Arians Gone and What it Means for the Steelers

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Possible Replacements

Tom Clements

With Joe Philbin’s hiring in Miami as the new H.C., this guy will be a heck of a lot tougher to pry away from Green Bay than before.  Nevertheless, I still feel like he is a more than qualified candidate, and should be at least one of the Top 3 choices.

Clements has had a great run in Green Bay, and did a great job helping Kordell Stewart and Tommy Maddox, Image Courtesy of kcchiefs.com

Clements (a McKees Rocks, PA native) has done a terrific job as a QB Coach in the N.F.L. during his numerous stops.  For those of you that don’t remember, Clements was the Steelers’ QB Coach from 2001-2003 and helped Kordell Stewart and Tommy Maddox enjoy successful seasons.  Who knows what he would have done as Ben’s Coach as a youngster, because he moved on to Buffalo to be the O.C. under Mike Mularkey, but I’m sure Ben would have benefited greatly from his tutelage.

Since 2006, Clements has been Green Bay’s QB’s Coach and has been instrumental in the development of Aaron Rodgers and Matt Flynn.  There is no denying his success as a position coach in the N.F.L., and I think the Steelers would be wise to bring him back to Pittsburgh for at least an interview.  The Steelers have weapons, and Clements has proven during his career that he can help a talented QB (Rodgers) attain greatness by using them correctly.

 

Randy Fichtner

It would be downright negligent to overlook the Steelers best in-house candidate to fill Arians’ shoes in 2012 and beyond.  And since the Steelers are an organization that has promoted within recently (Arians from WR Coach to OC, Fichtner from WR Coach to QB Coach, etc.), this one has a distinct possibility of happening.

Fichtner is a “Tomlin Guy” (both worked together at Arkansas State) and was brought in by Tomlin when he was hired by the Steelers in 2007 to serve as the Steelers’ WR’s Coach.  As I alluded to before, Fichtner has worked his way up within the organization and has a great understanding of the talent on Pittsburgh’s roster.

Furthermore, Fichtner has developed a great rapport with Roethlisberger over his years in Pittsburgh, so that is always a plus.  In fact, he is headed to O’ahu this weekend for the Pro Bowl with Ben, his wife, Arians, his wife, and his own wife to take in the Pro Bowl festivities.

 

Brian Schottenheimer

Driven out of New York due to his own Offense’s inconsistency, Brian Schottenheimer is now on the open market, and he could be a guy the Steelers could think about wooing.

Schottenheimer had a six year run in New York ended almost two weeks ago as “heads needed to roll” after the Jets missed the Playoffs in 2011.  As late as last season, Schottenheimer’s name was up for Head Coaching jobs, so the guy has obviously drawn some interest.

Some will point to New York’s Offense sputtering last season as a reason not to hire Schottenheimer.  However, I believe a lot of Schottenheimer’s problem in New York was the fact that Mark Sanchez was exposed as being a mediocre at best QB and the Offense sputtered when he had to do it all by himself.  Mix in Santonio’s meltdown, the constant bickering, rumors of New York having toxic locker room, and Rex Ryan’s constant bravado, you have a recipe for disaster.

I’m sure that if his Pop (Marty) gets the job in Tampa Bay, that’s where Brian will likely be headed.  However, it’s not too late for the Steelers to throw their hats into the ring and give Schottenheimer something he never had in New York: A Franchise QB.

 

Brian Billick (Wild Card)

I know that many of you may be shuddering at the thought of this, but Billick is my “Wild-Card” pick for the job.  I won’t lie to you, I want to take a cold shower and do what Ace Ventura did when he found out Einhorn was a man at the thought of Billick being associated with the Steelers.  However, the more I consider Billick as a candidate, the more I think he could conceivably get an interview and have something to offer the Steelers.

Billick was wildly successful as Minnesota’s Offensive Coordinator in the late 1990′s, and proved to be a pretty darn successful Head Coach while in Baltimore (hurl).  Granted, Billick’s Offense’s in Baltimore were pathetic at times, but you really couldn’t blame the play-calling.  They really only had Jamal Lewis and Todd Heap as weapons, a terrible WR Corps, and no QB.  Shame that Jonathan Ogden’s wonderful blocking and Hall of Fame play were wasted on such an impotent Offensive attack, but hey, that’s the way it goes.

