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alittlejazzbird
06-06-2007, 12:29 PM
What I think of Mark Madden is not fit for printing in a civilized forum such as ours....but I have to give credit where it is due, and I think he makes some good observations in this column from the Beaver County Times. One particularly interesting nugget:

What Roethlisberger didn't say is that Cowher spent a long time making sure that he, the head coach, was the biggest star the Steelers had, and wasn't about to cede that to Roethlisberger.

Don't get me wrong, I was a Cowher fan throughout his tenure, and I'll remain one as long as he's not coaching an AFC North team. But it does make you think....


Time To Modernize Steelers' Offense
By Mark Madden

When Steelers offensive coordinator Bruce Arians appeared on my radio show to espouse the virtues of his new offense, his plans actually seemed believable.

A tight end lining up at fullback? Believable. Spreading out the defense to give Willie Parker more gaps to work with? Believable. A base formation that uses two receivers, two tight ends and one back? Believable. The tight end position totaling 90 catches? Believable. The talents of quarterback Ben Roethlisberger being maximized? Believable. Being less predictable? Believable.

Yes, Arians' blueprint seemed believable. Not because Arians is an offensive genius. But because Bill Cowher is no longer around.

Cowher accomplished a lot (although probably not as much as he should have). But, with few exceptions, Cowher was ultraconservative, unconditionally wed to smashmouth football. He pounded the ball vertically even if it meant hammering square pegs into round holes. Cowher opened things up with Tommy Maddox at quarterback in 2003. The Steelers went 6-10, which made Cowher even more rigid thereafter.

Arians admits he would have had trouble making drastic changes under Cowher. Cowher's departure is thus fortunate, because it's long past time for the Steelers' offense to modernize. To do what other teams have been doing for years. Arians can (and might) still base his offense primarily on the run. But the offense promises to be much less predictable, something Roethlisberger cited on my show as being a problem.

Being loyal to certain concepts is fine. But you need to use your weapons.

Under Cowher, Heath Miller would have disappeared statistically, just like Mark Bruener, a talented tight end who was coached into mediocrity. Parker would have been used as a power runner, which contradicts his strengths. Santonio Holmes would have been either underused or turned into yet another possession receiver. It's an indictment of the Steelers offense under Cowher that stiffs like Nate Washington and Cedrick Wilson had better chances to excel than Miller.

Most significantly, Cowher would have never used Roethlisberger properly. The relationship between Cowher and Roethlisberger was strained from day one, and it was never going to get any better. Roethlisberger recently told Sports Illustrated that Cowher treated him like a "young kid," and that it was always going to be that way with Cowher.

What Roethlisberger didn't say is that Cowher spent a long time making sure that he, the head coach, was the biggest star the Steelers had, and wasn't about to cede that to Roethlisberger.

Smashmouth football dilutes individual glory. That might not have been Cowher's main goal philosophically, but he probably considered it a nifty side effect.

Under Mike Tomlin and Arians, Roethlisberger will blossom. Without Cowher, Roethlisberger will blossom.

Considering that, Cowher's departure was an absolute necessity.

Arians isn't reinventing the wheel, or even offensive football. He'll seem like Mouse Davis to the locals, but he's merely making the Steelers catch up to the rest of the NFL.

Roethlisberger is the biggest talent the Steelers have, and easily the team's most important player. Maximizing what he can do is the only way the team can contend for the playoffs in 2007.

The Steelers' veterans would have preferred that Ken Whisenhunt or Russ Grimm had replaced Cowher, something Alan Faneca figures to remind us a couple hundred times during training camp. But elevating a Cowher assistant would have made keeping the status quo more likely. Not the status quo of 2005's Super Bowl season, but the status quo of 2006's 8-8 campaign.

The Steelers needed change, and not minimal change. The Steelers got one for the thumb despite their ancient approach, not because of it.

