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Steelers to Interview former Falcons Head Coach Arthur Smith for OC Job



Pittsburgh Steelers Offensive Coordinator Search Candidate Arthur Smith Atlanta Falcons
Atlanta Falcons head coach Arthur Smith and Atlanta Falcons quarterback Marcus Mariota (1) stand on the sideline during an NFL football game against the Carolina Panthers Sunday, Oct. 30, 2022 in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

The Pittsburgh Steelers are interviewing former Atlanta Falcons head coach Arthur Smith for their vacant offensive coordinator job on Sunday, according to a report by Tom Pelissero of NFL Network.

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

He also was unable to find a develop a quarterback to replace franchise mainstay Matt Ryan. Smith brought Marcus Mariota, who had been with him with the Tennessee Titans, to Atlanta and also used a third-round draft pick on Cincinnati quarterback Desmond Ridder and brought in free agent Taylor Heinicke, but none proved to be an answer at quarterback.

Smith also faced criticism for his usage of the Falcons’ skill position players, with former first-round picks Drake London, Kyle Pitts and Bijan Robinson failing to reach their full potential.

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 and 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.

That philosophy would seem to jive with the way the Steelers have been operating under Omar Khan and Andy Weidl. Last offseason, their top free agent acquisition was guard Isaac Seumalo and they used their first-round draft pick on tackle Broderick Jones. The Steelers also added blocking tight end Darnell Washington, and with Najee Harris and Jaylen Warren already in the fold, appear to have the makings of a potentially dominant rushing attack.

The potential for that kind of offense is what made Smith an attractive head coaching candidate, though the offensive line part of the equation never seemed to materialize for him in Atlanta. He represents an intriguing option with the kind of experience that Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin said he was looking for in the position.

Smith is the fifth candidate with reported interested in the job from the Steelers and the third to interview, following former Carolina Panthers offensive coordinator Thomas Brown and Houston Texans quarterbacks coach Jerrod Johnson. All three of those men appear to remain viable candidates for the job.

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