With the shit show that is likely to happen for the rest of the Steelers season on the offensive end, I wanted to run through a few of the most likely coaches who could be candidates to be Pittsburgh’s next offensive coordinator and hopefully not be as terrible as Matt Canada has been. Here are a few guys that I think could at minimum do a better job than Canada and also fits the way this organization makes hires––or just guys I know the organization will look at, anyway. This is ranked in order of my personal choice right now but realism is also considered or else Garrett Riley would be ranked #1. Hope you guys enjoy the read.
- Todd Monken (current University of Georgia OC)
Monken already has NFL OC experience and he was actually quite decent when he was given the keys with the Bucs. He isn’t married to one specific offense such as air raid, run and shoot, or pro-style but has a lot of variation. He’s done well at Georgia in getting his best players’ opportunities such as George Pickens, Brock Bowers, and now Ladd McConkey. Overall in the passing game, he isn’t skewed toward one specific concept but he does love 4 verticals, switch concepts (post-wheels out of a stack), WR screens, and mesh routes. He runs a healthy amount of play action that would be in tune with the rate that the rest of the NFL teams not-named-Steelers run play action as well.
In the run game, we see a big difference which would probably be exciting for many Steelers fans. In contrast to much of the modern NFL, Monken runs a pin-and-pull system which is quite different from the wide zone schemes you see right now. This would mean that we would see much more power, counter, trap, wham, and toss sweeps. The best run games in the NFL over the past 3 years have been pin-and-pull teams (Browns, Ravens, 2022 Lions) and it’s a more direct smash-mouth type of system. Inside and outside zone are still prevalent but they aren’t run to nearly the same volume. Players that we would see make a jump in a Monken offense would be Zach Gentry (lots of 2 tight end sets), George Pickens (#1 WR), Kevin Dotson (a fantastic pulling guard), Calvin Austin III (big in the screen game), Najee Harris (much more similar to his Alabama scheme) and Jaylen Warren (lots of running back rotation). Players who would decline would likely be Diontae Johnson and Chase Claypool.
Best Monken quote: “I’m paid for us to score, not win”
Kendall Milton is fun… so much depth in this class. There's going to be RBs available in the 2nd round of rookie drafts that would have been 1.05/1.06 last year. pic.twitter.com/GtCttJLFmE
— FFBallerEK 🦾🤖🦾 (@ekballer) October 15, 2022
- Garrett Riley (current TCU OC)
There are questions about if Garrett Riley even wants to make the pro jump but I’m going to assume that the door is at least a little open. Garrett Riley (brother of Lincoln Riley) is an air raid coach who is leading one of the most dynamic offenses in CFB right now. He is 33 years old and could bring some youth and energy to an offense that has been dated and downright bad. Going into his scheme, he loves pony. Pony is when there are two running backs splitting the QB in shotgun and with the right personnel it is among the best formations in football. In the run game Riley likes lots of inside zone and buck sweeps and also has a read option element in often times when its 3rd and short or near the redzone.
The passing game is where he really thrives and it starts with the wide receivers’ alignments. The WRs in his system line up extremely wide out and this is beneficial because it makes the defense firmly determine their numbers in the box and makes life much easier on the QB scheme wise. He is a big fan of switch releases and from that wide alignment it gives guys alot of room to rub routes and free WRs up running over the middle. Riley will also matchup hunt with his backside WRs and if there is a favorable 1v1 matchup he will target it until you either give help or change him out. He uses his running backs extremely well in the pass game and has a diverse levels attack using WRs, TEs, and RBs. Players that we would see make a jump in a Riley offense would be Diontae Johnson, George Pickens, Jaylen Warren (pony sets), and Kenny Pickett. Players who would likely decline would be Chase Claypool (middle of field isn’t super prevalent) and Zach Gentry.
Best Garrett Riley quote: “”In terms of third downs, it’s playmakers instead of plays. Instead of scheme, it’s just getting it to your guys, which is nothing earth-shattering to probably a normal person, but it’s actually genius and I think a lot of coaches lose sight of that.
Two fourth quarter TCU touchdowns including this Max Duggan pass to Jared Wiley has us all tied up in Fort Worth 🔥🔥🔥
— College Football Network (@CFN365) October 15, 2022
- Pep Hamilton (current Texans OC)
Pep Hamilton was a hot name last season but this one is kind of banking on the fact that the Texans are likely to have a regime change and he will be in search of a job. Pep Hamilton is the premier QB coach of the NFL and was responsible for the ascension of Justin Herbert, prime Andrew Luck, and for designing a system in which Davis Mills doesn’t embarrass himself on a week-to-week basis. This hire would be incredible for Kenny Pickett due to Hamilton being an elite QB developer but let’s focus on the Xs and Os. Hamilton is a run-focused offensive coordinator who wants his offense to be tough. Through week 5 the Texans have run the ball 115 times and passed the ball 104 times. He, like, Monken loves implementing tight ends and asks his running backs to be well-rounded. In the passing game, Pep likes to go big and use concepts that stress the middle of the field. He loves running mills (post-drag), dagger (drag-go), portland (post-opposite side of the field drag), and y-cross.
