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Report: Steelers Apparently Settled For Jack Bicknell Jr. Last Year


When the Pittsburgh Steelers hired Jack Bicknell Jr. last offseason to be their new offensive line coach, it really was a bit of a surprise. Come to find out, he reportedly wasn’t the first choice of head coach Mike Tomlin.

According to Ray Fittipaldo of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette in his Monday online chat, several other candidates turned down Tomlin, so essential the team settled for Bicknell, who had been let go by the Kansas City Chiefs after Romeo Crennel was fired.

So why did other candidates turn down the opportunity to coach for the Steelers and what would keep them from doing it again? It’s hard to really speculate as to the reason why. Could it be that nobody wants to work with offensive coordinator Todd Haley? I’m not taking a shot at Haley by asking that question, mind you, as it’s a legitimate one worth asking. Fittipaldo didn’t address that in his chat, but I’m sure all of us are now curious as to why Tomlin had to settle for Bicknell.

As of right now, Carolina Panthers assistant offensive line coach Ray Brown is the only name to surface as far as possible replacements go, but I’m sure that he won’t be the only one that Tomlin talks to. The Panthers, however, are still playing in the post season, so it could be a while until Tomlin can interview him.

A lot of fans have asked about whether or not Russ Grimm could possibly be a candidate for the job and according to Ed Bouchette on Monday, he was interested in the opening last offseason, but Tomlin decided not to go that route.

As many of you may remember, Grimm was thought to be a serious candidate to replace former head coach Bill Cowher when he retired, but Tomlin got the job instead. Grimm of course then left to become the offensive line coach of the Arizona Cardinals when former Steelers offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt was named their head coach in 2007 and it just so happens that Haley was the offensive coordinator there as well.

According to several reports, Whisenhunt, who is currently the offensive coordinator for the San Diego Chargers, is expected to interview with the Detroit Lions and the Washington Redskins for their head coaching vacancies after his post season is over. Knowing that he and Grimm have a history together, it would make sense that the two might end up back together should Whisenhunt land with one of those two teams.

Also according to Bouchette, former Tennessee Titans head coach Mike Munchak might be a candidate for the offensive line coach job depending on whether or not he gets the Penn State head coaching job.

In short, the Steelers aren’t likely to have a new offensive line coach this week. In fact, Bicknell wasn’t officially hired until January 29th of last year, so we could be waiting a few more weeks until Bicknell’s replacement is named.

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About Dave Bryan

I am, I'm me. 40 something, retired and a life long Steelers fan.
  • Luke Shabro

    I know it’s a long shot but I’m really keeping my fingers crossed for Jeremiah Washburn. I think Hal Hunter or Benton would be good too. Not sure how I feel about the Panthers asst. offensive line coach.

  • steeltown

    How much weight do we give an online chat “report” by Fittipaldo?? I’ll take it with a grain of salt.

    That would be pretty nice to get Munchak, he was an oline coach for 14-15yrs with the Oilers..

  • steeltown

    Side note: There’s a nice interview of Beachum on the steelers website, in it they mention him already watching game film and hitting the weight room at the facility basically the day after the season ended.

  • r4kolb

    Funny you say that about Beach. I remember reading when they got him, I’m guessing on Steelers Depot that he was a student of the game or something to that effect. If only more would be as dedicated.

  • r4kolb

    Gee I wonder why Tomlin wouldn’t want Grimm?

  • srdan

    for the same reason that the rooneys hired tomlin over grim?

  • r4kolb

    Cause he’s White?

  • srdan

    Or because he beat the other two top coaches competing wiht him for the position in the superbowl.

  • r4kolb

    Not sure where you were are going with this? Grimm was a damn good O line coach. Definitely better then Tomlin’s choice of Bicknell.

  • r4kolb

    What does that have to do with Grimm’s ability to coach an O line? Your silly.

  • srdan

    Apparently 31 other teams agree with my silliness.

  • srdan

    He is still unemployed.

    People need to move on from cowhers staff. It’s 7 years later and 2 superbowl trips. C’mon guys. If you want to be a fan of cowhers staff, I suggest you follow whatever team journeyman Wisenhunt is coaching that year.

  • r4kolb

    Has nothing to do with The Chins staff. No doubt in my mind Grimm would have been a better choice. Again your silly and I don’t want to listen to your silliness any more. Good day.

