Sources – Steelers hire former Falcons coach Arthur Smith as OC

Sources – Steelers hire former Falcons coach Arthur Smith as OC

PITTSBURGH — The Steelers are expected to hire former Atlanta Falcons coach Arthur Smith as their next offensive coordinator, league sources confirmed to ESPN.

“We’re looking forward to having someone come in and take a fresh approach that can help our young players grow and perform and perform offensively at a consistently high level,” Steelers owner Art Rooney II said Monday about the impending hiring to the club. position, saying the hiring will happen sooner rather than later.

Smith was fired by the Falcons earlier this month after compiling a 21-30 record in three straight 7-10 seasons without a playoff berth. Prior to his stint in Atlanta, Smith was the offensive coordinator of the Tennessee Titans from 2019-20. Smith initially joined Tennessee’s staff in 2011 as the defensive quality control coach and also served as the offensive quality control coach, offensive line coach, assistant tight ends coach and tight ends coach before being promoted to offensive coordinator.

“I think Mike identified that we want someone who has some experience, someone who has, like, a track record that we can look at and feel comfortable with,” Rooney II said Monday, describing what coach Mike Tomlin is looking for. -coordinator.

Smith’s Falcons offense was inconsistent and often drew criticism in Atlanta for his use of running back Bijan Robinson and tight end Kyle Pitts and managing the quarterback position. Smith and the Falcons selected quarterback Desmond Rader two rounds after the Steelers selected quarterback Kenny Pickett in the 2022 draft. Rader becomes the starter in 2023 after starting four games as a rookie, but has been benched twice this season, throwing 12 touchdowns to 12 interceptions. .

However, Smith has experience running the offense with a potent rushing attack. The Falcons had the third-most rushing yards in 2022, and in Smith’s final season at Tennessee, the Giants ranked second in rushing yards.

Steelers owner Art Rooney II expressed Monday his desire to return to the ground attack, improve the quality of quarterback play and develop Pickett.

“I think we have two high-performing full-backs in Najee (Harris) and Jaylen (Warren) who, along with an improved offensive line, can be the foundation for future success,” Rooney said.

With this running back tandem, the Steelers rushed for 2,010 yards in the regular season, including a late two-game surge of 100-yard rushing by Harris in the final two regular season games.

“I think we have an idea of ​​what we want the Steeler offense to look like,” Rooney II said Monday. “Start with that, and we have a certain mix of roster that results in you can’t change your entire roster overnight, so you have to have a coordinator that feels like they can work with that roster and be successful at it. So, ‘someone who believes in that and comes in and can work with that roster. , and does what’s already been established here in terms of the roster and some of the skill sets that we have. I think that’s what we’re looking for.”

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