Teryl Austin

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.

Giants Interview Teryl Austin For DC

The Steelers interviewed previous Giants defensive coordinator Patrick Graham for their DC role last month. Less than 24 hours after Graham’s decision to leave for Las Vegas, the Giants met with Mike Tomlin‘s top defensive assistant.

Steelers secondary coach Teryl Austin met with the Giants about their DC position Saturday, Paul Schwartz of the New York Post tweets. Austin is both a familiar face to the Giants, having interviewed for their HC job in 2016, and could have a higher-profile role with the Steelers as well.

Austin looms as an option to succeed Keith Butler as Pittsburgh’s DC, though the organization has continued to interview candidates following a report surfaced indicating Austin was on track to land the gig. Austin joins ex-Ravens DC Don Martindale and former Bears DC Sean Desai as Giants DC interviewees thus far. Brian Daboll had hoped to retain Graham as the team’s defensive play-caller, but the Raiders — now run by ex-Graham Patriots coworkers Josh McDaniels and Dave Zieglerpoached him Friday.

Formerly a defensive coordinator in Detroit and Cincinnati, Austin began his NFL career in 2003 but was a college staffer for over a decade before that. The 56-year-old assistant was once a regular on the HC interview circuit; his last such meeting came in January 2018.

Austin has worked as the Steelers’ secondary coach, while assisting Tomlin in game management, since 2019. With Tomlin having taken over the Steelers’ defensive play-calling role last season, the Giants — who recently hired an offensive-minded HC in Daboll — would offer greater responsibility.

Steelers Request Interview With Joe Whitt For DC Position

Another name has been added to the list of Steelers targets for their vacant defensive coordinator role. Joe Whitt, the passing game coordinator/secondary coach for the Cowboys, has become the third external candidate for the position, according to Pro Football Talk’s Josh Alper

The team has recently asked to meet with Kris Richard, the Saints’ defensive back coach, to replace the now-retired Keith Butler. Prior to that, Giants DC Patrick Graham received an interview request from the Steelers as well.

Whitt is generating interest with multiple teams. Both the Seahawks and Ravens have put in requests to meet with the 43-year-old for their respective DC vacancies. The experienced DB coach has served on the staff of five different teams during his NFL coaching career, never holding a title higher than pass game coordinator. His role in helping the Cowboys’ defense become one of the league’s better units – rather than a liability, as it had been in recent years – has obviously earned him opportunities for a promotion either elsewhere, or perhaps in Dallas if DC Dan Quinn takes one of the many HC jobs he has interviewed for.

The Steelers still have secondary coach Teryl Austin as an option if they prefer to promote from within. While that is certainly a possibility at this point, the team is clearly doing its due diligence with regards to outside candidates.

Steelers Request Interview With Giants DC Patrick Graham

The Steelers have begun an external search for their new defensive coordinator. The first name on the list of desired candidates is Giants DC Patrick Graham, whom the team has requested an interview with (Twitter link via NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero). 

[Related: Steelers DC Keith Butler To Retire]

The news comes just one day after it was reported the team was expected to fill the vacancy internally. It was believed senior defensive assistant/secondary coach Teryl Austin, who had been in Pittsburgh for the past three seasons, would be promoted to DC, a position he had previously held with the Lions and Bengals. While he may still be hired, the team is clearly looking outside the organization as well.

Graham, meanwhile, has been with New York on two occasions. After seven years with the Patriots, he joined the Giants in 2016 as their defensive line coach. One-year stints in Green Bay and Miami followed – including, in the latter case, DC duties – before he came back to New York. His work with the Giants’ defense has earned him head coaching interest before, as he was on the Jets’ radar during the 2020 hiring cycle.

It is important to keep in mind that Graham will be interviewing with the Giants for their HC vacancy. While other names, such as Brian Daboll, Dan Quinn and Brian Flores are also in contention for the job, the fact that Graham is a candidate to take over in the Big Apple means the Steelers may have to keep looking for their next DC.


