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View Full Version : Offensive Line Coach To Blame?


Elvis
07-23-2008, 05:28 AM
Our offensive line went from a pretty stout line with good rythym to a line that just cant block anyone.
Who is really to blame?


Larry Zierlein is in his first season coaching the Steelers' offensive line.

Mr. Zierlein is now in his 2nd season in pittsburgh and they have really regressed as a whole in my opinion. Now, I know that we had a pretty darn good coach in Russ Grimm here for a few years that really pulled his linemen together well. I just dont know if this guy is the answer or not. I think that Tomlin needs to set an offensive line and let them play together and gel with one another. You cant expect players to learn what their next door neighbor on the line can do if it is someone different every other day. You would think that I am not smarter than an offensive line coach in the NFL, but come on people....!!!!
:doh:

stlrtruck
07-23-2008, 07:48 AM
I agree to some extent that it makes your job easier when you know what the guy next to you is doing. However, I also feel that regardless of who is next to you, each person should know their job without hesitation and without fail. Therefore, if everyone knows their job then there shouldn't be a reason for decline in OL play.

While it would be nice to have the OL gel during training camp and have consistency, players have to recognize that injuries occur and one day that 2nd stringer is going to be a 1st stringer - learn to play with them too.

HometownGal
07-23-2008, 07:51 AM
While I agree with not having our OL playing musical chairs game in and game out, Tomlin seems to be the kind of guy who has faith in his coaches and will let Zierlein work out the kinks. The players bear a lot of the responsibility for their poor play last season imho, but this is a new season so let's see what develops! :tt02:

El-Gonzo Jackson
07-23-2008, 08:09 AM
I like Zeirlein's approach, but not sure of his track record.

Coach Z emphasizes teaching the fundamentals and technique. Grimm reportedly wasnt that much of a detail guy and just preferred to get a guy blocked, which showed in some of the undisciplined O line play that was erratic at times.

I think like every other sport(baseball, golf, boxing, basketball, track, etc.) you have to work on technique and be fundamentally sound in order to give yourself the best chance to perform.

The average fan liked Grimm because he was a common guy that didnt focus on the little things and just wanted results. The fact is that the more you concentrate on making the little things automatic, the more likely you are to get results. I think that Coach Z is a better technician, but Grimm gets more respect because he is an ex Hog.

OneForTheToe
07-23-2008, 08:32 AM
I'll say one thing about Larry Zierlein over Russ, I would rather have Larry as an e-mail buddy. :wave:

X-Terminator
07-23-2008, 08:56 AM
I think that Tomlin needs to set an offensive line and let them play together and gel with one another. You cant expect players to learn what their next door neighbor on the line can do if it is someone different every other day.

Funny, I remember saying this at one time in the recent past, and got slammed for it. It's pretty obvious that you can't have continuity if you are constantly shuffling guys around, but we have those that insist on placing blame on the player/players.

xfl2001fan
07-23-2008, 09:09 AM
A coach is only as good as his players are receptive.
You can coach fundamentals, but you can't coach talent.

Often times, when injuries do occur, lesser talented guys step in. There's only so much a coach can do when the talent isn't there.

Want proof, look at the Browns. Last season was the most talented team we've fielded since before Art Modell moved to Baltimore. Didn't matter who came in to coach, we were going to suck.

Last seasons team was far from perfect, but the additional talent (especially in the O-line) led to a pretty productive offense. Take away Joe T and Eric S (LT/LG) and the team tanks again.

Same can be applied to the Steelers. Starters get injured, "lesser guys" are walking into a starting role (instead of earning it by beating the guy out that was ahead of them) and suddenly your O-line is considered a flop.

redst3
07-23-2008, 09:19 AM
Fundamentals are the key to almost anything----even reading, math, etc....When you go back and do a little a research on what Noll did- it was all about tackling, blocking properly and footwork, same as John Wooden at UCLA or Morgan Wooten at the High School level in basketball.

Its all basics, I think even in the NFL.

