Why pay two guys to do a lousy job. Get one guy who can do the job right.

Yes. And the "sidekick" that everyone alludes to is Amos Jones (http://news.steelers.com/team/coach/49265/).

Steely McSmash
12-09-2009, 12:04 PM
I wouldn't miss Ligashesky or Zierlien assuming that we're upgrading and not just punitively firing.

I think BA is ok but needs some oversight from Tomlin. I'd like to see him focus on moving the chains on 3rd down not going 30 yards downfield. Also he needs to figure out how to score in the redzone better. My guess is that he's too much of a player's coach. How many times have we heard that he only looks at plays that the QB's like? Maybe he needs to push them to a wider diversity of plays so we have the calls needed to crack the redzone. We should be improvng our weaknesses so the offense can take what the opponent gives you.

Did you know that the Steelers opponenents convert 78% of 4th downs? Astounding stat that explains how you can blow it in the 4th so much.

markymarc
12-10-2009, 10:06 AM
We should be improving our weaknesses so the offense can take what the opponent gives you.

IMO that is an area Arians definitely struggles with.

Riddles of Steel
12-10-2009, 11:41 AM
I tell you what...

If Tomlin does decide to cut some coaches....we're going to find out what he is really made of.

Tomlin came into a STRONG system....he kept all the coaches intact. He let them do their jobs. He won a superbowl in doing so.

If he starts bringing in new people, and truly making it HIS team....it could get interesting, whether that's good or bad.

Texasteel
12-10-2009, 01:22 PM
I tell you what...

If Tomlin does decide to cut some coaches....we're going to find out what he is really made of.

Tomlin came into a STRONG system....he kept all the coaches intact. He let them do their jobs. He won a superbowl in doing so.

If he starts bringing in new people, and truly making it HIS team....it could get interesting, whether that's good or bad.

How did he do that? I thought 2 of the main coaches left for another team.

SteelMember
12-10-2009, 01:35 PM
How did he do that? I thought 2 of the main coaches left for another team.

Absolutely, correct.

Whiz and Grimm left. That's the better part of the offensive coaches.

Arians was/is Tomlin's guy... as it stands now anyway. :sweating:

El-Gonzo Jackson
12-10-2009, 11:06 PM
I don't know. I think after a monumental slide like the past 5 games...........everybody should be back. :chuckle: