The Steelers look like the AFC’s version of the Seattle Seahawks. They also went 12-4 in the regular season, winning their division. But after a first-round playoff exit, major changes are underway.
In the case of Pittsburgh, it’s not bringing back offensive coordinator Randy Fichtner. That’s a good indication that they’re going to completely re-work the offense.
Fichtner has been there almost forever. He came in with Mike Tomlin in 2007. They promoted him to offensive coordinator in 2018 after dumping Todd Haley (similar in that way again with the Seahawks – that was the year they fired Darrell Bevell, switching to Brian Schottenheimer).
The Steelers lost their way offensively this year, with too much short passing and the running game falling completely apart.
They’ll start over with a new offense and probably a bunch of major personnel changes. This could be the time to switch to a new starting quarterback. Ben Roethlisberger will be 39 in March, has been declining and has a big contract. The offensive line needs attention. Considering their cap situation, I don’t think they’ll make much of an effort to re-sign JuJu Smith-Schuster (they’ve got other wide receivers). And they could try to upgrade to a more dynamic running back.
The last 10 days serve as a reminder that in the NFL, if you’re not winning or thriving, you don’t tend to last long.
Below is a listing of the coaches who were running offenses at the start of the season. It’s a mixture of coaches and coordinators (if the head coach has a defensive background or an overseeing role, I listed instead the offensive coordinator). Over a third of these guys are already gone – fired or hired into new positions else. I’ve got those guys in bold. And three other promising coordinators (tagged with dots) are considered strong possibilities for head-coaching positions.
With a couple of other changes, there could be a 50 percent turnover by the time we get to opening day.
|OFFENSIVE PLAY CALLERS|
|Arizona||Kliff Kingsbury (HC)|
|Buffalo||• Brian Daboll|
|Carolina||• Joe Brady|
|Chicago||Matt Nagy (HC)|
|Cincinnati||Zac Taylor (HC)|
|Cleveland||Kevin Stefanski (HC)|
|Green Bay||Matt LaFleur (HC)|
|Houston||Bill O'Brien (HC)|
|Indianapolis||Frank Reich (HC)|
|Kansas City||Andy Reid (HC)|
|LA Chargers||Shane Steichen|
|LA Rams||Sean McVay (HC)|
|Las Vegas||Jon Gruden (HC)|
|New England||Josh McDaniels|
|New Orleans||Sean Payton (HC)|
|NY Giants||Jason Garrett|
|NY Jets||Adam Gase (HC)|
|Philadelphia||Doug Pederson (HC)|
|San Francisco||Kyle Shanahan (HC)|
|Tampa Bay||Bruce Arians (HC)|
|Tennessee||• Arthur Smith|