I realzie those guys were all 70's icons, and things change, but the basic techniques dont.

xfl2001fan
07-23-2008, 09:32 AM
Fundamentals are the key to almost anything----even reading, math, etc....When you go back and do a little a research on what Noll did- it was all about tackling, blocking properly and footwork, same as John Wooden at UCLA or Morgan Wooten at the High School level in basketball.

Its all basics, I think even in the NFL.

I realzie those guys were all 70's icons, and things change, but the basic techniques dont.

No argument. Wasn't trying to imply that I was going against that (if that's how you interpreted my post.) The thing is, if your talent level is significantly less than the guy you are lining up across, then you're already at a disadvantage. If the guy is as fundamentally sound (or unsound) as you are, he still holds the advantage based on talent alone.

That was my biggest problem in HS. I wasn't nearly athletic enough to be a star player. I worked hard on doing the little things right, tried to make myself versatile, but at the end of the day, I wasn't even close to being a #1 or #2 receiving option for our team. There were other guys on the team who were much more athletic than I was (and the same for our opponents.) I had my various roles to fill and I knew what those roles were. But that's the best that I could ever hope for.

You see this in the NFL too. Though the guys are much more athletic (and fundamentally sound) there are still limitations that each player has. Typically, the back up players are the guys who are less athletic, because most NFL players have decent-good fundamentals.

Counselor
07-23-2008, 09:55 AM
Our offensive line went from a pretty stout line with good rythym to a line that just cant block anyone.
Who is really to blame?


Unfortuntately, you can't really blame Zierlein, since the transformation from good to bad, for whatever reason, started in the 2006 season----when Russ Grimm was still the coach.

Then to make matters worse we lost Hartings---a pro bowl center. The loss of Hartings made a huge impact last year.

Count me among the few people who believe our O-line will be better this year. Hartwig has to be an improvement over Mahan at center. With a better center---and hopefully a healthy Marvel Smith, everyone else can focus on their own jobs a little better. And, Ben will have more targets to dump the ball to, putting less pressure on the line.

I understand what you are all saying regarding putting a group together and letting them gel, but the center situation last year caused a lot of problems-----and made it hard to get a good group of five----Okobi under performed and it caused major issues in camp. (add to that Tomlin's and Zierlein's "unfamiliarity" with the players and its bound to lead to uncertainty in the top 5.)

In the end, we benfited from some of that "moving around" since Starks was able to take over admirably for Smith when he went down with his back problems.

redst3
07-23-2008, 10:40 AM
No argument. Wasn't trying to imply that I was going against that (if that's how you interpreted my post.) The thing is, if your talent level is significantly less than the guy you are lining up across, then you're already at a disadvantage. If the guy is as fundamentally sound (or unsound) as you are, he still holds the advantage based on talent alone. .


Without question, and I didnt take your post the wrong way...

I could take voice lessons, but that wouldnt make me a great singer. But if i took them, it would improve my chances.

No way the 1976 Bucs could hang with the 1976 Steelers, but three years later they just missed the Super Bowl with them....

xfl2001fan
07-23-2008, 01:26 PM
Exactly! Glad that I wasn't rubbing another steeler fan the wrong way. Apparently i do that from time to time! :P

SteelMember
07-23-2008, 01:43 PM
A good coach or a bad coach? It dosen't matter if the players don't execute. That being said, changing a players position and responsibilities can become confusing on the carousel they were on last year.

Elvis
07-26-2008, 12:23 PM
Then to make matters worse we lost Hartings---a pro bowl center. The loss of Hartings made a huge impact last year.


Awesomely put Counselor!!!
Hartings had been good at making Faneca look good for years, and I dont think that Faneca makes the pro-bowl the last 3 or 4 seasons if not for Hartings at Center.
:tt02:

HometownGal
07-26-2008, 07:32 PM
A coach is only as good as his players are receptive.
You can coach fundamentals, but you can't coach talent.



