PITTSBURGH (AP) — Arthur Smith walked in and sat down, a microphone in front of him and a Pittsburgh Steelers baseball cap pulled tight on his head.

Four months after being fired in Atlanta, Smith is returning to his play-calling roots — and hoping to hit the reboot button on his career — as the offensive coordinator in Pittsburgh.

Smith did little to articulate what exactly the Steelers will look like in the fall. Considering what Pittsburgh general manager Omar Khan did in the first two rounds of the NFL draft, maybe Smith didn’t have to.

Khan selected offensive tackle Troy Fautanu with the 20th overall pick on Thursday. On Friday, he added center Zach Frazier from West Virginia. They will join a line that includes tackle Broderick Jones, the Steelers’ first-round selection a year ago, and veteran guards Isaac Seumalo and James Daniels.

For a team with serious needs at wide receiver and cornerback, a team very much in “win now” mode with Russell Wilson taking over at quarterback, the approach couldn’t be more apparent. Or, on the surface anyway, more suited for Smith.

Five years after turning Tennessee into a top-10 offense behind Derrick Henry’s churning legs and Ryan Tannehill’s playmaking outside the pocket, Smith is tasked with doing the same in Pittsburgh in hopes of ending a playoff victory drought currently at seven years.

The similarities are startling. The Steelers have one of the best running back tandems in the league in Najee Harris and Jaylen Warren. They believe Wilson can still summon some of that “Let Russ Cook” magic from his prime in Seattle. And they have given Smith a line that they hope one day rivals the ones led by perennial Pro Bowlers Maurkice Pouncey and David DeCastro a decade ago.

Asked to describe his philosophy, a soft-spoken Smith got straight to the point.

“There’s a certain style of play and intent we want that fits this team and the history here and the Steelers and the brand of football, a shared vision,” Smith said.

It’s a vision that never fully came to fruition for Smith in Atlanta, where he coached the Falcons to three straight 7-10 seasons while overseeing an offense that never cracked the top 14 in yards or points.

It took Smith less than a month to land on his feet in Pittsburgh. The Steelers have made the playoffs three of the past four seasons almost in spite of an offense that struggled to reach the end zone. President Art Rooney II made it very clear Pittsburgh needs to become more dynamic if it wants to chase down the top teams in the AFC.

Enter Smith, who might not be ready to talk about his exit in Atlanta or what brought him to the Steelers. A team media relations representative gently shifted the conversation on Friday away from anything related to Smith’s previous job stops and toward what Smith thinks of Fautanu and Frazier.

In a word — one Smith used 10 times in 10 minutes — “excited.”

About Frazier’s work ethic and Fautanu’s athleticism. About their attitude and demeanor. About their potential fit on an offense that remains intent on winning the line of scrimmage first and seeing what happens from there.

“They’re two really physical players who play with high effort level, high football IQ,” Smith said. “So you know they check a lot of boxes for us.”

There are still plenty of questions to answer over the spring and summer. Will the Steelers add more at wide receiver after drafting Michigan’s Roman Wilson in the third round Friday? How will Russell Wilson adapt to a fifth offensive coordinator in five years? Will Pittsburgh pick up Harris’ fifth-year option?

There is a sense of urgency in an organization that for decades has been defined by success and stability. There have been seismic changes on the roster and the coaching staff of late. The Steelers are no longer committed to business as usual, and Smith knows it.

“We’re not going to get stale,” Smith said. “There are going to be schemes you add every year, wrinkles. We’re going to have our core philosophy, but you have to stay on top of that.”


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