Arthur Smith's philosophy will cure Pittsburgh Steelers hiccups

The Pittsburgh Steelers believe Arthur Smith can redirect a promising offense.
Pittsburgh Steelers OTA Offseason Workout
Pittsburgh Steelers OTA Offseason Workout / Joe Sargent/GettyImages

The Pittsburgh Steelers look forward to a new identity in the upcoming campaign. A busy off-season helped Head Coach Mike Tomlin rally the troops after consecutive years of questionable play. The former Super Bowl XLIII champions ended a two-year playoff drought, but are still left with lingering questions for their devoted fanbase.

Success from the 2023 campaign was a step in the right direction, but what can we expect heading into 2024? 

Arthur Smith’s must remold a wounded offense into a confident  group 

Revitalizing a competitive spirit in the locker rooms should not be a difficult job for the coaching staff. Mike Tomlin’s demeanor and coaching style create an environment that welcomes growth. It’s helped the franchise's third Head Coach navigate troubling times within the last four years. 

Inconsistencies on the gridiron have put the Steelers in unfavorable situations. Stout defensive efforts were voided due to a lack of production on the opposite side of the football. Hiccups within the offense were a part of the problem.

In 2021, Matt Canada’s unit earned a 64.1 overall grade. At the time, Ben Roethlisberger was in the final year of his career. He finished the season with 24 touchdowns and ten interceptions. Assistance from Najee Harris kept the offense as balanced as possible. The former Alabama Crimson Tide tailback recorded 1,229 rushing yards and earned seven touchdowns. He also ranked second in rushing attempts (307). 

A fruitful stat line is a low priority for Tomlin and his staff. This franchise built its reputation via physicality and execution - leading to success at the end of the season. It was clear, that Tomlin's group disregarded the second criterion. Single-season performances are not as vital as a championship. A playoff absence in 2022 caused the front office to reconsider the state of the franchise. 

Will a new offensive identity help the Pittsburgh Steelers return to the top of the AFC North Food Chain? 

Roethlisberger’s retirement forced Pittsburgh to find an immediate replacement. The desire to remain a competitive franchise led to a first-round quarterback selection in the 2022 NFL Draft. Kenny Pickett became Ben's protege and the new leader for the men in gold and black.  Unfortunately, he was not prepared to take over the reins. Last season, he ranked 37th in touchdown passes (6) and 63rd in passer rating (81.4). The Steelers finished the campaign ranked 27th in offense (67.4).

Pickett showed glimpses of promise but failed to progress. Pickett helped lead the Steelers to a playoff berth in 2023 but parted ways with the franchise shortly after the season. 

A new regime under Arthur Smith is the latest solution to the Steelers’ offensive woes. He earned tenure with the Atlanta Falcons and  Tennessee Titans during the last few seasons. Experience in a Head Coaching and Offensive Coordinator role makes him a perfect fit for Tomlin’s staff.

Smith is known for finding success in the red zone - a breath of fresh air for fans tired of missing additional scoring opportunities. His wide zone run scheme and purposeful shifts should help the Steelers return to glory. It will also help Rusell Wilson and Justin Feilds play to their strengths in the immediate future.


Consecutive years of unsuccessful playoff runs will leave some fanbases to grow concerned. Success in the NFL is earned. Mike Tomlin’s unit understands the requirements and will meet expectations.