It will certainly be interesting to see how Randy Fichtner fares in his first season as the Pittsburgh Steelers offensive coordinator and if you haven’t already heard by now, he hasn’t made wholesale changes since taking over for Todd Haley, who didn’t have his contract renewed by the team after the 2017 season ended.
During a recent interview while at the National Fantasy Football Convention in Fort Worth, Texas, Steelers second-year quarterback Joshua Dobbs was asked was asked to talk about Fichtner’s system and how it differs from that of Haley’s.
“So we have the same playbook, per se, play calls, stuff like that, but with Randy, of course the play-calling is going to be different,” Dobbs said, according to Cover 1. “And with him, a lot is dealt to the quarterback position where it’s on us to call the plays, on us to figure out what the defense is doing pre snap, get the offense in the right situation, the right play to attack them and then make adjustments and audibles from there.
“So, it’s a big quarterback-centered system where the quarterback has a lot of power at the line of scrimmage, whether it’s with the cadence, with the play calls with audibles, even if the coach is calling the plays. So, it gives us a lot of power to go out and be successful and put the offense in the right situation. So, I’m excited to see how our offense continues to take the next step forward and we have a lot of play-makers, a lot of explosiveness across the board. So, the goal is to get the ball in the right people’s hands and be successful and that’s I think we’ll do with Randy.”
It today’s NFL, you see a lot of RPOs (runn/pass options) called and thus Dobbs’ response about how Fichtner’s system is very quarterback-centered isn’t overly surprising. In short, the Steelers offense is going to look at lot like it did the last several years with the only exceptions probably being that Fichtner will add in a few new wrinkles, formations and route combinations and him calling the plays.
While Steelers guard Ramon Foster didn’t talk any about Fichtner’s quarterback-centered system in his Wednesday interview on SiriusXM NFL Radio, the veteran offensive lineman did have a lot to say about how the Steelers new offensive coordinator approached his new job this offseason and what he’s noticed about how he goes about preparing.
“He’s gotten us in a mode of where he knows exactly what hes going to do, what plan he wants,” Foster said of Fichtner. “We were in the spring and he was already talking about what he wanted to do in camp. And right now he’s a guy that very exact, very precise in how he wants us to evolve and be as an offense. Him and Ben’s relationship is really good, also, so that’s also huge. So, Randy’s one of those, I hate to put it in that way, he’s one of those geeky, smart guys that, you know, he understands the play that he’s about to call and the plays that he’s about to call in the second and third quarter, also. So, that’s what I appreciate about him and that’s why I’m not shocked that he has an opportunity to be our offensive coordinator.”
As for Steelers star wide receiver Antonio Brown, he, like most of the other members of the offense, already know who Randy is and isn’t having worked with him the last several years when he was the team’s quarterback coach.
“I’ve got a lot of experience with him, a lot of highlights, a lot of plays with him,” Brown said Wednesday on NFL Total Access. “He’s always the guy, as quarterback coach, I always loved to sneak in his room and just get the tidbits before the game. Get in his head as far as the game plan and now knowing that he’s going to be our offensive coordinator, I’m just extremely excited to play up under him. He brings a tremendous attitude and work ethic to the team. He brings the camaraderie of bringing guys together and he’s the guy you want to play with.”
The Steelers first training camp practice of 2018 will take place a week from today and I bet Fichtner has had his script ready for that joyous day several weeks ago.