So, one thing that I think most Steeler fans like to see but don’t see enough in their opinions, is the “no huddle” offense. Not to necessarily be confused with the “hurry up” offense. Hurry up implies that you are picking up the pace of the game to try and catch up because you’re down on the scoreboard. The defense knows it’s coming and can adjust accordingly when you take the field. Can be very effective and you see it run by any NFL team on any given weekend when trying to catch up. You run it like a 2 minute offense, normally a designed set of plays or options of plays that the Quarterback can call based on various formations on the defense.
The No Huddle can be pulled out any time regardless of the score, if for no other reason than to keep the defense on their toes and most importantly to keep them from changing personnel. Many times you’ll see the No Huddle offense start out when a teams’ base defense is on the field, that way you keep those guys on and use your personnel and plays to your advantage. Another advantage of the No Huddle is that you can force the defense to “show their hand” or “declare themselves” to the Quarterback. This not only keeps the defense from being able to rotate personnel in but also allows the signal caller to have a good idea if the play he has called is going to work or if he should audible out of it. This is what we saw a lot of from Ben last weekend against the Ravens. As soon as the play is over you start calling out your next play and have everyone line up without a huddle and get in formation ready to snap the ball. You’ve got a lot of time on the play clock at this point so Ben can then take extra time at the line and survey the defense, and decide what he wants to do. Watching this can be almost comical sometimes to the fans because you don’t always equate the No Huddle with taking nearly as much time as a traditional huddle up offense. That’s precisely what Bruce Arians and Ben Roethlisberger do though and they do it quite well. On the podcast this week we talked about this, as the slowest no huddle you’ve ever seen.
It’s hard to argue though, because when Ben is running this offense and the group is in sync it can work to perfection. When watching the Steelers use this offense this weekend against the Jets, take notice to the Defensive Line as Ben is surveying the field before the play starts. You’ll see that they are normally down on 1 knee, trying to catch their breath before the next play. As the series moves on you’ll notice they get down on 1 knee a little quicker each time. These 300+ pound monsters are great athletes, no doubt about it, but even they get tired too fighting hard on a play and then rushing to get back in their stance in case the ball is snapped. That will wear out even the best gridiron grunts. By the time you get to the redzone, those guys are winded and you can call pretty much anything you want at will. This is where a power run play comes in handy close to the goal line. An already tired defense vs. an offensive line that is in sync and rolling can be result in a Touchdown before the defense knows what hit them.
So, for the Steelers, this type of offense is a very effective tool even when they aren’t down on the scoreboard. A big key to any offense is imposing your will on the defense. That is done by not just power running down their throats, but using a variety of offensive packages and keeping them from getting too confident so they feel like they can tee off and come after your Quarterback. Pittsburgh uses this offense very well, personally I’d like to see more of it. Against aggressive defenses, a style of offense like this can be lethal. The Jets are a very aggressive defense, they aren’t afraid to put Revis & Cromartie 1 on 1 and bring the blitz, daring you to try and get rid of the ball before they get to you. Using an unconventional offense can really slow down that pass rush and keep your options open. Not something you want to run every series, but breaking it out a couple times a game, depending on the situation with the scoreboard, is generally a good thing to consider.
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