Steelers Special Teams Coach Al Everest Fired

The Steelers continue to “evaluate coaching and support staff” with the firing of special teams coordinator Al Everest, a decision that was announced yesterday. Now heading up special teams will be Amos Jones, who formerly served as assistant special teams coach. For many fans of the Steelers, the decision is far from a surprise. Pittsburgh Steelers tickets gave fans the chance to see one of the worst special teams units in the NFL since Everest took over in 2010. Kick and punt returning slumped to the bottom half of the league.

The preseason games for the Steelers special teams have been no more impressive, suggesting that coach Tomlin gave the special teams an ultimatum; one they failed to meet. But during both preseason games, returners the Steelers fielded were rookies, and the Steelers have shown positive growth in special teams during regular season games in the past. It’s difficult to speculate on the reasons behind the firing until Saturday’s game against Buffalo, when the Steelers could go with veteran returners, or continue with Everest’s strategy of relying on rookies in the preseason. There could be a difference of opinion on who’s returning kicks during preseason games.

Amos Jones was a part of Tomlin’s original 2007 staff, and has served as the assistant special teams coordinator under Bob Ligashesky and Everest. Jones was already doing much of the on-field special teams coaching in practice, and has a great deal of experience coaching in the past. Prior to working in the NFL, Jones coached high school and college football for 25 years, as well as another year spent coaching the BC Lions in the Canadian Football League.

This sort of mid-preseason coaching adjustment isn’t without precedent, and should cause alarm to fans. In his first year as head coach of the Chiefs, Todd Haley axed offensive coordinator Chan Gailey, likely for philosophical differences concerning the Chiefs’ offense.