In the run game, he runs a typical west coast style running attack, not too much to go into here-––its what the majority of the NFL is running. One thing that is worthy of attention is Pep puts a lot of emphasis on attacking the defense in different ways based on the film. That is a big step away from what we do now and would mean that we would see variation in the offense from week to week. Players that we would see jump in a Hamilton offense would be Kenny Pickett, Najee Harris, Chase Claypool (in theory), and Pat Freiermuth. A guy who would decline would likely be Diontae Johnson (not a middle-of-the-field player).
Best Pep Hamilton quote: “To say you’re a tough football team, you have to be able to run the football.”
Davis Mills finds OJ Howard for the @HoustonTexans score!
— NFL (@NFL) September 11, 2022
Watch this 4 play, 41 yard TD drive all from Dameon Pierce..
— Bradeaux (@BradeauxNBA) September 25, 2022
This 75 yard TD run by Dameon Pierce doesn't happen if not for Nico Collins and OJ Howard. S/O to them. pic.twitter.com/jVOUW5o1iB
— DJ Bien-Aime (@Djbienaime) October 3, 2022
- Mark Whipple (current Nebraska OC and 2019-2021 Pitt OC)
Many Pitt fans are familiar with Mark Whipple and I am almost certain that he will be considered for the job. Whipple has many things going for him firstly being Ben’s former QB coach and secondly being the coach that elevated Kenny and lead Pitt to the #8 passing offense in CFB. Whipple is most definitely a pass first coach but also casts a wide net in the running game. Whipple runs pretty much most rushing concepts but more often than not runs draws, wide zone, inside zone, and jet sweeps.
When it comes to the passing game Whipple is proven to get the most out of his WRs and QBs. He loves middle of the field concepts such as mills (post-dig) and dagger and also runs alot of levels and scissors. Like Garrett Riley, Whipple will will target the backside 1v1 and will use motion to get his best players in that position. He did this often with the Biletnikoff award winner Jordan Addison and did it back at UMASS with Andy Isabella and Tajae Sharpe. His star WRs will have a major impact. Whipple will utilize the TEs and H-Backs alot and it allows him to get creative in the short passing game. Players that we would see jump in a Whipple offense would be Kenny Pickett, Pat Freiermuth, Connor Heyward, and Diontae Johnson (Whipple loves man-beaters). A guy who would decline would be Najee Harris.
Best Mark Whipple quote: “I guess in my history, when I walk around being a nice guy, it just doesn’t work as well as when I’m a dick.”
5️⃣ Days Until Pitt Football
— The Loyal Sons (@TheLoyalSons) August 28, 2022
Just a little 96-yard TD pass from Kenny Pickett to Maurice Ffrench for Pitt in the Quick Lane Bowl. pic.twitter.com/arhRpUz391
— Bobby Football (@Rob__Paul) December 27, 2019
⭐️ Kenny Pickett QB Pitt 🧵 ⭐️
Vs. West Michigan 23/31 382 6 TD 1 INT 10 Rush 49 YDS 2 Fumbles Lost
— Joe O’Leary (@TheHQNerd) September 22, 2021
- Joe Brady (current Panthers QBs and former OC, 2019 LSU passing game coordinator)
Brady was one of the hottest OC names in the NFL after the 2019 explosion that was the LSU offense yet now he doesn’t even hold an NFL OC job. His OC tenure in Carolina wasn’t great, however the OL sucked, the QBs sucked, and the word is that Matt Rhule was a ridiculous micromanager. Moving past his recent history, Brady has strong offensive roots. Brady is from the Sean Payton coaching tree which is primarily an efficient slant and out heavy short game while the WRs and RBs attack the middle of the field. The Sean Payton wrinkle which Brady also implements is an aggressive downfield attack.
I am not completely sold on Joe Brady but I feel like at minimum he should be given an interview and because Carolina was most definitely not a great place to show his talents he could still excel in a different system. Players that we wuld see jump in a Brady offense would be Diontae Johnson and Pat Friermuth. A player that we would see decline would be any backup (doesn’t rotate starters much).
Best Joe Brady quote: “No one rises to low expectations.”
2019 LSU running Quarterback Draw + Boundary Glance💰 pic.twitter.com/xdKzRnOHdN
— Firstdown_XOs (@FirstdownX__Os) October 20, 2022
Justin Jefferson + 12 would be fireworks 🧨💥
• 21 yr old, 6’1, 202 lb WR from LSU
• 111 catches, 1540 yards, 18 TD in 2019
• National Champion with Joe Burrow
— IKE Packers Podcast (@IKE_Packers) March 24, 2020
2019 LSU vs Arkansas – 11 Personnel
🏃♂️Motion Y to the box
👀 "Check with Me" at the LOS
👊 Move the Back & Run ISO pic.twitter.com/LSahScOKAk
— The Spread Offense (@Spread_Offense) March 15, 2020
- Mike Sullivan (current Steelers QBs and former Giants and Bucs OC)
Honestly there isn’t much to go through here. I don’t want us to even give Sullivan an interview but I am anticipating we do. When he coordinated an offense most recently in Tampa Bay it was a run heavy offense that stunk. There was nothing very original and there is a reason he hasn’t been sniffed at as an OC since 2017. Also unless we hire an OC who is an excellent QB coach like Pep Hamilton I’d rather have Sullivan on staff as a QB coach with a young QB.
Best Mike Sullivan quote: “The goal, first and foremost, is always to win,” he said. “And whatever the responsibility that I have, whether it’s to call the plays, or to assist Ben and him calling the plays, is what I want to do to the best of my ability.”
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