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View Full Version : Steelers offense still has an identity crisis



BlitzburghRockCity
09-15-2009, 02:07 PM
So what are the Pittsburgh Steelers really? Last year we had no identity as an offense and now this year, even though it's only the first game, we still have no idea what kind of offense we are. Defensively yeah we know who we are, and ST we know that too.

Arians and Tomlin are still trying to make us a power football team, as evidence from the continuous run up the gut plays that didn't work, the 3rd and short power set that fails, the new "bone" offense that fails, etc. If we're a passing team then so be it, which is in fact what we are right now, basically the AFC North version of the Colts ( using the pass to set up the run). That's what our strength is, it's what we won the SB with last year, and until we get a top flight offensive line and this team decides who the RB will be then then it is what it is.

You have to be able to convert on 3rd and short, there's no 2 ways around it. Russel was money for us last year and we really got better in that dept as the year went on but this year we don't have that option anymore so who's going to step up?

All I'm saying is we as fans, the media, and everybody else might as well get used to the fact of what we are now. We have WAY too many weapons on offense now to ever be the 3 yds and a cloud of dust. Our backs are fast, our WR's are solid, our TE is money, so why not embrace what we are, run with it?

Our line is the same as last year really so who's to say they will be THAT much better this year? In theory you want your guys to improve as time goes on, working more together should make you a better group, right? For most OL's yeah that is the case but this group is average at best and perhaps we're asking too much of them to be what we are used to seeing in years past?

LatrobePA
09-15-2009, 02:10 PM
I agree, I was talking to my old man about that at lunch...

BlacknGold Bleeder
09-15-2009, 02:14 PM
All we need is REDMAN !! :rolleyes: Lot of good points ya put up!! Seriously we seem to be better suited to do use the passing game more, but there is always a need to be able to pick up the tough one or two yards and to be successful we have to be able to do that !!

LatrobePA
09-15-2009, 02:22 PM
All we need is REDMAN !! :rolleyes: Lot of good points ya put up!! Seriously we seem to be better suited to do use the passing game more, but there is always a need to be able to pick up the tough one or two yards and to be successful we have to be able to do that !!

Yeppers

TampaSteelGirl
09-15-2009, 02:23 PM
All we need is REDMAN !! :rolleyes: Lot of good points ya put up!! Seriously we seem to be better suited to do use the passing game more, but there is always a need to be able to pick up the tough one or two yards and to be successful we have to be able to do that !!

Well I wouldn't say ALL we need is Redman however I was quite taken back they cut him. I thought he was an exciting youngin coming in here. He does need to come back up help out. I think everyone is still in the mindset that the Pittsburgh Steelers are a running team but teams change and players change and without a solid O line we aren't going to stay a running team again so I agree why not embrace what we have in our offense and go with it as TopGun says...We may get back to that powerful running game again but it wont' be with Willie Parker and Mendy in tow...Maybe with Moore and possibly Redman but we need to embrace what gifts we have now....GO STEELERS! :tt02:

Zachintosh66
09-15-2009, 02:23 PM
I agree with most TG except the
Russel was money for us last year IMO Russell was adequate at best.

But short yardage situations you HAVE to convert. And those start with the OL, they seem to pass block ok but were going to need to be able to pound ut once in a while for a yard or 2. Hell id even settle for loading up 2 TE's power I... and QB sneaking it... Ben is so tall if he falls forward his chances for getting the first are better than our running game sometimes.

The bottom line is... Pittsburgh used to strike fear into D's and Coaches on short yardage. Now no one fears our OL or running game. So if we load up as if were going to run and everyone knows it, more times than not we will be stopped. We simply dont have the OL or RB to just plow through people. If we are a passing team now, fine! Lets do it. But BA's needs to get creative during short yardage then.

cmerrifield
09-15-2009, 02:24 PM
After the Titans game, I am not sure the offense doesnt have an identity, just we as fans and our coaching staff need to embrace our personnel and talent. Every commentator I listen to says we need to get back to "old Steeler football." Why? If Wallace and Sweed continue to develop, then we have some of the best recievers, and as a group of 4 I think the best group, in all of football, add to that Miller and Big Ben, and our offense is great. We just have to embrace that "old Steeler football" is just that, Old Steeler football. I think this is the beginning of a new trend in Steeler football. Now, I would still like the O-line to get better, but I am just fine with never going back to 'old steeler football' with this personnel

BlitzburghRockCity
09-15-2009, 02:49 PM
I agree with most TG except the IMO Russell was adequate at best.

