Steelers Expected To Name Teryl Austin DC

You might have heard this before, but the Steelers are expected to name Teryl Austin as their new defensive coordinator. Per Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, a deal could be finalized today or tomorrow (Twitter link).

Austin has served as the Steelers’ senior defensive assistant/secondary coach since 2019. Just two weeks ago, it was reported that Austin would be elevated to DC to replace the retiring Keith Butler, but then Pittsburgh elected to conduct a more thorough search and do its due diligence on a few external candidates. The Steelers requested interviews with then-Giants DC Patrick Graham — who subsequently took the same position with the Raiders — Saints defensive backs coach Kris Richard, and Cowboys passing game coordinator/secondary coach Joe Whitt Jr. before circling back to Austin.

Austin actually took an outside interview himself just yesterday, meeting with the Giants as a potential Graham replacement. That position may have offered him greater responsibility than the Steelers’ gig, as Pittsburgh head coach Mike Tomlin took over as Pittsburgh’s defensive play-caller last season, but for one reason or another, it appears that Austin will remain in the Steel City.

The 56-year-old served as defensive coordinator for the Lions from 2014-17 under head coach Jim Caldwell, and during his time in Detroit, he was a regular on the HC interview circuit. His ill-fated tenure as the Bengals’ DC in 2018 caused his stock to plummet, but he is now getting a shot at some measure of redemption.

Of course, the Steelers’ D turned in an uncharacteristically poor 2021, allowing 361.1 yards per game (good for 24th in the league). Still, the unit does have some top-flight talent, and Austin’s secondary generally did a good job of limiting opposing passing games. More often than not, Pittsburgh’s run defense was the source of the club’s struggles.

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