  • r4kolb

    wtht? with
    Superbowl? Super Bowl
    spell check….try it silly boy

  • srdan

    your right

  • r4kolb

    your? you’re

  • r4kolb

    Ok enough, I aint know inglish teecher

  • srdan

    lol, you bit on that one

  • steeltown

    you’re silly… haha sorry couldn’t resist

  • srdan

    I don’t like arguements like this “no doubt in my mind he would have been a better choice”. There is no merit. Last year there were 31 teams that agreed with the steelers that they had a better candidate than Grim. Both you and I are throwing opinions around, mine is based on 32 GMs and coaches, but yours is on what?

    But to throw you a bone, Daniel Snyder is interviewing Grim now. That legitimizes your argument.

    I like Grim because he is from teh state and went to Pitt. But I don’t live in the past and have moved on.

  • r4kolb

    Don’t you start. Bad enough I have to deal with srdan. I would perhaps through a private chat like to get your opinion on Tomlin. I’m sure you have seen my posts and some of the examples I give as to why I feel like I do. I’m @yahoodot com. If you can figure out the rest. r4kolb

  • r4kolb

    While I agree with most of what you say my opinion on Grimm over Bicknell is purely based on results. You have to give credit to both Wiz and Grimm for the fact they took the Cardinals to the Super Bowl. That alone speaks volumes for the fact they are good coaches. Again the CARDINALS!

  • Rick M

    I was really surprised when I read your suggestion that the guys who turned down the O-Line job ‘may not have wanted to work with Haley’. My first thought – like pretty much any business hire – was that they didn’t want to work for Tomlin, their immediate boss. He’s accumulating a bit of a track record of hiring and firing assistants. There doesn’t seem a lot of permanence if you’re hired as a Steelers’ O-Line or Special Teams coach.

  • r4kolb

    Wow. One more point I don’t know how I missed it in your statement. “I don’t live in the past”? Really so when the Tomlin apologists say he took us to a Super Bowl let’s not forget that was 2009. Some will argue 8-8 is not a losing season but if, to quote what the great politician said “The standard is the standard” the last 2 years have been not the STEELERS standard. 2 years and counting because looking at their schedule next year I see the potential for 3 years in a row.

  • r4kolb

    Don’t forget he fired the last special teams coach because he was in Tomlins doghouse for some reason and Tomlin brought in HIS guy. We all see how well that’s working out.

  • srdan

    2011

  • Rick M

    Actually I was pleasantly surprised by our Special Teams’ play. I had heard how Washington fans wanted to run him out of town, how they had five punts blocked in one season, etc. So it worked out better than I thought in 2013. I guess it’s good to have low expectations LOL.

    It was just unusual to me that Dave would mention Haley and never consider that the actual boss might, or might not be, the reason for the supposed multiple turn downs.

  • r4kolb

    Ah you took the bait. According to your specs Tomlin LOST that one so therefore he is not a good coach. LOL

  • srdan

    Are you suggesting that if we don’t win the superbowl every two years that we look for a new coach?

    Look man, Tomlin is far from perfect. He is 11 years older than me and running a fortune 500 company. I would make a lot more mistakes and learn from them, just like he is. I don’t make excuses for him. The GB and Balt things were lapses in judgement. I am ok with our team and coach growing together. Would I like for him to be less hardheaded, yes….but htat comes iwth maturity. Dress 8 olinemen!!! We have time invested into a great coach that players play for. Harrison put him out there, but that’s the new NFL era-players coaches. The lambardis and Nolls were great coaches iwth great approaches in their day. The Mcarthys, tomlins, Harboughs and so on are the new thing. Just accept it. And when it comes to those types of coaches, we have one of the best as voted recently(maybe last year or so)

  • srdan

    your right

  • r4kolb

    Harbough? Harbaugh is a lot better then Tomlin as a coach. Sorry had to correct the spelling.

  • srdan

    Harbaughs

  • srdan

    People move on with email addresses. First it was aol, then yahoo. Can I suggest you open a google account and forward your yahoo emails to it?

    This is not a joke. My friend is an executive recuiter and told me that all of his clients that don’t have a google account are asked to open one by his firm. It shows that you are keeping up iwth the latest technology. Basiclally resumes with antyhing but a google account go to the bottom of the pile. Take it wiht a grain of salt.

  • Chad H

    After watching that video I hope he continues to get better and continues to fight for a starting position. “I want to be great. I don’t just want to wear a jersey.” I hope he gets the starting LT position next year. That guy is a STEELER!

  • r4kolb

    I use yahoo because that’s where I get Steelers news. I don’t think google has that? Funny I’ve been out of work for over a year and I use my yahoo as my contact email. Maybe you are a Godsend?

