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.