Why team coaching is important
The coaching squad gets some attention when it’s announced, but then people pretty much forget about it. Real football begins, and no one cares about people two steps away from seeing the pitch.
However, the coaching staff’s players each year make an impact, both good and bad, on the season. The only thing they often do is play. This is even more true under current NFL rules that allow veteran players to be on the coaching squad and allow coaching staff call-ups that do not subject players to exemptions.
With those new rules, the Steelers More than half of the players who were on the coaching staff for the first week have played in the past two years, with eight players seeing the field in 2020, and nine in 2021. Some have played important roles in matches and some have even moved on to full stage. Timeline points, such as Robert Spillane.
Over the past 3 years, the Steelers coaching team players have scored a total of 3,679 shots, with 6 players having played more than 200 shots. These are the players with the most post-season shots played in the coaching staff over the past three years:
Henry Mondeo: 570 shots
Johnny Holton: 549 shots
Derek Tosca: 441 shots
John Leglow: 407 shots
You probably get to know each of these guys, and you should; They ended up playing important roles in a slew of matches even though they weren’t in the Steelers’ plans when the season started.
Some players on the coaching staff will now play an important role in this year’s Steelers season, and others will play an important role in a future season. The history and nature of the NFL constantly shows that this is the case. That’s why coach Mike Tomlin’s slogan “Next Man Up” is such a big deal. We don’t know which player it will be, but it will happen.
I am not going to cover all 16 players in one article, we will start with the names that people will be most familiar with.
John Leglow, OL: Leglue joined the Steelers late in the 2020 season, when they signed him to their coaching staff. He got a forward contract at the end of the season and after the 2021 season, he signed him to the coaching staff. When BJ Finney and JC Hassenauer struggled to fill in Kevin Dotson’s left guard, Steelers called up John Leglue. He played nearly every shot from week 13, and took the starting position in week 14.
Leglue lacks variety and is not one of the best athletes. It’s not a great pass blocker, but it’s a good size and is a great indoor area blocker. His best match was in Week 17, when the Steelers streamlined the attack and ran a lot of indoor areas against Brown To win their last home game in the career of Ben Roethlsiberger. His limitations surfaced in the pre-season 2022. These limitations and his lack of position versatility have him on the coaching staff once again. But if there were injuries while on guard, John Leglow would likely be back on the list.
Anthony McFarland Jr., Right-Back: MacFarland joins the coaching staff for the first time in his career. In a fourth round in 2020, he saw little success as the entire running game faltered, and after MCL ruptured just before the season started, he spent most of the year off the active roster in 2021.
McFarland looked like he would put it together in pre-season this year, but with Jaelyn Warren McFarland and Benny Snell vying for third place in a row on the list. While McFarland is a solid kick returner, he’s done little else on the specials, while Benny Snell has established himself as a key player on the specials. MacFarland brings speed to a running back position and versatility as a solid passing leader, but while he has a dynamic pace when he’s healthy, leg injuries have hampered him so far in his NFL career and he hasn’t been able to break in big wins.
Carlos Davis, DL: Steelers selected for the seventh round in 2020 NFL Project, Davis brings excellent athletics to his line of defense, and he showed flashes of potential in the junior season. He injured his knee in the first week of the 2021 season, and did not play again until December. Davis joined the coaching staff on several other players the Steelers had in their very deep defensive pool this off season, including his twin brother Khalil Davis and Henry Mundo.
Davis will be looking to get back to building on his promising rookie season, and Steelers history has shown he’s very likely to see the field as the defensive lineman is one of the most called-up players likely.
Delont Scott, OLB: Scott joined the Steelers as a signing for the coaching staff after he was cut from the Green Bay Packers At the end of the 2021 season. He was active for 1 week of the season, playing 7 shots in defense and 2 in special teams against Los Angeles Chargers.
Scott is forming the coaching staff after completing an entire season with the Steelers. He joins starters TJ Watt and Alex Highsmith as the only full-season outside quarterback still working with the Steelers. We’ll see if that pays off as the season progresses.
Cody White, WR: White is not a player most Stiller fans are familiar with, although he has seen footage in 15 of the 17 regular season games of 2021. White spent most of his time in special teams where he scored 4 tackles. White only saw 77 shots to attack, but had picked up 5 passes for 33 yards in that time. He has good size, reliable hands and brings in special teams that the Steelers can trust, so he is a very good candidate for a training position.
Mark Gilbert, DB: Gilbert was a non-descript free agent to sign with the Steelers in 2021, and made the coaching staff. It was signed by Detroit Lions before week eight and was on their active roster for most of the rest of the season. When the Black cut Gilbert, the Steelers signed him to their coaching staff.
Although he never played in a game with the Steelers, he did well against the Steelers in Week 10. Gilbert showed his physicality and energy in that game, specifically in one match where he did a really good job showing both. Points of strength and weakness.
Black vs Steelers, OT, 6:56.
Mark Gilbert (No. 40) covers Deontay Johnson.
Gilbert is a physical defender, and he uses that physical strength to stick to receivers well. He is not the best at tracking the ball and playing it in the air, especially in over-the-shoulder throws. He gives up the capture here when he can’t find the ball, and Johnson shakes it. But Gilbert stays with the play and strips football. Gilbert isn’t a premium athlete or technician, he’s a fighter and the Steelers loved him enough to bring him back.
Stay tuned for Part Two of this series as we look at the rest of the players on the Steelers coaching team.