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The Steelers have found their new offensive line coach and they didn't have to search far. According to Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network, the Steelers are promoting Adrian Klemm to offensive line coach after he served as the team’s assistant offensive line coach for the previous two seasons under Shaun Sarrett who didn't have his contract renewed after the 2020 season.
Klemm was a second-round draft pick by the Patriots in 2000 and was a part of three Super Bowl-winning teams in New England. Klemm finished his career playing one season with the Packers in 2005 blocking for Brett Favre. Klemm started 18 games in his career, eight of those starts came in Green Bay.
Klemm started his coaching career at SMU in 2008 as a graduate assistant and then became the offensive line coach from 2009-2011, along with having recruiting coordinator added to his responsibilities in 2011. From 2012-2016, Klemm was the offensive line coach and run game coordinator at UCLA. From 2014-2016 he was also the assistant head coach along with being the offensive line coach and run game coordinator.
The Steelers interviewed Hanky Fraley for the offensive line coach job, but he returned to Detriot in some capacity under new head coach Dan Campbell, according to Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press. Fraley played 11 seasons in the NFL as a center and was the Lions' offensive line coach in 2020.
The Steelers also interviewed veteran offensive line coach James Campen for the position. It was reported today by Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle that Texans offensive line coach Mike Devin interviewed for the Giants offensive line coach job and was also requested by Steelers, but didn't interview with them.
Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette said Tomlin was looking for a coach who also played in the NFL. Klemm has six years of experience playing in the NFL and played under Bill Belichick and has three Super Bowl rings. He also has experience of being a run game coordinator in college. Fixing the run game will be Klemm's biggest challenge.
The Steelers ranked 31st in rushing yards per game in 2018 (90.3), 29th (90.4) in 2019 and 32nd in 2020 (82.5), along with ranking dead last in yards per carry (3.6). The Steelers' 1,351 rushing yards in 2020 were the fewest in franchise history. Also, the Steelers 82.5 yards rushing per game in 2020 was their fewest average since 1966 when they averaged 78.0 yards rushing per game.
The Steelers' run game started the season off strong with rushing over 100 yards in each of their first five games and had a 100-yard rusher in four of those games. In their last 12 games (including the wild-card game loss to Cleveland), the Steelers rushed over 100 yards just once (Week 11 against Jacksonville) and didn't have a 100-yard rusher in any games during that span.
Klemm joined the Steelers coaching staff in 2019 as an assistant offensive line coach. In addition to improving the run game, Klemm will also be tasked with developing young offensive linemen as it's Maurkice Pouncey is expected to retire and Alejandro Villanueva is set to become an unrestricted free agent in March and he might retire as well. David DeCastro, who turned 31 in January also probably only has a few more years left at best.