Steelers moving on from Randy Fichtner was a knee-jerk reaction
By Eric Hassel
The Steelers parted ways with Randy Fichtner, but was it a prudent move, or was it a ‘knee-jerk’ reaction?
Look, I completely understand the argument supporting the Steelers moving on from coaches after a disappointing exit in the playoffs; however, I believe the decision to move on from our offensive coordinator may have been a knee-jerk reaction. Randy Fichtner, the Steelers OC for the past three seasons, will not be returning for the 2021 season.
Since we don’t know at this point what the future holds for Ben Roethlisberger, our future Hall of Fame QB, does it really make sense to part ways with Fichtner? Here’s why I ask that question: If ‘Big Ben’ plays next season, would he really want to ‘break-in’ a new Offensive Coordinator? I don’t think so.
Another consideration is this: if the Steelers hire an offensive coordinator from outside the organization, would Roethlisberger want to learn a new offensive scheme? Again, I don’t think so. Even if Ben retires (which I sincerely hope he does not), are we really prepared to have a new OC teach a new scheme to our remaining QBs? Again, I don’t think that would be the best course of action.
The Steelers moved on from Randy Fichtner for the wrong reasons
As I stated at the outset, I understand the need to make changes to the coaching staff following an early exit from the playoffs; however, making a change at OC was, in my opinion, a change that was made for the sake of making a change.
Were there other options available to the Steelers? Yes, there were. We could have just said something along these lines: ‘Hey, we need to a better job at running the ball so we don’t have to use the passing game as an extension of the running game, so let’s get back to the power-run game and all will be right in the world.’
I know that’s a bit of hyperbole, but I really think the Steelers reacted to a sub-par offensive performance rather than trying to fix the problem. For example, was it Fichtner’s fault that we really had no running game to speak of? Yes and no. It’s not like we didn’t try to run the ball, but we didn’t exactly have Franco Harris or Rocky Bleier in the backfield.
No disparagement intended to our running backs, but it’s tough to consistently run the ball when you’re dealing with injuries and a lack of consistent execution. I think Fichtner was the object of the Steelers ire and thus a change was made, but, again, making a change for the sake of making a change may ultimately backfire.
I’m sure the Steelers have a plan to replace Fichtner. I’m sure they thought that the move was in the best interest of all parties involved. I just don’t want to see a ‘revolving door’ at the offensive coordinator position if a season does not go the way we want it to go.