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  1. #1
    Chairman of the Board Iron City South's Avatar
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    Fear of Flying

    Don't be afraid to fly

    By Adam Gretz
    For SteelCityInsider.com
    Posted Aug 18, 2007

    Steelers fans seem to be afraid of Bruce Arians's new offense, but this Steelers team is different from the 2003 version.

    While new offensive coordinator Bruce Arians and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger were drawing up plays in the dirt this off-season, in an effort to open things up in the offense, small pockets of the Pittsburgh Steelers' nation were tearing things apart at the thought of a repeat of 2003.
    During that forgettable season, the Steelers found themselves with a new toy; something that hadn’t been a significant part of their offense in quite some time. Knute Rockne called it the forward pass. The Steelers threw it, threw it a lot, and threw it some more - they even threw it 40 times on one infamous Sunday against the New York Jets, when the Meadowlands resembled the Arctic Circle.

    Honestly, it didn’t work all that well. The following year, things returned to normal. The Steelers ran the ball. The Steelers won. Everybody was happy. And now this? Talk of four wide receivers on the field? No-Huddle offense? Opening things back up? Blasphemy, you say.

    Early last week, I saw one prominent member of the Pittsburgh media remind us of 2003 when talking about this potential new Steelers offense. “It’s just not a way to win football games,” were his exact words.

    Twice this week alone I had conversations around the water cooler about how this could be a bad idea.

    I think it all comes down to two things:

    1. Our last memories of a Steelers team throwing the football are of Tommy Maddox tossing passes to the other team.

    2. An identity crisis. These are the Pittsburgh Steelers! Tough, knock the snot out of you, we don’t want your wimpy finesse stuff around here. Telling these fans their 3-yards-a- cloud-of-dust football team are going to, “open things up a little bit,” is like taking a fan base that prides itself on not needing a giant scoreboard to tell it when the time is right to make noise, and shoving a brand new mascot down its throats.

    Not that we should be concerned about any of this.

    First, the notion that this is no way to win is just slightly flawed. Going back over the last seven Super Bowls, nine of the fourteen participants had a pass/run ratio which favored the pass, including four Champions (The 2006 Colts, 2003 Patriots, 2002 Buccaneers and 2001 Patriots).

    Second, and perhaps more importantly, these Pittsburgh Steelers are not the 2003 Pittsburgh Steelers.

    The 2003 Steelers were not built to throw the football. They were built to pound Jerome Bettis at the defense 30 times - until they couldn’t stand it anymore - and then helplessly watch him rip off a 25-yard run in the fourth quarter to seal the deal.

    The quarterback was a career journeyman, whose best season on a football field came in a now defunct league, which was run by a wrestling guru. The running back situation was a disaster wrapped inside of a nightmare, while the tight end spots on the roster might as well have been left blank.

    The biggest difference between the two teams is the quarterback position. Ben Roethlisberger is not Tommy Maddox. When Roethlisberger keeps himself out of the hospital, he’s capable of doing some pretty spectacular things - think 2005 playoffs spectacular.

    Entering this season, Roethlisberger has the most yards per pass attempt of any Quarterback in the NFL (minimum 1,000 career attempts) since Sid Luckman. That’s some pretty elite company.

    Just for laughs:

    Ben Roethlisberger – 8.3

    Peyton Manning – 7.7

    Tom Brady – 7.0

    Carson Palmer – 7.4

    John Elway – 7.1

    Joe Montana – 7.5

    Troy Aikman – 7.0

    Ken Anderson – 7.3

    Ken Stabler – 7.4

    Jim Kelly – 7.4

    Frank Tarkenton – 7.3

    In his first two seasons, Roethlisberger averaged 8.9 yards per attempt each year. Tom Brady has never averaged eight yards per attempt in a single season in his career. Peyton Manning has done it twice, and only once did he top 8.9.

