Rumors are flying all over the Steeler Nation ever since Gene collier of the Post Gazette broke the story on Wednesday evening that Bruce Arians may not return in 2012 as the Steelers Offensive Coordinator. The following is some of our thoughts here on what Jim Wexell had to say today on a radio interview in Pittsburgh.
Listening to Jim Wexell on 93.7 The Fan today, we are reminded that the Steelers generally like to promote from within when it comes to coordinators on the team. This has always been the case quite honestly; they'd rather promote someone they've groomed over the years than bring in a new face from outside the organization whenever possible. It's a logical enough strategy; many teams feel the same way about their staff. Bruce Arians was the former Wide Receivers coach before getting his promotion. Steelers QB Coach Randy Fichtner was the teams Wide Receivers coach before getting promoted to Quarterbacks coach 2 years ago. He may be the odds on favorite to take over if and when Bruce Arians does decide to call it quits.
Fichtner knows Ben Roethlisberger well, obviously, and knows the Steelers mentality of how they like to do things on offense. He and Ben have a good rapport and Fichtner would fit right in to what Mike Tomlin wants to accomplish. Plus you have to believe that the Steelers aren't going to completely change offensive philosophies now or anytime soon, regardless of who eventually takes over. A transition to Fichtner would be much less hectic than bringing in an outside face. Keep in mind too, he was also interested in the vacant Memphis coaching job in November of this past season. It's possible that Mike Tomlin convinced him to stick around in Pittsburgh as a candidate for the Offensive Coordinator job at some point in the future. You still can't rule anything out right now, including Bruce Arians returning in 2012, but in the mean time we can start to analyze who the potential replacement candidates could be.
Some other points that Jim touched on during the show: The Steelers must, must, fix the Offensive Line for 2012. Just because Roethlisberger can avoid pressure doesn't mean he should have to do so continuously. How many more times do we need to see him buried under a sea of defensive lineman and linebackers? If you want to keep your 100 million dollar investment playing for another 5+ years you better get him some protection.
On that same note, no matter who the OC is for 2012, Ben has got to be reigned in somewhat. Take the shorter passes, more intermediate routes to Heath Miller, dump offs to Isaac Redman, basically what the defense gives you. Going deep is fine now and then but why does it have to be so often? Things like this are what we at SteelerAddicts and what the Steeler Nation in general have been pleading Ben to do for years now. Perhaps this coming season it will finally happen.