Friday, November 02, 2007
By Gerry Dulac, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
It was a bold day for offensive coordinator Bruce Arians, and it had nothing to do with his play-calling or his game plan for the Baltimore Ravens.
First, he said Ravens safety Ed Reed is better than Troy Polamalu, a comment that might be considered sacrilegious in this town.
Then he guaranteed the Steelers will be able to run the ball against the Ravens when the teams meet Monday night in Heinz Field.
Willie Parker, who leads all National Football League running backs with five 100-yard games, was held to 50 yards on 23 carries in two games against the Ravens last season. Arians said that won't happen again, even though the Ravens have the league's No. 2 rush defense.
"Partly, it was us; we took a pass-first mentality to Baltimore and it backfired," Arians said yesterday after practice. "Last year was last year. All I'm worried about is this year. We're going to run the football, make no bones about it."
Asked if that meant attempt to run the football, Arians said, "No, we're going to run the football."
But his comment about Polamalu, a three-time Pro Bowl selection and the youngest member of the Steelers' 75th anniversary team, might be even more shocking.
"Ed's a great player," Arians said of Reed, a thee-time Pro Bowl selection and the NFL's defensive player of the year in 2004. "I personally think he's the best. I love Troy and I think he's good, but Ed is really good."