Print and Go Back ESPN.com: NFL Nation [Print without images]

Friday, January 3, 2014
Steelers fire OL coach

By Scott Brown

PITTSBURGH -- Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin has fired offensive line coach Jack Bicknell Jr. after just one season.

The move comes as a bit of a surprising considering the progress the offensive line made this season despite constant shuffling because of injuries.

The offensive line allowed just seven sacks in the Steelers’ final seven games. It also helped rookie running back Le'Veon Bell rush for 214 yards in the final two games of the season.

The Steelers lost two starting centers during the course of the season, including Pro Bowler Maurkice Pouncey (torn ACL) in the opener. They had to deal with in-game injuries, it seemed, on a weekly basis, and the loss of Pouncey scuttled the Steelers’ plans to employ a zone-blocking scheme in 2013.

“I have decided to go in a different direction with respect to the coaching of our offensive line,” Tomlin said in a Steelers release. “I want to thank Jack for his contributions during the 2013 season, and I wish him well in the future.”

The Steelers will have their fourth offensive line coach under Tomlin as Bicknell had followed Larry Zierlein and Sean Kugler.

Tomlin fired Ziegler after the 2009 season, and Kugler left after 2012 to become the head coach of UTEP, his alma mater.

The Steelers will begin a search for Bicknell’s successor, and Tomlin could wait to talk to prospective candidates at the Senior Bowl, which will be held Jan. 20-25 and is a veritable job fair for those looking for work.

Bicknell had previously served as the offensive line coach for the Chiefs (2012), Giants (2009-11) and at Boston College (2007-08), his alma mater.