PDA

View Full Version : Wexell: Bruce Arians must protect this house


mesaSteeler
11-14-2008, 05:17 PM
Wexell: Bruce Arians must protect this house
http://pit.scout.com/2/811650.html
By Jim Wexell
SteelCityInsider.com
Posted Nov 14, 2008


The Pittsburgh Steelers are 6-3 but facing an uncertain future because of its soft running game.

In the wildly entertaining new book Steeler Nation, Bruce Arians took the time to explain how former offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt won a Super Bowl with the youngest quarterback ever to do so.

“The thing Kenny did well,” Arians said, “he simplified things for the young quarterback, but he made it look complicated. To do that, he had to put a lot on the offensive line, with the calls and all, and to tell you the truth, that’s when we’d run into problems at times getting everyone on the same page.”

That was then. And this is now:

Arians, the offensive coordinator, has simplified things for the young offensive line. To do that, he had to put a lot on the quarterback, with the calls and all, and to tell you the truth, they’re running into problems getting everyone on the same page.

Those, of course, are my words. While Arians is a good man, he’s putting too much on Ben Roethlisberger, and not just with Roethlisberger’s input into game plans, his check-offs at the line, or the playcalling load that’s all Roethlisberger’s while he’s running the no-huddle offense.

Arians, whether he realizes it or not, put the entire load on Roethlisberger’s shoulders a few years ago when he came in and effectively eradicated the fullback – a real fullback – from the Steelers’ offense.

Not that one player makes that much of a difference, but it signaled a philosophical shift that’s just now resonating in the Steelers’ front office.

Yes, the Steelers are 26th in the NFL in offense, but that doesn’t matter to the hierarchy. They’ve been there before. The problem instead is this: Their $102 million investment is playing hurt and is threatened with further injury every time he drops back to pass.

Sure, the front office must share the blame for the young and shaky offensive line that’s putting Roethlisberger at risk. But the offensive coordinator doesn’t need to call 41 pass plays behind that offensive line in a game in which his team is tied or leading all the way up until the final 3:04.

The infamous third-and-2 call just before the half with a 10-point lead? The one that was intercepted? Run the thing. Seriously. Run the thing, and, pass or fail, let your defense do its job. The defense, after all, is the most fearsome in the league. It’s the best defense the city of Pittsburgh has seen in 30 years. Lean on it. Run the ball.

“But when you get paid that kind of contract, your plate’s going to have a lot of food on it,” said Hines Ward. “The expectation level’s going to change.”

Oh, really? The Steelers paid Max Starks $7 million and put him on the bench. His plate had no food on it, so it’s absurd to believe that Roethlisberger’s role must change just because he’s in a new tax bracket.

Roethlisberger came out of college a big, strong-armed quarterback who’s forte was dropping back five or seven steps out of play action and scrambling long enough for a receiver to come open deep. This worked for him in Pittsburgh when he had a running game good enough to force defenses to respect the play-action. But the running game is gone now. Willie Parker may revive it a bit this week, but not enough for defenses to fear it, because the attitude is gone; it went the way of the fullback.

The big and rugged offensive line is not athletic enough to pass block 40 times a game, but it could grow some wings under a playcaller who’s patient enough to let their road-grading skills develop. And if they never develop into the run blockers their size and shape say they should, the Steelers still have that wonderful defense to fall back upon, not to mention a quarterback who’ll still be standing.

It’s imperative that Arians understand this because the front office is watching its investment closely. Chuck Noll was once forced to fire assistant coaches, and he had four rings. Mike Tomlin’s certainly not in Noll’s position. Tomlin realizes what a soft offense, a soft identity, heck, a crippled quarterback, would do to his job security.

So should Bruce Arians.

(Jim Wexell's new book, Steeler Nation: A Pittsburgh Team, An American Phenomenon, is available at PittsburghSportsPublishing.com.)

tony hipchest
11-14-2008, 05:34 PM
(Jim Wexell's new book, Steeler Nation: A Pittsburgh Team, An American Phenomenon, is available at PittsburghSportsPublishing.com.)

i gotta get this book. imo wexell is the best (if not only) steelers insider out there.

great article.

