Tomlin and the Steelers live in their fears
For a coach who famously said that he doesn’t live in his fears, the opposite seems to be true. From the top down, this is a conservative team that is adverse to change. While this is logical when you are dominating for periods of time, the same isn’t true when you aren’t. The NFL is in constant influx of change. While chasing the new hot system isn’t always wise, updating your outdated schemes and practices is, especially when the results aren’t there.
While some will argue longer, the results haven’t been there since 2016, the last year the Steelers won a playoff game. As the league shifted to more pass-happy and college-like schemes, the team continued to rally around a declining Roethlisberger. This didn’t just include the players, but also the coaching staff.
Randy Fichtner was hand-picked to allow Roethlisberger the most freedom to run this offense how he wanted to. That was a mistake. It sounds weird to say it, but the team looking through the college ranks for Matt Canada, at the time was logical. He would step in for Fitchner and help this offense modernize after Roethlisberger retired.
That hasn’t been the case. Year one was excusable, as Roethlisberger was still at the helm and there wasn’t a lot he could do. Last year was a train wreck though, and instead of firing Canada, Tomlin decided to roll with what he knew.
And then there is the defense that was so hot and cold under Keith Butler. The team promoted Teryl Austin as opposed to looking outside of the organization, and the results have been as expected. Despite a highly-paid defense, this unit has been lackluster for the most part.
I think the coaching tree is one of the worst traits of Tomlin. Akin to what this section is focused on, he keeps things safe, especially with his primary coordinators. We see elite teams have their coordinators targeted for head coaching gigs. That has never been the case with Tomlin, as he keeps to what he knows and promotes coaches. Again, this is fine when the results are there, but when they haven’t been there, things need to change.