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Russell Wilson Raves About Arthur Smith’s Offense

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Steelers quarterback Russell Wilson
Steelers quarterback Russell Wilson at OTAs on May 21, 2024. -- Ed Thompson/Steelers Now

PITTSBURGH — After a tumultuous two seasons in Denver, Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Russell Wilson hopes to resurrect his career under the tutelage of head coach Mike Tomlin and new offensive coordinator Arthur Smith.

So far, the early reports on Smith’s presence have been glowing. Steelers running back Jaylen Warren said during an appearance on Cam Heyward’s Not Just Football podcast that Smith has complete command of the meeting room and isn’t afraid to call people out if they’re not paying attention. Mark Kaboly of The Athletic also reported that the Steelers players love Smith’s offense.

At the first day of Steelers’ OTAs on Tuesday, Wilson raved about Smith’s coaching philosophy and offensive scheme.

RELATED: Steelers Practice Report: Russell Wilson, Justin Fields Make Pittsburgh Debuts

“I’ve been able to watch him and experience Coach Arthur Smith over the years, and just his knowledge of the game. His knowledge of getting people in the right place at the right time. Physicality that he coaches with in terms of all of us players having us play with that mentality. We’re gonna be able to run the ball downhill, obviously. Play-action is going to be key. I think just doing the right things in the right moments. Situation football is everything. If we can do that as a collective on offense, defense and special teams… We got a chance, and that’s all you can ask for,” Wilson said.

Russell Wilson

Steelers quarterback Russell Wilson throwing a pass at OTAs on May 21, 2024. — Ed Thompson/Steelers Now

The Steelers will have a new run scheme under Smith, and it’s expected that they’ll be a run-heavy team. That’s been Smith’s calling card throughout his career as the head coach in Atlanta and the OC with the Tennessee Titans. Smith runs mostly wide zone, but he could implement gap scheme runs that the Steelers often utilized under Canada. How Najee Harris fits in Smith’s offense will be something to watch for. That factor reportedly played a big role in why the Steelers didn’t place the fifth-year option on Harris.

Smith had three 7-10 seasons in his short tenure as the Atlanta Falcons head coach. Like Wilson, Smith has a lot to prove this upcoming season. Tomlin said during an interview with Peter Schrager of NFL Network during the draft that Wilson, Smith and Justin Fields are “somewhat scolded.”

“It’s going really well.” Tomlin told Peter Schrager of the NFL Network and Fox Sports. “All three guys – to be really transparent – are somewhat scolded. They [have] something to prove professionally but we as a collective feel the same way. We have something to prove and I just think that is a good frame of mind to be in as individuals and as a collective as we prepare ourselves for the 2024 season. It’s not fun to relocate or get fired or things of that nature but as competitors, it always motivates in the right way.”

Fields also said he sees how he can succeed in this offense.

“I think there are a lot of aspects with it, but he’s had a lot of success in the past,” Fields said. “You look at guys like Ryan and others in the past few years. He knows how to play to a player’s strengths, and this is his first season here, so he has to figure out what guys do, what things to do, and how to build this offense. But we definitely all trust him to put all the guys in the right spots”

More than anything, Wilson views his time in Denver as a learning experience.

“I wouldn’t say I’m scolded, I would say if anything I learned a lot (about past experiences),” he said. “I think that internally you get better, you get tougher, you use your experience, you use your challenges that you’ve gone through to be the best version of you. So I don’t blink. I’m looking forward to the challenge and opportunity.”

Alan Saunders and Nick Farabaugh contributed reporting from Pittsburgh.