    Now, before you tell me I’m crazy for suggesting Roethlisberger is better than any of those guys, I’m not suggesting that. Merely pointing out what type of talent we’re dealing with here and what he’s capable of doing in the right situation. And this could be the right situation.

    Willie Parker is everything Amos Zereoue was supposed to be as a player, and perhaps more. Heath Miller (and hopefully Matt Spaeth) adds a dimension the Steelers haven’t had since Eric Green, while the wide receiver position is setting itself up to be quite deep.

    This offense has a lot of potential, and the failures of 2003 should not take away from what it has to offer.

  2. #2
    Draft Pick seth_westover's Avatar
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    we got a chance to be not only one of the best defenses as always, but one of the best offenses too!! im soo psyched about this year!! i dont want to get ahead of myself since its only the preseason but i say we're gonna be 11-5 division winners and on the way to the 6th ring! screw the cowboys and niners!! we're gettin there first!!
    HERE WE GO!! HERE WE GO!! HERE WE GO STEELERS!! HERE WE GO!! PITTSBURGH'S GOIN TO THE SUPERBOWL!! We're gonna be the first to 6!!!

  3. #3
    SA's Biggest Fan
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    As long as our O line holds up to give Big Ben a CHANCE to throw, we'll be ok. I'm just not so sold on the idea that's gonna happen after seein' what I've seen in preseason games.

    I'm tryin to stay positive and think that once our starters are given a chance to gel they'll be rock solid--and I'll leave it at that Besides, what other choice do we have? We've certainly got nothing even CLOSE to the Bus to drive the ball in.

    I'll be able to make a better assessment after the regular season starts--I hate to put TOO much emphasis on preseason (which is what I've been doin since we've not had a chance to see anything else yet)...

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    BlitzburghRockCity's Avatar
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    I like our running emphasis and I hope Bruce is smart enough to realize that we still need to run the ball. Im sure he is and Tomlin has said from day 1 at his press conference that we need to run the ball and stop the run. Having said that Edgerrin James for example racked up tons of yards in the Indy type of offense that we're trying to employ so I have no doubt that we'll still run the ball but passing with efficiency when we want too and not just when it's 3rd and 20 will be a welcome change that I can't wait to see.

  5. #5
    GO STEELERS BRICKTOWN BEAST's Avatar
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    Well I remember Tomlin saying that he loves running the ball and stopping the run. Its a different NFL from 5 years ago theres barely any run down your throut kinds of teams anymore especially when you have a great quarterback TE and WRs. I loved watching us just pick up chunks of yards on the grounds and just knowing from the start this is our game.

  6. #6
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    One thing I have noticed is that we still have been running the ball more, but we've narrowed that run/pass ration abit and we are taking more shots down the field.

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    Space Invaders Champion, Asteroids Champion NOVA STEELERS's Avatar
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    I believe we will still mix it up and run when the team used to pass and pass when the team use to run. Go at teams from new formations and different personnel etc....... I am looking forward to the new look offense......

  8. #8
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    It doesn't matter what the mix is as long as both are effective! When one or the other becomes ineffective they both suffer. You cannot win without a running game in the NFL and teams who enjoy success usually do so with a good running game. It has always been about BALANCE.

    How many superbowls have the Eagles won? McNabb is a great quarterback and for the last 7 or 8 years the Eagles have been primarily a passing team. At one point they played in 4 straight NFC championship games. So the passing game might have been good enough to get them there, it was never enough when they met up with more balanced teams.

    I am tired of hearing why the Steelers can't run because we no longer have the Bus! Neither do 31 other football teams. Jerome Bettis was blessed with a tailbacks feet and a fullbacks body. Barry Sanders, Emmit Smith, Tony Dorsett all of these guys were small tailbacks with speed. You could take LaDanian Tomlinson and put him on another team and he wouldn't break a thousand yards. Offensive lines must win their battles on the line of scrimmage when run-blocking. Which means driving opponents away from the gap where the RB is supposed to run through. How many times does Willie run to where a hole is supposed to be and there is nothing but a pile of bodies there? It doesn't take a big hole and you don't even have to hold the block for very long........but there does need to be A HOLE.