I could honestly see Billick taking this job based on a few factors:  First in Pittsburgh, he has the same type of weapons and caliber of players on his Offense that he had in Minnesota, and it wouldn’t take very much to get production out of the Steelers’ Offense.  Next (and most importantly), if Billick isn’t offered a Head Coaching job this offseason but still wants a great stepping stone to get back into the N.F.L., this position and a subsequent terrific effort by Billick as the Steelers’ O.C. would lead to teams beating their doors down for his services.  Finally, the revenge factor.  How sweet would it be for Billick to stick it to the franchise which fired him with Baltimore’s biggest rivals?

Don’t get me wrong, Billick is a dark-horse in this race.  However, I think that if he isn’t offered any of the open Head Coaching positions this off-season, Clements and Schottenheimer go elsewhere, and Fichtner isn’t “the guy,” Billick at least deserves consideration.

 

Conclusion

I don’t want to speak too soon, but I can say with full effect that Arians’ departure will end up being an “addition by subtraction” for the Steelers.  In the event they can hire somebody that does a passable job and simply works with the ridiculous amount of talent that the franchise has on the Offensive side of the ball, we could be looking at one of the League’s most potent Offenses in 2012.

I mean, this is probably one of the most attractive, if not the most attractive off-season coaching vacancies that is available right now.  The organization is solid from top to bottom.  The rest of the Coaching Staff is fantastic.  Pittsburgh has a “Franchise QB,” has talent at all the skill positions, and has an improving O-Line.  Passing up this job would akin to telling the Publishers Clearing House people a vehement “No” when they came to your door with one of those ridiculously huge checks.

Humor aside, let’s bask in the knowledge that we will no longer be treated to 3rd an 7 Bubble Screens, watching WR shovel passes, TE’s ignored in the Red Zone, Red Zone inefficiency, and Ben dropping back on a bum foot almost 50 times in a game.  There is still work to be done in terms of finding a new Coordinator and filling two more spots on the O-Line, but at least the Offense has a chance to get better with Arians stepping aside.

Anyways, now it’s your turn readers:  Chime in with your thoughts.  Are you celebrating now?  Should the Steelers be happy?  Who do you think should get the job?  Don’t be afraid to share your thoughts.

 

Follow me on Twitter (@DominicDiTolla)

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  • Steelers972

    I agree with almost everything you say here. However, it should be mentioned that probably the best in house candidate is Kirby Wilson, before his tragedy. I haven’t heard much good news lately from his recovery and would be surprised of he is able to make it back to coaching anytime soon, but if he is then he deserves a big look. He’s turned an undrafted guy and multiple late round picks (Redman, Dwyer, Clay, maybe Batch) into solid performers in the backfield. He would also understand just how effective these guys could be and get back to a more balanced attack. I guarantee a guy who has a history as a RB coach and knows the Steelers’ RBs as well as him, would never have let Ben sit back and be a tackling dummy against the 49ers

  • DomDiTolla

    Spot on. I was actually going to include Wilson, but decided against it due to the horrific tragedy which struck him and his family. He would have definitely been in my Top 3 though.

  • Steelers972

    I agree with almost everything you say here. However, it should be mentioned that probably the best in house candidate is Kirby Wilson, before his tragedy. I haven’t heard much good news lately from his recovery and would be surprised of he is able to make it back to coaching anytime soon, but if he is then he deserves a big look. He’s turned an undrafted guy and multiple late round picks (Redman, Dwyer, Clay, maybe Batch) into solid performers in the backfield. He would also understand just how effective these guys could be and get back to a more balanced attack. I guarantee a guy who has a history as a RB coach and knows the Steelers’ RBs as well as him, would never have let Ben sit back and be a tackling dummy against the 49ers

  • DomDiTolla

    Spot on. I was actually going to include Wilson, but decided against it due to the horrific tragedy which struck him and his family. He would have definitely been in my Top 3 though.

  • LadyRider1946

    @steelersbuzztap Maybr we will get a better offense

  • LadyRider1946

    @steelersbuzztap Maybr we will get a better offense

  • ls40095

    Cut Tomlin.. Getting rid of Arians is a long-term band-aid but its Art2s only move at this point.

