With Brian Flores moving to Minnesota to be the Vikings defensive coordinator and the Pittsburgh Steelers moving on from longtime linebackers coach Jerry Olsavsky this offseason, a huge need opened up at linebacker coach in Pittsburgh. Enter Aaron Curry, former Seattle Seahawks first-round pick and current Steelers inside linebacker coach. Curry’s fame in the NFL is not living up to his draft billing, drafted fourth overall in 2009 but out of the league by 2013, but he is now ready to use that experience to turn around the Steelers linebacker room.
Talking to Pittsburgh Tribune-Review Steelers beat writer Joe Rutter this summer, Curry said that because he has experience in the NFL and knows both good and bad habits, he can nip any bad habits of his players in the bud.
“Not many coaches or not many people have been able to experience the dos and do nots,” Curry told Rutter. “You either just do and (can) tell what not to do. Or you do not and don’t know what to do. I’ve experienced both. I know exactly what it takes to perform at a high level, and I know exactly what the behaviors look like when people aren’t performing at the high level.”
The Steelers inside linebacker unit has been underperforming since Ryan Shazier went down with a career-ending injury in 2017. Since then there has been a carousel of linebackers brought in to try and replace him and make the unit a strength but none has worked. This year the unit is headlined by Elandon Roberts and Cole Holcomb, two newcomers signed in free agency. Curry is a new face as well and now he gets to try and put his stamp on them and the entire room.
While the Steelers’ 2023 inside linebacker room does not possess any high-end talent, they can still be good. It is Curry’s job to get the best out of them, and with his experience not playing up to par during his NFL career, he is looking to lean on that to create a group that will. Many times, former NFL players will get into coaching, but sometimes the less successful ones on the field prove to be better coaches than the more successful ones.
Pittsburgh’s inside linebacker room is perceived as the biggest weakness to an otherwise very good defense. As a team that will be leaning on their defense to win games once again this season, Pittsburgh needs its inside linebackers to not be the weak link. If Curry can get the most out of them, this is a defense that very well can be top-five in the NFL. If so, the Steelers’ playoff odds skyrocket.
However, Curry is going to have to use his experience to get the most out of his inside linebacker unit. Just because his NFL playing career wasn’t long doesn’t mean he can’t carve out a long and prosperous coaching career in the league. It starts with turning the Steelers inside linebacker room around.