Holy shit - who woulda thunk it? The best post in this thread, imho, is made by a *gulp* Browns fan!!! :jawdrop: You nailed it xfl. :drink:

P.S. The Browns still suck! :chuckle::flap:

revefsreleets
07-26-2008, 08:20 PM
One thing is for sure...the honeymoon is over. We need to see results THIS year, or this dude will be sacked.

El-Gonzo Jackson
07-27-2008, 08:58 AM
A coach is only as good as his players are receptive.
You can coach fundamentals, but you can't coach talent.

Often times, when injuries do occur, lesser talented guys step in. There's only so much a coach can do when the talent isn't there.

.

XFL, while I can see your point, I absolutely can say it isnt correct on the O-line. Jeff Saturday, Hank Fraley, Keydrick Vincent are cases of late or undrafted guys that becamen NFL starters.

I played O line in highschool and have coached it and attended clinics for over a decade and the O line is a place of technique, strength, intelligence and hard work improving all of those facets. Give me the most talented guy that doesnt work hard, or some overweight slob that is gonna work hard and I take the latter of the 2 any day to make him into a player.

"Effort without talent is hard to watch, but talent without effort is a damn shame to see"--Bill Parcells

Its why I take Colon over Starks any day. A motivated Kemo will be better than distracted Fancea was last season. Warriors like Marvel Smith that play with debilitating injuries are priceless.

xfl2001fan
07-27-2008, 09:29 AM
XFL, while I can see your point, I absolutely can say it isnt correct on the O-line. Jeff Saturday, Hank Fraley, Keydrick Vincent are cases of late or undrafted guys that becamen NFL starters.

I played O line in highschool and have coached it and attended clinics for over a decade and the O line is a place of technique, strength, intelligence and hard work improving all of those facets. Give me the most talented guy that doesnt work hard, or some overweight slob that is gonna work hard and I take the latter of the 2 any day to make him into a player.

"Effort without talent is hard to watch, but talent without effort is a damn shame to see"--Bill Parcells

Its why I take Colon over Starks any day. A motivated Kemo will be better than distracted Fancea was last season. Warriors like Marvel Smith that play with debilitating injuries are priceless.


Methinks you have misinterpreted what I was saying.

I am agreeing (wholeheartedly) with what you are saying.

Preacher
07-27-2008, 10:01 AM
Unfortuntately, you can't really blame Zierlein, since the transformation from good to bad, for whatever reason, started in the 2006 season----when Russ Grimm was still the coach.

Then to make matters worse we lost Hartings---a pro bowl center. The loss of Hartings made a huge impact last year.

Count me among the few people who believe our O-line will be better this year. Hartwig has to be an improvement over Mahan at center. With a better center---and hopefully a healthy Marvel Smith, everyone else can focus on their own jobs a little better. And, Ben will have more targets to dump the ball to, putting less pressure on the line.

I understand what you are all saying regarding putting a group together and letting them gel, but the center situation last year caused a lot of problems-----and made it hard to get a good group of five----Okobi under performed and it caused major issues in camp. (add to that Tomlin's and Zierlein's "unfamiliarity" with the players and its bound to lead to uncertainty in the top 5.)

In the end, we benfited from some of that "moving around" since Starks was able to take over admirably for Smith when he went down with his back problems.

DING DING DING..

Boys and girls....

we have the answer.

It constantly amazes me how short of a memory we have. We had HORRIBLE line issues in 2003. In 2004 and 5 we tightened up a bit, but I STILL remember Ben running for his life on pass plays. Then, in 2006, it all fell apart. 2007 was ok up until the last half of the season, when Ben was sacked twice as much as the first half. Tomlin is taking care of that by cutting back on practices-- no one will be as tired.

If we can just get some consistent play now, I think we will be in good shape. With our schedule, I look at us going just above .500. say, 9-7 or 10-6 with a div. championship and a couple games in the playoffs this year. Maybe even a AFCCG.

