Steelers Expected To Promote Teryl Austin To DC

Steelers defensive coordinator Keith Butler is retiring, and Pittsburgh will replace him internally. Per Aaron Wilson of Pro Football Network, the club will promote senior defensive assistant/secondary coach Teryl Austin to DC (Twitter link).

After spending three years as the Ravens’ secondary coach, Austin left Baltimore for Detroit, where he became defensive coordinator for Jim Caldwell‘s first Lions staff in 2014. That team was the Lions’ best since 1991, finishing the season 11-5 and earning a wildcard berth. Austin’s defense finished second in the league in terms of both yards per game and points per game, and he garnered plenty of head coaching interest as a result.

He did not land an HC job in the 2015 cycle, and his defenses would regress over the rest of his Motor City tenure (though he would get at least one head coaching interview after each of his four seasons in Detroit). When Caldwell was dismissed following the 2017 campaign, Austin interviewed for the Lions’ head coaching gig, which ultimately went to Matt Patricia. He landed on his feet as the Bengals’ DC, but his time in Cincinnati was nothing short of a disaster.

Though the club’s talent (or lack thereof) certainly had plenty to do with the defense’s struggles, Austin did not even make it through the end of the 2018 season with the Bengals. His unit was the first in NFL history to give up 500 or more yards in three consecutive games, and he was fired in November 2018.

He joined the Steelers in his current capacity in January 2019, and he will now inherit a defense that had a disappointing 2021 in terms of yards allowed (361.1 per game, good for 24th in the league) but that led the NFL in sacks. Pittsburgh boasts a fair amount of high-end defensive talent, and Austin will be tasked with getting his group back to the form it displayed over the 2017-20 seasons. His secondary, at least, did a good job of limiting opposing passing games, as it was the Steelers’ run defense that let the team down more often than not.

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