Hines Ward recently said he'd be in favor of a more traditional running offense like we used to have; citing his main reason as that we had 4000 yd QB, 1000 yd rusher, and 2 1000 yd WR's and we still didn't make the playoffs last year. Tomlin has said he wants to get back to running the ball more efficiently in key situations. Colbert has said similar things as well. The offensive line, as we all know, would love to run the ball more often as any line worth it's weight would want.
So the question is, will we really turn back to traditional Steeler football with 3 yds and a cloud of dust, or will be still a pass happy group like last year, or somewhere in the middle? I think Tomlin's comments of running more efficiently in key situations means more than some might think. He knows we need to run but he also knows how effective our offense is in the passing game and how much Ben means to this team through the air. I'm quite certain he won't go completely in the opposite direction either. My best guess is that we'll be somewhere in the middle. There is too much talent on this team catching the ball to just run it all the time and not use those passing options. Ward, Wallace, Heath Miller, and Mendenhall out of the backfield is too tempting to go back to smash it down your throat and then pass when we have too type of deal, if you ask me.
There does need to be more of a commitment to the running game, especially in short yardage, where we all know we sucked last year. Russel was money 2 years ago in that role but when he left so did any short yardage advantage that we had. I would like to see us run more but at the same time we have become so potent through the air that you can't exactly abandon that either. We haven't had balance on this team really since Bettis retired. When Ben joined this team, we could run and pass, and during his last season and the run to SB XL we showed signs of life of becoming a real passing team to compliment his running in short yardage. Either way, there's no way you gather all this talent to throw the ball only to give up and just run again. If we can be balanced and be able to do both, there is no doubt we'll be back in the playoffs this season. If we don't do that we're screwed again.
IMO though, the old style Steeler offense, 3 yds and a cloud of dust, is indeed gone forever. Today's NFL doesn't allow you to just that; it's all about balance.