But short yardage situations you HAVE to convert. And those start with the OL, they seem to pass block ok but were going to need to be able to pound ut once in a while for a yard or 2. Hell id even settle for loading up 2 TE's power I... and QB sneaking it... Ben is so tall if he falls forward his chances for getting the first are better than our running game sometimes.

The bottom line is... Pittsburgh used to strike fear into D's and Coaches on short yardage. Now no one fears our OL or running game. So if we load up as if were going to run and everyone knows it, more times than not we will be stopped. We simply dont have the OL or RB to just plow through people. If we are a passing team now, fine! Lets do it. But BA's needs to get creative during short yardage then.

By "money" I mean that when he was brought into the game for 3rd and short, 4th and short, goal line he was able to convert most the time ( I don't have the numbers right now off my head ). I was upset when we cut Russel last year for that very reason, he had a knack for finding the seam in the line and busting his way through it for the first down. We know Parker can't do that and it remains to be determined if Mendenhall will be able to do that.

Speaking of Mendenhall, this kid is not going to get better if we keep leaving him in for 1 or 2 plays then pulling him out. You need to put him in for a whole series at a time and leave him in there. He's big enough to be able to power his way through as well as bursts to the outside.

BlackGold4vr
09-15-2009, 02:50 PM
We have all heard the saying that you are only as strong as your weakest link. Well ours is the O-line. They can't run block for ****. If you have a DVR replay the game and key your attention to the blocks (or lack thereof), the number of plays with a defender disrupting the play in the background, and the intended gap the RB was supposed to run into. On almost every play blocks were completely missed or not effective. There is nothing wrong with our RB's. Any one of them could succeed behind a better blocking O-line. Many teams including the Steelers of the 90's have proven that behind a dominant O-line any back can succeed. As far as singing their praises for the protection of Ben in the fourth quarter, that was all more related to the no-huddle exhaustion of the defense more than our effective blocking. If we had huddled and given the defense a chance to make substitutions you would have seen much more pressure on Ben. In the last 8-10 years we have made drafting O-lineman a bottom priority in the draft. It is now showing. I have already written about this in the past.

The O-line that Bettis ran behind consisted of 3 - 1st round draft picks (Faneca, Hartings, & Simmons), 1 - 2nd round pick (Marvel Smith), and 1 - 3rd round pick (Max Starks). Average draft position 38.4

This O-line consists of 2 - 3rd round picks (Starks, Essex), 1 - 4th round pick (Colon), and 2 - 6th round picks (Kemoeatu, Hartwig). Average draft position 138

You get out what you put in. Can't expect to draft a bunch of O-line afterthoughts and ever expect to get star performances out of them. If all late round O-line picks eventually developed into solid performers everybody would wait until the late rounds to pick them. Obviously that is not the case and there is always a run on the most talented O-lineman in every years draft. Until we make the O-line a higher priority (which won't be anytime soon since we have resigned all these bums) we will continue to get the same results. Better get used to it! :yesnod:

BlitzburghRockCity
09-15-2009, 02:59 PM
You're exactly right, this line is average at best and has not been touched with a significant draft pick or FA pickup since the last few years of the Cowher era. We're paying for it now and we have been in recent history. That's why I mentioned that we are probably expecting too much out of this group. The OL is the most important part of your entire team, period. A good OL can make an average QB or RB like better than they are and play over their capabilities. A bad OL exposes everything.

In the 4th quarter when we huddled up inside the 10 yd line after running the hurry up offense through the entire drive, the Titans shut us down. We all saw it coming and sure enough it happened. It is what it is, this ain't your daddy's Steelers anymore for better or worse.

TampaSteelGirl
09-15-2009, 04:28 PM
Agreed! I'm pretty confident in saying that if the line does not improve this year we will draft OL, we really don't need much more except beefing up our D for the future but I think now is the time to draft OL. I can't imagine what we would need except this so no excuses next offseason. I think Limas will eventually be Santonio caliber given a couple more years. I contantly hear the commentators yap on about the running game, hey times are a changin! Steelers will now become a passing team. TG I totally agree with you in letting Mendy play more. Keep him in there pounding away...one change on offense would be getting rid of Arians!! We always play better with no huddle offense so we need to keep that going when the going gets rough out there..

Callax
09-15-2009, 04:31 PM
So what are the Pittsburgh Steelers really? Last year we had no identity as an offense and now this year, even though it's only the first game, we still have no idea what kind of offense we are. Defensively yeah we know who we are, and ST we know that too.

