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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