It seems like no matter what happens in 2022, Teryl Austin can’t win. The off-season started out pretty well for him. Austin was named the Steelers defensive coordinator after the retirement of Keith Butler. Then, out of nowhere, Pittsburgh threw a monkey wrench into the defensive coaching staff. https://www.npr.org/2022/02/21/1082113661/brian-flores-steelers
On February 21st the team announced the hiring of former Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores. This came as quite the shock to most. Many wondered if Flores would ever get another coaching job in the NFL after his lawsuit against the league. What Brian Flores’ role on this coaching staff is still pretty vague at this point. His official title is “Senior defensive assistant and linebackers coach”. Seeing that the team already has a linebackers coach, what his actual job is on this defensive staff is a bit of a mystery.
Brian Flores’ resume is a real problem for Teryl Austin. Having a Bill Belichick disciple, and a former head coach lurking under you is never a good thing. The Pittsburgh media is already salivating over Flores’ no nonsense style, and intensity. Since the hiring of Flores there has been barley a mention of the actual defensive coordinator on this team. Indeed Teryl Austin is now the invisible man on this coaching staff.
Austin already had an uphill climb establishing himself with this defense. This is a unit that used to Mike Tomlin calling the shots. He would have to fight to avoid being just a figure head on this defense like Keith Butler was. Carving out his own identity was tough enough under Tomlin without adding another huge personality to the mix.
To put it into simple terms Teryl Austin can’t win regardless of how the defense performs in 2022. If the defense struggles he will take all the blame. If it succeeds, many will point to the addition of Flores as the reason why. You have to feel for Teryl Austin. What was already one of the tougher jobs in the league to get recognized in just got a whole lot tougher. At the end of the day Austin will never get the credit he deserves, but will get all the blame if things don’t go well in 2022.