Al Everest, coach of the Steelers Special Teams had his contract terminated today per Jay Glazer via Twitter. Steelers.com also made a statement concerning the changes to their staff, and depending on how much you read into things, there could be more changes. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves though.
“We are continually evaluating our coaching staff and support staff, and we have decided to go in a different direction with respect to the coaching of our special teams,” head coach Mike Tomlin said. “I want to thank Al for his contributions and efforts, and I wish him well in the future.”
Amos Jones, assistant to Everest will take over the duties as the new Special Teams Coach for 2012.
Prior to joining the Steelers in 2010, Everest coached the San Francisco 49ers unit from 2007-1009 and before that he was with the New England Patriots from 2000-2005. He has over 38 years coaching experience in the NFL, European League, College Football, and in Baseball as well. You can see his entire bio here.
Everest was instrumental in the Steelers Special Teams return game last year that featured Antonio Brown setting an NFL record as the first player ever to have over 1,000 yds receiving and 1,000 yds in returns as well. During the 2012 training camp and preseason so far though, Mike Tomlin has not been pleased with the return game like he was last year and while the exact reasons for the dismissal are not known, the return game struggles could be a big part of it.
The Steelers, at least to date, are not planning on using Antonio Brown in a similar role for 2012 as they did in the past. He’s a big part of the regular offense now so they are looking to other players to step up and fill that return void. Emmanuel Sanders said earlier in the off season that he was going to see the bulk of those duties but so far it’s been rookies Chris Rainey and Marquis Maze who have handled that role predominately. Sanders was the primary return man in 2010 though, so he’s got experience in that role should they choose to go that route.
It’s a bit odd to wait this long before the regular season to make a coaching change, but Amos Jones, who’s been with the team since 2007 in his assistant role is the new Special Teams sheriff in Pittsburgh. He’s got plenty of knowledge on how the Steelers want things done and is more than capable of running that group.