Steelers fire offensive line coach

While offensive coordinator Bruce Arians’ fate remains up in the air, the Steelers have reportedly made a decision on another offensive coach.

According to Mike Lombardi of NFL Network, the Steelers have fired offensive line coach Larry Zierlein.

The move makes sense; Zierlein’s unit has consistently struggled during his three-year tenure as line coach. 

Steelers coach Mike Tomlin is expected to continue meeting with his staff during the week. Quarterbacks coach Ken Anderson has retired.

28 responses to “Steelers fire offensive line coach

  1. Zierlein actually didn’t do a bad job.
    1) Roethlisberger takes a lot of sacks trying to
    make plays.
    2) The Steelers offensive line in the past couple years didn’t have a lot of high draft picks.

  2. Thats who needs to be fired… And Kevin Colbert, who seems to be able to only hit on 1st round draft picks with any consistency.
    When your o-line is a glaring weakness for years and the highest draft pick you take to try to address is in 5 years is a 4th round pick. Something says stupid. And I’m not counting that 3rd on Trai Essex in 2005, he wasn’t even on some teams draft boards. Worst 3rd round pick in 5 years.
    You cant get a running game going and balance the offense with subpar run blocking.

  3. What are everyone in the NFL front offices going to do without their porn emails from Larry???

  4. Yes!!!! Yes, yes, yesssssssssss!!!!
    Hot dog!!! This is the one I’ve been calling for all year. Oh yeah!!!!
    (Okay, Zierlein, it’s not personal. I’m sorry–it’s a bad economy. I’m not having the best year either. It’s just business. Truly wish you well.)
    This is not just a personnel issue. This is about knowing how to make a block and how to adjust to different defensive formations and how to react! Yes, sometimes Ben holds the ball longer than he should. And OFTEN defenders blow through that line while the linemen stand there looking dumbfounded before Ben has had time to take three steps back! It hasn’t been the same since Russ left!
    I wanted to see how Tomlin would react to adversity. This line issue has gone on for three years. Now we’re seeing action. If I could have chosen a first move, this would be it. YES!!!

  5. Well i think it boils down to the running game as opposed to the sacks.. I think anyone who knows football knows you take the good and bad with Ben on sacks.. Ben himself has admitted hes responsible for alot of those on his own.. Sometimes he takes a sack .,for the most part tho he continues a play.Hes one of the best on the run…we all know that.
    We keep hearing people saying Steelers abandoned the run game but i disagree.. Mendy had 1,108 yrds..ranked 11th.. not to bad for basically a rookie .. the run game tho has stunk in the redzone..not sure whats up with that.

  6. Unless you’re going to coach up your fat boys to never allow a sack and lead the league in rushing … you probably shouldn’t propogate porn through your employer’s email servers. Buh-bye, Leisure Suit Larry.

  7. How about instead of scapegoating a coach they just fix the offensive line? Or tell Ben to get rid of the ball quicker?

  8. I am not surprised at this. The OL play has not been great, certainly not up to Steeler standards. They have given up huge numbers of sacks for several years now. While clearly some of them are on Ben’s shoulders for holding on to the ball too long, Ben has been sacked many times that had nothing to do with him holding the ball too long. Further, he has been forced to run for his life too many times that also had nothing to do with him holding the ball too long. There were too many defenders coming in free. The blocking schemes seemed to be weak. Some of the issue may be talent-related, but it has gone on for a while. Running has been difficult to do recently, and they have 2 decent runners in Mendenhall and Parker. Lack of ability to run forced the team to throw more, causing more focus on poor pass protection, etc.
    But, when will we hear that the special teams coach is gone? He is the most deserving of termination IMO.

  9. There is only one good thing to say about that offensive line, They are damn good at blocking air.
    Good riddance to Arians and Zierlein; The fans deserve better

  10. In my opinion, Larry should have been fired after his email porn situation. Sending porn to a bunch of high level NFL officals should have earned him his walking papers.
    I Agree Ben takes alot of sacks. He lives and dies by the sword. Big play or bust
    In Larry’s 3 seasons as the steelers O-line coach, here were a few high draft picks on his line.
    -Alan Faneca (one season)-’98 Round: 1 Pick 26
    -Kendall Simmons (2 seasons)-’02 Round: 1 Pick 30
    -Marvel Smith (2 seasons)-’00 Round:2 Pick 38
    -Trai Essex- ’05 Round: 3 Pick 93
    -Max Starks-’04 Round: 3 Pick 75
    -Kraig Urbik-’09 Round: 3 pick 79
    I believe the sacks given up were more Ben then the Coach or scheme.

