Dunlap: Sherman As WR Coach Is A Solid Time Buyer

Hiring Ray Sherman as the interim successor to the late Darryl Drake is nothing but a move to buy time

Colin Dunlap
August 22, 2019 - 4:21 pm

(Photo by NFL via Getty Images)

Related: Sherman Named Steelers Interim WR Coach

The Pittsburgh Steelers think before they act. 

If we know anything about the organization, they don’t act rash, hasty or without regard to the longest of long-term plans. This can be evidenced by that stat so many like to regurgitate. You know the one, where they have had just three coaches since 1498 or whatever it is. 

Good for them. It has been the key to continuity and, in turn, success. For as much as people gripe about the football team in this town, they should try rooting for another team in the National Football League for a decade or so. Only then would they most likely understand --- if that team is not named the Patriots --- the ups and downs and wide swings most franchises go on. 

In order to do something to ensure permanent success, the Steelers did the best possible thing on Thursday morning … they made a temporary move. 

Yep, that’s right. 

Hiring Ray Sherman as the interim successor to the late Darryl Drake is nothing but a move to buy time. It is also the best possible move the Steelers could pull off. 

Let’s not kid ourselves here: Sherman, at 67 years old, has been coaching in the league close to 30 seasons. He has worked exclusively as a receivers coach with various teams since 2000. That said, I wouldn’t think he would ever get a shot at being a coordinator again, the way he was on the 7-9 Steelers team in 1998 when then-coach Bill Cowher seemingly couldn’t wait to run him off. 

But, right now, he’s the right guy. For this season. 

By hiring Sherman the Steelers can begin a real search and don’t have to act in haste. They essentially have almost a year to find the right person who would not only fit with Mike Tomlin and the rest of the staff, but will be the right person for what just might be an incredibly-impressionable group of receivers. For all the position coaches beneath Tomlin, a strong case can be made that the receivers coach is the most important one. 

The Steelers have JuJu Smith-Schuster getting to the point where he can be among the upper echelon in the game. They have second-year man James Washington who is expected to grow his game exponentially over the next few seasons. They have guys like Donte Moncrief and Eli Rogers who need to pigeonhole into their role and understand it. And they also have a guy such as Dionte Johnson, who much is expected of by virtue of the organization jumping up to grab him. His maturation might be critical to this franchise. 

Long story short --- the receivers can’t just be good for the offense to function well, they must be great. 

That is why it is imperative that the Steelers get the right man to lead them. It was also imperative and crucial, after the stinging death of Drake, that they didn’t just jump into hiring someone full time without the proper time to vet through and investigate who might work best. 

Having Sherman hold the fort down for a season should work masterfully.

And then you thank him for his services and get the next guy you really want in here. Doing so will be critical as Ben Roethlisberger goes through his final few years in the NFL. ​


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