If you’ve been reading anything into the comments by members of the Pittsburgh Steelers’ offense recently then you’d be excused for thinking we may be running the wing-t or full house offense in 2012.
Of course you could also be excused if you think new offensive coordinator Todd Haley has brought in ‘run ‘n shoot’ guru Mouse Davis to run a pass-happy offense instead.
Here’s what we know about the 2012 Pittsburgh Steelers offensive style. Ummm, (scratches head) I guess we really don’t know now do we?
The fact that we hang on every word that comes out of the players’ mouths through OTAs is bad enough but then I think sometimes these guys just like toying with the fans and media. Ben Roethlisberger got his dig in last week when he said, “We’re going to run the ball more so it looks like the fans are getting what they wanted.”
Oh please Ben, not more dramatics. Save them for the season. If his comment about the fans was intended to be a dig at them then how would Todd Haley take that? My guess is Haley could care less but for a relationship that started as awkwardly as their’s did it might not be received so well.
Be that as it may, here’s what I can tell you going forward. If we are going to “run the ball more” then as of today we have Isaac Redman, John Clay, Jonathan Dwyer, Baron Batch and Chris Rainey. With starter Rashard Mendenhall still recovering from ACL surgery, his availability may not be until week six of the season. This stable of backs looks really good with Mendenhall, but without him, it looks average and not really awe-inspiring.
This isn’t a knock on Redman because I really like the way he plays but if he is going to be ‘the man’ in an offense that is going to use the backs more then I have concerns about his fill-in. Clay and Dwyer aren’t exactly what I think of in terms catching passes out of the backfield so this relegates them to short yardage although Redman is the better short yardage guy. This leaves Batch and/or Rainey. These guys could be very explosive from the backfield but they aren’t going to get you 3 tough yards.
So from a logical standpoint, is this really a team built to run the ball both effectively and more often than the recent past? Perhaps, especially if you look at Haley’s Kansas City offense where Jamaal Charles flourished his first year.
As has been mentioned a million times, Haley tends to adapt to what he is given in terms of talent and style of players. It is with this mindset that I just don’t see Haley being handed the keys to the Ferrari only to use it like a Mack truck.
Football players are creatures of habit and routine by nature. Repetition is such a huge part of the game and preparation that it is hard not to be and this is why I think guys like Roethlisberger and guard Willie Colon have made comments about “running the ball more.” If Haley and Mike Tomlin are stressing the run more in OTAs then why wouldn’t these guys think we are going to run the ball more?
This is where cooler heads like mine (shameless plug) prevail. I have said and will continue to say since the arrival of Haley that his offense will not be three yards and a cloud of dust. It will be an offense that can and will run the ball better when it has too, especially in the red zone where it failed horribly under Bruce Arians.
As a fan base that clearly seems to be divided over whether we should be running more or passing more there is one thing that is perfectly clear; we don’t know anything about what we already don’t know. Former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld has nothing on my use of ‘don’t know’ because I KNOW what we don’t know.
This is going to be a wait and see moment in Steelers’ history and the best thing the fan base can do is just be patient. Whether Ben throws for 4,500 yards and 30 touchdowns or we rush for over 2,000 yards is yet to be determined. Trying to translate the comments of players may require a Rosetta Stone membership.
What I do know for sure is ‘Rosetta Stone’ has gotten way too much play already in Pittsburgh.