  • Mike Carroll

    Agree, special teams worked out OK this year. Also, thought it was a cheap shot to single out Haley (in terms of speculation) out of many possible reasons as to why the Steelers did not get their top choice.

  • Mike Carroll

    Nice point about the time the team has invested in Tomlin. I might be inclined to go with somebody else at this point, except for that point. The team and Tomlin both benefit from the years of experience he’s accumulated. He should be a better coach now than when he was hired. And he’ll have the opportunity to show that as the team continues to go about the business of building a new defense.

  • T R

    Why you continue to argue with rkolb. He clearly stuck in past with his old views and racist ones. He truly stuck in past. Waiting 15 yards for chin to win a bowl with his staff and players. You said it anyone still using yahoo and aol as emails is stuck in past and truly doesn’t keep up with what’s going on in the real world. He needs to keep following all cowhers unemployed and under achieved staff. W

  • T R

    Harbaugh took over a Super Bowl team and took him 6 years when the staff and players was almost gone to get there. So better coach. No just got referees help to get there. Pi loving Flaco.

  • T R

    ST better then it was

  • T R

    Because Tomlin is nit a offensive guy. Haley is

  • joed32

    The only one who has hired Grimm is Wiz and now he’s out on the street hoping Wiz get’s an HC job and hires him again.

  • Mike Carroll

    I’m not saying Tomlin was the reason either. It could be the top choice coach did not like the Steelers’ talent on Oline. It could be they preferred living in another city. It could be another team was willing to pay more. Any number of reasons…. I just think it’s an unfair shot against Haley to only mention his name as a possible reason why they did not get the coach they wanted.

  • T R

    I know. Dave likes to fuel the critics with what he think they thinking. LOL got one Dave.. everyone was saying how hard it was to work with Haley. even him and Ben. LOL

  • Brendon Glad

    That report sort of contradicts itself. He didnt really “settle” for Bicknell if Grimm was interested but Tomlin “chose not to go that route.” It’s probably just another media member steadfastly unwilling to ever criticize mike tomlin for whatever reason. A similar report was issued after Arians was let go.
    Bottom line is: tomlin has many positive attributes. But if you take away the holdovers from the Cowher regime, he’s had way more turnover in his staff than most. And not from being raided by other teams. Because he whiffs on many.

  • Brendon Glad

    Also, whoever took over oline duties in the last 5-6 games i thought did a fantastic job compared to recent steelers olines, and to the first half of the season.
    I was STUNNED with how well they played compared to shat i was expecting. So a promotion from within wouldnt bother me at all if it’s the guy who handled the second half of the season.

  • CrazyTerry

    Do you even forget how many OCs we had under Cowher?

  • CrazyTerry

    Arians hired that same guy, by the way. I didn’t like that guy either.

  • WilliamSekinger

    Very true. Most don’t WANT to remember. I wish I could forget actually.

  • unfurious

    I think that they’re technically Harbi…

  • srdan

    hahahahah

  • r4kolb

    To be fair the Chin lost them to head coaching jobs. Also don’t forget D coordinators leaving for same reason. LeBeau to Bungles, Capers to Panthers, Haslett Saints….How many can you say that for Tomlin. And don’t include BA because Tomlin tossed him. And don’t say that was Art Jrs decision because I believe Mike Munchak is out of a job for defending his staff. At least he had a spine.

  • CrazyTerry

    The Steelers and Arians are better off without each other. Arians is more of a head coach than an OC. If Arians was with a Steelers team that had no defense like this unit, he would not get a single SB ring .

  • CrazyTerry

    Can you imagine the drama a Tomlin-Haley-Grimm combination would have in the media even if they are professional enough to get along with each other. Any time the Steelers lose, people would be yapping about how Grimm should be the HC. Then you got Haley’s wife who is a piece of work and she is bound to say something stupid at some point.
    But in the combo’s favor, Haley did work with Grimm in AZ. That would take some balls for Tomlin to hire Grimm and I wouldn’t be opposed to it.

  • r4kolb

    To be honest I think that’s why Tomlin didn’t want Grimm. Well that and the fact when he makes his usual bonehead decision fans would be calling for Grimm to be head coach.

  • SteelerDave

    You are a brave man. Whenever the “race card” is used, you get hatred even if you are correct. The fact is the Rooney Rule came into play and Rooney felt he had to hire the best African American coach to be our next coach and set an example. Tomlin is a decent coach at best and most certainly was not ready to be a head coach when he was hired. Nothing against the man or his race but he was not the best candidate for the job when Cower left.

