Steelers' Latest Justin Fields Proposal Criticized by Arthur Smith

Steelers' QB strategy raises eyebrows across the league.

by Faizan Chaudhary
Steelers' Latest Justin Fields Proposal Criticized by Arthur Smith
© Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

When Justin Fields expressed his desire to be traded from the Chicago Bears to the Pittsburgh Steelers, he likely didn't anticipate becoming a central figure in some of the NFL's most unconventional strategies. Fields, a dynamic quarterback, is now in a contest with Russell Wilson, another new addition to the Steelers, for the starting quarterback position.

Despite the competition, recent headlines out of Pittsburgh suggest a different role for Fields, stirring considerable debate among fans and analysts. The team's special teams coach, Danny Smith, hinted at using Fields as a kickoff returner, a move prompted by new NFL rules designed to reduce touchbacks.

Further stirring the pot, ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler reported that Arthur Smith, the Steelers' new offensive coordinator known for his unorthodox approaches, is contemplating using Fields in goal-line situations, reminiscent of his strategy with Derrick Henry during his tenure as the OC for the Tennessee Titans.

This comparison is puzzling to many; while Henry, a formidable running back, thrived in such scenarios, Fields is a quarterback, raising questions about the appropriateness and safety of this strategy.

Wilson's Puzzling Priority

The decision to prioritize Russell Wilson, who has been underwhelming in recent seasons, as the starter over the younger, arguably more dynamic Fields is confusing.

Wilson’s performance has declined significantly, and his last team, the Denver Broncos, even benched him during a crucial playoff chase. Meanwhile, Fields, who showed signs of growth last season, found himself expendable only because the Bears received an opportunity to draft Caleb Williams.

Despite this, Fields offers more potential than Kenny Pickett, who was recently traded to Philadelphia, and a past-his-prime Wilson. Arthur Smith’s consideration of Fields for a physically demanding role similar to Henry’s carries risks.

Henry, known for overpowering defenders, is in stark contrast to Fields, whose quarterbacking skills should not be overshadowed by risky physical exploits. The NFL’s history with dual-quarterback systems and gimmick plays has rarely resulted in success, highlighting the impracticality of such a strategy for Fields.

As the Steelers navigate this transition, the focus should ideally shift to optimizing Fields’ natural talent at quarterback rather than experimenting with him in unconventional roles. The team's offense has struggled with creativity and effectiveness in recent years; prioritizing solid quarterback play over experimental tactics might be the key to revitalizing their strategies.

Arthur Smith and head coach Mike Tomlin face a crucial decision: continue with these high-risk experiments, or develop Fields into the franchise quarterback he has the potential to become.

Steelers Justin Fields