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Tyrann Mathieu Questions Arthur Smith’s Usage of Bijan Robinson When He Was in Atlanta

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Pittsburgh Steelers Offensive Coordinator Search Candidate Arthur Smith Atlanta Falcons

The Pittsburgh Steelers are hoping they get the Arthur Smith from when he was the offensive coordinator with the Tennessee Titans and not the Smith from the last three years when he was Atlanta’s head coach.

Maybe an OC role is better for Smith because there are some glaring question marks from his tenure with Atlanta, especially in regards to his usage of Bijan Robinsion, Kyle Pitts and Drake London.

New Orleans Saints safety Tyrann Mathieu witnessed Robinson pick up 254 rushing and receiving yards while scoring three touchdowns in two games against the Falcons last season. Mathieu expressed on the Green Light Podcast with Chris Long recently that he thinks the sky’s the limit for Bijan Robinson and suggested that the Falcons could have made better use of his talents.

“He’s going to be special,” Mathieu said of Bijan Robinson, via Josh Alper of Pro Football Talk. “Marshall Faulk, you know. Edgerrin James, you know what I mean? Like, LaDainian Tomlinson, you know? And I didn’t think the Falcons really used him as good as they should have last year, but, man, he’s going to be good. He’s going to be real good.”

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.

Smith’s usage of the Steelers star players will be something to watch for this year. The Falcons finished 24th, 14th, and 29th in red zone efficiency under Smith. Ryan Scarpino also pointed out that Tyler Allgeier got more carries in the red zone and from inside the 10 than Robinson last year.

Steelers head coach Mike 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 at the NFL owner’s meetings. “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.”

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Edward Carmichael
Edward Carmichael
April 3, 2024 10:18 am

as a true Steelers fan, I hope the new offensive coordinator Arthur Smith is a better offensive coordinator better than when Arthur Smith was a coach at the Atlanta Falcons because he has both Najee Harris and Jaylen Warren at RB and also try and keep George Pickens happy enough by throwing the ball enough to him and lets not forget about Pat Freiermuth and Darnell Washington and Calvin Austin lll they should’ve been use a hole lot more last season