Saturday, December 23, 2006

Bill Cowher's Replacement: The Internal Candidates

Sunday may be Bill Cowher's last game at Heinz Field (or maybe it won't be), and the rumors are already swirling as to who will be the next head coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers. Pittsburgh Steelers Fanatic has already provided a snapshot (both figuratively and literally) of the leading external candidates, now it's time to do the same for a couple of the Steelers coaches who will also be seriously considered.

Ken Whisenhunt (44 years old) - Pittsburgh Steelers Offensive Coordinator (2004-Current)
  • Tight ends coach - Pittsburgh Steelers (2001-2003)
  • Tight ends coach - New York Jets (2000)
  • Special teams coach - Cleveland Browns (1999)
  • Tight ends coach - Baltimore Ravens (1997-1998)
  • Special teams, Tight ends & H-backs coach - Vanderbilt University (1995-1996)
Was all but hired for the Oakland Raiders' head coaching position after Super Bowl XL before unexpectedly pulling out of consideration. Before the disaster that was the first half of the 2006 season the Steelers' offense had steadily improved under Whisenhunt -- who picked up where Mike Mularkey left off -- becoming more diverse and dynamic (i.e. they could run and pass with equal effectiveness).

Russ Grimm (46 years old) - Assistant Head Coach/Offensive Line Coach - Pittsburgh Steelers (2004-Current)
  • Offensive line coach - Pittsburgh Steelers (2001-2003)
  • Offensive line coach - Washington Redskins (1997-2000)
  • Tight ends coach - Washington Redskins (1992-1996)
The only assistant coach under Bill Cowher to ever have been given the "Assistant Head Coach" title, which he received after nearly getting the head coaching position in Chicago -- that went instead to Lovie Smith. Was seriously considered for the head coach position in Detroit this past offseason, but was reportedly not one of the finalists for the job (it came down to Jim Haslett and Rod Marinelli). Under Mr. Grimm's leadership the Steelers offensive line has -- except for this season -- been one of the very best in the NFL.

Darren Perry (38 years old) - Pittsburgh Steelers Defensive backs coach (2004-2006)
  • Assistant defensive backs coach -- Pittsburgh Steelers (2003)
  • Safeties coach - Cincinnati Bengals (2002)
There is no way Darren Perry is going to be hired as the next head coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers. However, the next head coach should choose Mr. Perry as the next Defensive Coordinator for the team. His work with the secondary, especially with the injuries suffered this season to Troy Polamalu and Ryan Clark, and the free agent loss of Chris Hope, has been outstanding.

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