Arians and Tomlin are still trying to make us a power football team, as evidence from the continuous run up the gut plays that didn't work, the 3rd and short power set that fails, the new "bone" offense that fails, etc. If we're a passing team then so be it, which is in fact what we are right now, basically the AFC North version of the Colts ( using the pass to set up the run). That's what our strength is, it's what we won the SB with last year, and until we get a top flight offensive line and this team decides who the RB will be then then it is what it is.

You have to be able to convert on 3rd and short, there's no 2 ways around it. Russel was money for us last year and we really got better in that dept as the year went on but this year we don't have that option anymore so who's going to step up?

All I'm saying is we as fans, the media, and everybody else might as well get used to the fact of what we are now. We have WAY too many weapons on offense now to ever be the 3 yds and a cloud of dust. Our backs are fast, our WR's are solid, our TE is money, so why not embrace what we are, run with it?

Our line is the same as last year really so who's to say they will be THAT much better this year? In theory you want your guys to improve as time goes on, working more together should make you a better group, right? For most OL's yeah that is the case but this group is average at best and perhaps we're asking too much of them to be what we are used to seeing in years past?
I got tired of the obvious run formations that kept TRYING to run over the RG/RT THAT DID NOT WORK!!!
try mixing it up or go to Moore full time...
I know it was the first game, but we need a running attack to offset the passing attack, or the team will not be terribly successful in the long run.... (no pun intended)
at 3rd and goal at the 1 yard line, we should be able to move the ball on the ground to get a TD or a 1st down... something needs to be done...

Troyisabeast_43
09-15-2009, 04:41 PM
By "money" I mean that when he was brought into the game for 3rd and short, 4th and short, goal line he was able to convert most the time ( I don't have the numbers right now off my head ). I was upset when we cut Russel last year for that very reason, he had a knack for finding the seam in the line and busting his way through it for the first down. We know Parker can't do that and it remains to be determined if Mendenhall will be able to do that.

Speaking of Mendenhall, this kid is not going to get better if we keep leaving him in for 1 or 2 plays then pulling him out. You need to put him in for a whole series at a time and leave him in there. He's big enough to be able to power his way through as well as bursts to the outside.

I agree with the whole going to the pass thing TG and I made a thread about it the other day suggesting the Steelers start doing it on a permanent basis. I still think that Tomlin and Arians are not as cracked up with running the football and being a smash mouth football team as some might think. They are definitely not as cracked up about it as Bill Cowher was when he was still the head coach. I think they are more set on running an efficient offense that can make plays anyway possible and win ballgames. If that means throwing the ball more then running it at times or most of the time to get the W then Tomlin I feel will go with it. Tomlin is all about winning as he has said time and time again we all know that.

Im with you on Mendenhall as well TG it's time for the Steelers to start playing him more and giving him some chances on 3rd and shorts and on the goaline as well. For whatever reason they seem reluctant to use Mendy in any kind of situation especially during key parts of the game. That needs to change and it needs to change quickly. Mendenhall was a first round draft pick a year ago and was brought in here to be that big pounder and get the tough yards when need be. It's time to stop giving him 1 or 2 series a game and 4 or 5 carries a game and increase his work load during the game to a good number of carries and series played...

Zachintosh66
09-15-2009, 05:17 PM
Speaking of Mendenhall, this kid is not going to get better if we keep leaving him in for 1 or 2 plays then pulling him out. You need to put him in for a whole series at a time and leave him in there. He's big enough to be able to power his way through as well as bursts to the outside.

Amen... vs the titans they threw him in on 1/2nd down... the whole stadium knew he was getting the ball... titans stacked the line and stopped him. 3rd down here came Moore, guess what passing play

Viper1963
09-15-2009, 05:42 PM
I think we do have an identity, the coaching staff just needs to realize it and get over the "ghosts of Steelers past" and move on.

This is Ben's team now, and as soon as Ariens and Tomlin get on board with the no-huddle, instead of waiting until we are in dire straits, we'll be even more explosive.

Black@Gold Forever32
09-15-2009, 08:57 PM
Top Gun, you know for years that I have been screaming for the Steelers to become more of a passing team.......The weapons are there for this to happen....I also want to make one point....Ben does need to start passing defenses out of their run blitzes.......If Ben can improve on his deep ball with more consistency and starting hitting some deep bombs to Holmes, Wallace, or Sweed......Then teams would be more cautious and that could open things up for the running game.......I expect to see this happen this week against the Bears.......

