Steelers should reunite with Heath Miller in the 2021 offseason
With a new opening at TE coach, the Steelers should consider a former player to fill the void
The Steelers announced recently the bevy of moves they have made at the coaching position. The majority of them were chosen by the team to enact, such as not renewing the contracts of Randy Fichtner, offensive line coach Shaun Sarrett, and defensive backs coach Tom Bradley. On top of this, the team announced the retirement of veteran tight ends coach, James Daniel.
Daniel has been the Steelers tight end coach for the past 17 seasons, and he proved to be one of the better coaches to make a complete tight end. Most notably, he was key in the development of Heath Miller into the stalwart he became for this team. As well, while not a dynamic offensive threat, Daniel was helpful in making Matt Spaeth arguably the best blocking tight end in the league.
While some fans will point to the recent lack of success at the position, it should be noted that the Steelers haven’t really invested much in the position. Instead, the team has put a band-aid on the situation by adding veterans on short deals or via trades such as Eric Ebron and Vance McDonald. While neither became a top threat, both found some success. In particular, Ebron actually showed some willingness as a blocker this season, something he never did during his previous stints on other teams.
The Steelers first choice should be easy
While replacing a talent like Daniels won’t be easy, the team should have a clear top option assuming he wants to become a coach. Miller spent his entire career with the Steelers, and while he was never the elite receiving threat, there was no better all-around tight end than him. As well, the rapport he developed with Ben Roethlisberger allowed for them to maintain a strong connection late into Miller’s career.
With the team more than likely looking to draft a tight end early this season, having a raw coach but experienced player like Miller take the reigns as a coach would be a sound move. He could show the rookie what is expected of him as a Steelers tight end as well as providing proper blocking technique. Even after adding a move tight end in Ebron, the Steelers still made him act like a complete tight end. That won’t go away with Daniels retiring, so hiring a coach who was a great blocking tight end would make sense.
This all assumes Miller would want to step back in as a coach right now. Never a loud personality, Miller seems to be enjoying his retirement as he gets to be around his family and give back heavily to his community. If he wanted to dip his toe into the coaching pool, it would make quite a lot of sense for him to be given the nod as tight ends coach.
While there is little guarantee he even wants the position, adding Miller as the tight ends coach would make a lot of sense. The Steelers would reunite with one of their legends while Miller could pass down the knowledge, he obtained to the next generation of Steelers tight end. This seems like a good match for both sides.