  • SteelerDave

    I admit I am biased in my view of Russ Grimm. I met him in ’87 in Carlyle, PA at White Mountain Creamery across from the Redskin’s training camp after a long day for him and got to know him and his girlfriend, Sunny. Even went to a gym with them and was impressed by his work ethic. Apart from being a die-hard Steeler fan, I’ve always followed his career.

  • george

    yes Munchak would be a great pick. I just hope they dont hurry the decision and get the best man for the job. This OL has alot of potential and could actually be a strength given right coach.

  • r4kolb

    Dude I don’t care if the man is polka dotted if he can coach. That’s my only problem with him is his habitual brain farts. Nothing else just that.

  • r4kolb

    Dude who are you to accuse me of being racist. What because I don’t think the man is a good coach I’m a racist? How do you know I’m not a black man or an Hispanic? I’ve played on football teams where I was one of 3 white guys. Most of my friends at work were Hispanic. You can say I have no clue about my thoughts on Tomlin but DON’T EVER say it’s based on his color!! Do I make myself clear dirtbag?

  • WIINGY

    say what you guys want about Whiz, but Phillip Rivers had a career year with him at OC.

    Miss the Whiz!

  • Steve

    Good point. I’m with you on that.

  • Brendon Glad

    He fired 3, i think? In 15 years. Erhardt, gilbride, sherman? Not egregious. And probably would have been a lot more stable if Gailey hadnt been snatched up so quickly.

  • Brendon Glad

    And thats assuming he fired erhardt. Some would say he retired.

  • srdan

    Who do you suggest was teh best man? Just wondering.

  • T R

    no becuase ya dumb comment that Grimm aint get the job because he was white…just dumb..

  • SteelerDave

    The three finalists were Ron Rivera, Russ Grimm and Tomlin. Rivera would have had to wait until Feb. 5 to have his second interview and possibly be hired. Chan Gailey was recommended by Cowher but never got a second interview. Whisenhunt accepted the Cardinal job before he got a chance.

    Back in December 2007 Rooney was handed a list of 12 black coaches by the league of which he had to interview at least one under his own rule which took effect in ’02.

    Did Rooney feel pressured to live up to his ego in having his rule adopted and did that sway his decision? I say yes. Grimm or Rivera should have been handed the job, not Tomlin. He (Tomlin) was most certainly not the most qualified candidate for the job and his constant errors as a coach over the years since have only confirmed my opinion.

    I love Dick LeBeau but do expect him to retire and let Keith Butler take over, Butler does have a past history with Tomlin from Memphis and Arkansas State.

  • SteelerDave

    I kind of think he never paid attention to learning how to tell time in the 2nd grade. Worst clock management coach I have ever seen.

    The problem Tomlin has had since day 1 is that he loves a 4-3 defense and a Tampa 2 cover scheme but that was originally used by the Steelers in the 70’s. Because of the players he inherited he kept LeBeau and has ran with his 3-4 zone to success yet he has drafted guys best suited for a 4-3 thus our problems on defense.

  • srdan

    You know the timeline better than me. But i couldn’t disagree with you more.

    Grimm is not HC material as has been shown by the lack of iinterest since the Steelers interviewed him. As a matter of fact I think his ability to coach at all should be questioned since his only employer has been cowher and wiz. Right now Grimm is working for nobody with 4 vacancies in the NFL, and no calls. Look man, i said it yesterday and will say it again. I like the guy, he is from the state and went to pitt. But I could coach Dermotti Dawson.

    The rooney rule is not to interview black coaches. It is to interview minorities. Rivera fit that bill since he is Hispanic. They did not have to interview Tomlin.

    How can you question a coach that went to two Superbowl in 7 years? I don’t care how many goofs. That is 28% of the seasons so far!! And please don’t give me the he took a superbowl team over. So did Jim Caldwell.

    Tomlin is not perfect, but far from an average coach.

  • William Bigelow

    Tunch, Tunch, Tunch !!!

  • srdan

    hahahahahhaha
    The tampa 2 is not used in the nfl anymore except against running qbs. Man is where it’s at.

    3/4 and 4/3 are base defenses, if you look at breakdowns we are in base defense 30-40% of the time. And in todays NFL, 3/4 and 4/3 are quickly morphing into each other. The good defenses play both, thus you need personnel to do that. I can see your arguement on Hood, and timmons to a lesser extent, but please explain Jarvis Jones to me.