K Train
09-15-2009, 08:59 PM
i stand by my statement and remain firm on the run game cant get worse and will be improved alot with a urlacher and pisa-free bears defense...they will find some success to build off of.

all i ask is that summers remains on the bench

Dean Denton
09-16-2009, 06:45 AM
We all new that because no changes were made in the off season to the OL, that this year was going to be more of the same. Ben can win these games for us, but the Def has to hold these teams to under 20...

yinzer
09-16-2009, 10:32 PM
Top Gun, you know for years that I have been screaming for the Steelers to become more of a passing team.......The weapons are there for this to happen....I also want to make one point....Ben does need to start passing defenses out of their run blitzes.......If Ben can improve on his deep ball with more consistency and starting hitting some deep bombs to Holmes, Wallace, or Sweed......Then teams would be more cautious and that could open things up for the running game.......I expect to see this happen this week against the Bears.......

spot on.

Woodson_DownUnder
09-17-2009, 01:43 AM
We all new that because no changes were made in the off season to the OL, that this year was going to be more of the same. Ben can win these games for us, but the Def has to hold these teams to under 20...

I agree whoeheartedly. The D holds the key in keeping the winning hopes alight each and every week. Below 13 would be the objective aim. (that's three scores at most).

What concerns me most is the O-line not giving Ben the protection to stay healthy. How many games last season did the Steelers O not allow a SACK/ knock-down of Big Ben?? One, maybe two max? That's not good enough. Teams will be coming at the Steelers twice as hard and it's quite obvious that the Ravens D will really crank it up next time as the O-line just can't stop the protection. Max Protection on the line is paramount. I believe the Steelers drafted Johnstone as a TE who can block and I hope Arians thinks more about such O-line protection instead of leaving things to chance late in the game as it can all (season) unfold quite quickly.

Dean Denton
09-17-2009, 03:49 AM
I agree whoeheartedly. The D holds the key in keeping the winning hopes alight each and every week. Below 13 would be the objective aim. (that's three scores at most).

What concerns me most is the O-line not giving Ben the protection to stay healthy. How many games last season did the Steelers O not allow a SACK/ knock-down of Big Ben?? One, maybe two max? That's not good enough. Teams will be coming at the Steelers twice as hard and it's quite obvious that the Ravens D will really crank it up next time as the O-line just can't stop the protection. Max Protection on the line is paramount. I believe the Steelers drafted Johnstone as a TE who can block and I hope Arians thinks more about such O-line protection instead of leaving things to chance late in the game as it can all (season) unfold quite quickly. I think the pass blocking did ok, its the run blocking that can suck a fart out of my ***. Two of those sacks were on Ben or just a coverage sacks. Two of them were just flat out jail breaks. So two sacks againsts the Titans Def is not all that bad. Ben is going to continue to get sacked because of the way he tries to extend the play. Thats fine as long as he doesn't get broke. You cant hold the ball for 6 or 7 seconds and think your not going to get hit. By the time we play the Ravens, Nov 29th, we should be playing better up front. Lets just hope the Bears dont bust us up like the Eagles did last year......

LatrobePA
09-17-2009, 09:42 AM
Here is Ben's answer when asked about the run game:

"I think some of it comes from that being what the Steelers always did in the past. I always say you have to keep up with the times. That’s kind of evolving into a passing offense - league wide. People talk about the Steelers and the run game because we want to be physical. When you want to be physical, people assume that’s the run game. But that can mean a lot of different things. I guess you can go all the way back to the ‘70s and we were a grind-it-out team. We’re not that ‘70s team. We’re our own identity and that includes a lot of no-huddle stuff. It’s been good."

~NFL From The Sidelines

75Steeler
09-17-2009, 10:12 PM
I too would be more comfortable with our O-line if Redman were in the mix. His short yardage skills are awesome. I just remind myself that Coach Tomlin is the coach for a reason, he knows what it takes to win in the NFL.

I'm just thankful we are not Panthers fans! There is a football team in crisis!

SteelersWoman
09-18-2009, 07:05 PM
http://bleacherreport.com/articles/255598-protect-ben-roethlisberger-all-other-steeler-priorities-are-secondary

by Mimi McCann (http://bleacherreport.com/users/103706-Mimi-McCann)



In the voluminous outpouring of analysis of the Steelers' running game that has followed the Steelers vs. Titans game last Thursday, what is missing is the amazing fact that the Steelers won.

True, I am unabashedly clinging to a silver lining but honestly, I feel that the 2008 Steelers would have lost that game had it been their season opener the previous September.

Looking back to the four losses suffered by the Steelers in the 2008 season, reasons can be found to applaud the progress that has been made by the team in the offseason and perhaps get our hopes back on track for a repeat.

Lets start with the first loss of last season, the nightmarish game against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field.

In last Thursday's season opener against the Tennessee Titans, Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was sacked for more total yards and threw more picks than in last year's week two against the Eagles.