    At least media homers and former Steelers coach Bill Cowher are calling Tomlin on his Neanderthal decision to play Pouncy and Roethlisberger injured in meaningless games. What would Sean Payton or Belichick have done? In addition to resting their best players prior to the playoff run, I can see both of them running down the sidelines in Denver to call a time out with 25 seconds left at the end of the game at midfield. Why not sit Big Ben and Pouncy in the SF and Cleveland games? Because the players and Bruce Arians felt they could play and Tomlin agreed…….GB recently rested Aaron Rodgers prior to the playoffs and the backup QB threw for 500 yards…

    At least Cowher was clearly the “head coach” and would have gone to Denver better prepared. He had differences with his coordinators and keeping Big Ben in line but Tomlin did nothing to make necessary adjustments down the stretch and in the Denver game….If Belichick were coaching the Steelers would he have stood and watched Ike Taylor on an Island GET BURNED over and over and over and finally over again in OT?……………. He would have at least attempted a field goal at the end of the game.

    Mike Tomlin needs to take charge of his team by committee or st

  • ls40095

    Cut Tomlin.. Getting rid of Arians is a long-term band-aid but its Art2s only move at this point.

    At least media homers and former Steelers coach Bill Cowher are calling Tomlin on his Neanderthal decision to play Pouncy and Roethlisberger injured in meaningless games. What would Sean Payton or Belichick have done? In addition to resting their best players prior to the playoff run, I can see both of them running down the sidelines in Denver to call a time out with 25 seconds left at the end of the game at midfield. Why not sit Big Ben and Pouncy in the SF and Cleveland games? Because the players and Bruce Arians felt they could play and Tomlin agreed…….GB recently rested Aaron Rodgers prior to the playoffs and the backup QB threw for 500 yards…

    At least Cowher was clearly the “head coach” and would have gone to Denver better prepared. He had differences with his coordinators and keeping Big Ben in line but Tomlin did nothing to make necessary adjustments down the stretch and in the Denver game….If Belichick were coaching the Steelers would he have stood and watched Ike Taylor on an Island GET BURNED over and over and over and finally over again in OT?……………. He would have at least attempted a field goal at the end of the game.

    Mike Tomlin needs to take charge of his team by committee or st

  • JLaw2

    @DomDiTolla

    Agreed. I’m really not wanting that wild card pick of yours though. Hoping that whomever takes the reigns doesn’t deflate the ball so much that our hot young recieivers don’t abandon the team asap. Being from the StL I don’t get much news from the burgh. Whats the latest on Kirby’s status??

  • JLaw2

    @DomDiTolla

    Agreed. I’m really not wanting that wild card pick of yours though. Hoping that whomever takes the reigns doesn’t deflate the ball so much that our hot young recieivers don’t abandon the team asap. Being from the StL I don’t get much news from the burgh. Whats the latest on Kirby’s status??

  • DomDiTolla

    @JLaw2 Here it is, doesn’t look very good at all:

    http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-201_162-57360959/steelers-coach-wilson-still-critical-after-fire/

    Poor dude deserved his shot, but he likely won’t be getting it this season.

  • DomDiTolla

    @ls40095 I agree with you that Tomlin needs to take a firmer hand in dealing with his assistants, but I couldn’t disagree with you more about Cowher.

    Dude was an ultimate choke-artist during his time in Pittsburgh. Losses in the ’94, ’97, ’01, and ’04 AFCC Games all happening at home? All games where the Steelers had the talent to win and were favorites, yet still lost due to uninspired and unprepared play. Yeah, Bill Cowher much better than Mike Tomlin.

    The blame for the Denver game rests on LeBeau and his piss-poor strategy and his penchant for scheming to allowing teams to drive down the field in the last 3 seasons. How he has escaped blame is beyond me.

    Tomlin will not be fired and will at least be allowed to finish up his contract. He’s not going anywhere in the meantime.

  • DomDiTolla

    @JLaw2 Here it is, doesn’t look very good at all:

    http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-201_162-57360959/steelers-coach-wilson-still-critical-after-fire/

    Poor dude deserved his shot, but he likely won’t be getting it this season.

