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Old 01-21-2012, 09:25 AM   #1
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Default Search begins for Arians' replacement

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

Search begins for Arians' replacement


By Ralph N. Paulk
PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Saturday, January 21, 2012

Let the search for Ben Roethlisberger's next mentor begin.

Bruce Arians, 59, the Steelers' offensive coordinator the past five seasons, retired Friday, throwing uncertainty into an offensive unit that is considered to have underachieved much of this past season.

Despite having one of the top quarterbacks in the league and a young, up-and-coming receiving corps, the Steelers averaged fewer than three touchdowns per game this season and ranked among the league's bottom third in offensive output. Their struggles were magnified against top defenses and could not carry the team past the wild-card round of the playoffs.

"I'm grateful to Bruce for his contributions and wish him nothing but the best in retirement," said coach Mike Tomlin in a statement. "I appreciate his efforts over the past five years for helping to lead our offense."

In choosing a new coordinator, the Steelers are likely to consider how a new offensive architect will handle Roethlisberger. The quarterback often vocally praised and supported Arians, whom he considered a friend. Arians, it has been argued, became too close to Ben and relied too heavily on Roethlisberger's arm rather than build a reliable ground game -- something Steelers president Art Rooney II asked Tomlin to resurrect a few seasons ago. (It's very stupid not to listen to what you boss wants you to do. - mesa)

Arians could not be reached for comment yesterday. Tomlin's was the only statement released by the Steelers.

The Steelers likely will interview quarterbacks coach Randy Fichtner, partly because the organization historically has promoted from within. Arizona coach Ken Wisenhunt and Arians were Steelers position coaches before being elevated to offensive coordinator.

This time, though, the Steelers could hire an outsider, such as former Indianapolis coach Jim Caldwell, Green Bay offensive coordinator Tom Clements and former Kansas City coach Todd Haley.

Whoever the Steelers choose, he will inherit an inconsistent and injury-plagued offensive line that allowed 42 sacks -- 40 against its $102 million franchise quarterback. That tied for ninth most in the league, and only two other quarterbacks were sacked more often than Roethlisberger. The Steelers allowed 43 sacks in 2010 -- eighth most in the league.

Questions also surround the running game. The Steelers averaged about 119 yards per game -- good for 14th in the league -- but there is uncertainty about how effective starter Rashard Mendenhall will be after knee surgery.

What's more, all three backup quarterbacks are unrestricted free agents. The Steelers yesterday signed former Heisman Trophy winner Troy Smith but still could be in the market for a reliable backup.

Steelers coaches, including Tomlin, will be at the Senior Bowl in Alabama next week scouting players for the 2012 NFL Draft. The Senior Bowl is also recognized among coaches as an unofficial job fair, and Tomlin could search for Arians' replacement there.

Despite myriad injuries this season, the Steelers posted a 12-4 record and were 12th in the NFL in total offense (372.3 yards per game). They failed, however, to consistently score touchdowns, tying for 21st in scoring (20.3 points per game).

"Every year we set out to win the Super Bowl, and every year we don't it's a disappointment," tight end Heath Miller said. "We have to get better next year."

Tomlin had said he expected Arians and defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau to return next season. However, on Tuesday, Rooney suggested senior-level assistant coaches could retire and pinpointed the offense's inconsistency as something that needed improving during the offseason.

Arians became offensive coordinator when Whisenhunt took the head coaching job at Arizona. He had spent three seasons as the team's receivers coach. Under Arians as offensive coordinator, the Steelers won a Super Bowl and appeared in another.

Arians, though, couldn't distance himself from constant criticism, particularly this season. (This is truly a victory for fans. - mesa) Despite having two of the league's best deep threats in Mike Wallace and Antonio Brown, the offense stalled against some of the league's best defenses. The Steelers scored a combined 20 points in road losses to playoff qualifiers Baltimore (35-7), Houston (17-10) and San Francisco (20-3).

