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Over the past four seasons, only the Saints tallied more yards than the Steelers (24,913)

By Jacob Feldman
January 17, 2018

Over the last four seasons, only the Saints tallied more yards than the Steelers (24,913). Yet, Pittsburgh OC Todd Haley will not have his contract renewed. After six strong years in town, he's expected to be replaced by quarterbacks coach Randy Fichtner. "I have made the decision to not renew the contract for offensive coordinator Todd Haley," coach Mike Tomlin said in a statement Wednesday. "I would like to thank Todd for his contributions to our offense the past six years, and we wish him the best in his coaching future."​

Haley's exit is reportedly the result of a poor relationship between him and Ben Roethlisberger. Midway through this season, Fichtner began standing on the sideline in order to better communicate with Roethlisberger. In turn, the Steelers scored nine more points per game in their last eight games compared to their first eight. Coincidence? Maybe. This is Fichtner's first NFL coordinator job, though he filled that role at the University of Memphis before coming to Pittsburgh in 2007. As for his philosophy, here's what Fichtner said in November about the quarterback's role: "We just talked about him being that point guard, trying to get it to the right guy more times than not, in the right place where they can make a play and you have to trust these guys will make those plays."

If the Steelers are able to re-sign Le'Veon Bell, it will be up to Fichtner to help make that happen, and to prove that Pittsburgh's window hasn't closed—that the league's most talented offense can make its first Super Bowl with Big Ben, Bell, and Antonio Brown playing together.

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1. Referee Gene Steratore will work Super Bowl LII, a first for the 15-year NFL veteran official, the NFL announced Wednesday. That makes now the perfect time to re-read Peter King's 2013 three-part story on a week of Steratore's in-season life.

2. Coordinator moves weren't just limited to Pittsburgh Wednesday. The Jets fired OC John Morton after one year in charge of an offense that finished 28th in yards. In Seattle, the Seahawks confirmed the firing of DC Kris Richard, as well as the hiring of OC Brian Schottenheimer and new DC Ken Norton Jr. Seattle missed the playoffs this year for the first time since 2011.

3. The Cardinals are down to six coaching candidates with second interviews to come over the next week. Two of their targets have reportedly agreed to jobs elsewhere, while Steelers offensive line coach Mike Munchak reportedly also took his name out of the running.

4. Tina Becker, who is currently running the Panthers organization, is not well-known among Charlotte's power circles—and that makes her different, writes Tom Sorensen.

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5. On a Friday night in 1997, Brian Gutekunst was bartending when he got a call. "This is John Dorsey from the Packers calling," the voice on the other end said. "I just want to let you know, we’d like to see you up here. We’d like for you to start work Monday. Hopefully, you’ll be here." Gutekunst was there (at 7 a.m.) and now he's running Green Bay's football operation. Here's his full story.

6. Four days into his Bears tenure, Matt Nagy has notched a win: keeping DC Vic Fangio in the building. 

7. Some weird rules are preventing the Titans from interviewing several of their top candidates.

8. The Jaguars "have many options" for covering Rob Gronkowski. But will any of them be good enough?

9. Was Wednesday a bad day for you? Probably not as bad as it was for whichever Patriot Tom Brady jammed his throwing hand against, leading to negative x-rays.

10. Meet the guys who do the Eagles’ dirty work . . . laundry.

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If you were wondering, here’s the story behind Matt Patricia's beard. Or, more accurately, the competing theories about it.

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