The Pittsburgh Steelers are expected to promote defensive assistant Teryl Austin into the defensive coordinator role following the retirement of Keith Butler.
Two things about the decision.
First, everyone is right - the Steelers should be looking at options outside the organization as well as within. Options never hurt anybody, and with a name like Don Martindale on the market, it seems a bit preemptive to hand Austin the job.
However, if you believe that bringing in a veteran coordinator is going to go smooth, you're mistaken. It's head coach Mike Tomlin's defense, and whoever is in that role is falling behind him. End of story.
Second, even though looking at other candidates is a sound decision, hiring Austin should be something that excites the team and their fans.
Austin has done his part with the Steelers. Whether many realize it or not, Terrell Edmunds didn't go from "get him out of here" to "re-sign him" on his own. That took the hands of the secondary coach, who will now be in charge of developing a number of players.
He did the same thing with Tre Norwood, who turned a seventh-round selection into a pretty decent rookie season - and plenty of potential moving forward.
"I couldn’t even tell you the amount of stuff Coach [Austin] has taught me this year," Norwood said. "Just generally, coming in, him teaching my the scheme, off the bat. Just him and his understanding of just knowing the game of football. He’s a great teacher and I think that’s an intricately part of him being a great coach. He does a very well job of that in every aspect, whether it’s team standpoint, scheme standpoint. That’s something that stands out to me a lot.
"I learned from my first time in the building all the way through the entire season. Every week, each and every day, in the meeting room, in the film, I was always learning from Coach TA. Just cause he’s a smart coach, knows the game of football, has a very high level of understanding."
And the players love him, which Norwood help point out. Minkah Fitzpatrick wouldn't say anything nice about Austin during his final media interview because he didn't want another team to poach him.
"TA is a great coach. I'm not going to say too much good about him because I want him to stay in Pittsburgh and I know everybody else is trying to get at him," Fitzpatrick laughed. "I love his attention to detail. The way the he approaches the game. The way that he lets players have a voice."
With the people who count, Austin is the best man for the job.
It's not an easy thing to accept with the last three promotions not turning out so great, but the Steelers could have a steal in their hands with their next defensive coordinator.
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