Visit NFL from the sidelines on the new Observer-Reporter site:

Friday, February 06, 2009

Butler leaving?

The Arizona Cardinals have fired defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast and may be looking to the Steelers to replace him.

Arizona has contacted the Steelers for permission to speak to linebackers coach Keith Butler about the opening.

Given that it would be a promotion, the Steelers shouldn't be able to say no. But I've been unable to confirm that one way or another.

Butler was seen as the eventual replacement for defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau in Pittsburgh when LeBeau finally decides to walk into the sunset.

Butler was on staff with Ken Whisenhunt and Russ Grimm when they were in Pittsburgh.


Ben said...

If Butler goes, Dale, does John Mitchell become the front runner for DC? I've heard a lot of good things about him.

Anonymous said...

Source, please!

Viz-Burgh said...

Unless the assistant is interviewing for a head coaching position with another team, I believe the team is able to deny permission for that interview. But that doesn't mean that the Steelers will choose to block him from leaving. In fact I would think it to be out of character for them if they did. I know Cowher used to be very vocal about allowing people in his staff to advance by taking opportunities offered to them around the league and that would seem to be an attitude that Tomlin would have as well.

alexrkirby said...

Perhaps Butler will opt to stay here? Knowing that Lebeau can't stay forever, Pittsburgh is a DC ccordinators dream job.

Dale Lolley said...

I don't know if Mitch would move up to defensive coordinator. I'm sure he could handle it. Perhaps Butler will stay.

Dale Lolley said...

As for a source, I keep some of them to myself. You don't burn your source.

The Source said...

It sounds as if we denied the Cards permission once before.

Dale Lolley said...

They did deny them in 2006. But at that time, I believe Whisenhunt wanted Butler as his linebackers coach.

Anonymous said...

I realize coaches like to hire people they're familiar with, but, really, can Whis find his own damn team? Steelers West is getting a little old.

adamg said...

On the bright side, AZ needs an offensive coordinator, too. Maybe if they want Butler, the Steelers should insist they also take Arians.

Patrick said...

you guys can knock Arians all you want, and I'm not his biggest fan either.

But the Steelers did just win the SB with him as OC. Expect to see him for at least 1 more year and lets be thankful for the things he right. That last drive comes to mind....

adamg said...

I would say the team won in spite of its OC, not because of him. I will give BA credit for a well designed game plan in the first half.

I wonder about an OC, though, who insists on trying to fit square pegs in round holes. For ex, Parker has made it clear that he's more comfortable running out an "I" behind a fullback. Yet, Arians refuses to accommodate Parker and forces him to run straight ahead between the tackles with no help.
Parker is not Bettis and this type of running has taken a physical toll on Parker the past two years.

Arians thinks his 2 TEs can replace the lead blocker even though one of them, Spaeth, cannot block.

Additionally, Arians presided over an OL coach who evidently could not even teach his linemen to block simple twist stunts from defenses.

I understand Arians will be around because he and BR both have the same pass happy philosophy not because he's a great OC.

Patrick said...

I don't think he is great. I don't think Bruce Arians thinks Bruce Arians is great.

Here is another point. Who would you like to hire in place of him, especially at this point in the offseason?

Trust me, BA made me want to rip my hair out a few times this season (Eagles game). I'd like to see them run out of the I more, and I hate Shotguns on 1st down.

Regardless, talent wise, the Steelers had a rag tag Oline in place this year. And they had very little experience together. BA was the OC with that line that won the SB last week.

He did something right.

adamg said...

The fact is, all these guys know offense, but the philosophy comes from the head coach. Again, look no further than Kevin Gilbride in NY. He's a pass first guy, but Tom Coughlin isn't and so Gilbride runs the kind of offense Coughlin wants.

If Mike Tomlin wants a run first team, then he needs to make that clear to Arians and BR.

Again, I think a lot of the OL issues stem from NOT being a running team. Run blocking calls for aggression from the linemen, pass blocking does not. Without an emphasis on the aggressiveness that comes from running the ball, the OL struggles, IMO. I'd be happy if Zierlein got fired because whatever "technique" he teaches apparently doesn't work. To me, it's inexcusable for there ever to be a gap between the C and Gs where one goes one way and one another like we saw in the SB. You never saw that under Grimm and he had OL like Oliver Ross and Keydrick Vincent.

Anonymous said...

the last drive was all Big Ben and Holmes, Arians deserves no credit. He is a really bad offensive coordinator

Anonymous said...

Arians is bad and this team had a horrible ranked offense. The public can see the mistakes that need fixed in spite of our victories.
The key to a successful franchise is that the Steelers correct their mistakes, even when winning. They need to fix this one.
Dale are you going to the Combine????

Ben said...

Arians did a hell of a job calling playoff games. I agree, a lot of that -- including the final drive of the SB -- is because of Ben, but I can't knock Arians for what he did this post-season.

I think a lot of our problems are a result of personnel, not play calling. I think with a better O-line, a lot of the problems on offense disappear. When you're first and goal on the 1, pounding the ball up the middle with the running back and still can't convert, the problem isn't the playcalling.

That said, we won a lot of games despite our offense, not because of them. I think a great deal of blame lies on Arians' shoulders.

And with THAT said, this team still won the Super Bowl. As BR7 said, who's laughing now?

Dale Lolley said...

No, I'm not going to the combine. It's all on the NFL Network and I'll likely watch their coverage about three or four times - it's rerun a lot and I'm sick like that.
It serves no purpose for me to go to Indianapolis. Reporters aren't permitted into the workouts.

Patrick said...

all you people who would fire Arians if given the chance,

Please tell me, who would you hire as the new OC? And let's assume that you could choose from the list of candidates available at the end of the regular season and not the end of the SB.

Anybody come to mind that is worth risking the entire chemistry of the offense fresh of a SB?

My point is you can hate Arians all you want, firing him is not practical and borderline stupidity. Deal with it, he'll be here next year.

And once again, I'm not an Arians "fan" but I'm honest that right now he is the best choice for 2009.

adamg said...

As I said, I don't think there's a gnat's eyelash difference among any of the OCs out there. They all know offense and there isn't anything new under the sun.

My problem with Arians remains that he keeps trying to fit square pegs in round holes. But, this is up to Tomlin to fix. If BA doesn't like the direction Tomlin wants for the offense, he can always leave. I'm sure Ken Anderson could easily move back up to an OC position.

Anonymous said...

Patrick makes a good point.

Im not sure who they could hire. I can think of 1 offensive coordinator that is worse than Arians and he is about to get hired by the Jets (Cavanaugh) so the pickings must be slim

Dale Lolley said...

Yeah, the Jets really did Pitt a favor.