Ralph N. Paulk can be reached at rpaulk@tribweb.com or 412-320-7923 .

Read more: Search begins for Arians' replacement - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pitt...#ixzz1k6dMS8Om

(I believe it's not only his inept performance that got Arians fired it's that he was letting Ben do to much improvisation to the determent of the team. The Rooney's are sending another message with this firing. It's that the coaches run the team and the players, including Ben, better damn well run the play that is called. Ben in particular was getting a little too bossy. He's an employee like any other and this firing is a message to him that he does not run the team. - mesa)
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Old 01-21-2012, 11:27 AM   #2
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Default Re: Search begins for Arians' replacement

Too bad Whiz wouldn't get fired. I'd take him back.
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Old 01-21-2012, 11:32 AM   #3
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Default Re: Search begins for Arians' replacement

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Too bad Whiz wouldn't get fired. I'd take him back.
I was hopeful that might happen this year after the Crudnials lost six games in a row but then they managed to win a few. The fans here were calling for Whiz's head.
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Old 01-21-2012, 01:51 PM   #4
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Default Re: Search begins for Arians' replacement

when do you suppose the interviews will start taking place? I'm sure Tomlin already has his top 3 or so in his mind.
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Old 01-21-2012, 01:53 PM   #5
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Default Re: Search begins for Arians' replacement

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when do you suppose the interviews will start taking place? I'm sure Tomlin already has his top 3 or so in his mind.
After the SuperBowl if they go after someone from one of the teams that are left.
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Old 01-21-2012, 01:55 PM   #6
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Default Re: Search begins for Arians' replacement

Yeah, the official interviews probably won't be conducted until this February, but i'm sure phone calls are being made. Interviews from within the team will probably begin soon, though.
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Old 01-21-2012, 01:57 PM   #7
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Default Re: Search begins for Arians' replacement

I thought nothing could be worse than another year of Arians and then I read this

@jimwexell James C Wexell
Put Jim Caldwell odds at 1-2 as Steelers' OC. A strong hunch. My guess: It was Tomlin's decision to fire Arians after friend came available.


http://twitter.com/#!/jimwexell/stat...80135723454464

By all means let's hire a new OC who was exposed as a total incompetent once his franchise QB (who also was the de facto OC for the Colts) was lost for the season

Be afraid - be very afraid
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Old 01-21-2012, 02:01 PM   #8
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Default Re: Search begins for Arians' replacement

Quote:
Originally Posted by Atlanta Dan View Post
I thought nothing could be worse than another year of Arians and then I read this

@jimwexell James C Wexell
Put Jim Caldwell odds at 1-2 as Steelers' OC. A strong hunch. My guess: It was Tomlin's decision to fire Arians after friend came available.


http://twitter.com/#!/jimwexell/stat...80135723454464

By all means let's hire a new OC who was exposed as a total incompetent once his franchise QB (who also was the de facto OC for the Colts) was lost for the season

Be afraid - be very afraid
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Old 01-21-2012, 02:27 PM   #9
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Default Re: Search begins for Arians' replacement

Quote:
Originally Posted by Atlanta Dan View Post
I thought nothing could be worse than another year of Arians and then I read this

@jimwexell James C Wexell
Put Jim Caldwell odds at 1-2 as Steelers' OC. A strong hunch. My guess: It was Tomlin's decision to fire Arians after friend came available.


http://twitter.com/#!/jimwexell/stat...80135723454464

By all means let's hire a new OC who was exposed as a total incompetent once his franchise QB (who also was the de facto OC for the Colts) was lost for the season

Be afraid - be very afraid
Hopefully the Rooneys will put the kibosh to the hiring of buddies and get the person most qualified.
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Old 01-21-2012, 03:01 PM   #10
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Default Re: Search begins for Arians' replacement

I don't know that Caldwell is inept. When he had a QB that could make the plays in his offense, they were great. When he didn't, not so much so having BB should be comprable to Manning in that offense. Just my opinion.
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