Steelers Easing Transition


With Keith Butler’s move to Defensive Coordinator, the Steelers have now filled his former role as Linebackers Coach with Joey Porter on the outside and Jerry Olsavsky on the inside. These are all pretty predictable moves–if not for the hiring of two coaches for one position–but mean a lot for the Steelers’ defense.

The Steelers are able to transition to a new coordinator and assistants without major changes when it comes to scheme. The changes will come with coaching style.

Teams often look for a fresh style or perspective after parting ways with a long time coordinator or coach, however there can be an issue when it comes to meshing players with new coaches.

The Steelers have avoided that issue by bumping everyone up one rung on the ladder. Butler, a seasoned position coach, has a great relationship with the linebackers and is familiar with the rest of the defense–personnel and scheme.

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Olsavsky and Porter, both former Steelers, have had some time as assistants under Butler. Their experience as Steelers linebackers and with Butler’s coaching style should prove invaluable to the Steelers’ young linebackers.

There is no doubt that Butler will want to put his own stamp on this defense, and his reputation and familiarity with the defense will help him do that.

Unlike many new coordinators, Butler has had plenty of time to evaluate the talent on his team and has the respect of the players. This makes his transition even easier.

It will be interesting to see if the departure of Dick Lebeau influences the decisions made by both the Steelers and some of their veterans with uncertain futures. The resignation might offer a sensible opportunity for players like Ike Taylor, Troy Polamalu, Brett Keisel, and James Harrison to part ways.

Butler, however, has been Harrison’s position coach for most of the player’s career. If Butler wants him back, he might have his ways.

The Steelers have the rare opportunity to replace quality coaches from within. It is easy to expect Butler’s transition to DC to be seamless; let’s hope it is.