Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Former Pittsburgh Steelers QB Charlie Batch Chimes in on Kirby Wilson Situation


First of all, let me state that I am upset that Kirby Wilson is heading to Minnesota. Wilson was reportedly an enormous reason why the Steelers’ offense improved during the second half of last season, and the veteran running backs coach has been a mainstay on Pittsburgh’s staff since he arrived back in 2007.

What incenses me the most about Wilson taking his talents to the Vikings deals with the fact that he is leaving Pittsburgh to become Minnesota’s running backs coach.

Now if Wilson left for another organization to become an offensive coordinator or even a head coach, then I could completely understand. Yet a lateral career move like the one the running backs coach just made is even more puzzling when one remembers that former offensive line coach Sean Kugler (head coach at UTEP) and former wide receivers coach Scottie Montgomery (assistant head coach/offensive coordinator) both made similar decisions and left last spring.

Wilson’s departure was made even more interesting when former quarterback Charlie Batch tweeted the following after the news of the running back coach’s departure was made public:


Call me crazy, but it looks like Batch insinuated that a problem might exist on Pittsburgh’s offensive staff. Furthermore, it looks like the issue, which appears to have arrived two seasons ago, was an important factor behind the decisions made by Kugler, Montgomery and Wilson.

Outside of offensive line coach Larry Zierlein, who was fired after the 2009 campaign for the line’s poor play during his three-year stint, Pittsburgh’s offensive staff was a relative cohesive unit during offensive coordinator Bruce Arians’ time at that post (2007-2011).

Besides Zierlein, only quarterbacks coach Ken Anderson left the staff during Arians’ watch, and I should mention that Anderson left because he retired and not to take a job elsewhere. Pittsburgh kept their staff relatively intact after the loss of Anderson, and wide receivers coach Randy Fichtner was promoted to quarterbacks coach and Montgomery was hired to fill the vacancy left by Fichtner.

Now I do not want to declare that everything was a love-fest among Pittsburgh’s offensive coaches from 2007-2011. However, the fact that three coaches have jumped ship over the last 12 months is something which cannot be ignored. Moreover, it seems like more discontent has existed among the offensive coaching staff ever since Todd Haley was brought aboard to replace the retired Arians in 2012.

I for one am interested to see how the upcoming offseason and regular season play out in Pittsburgh. There has to be a reasonable explanation why assistants are leaving for lower-tier or similar positions at the professional or college levels.

Is it the reportedly abrasive Haley? Is it head coach Mike Tomlin? Is it the front office? Whatever it is, something is making Pittsburgh an undesirable location to coach, and I hope that a solution is found before this problem continues to plague this franchise.




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Tags: Charlie Batch Pittsburgh Steelers Todd Haley

  • lkw

    Very interesting…Wonder if the replacement will have prior experience working with Haley. Its not unusual at all for position coaches to move laterally, it’s all about who you know and working with a new team gets you that many more contacts and it could very well still be a raise. But its still a little unsettling coming from batch who was basically a coach during most of his tenure and very well respected.

  • William Cross

    Whew! I was afraid there wouldn’t be any crazy, uninformed speculation….

    • Dom DiTolla

      Well in your infinite wisdom, why do you believe that three coaches have left over the last two seasons and why former players are chiming in on the subject?

      • Wayne Darby

        In my finite wisdom, I have seen many many teams that bring in OC’s or DC’s and normally the rest of the staff doesn’t stay put for long either by being forced out or don’t have the same philosophy but to make this all about the gossip and ho hum Haley is stupid. Now it could be that they all loved BA’s cock too but that would be me speculating. Haley’s still there and Munchak is now there. That is what matters. By the way, Charlie is still butt hurt over not being brought back last season. Gerry Dulac reported last week that Wilson would be leaving soon even if he didn’t get the OC spot with the Ravens as he was told to start looking for another job. I’m fine with it.

