The Pittsburgh Steelers underwent significant changes during the 2024 offseason, not only revamping their roster but also making strategic adjustments to their coaching staff. Head Coach Mike Tomlin secured a three-year extension, while the team introduced several new additions prior to that. The most prominent hire was former Atlanta Falcons Head Coach Arthur Smith.

Smith the new offensive coordinator, following the interim efforts of Mike Sullivan and Eddie Faulkner, who stepped in after Matt Canada's dismissal in 2023.

Mike Tomlin's familiarity with Arthur Smith's style

Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin reacts in the in the second half against the Buffalo Bills in a 2024 AFC wild card game at Highmark Stadium.
Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

Tomlin, speaking to the media after the latest minicamp session, was asked about his interest in working with Smith. He pointed out his familiarity with Smith's work as a key factor.

”I’ve competed against him over the years, Atlanta, Tennessee. We had a lot of mutual connects from his time in Washington,” Tomlin said via Troy Montgomery of Steelers Depot.

“I know what he puts into the job, professionally speaking, and he has quality tape. I’ve competed against him in stadium, so not a lot of unknowns regarding his capabilities,” the Steelers head coach continued.

Tomlin's familiarity with Smith's offensive schemes allowed him to assess its strengths and weaknesses. He believed Smith could leverage the Steelers' offensive talents effectively. However, with significant changes to the quarterback lineup and offensive line, Tomlin's confidence in Smith's fit with the team grew even stronger, seeing these moves as complementary to Smith's coaching style.

Since Todd Haley's departure and even during his tenure, the Steelers have faced challenges in maintaining a consistent offensive coordinator. The team's offensive performance has declined over time, making even basic plays appear challenging.

The Steelers new hope?

Arthur Smith's success as an offensive coordinator with the Tennessee Titans offers hope that he can reverse the Steelers' offensive woes. Despite a less successful stint as head coach with the Atlanta Falcons, Smith's NFL experience played a significant role in his hiring with the Steelers.

It's understandable that Tomlin sought a more established figure for the offensive coordinator role. Given the significant changes the team has undergone this offseason, a less experienced coach might have faced greater challenges in adapting to the evolving dynamics.

The Steelers had familiarity with Smith, having faced his Titans in 2020 and his Falcons in 2022. Although the Steelers won both games, they were hard-fought victories, with Pittsburgh narrowly edging out their opponents by just three points each time.

When asked if Arthur Smith would need to adjust his personality after his three-season stint as head coach of the Falcons, Tomlin responded via Parker Abate of Steeler Nation, “I think different roles require different hats and I don't think that's a big deal. That's just a component of assistants make suggestions, head coaches make decisions.”

The future looks exciting for Tomlin, Smith and Pittsburgh. While the acquisitions of Russell Wilson and Justin Fields may strengthen their prospects, uncertainties still loom large.

The true verdict on the Steelers' performance won't be apparent until they hit the field for an actual game. Yet, Arthur Smith's football style, emphasizing effective running, aligns seamlessly with the Steelers' long-desired offensive identity. This alignment hints at a promising synergy and a cohesive team dynamic.