LVSteelersfan
07-27-2008, 04:17 PM
Exactly! Glad that I wasn't rubbing another steeler fan the wrong way. Apparently i do that from time to time! :P

Steeler fans can't help it if there are people who actually root for the Browns. It is your perogative but those of us who are diehard fans cannot understand how ANYONE could root for anyone other than the Steelers. :noidea::sofunny::sofunny::sofunny::sofunny:

El-Gonzo Jackson
07-27-2008, 07:11 PM
Methinks you have misinterpreted what I was saying.

I am agreeing (wholeheartedly) with what you are saying.

OK, I thought what you were saying about not being able to coach talent was if a guy doesnt have talent that you cant coach it up.

Kind of like not being able to coach speed....that you either have it or you dont. BTW, you can improve speed. (look up Marcus Allen's coach Jim Bush for reference)

GeneralRobinson
07-27-2008, 07:38 PM
Excerpt from:
Steelers not focusing on ownership struggle
By Alan Robinson, AP Sports Writer
July 27, 2008

As Year 2 of Tomlin's tenure as only the third Steelers coach since 1969 began, several players revealed that there were a few more bumps in the transition from the Bill Cowher to the Tomlin era than surfaced last season.

Seven-time Pro Bowl left guard Alan Faneca, whose departure was unusually messy following failed contract extension talks, fought some changes that new offensive line coach Larry Zierlein attempted to make, the players said.

If Faneca was unhappy with any attempted adjustments, it wasn't visible in his play as he made the All-Pro team.

Still, that reluctance to change carried over to some other veteran linemen, several players said.

"You can't teach an old dog new tricks," right tackle Willie Colon said.


Also from Hines Ward:

"You've done something so many ways for so many years and it helped you win a Super Bowl," Ward said. "So when somebody comes in and tweaks it, the trust is hard to (gain) because you've done it before.

"And we won a Super Bowl without that coaching staff. ... For the younger guys who are breaking in, it's like, who do you listen to? Do you go with the veteran guy who's been doing it for so many years? Or do you go out and really try to do what the coach is trying to tell you to do?"


http://www.usatoday.com/sports/football/2008-07-27-3108091468_x.htm

xfl2001fan
07-27-2008, 08:46 PM
OK, I thought what you were saying about not being able to coach talent was if a guy doesnt have talent that you cant coach it up.

Kind of like not being able to coach speed....that you either have it or you dont. BTW, you can improve speed. (look up Marcus Allen's coach Jim Bush for reference)

No worries bro.

I knew about the speed thing. That's why I used the term talent. I've seen a few guys who (through proper training) drop a few tenths of a second off of their 40. Granted, they were never going to be olympic runners, but there was remarkable improvement.

GeneralRobinson
07-27-2008, 08:59 PM
Line is fit and trim and ready to buy into system
Sunday, July 27, 2008
By Teresa Varley
Steelers.com

Latrobe, PA - Many of the Steelers offensive linemen arrived at St. Vincent College for training camp on Sunday fit and trim, looking like they just completed one of those weight loss programs that you can never escape from when watching television.

But there were no gimmicks, no group meetings and no prepackaged meals.

“It’s training,” said tackle Max Starks. “Getting ready for the season ahead you have to be in the best shape of your life. Also, out here in the sun it’s not good to be overweight.”

Starks said he shed 10 pounds, but he looked much leaner, so much so that some of the assembled media didn’t even realize it was him when he first got out of his Hummer.

“That’s just an individual thing,” said Starks. “Coaches give you a weight to come in at for camp. For us it was no different than any of the years past. It was about guys wanting to come in prepared for a long grueling season. The schedule looks tough, but if you are well-equipped it doesn’t matter who the opponent is.”

Fellow tackle Willie Colon also dropped about 10 pounds prior to camp, happy to be in shape for the tough competition ahead. Colon, who started last year at right tackle, knows that he and Starks will be fighting for playing time at that spot. He is up for the challenge of defending his starting position.

“They are putting us in a pot and seeing who is going to cook,” said Colon. “Max is a great ball player. He has been working hard. It was probably a blow to him not starting. For me I am not willing to give it up. I have been working hard all summer. I did everything I could to get better and improve. I am going to compete and make it happen.”

