In the end it will be one of the worst kept secrets in the NFL, but just as sure as we all knew that Bill Cowher was leaving the Steelers, the next head coach of the Black and Gold is just as much of a done deal. By weeks end, Steelers offensive line and assistant coach Russ Grimm will be moving into Cowher’s old office, as he will be named the new coach of the Steelers.
Grimm is by far the best choice of the three remaining candidates on the list. That list, which the Steelers made public on Monday, includes Vikings defensive coordinator Mike Tomlin, and Bears defensive coordinator Ron RIvera. No offense to either of those guys, but Grimm already has a solid track record with the Steelers, and he has been looked at more than a few times as a possible head coach in other cities.
He is a blue collar guy, a former “Hog” on the Washington Redskins offensive line that opened up holes for bruiser John Riggins back in the 80’s. He played his college ball at Pitt, so the local ties are there, and already being on the Steelers staff there is a connection with the current Steelers players that have stated that they want someone that is already on staff to be the next head coach.
Look for Grimm to try and reestablish the Steelers running game in 2007. 2006 was not typical Steelers football, as they gave to much of the game plan to throwing the ball, and it led to QB Ben Roethlisberger having by far the worst year in his three-year pro career, throwing 23 interceptions to go along with 18 TD’s. The Steelers need to get back to pounding the football, and while Willie Parker has proven he can carry the load week in and week out (1494 yards in 2006 with 13 TD’s), the team has to go out this offseason and get through free agency or draft a bruiser that can get that 1-yard on third or fourth down.
Grimm’s second interview with the Steelers is today, and it should not take long after that interview for him to be declared the favorite and possibly even the coach of the team. The first order of business for Grimm will likely be to promote current wide outs coach Bruce Arians to the position of offensive coordinator. He will take over for Ken Whisenhunt, who departed over the weekend to take the head coaching job with the Cards.
From there, it will be all about making moves to get the Steelers back to the form of just two years ago, when they pulled a clean sweep in their last eight games to win their fifth Super Bowl. They still have a talented roster that should be able to win more than the eight games they won last season. Look for Grimm and co. to make some solid moves to make sure that the 2006 season just a small bump on the Steelers road to getting back to being a top team in the AFC.