Dino 6 Rings
11-14-2008, 06:00 PM
I love this article!

Run the thing!

Michael Keller
11-14-2008, 06:04 PM
My Gosh

I feel redeemed. Arians is killing us. Point blank!!!

LVSteelersfan
11-14-2008, 06:09 PM
What is run the ball? Seems to be a foreign concept these days. All I can say is screw you Arians. Tomlin, you better take this under your wing or you will go out with Arians when he takes the team down. We might be 6-3 but that is very shaky at best. And we should be at least two games better than that if it wasn't for shutting the running game down and taking all those damn sacks.

Aussie_steeler
11-14-2008, 09:00 PM
Arians, whether he realizes it or not, put the entire load on Roethlisberger’s shoulders a few years ago when he came in and effectively eradicated the fullback – a real fullback – from the Steelers’ offense.


Never a truer word said.

Steelman16
11-14-2008, 09:55 PM
Great article. Carey Davis is a good fullback, IMO, but he doesn't fit the Steelers mold.

El-Gonzo Jackson
11-14-2008, 10:17 PM
Great article. Carey Davis is a good fullback, IMO, but he doesn't fit the Steelers mold.

I debated this last April. I didnt like Carey Davis as a blocker and when all they brought into camp for competition was Billy Latsko, it appeared that they settled for mediocrity. Davis is essentially the same size as Mendenhall.

Davis actually made a nice block last week, but had to go at a defenders knees to do so. Guys like Kreider, Witman, Lester, John L. Williams that are stronger, bigger blockers can take on a lineman or linebacker up high and win.....Davis cannot.

I was hoping for LLT's guy Jerome Felton to get drafted, or Dez Sherrod to be used as a FB.

El-Gonzo Jackson
11-14-2008, 10:22 PM
My Gosh

I feel redeemed. Arians is killing us. Point blank!!!
Be honest.......you really think that Tomlin is killing us. :wink: Dont you?

Steelman16
11-15-2008, 12:51 AM
I debated this last April. I didnt like Carey Davis as a blocker and when all they brought into camp for competition was Billy Latsko, it appeared that they settled for mediocrity. Davis is essentially the same size as Mendenhall.

Davis actually made a nice block last week, but had to go at a defenders knees to do so. Guys like Kreider, Witman, Lester, John L. Williams that are stronger, bigger blockers can take on a lineman or linebacker up high and win.....Davis cannot.

I was hoping for LLT's guy Jerome Felton to get drafted, or Dez Sherrod to be used as a FB.

Then again...

In Madden, Davis is the best FB in the league. :chuckle:

Steeldude
11-15-2008, 02:28 AM
i have been saying it since 2002. the steelers constantly neglect the O-line.

it won't surpise me at all if the steelers choose a RB or WR with their first pick in the 2009 NFL draft.

Steelers & I
11-15-2008, 04:42 AM
Oh this Wexell guy is an idiot, :laughing: :rofl: how dare he insinuate that Arians may want to concern himself with job security if the offense continues status quoe, :sofunny:

Seriously though, nice article. This dude is using his noggin. A very fair assesment of the Steelers offensive problems. He identifies the injuries, the not so great offensive line play, Ben Roethlisberger's regression but yet he still doesn't allow those things to be used as EXCUSES for the pathetic play design and pathetic play calling of Bruce Arians.

Yes Sir Mr. Arians, job security is slowly slipping out of your grasp.

missedgehead
11-15-2008, 02:29 PM
Great article. Period

T.Richardson
11-15-2008, 05:05 PM
Well, I can understand running the ball, but the Colts could have stopped the run, and then they would have to punt the ball from there own endzone, and that would leave Peyton Manning with a short field and 1:20 seconds or so. Peyton is no scrub, he can drive that offense down the field, and could have scored, that could have changed the pace of the game too.

BozMan
11-16-2008, 02:12 PM
Wexell: Bruce Arians must protect this house
By Jim Wexell
SteelCityInsider.com
Posted Nov 14, 2008

... In the wildly entertaining new book Steeler Nation, ...

