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Jaylen Warren Reveals Biggest Difference with Arthur Smith as OC



Pittsburgh Steelers OC Arthur Smith

During his appearance on Cam Heyward’s Not Just Football podcast, Pittsburgh Steelers running back Jaylen Warren revealed an interesting nugget in regards to new offensive coordinator Arthur Smith. According to Warren, Smith has complete command of the meeting room and isn’t afraid to call people out if they’re not paying attention.

“His biggest difference is he’s very interactive in the meetings. You want to pay attention because he’s gonna call you out if you’re not paying attention. That’s happened a couple times. I think his approach to being the OC is really good,” Warren told Heyward.

It sounds like Smith is going to bring a lot more accountability to the offense. The attention to detail was a major issue under Matt Canada, as pre-snap penalties were a common problem. Mental lapses and a lack of effort, especially with the wide receivers were a constant issue, as well.

Last season, Diontae Johnson let a mental lapse and loss of focus become the signature moment of his season when he failed to react to a Warren fumble and was fortunate his gaffe did not result in a Cincinnati Bengals defensive touchdown.

Nearly three weeks later against the Indianapolis Colts, Pickens had his own embarrassing play. That controversy came upon Pickens after a lack of effort on a Warren run that could have been a touchdown. Pickens said that he was trying to avoid a “Tank Dell situation,” referring to the Houston Texans wide receiver who broke his leg getting rolled up on near the goal line.

As for Warren, he should excel in Smith’s run-heavy offense. He runs wide zone more than anyone else in the NFL, and that should fit Warren’s running style. According to Brooke Pryor of ESPN, with the new offense being installed, the feeling is the organization wants to see how Najee Harris and the running backs function in Smith’s offense before making a longer term commitment to him. The Steelers declined Harris’ fifth-year option on Thursday.

At the NFL owner’s meetings in late March, Mike Tomlin explained what he saw in Smith that made him so favorable to what Pittsburgh has at quarterback and with their offensive personnel.

“First and foremost, man, I’ve competed against him over the years,” Tomlin said of Smith. “We’ve had some battles against Tennessee and then obviously we played him when he was in Atlanta. I respect his approach, the ball, his values are very evident in looking at his tape and they are aligned with things that we value controlling the game through our bigs and building from there and then I also got close relationships with some people who were really significant in his development and helped him establish some things that he strongly believes in, guys that I’ve had an opportunity to work with like much for example, and so it was really a great deal of comfort and beyond comfort. It was a great deal of excitement in terms of bringing him on board.”

Smith was fired by the Falcons after three unsuccessful seasons as their head coach. In three years running the show in Atlanta, Smith went 7-10 each season, finishing no better than third in the NFC South.

Though things did not go well in Atlanta with Smith as the head coach, he had a strong stint as an offensive coordinator with the Titans. Smith started in Nashville as a quality control coach in 2011 and worked his way up to offensive line and tight ends coach before taking over as offensive coordinator in 2019.

The Titans finished 10th in scoring and third in rushing in his first season, leaning on a strong offensive line and the talents of running back Derrick Henry. That provided the blueprint for the franchise, as they finished fourth in scoring in 2020, all the while having a below-average passing attack.