After weeks of waiting and wondering what the Pittsburgh Steelers are going to do when it comes to their next offensive coordinator hire, it looks like we finally have our answer. On January 30th, Tom Pelissero of NFL Network reported that the Steelers are expected to sign Arthur Smith to fill their vacant OC position.
Smith recently emerged as a top candidate after Pittsburgh brought him in for an interview. Smith spent the past three seasons as the head coach of the Atlanta Falcons before being relieved of his duties ahead of the 2024 offseason.
The fit with Arthur Smith as the Steelers offensive coordnitor is easy to see. Both Smith and Mike Tomlin value a strong running game and playing mistake-free football. During his time in Atlanta, Smith helped Tyler Allgeier and Corderrelle Paterson to excellent rushing performances befor spending a first-round pick on promising running back, Bijan Robinson.
Prior to his three-year tenure as head coach of the Falcons, Smith was an assistant coach for the Titans before being promoted as Tennessee's offensive coordinator. During his two-year stint as OC of the Titans, Smith aided RB Derrick Henry in back-to-back rushing titles in 2019 and 2020. He also helped QB Ryan Tannehill achieve the two most efficient seasons of his NFL career.
Arthur Smith was an easy choice for the Steelers, but was he the right one?
There's no doubt that Arthur Smith fits the bill in terms of what Mike Tomlin and the Pittsburgh Steelers would like to do. He has had some of the most successful rushing attacks in the NFL over the past five years. He also seems like a good fit with the personnel Pittsburgh currently has on their offense. But is he the right man for the job?
Recently, I argued that the Steelers need to go with an offensive coordinator who specializes in the passing game, as this is the biggest area of weakness in Pittsburgh. But that isn't his specialty, and I worry that Smith won't offer enough to the offense. We will see if a great rushing attack and more play-action can help a stagnant offense that struggled to put up points.
Just before this news, Steelers team president Art Rooney II made it abundantly clear that the coaching hires are Mike Tomlin's responsibilities and that he trusts him to handle the coaching side of things.
For Tomlin's sake and the sake of the franchise, he better hope that he got this decision right with Arthur Smith. The Steelers are sick of losing and Smith needs to be a notable upgrade over the last two offensive coordinators in Pittsburgh.