The Pittsburgh Steelers are now into the offseason, following a year in which they had high hopes for Super Bowl success, but ultimately fell short of even reaching the postseason at 8-8. It was a tumultuous season, both on the field and within the roster, and the months to follow figure to have some drama as well, especially in light of the team’s failure to improve upon the year before.
The team made some bold moves over the course of the past year, and some areas of the roster look quite a bit different than they did a year ago, or even at the start of the regular season. Whether due to injuries or otherwise, a lot has transpired, and we’re left to wonder how much more will change prior to September.
How will Ben Roethlisberger’s rehab progress as he winds toward recovery from an elbow injury that cost him almost the entire season? What about some of the key young players, some of whom have already impressed, others still needing quite a bit of growth? Will there be changes to the coaching staff? The front office? Who will they not retain in free agency, and whom might they bring in?
These are the sorts of questions among many others that we have been exploring on a daily basis and will continue to do so. Football has become a year-round pastime and there is always a question to be asked, though there is rarely a concrete answer, as I’ve learned in my years of doing this.
Question: Is Randy Fichtner’s job (as offensive coordinator) on the line in 2020?
For the past two seasons, and now going into three, Randy Fichtner has been the Steelers’ offensive coordinator. For the first two seasons, he also served as quarterbacks coach, a role he has had for most of Mike Tomlin’s tenure as head coach of the team.
Tomlin recently said that bringing in Fichtner to be a part of his original coaching staff in 2007—first as wide receivers coach—was the easiest call he ever made. In that regard, it seems incredibly likely that he would actually fire Fichtner if the offense continued to lag in 2020 with everyone back healthy.
Not that it’s impossible. He is also close to Joey Porter—even took their sons to their football games together, for example—but he still let the former outside linebackers coach’s contract expire. In Fichtner’s case, though, I think it’s more likely that they would shift his title, if some type of move were made, rather than let him go.
A team’s offensive coordinator is pretty frequently one of the most, if not the most, disliked figures on a team. There was Fire Todd Haley, and before that, Fire Bruce Arians. Fire Randy Fichtner started before he even called a play. But if his gameplan is not sufficient enough for a team at the end of a Super Bowl window, a decision has to be made.