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HometownGal
12-14-2007, 07:48 AM
If anything, this article clearly shows that the Steelers must make some changes to their OL in the off-season. I know some of you question Arians playcalls, but he does have a point - the Steelers O can't keep nickel and diming good D's and expect to come up with a W.

Steelers short on long gains
By Joe Starkey

TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Friday, December 14, 2007

The Steelers still bust out with a big play now and then, but the really big play has been missing all season.
Last year, the team had 12 plays from scrimmage longer than 45 yards.

This year, it has none.

In the past five games, the Steelers' longest pass play was 32 yards - a touchdown strike from Ben Roethlisberger to running back Najeh Davenport in the 34-13 loss at New England.

Willie Parker's longest run of the season is 32 yards. Last season, he had five runs longer than that, including sprints of 76 and 72 yards.
The longest pass play this season is 45 yards, from Roethlisberger to Santonio Holmes against Baltimore. Last season, the team had nine completions longer than that, including four that went for 60 yards or longer.

An ankle injury to deep threat Holmes and shaky pass protection are two culprits of late.

"When we've called (long passes), we've given up sacks in maximum-protection situations," said offensive coordinator Bruce Arians. "Either we haven't gotten open, or we've gotten pressured. We're going to keep calling 'em, and we're going to need 'em, because you just can't keep nickel-and-diming against good football teams all day long. You have to have to some chunks."

A perfect example of a big-play breakdown occurred in the loss to New England, when the Steelers lined up on their 48, on the second play of the second half, trailing, 17-13.

"Oh, don't bring up that play," Arians said with a pained laugh.

Parker had just run for 18 yards. It was the ideal time to go deep. Arians called for a bomb to Hines Ward, set up by a fake screen and fake draw.

It went perfectly, except that Patriots tackle Vince Wilfork spun off a double team by Alan Faneca and Sean Mahan, shot up the middle and sacked Roethlisberger before he could unleash.

Ward was wide open for what might have been a 52-yard touchdown.

"Nobody was even around me, but Ben couldn't get the ball down to me," said Ward, whose longest reception this season is just 25 yards. "If we get that block there, the outcome of that game is probably different."

Arians said bad luck caused the sack.

"We had a problem with a protector stepping on another protector's foot. He lost his balance and got beat," Arians said.

Holmes missed two games with a high-ankle sprain but returned against New England. He said he aggravated the injury on his first catch but felt better as the game progressed.

The injury could use a good rest, but Holmes doesn't have that luxury. A reporter asked him Thursday if he'd noticed that high-ankle sprains will cause Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury to miss six to eight weeks and Penguins forward Maxime Talbot up to a month.

"If it wasn't so short of a season for us, I'd probably be (doing) the same thing -- out for at least a month," Holmes said.

Even so, Holmes looked good in practice yesterday, sprinting to catch a long pass from Charlie Batch.

Nobody needs to tell Holmes how critical he is to the offense. More deep passes could create more room for Parker on the ground.

"That's the reason they brought me in here," Holmes said, "to be somebody to help Hines stretch the field, somebody to get the deep balls, and a guy who's just going to make the explosive plays."

The kind the Steelers have been missing.

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/tribunereview/sports/steelers/s_542675.html

Steeldude
12-14-2007, 08:24 AM
O-line is getting worse each year and the new offensive coordinator is more conservative than the last one.

revefsreleets
12-14-2007, 08:28 AM
Fire Arians!

Seriously, it's all right here in this article. Protection breakdowns lead to execution breakdowns, and the playcalling isn't necessarily to blame. This should also illustrate to some people who just don't get it that at the professional level, if something doesn't work, you can't just give up on it. The problems up front cascade into problems all around. No long passes, no long runs. It all starts up front.

See, I pop right out and here we have the first example. Arians is forced to be conservative, because it's all we have to work with. HOW IS THAT HIS FAULT?!?!

Should we be throwing 10 more bombs a game so Ben can get sacked 8 more times? Bad OL play has a ripple effect through the whole offense, all the way up to how the OC calls the game.

FAB802
12-14-2007, 11:29 AM
You are right about the line being lousy this year in pass protection. However, Arains is always getting cute whn stuff is working. There is ZERO excuse for the playcalling on second and goal in NE. We gashed them at will on the ground and you throw a fade to a short receiver with an injured ankle, and then run a receiver reverse? I'm usually against overdoing it with the run when teams load up to stop it. The Patsies didn't bother. We should have ran the ball a Hell of a lot more the way Willie was going and that's a different game. Going into halftime their defense was on it's heels from being on the field so much. I hope those who think fixing the line will help, but I don't see it.

jjpro11
12-14-2007, 11:30 AM
sucks to hear we had a potential game breaking play sunday blown up because we couldnt stop a rusher while being double teamed.

