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Mike Tomlin Values Arthur Smith’s Head Coach Experience



Pittsburgh Steelers Offensive Coordinator Arthur Smith

Pittsburgh Steelers offensive coordinator Arthur Smith is the fifth former NFL head coach to work under Mike Tomlin, joining Dick LeBeau, Todd Haley, Mike Munchak and Brian Flores. All four did a great job as assistants during their tenure’s in Pittsburgh.

Having an ex-head coach on the staff is something that Tomlin cherishes, and he believes Smith will be a big time asset to the team, beyond just his duties as a coordinator.

“There’s an advantage for me. I love having the ability to bounce ideas off of people, and not necessarily things that are directly related to the team or game plan or strategy, the things that you would initially think, but more subtle things,” Tomlin said this week at the annual NFL meetings in Orlando, via Dale Lolley of “Calendar, best practices, things that happen over the course of 12-months in an effort to search for and find a winning edge. That has proven to be very beneficial to me in the past and I’m excited about having that this time around with Arthur, and that’s something that I’ve been talking to him openly about.

“My time with Munch (Mike Munchak), my time with Todd Haley, for example, was really beneficial and in some of those more subtle things that might not be interesting to you all, but necessary things from a head coach perspective.”

The Steelers hired Arthur Smith in February after their offensive coordinator search concluded. Smith was set to fly to Tampa Bay to interview for their open job, but Tomlin locked Smith up, securing that he would become the next offensive coordinator for the team.

But why did that come to fruition? 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.

Smith had a lot of success in Tennessee as an offensive coordinator, however. The Titans finished 10th in scoring and third in rushing in his first season in 2019, 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.