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Steelers to Target External, Experienced OC Candidates



Pittsburgh Steelers
Pittsburgh Steelers running backs coach Eddie Faulkner Jr. and quarterbacks coach Mike Sullivan.

PITTSBURGH — The Pittsburgh Steelers will look outside the organization for an offensive coordinator, head coach Mike Tomlin said on Thursday. Interim co-offensive coordinator Eddie Faulkner and play-caller Mike Sullivan will not be considered for the job at this juncture. Tomlin said the team is excited about looking for offensive coordinator talent, and they are evaluating the pecking order right now.

“Not at this juncture, man,” Tomlin said of Faulkner and Sullivan’s candidacy. “I’m looking at outside candidates and lining up the pecking order there. I am appreciative of their efforts in terms of what they did for us down the stretch. But I’m looking for outside candidates at this juncture.”

The previous two hires, Randy Fichtner and Matt Canada, were internal elevations for the Steelers. As far as what Tomlin is looking for in his next offensive coordinator candidate, he did not discuss specifics other than the fact that he wants that person to have previous coordinator experience. That comes after Fichtner and Canada had both not been offensive coordinators at the NFL level.

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.

Steelers OC Mike Sullivan

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

He is willing to learn throughout the process, and despite having the idea of what he looks like in his head for the next offensive coordinator, Tomlin is open to being flexible.

“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.”

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.