FAB802
12-14-2007, 12:12 PM
sucks to hear we had a potential game breaking play sunday blown up because we couldnt stop a rusher while being double teamed.

No kidding, the fact that our guys are tripping over eachother is pretty comical.

revefsreleets
12-14-2007, 12:58 PM
This is the beauty of Monday Morning QB's with perfect 20/20 hindsight. They are always right, and the coach is always wrong. If either of those plays would have been executed better, and the Steelers would have scored, the PLAYERS would have been showered with praise and maybe 3 people here would have given credit to the OC. It's the same every year, on every board, after every loss (and some wins). Every message board is filled with brilliant offensive and defensive coordinators who know way more than the coaches who actually immerse themselves in the game 24/7 for years and years.

Professional football is an incredibly complex game. There are sixteen coaches on the Steelers payroll. SIXTEEN. I trust that anyone of those 16 guys has forgotten 10X more about football then the top 10 football minds on here combined know.

But, hey, what do I know. I'm sure the Steelers coaches just went and grabbed some McDonald's at halftime and phoned in the second half.

FAB802
12-14-2007, 01:28 PM
Nobody said anything about McDonalds. What did I say that was false in that post? Our line does struggle pass blocking. He did get too cute on the drive in the red zone. If he runs straight up twice we score. We dominated time of possession the first half and it was already showing in the way their defense was looking. I don't need 20/20 to see that.

Running the ball wears out the defense and keeps their offense off the field. That also includes the front seven which would slow the rush some and open it up more later in the game. They pretty much decided to take away the pass. There have been games earlier in the season where it was the opposite and we ran more. I'm not always right, but I'm not getting paid a ton of money to run an offense either. There's nothing complex about if they don't stop it, don't fix it. Their OC sure the Hell figured that out.

Right now they are the better team and should beat us at home. The playoff's are a new ball game and nothing I saw Sunday makes me believe we can't beat them if we execute. I don't think any of this makes me a hater, it makes me a realist.

stlrtruck
12-14-2007, 02:38 PM
I don't care if we are dead last in this category as long as we win games!
However, what does bother me is when the team doesn't come out to play for 60 minutes!! That's more of a problem this year than is the long play percentages!!!

vardogr
12-14-2007, 02:53 PM
i see a lot of areas for improvement right now on both sides of the ball. The offensive line has definitely been a weak link in pass protection. Also, I still miss a power runner like Bettis to compliment a runner with Parker's style. Actually, when Bettis played it was the speedy guys who complimented his ground and pound. This void hurts a lot of the Steelers' versatility, Davenport has filled in some, but not enough.

The Steelers' D didn't have an answer for the short pass. And where has Blitzburgh gone? In the past, playing the pats just made me laugh because I knew that Brady was going to get knocked around a bit. This year, watching the Steelers' D, while of course they are great, I find the thoughts running through my head "you know, I havent seen a sack in awhile . . ."

The Steelers' also have to get mentally tougher. When the pats did that Brady -> Moss -> Brady -> TD pass play, you could feel the wind let out of their sails. They cant let some cheap antics knock them out. We need to big plays to put us right back in those games, especially if we are to have a prayer in the post season.

Black@Gold Forever32
12-14-2007, 04:12 PM
Seriously some of you people need to learn how to comprehend....When I complain about Arians play-calling is when he is gets in his run, run and pass mode...lol Especially when the Oline does struggle to give Ben enough pass protection....Setting up third a long situations isn't ideal when your Oline can't protect its QBs....anybody with a half of brain can figure why this team can't go deep on pass plays....duh...lol

BozMan
12-14-2007, 04:30 PM
Wasn't that failed fade pass to Santonio an audible called by Ben?

Stlrs4Life
12-14-2007, 04:46 PM
Fire Arians!

Seriously, it's all right here in this article. Protection breakdowns lead to execution breakdowns, and the playcalling isn't necessarily to blame. This should also illustrate to some people who just don't get it that at the professional level, if something doesn't work, you can't just give up on it. The problems up front cascade into problems all around. No long passes, no long runs. It all starts up front.

See, I pop right out and here we have the first example. Arians is forced to be conservative, because it's all we have to work with. HOW IS THAT HIS FAULT?!?!

Should we be throwing 10 more bombs a game so Ben can get sacked 8 more times? Bad OL play has a ripple effect through the whole offense, all the way up to how the OC calls the game.