  11. WheelingStiller says:
    January 6, 2010 2:36 PM
    Thats who needs to be fired… And Kevin Colbert,
    Wow, dude, WOW.
    Hey Steeler fans….. next time someone calls you dumb and uneducated, this is why.
    Dude, you want to fire Kevin Colbert? Are you freaking joking? After their run in the 70s, the Steelers were perennial also-rans. It wasn’t until Colbert got there that they put together a team that could win a few more Lombardis. Cowher sure as hell couldn’t do it by himself.
    He also happened to draft Big Bum and Polamalu…. not too shabby, eh?
    If it wasn’t for Colbert, the Steelers would still be looking up at the 49ers and Cowboys, and I wouldn’t have to hear stupid “Sixburgh” comments all the time.
    But yeah…. go ahead…… run him out of town.

  12. This is ggod news and is was a sore spot for me also,
    Deb as always i agree with what you said, I know Ben holds the ball to long but he also makes things happen it is a double edge sword and I do not want him to change that, he has never professed to be a player like Manning or Brady or Brees but put them 3 behind our O line and see if they perform like Ben does , I doubt it , just saying,,, But I have noticed that as of late, they wonder around like they are lost…
    Steelerlady you nailed it on the head, we had a 1000 yrd rusher, and what is the problem with that, I see none, I think about what yards he could have had with a decent line…I think he would have had more..
    I see special teams coach next to be gone.

  13. Deb, I hate to tell you this, but the Steelers O-line started it’s decline when Russ Grimm was in charge.

  14. This announcement makes no sense.
    For the past 3 years steeler fans were saying how the problem wasn’t the line, but “Ben holding on to the ball too long” or “Not having a go-to running back” or “transitioning from a running to passing team.”
    After all that, I guess the Steelers offensive line really did suck…imagine that.

  15. He totally needed to go! He sucked in Cleveland (where he also got fired), and sucked in Pittsburgh. Why Pittsburgh would hire the Browns trash, made no sense!
    Granted, Ben holds onto the ball too long at times, but the O-Line truly misses Russ Grimm as a coach.

  16. @ Wheeling.
    The Steelers also drafted Willie Colon in the 4th round, so there’s another higher than five. They have traditionally picked at the end of the first round when the blue chip OL tend to be gone. You just can’t draft OL for the sake of drafting them.
    As far as saying that Trai Essex is the worst 3rd round pick in 5 years, apparently you forgot Bruce Davis and Willie Reid. At least Essex is servicable and has started at both guard and tackle. He’s not great and is probably better suited as a swingman but he’s far from the worst.

  17. @ Wheeling again. Sorry I misread your post. I guess you WERE referring to Colon. I thought you wrote 5th round pick.

  18. Thanks Bens Attorney!
    @MustBeChris … Football is not a game for the simple-minded.
    @Superfan99 … Oh, so the problem was Grimm rather than Ben and poor drafting? As with most things, there are multiple issues in the mix. But Russ Grimm did an excellent job of coaching blocking schemes–something Zierlein does not do. Ben holds the ball a long time in some situations, and no one faults the line for that. But I’m not talking about coverage sacks or “Ben sacks.” I’m talking about traditional sacks because blockers didn’t pick up their men–things that could have been corrected in coaching but weren’t.
    Incidentally, I somehow missed the Zierlein porn story so forget what I said about feeling sad when anyone gets fired. This one had it coming and should have been fired when he sent those e-mails. Good riddance on multiple levels.
    @The Coop … I agree with you. Wow. But you know we’re not all stupid, right? 😉

  19. I believe that Tomlin and Cowher both kind of underestimated the importance of a good solid offensive line. Look what Iowa’s did to Tech last night.
    Whenever the subject of the great Steelers of the 70’s comes up, everyone talks about Joe Greene,
    Lambert, Blount, Ham, the steel curtain. But don’t forget we also had a brusing O line. Guys like Sam Davis, Mike webster, Gerry Mullins, Larry Brown, Jon Kolb, and Steve Courson.
    Its time to make this a priority.

  20. 2 things
    1.) @WheelingStiller I would be careful what you wish for. Colbert was with the Lions before the Steelers and Lions fans couldn’t wait to run him out of town…for Matt Millen. Colbert is one of the best personnel men in the league, nobody hits on all their picks.
    2.) “Zierlein’s unit has consistently struggled during his three-year tenure” THAT’S WHAT SHE SAID!!!!!!!!!

  21. its not the coaches, it’s that they didn’t get to cheat as much this year, but they did get to complain that the refs were cheating them…… I know, anyone who is not A shitsburg fan will find that funny

  22. @topofafcnorth …
    Actually, I’ve been pleasantly surprised since coming on PFT to discover several Bengals fans who are knowledgeable about football, literate in their posts, and good sports about the game. So if they could wind their way through your convoluted post, they’d probably just find you embarrassing.

  23. Where is my reply post? You’re going to let that guy call me an idiot and not approve my follow up? Nice selective approval…

  24. When we drafted Mendy.. I think then we was gonna go after Otah I believe but he was gone..Time will tell ,maybe it was the line coach.. who knows. Thats why they get paid the money to make these decisions.
    The guy who thinks Colbert should go is a dumbass.. hes the least of our problems.Special teams needs addressed next..
    Who is hoping we resing Reed?? I sure do!

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