Monday, March 20, 2023

Steelers make unexpected change to coaching staff after dip in offensive production

USA Today

The Pittsburgh Steelers have made a surprising change to their coaching staff. The team announced the hiring of veteran coach Frisman Jackson to be their new receivers coach on Tuesday. Jackson will replace Ike Hilliard, whose two-year contract was not renewed by the club. 

A receiver with the Cleveland Browns from 2002-05, Jackson has spent the past 14 years in coaching. He most recently served as the Carolina Panthers‘ receivers coach/passing game coordinator. During his two years in Carolina, wideout DJ Moore caught 159 passes for 2,350 yards and eight touchdowns while becoming one of the Panthers’ most productive offensive players. Jackson’s coaching experience also includes one season with Titans back in 2017. He has coached at six different colleges, including two seasons at Baylor in 2018 and ’19. 

Last season, the Steelers’ offense finished 15th in passing yards and 16th in touchdown passes. Third-year receiver Diontae Johnson made the Pro Bowl as an alternate after catching 107 passes for 1,161 yards and eight touchdowns. But second-year wideout Chase Claypool had a disappointing campaign after raising eyebrows during his rookie season. Claypool caught 59 passes for 860 yards and two touchdowns last season after catching 62 passes for 873 yards and nine touchdowns in 2020. 

While Johnson and Claypool will be back, the Steelers may need to find replacements for JuJu Smith-Schuster, James Washington and Ray-Ray McCloud, who are each slated to enter free agency on March 16. The Steelers’ receivers will have a new starting quarterback for 2022 following the retirement of six-time Pro Bowler and two-time Super Bowl champion Ben Roethlisberger

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