Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette is reporting, as are numerous other sources, that Pittsburgh Steelers wide receivers coach Scotty Montgomery will return to Duke University as their offensive coordinator.
Montgomery played for Duke and coached their wide receivers for 4 years before Mike Tomlin named him to replace Randy Fichtner 2009, who he’d moved to quarterbacks coach. Now Tomlin will have to hire a new wide receivers coach.
Motive Behind Montgomery’s Move?
In many ways the move is a step up the career ladder for Montgomery, and Tomlin has repeatedly said he would not stand in the way of an assistant who has an opportunity to grow professionally.
- Still, its fair to muse over whether the move was 100% Montgomery’s idea.
Similar speculation surrounded Amos Jones’ departure to Pittsburgh West. Jones’ special teams under performed, albeit that unit was much farther below the line than the wide receiving corps.
Jones was close to Tomlin, with long ties dating back to 1999 when both coached at the University of Cincinnati and it’s much easier to see him “encouraging” a friend to seek employment elsewhere as opposed to firing him outright.
Montgomery doesn’t have those professional ties to Tomlin, yet in contrast to Bill Cowher, Mike Tomlin has a slow trigger finger when it comes to firing assistants. Could Montgomery have been encouraged to shop his resume?
None of this speculation would mean anything save for a report by Gerry Dulac in PG Plus that he expected a offensive coach to be fired (unfortunately no link can be provided, as PG Plus cannot process non-US credit cards.)
Todd Haley was safe, Sean Kugler was already headed off to UT El Paso, Kriby Wilson is a Tomlin favorite. That left Fichtner and Montgomery.
- Perhaps Dulac was wrong and no assistant was on the chopping block, and perhaps this was entirely about Montgomery climbing the career ladder.
While it’s understandable hold Montgomery responsible for the regression of the wide receiving corps and seek out Montgomery as a lighting rod, such analysis is flawed.
If Montgomery does bear some responsibility for the slippage in Mike Wallace, Antonio Brown, and Emmanuel Sanders’ play then he also deserves credit for developing the latter two so quickly during their rookie and “sophomore seasons.”