For the Steelers, they have the ability to be absolutely lethal on offense, but they sputtered week in and week out save for an explosive flash of brilliance here and there. Tom Brady does it, Aaron Rodgers does it, and Drew Brees does it. What do they do? They have coaches that will gameplan using the short passing game and tight ends to move the ball seemingly at will. They are patient and will to take the short passes, keep the clock moving, and just march down the field. They don’t always have to hit the home run ball because they know checkdowns still move the chains on offense. It’s not like Ben Roethlisberger is less talented than any of those Quarterbacks either. Let’s face it, Ben has the ability to make those same throws that you see other top flight QB’s making. We’ve seen him put a perfect touch on a deep pass to Mike Wallace many times, or place the ball on the inside shoulder of Heath Miller down the sideline. You’ve watched him scramble around, buying time, throw off his back foot, twisted up like a pretzel and find Hines Ward15 yds. down field to move the chains.
The difference is, he doesn’t do it enough because the Steelers philosophy on offense changes from week to week. By that I mean you see the Patriots dink and dunk their way down the field week in and week out and it works continuously . You watch Drew Brees use Jimmy Graham in key situations every Sunday and it works. Aaron Rodgers has a plethera of weapons at his disposal and he uses every one, every week to move down the field at will. These teams will gameplan to expose your weakness and surgically disect you series after series. If you can’t stop the run they will run, but still use their short passing game as a compliment, a second running game if you will. If you can’t stop the pass they will air it out all day long and expose your weakest defender. Then when the defense adjusts and rolls coverage they’ll go elsewhere and still keep moving along. I know it hurts to talk about other teams in such a manner in contrast to the Steelers, but it’s painfully true unfortunately.
What I’m getting at here is, the Steelers have a set of receivers, a quality tight end, and a good enough running game to do the same thing that everyone else does that I just talked about. They don’t and they don’t show any signs of changing anytime soon. Bruce Arians has been known to call a perfect gameplan, just look at how they completely destroyed the Patriots in week 8. They used Heath Miller early and often, they used the short passing game as a second running game and then went deep at key points. It was brilliant, but then just like that “poof” it was gone again. If it works, it works. It doesn’t just happen to be effective against certain teams, it’s been proven to be effective year in and year out. NFL defenses don’t have an answer for the intermediate passing game to backs and tight ends right now. Look at the record setting year of guys like Gronkowski of the Patriots, or how effective Jimmy Graham is for the Saints. The Steelers can do that too, the talent is there but until the offensive philosophy changes, you won’t see it near as often as you should. The Steelers have always been known as staying the course, doing what works for them and not giving in to the trends of the NFL. Well perhaps it’s time they started to bend just a little because they just might find it works out pretty well.