December 23, 2012; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; The Pittsburgh Steelers offense lines up against the Cincinnati Bengals defense during the fourth quarter at Heinz Field. The Cincinnati Bengals won 13-10. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Pittsburgh Steelers Fire Offensive Line Coach Jack Bicknell, Jr.

Many expected changes on the Pittsburgh Steelers coaching staff after a second consecutive 8-8 finish, but most were looking to see if names such as Todd Haley or Dick LeBeau would no longer be a part of Mike Tomlin’s staff.

Sep 8, 2013; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers center Maurkice Pouncey (53) is attended to by team trainers after suffering an apparent injury against the Tennessee Titans during the first quarter at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

However Tomlin threw us a curveball Friday afternoon when it was announced that offensive line coach Jack Bicknell, Jr. was the first one to go.

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

Bicknell, Jr. joined the Steelers prior to the 2013 season and saying his offensive line underperformed the first half of the season would be putting it kindly.

However, the Steelers practically had to scrap their zone-blocking scheme Bicknell installed during training camp when center Maurkice Pouncey went down for the season during the first drive of the year.

Losing your anchor is never easy and the Steelers struggled initially, failing to run the football successfully and allowing a whopping 35 sacks in the season’s first nine games.

Injuries dealt this line a heavy blow and Mike Adams was horrendous during his stint at left tackle, meaning Bicknell had to work with a patchwork offensive line all season long.

But moving parts in and out, the Steelers offensive line became one of the strengths of the team the final seven weeks of the season where they had success running the football and allowed only seven sacks during the final seven games.

It goes without saying that during the Steelers’ 6-2 finish to the season that the offensive line was the least of their worries.

That alone makes the firing of Bicknell all the more surprising.

Given the fact that he was only in his first season with the team and had to go without some major pieces you figured that Bicknell would be safe for at least another year, but that isn’t the case.

The team will begin searching for his replacement in the upcoming weeks.

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Tags: Jack Bicknell Jr. Pittsburgh Steelers

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