Before Arthur Smith went to the Atlanta Falcons or even recently became the Pittsburgh Steelers’ offensive coordinator, he always had an idea of how to help quarterbacks. Just ask Ryan Tannehill in his stop in Tennessee, where Tannehill played the best football of his entire career with Smith.
All in all, the Titans had a successful season with Smith at the helm, including a trip to the AFC Championship, but things will be different this time. But that means, with Tannehill scheduled to be a free agent, he could end up coming to Pittsburgh.
Smith will be bringing in a new scheme and playbook. Getting Pickett up to speed in the new offense will be the first and most important job of the new coaching staff. There isn’t going to be a lot of time for them to be spreading his efforts around.
So it makes a lot of sense if the second quarterback is someone that is already familiar with Smith’s offensive scheme and playbook. As the Steelers are likely looking to add a veteran, that new quarterback could be almost like a second quarterbacks coach — they need one of those as well — in the room along with Pickett and potentially another younger passer.
Even though he’s 35 years old, five years removed from his Pro Bowl appearance, and was hurt in 2023, Tannehill can still sling it.
In his three games after returning from injury late in 2023, he posted a 92.8 passer rating, 6.71 adjusted yards per attempt, and 70% completion percentage. All of those are better numbers than Pickett had in 2023.
Tannehill was Tennessee’s starter from when Smith first inserted him until this season when he was usurped by Will Levis when he was out with injury. Tannehill is a free agent and should go right to the top of the Steelers’ list regarding free agent quarterbacks.
With that in mind, keep Tannehill close by in your quarterback lists. Without, Mitch Trubisky around, Tannehill brings an aura of professionalism and understanding.