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.

Titans Interview Teryl Austin For DC Job

Teryl Austin is back on the defensive coordinator radar. The Titans have interviewed the veteran assistant for a DC role, according to Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Working with the Steelers the past two years, Austin served as a defensive coordinator from 2014-18 — with the Lions and Bengals. He has coached the Pittsburgh secondary, while helping Mike Tomlin with game management, over the past two seasons.

Although the Titans held the Ravens to 20 points and registered five sacks in Sunday’s loss, they finished as the NFL’s worst third-down defense and recorded just 19 sacks this season. Following Dean Pees‘ retirement, Tennessee went without a true defensive coordinator this year. Outside linebackers coach Shane Bowen called defensive plays. Mike Vrabel referred to Bowen as a de facto defensive coordinator, but the team is interested in more experience on its defensive staff.

Austin’s 2014 Detroit defense fared quite well, ranking third in scoring and second in yards allowed. After Ndamukong Suh‘s Miami move, however, Detroit’s unit fell off in the years that followed. Austin resurfaced in Cincinnati under Marvin Lewis in 2018, but the Bengals fired him prior to that season’s conclusion.

Interestingly, Austin has met with the Titans previously. The team interviewed him for its then-vacant head coaching position, which ended up going to Mike Mularkey, in 2016.

North Rumors: Rodgers, Steelers, Bears

Tasked with adjusting to a new offense for the first time in his tenure as an NFL starter, Aaron Rodgers showed a bit of resistance to Matt LaFleur‘s new attack this week. At least, the Packers‘ future Hall of Fame quarterback does not want to be limited at the line of scrimmage. The first-year head coach’s system does not feature the same kind of pre-snap flexibility Rodgers previously enjoyed.

I don’t think you want me to turn off 11 years. There’s stuff that not many people in the league can do at the line,” Rodgers said during an interview with NFL.com’s Michael Silver (Twitter link). “That’s not a humble brag. That’s just a fact.

LaFleur said earlier this offseason the plan will be for Rodgers to either run the called play or switch to one alternative, and Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel anticipates some pushback on this. A detailed story this offseason examined Rodgers’ checkered history with Mike McCarthy, so the Packers are facing a crucial season — one in which their two-time MVP turn 36 — so getting their passer and head coach on the same page figures to be essential. While LaFleur said this week he does not want to minimize Rodgers’ penchant for off-script brilliance, it does appear the Packers have some sorting out to accomplish.

Here is the latest news out of the North divisions:

  • Although Teryl Austin‘s title with the Steelers is senior defensive assistant/secondary, the former Lions and Bengals DC will have another key game-day responsibility. Austin will be Mike Tomlin‘s unofficial replay-review coach. Austin said, via Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, he will watch every play that generated a replay review from the 2018 season to prepare for his new role. Tomlin has won just two of his past 14 challenges, dating back to the beginning of the 2016 season, Dulac notes, adding the 13th-year coach is 0-for-12 on fourth-down challenges during his career.
  • As for Austin’s role instructing Pittsburgh’s secondary, the Steelers have deviated from a plan that meant for their new hire to coach one position and secondary coach Tom Bradley another. They are sharing responsibilities leading that unit, per Dulac.
  • Antonio Brown‘s exit leaves the Steelers perhaps the biggest void in the NFL, given his production as the team’s top wide receiver for most of this decade, and the Steelers may have to fill the JuJu Smith-Schuster sidekick role as a group. But among the James WashingtonDonte MoncriefDiontae Johnson contingent, Ben Roethlisberger (via Ray Fittipaldo of the Post-Gazette) singled out Moncrief as having the best offseason. Still just 25, Moncrief posted 668 yards for the Jaguars last season.
  • Another North-division surprise factor: large Bears tight end Bradley Sowell. The converted tackle’s switch to tight end appears legitimate, with Jeff Dickerson of ESPN.com called the 6-foot-7, 312-pound veteran a legitimate threat for regular playing time — rather than this being a gimmicky or in-case-of-emergency position change. Sowell played tight end on 30 snaps last season but may be working toward a usage bump.

