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Steelers to hire Arthur Smith as offensive coordinator, per report

Pittsburgh’s search is over.

Head coach Arthur Smith of the Atlanta Falcons looks on against the Miami Dolphins during a preseason game at Hard Rock Stadium on August 21, 2021 in Miami Gardens, Florida. Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Steelers have officially found their new offensive coordinator. The Steelers are expected to hire former Atlanta Falcons head coach Arthur Smith, Tom Pelissero of NFL Network reports. The Steelers initially interviewed Smith on Sunday, closing in quickly on the experienced play-caller, who’s reportedly drawn interest from plenty of teams around the league.

Experience calling plays was one of the top qualities that HC Mike Tomlin expressed a desire to chase in their search for an offensive coordinator in the post-Matt Canada era, and they’ll get just that with Arthur Smith, who called plays for the Falcons during his tenure as head coach, as well as two seasons with the Titans before being hired as a head coach.

Smith’s three-year tenure with the Falcons wasn’t an overly successful one, going 7-10 in each of those seasons, with those offenses (despite their talented cohort of skill position players) never ranking better than 15th in the league in offensive yardage or scoring.

Still, Smith was quite successful in his tenure as an OC with the Titans, designing an incredibly successful run game around star running back Derrick Henry, which set up efficiency in the passing game that could suit the type of offense Pittsburgh deployed in the post-Canada era. Undoubtedly, the biggest winners of this hiring are running backs Najee Harris and Jaylen Warren, as Smith’s offenses have ranked top-three in total rush attempts in three of his five seasons as a play-caller.

What remains to be seen is how the hiring will impact soon-to-be third-year quarterback Kenny Pickett, who’s at a crucial point in his development after being benched for third-string Mason Rudolph at the end of the 2023 season and into the playoffs. Though Smith’s offenses have been heavily focused on the run, his time with the Titans did produce a highly efficient passing game, even despite the low volume, which could be helpful to Pickett by alleviating some pressure in the pass attack.