Willie Parker's performance was one of the liabilities singled out as a strike against the Steelers' chance to repeat as Super Bowl champions this season.
Underscored by the fact that statistically, Parker's game was very
close to being identical to his performance in last year's week two fiasco against the Eagles in Philadelphia, we see that this lack of production on the ground cannot be allowed to continue.

In fact, it was also very close to his performance in the last season's loss to the Titans where he rushed for 19 total yards on 31 attempts, averaging 1.6 yards per carry.
Against the Eagles last year, Parker finished with 20 total yards on 13 attempts, averaging 1.5 yards per carry.
Last Thursday, Parker managed 19 yards on 13 attempts averaging 1.5 yards per carry.

Flipping it around, amazingly, Tennessee amassed more total passing and rushing yards in the 2009 opener than Philadelphia was able to manage as they manhandled the Steelers in 2008.

No doubt, we absolutely need a running game.

I do agree with Coach Tomlin that a win is a win and 20 years from now, we will indeed forget that we squeaked by the Titans but, without a running game, we are vulnerable week after week.

It appears however, that the fatal flaw to last year's team that reared its ugly head in their week two loss to the Eagles was the unforgivable eight sacks of Ben Roethlisberger.

The total loss of 35 yards doesn't begin to tell the story of how the repeated pounding took its toll on Roethlisberger, and prevented him from leading his team down the field when they needed him most. Of Roethlisberger's three turnovers in that game, two fumbles were cashed in resulting in two Eagles' field goals. The pick did not result in points because Bryant McFadden picked McNabb on the very next series.
Six points resulting from three turnovers is really not very bad in the grand scheme of things.

Comparing the two games, it appears that the main problem was that the sacks resulted in confusing a quarterback whose strength lies not just in his play making ability, but in his focus and confidence under pressure.

All four losses by the 2008 Steelers were suffered at the hands of their opponent's 4-3 defenses and all included pressure to the quarterback resulting in sacks or turnovers.

Willie Parker has been criticized for his lack of confidence that manifests itself in his indecisive running technique.

Last year, Parker had come off of an impressive return to Heinz Field when the Steelers marched into Philly in week two of the 2008 season.

If confidence issues alone caused his dismal lack of production, as has been suggested, it should not have factored into last year's game against the Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field. Parker had scored three touchdowns and rushed for 138 yards in the Steelers' 2008 season opener, he should have felt pretty good going into week two.

In last year's Philly game, Parker's production was evidence of a detrimental weakness in the running game but the eight sacks on Roethlisberger brought about the ultimate downfall for the Steelers.

This year, the offensive line has something to prove and they are playing with their hearts on their sleeves.

Thursday night, after Ben's Hail Mary at the end of the first half resulted in a jump ball being picked by cornerback Cortland Finnegan, we saw big 350 lb. Max Starks chase an 188 lb. player 80 yards down field to tackle him at the Pittsburgh 20 yd. line and save a touchdown at the half.

Since there are still questions as to whether it was worth it to pay Starks when the Steelers signed him this summer, that should answer a few of them.
The second half featured an offensive line that provided time for Roethlisberger to stand and make decisions.

Ben has shown that even without time and space, he has been able to be decisive. How much more effective will he be with the improved pass protection.
The offense started slow but they clicked in early enough in the game, early in the season.

I believe that there is improvement in two of the three areas of weakness in the Steelers game. I would add pass protection by the offensive line to improved punt and kick returns.

That still leaves our running game and we are no doubt vulnerable without vast improvement in that area.

The difference is, this year we may eke out some victories in games that we may have lost last year.

This week, we travel to Soldier Field to face another tough 4-3 defense in the Chicago Bears, though there are gaps in their armor to be exploited.

The newly re-tooled 3-4 Packer defense was able to pressure Cutler. We will not have Troy Polamalu, the interception machine, but LeBeau can create pressure.

Confusing Cutler will certainly take some heat off of our secondary and that will help tremendously with Troy Polamalu on the sidelines.

The Bears' loss of linebacker Brian Urlacher enabled Packers's running back Ryan Grant to make some progress up the middle which is good news for Parker.
The season is still young and it is way too early to panic, but when you compare the Eagles game from last year, that included poor running stats for Parker, we were fortunate to come out of last Thursday's game winners.

Lets hope that the Steelers' coaching staff will do whatever it takes to get the running game on track.

In the mean time, give props to the O-line for protecting Ben in the second half of their season opener. They helped to save us from losing on Thursday, and if an early loss can creep in and become poison to the psyche of a team trying to repeat, they may have just helped to save our season.