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Arthur Smith Details How Athletic OL Will Unlock His Scheme

Arthur Smith believes that the Pittsburgh Steelers offense can be unlocked by having athletic offensive lineman.

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Pittsburgh Steelers Troy Fautanu
Pittsburgh Steelers offensive tackle Troy Fautanu at the team's OTAs sessions, May 28, 2024 - Ed Thompson / Steelers Now

PITTSBURGH — When the Pittsburgh Steelers drafted Troy Fautanu and Zach Frazier, they created one of the most athletic offensive lines in the entire NFL. Pairing them with guys like James Daniels and Broderick Jones, who have elite athleticism, gives them a unique advantage that most other teams do not. So, what can that athleticism do for new offensive coordinator Arthur Smith’s scheme specifically?

Smith explained that it allows the Steelers to be incredibly diverse on the ground. They could run plays where they will have pulling guards, or they can look to excel in the wide zone. However, the athleticism of the offensive line, especially the tackles, should allow the team to run just about whatever they want.

Pittsburgh Steelers OT Troy Fautanu

Pittsburgh Steelers tackle Troy Fautanu during minicamp on June 11, 2024. — Ed Thompson / Steelers Now

“Yeah, I mean there’s certain schemes you may want to run when you have more athletic tackles. That can certainly be in certain runs schemes, getting them out to space, being in the screen game, whether you want to get into pulling them or whatever you’re trying to do. It certainly gives you a lot of flexibility when you have athletic tackles or really athletic linemen,” Smith said.

In addition, however, Smith wants his group to play with physicality. Whether that is man-blocking or getting out in space on a zone run, Smith, a tight end coach at heart, has always viewed the offensive line as an important part of the equation for any play.

“The game doesn’t change. I mean, when you look at both sides of the lines of scrimmage. You may have the greatest designer play against this coverage and schemed up perfectly, and if you can’t block the guys up front, it’s going to be hard, hard living. And you look at the history they’ve had here. I mean, there’s a great history on both sides of line of scrimmage, especially when they’ve won Super Bowls. Both sides. It’s just something I believed in. It was reason. And I was an offensive lineman myself, soin going back to your question about fit, maybe that helps too, being an o-lineman. You do any job. If you’re asked to lead, lead. If you’re asked to bea lieutenant, be a lieutenant. So that’s all a part of the learning process,” Smith said.

The basis of the Steelers’ offense this season will come from what they do on the ground. Overall, it’s the most athletic offensive line they have boasted in years. Paired with some talented tight ends and a duo in the backfield that should carry the rock effectively, the Steelers have the potential to be one of the top rushing teams in the NFL.