The Steelers’ effort to add their next offensive coordinator is underway. First up will be a recent OC who no longer appears in his team’s plans; Thomas Brown is interviewing for the job Wednesday, Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports.
Brown, who has received HC interview requests in each of the past two offseasons, worked as the Panthers’ OC this season. The former Rams assistant enjoyed two stints as Carolina’s play-caller, but it does not appear the NFC South club is interested in keeping him around under a new head coach.
Rams quarterbacks coach Zac Robinson joins Brown as a candidate for the Pittsburgh OC job. The Steelers have promoted from within to fill in 2018 (Randy Fichtner) and 2021 (Matt Canada). After going with a two-OC system of sorts, with Eddie Faulkner nabbing the title and Mike Sullivan the play-calling role, Mike Tomlin pointed to seeking an outside voice with this hire. The team has not hired an OC from outside the organization since the Todd Haley addition in 2012. Haley is also the only Steelers OC hired from outside the organization this century, adding more intrigue to the team’s current search.
Both Robinson and Brown come from the Sean McVay coaching tree. McVay’s staff has become a launching pad for a number of HCs and coordinators. This could be the year Robinson makes the jump, with the Matthew Stafford position coach in contention for a few jobs. Brown, 37, worked with the Rams from 2020-22, coaching running backs and tight ends after a run in the college ranks.
The Panthers attempting to incorporate elements from McVay’s scheme and Frank Reich‘s was among the reasons behind the team’s 2-15 season. Reich had mentioned Brown as a play-calling candidate early last year, but after giving him the reins, the veteran HC reclaimed them three weeks later. The Panthers fired Reich 11 games in, leaving Brown back in the play-calling role. Bryce Young finished the season ahead of only Zach Wilson in QBR, as the Panthers ranked 31st in offensive DVOA.
Brown also interviewed for the Bears’ job that went to fellow ex-Rams staffer Shane Waldron. It should be expected more teams, as the HC-needy clubs fill out their staffs, will want to interview the young assistant for OC positions.