Exactly. What I have ben saying all season long.

geo123
12-14-2007, 05:01 PM
I think I said this on one of the threads, but if not I agee not enough deep passes. In the end, reguardless of what the D does the O needs to score pts. They have to finish the drives(withTD's). I know I sound like a broken record but...If your offense can't score more than 17 pts a game your not going to win many games, nor should you expect to!!

jjpro11
12-14-2007, 05:04 PM
Wasn't that failed fade pass to Santonio an audible called by Ben?

he was actually open.. vrabel got a huge jump, borderline offsides and forced ben to hurry his throw. there were a number of opportunities missed in that game. it just sucked any way you look at it.

revefsreleets
12-14-2007, 05:21 PM
Seriously some of you people need to learn how to comprehend....When I complain about Arians play-calling is when he is gets in his run, run and pass mode...lol Especially when the Oline does struggle to give Ben enough pass protection....Setting up third a long situations isn't ideal when your Oline can't protect its QBs....anybody with a half of brain can figure why this team can't go deep on pass plays....duh...lol

And your solution, since it all so elementary to you, is?

GBMelBlount
12-14-2007, 05:47 PM
The problems up front cascade into problems all around. No long passes, no long runs. It all starts up front.



I completely agree. The last time the OL looked like this our QB had a rating of 75 & Jerome averaged just over 3 yards per carry. I honestly think if we shore up the OL the rest will fall into place.

FAB802
12-14-2007, 07:57 PM
I don't see us throwing any quick slants or outs to slow the rush down. If the line is the obvious problem maybe our OC can try to adjust the playbook a smidge to do something that has has a chance in Hell of working. Too many of our passes involve fakes and looking downfield. We have one of the best pass catching tight ends in the league and he has disappeared the last month or so. When healthy, Santonio can take any five yard slant and take it to the house. If you shorten the passing game up you cancel out how poorly the line is playing.

I know I'm not getting paid like they are, but I do coach football and it's the same at any level. If something doesn't work, try something else. I am not a doom and gloomer, I have been and will be a fan my entire life. That doesn't mean I can't point out issues that Ray Charles can see without half the people on here saying I don't know what I'm talking about because I'm not an NFL coach. I do agree that most of our problem on offense is the line, not the coaching.

Rhee Rhee
12-14-2007, 08:49 PM
no its good!!! remember the days when ben would just air it out and let his recievers do the work? ya that led to leading the league in INTs... its good let it be... although i do wish they'd just get 1-1 with santonio and gun it long just once per game..

Steeldude
12-14-2007, 11:31 PM
This is the beauty of Monday Morning QB's with perfect 20/20 hindsight. They are always right, and the coach is always wrong. If either of those plays would have been executed better, and the Steelers would have scored, the PLAYERS would have been showered with praise and maybe 3 people here would have given credit to the OC. It's the same every year, on every board, after every loss (and some wins). Every message board is filled with brilliant offensive and defensive coordinators who know way more than the coaches who actually immerse themselves in the game 24/7 for years and years.

Professional football is an incredibly complex game. There are sixteen coaches on the Steelers payroll. SIXTEEN. I trust that anyone of those 16 guys has forgotten 10X more about football then the top 10 football minds on here combined know. are you sure? what about the special teams' coach? :sofunny:

But, hey, what do I know. I'm sure the Steelers coaches just went and grabbed some McDonald's at halftime and phoned in the second half.


it seems you feel that the steelers' coaches can do no wrong. so why did these brilliant minds place WR (kordell) as the starting QB for 5+ seasons? it was painfully obvious in 1997 that he was not a QB by any means. but hey, what do fans know? the coaches are always right with every decision they make.

the 4 and 1 on the goal line was a brilliant play...lol. no RBs in the backfield and no WRs on the side. then ward goes into motion. gee, i wonder who is getting the ball? that was a bad playcall by arians. hopefully arians throws that play in the trash or only utilizes it against weak teams.

you forget that this is a message board where people express their opinions and thoughts. some may be ridiculous, smart, creative or outright stupid, but the are still just posts on a MB. some show their blind faith and never doubt a single action by the steelers. others show independent thoughts that, at times, disagrees with the steelers plans.

geo123
12-15-2007, 06:23 AM
You need to go deep a couple of times a game to stretch the defense. Bens got a good arm, and the receivers can catch; I think our completion % should be good.
Then there is always a chance of a pass interference call or even a holding penalty.
Worst thing that happens is an int. on a 40 yard pass it's almost a good as a punt, especially with the way the special teams has played.

The passing and receiving stats for the last game weren't good enough to beat anyone. Ben was 19/32 for 187. Ward was the leading receiver, 5catches for 39 yards. What is needed is 8/120 from at least one receiver.

