2018 Offseason Questions: Expect Seamless Transition On Offense?

The journey toward Super Bowl LII ended far too prematurely for the Pittsburgh Steelers, sending them into offseason mode before we were ready for it. But we are in it now, and are ready to move on, through the Combine, through free agency, through the draft, into OTAs, and beyond.

We have asked and answered a lot of questions over the years and will continue to do so, and at the moment, there seem to be a ton of questions that need answering. A surprise early exit in the postseason will do that to you though, especially when it happens in the way it did.

You can rest assured that we have the questions, and we will be monitoring developments all throughout the offseason process, all the way down to Latrobe. Pending free agents, possible veteran roster cuts, contract extensions, pre-draft visits, pro days, all of it will have its place when the time arises.

Question: Should we expect the transition from Todd Haley as offensive coordinator to Randy Fichtner to be relatively seamless?

In the recent past, during the 2000s at least, when the Steelers have previously made changes at offensive coordinator, it has generally been by necessity. Since they fired Kevin Gilbride after the 2000 season, they promoted Mike Mularkey from tight ends coach, and he left after 2003 for a head-coaching job. Ken Whisenhunt, replacing him, also left for a head-coaching job.

The exception was Bruce Arians, another internal promotion, but in this case, the Steelers looked outside the organization to replace him, and that resulted in some significant shifts in how the offense would be run, under Todd Haley in this instance.

With the offense now moving, by choice, from Haley to Fichtner, I can’t help but get the feeling that this is anticipated to be the smoothest transition of Ben Roethlisberger’s career. And I also can’t help but get the feeling that Fichtner was already being groomed for this possibility.

As much as I didn’t hate Haley and his offense (I would use more positive terms if not for fear of retaliation), I find myself believing that this move could be a good one, not just for the future, but specifically for 2018.

There are certainly times when organizations do things that are not in their best interests without realizing it at the time, even the Steelers. Some things we see around the league just seem stupid, and end up having been such by the time the mistake is rectified.

But with Roethlisberger nearing the end of his career and going on record saying he wants to see minimal change, this move would not have been made without his say so. Fichtner probably has already had a relatively significant impact on the pre-game planning.

But I’m sure there are others out there more worried than I am about the change. Not that they liked Haley, but they are already prepared to hate Fichtner as well. Am I feeling overly optimistic about this collaboration? Should I be talked back onto the ledge?

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