Pittsburgh Steelers offensive coordinator Bruce Arians announced his retirement on Friday. Arians has been with the Steelers for five seasons, winning Super Bowl XLIII and reaching Super Bowl XL.
Some sources have reported that Pittsburgh had already made up their mind to part ways with Arians before he decided to retire. Team sources told ESPN’s Chirs Mortensen that the team chose not retain Arians in hopes of going back to the old days of Pittsburgh Football; controlling the line of scrimmage, smashing the opponent, and setting the tempo.
The Steelers have dropped dramatically in team rushing over the past couple of seasons. They finished 14th in the league this season, with 1,903 total rushing yards. In 2010, they ranked 11th, and they finished at an embarrassing 19 out of 32 during the 2009 season.
Pittsburgh’s rushing offense has obviously taken a step-back since they hired Arians prior to the 2007 season. There was only one season in which Pittsburgh finished in the top 10 of rushing during Arians’s tenure, and that was in his first year with the team when the Steelers ranked 3rd. Arians has been the only offensive coordinator under head coach Mike Tomlin. Shortly after hearing the news that Arians would not be returning, Tomlin released this statement:
“Bruce Arians has informed me that he will retire from coaching. I appreciate his efforts over the past five years as the team’s offensive coordinator and for helping lead our offense to new heights during his time with the Steelers. I am grateful to Bruce for contributing to our success and wish him nothing but the best in his retirement.”
Despite digressing in the rushing game, the Steelers offense became a great threat in the passing game under Arians. Ben Roethlisberger is probably the one player who benefited from Arians play-calling the most. Before Arians, Big Ben was considered by most around the league as a poor quarterback who only won because of his defense. He is now among the best quarterbacks in the league.
It would be wise for the Steelers to bring in someone who can build off of what Arians has established, but also return to a run first mentality. This team has the talent on offense to play both styles of ball.
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