Steelers Hire Teryl Austin

The Steelers hired former Bengals’ defensive coordinator Teryl Austin to serve as a senior defensive assistant, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (on Twitter). In Pittsburgh, Austin’s focus will be on the secondary. 

After the 2016 and 2017 seasons, Austin was in the mix for head coaching jobs around the league. In 2018, he pushed for the Lions to promote him from defensive coordinator to head coach after Jim Caldwell was fired, but the team was dead set on hiring Matt Patricia. When that became apparent to Austin, he hooked on with the Bengals to serve under Lewis.

Unfortunately, things did not work out with the Bengals. He was canned in November after the Bengals suffered a brutal one-sided loss to the Saints.

In other Steelers news, the club seems open to trading star wide receiver Antonio Brown. It’s a big departure from their stance just a couple of weeks ago when Brown blew up at teammates and coaches in practice.

Fritz Pollard Alliance Recommends HC Candidates

Every year, the Fritz Pollard Alliance releases a list of recommended minority head coaching candidates. This year’s edition is nearly double in size and features the likes of Patriots linebackers coach Brian Flores and Cowboys defensive backs coach/defensive passing game coordinator Kris Richard, as Mike Jones of USA Today writes. 

Here’s the complete list of suggested candidates:

  • Keith Armstrong (Falcons special teams coordinator)
  • Teryl Austin (Former Bengals defensive coordinator)
  • Eric Bieniemy (Chiefs offensive coordinator)
  • Jim Caldwell (former Lions and Colts head coach)
  • George Edwards (Vikings defensive coordinator)
  • Brian Flores (Patriots linebackers coach)
  • Leslie Frazier (Bills defensive coordinator)
  • Raheem Morris (Falcons assistant head coach/wide receivers coach)
  • Hue Jackson (special assistant to the head coach of the Bengals; former Browns head coach)
  • Kris Richard (Cowboys defensive backs coach/defensive passing game coordinator)
  • Duce Staley (Eagles assistant head coach/running backs coach)

Flores, the de facto defensive coordinator of the Patriots, figures to be a hot coaching candidate this year. The same goes for Bieniemy, who is helping to guide one of the league’s most dangerous offenses.

Others on this list, such as Jackson and Austin, seem unlikely to garner real consideration for head coaching positions this offseason. The Browns turned the corner after dumping Jackson and appointing Gregg Williams as the team’s interim head coach, which isn’t a great endorsement for the offensive guru. Meanwhile, the Bengals hired Austin in January but fired him earlier this month as his defense was one of the lowest ranked in the NFL.

Bengals Fire DC Teryl Austin

The Bengals fired defensive coordinator Teryl Austin, as Josina Anderson of ESPN.com tweets. For now, head coach Marvin Lewis will assume the Bengals’ defensive coordinator responsibilities, a source tells Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (on Twitter).

On Sunday, the Bengals suffered a 51-14 loss at the hands of the Saints. Even without wide receiver Cameron Meredith, the Saints went off for 509 offensive yards and 44 unanswered points after the game was knotted up at 7-7. This was the third straight game in which the Bengals allowed over 500 yards and Austin has been blamed for the defense’s shortcomings.

For the last two years, Austin has been in the mix for head coaching jobs around the league. This year, he pushed for the Lions to promote him from defensive coordinator to head coach after Jim Caldwell was fired, but the team was dead set on hiring Matt Patricia. When that became apparent to Austin, he hooked on with the Bengals to serve under Lewis.

Now, Austin’s time in Cincinnati is up after just one year. And, fair or not, Austin is now even further away from getting his big break as a head coach.

The Bengals are now 5-4, meaning that their playoff hopes are alive, though they have some ground to make up if they hope to beat out the 6-2-1 Steelers for the AFC North crown.