OFFICIAL: Colts Add Offensive Coordinator Bruce Arians

ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports that the Indianapolis Colts have found their new offensive coordinator, Bruce Arians. Arians was the offensive coordinator for the Pittsburgh Steelers from 2007-2011. How good was the Steelers offense during Arians’ tenure?

UPDATE: Former offensive coordinator Clyde Christensen has been offered to stay with the Colts as wide receivers coach.

UPDATE: Adam Schefter confirms that Arians is officially the Colts new offensive coordinator.

Overall Passing Rushing
2007 17th 22nd 3rd
2008 22nd 17th 23rd
2009 7th 9th 19th
2010 14th 14th 11th
2011 12th 10th 14th

One thing to remember about 2010 is that Ben Roethlisberger missed 4 games during the season serving a suspension for violating the NFL’s conduct policy. It certainly had an impact on offensive production for a quarter of the season.

In either case, the Steelers have been known both for their outstanding defenses and balanced offenses. They’ve never really been the league leaders offensively but have had enough weapons and balance to keep defenses guessing when games are on the line.

Arians won two AFC Championships during his tenure as offensive coordinator in Pittsburgh – 2008, 2010. He also won the Super Bowl in 2008. He won another AFC Championship and Super Bowl in Pittsburgh in 2005 as the team’s wide receivers coach.

Let’s take a quick look at how Arians broke down his offensive play-calling between runs and passes during his tenure with the Steelers organization. *Regular season numbers

Runs Passes Run % Pass %
2007 511 442 53.6 46.4
2008 460 506 47.6 52.4
2009 428 536 44.4 55.6
2010 471 479 49.6 50.4
2011 434 539 44.6 55.4

It’s pretty clear that Pittsburgh tried to run a balanced offensive attack under Arians. The team did lean on the passing game a bit more than the ground game in each of his seasons. Over the course of his tenure as the Steelers offensive coordinator, the team won 12, 9, 12, and 12 games in the regular season.

Another interesting bit of information on Arians? He was the quarterbacks coach for the Indianapolis Colts from 1998-2000, Peyton Manning’s first three years in the league. Manning had one of the most prolific single-season turnarounds after his 3-13 rookie season, taking the Colts to a 13-3 record as an NFL sophomore. He improved his completion percentage, reduced his interceptions, significantly improved his quarterback rating, and threw over 4,000 yards for the first time in his career.

While it has been some time since Manning has worked with Arians, a couple things should be relatively clear. First, if the team does bring Manning back to finish his career in Indianapolis, he will not be unfamiliar with the man he works with to guide the offense. Second, if Andrew Luck or Robert Griffin III are selected first overall by the Colts in the upcoming draft, the same man who welcomed Peyton Manning into the league will have a significant influence on the youngster’s development.

There are plenty of differences between the Steelers offense and the one with which fans in Indianapolis have become familiar. Those differences could make the performance of Arians’ offenses in Pittsburgh only loosely illustrative of what the fan community might expect out of him with Manning or Luck leading the way.

However, an experienced NFL coach who has ties to the Colts, has won Super Bowls from two different positions, and knows what it’s like to coach and be a part of top organizations is on board.

Head Coach Chuck Pagano has started to deliver on his promise to get right to work filling the coaching staff at his press conference on Thursday.