Bill Cowher did a lot for the Steelers. History will someday note that one of the biggest favors Cowher did the franchise was quitting when he did.

http://www.timesonline.com/site/news.cfm?newsid=18421874&BRD=2305&PAG=461&dept_id=478568&rfi=6

DACEB
06-06-2007, 12:54 PM
Cowher accomplished a lot (although probably not as much as he should have). But, with few exceptions, Cowher was ultraconservative, unconditionally wed to smashmouth football. He pounded the ball vertically even if it meant hammering square pegs into round holes. Under Cowher, Heath Miller would have disappeared statistically, just like Mark Bruener, a talented tight end who was coached into mediocrity. Parker would have been used as a power runner, which contradicts his strengths. Santonio Holmes would have been either underused or turned into yet another possession receiver. It's an indictment of the Steelers offense under Cowher that stiffs like Nate Washington and Cedrick Wilson had better chances to excel than Miller.

Mark Madden or not this all sounds pretty accurate does'nt it.

The first line says it all for me. Cowher was a good coach BUT......

Welcome to a new era of Steeler football!!!!

Jeremy
06-06-2007, 01:00 PM
Why is a former wrestling announcer writing anything about a real sport like pro football? Madden follows true to his form by taking several cheap shots at Cowher now that he's gone. He's a whiny piece of trash who doesn't deserve the attention he gets.

tony hipchest
06-06-2007, 01:13 PM
He's a whiny piece of trash who doesn't deserve the attention he gets.

that may be true but this article is still pretty much spot on.

i thought i would miss the stability and the chance to always contend that cowher provided. however, just like a player, there was no upside. what we saw is what we get. it was time, and with tomlin there is now upside added to our great talent. this article is well done with alot of great point.

russ or ken would not have brought any upside.

smashing square pegs in a round hole. (especially with willie)

holmes woulda been turned into another possession wr. (he probably woulda got bored and wanted out)

heath was being turned into another breuner. (watching winslow and heap, im sure he would get pissed and eventually want to leave via free agency)

roethlisberger was regressing, not progressing. (its a shame a qb gets a label as someone who can only manage a game and not win it after only their 1st year in the league, especially after what he did in miami of ohio)

DACEB
06-06-2007, 01:20 PM
Why is a former wrestling announcer writing anything about a real sport like pro football? Madden follows true to his form by taking several cheap shots at Cowher now that he's gone. He's a whiny piece of trash who doesn't deserve the attention he gets.

Nevermind Madden, I am curious to know Jeremy if you find any truth to the article.

Are there any valid points in your opinion?

Livinginthe past
06-06-2007, 01:20 PM
Im not Cowhers biggest fan (I still think he was a very good coach though) but to accuse him of playing a Steelers 'smashmouth' style in order to further his own profile is the talk of a mad man.

As far as I am aware the smashmouth style was popular in Pittsburgh before Cowher arrived - it what he was comfortable with and what he seemed to resort to in times of pressure.

The criticism hardly seems logical when you consider that a more balanced or QB friendly offense (or whatever style of play this article is advocating as an alternative) may have resulted in a couple more rings and therefore more personal glory for Cowher.

From what I remember the Steelers managed ok relying on a smothering D and a powerful running game in 2004 - yet the authors memory seems to only recall the 2006 Steelers team.

Its a lousy article for a number of reasons - losing a coach of Cowhers caliber and replacing him with a guy who is unproven at HC (outside of press conferences) is far from a sign of nailed on future success.

DACEB
06-06-2007, 02:19 PM
Im not Cowhers biggest fan (I still think he was a very good coach though) but to accuse him of playing a Steelers 'smashmouth' style in order to further his own profile is the talk of a mad man.
As far as I am aware the smashmouth style was popular in Pittsburgh before Cowher arrived.

I think the majority of people here, myself included, love the tough Steelers 'smashmouth' style. The point to be made here is the fact of Cohwer not coaching to the players strengths, the square peg in the round hole discussion (or did you miss that part).

- it was what he was comfortable with and what he seemed to resort to in times of pressure.

