Adrian Klemm has left his post as the Pittsburgh Steelers‘ offensive line coach to accept a similar position at the University of Oregon, the team announced on Monday. Chris Morgan, who had served as Klemm’s assistant, will handle the Steelers’ offensive line duties for the remainder of the season.
A former player for the Patriots and Packers, Klemm served as the Steelers’ assistant offense line coach for two seasons before being promoted in 2021. Morgan, who is in his first season with the Steelers, is a 13-year NFL coaching veteran who most recently spent six seasons on the Falcons‘ coaching staff. Morgan was the offensive line coach on two Super Bowl teams in Seattle (2014) and Atlanta (2016).
The Steelers have endured a rocky 2021 season as far as their offensive line is concerned. Rookie Dan Moore Jr. replaced Alejandro Villanueva at left tackle, while fellow rookie Kendrick Green has replaced Maurkice Pouncey at center. The Steelers signed veteran Trai Turner on June 24 after David DeCastro needed to have a third surgery on his ankle in order to resume his career. John Leglue has filled in at left guard with second-year starter Kevin Dotson dealing with an ankle injury.
With several new pieces on their offensive line, the Steelers have struggled to consistency protect quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and open up holes for rookie running back Najee Harris. Roethlisberger has been sacked 35 times, his highest total since 2013. Pittsburgh’s running game is 29th in the NFL in both yards gained and yards-per-carry average. Harris is 72 yards away from breaking Franco Harris’ franchise rookie record, but he is averaging just 3.7 yards-per-carry through 15 games.
Pittsburgh’s coaching staff as it relates to the offensive line has had considerable turnover following Mike Munchak’s departure at the end of the 2018 season. The Steelers parted ways last offseason with Shaun Sarrett, who spent nine seasons on Pittsburgh’s staff and was Munchak’s assistant during the 2018 season. Sarrett is currently the Chargers‘ assistant offensive line coach.
Despite this past Sunday’s 36-10 loss to the Chiefs, Pittsburgh (7-7-1) has not been eliminated from playoff contention with two games remaining in the regular season. The Steelers can win the AFC North with wins over the Browns and Ravens and two losses by the Cincinnati Bengals. Two wins may also be enough to earn the AFC’s seventh and final wild-card playoff berth.