  • r4kolb

    Dare I get involved and risk being called a racist. I agree somewhat with what you say however these are the facts. Cowher was hired and was a nobody too but he must have interviewed well with Mr. Rooney. Now consider this, Tomlin’s interview…..with the way the fraud can run his mouth do you doubt for 1 second he didn’t interview well? Problem is he’s all talk. That’s his best talent. I said he should be a politician. Matter of fact reminds me a lot of a certain politician who also is a gifted fraud at selling himself as good. We all see how that’s working out. Not to get off course but you have to see where Tomlin is a good salesman. Problem is he’s an average coach. Here’s the other thing to consider. People who are all talk after a while that yappin gets old. I think that’s part of the problem, it’s becoming old hat with the team ala Andy Reid in Philly. For people to say, “I don’t care how many goofs” is just frustrating. Unfortunately with the Rooneys it will take a few more 8-8 seasons or worse to wake them up. By that time Ben will be gone and we can go through the next 15 years will the next Bubby Brister at QB. Awesome.

  • SteelerDave

    True, Rivera is Hispanic. Let us imagine where we would be now of Grimm or Rivera were hired in place of the “politician speak” Tomlin. I do not dislike Tomlin and personally do not care what race he is and I admit he growing as a coach yet he was way too inexperienced to be our head coach when he was hired, He’s a darn good person but also a ‘players coach’ who got stuck with a 3-4 defense that was not what he prefers. Tampa 2 and a 3-4 simply do not co-exist. Tomlin’s hiring was a mistake but he can change that. Look at our picks on defense and almost all of them fit better in a 4-3 with Tampa 2 (and I hate to use that term since we used it first in the late 70’s). In order for Tomlin to have success as a head coach will require LeBeau to step down.

  • SteelerDave

    I think we will have a 1st or second round QB drafted in 15. Nothing racist, many great minority coaches out there, I just still think Tomlin’s hiring was motivated by the ‘Rooney Rule’.

  • SteelerDave

    Jarvice Jones was a mistake. Too weak, only one pass rushing move. Hopefully he understands and puts in a ton of off-season work to improve.

  • r4kolb

    You’re right. It was, to quote you, “no becuase ya dumb comment that Grimm aint get the job”. Very well stated and I now understand your intelligence level.

  • SteelerDave

    This argument is not about race but the lack of coaching ability.

  • srdan

    Tomlin was a mistake? He went to two superbowls…..period.

    I should just stop there, but I won’t.

    Tampa 2 and 3/4 don’t coexist? Our secondary plays exactly how the tampa 2 is played. You are right on the underneath players, but in today’s NFL, we have to play both. Players like casey hampton play two downs now. Players like Hayward and hood play 3. Just slide them around.

    I give credit to you and r4kolb for your strong stance on this. I like people with a strong opinion. But your arguments just don’t make logical sense. I think what you two perceive as Tomlins faults is the NFL changing. No matter how much you, kolb and I don’t want it to change, it’s happening. You are arguing against a coach that went to the superbowl twice in 7 years. C’mon guys!

  • srdan

    I don’t judge rookies. It has burnt me in the past.

  • srdan

    I had a feeling that you and I disagreed on political views as well. lol

    Americans aren’t dying in Iraq, osama bin laden was had, my ex girlfirend who had cancer at 25 finally has health insurance at 30 on top of that my 401k looks like I am 50. Those are facts.

    But I bet you will start spewing some tyranny crap.

    I travel a lot for work and am exposed to a lot of the global economy through it. You being unemployed (I am sorry to hear that) is not necessarily a product of our black president. It is world issue.

  • SteelerDave

    Yes the NFL is changing, completely agree. I will argue that a 3-4 and Tampa 2 does not work together. We need to be a 4-3, tampa 2 defense or let our legend in LeBeau go and install Butler. A pick like JJ round one shows me the team is trying to change. IMHO we are a team who is falling behind the times and who has personnel which is not able to truly compete. Something must change.

  • r4kolb

    While I would love to debate the issues with you this is not the forum and I would hope Dave never allows this to be the forum. If you would like to chat I think you have my email. I’m called to Love all. Then again I’m sure we differ on that too. Peace

  • srdan

    You are correct. Had a couple beers last night, that was my mistake, I’ll delete it.

  • r4kolb

    Great you took it down so now it looks like I’m just babbling. And don’t even………

  • srdan

    lol

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