Former Lions defensive coordinator Teryl Austin promoted by Steelers

SideLion Report

Teryl Austin had a four-year run as defensive coordinator for the Lions, and the Steelers are set to promote him to the same post.

Teryl Austin was the Detroit Lions defensive coordinator for all four seasons of Jim Caldwell’s tenure as head coach. Now, with Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette first to report it, the Pittsburgh Steelers are expected to promote Austin to defensive coordinator.

Ian Rapoport of NFL Network confirmed the move, citing sources. The deal is expected to be finalized on Monday.

Austin was the Steelers defensive backs coach for the last three seasons. Before that, he spent most of the 2018 season as defensive coordinator for the Cincinnati Bengals. He was fired after the Bengals set an NFL record by allowing 500-plus yards in three straight games. He’ll now get another shot as a coordinator, replacing Keith Butler, who announced his retirement after Pittsburgh’s playoff loss to the Chiefs.

Teryl Austin led one of the best defenses in Lions’ history in 2014

As noted by Justin Rogers of The Detroit News, Austin’s first season as Lions’ defensive coordinator was a pretty good one for his unit. Detroit was second in the league in total yards allowed and third in points allowed in 2014, with the No. 1 run defense in the league while finishing eighth in takeaways. But the departure of Ndamukong Suh in 2015 free agency led to a major drop-off, and the Lions were never even a top-15 run or pass defense over the next three seasons.

Austin interviewed for the Lions head coaching job after the 2017 season, as did offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter, before Matt Patricia was hired.

The Steelers were top-12 in the league in completion percentage allowed and passer rating against in all three of Austin’s seasons as secondary coach, including the best marks in both categories in 2020 (56.7 percent completion rate allowed, 76.7 passer rating against).

The Steelers don’t go through coaches quickly, with three head coaches since 1969 and two defensive coordinators from when Dick LeBeau started his second stint in the job in 2004 through 2021. So unless he leaves for a head coaching job, Austin may be in his new post for awhile.

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