PITTSBURGH — The Steelers are expected to hire former Atlanta Falcons head coach Arthur Smith as their next offensive coordinator, league sources have confirmed to ESPN.
“We look forward to having a new approach that will help our young players develop and perform,” Steelers owner Art Rooney II said Monday. The post, he said, will be hired soon.
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 Tennessee Titans' offensive coordinator from 2019-20. Smith initially joined the Tennessee staff as the defensive end coach in 2011 and served as an offensive end coach, offensive line coach, assistant tight ends coach and tight ends coach before being promoted to offensive coordinator.
“I think Mike identified somebody with some experience and somebody, let's say, a track record that we're comfortable looking at,” Rooney II said Monday, describing what coach Mike Tomlin was looking for in the O's. – Coordinator.
Smith's Falcons offense was inconsistent and often drew criticism for its use of tight ends Kyle Pitts and tight end Bijaon Robinson in Atlanta and managing the quarterback situation. After the Steelers selected quarterback Kenny Pickett in the 2022 draft, Smith and the Falcons selected quarterback Desmond Ridder two rounds later. Ridder became the starter after starting four games as a freshman in 2023, but he was benched twice this season, throwing 12 touchdowns to 12 interceptions.
Smith, however, has experience running an offense with a strong rushing attack. The Falcons had the third-most rushing yards in 2022, Smith's final season at Tennessee, and the Titans were second in rushing yards.
On Monday, Steelers owner Art Rooney II expressed his desire to return to the ground attack and improve the quality of quarterback play and Pickett's development.
“I think we have two high-performing running backs and Najee [Harris] And Jaylen [Warren] And they, along with a thriving offensive line, can be the foundation for success,” Rooney II said.
With that running back tandem, the Steelers rushed for 2,010 yards in the regular season, including a late surge of two 100-yard rushing games by Harris in the final two regular season games.
“I think we have an idea of what the Steeler offense should look like,” Rooney II said Monday. “Start with, we have a certain roster mix, and it's not going to completely change your roster overnight, so you have to have a coordinator who can work with this roster and be successful. So, someone who can trust that and come in and work with this roster, the roster. And do what's already built here based on some of the skill sets that we have. I think that's what we're looking for.”
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