As you can probably imagine, Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is really excited that Randy Fichtner will now be the team’s offensive coordinator moving forward. While not a lot of change is expected offensively with Fichtner now calling the plays, Roethlisberger, who is currently in Orlando, FL preparing for Sunday’s Pro Bowl game, revealed Wednesday afternoon that we could potentially see a few things on offense that were successful way back when Bruce Arians was the team’s offensive coordinator.
“There might be some stuff that would go back to what we had with the B.A. system,” Roethlisberger said, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “Just tweak a couple of things, nothing drastic. We’ll go back to some things. I think we’ll take the best of both worlds. We’ll do stuff that Randy has done in the past. We’ll do some Todd [Haley] stuff. We’ll use some B.A. stuff. We’ll just kind of take what we all think is best and try to mush them together and create a finished product.”
Quite honestly, probably not a lot needs to be changed moving forward as the Steelers offense has been able to move the football quite well over the course of the last several seasons with Todd Haley serving as the offensive coordinator. With that said, the Steelers do need to find a way to score better once inside the red zone in addition to figuring out how to get the running game back on track after a down 2017 season.
Make no mistake, however, that Fichtner is sure to put his official stamp on the offense and perhaps he’ll even incorporate more play action, false keys, switch routes and, yes, a quarterback sneak audible. More than anything else, at least Roethlisberger and the rest of the offense won’t be saddled with having to get used to an entirely different person and an entirely different system and that’s very important right now.
“I don’t think much will change,” Roethlisberger reiterated on Wednesday per the report. “I think that was the key. That was important for everybody, that it didn’t change much. We have a window. We have the pieces. Why would you want to try and change it too much? So I think that’s one of the reasons they kept it in-house.”
This will now mark the first time that Fichtner has served as an offensive coordinator in the NFL. Upon joining the Steelers in 2007 when head coach Mike Tomlin arrived in Pittsburgh, Fichtner coached the team’s wide receivers from 2007 to 2009 and the quarterbacks since 2010. Prior to joining the Steelers, however, Fichtner was an offensive coordinator at Arkansas State from 1997 to 2000 and at Memphis from 2001 to 2006.
The Steelers chose not to renew the contract of offensive coordinator Todd Haley a few weeks ago after six seasons with the team and he’s since been hired by the Cleveland Browns to be their new offensive coordinator. On Wednesday, Roethlisberger did seemingly give Haley a little bit of credit when asked about him landing a job with the Browns.
“You look at the track record. Top 5 offense every year I thought was very impressive,” Roethlisberger said of Haley’s time in Pittsburgh. “What he brought to us with the play calling, things like that, was awesome. I thank him for everything he did.”
Roethlisberger’s faint praise for Haley aside, it was clear over the course of last season that the two men could no longer coexist which each other. In fact, had the Steelers ultimately won the Super Bowl this season, Haley still probably would have been looking for work elsewhere. On Wednesday, Roethlisberger seemingly took a parting shot at Haley when talking about how good his relationship with Fichtner is.
“I think that it’s never one person’s offense, it’s always our offense and I think that’s biggest thing,” Roethlisberger said when asked if he’ll be the de facto offensive coordinator with Haley now gone and Fichtner replacing him.
With Haley now out of the picture, Roethlisberger appears already ready for the 2018 season to get here.
“The line is back, a lot of players are back. Let’s try to keep the ball rolling,” Roethlisberger said. “That’s why it was important that we don’t change a lot.”
Ben Roethlisberger expects a seamless transition for the offense. pic.twitter.com/w8pqdxEf9G
— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) January 24, 2018