That my friend is called 'puckering up' where I come from, or 'choking' or as the article pointed out 'being far to predictable'.

The article clearly is taking a shot at Cowher, but nevertheless brings up valid points that any Steelers fan would recognize.

Dynasty
06-06-2007, 02:57 PM
I think Cowher was a really good coach, but he was definately not a great one. This is partially because of some of the reasons Madden brings up.

Jeremy
06-06-2007, 03:05 PM
Nevermind Madden, I am curious to know Jeremy if you find any truth to the article.

Are there any valid points in your opinion?

No. Smashmouth football wins championships. If Madden thinks that Ben is on the level of Manning or Brady, he should be tested for drugs. The team was built to run a certain style of offense. Besides, anyone who's played the game knows that players who chase individual glory often end up hurting their teams.

Like I said, Madden is just another pathetic wannabe piece of trash who talks about people when they're not around to defend themselves. His article has no valid points and should be filed under fat piece of trash hates more succesful people.

tony hipchest
06-06-2007, 03:13 PM
Like I said, Madden is just another pathetic wannabe piece of trash who talks about people when they're not around to defend themselves. His article has no valid points and should be filed under fat piece of trash hates more succesful people. kinda like youre doing, right? lol. seriously, once you sift through what seems like some personal issues madden may have cowher there are some "valid point".

what would you say invalidates these:

Being loyal to certain concepts is fine. But you need to use your weapons.

Under Cowher, Heath Miller would have disappeared statistically, just like Mark Bruener, a talented tight end who was coached into mediocrity. Parker would have been used as a power runner, which contradicts his strengths. Santonio Holmes would have been either underused or turned into yet another possession receiver. It's an indictment of the Steelers offense under Cowher that stiffs like Nate Washington and Cedrick Wilson had better chances to excel than Miller.


are you saying you dont need to use your weapons? power running is willies strength? mark bruener wasnt talented? stiffs like wilson and cedric werent given more chances to excel?

paw-n-maul-u
06-06-2007, 03:32 PM
This article pretty much nails it right on the head. We drafted Ben in hopes of him becoming an elite QB. This coaching staff will give him that oppurtunity, whereas Cowher's staff might have held him back a bit.

Holmes hands/speed/playmaking ability would have gone completely to waste. This guy is going to be big time if used right. a perfect complement to Ward.

And miller, it seems like every time he touches the ball, good things happen. Am I alone on this? I remember watching his rookie season with maddox in the JAX game (i know, i know, one of the worst memories ever, rasheen mathis pick-six to end the game that dumb bumbling maddox), and i just thought, this guy is going to be special. His hands/size/strength ... this guy should be creating terrible mismatches that have D-coordinators up all night scratching their head and game planning for him. instead, it's Heath Miller the left tackle. ... he should have 10+ TD's and around 60 catches a year. He just wasn't utilized right.

As far as our o-line. Not really much we can do. I think we need to rework marvels contract, move him back to the right, draft our LT next year ... pick up a guard in round two. and we should be pretty much set.

... and good thing next years draft is loaded with top-end OL talent. but yeah, this article (minus his personal animosities towards cowher) hit the bullseye.

Jeremy
06-06-2007, 03:47 PM
Mark Bruener, a talented tight end who was coached into mediocrity

I stopped taking him seriously after I read that.

I'll e-mail Mark Madden right now and tell him he's a fat piece of shit, but he'd probably eat the computer before he could read it.

Livinginthe past
06-06-2007, 03:47 PM
I think the majority of people here, myself included, love the tough Steelers 'smashmouth' style. The point to be made here is the fact of Cohwer not coaching to the players strengths, the square peg in the round hole discussion (or did you miss that part).

Yeah, and thats why I never raised the issue of 'square pegs in round holes' - because I agreed with it.

My point was that the accusation of Cowher sticking to the smashmouth game to stop a QB from grabbing all the limelight is a preposterous one.

