The Steelers have a relatively old quarterbacks room, so for the moment, they’re not going to bother with having a quarterbacks coach.
When former QB coach Randy Fichtner was promoted to offensive coordinator, the Steelers let him keep his old title without hiring another one to replace him. And while they say it’s something they may revisit, the team is comfortable with the set-up for now.
“It’s a fine line because he wants to coach and be involved with the young guys, but he has to be ready to give me the next play in practice or whoever it is,” quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said, via Mark Kaboly of The Athletic. “It is something that we may just keep an eye on. I understand that he doesn’t want to break up that room and how it works and all that.”
With Roethlisberger 15 years in and backup Landry Jones entering his seventh season in the league, there’s a ceiling on how much day-to-day instruction they need beyond the coach they already know so well. The same isn’t true for third-round rookie Mason Rudolph, though his development is more of a long-term thing anyway.
“Maybe that will be something you explore down the road,” Fichtner said. “When you are not working with a veteran quarterback and I will throw Landry Jones into that because we’ve been together for six years. There is some natural communication that already takes place. It might be eye contact. Something might not even be said. It’s a look sometimes. You know how you give your kid a look when they made a mistake and they knew? . . .
“I think there might be value about that in the end. Right now the value in that is direct communication in that room of the expectations of what we are trying to do as a whole.”
Roethlisberger said he talked to coach Mike Tomlin about adding one in the future, even one of his former backups such as Bruce Gradkowski or Charlie Batch. That might be simply because of familiarity, because he’s always had a quarterbacks coach (including Fichtner for the last eight years).
“I’ve had a few and it’s great,” Roethlisberger said. “Typically the quarterback coach is a bridge between the OC and you. Now when your OC is your quarterback coach you don’t need a bridge. It’s nice to have someone to talk to and that’s why I think, and backups to, it’s important to have that bridge-the-gap type thing.”
Three other teams don’t employ dedicated quarterbacks coaches — the Patriots, Giants and Jets.