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Mike Tomlin Details Exact Qualities He Wants in Next Steelers OC



Pittsburgh Steelers OC Mike Sullivan
Pittsburgh Steelers play caller Mike Sullivan against the Baltimore Ravens, Jan. 6, 2024 - Ed Thompson / Steelers Now

PITTSBURGH — As the search for the Pittsburgh Steelers’ next offensive coordinator begins, there are qualities that Mike Tomlin wants to have in his next offensive coordinator. The two apparent traits that he named are that they will be from outside the organization and an experienced play caller.

Those are easy to find. It’s the other two, more specific qualities that he named that could be a bit harder. For one, he wants the scheme to be diverse in a way that maximizes the talent on the team’s offense. They have it, but it needs to be utilized. Given they used a massively diverse run scheme this season, it would seem that Tomlin wants to expand that to the offense overall.

“I want us to be versatile and dynamic. Obviously, you know we got to score more points. I want to be able to keep defenses off balance. I want to utilize all the talent we have at our disposal,” Tomlin said. “…I’m excited about this process and the talent pool out there based on what I’ve seen so far. I’m really open to learning through this process and seeing what people have to say about their visions. Certainly, I have a vision of what it looks like, but certainly open to learning through this process.”

Steelers OC Eddie Faulkner

Steelers OC Eddie Faulkner at practice on Thursday, Nov. 23, 2023 – Ed Thompson / Steelers Now

The Steelers have to embrace several changes in the modern NFL, but they started to get there a bit under Sullivan and Faulkner. For one, their diverse run scheme is up to date with that of McVay’s, which has a very similar scheme to what they are doing. But the search committee will consist of three people, Tomlin said. It will be himself, general manager Omar Khan, and team president Art Rooney II.

Pittsburgh will have to nail this hire. Whether it is for a new quarterback or the continued development of Pickett, the offensive coordinator has been a weak point for the team since Fichtner was hired. A good offensive coordinator can at least help raise the floor of the offense, especially when they have as much skill talent as Pittsburgh has on the team now.

But when it comes to Pickett, specifically, Tomlin’s comments about looking for someone with a quarterback background seemed just as important as any other comments.

“It’s a significant component of it. This game is quarterback-driven. Offenses are quarterback-driven. And so, their expertise in that area is a significant component of the search from my perspective,” Tomlin said.

Tomlin’s goals are to, obviously, score more points. But he wants the offense to be diverse and effective to their personnel. The Canada move seemed like one that tried to get the Steelers into the modern age but ended up with a faux version of the scheme that coaches like Kyle Shanahan, Sean McVay, and others utilize.

More than that, the quarterback development needs to be on point. If those traits can be framed into what Tomlin is looking for, it narrows the candidates down significantly, but offers a divergent path from past hires.