During the Steelers 2007 season special teams breakdowns, in the form of returns for touchdowns cost the Pittsburgh dearly.
- A punt returned for a touchdown ultimately was the difference in a 21-14 loss to the Arizona Cardinals
- A kickoff return for a touchdown cost them a game against the Jets, a 1-8 team that would finish 4-12 (sound familiar?)
- And of course the kick off return for a touchdown played a huge role in the Steelers 31-29 playoff loss to Jacksonville.
When the dust settled no heads, however, rolled. Mike Tomlin reviewed the film and determined that the Steelers special teams deficiencies were rooted in personnel and not coaching.
The Steelers coverage units improved markedly in 2008, but what had been a bad dream on special teams in 2007 turned into an absolute nightmare in 2009.
And this time it cost Bob Ligasheksy his job. As well it should.
It is true, as John Harris pointed out, that several of the choices the Steelers made for their final cuts came back to haunt their special teams.
But Joe Starkey, Harris’ colleague at the Tribune-Review, pointed out shortly after he was hired, Ligasheksy’s prior track record as a special teams coach indicates he does not deserve the benefit of the doubt a second time around.
Who Will Replace Ligasheksy?
The Steelers have made no move to replace Ligasheksy but speculation in Steelers Nation is rife that Bobby April will return. April coached the Steelers special teams from 1994 and 1995 – probably the unit’s best overall period.
April had been special teams coach for the Bills, but was let go along with the entire staff.