And he is going to compete with a new look for the offensive line, and it has nothing to do with who the five starters are. Last year Larry Zierlein replaced Russ Grimm as the team’s offensive line coach. But with a veteran group already in place on the line, there was some resistance to the changes Zierlein brought. This year, things are considerably different.

“I think Coach Zierlein took a blow. He wanted to establish his system,” said Colon. “They put the reins on him as far as having such a veteran group. He held back some. His time is this year. We had all spring and OTAs learning what he wants us to do and we have to come in and perfect it.”

Colon didn’t get specific as to what changes were resisted, and did say that no player hindered the team’s progress. But he did point out how some just weren’t ready or willing to make a change.

“Any time you have a new coach come in it’s hard to teach an old dog new tricks,” said Colon. “It doesn’t work like that. With Alan (Faneca) gone it’s a new year, a new ship. There are a lot of guys on deck. Alan is gone and we all realize that. Coach Zeirlien is the boss and we all realize that.”

Head coach Mike Tomlin understands that change is hard as he knows last year was an adjustment for players who were used to things being run a certain way. He also knows that change is inevitable.

"I don't know about (what Willie said) specifically, but from a human nature standpoint, we're all resistant to change,” said Tomlin. “That's part of the process we went through last year as a football team. We don't take this process for granted, because there is continuity this year. We have to be open to getting better, to learning new things. Because there is familiarity, we can't take that for granted."

And so far, it looks like the line is now open to those changes, including the veterans.

“They are buying in to it,” said Colon. “We need them to buy into it the most because they are the oldest and they need to lead us.”


http://news.steelers.com/article/92062

El-Gonzo Jackson
07-27-2008, 10:36 PM
Nice articles on the O line transition last season and this year. Love the comment about how Faneca's resistance didnt effect his being selected to the Pro Bowl. I think most of us here that are not biased would say Faneca made the Pro Bowl on reputation, as he had somewhat of a down year last season.

Looking forward to seeing Coach Z able to command his own ship without any mutiny this year!!!

Starks and Colon both trim for the competition....wonder if Simmons is living a bit fatter on his new contract?

Black@Gold Forever32
07-27-2008, 10:42 PM
I'm glad that article was posted....I don't know if the players resisted are not....But Russ Grimm was looked as an OL coach guru so I could see the OL that played under Grimm balking at any change Coach Z wanted to make....Now since the OL are buying into his system will it lead to improved OL play is the question....Which won't be answered until mid-season.....

El-Gonzo Jackson
07-27-2008, 10:51 PM
I dont know if grimm was a "guru", he was just a guy that they respected because he was a great player. I dont think Grimm is a technician or teacher, but rather "one of the guys" that has tons of experience playing. I can see some vets pushing back because Russ was "their guy".

Howard Mudd, Hudson Houch or Joe Bugel are more of the NFL O-line guru's currently in the NFL. IMO.

Black@Gold Forever32
07-27-2008, 10:57 PM
I dont know if grimm was a "guru", he was just a guy that they respected because he was a great player. I dont think Grimm is a technician or teacher, but rather "one of the guys" that has tons of experience playing. I can see some vets pushing back because Russ was "their guy".

Howard Mudd, Hudson Houch or Joe Bugel are more of the NFL O-line guru's currently in the NFL. IMO.

I'm not saying Grimm was or not...But the players did have a ton of respect for him and he does have a ton of rep....Thats why I threw the guru label out there....I agree Grimm isn't in the Howard Mudd or Joe Bugel league when it comes to OL coaches...

I'm all for the changes Coach Z wants to make as long as the pass protection improves.....:thumbsup:

The Duke
07-27-2008, 11:09 PM
Starks said he shed 10 pounds, but he looked much leaner, so much so that some of the assembled media didnít even realize it was him when he first got out of his Hummer.

here comes the 7 million dollar man :toofunny:

Preacher
07-27-2008, 11:14 PM
here comes the 7 million dollar man :toofunny:


:rofl:

Well... Use it and enjoy it I guess!!