View Full Version : ... And current assistants worth a next step

01-04-2009, 11:02 AM
http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/09004/939541-66.stm (http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/09004/939541-66.stm)

I'll offer some candidates for the many coordinator positions that follow head-coaching openings ... at least they should be candidates.

John Mitchell either has been wrongly overlooked to be a defensive coordinator or he does not want to be one and prefers to coach the Steelers' defensive line as long as
Dick Hoak coached their running backs. Since he was hired in 1994, Mitch consistently turned out some of the best 3-4 lines in the league. Bill Cowher never promoted him, but shortly after Mike Tomlin retained him on his staff, he gave him Russ Grimm's old title of assistant head coach.

Ray Horton, who joined the Steelers as Darren Perry's assistant in the secondary, has coached that group by himself the past two seasons, and they've improved immensely, even unheralded young players such as William Gay and a veteran like Tyrone Carter, who was available for nothing.

Kirby Wilson would make someone a good offensive coordinator. He's worked for four different NFL teams, the past two with the Steelers' running backs, and started coaching in college in 1985. Their ground game is down this season, mostly because No. 1 pick Rashard Mendenhall was knocked out for the season in the fourth game and Willie Parker missed five games, much of two others and not been the same because of two separate injuries. Mewelde Moore has blossomed under Wilson, and last year Parker was leading the NFL in rushing when he broke his leg in the 15th game.

One more Steelers employee, Doug Whaley, works in their personnel department. He is their pro scouting coordinator, a position held by such men as Tom Donahoe and Tom Modrak before him. Both rose to become president and/or general manager in the NFL. Whaley has that kind of talent, yet to my knowledge has never been interviewed by another team since he left Seattle as a scout to join the Steelers in 1997. Whaley, an Upper St. Clair native who played at Pitt and graduated with a degree in business/finance, worked one year as a Wall Street stockbroker before he became a scouting intern with the Steelers in 1995.

All four men are African-American, which brings us to another point. The Rooney Rule, after some initial misgivings in the league and some teams' early attempts to circumvent it, has been successful in not only helping the hiring of minority coaches but in getting interviews to worthy men and getting names out that otherwise might have been overlooked.

The NFL now needs a Rooney Rule II that would require club owners to interview minorities for the executive positions of president, general manager or director of football operations, and for offensive and defensive coordinators.Maybe we should consider trading Arains in on a Kirby! :greengrin:

01-04-2009, 11:27 AM
John Mitchell has been here forever and needs to keep himself right where he belongs in the black and gold. Our DL is always a solid unit and this year he's really helped bring along the backups in a big way.

Same with Horton, our DB's are playing great this year. Troy is back, Ike is really as solid as it gets, Townsend is still playing at a pretty high level, Gay is coming along great, hell even Carter seems to have stepped up his game, and of course McFadden even though he missed 5 games with that broken arm is a guy I'd love to keep. Horton has done a great job.

Im not so sure on Kirby though, even last year when our running game was healthy it was doing ok; Parker was leading the league but we had no short yardage guys to speak of. It's probably unfair to judge him since Mendy has been out, Parker hurt and just playing poorly, but Moore has done really well and Russel has made great strides.

Whaley has been solid in his scouting of players for this team atleast on the day 1 talent you have to give him that. Now how much influence he's had on our day 2 guys really is anyone's guess but I'd imagine they take his information pretty seriously overall since he's the head honcho but man our day 2 drafting has stunk for the last several years before Tomlin got here. Last year we got DSep who was a great pick but our day 2 guys this year were just not able to cut it.

01-04-2009, 02:08 PM
These last 2 years have been the first in a LONG time that we haven't had teams pounding down our doors to talk to our assistant coaches. Based on our offense it's pretty apparent that they aren't a real hot commodity by any means but our defensive guys have really done a solid job again and so far seem to be safe from the major coaching carousel talks.

01-04-2009, 02:33 PM
Arians is worth a step back, sure. maybe pop warner football