Pittsburgh Steelers Go Outside the Organization for New Offensive Line Coach

Courtesy of Steelers Official Twitter Account

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Even though the 2021-2022 NFL season only officially concluded on Sunday with the Los Angeles Rams defeating the Cincinnati Bengals in Super Bowl LVI, it's been a busy offseason so far for the Pittsburgh Steelers.  With the retirement of quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, General Manager Kevin Colbert, and Defensive Coordinator Keith Butler, there will be a lot of change heading into next season.  

The Steelers continued those changes today with the announcement that they hired Pat Meyer to be the next offensive line coach.  After former offensive line coach Adrian Klemm left the Steelers to join the University of Oregon football program as an associate head coach, they opted to hire externally to fill the position, an unusual occurrence for a team known for promoting from within the organization.

Meyer joins the Steelers after spending the last two seasons as the offensive line coach with the Carolina Panthers, where he was fired following the conclusion of this season.  His three years prior to that were in the same role with the Los Angeles Chargers.  While he may be joining the team with 20 years of overall coaching experience, he will certainly have his work cut out for him with the Steelers offensive line and the struggles they endured this season.

Pro Football Focus (PFF) graded the Steelers as having the 26th ranked offensive line this past season.  Therefore, there were only six teams the Steelers graded out higher than. Meyer's Panthers happen to be one of them.  The Panthers finished the season in the 31st spot, only beating out the Miami Dolphins.  While it may be beneficial to bring a coach in with experience coaching lower-tier offensive lines, Meyer's past when it comes to this is a bit troubling.

If you look at Meyer's last five years as an offensive line coach in the NFL, his unit's results are eye-opening... and not in a good way.  Their PFF ranks were 24th, 30th, 29th, 18th and 31st.  For those of you that don't want to do the math, that's a finish in the bottom half of the league in all five seasons and only one that wasn't in the bottom 25%.  While that could very well be a result of personnel, it's certainly not encouraging when you look at the unit that he will now be inheriting.

The Steelers' offensive line struggles were very well documented this season.  I felt like I touched on them on this site almost weekly.  With high turnover and the incorporation of several rookies alongside inexperienced players, the line seemed doomed from the start.  Factor in the lack of mobility Roethlisberger had at this stage of his career and it was a recipe for disaster.  However, those guys now have some experience under their belts and a new face in charge.  With so much room for improvement, this change could very well lead to better days ahead for this unit.

Not to mention, I think the offensive line will be the focal point heading into the draft.  While the media wants to continue to speculate on who the next Steelers quarterback will be, I'm under the belief that will not be addressed through the draft.  I think they look to bolster the offensive line.  That has always been the calling card for this team and I see them wanting to get back to those ways.  

If that comes to fruition, Meyer will firmly be in place to restore that hard-nosed offensive line we've become accustomed to over the years of rooting for this team.  It's a tall task but with the amount of experience he has, Pat Meyer is now in position to be the guy that turns it around for the Steelers' offensive line.