    The success of this new spread and no-huddle offense will greatly depend on the success we have when we do run the ball. 1 and 2 yards gains will not cut it. Play action passing is predicated on having a successful running game. Without it nobody will be putting 7 and 8 men in the box to stop your run.

    Then there is also the need to be able to speed a game up and use the clock when you are ahead. Nothing eats clock like a good ground game. Teams that don't have that ability have problems with other teams late game comebacks.
    http://www.rushlimbaugh.com/home/daily/site_082009/home.parcoltop11.35513.ImageFile.jpg

  9. #9
    Veteran GoBenGo's Avatar
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    QUOTE=BlackGold4vr;135406]It doesn't matter what the mix is as long as both are effective! When one or the other becomes ineffective they both suffer. You cannot win without a running game in the NFL and teams who enjoy success usually do so with a good running game. It has always been about BALANCE.

    How many superbowls have the Eagles won? McNabb is a great quarterback and for the last 7 or 8 years the Eagles have been primarily a passing team. At one point they played in 4 straight NFC championship games. So the passing game might have been good enough to get them there, it was never enough when they met up with more balanced teams.

    I am tired of hearing why the Steelers can't run because we no longer have the Bus! Neither do 31 other football teams. Jerome Bettis was blessed with a tailbacks feet and a fullbacks body. Barry Sanders, Emmit Smith, Tony Dorsett all of these guys were small tailbacks with speed. You could take LaDanian Tomlinson and put him on another team and he wouldn't break a thousand yards. Offensive lines must win their battles on the line of scrimmage when run-blocking. Which means driving opponents away from the gap where the RB is supposed to run through. How many times does Willie run to where a hole is supposed to be and there is nothing but a pile of bodies there? It doesn't take a big hole and you don't even have to hold the block for very long........but there does need to be A HOLE.

    The success of this new spread and no-huddle offense will greatly depend on the success we have when we do run the ball. 1 and 2 yards gains will not cut it. Play action passing is predicated on having a successful running game. Without it nobody will be putting 7 and 8 men in the box to stop your run.

    Then there is also the need to be able to speed a game up and use the clock when you are ahead. Nothing eats clock like a good ground game. Teams that don't have that ability have problems with other teams late game comebacks. [/QUOTE]

    I think we have an awful lot of talent and size. I have not been impressed with the output so far. These guys should be opening holes. It,imo, seems like a lot of linemen make the tackles on our backs. If FW is able to hit the secondary unmolested , oooooooooooh, imagine, maybe even a 75yd td run!
    With the quality of our backs, and the quality of our line, on paper looks like a scary good running team. But they do not dominate like that. Media says that it is because we don't have Bus-type back. Well when you have been blocking as the oline has- no holes- I imagine a pounding back would be essential.
    The tools are there, now, we just need to use the hammer as a hammer, and not as a saw.
    I use the term "we" as a diehard steeler fan, I'M JUST DOWN LIKE THAT
    "Like a midget at a urinal, I knew I had to be on my toes." - Lt. Frank Drevin

  10. #10
    2nd String DBR96A's Avatar
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    Like I said in my first post on this site...

    We all know that a 61/39 pass/run ratio is unbalanced. But guess what? So is a 39/61 pass/run offense, by mathematical definition. We all say we want "balance," but how many of us really mean it? True balance entails a difference of no more than 10 percent between the run and the pass. A 39/61 pass/run ratio is a difference of 22 percent. That's an UNBALANCED offense, and it needs to change.
    http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v437/DBR96/Sports%20gallery/Pittsburgh%20sports/Pittsburgh%20Steelers%20-%206X%20Super%20Bowl%20champions/PGH256A.jpg
    Six Lombardi Trophies: Not coming soon to a city near you.

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