Thursday, January 26, 2012

Tom Clements Stays in Green Bay, But ... We Have Another Candidate for Offensive Coordinator and an Idea to Help the Offensive Line

Word from Green Bay has it that Tom Clements has accepted the Packers' offer to become their next offensive coordinator.

The wise choice -- for this guy.
This is no surprise.

Clements, a Pittsburgh (McKees Rocks) native, attorney and former star quarterback at Canevin High School and Notre Dame, would have been a great choice for the Steelers, but look at it from his perspective:  

  • If you were Tom Clements and offered the job as Green Bay's offensive coordinator -- would you move from the Packers to the Steelers?
  • Working with Aaron Rogers instead of Ben Roethlisbeger?
  • Working in a system and with players you already know very well?
  • Working with a coach you know already?  
  • On a team that is absolutely loaded with talent and appears to be a contender for years to come, vs. Pittsburgh, which has an unsettled offensive line, a reportedly disgruntled quarterback and an aging defense full of question marks and holes to fill.
Clements would have been great for the Steelers, one would think -- if he had wanted the jobIt's not like he would have gotten a promotion by moving to Pittsburgh. He must've figured he didn't need the aggravation. And, it's not like Clements would be leaving a lousy team, or a crummy quarterback.

Some of the folks in the mainstream media seem to think it's a foregone conclusion the Steelers' job will go to Randy Fichtner, the QB coach with whom Roethlisberger supposedly has a close relationship -- Big Ben reportedly took Arians, Fichtner and their wives to Hawaii for the Pro Bowl. With Fichtner, presumably, the offense would receive the "tweaks" Art Rooney II suggested it needs.

Joey Porter's Pit Bulls are not so sure about hiring from within. Fichtner may be great; or we might end up with another 21st-rated offense that scores as many touchdowns as the Denver Broncos, just as the Arians-led 2011 offense did. It makes sense to at least consider somebody from the outside.

Here's an idea: 
Let's at least interview the QB coach of the New York Giants. 

On the lookout for a new offensive coordinator
His name is Mike Sullivan and, outside of what is in his bio, we know absolutely nothing about him, but pundits, media types and other observers are marveling at the progress, maturation and development of Eli Manning this year. Presumably,the Giants' QB coach might have had something to do with that. 

Also, New York seems to have a pretty good run-pass balance with their thunder-lightning combo of running backs, plus the guy is clearly on a good staff, under Tom Coughlan, so Sullivan must have learned something working with Coughlin all these years (with the Jaguars before the Giants) and also under Jim Tressel at Youngstown State.  

Oh, and then there is this tidbit in Sullivan's bio, just for fun: 

"Sullivan is a graduate of the U.S. Army Airborne, Ranger and Air Assault schools. Sullivan recently earned his Blue Belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu from Professor Louis Vintaloro at Perfomance Jiu-Jitsu Academy."

By the way, remember how awful the Steelers' offense was with Kevin Gilbride as offensive coordinator, back around 1999-2000?  He's New York's offensive coordinator, and they seem to be doing pretty well. Go figure.  

A Helpful Suggestion for 
the Offensive Line
On another topic, the offensive line: It needs help. No secret there.

Here's a thought: Aggressively pursue Ben Grubbs, the 27-year-old Pro Bowl left guard for the Ravens. He is an unrestricted free agent and a proven commodity. 

With Grubbs (as opposed to a draft choice), at least you know what you're getting, plus it would hurt the Ravens. That way, too, you could spend the first-round choice on another position (left tackle, nose tackle, etc.) to fill another hole.

While we're at it, the Steelers might also take a look at Baltimore linebacker Jarret Johnson, another unrestricted free agent (to replace the Farrior/Foote combo), and cornerback Lardarius Webb, a restricted free agent.

Anyway, those are two things Joey Porter's Pit Bulls would explore: Sign Ben Grubbs to play guard, and at least bring in M
ike Sullivan for an interview.