The Pittsburgh Steelers have been linked to numerous quarterbacks through early draft selections,
free agency, and possible trades. That is to be expected given the quarterback performance of the squad in 2023. Surprisingly, however, the media has also connected the Steelers to a number of assistant coaches—including Eric Bieniemy—in staff speculations.
Alan Saunders of Steelers Now stated on February 5 that Bieniemy seems like the greatest option to take over as Pittsburgh’s next pass game coordinator.
After a mediocre season with the Washington Commanders, Bieniemy—once regarded as the best NFL offensive coordinator and a surefire possibility for head coach—has lost some of his sparkle, according to Saunders.
However, he undoubtedly possesses the passing game know-how to assist Arthur Smith in creating a more formidable squad on that side of the ball. Why not select a former assistant of the player who is playing in the Super Bowl for the fourth time in five years, particularly one with ties to Mike Tomlin, given the amount of discussion about the Steelers’ potential to mine the coaching tree of Kyle Shanahan or Sean McVay?
Two days after SI.com’s All Steelers’ Noah Strackbein revealed that the Steelers were going to interview prospects for a new offensive assistant position on the team’s coaching staff, Saunders claimed that the Steelers should give Bieniemy some thought.
Should the Steelers Hire Eric Bieniemy as Pass Game Coordinator?
On February 3, Strackbein revealed that the Steelers were interviewing Zach Azzani, Charles London, and Tom Arth to be their offensive coordinators.
In their respective 2023 championships with the Los Angeles Chargers and Tennessee Titans, Arth and London had passing game coordinators. In 2023, Azzani was the wide receivers coach for the New York Jets.
Saunders’ assertion that Bieniemy is a stronger fit for Pittsburgh than any of the three coaches is hard to refute.
The Washington Commanders placed 25th in points scored and 24th in total yards under Bieniemy. However, Bieniemy’s tenure with the Kansas City Chiefs was significantly more fruitful.
From 2018 to 22, Bieniemy guided Kansas City to top 6 finishes in yards and points per year while serving as the Chiefs offensive coordinator.
The fact that Bieniemy had Patrick Mahomes as quarterback for Kansas City undoubtedly helped. Andy Reid, the head coach, called plays as well.
Bieniemy’s connection to the Chiefs, however, may prove invaluable to a Steelers offensive hoping to improve its passing game dramatically in 2024.
Bieniemy has coached in the NFL for 16 years. Ten of those seasons were spent in Kansas City working as Reid’s assistant.
Bieniemy became the offensive coordinator in 2017 after serving as the Chiefs’ running backs coach from 2013 to 2017.
Other Assistants the Steelers Could Consider
Saunders continued after Bieniemy.In addition, he recommended Mike Vrabel to be a senior defensive assistant and Hines Ward to be the team’s wide receiver.
Saunders is not the first to suggest that either coach could end up with the Steelers. Joe Clark of Steelers Depot and Rob Gregson of AtoZ Sports both linked Ward to the team following the February 5 revelation by Gerry Dulac of The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that the team was not planning to keep wide receivers coach Frisman Jackson.
Former Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward, who was an offensive intern with the team in 2017 and was recently named head coach of the UFL’s San Antonio Brahmas, is one name on the market that will undoubtedly be connected to Pittsburgh, according to Clark. “He was the wide receivers coach at FAU as well as an offensive assistant for the New York Jets.”
On February 2, Strackbein and Stephen Thompson of All Steelers Talk both made the case for Mike Vrabel’s hiring by the Steelers.
There, it seems to be a one-way street. The Steelers ought to want Mike Vrabel to attend if he so chooses, Thompson stated. “I have no idea how much money that kind of assistant would make or anything.
However, I believe you almost give him a blank check and tell him, “Yes, we’d be delighted to have you here.”
Moreover, Nick Farabaugh of Steelers Now stated on February 4 that the Steelers ought to think about bringing Pep Hamilton on board.
There are obviously plenty of coaches that the media is considering for Pittsburgh.
On February 5, the official X (formerly Twitter) account of Steelers Depot joked about that fact.
It appears that everyone agrees that the Steelers should employ a 53-man coaching staff.
To be fair, the coaching staffs of the Steelers have historically been among the smallest in the NFL. Staff growth is long needed for this team.
The question of whether it ought to occur with well-known additions is up for discussion.