Galax Steeler
12-15-2007, 07:09 AM
If ben is given time he could complete the long balls but you can't do it playing on your back.

iupdauber
12-15-2007, 09:23 AM
I def agree with the quick slant attack. That backs up the blitzers, and in time, will give Ben time to throw. As much as many do, I obviously question some of the calls. If you can sit there and say that you don't, then you're only fooling yourself. Also, everyone can see that the O-line is not at its best, but they cant be THAT bad, with FWP being #1 in the NFL in rushing yards. (Granted we run the ball almost more than anyone in the league.) I think one of the major plays we used to utilize is the draw play to FWP. Not taking anything away from him, but he doesnt seem to be hitting the line as hard as he used to. Does a little dancing in the backfield, looks for a hole, and then darts. The less-than-spectacular play of the O-line doesnt give him that luxury to wait for a hole, because a lot of the time there isn't one, and wont be one. FWP is a hell of a back, and if they can just give him the smallest chance, maybe by setting the LB'S back a little to stop the quick hitters, the O-line might have a snowballs chance in hell to give him that tiny hole he needs.

revefsreleets
12-15-2007, 06:30 PM
it seems you feel that the steelers' coaches can do no wrong. so why did these brilliant minds place WR (kordell) as the starting QB for 5+ seasons? it was painfully obvious in 1997 that he was not a QB by any means. but hey, what do fans know? the coaches are always right with every decision they make.

the 4 and 1 on the goal line was a brilliant play...lol. no RBs in the backfield and no WRs on the side. then ward goes into motion. gee, i wonder who is getting the ball? that was a bad playcall by arians. hopefully arians throws that play in the trash or only utilizes it against weak teams.

you forget that this is a message board where people express their opinions and thoughts. some may be ridiculous, smart, creative or outright stupid, but the are still just posts on a MB. some show their blind faith and never doubt a single action by the steelers. others show independent thoughts that, at times, disagrees with the steelers plans.

So, I'M the one drinking the Kool Aid, eh. And you are the "independent" and, by inference brilliant thinker?

I've read your posts. I've seen little evidence that you have much more than a rudimentary skeletal knowledge of the workings of an offense. Sorry to be harsh, but when I say I back Arians it isn't nearly as much saying that he's the greatest coordinator on the planet as it is calling attention to the fact that message board posters not only have perfect 20/20 hindsight, they are still almost always wrong even with that benefit. Look, you prove my point for me with the Kordell comments. That was Cowher's call, and the Rooney's backed him.

Do you know WHY Kordell Stewart was our QB?

Steeldude
12-15-2007, 08:14 PM
So, I'M the one drinking the Kool Aid, eh. And you are the "independent" and, by inference brilliant thinker?

I've read your posts. I've seen little evidence that you have much more than a rudimentary skeletal knowledge of the workings of an offense. Sorry to be harsh, but when I say I back Arians it isn't nearly as much saying that he's the greatest coordinator on the planet as it is calling attention to the fact that message board posters not only have perfect 20/20 hindsight, they are still almost always wrong even with that benefit. Look, you prove my point for me with the Kordell comments. That was Cowher's call, and the Rooney's backed him.

Do you know WHY Kordell Stewart was our QB?

hmmm...i don't recall complimenting myself at all.

i have read your posts also. all of them seem to be the thoughts of a lemming/sheep. you agree with whatever the coaches say or do. if someone has an opinion or thought different from the coaches you are quick to mock them.

like how you agreed that the steelers had a good game plan against the patriots. yeah, running that conservative offense and lining the DBs deep on a 3-step QB drop is brilliant...lol. it's not a surprise that the patriots passed on the steelers all day. everyone knows by now that the steelers zone blitz is weak against the pass. how many is that now? steelers have lost 6 out of 7 matchups against the pats? using basically the same game plan each time. perhaps next time the bland play calls and huge cushions by the DBs will win the game. the blands calls may be a result of a below average O-line, but whatever the case may be it just isn't working. well at least it hasn't worked 6 out of 7 games.

"do i know why kordell was the steelers QB"? i have been trying to figure that out for years. i find it to be the most baffling question ever. why would anyone put a WR with zero QBing skills as their starter for 5+ years? IMO, the kordell experiment cost the steelers at least one SB trip.

Jman
12-15-2007, 08:18 PM
Getting back to the issue at hand...

I agree that the Steelers definitely need multi-talented O-linemen. What do I mean by that? We need people who can play the run, and play the pass. In this offense, you can't just have the "great run blocking guard" or the "perfect for the outside run tackles"; we need o-linemen who can do it all: protect the pass, block for the run, get off the line for the screen, etc.