        • Craig

          Wilson is leaving for MN to coach AP and the young Toby Gerhart. Why would the Vikes hire a guy not worth coaching one of the greatest RB’s in the game and a young kid in Gerhart who has lots of talent? For the Vikes to make this move speaks volumes about Wilson’s talents and rapport with players. How could you be fine with this?
          Something stinks about this move and has nothing to do your fascination with phallic bits.

          • Wayne Darby

            Something stinks about this? So…….Really what does it matter? If it was Haley that wanted him gone or Tomlin that wanted him gone, or he just didn’t want to be here. He moved on. Not gonna worry about losing a freakin RB coach to begin with. For the record, if one was to believe Dulac’s comments, we would think that Kirby didn’t really have a choice here. If that’s the case, then who do you blame there? Isn’t Tomlin the one to make the decisions? Maybe Tomlin, knowing he was going to hire Munchak, told Wilson to start looking for other employment. I will not lose sleep because he is gone. Can’t say that he has done a great job since being here anyway. Not of consequence where Wilson goes. You say they make this move because of Wilsons’ rapport with players. Doesn’t he and Mike Zimmer go way back?

          • Wayne Darby

            By the way. Some unconfirmed reports out this morning claiming that Sarrett actually coached the running backs most of last year instead of Wilson.

          • Dom DiTolla

            Did you also see that report which stated that Wilson didn’t get along with Haley?

          • Wayne Darby

            Yes I saw one unconfirmed report about them having a different philosophy but if Wilson wasn’t even coaching the rb’s then again what does it matter. If you don’t like your boss or have a different philosophy, you normally quit your job and move on, right? So if this were the case, good riddance. I would much rather keep Haley and Munchak. Haley is good offensive mind and those who want to run him off obviously hasn’t looked at what he has done with his previous offenses.

          • Dom DiTolla

            Wilson had to help out the stagnant offense so he likely had to cede some of his RB duties to his assistant. Wilson was a big part of the offense’s turnaround, so kudos to him for leaving since the front office wouldn’t fire that dullard Haley.

            Also, that ‘good’ offensive mind is partly responsible for two 8-8 seasons, and the following:

            2012: 21st in total offense, 22nd points per game, 26th rush yards per game.

            2013: 20th ranked total offense, T-16th points per game, T-27th rush yards per game.

            Enjoy another 8-8 season in 2014. :)

          • Wayne Darby

            When you add those stats in there Dom, why don’t you compare those to the few years before with “the beloved” #sarcasm Bruce Arians. You will see, the stats are actually better….LOL. Also the last 9 games of the season they averaged over 28 points a game. When was the last time that has happened? Yeah typical Haley hater. You make excuses for Wilson who was on the same staff but Haley is the devil. Dude I don’t care if you hate Haley, he is gonna be there and you are gonna have to bite your pillow and deal with it. If you used your brain, you would be saying…wait a minute the defense is what has been letting us down….hmmmmm PEACE. I will enjoy another 8-8 season only if the defense sucks as bad as it did this year against the run. SIMPLE.

          • Dom DiTolla

            Well what happened in the first seven games of last season? Care to enlighten me? Last time I checked, they don’t hand out awards for 9-game stretches in the NFL. Maybe you should use your brain for a minute :)

            In addition, the Steelers’ offense ranked 7th, 14th and 12 in total yards from 2009-2011 with Arians and 12th and 12th in 2009 and 2010. They also ran the ball much more effectively during that era because they used the pass to open it up.

            The defense let the team down last fall just as much as the offense. Both units need help, but to absolve Haley of blame is ridiculous. I just hope you enjoy another 8-8 or worse season and more coaches jumping ship.

          • Wayne Darby

            I like how you say that you hope that “I” enjoy another 8-8 season. I assume you are not a Steeler fan by those comments? I see you knit pick your stats again. First it was total offense. now it’s total yards….SMH.

          • Dom DiTolla

            Knit-pick? Hahaha. They were better in total offense (meaning yards) during those three years. You can go and look it up. You know what they did during two of those three years too? Qualified for the playoffs.

