The Pittsburgh Steelers didn’t waste any time filling their remaining coaching vacancies.
Just one day after hiring Jack Bicknell Jr. as their new offensive line coach, the Steelers filled their special teams coach void by hiring Danny Smith, a former Washington Redskins assistant.
Smith is a Pittsburgh native with family still in the area, had been the Redskins special teams coach since 2004. In that time, football metrics analysts such as Pro Football Focus and Football Outsiders have indicated that the Redskins special teams units have not been very good during Smith’s tenure.
Since 2004, Football Outsiders’ weighted DVOA of Redskins special teams units has them ranked 25th, 6th, 11th, 16th, 18th, 27th, 26th, 22nd and 30th in the NFL.
In addition, Pro Football Focus’ ranked the Redskins special teams 26th, 32nd, 16th, 27th and 26th in the NFL dating back to 2008.
In 2011, Smith was widely criticized in Washington as the Redskins had had a league-high five field goals and two punts blocked.
In addition the Redskins return game hasn’t been very good as they have struggled to get good field position and fumbled seven times in 2011.
The 2012 season started the same way, but the Redskins kicking game improved as the season went on.
Other than his Pittsburgh ties, Smith also was an assistant at William and Mary from 1980-83, which was where Steelers’ head coach Mike Tomlin played collegiately.
With the Steelers problems on special teams, it may have been nice to see a special teams coach hired with more of a pedigree for having strong units, but Smith is the guy that has been tabbed to fill the void.