  • DomDiTolla

    @ls40095 I agree with you that Tomlin needs to take a firmer hand in dealing with his assistants, but I couldn’t disagree with you more about Cowher.

    Dude was an ultimate choke-artist during his time in Pittsburgh. Losses in the ’94, ’97, ’01, and ’04 AFCC Games all happening at home? All games where the Steelers had the talent to win and were favorites, yet still lost due to uninspired and unprepared play. Yeah, Bill Cowher much better than Mike Tomlin.

    The blame for the Denver game rests on LeBeau and his piss-poor strategy and his penchant for scheming to allowing teams to drive down the field in the last 3 seasons. How he has escaped blame is beyond me.

    Tomlin will not be fired and will at least be allowed to finish up his contract. He’s not going anywhere in the meantime.

  • JLaw2

    @DomDiTolla @JLaw2 Dang was hoping for a lil bit better news than what I had last heard which pretty much matched this article. Thanks

  • JLaw2

    @DomDiTolla @JLaw2 Dang was hoping for a lil bit better news than what I had last heard which pretty much matched this article. Thanks

  • RickHarmon

    @DomDiTolla @ls40095

  • RickHarmon

    @DomDiTolla @ls40095
    Gotta remember Cower went to 6 AFC champion-ships in 14 years and only won 2 with more talent on offence and defence..I just think Tomlin has so much trust in Lebeau he dosent want to second guess him.. but again he is the head coach and the team responds to him top to bottom. As far as playing Ben hurt, they had a chance at home field and a bye in the 1st round basicly untill week 16..blame Arians for his protection scheams or lack of..deep drops with and empty back-field and a shady O-line? Who dose that? Mike T isn’t going anywhere asking as he keeps the Steelers winning..Arians is gone, maybe its time for a defensive change of philosophy as well.

  • RickHarmon

    @DomDiTolla @ls40095
    Lol piss poor is an understatement..if he wants Troy around the line so much why not just ask him to play middle-linebacker and find another younger faster safety?
    Dose he not realize Pitts pass
    rush isn’t what it use to be,that was they key to the zone blitz..upfront pressure and disguise in the secondary..none of that is working combined with Troy gambling no wounder they got TEBOWD! And I’m tired of hearing about Mundy playing and not Clark..Lebeau and Arians dropped the ball in Denver.

  • RickHarmon

    @DomDiTolla @ls40095

  • RickHarmon

    @DomDiTolla @ls40095
    Gotta remember Cower went to 6 AFC champion-ships in 14 years and only won 2 with more talent on offence and defence..I just think Tomlin has so much trust in Lebeau he dosent want to second guess him.. but again he is the head coach and the team responds to him top to bottom. As far as playing Ben hurt, they had a chance at home field and a bye in the 1st round basicly untill week 16..blame Arians for his protection scheams or lack of..deep drops with and empty back-field and a shady O-line? Who dose that? Mike T isn’t going anywhere asking as he keeps the Steelers winning..Arians is gone, maybe its time for a defensive change of philosophy as well.

  • RickHarmon

    @DomDiTolla @ls40095
    Lol piss poor is an understatement..if he wants Troy around the line so much why not just ask him to play middle-linebacker and find another younger faster safety?
    Dose he not realize Pitts pass
    rush isn’t what it use to be,that was they key to the zone blitz..upfront pressure and disguise in the secondary..none of that is working combined with Troy gambling no wounder they got TEBOWD! And I’m tired of hearing about Mundy playing and not Clark..Lebeau and Arians dropped the ball in Denver.

  • SonnyDrysdale

    It won’ matter who the new OC is if they don’t spend money on the line. They also are in need of a blocking TE, they don’t have one to go with Miller. Saunders can’t block or wont block. He also needs to work on his route running. In the SF game the first interception that Ben threw was because Saunders ran the wrong route and brought his defender into the zone.. Miller would never do that but they need him to block

  • SonnyDrysdale

    It won’ matter who the new OC is if they don’t spend money on the line. They also are in need of a blocking TE, they don’t have one to go with Miller. Saunders can’t block or wont block. He also needs to work on his route running. In the SF game the first interception that Ben threw was because Saunders ran the wrong route and brought his defender into the zone.. Miller would never do that but they need him to block