            As far as nit-picking is concerned, how come you only brought up the final nine games of last season when the Steelers played only two playoff teams? Where are the vaunted stats from the first seven?

            You still didn’t answer that. :)

            Also, how do you know if I am a Steelers fan or not? Are you in charge of the fanbase? Do people send you applications desperately seeking your approval? Hahaha.

          • Wayne Darby

            You know as well as I do the first seven games they were patchworking together the offensive line with all the injuries and lack of good play but you left that part out didn’t you? You like stats Here’s some damn stats for ya. I see a pattern here….hmmm
            Haley-2013 pts scored 379 pts allowed 370 point differential 9

            Haley-2012 pts scored 336 pts allowed 314 point differental 22

            Arians-2011 pts scored 325 pts allowed 227 point differental 98

            Arians-2010 pts scored 375 pts allowed 232 point differental 143

            So yes I will enjoy Haley along with Mike Munchak(great hire) and now James Saxon(also a great hire).

          • Dom DiTolla

            Oh and Arians never dealt with a patchwork offensive line or a poor running game or injuries at any positional unit? Gimme a break. Why do those rules only apply to Haley? The offense sucked throughout the season due to Haley’s misuse of personnel, and you can pin that loss in Baltimore on him for the conservative play-calling in the first half. Last time I checked, 375 was more than 336 as well and the Steelers scored 368 points in 2009, far more than the team’s 2012 total.

            For your information I am a Steelers fan, I think it’s pretty obvious since I write for this site. I am just not putting any stock into Haley leading this offense to the postseason. I just don’t want to hear any complaining from people if this team is sitting at home next January.

          • Wayne Darby

            First of all you don’t have to be a Steeler fan to write for this site so don’t know how obvious it is especially since you kept saying that I would enjoy the 8-8 season. Last I checked 379 was more than 375 or 325!!!! WOW that is definitely some knit picking. The offense didn’t suck. The defense did. What surprises me is that after listening to you, they actually let you write for this site but then again that is why I don’t come to this site that often. Done with this conversation. It’s like pissing into the wind…..

          • Craig

            Might I interject….
            A) You are both right to a certain extent about the struggles and ‘successes’ with the offense. Maybe you should both quit making it a pissing contest.
            B) You do need to be a Steeler fan to write for this site. Thank you very much.
            C) It’s a blog site – Dom can write whatever the hell he wants to whether I, you, or anyone else agrees with what he has to say. Welcome to America. :)

          • Dom DiTolla

            The offense didn’t suck? Then how come they finished near the bottom of so many statistical categories last season? Why did they sputter so often during the team’s 2-6 start? The offense deserves just as much blame as the defense for last season’s mess.

            I simply said that I hope you enjoy the 8-8 season because this team still has Todd Haley as their offensive coordinator. Did you see Arians’ offense in AZ average the same amount of points with Carson Palmer at the helm? Or how about how they averaged more yards last season? In addition, how about the better season he had in Indianapolis when compared to Haley in 2012?

            What surprises me is that you still keep coming back despite the fact you dislike me so much :)

  • Rick C

    It’s obvious that Haley has been a big problem since he arrived on the scene. He will probably force Ben out too. Someone NEEDS TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT THIS IDIOT!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Scott Cromer

    As far as I can see, the only former player that has chimed in on this situation is Charlie Batch. Kirby Wilson’s departure was just a matter of time, since he was passed over for OC two years ago. With Haley’s job apparently safe for at least this year, perhaps Wilson wanted a change of scenery and figured that his chances of eventually getting the OC job in Pittsburgh were diminishing. Also, if there was that much disharmony amongst the coaching staff, I highly doubt that Mike Munchak would have signed on to be the O-line coach. If you want to look at true dysfunction, I suggest you look about two hours to the northwest of Pittsburgh and see what’s happening with the team located in the Mistake by the Lake.