Jan 022013

Behind the Steel Curtain makes a very interesting point today while discussing whether former Steelers OL Tunch Ilkin would be a good fit for offensive line coach for the Steelers:

It not as easy as just looking at some of the guys that are currently available and say they would look great in Black and Gold. That is what happened to the Eagles. They brought in Howard Mudd to coach their offensive line after Juan Castillo was promoted to defensive coordinator. If there is a Hall of Fame for offensive line coaches, Mudd would be in on the first ballot. But, he was a disaster in Philly. Mudd likes big offensive linemen because he believes in a vertical pass drop set, whereas Castillo always preferred smaller, more athletic linemen. The overhaul that resulted really impeded their offense. Some guys may teach things a certain way that doesn’t fit with Haley or the players we currently have. That narrows the list, and would obviously bode well for Ilkin if he was interested in the job.

I’d never really thought of offensive line coach as being such a study in varied techniques but after reading that passage, it makes sense, doesn’t it. And because they’re more nitty-gritty than head coach or even offensive/defensive coordinator, perhaps it’s more difficult to customize techniques based on available personnel. It’s easier to stress over a coordinator or head coach’s philosophies, as so many did/have done w.r.t. Tomlin’s background in the 4-3 vs the Steelers current use of the 3-4. But the impact of position coaches shouldn’t be understated either.