... (Jim Wexell's new book, Steeler Nation: A Pittsburgh Team, An American Phenomenon, is available at PittsburghSportsPublishing.com.)


More than a little tacky to refer to your own book as "wildly entertaining". Wexell should just be up front in his column and say "in my new book..."

X-Terminator
11-16-2008, 02:23 PM
Well, I can understand running the ball, but the Colts could have stopped the run, and then they would have to punt the ball from there own endzone, and that would leave Peyton Manning with a short field and 1:20 seconds or so. Peyton is no scrub, he can drive that offense down the field, and could have scored, that could have changed the pace of the game too.

I'd have taken my chances with that rather than risk throwing an INT deep in your own territory. It just was not a good play call in that situation.

fansince'76
11-16-2008, 02:26 PM
I'd have taken my chances with that rather than risk throwing an INT deep in your own territory. It just was not a good play call in that situation.

Sorry, but T. Richardson is right - if we would have run and wound up punting and Manning would have led the Colts to a late TD in the 1st half anyway, people would be bitching about us playing "Cowherball" and not trying to pass.

El-Gonzo Jackson
11-16-2008, 02:35 PM
I'd have taken my chances with that rather than risk throwing an INT deep in your own territory. It just was not a good play call in that situation.

I agree, but I think what the larger issue is that this offense is not built to convert on the 3rd and short yardage on the ground. Its not so much of playcalling, but the fact that they dont have the personell to run the ball effectively on 3rd and short.

When you cant run on 3rd and 2, you are pretty much forced to pass the ball. The arguement that Manning would have drove in for a TD, with 1:20 left, against the NFL's top rated defense anyways.............is grasping at straws IMO. Its like saying the Lions should beat the Panthers.....because they are due. Definately possible, but statistically not probable.

X-Terminator
11-16-2008, 02:43 PM
Sorry, but T. Richardson is right - if we would have run and wound up punting and Manning would have led the Colts to a late TD in the 1st half anyway, people would be bitching about us playing "Cowherball" and not trying to pass.

Sure, but there are some instances where playing "Cowherball" is the right thing to do. That was one of those instances. If the Colts are going to score, make them earn it, rather than make it easy on them by turning the ball over.

I agree, but I think what the larger issue is that this offense is not built to convert on the 3rd and short yardage on the ground. Its not so much of playcalling, but the fact that they dont have the personell to run the ball effectively on 3rd and short.

When you cant run on 3rd and 2, you are pretty much forced to pass the ball. The arguement that Manning would have drove in for a TD, with 1:20 left, against the NFL's top rated defense anyways.............is grasping at straws IMO. Its like saying the Lions should beat the Panthers.....because they are due. Definately possible, but statistically not probable.

I do agree that the Steelers don't have the horses to run the ball at this point, and I don't disagree with the perception that the offense is soft. Sometimes, perception is reality. It's a real shame given this team's history that they cannot pound the ball on third and short - being last in the league is flat-out embarrassing. But even so, if you're going to pass, call a safe pass, rather than throw the ball downfield and risk having it picked off.

fansince'76
11-16-2008, 02:46 PM
Sure, but there are some instances where playing "Cowherball" is the right thing to do. That was one of those instances. If the Colts are going to score, make them earn it, rather than make it easy on them by turning the ball over.

Not when your $100 million QB has been picking them apart the entire game up to that point, which is what Ben had been doing. The Colts would have wound up with GREAT field position had we ran and then had to punt anyway. Ernster wasn't exactly booming them, you know?

X-Terminator
11-16-2008, 02:50 PM
Not when your $100 million QB has been picking them apart the entire game up to that point, which is what Ben had been doing. The Colts would have wound up with GREAT field position had we ran and then had to punt. Ernster wasn't exactly booming them, you know?

Yes he had been, but as I said to El-Gonzo - if they were going to pass, then make it a safe pass, a short pass to pick up the first down and keep the clock moving. It's too risky to try anything else.

NV STEELERS 723
11-16-2008, 03:17 PM
I do believe we need a FB back there, but Ben is throwing INT's...what is Rocky Bleier doing these days?