That my friend is called 'puckering up' where I come from, or 'choking' or as the article pointed out 'being far to predictable'.

The article clearly is taking a shot at Cowher, but nevertheless brings up valid points that any Steelers fan would recognize.

Again, plenty of posters will testify that I have been critical of Cowhers in-game management - the only difference is that I did it while he was still coach.

As a fan of a team that won AFCCG's against Cowher due, in no small part, to Cowhers stubbornness and lack of ability to game plan on the fly its something that I also recognise.

Atlanta Dan
06-06-2007, 04:05 PM
Madden (who as an exercise in downward mobility is now writing for the Beaver Times after the P-G canned him after about a year as a columnist) has some points but it of course is in the context of "I never liked Cowher now that he is gone" mantra that is the flavor of 2007.

10 playoff appearances, 6 AFC championship game appearances, 2 SB appearances and 1 SB ring in 15 seasons is not Lombardi, Noll, Walsh, Gibbs, or the New England version of Belichick, but it is probably the second best coaching performance of the FA era (Jimmy Johnson won with pre-FA players).

With the exception of Gibbs, all of the above coaches had great QBs when they won SBs.
When coaches do not have great QBs (Shanahan w/o Elway, Noll w/o Bradshaw, Belichick w/o Brady) they lose about 25 points off their coaching IQ.

Cowher did not have a potentially great QB to coach until Ben arrived. He went 16-2 and won the SB in the 2 years he had a healthy Ben. If Ben had been healthy in 2006 I think you would have seen the offense open up like it did in the three AFC road playoff wins prior to SB XL. But of course Ben was not healthy until at least November (around the time they went 6-2 the second half of the year).

Cowher coached within the limits of the players he had and was very successful with it. It is hard to open it up with a journeyman under center. Playoff teams dared O'Donnell and Kordell to beat them and we know how that usually turned out.

Cowher clearly had his limitations but the law of averages says we probably will be wishing for those limitations and the agony of losing AFC championships as opposed to going 7-9 or calling a 1 and out playoff appearance a successful season in a few years.

Let's actually see a down played before we decide how lucky we are to have a new coaching staff.

tony hipchest
06-06-2007, 04:37 PM
good points dan. while it sometimes does seem like cowher was fired it was a money issue, much like porter. i think cowher was a great coach, especially defensively. people like to talk about cowhers x's and o's (especially in the big game) but in 2001, the steelers had their best record 13-3 tops in the afc and a 3rd ranked offense and number 1 defense. this is with a banged up bettis who lead the league in rushing until the viking game and kordell stewart who finally had a qb coach in his 5 year career.

despite no running game and kordells 3 int's the steelers were easilly in place to go to the superbowl. 2 special team meltdowns prevented that.

last year ben had his best camp ever and the offensive playbook was going to be opened up. bens accident and wards hammy hurt alot. we still saw some great offensive plays and amazing passing against KC, and atlanta.

i cant blame cowher for being loyal, lenient, preferential to his veterans. most clubs would not have had jerome around once staley was signed. but this may have led to youngsters being brought along a little too slowly. in the end the talent may have started to outgrow cowhers conservative approach.

ive noted all the similarity in the past between santonio holmes and t. holt. i dont think holt would ever put up holt numbers in this offense. thats not too say it was a bad offense. it was a proven method to get a 10 pt. lead and sit on the ball. 100-1-1 going into last year. unfortunately w/o jerome we finally started losing those games last season. there were plenty of games where ben had 200 yds and 2 td's in the 1st half and jerome or duce had clean up duties.

willie shouldnt be asked to do that. heath is too good as a receiver to eventually be known as the best blocking TE in the game, and ben doesnt need to be just a game manager. if we get a 10 point lead, we need to turn it into a 17-20 point lead, get ben out of the game and put in the back up. getting that in game practice of putting the nail in the coffin early serves the young players well come playoff time. let them play!

oh, and i completely agree with litp. the cowher playing smashmouth to become a celebrity notion is completely bogus. he used what worked, maximized the talent we had, and gave the fans what they wanted. next year i think the fans want to see some offensive explosion. im not sure we wouldve gotten that without a change. however i have no doubt the arizona offense is going to be explosive with wiz there.

stlrtruck
06-06-2007, 04:49 PM
What gets me is that every coach has their style. Doesn't matter where it is or what team he's on. The Big Tuna, Coughlin, Vermeil, Ditka, Gibbs, and on and on. However, no one wants to come out and make an article like this until the coach is gone.

