I certainly would not blame Keith Butler if he leaves Pittsburgh to become the defensive coordinator of the Tennessee Titans. The team’s linebackers coach has been strung along far too long behind the ancient Dick LeBeau, and the fact that Butler has been patient enough to wait for a promotion which he might not even receive is a testament to his patience.
Yet if Butler is allowed to interview with Tennessee, then I have a hard time believing that he will stay in Pittsburgh with one season left on his contract. LeBeau has given no intentions that he will leave his post, so it might behoove Butler to take the opportunity to run Tennessee’s defense if he receives it from the Titans’ new head coach Ken Whisenhunt.
If Butler skips town, then Pittsburgh will need to fill his spot on their coaching staff. Luckily for the Steelers’ brass, they will have an experienced and familiar in-house candidate to target in the form of defensive assistant Jerry Olsavsky.
Although the front office could explore outside options to fill a potential vacancy left by Butler, promoting Olsavsky could be the best course of action for the Steelers.
As far as his coaching experience is concerned, Olsavsky coached the linebackers at Youngstown State University for seven seasons (2003-2009) before he joined Pittsburgh’s coaching staff as a defensive assistant in 2010. In addition to his coaching experience with the franchise, Olsavsky was a key reserve linebacker and special teams contributor during his nine-year career with the Steelers (1989-1997).
Continuity will be key for the younger members of Pittsburgh’s linebacker corps, and losing a coach like Butler would be a definite blow to the rebuilding franchise. Hiring an experienced candidate like Olsavsky would be a solid move, and it would not shock me at all to see his name on the list of potential replacements for Butler if the longtime linebackers coach bolts for Tennessee.
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