When it comes to coaches you have to get staff that you think can mesh well with players and other staff as well as be a good fit for what you hope to accomplish in terms of scheme. The Pittsburgh Steelers made a hire this week that should accomplish all those goals. The Steelers announced this week they were hiring Richard Mann to be their new wide receivers coach. Who is this and what does it mean for the Steelers?
Mann seems to be a perfect fit for the Steelers. He’s a native of Apiquippa, PA so he’s able to come home so to speak. And we all understand how passionate Steelers fans are about having their local heroes come home. Mann also has a history with Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin. He coached with Tomlin when they were both with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Those two factors together seem to lead one to believe that this is going to work great, right?
Not so fast my friend. There are some real concerns with the hiring of Mann. First, he has not coached in the league for three years. That’s not a deal breaker by any means, but when you compound the fact that he’s 65 years old, and I am more concerned. Also, the group of wide outs the Steelers have are very young. Assuming that wide receivers Mike Wallace and Plaxico Burress both are gone this year, it will be a group that’s very young, as in all under 25 kind of young. I worry if Mann is going to be the grand fatherly type of influence who the players look to for his experience and learn from him, or will he be the out of touch coach who players can’t relate to and won’t work for? I’m not ruling out either at this point.
But what I do know is that this team is going through a transition and it’s going to take all hands on deck to right the ship from last season. It is going to be up to Mann to come in and coach up a group of very young and athletic receivers and get them ready for live action in a hurry.