If you haven’t come to the realization that the Pittsburgh Steelers are a pass-first team then perhaps you’ve been watching re-runs of the Seventies’ Steelers. Art Rooney II can say Ben Roethlisberger needs to ‘tweak his game’ all he wants to but I didn’t see anything that needed tweaking yesterday in the 34-31 loss to Oakland. You want to do some tweaking Mr. Rooney? I suggest you go down the hall and have a chat with Kevin Colbert, Mike Tomlin and Dick LeBeau, but I’m not ranting on the defense today. My colleague will handle that. This is about the offense…
Ben Roethlisberger deserved a better fate yesterday. He played an outstanding game, kept the team in the lead, and yet still got blasted by some for not rescuing the defense on a final drive. Yes, it has been awhile since Ben has led one of his usual 4th quarter comebacks, but he didn’t fumble the ball away like Antonio Brown did. He didn’t limp off the field as Marcus Gilbert does on a weekly basis leaving a rookie in Kelvin Beachum in there to get assaulted by the Raiders’ defensive line. Roethlisberger did everything he was supposed to do and more yesterday but people refuse to admit what is so glaringly obvious. This is a pass-first team.
The Running Attack is Lacking
You want a clear sign the Steelers have zero confidence in their running game? They had no idea who to go with yesterday at running back. Isaac Redman for a bit, then Jonathan Dwyer who of course fumbled, then Baron Batch and a few carries by Chris Rainey as well. This tells me they have very little confidence in anyone at the moment and even less in their offensive line.
The running game is consistently bottled up at the point of attack and results in little or no gain. This tells me it’s an issue of continuity with the line and having to work with different players. I have applauded offensive line coach Sean Kugler for making guys learn multiple positions but I’m now to the point where I have to question just what is going on with this line. Since Kugler came on board, there have been injuries aplenty and little improvement in the overall play of the line.
Marcus Gilbert is becoming unreliable at the tackle position. He played pretty well in Oakland yesterday, but the injury bug hit and rookie Kelvin Beachum came in and was abused worse than a rented mule. Gilbert needs to stay on the field. Since last year, he has come out of nearly half the games he has played in with one injury or another. If this line is ever going to properly come together consistency must be had and it just isn’t there.
Passing the Ball to Run the Ball
Football is a game where history and tradition are very important but sometimes they can get in the way of what a team needs to do in order to be successful. Todd Haley was brought in to apparently run the ball better and get us in the end zone more often from the red zone. The latter two goals he has successfully accomplished through the first three games, but the one issue Mr. Rooney so desperately wanted attention paid to is still lacking. It doesn’t mean you can’t have an offense that scores points and takes time off the clock though.
This team has lead the time of possession in all three games so far this season and has done it with a passing attack, not running the ball. Apparently the New England Patriots can throw every down and win 18 games using a passing attack but if we do it it doesn’t jibe with tradition so screw it!
Let Ben Roethlisberger run this offense the way he has the first three weeks of the season. The short passing game is working and it is working well. It keeps the pressure off of an average offensive line and gets the ball into the hands of play-makers. Hopefully the defense can get healthy and make the appropriate changes because the passing offense is just fine thank you.