I for one was thankful for Cowher. He was a great coach. Yes he could have done more but we as Steelers fans knew what he was going to do and we loved then and we love it now. Cowher made one mistake in his career as the HC of the Steelers, he came back for an 8-8 campaign after winning the Super Bowl. Is it a curse of all Steelers HC that when they are about to retire they come back for a mediocre season to give the next coach a better chance at looking better (Noll went 9-7 in his final season before Cowher took the reigns and we all know how Cowher did before Tomlin took the reigns). Cowher and Tomlin both have to do better than their predecessor but with a mediocre season, is it that difficult?

Personally, I think if the HC and all the players get along, then something is wrong. Let's face it, with 15 years in the league, Cowher was bound to upset, offend, annoy, or piss one player or another off. Heck he even made one player cry on the sidelines. And although the Head coach is ultimately responsible for the team's direction, the coordinators are also responsible for the plays that are called. And the players are responsible for executing them to the best of their abilities every down!!! So before blaming Cowher, ask yourself, "Did I give 100% on every down?"

So if a few players had issues with the way Cowher ran things, I think that's ok. If they want to reference it now..that's ok too but I wish they would have done it like a man - Face to Face, before he left.

But when it's all said and done there's a few things we should all remember:
1. Cowher brought us ring #5
2. Cowher is no longer our head coach
3. Tomlin is our new leader
4. Tomlin will change things just like Cowher did
5. Tomlin won't get along with all the players either
6. Forget the past, look forward to the future -
Rings 6-7-8-9-10

BIGBENFASTWILLIE
06-06-2007, 07:28 PM
No. Smashmouth football wins championships. If Madden thinks that Ben is on the level of Manning or Brady, he should be tested for drugs. The team was built to run a certain style of offense. Besides, anyone who's played the game knows that players who chase individual glory often end up hurting their teams.

Like I said, Madden is just another pathetic wannabe piece of trash who talks about people when they're not around to defend themselves. His article has no valid points and should be filed under fat piece of trash hates more succesful people.

YOU ARE WRONG!!!!

Jeremy
06-06-2007, 09:07 PM
YOU ARE WRONG!!!!

Thank you for the clever and insightful bit of posting. My life is much richer because of your wit and intelligence. I'm sure your parents are very proud.

DACEB
06-07-2007, 09:01 AM
when it's all said and done there's a few things we should all remember:
1. Cowher brought us ring #5
2. Cowher is no longer our head coach
3. Tomlin is our new leader
4. Tomlin will change things just like Cowher did
5. Tomlin won't get along with all the players either
6. Forget the past, look forward to the future -
Rings 6-7-8-9-10

AGREED:tt02:

onthebus36
06-07-2007, 11:04 AM
There's an old addage that "even a broken clock is right twice a day" and I think that's the case here. Hidden amongst the :blah: are a few accurate statements but even those statements aren't exactly revolutionary! I've actually read much better analysis from some of the folks on this forum.

There is one comment I can't let slide. The assertion that Cowher made decisions to make himself the most important are just silly and offensive. Since when are fundamentals and teamwork bad things? We won a ton of games playing Bill Cowher's version of smashmouth football. If you don't have solid fundamentals and don't play as a team, you've got nothing.

Personally, I'm glad they are opening up the playbook and stretching the boundaries of Steeler football but when it is all said and done, we are going to win most of our games with tough D and controlling the ball with the run.