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mesaSteeler
09-12-2009, 10:26 PM
teelers can't afford to get away from run game
September 12, 10:18 PMPittsburgh Sports Examiner
Matt Pawlikowski
http://www.examiner.com/x-2703-Pittsburgh-Sports-Examiner~y2009m9d12-Steelers-cant-afford-to-get-away-from-run-game

PITTSBURGH- Where have you gone Danny Kreider? Not since the days of old No. 35 when he cleared the run lanes for Jerome Bettis and Willie Parker has the Steelers rush attack been feared like it was for many years.

Case in point - Last year there was a stretch where the team did not rush for over 100 yards in three consecutive games. If that wasn't bad enough, the team averaged just 105.6 yards per game its fourth lowest output since the NFL merger in 1970.

On Thursday they had just 36 yards.

"We are not going to abandon anything we set out to do on any given week," Tomlin said. "I ask our guys to play like that, so I have to coach like that."

Lets hope so for the Steelers sake. Sure they got past the Titans, but a one dimensional offense the next few weeks against Chicago and the Chargers not to mention later in the North Division might not cut it.

While its nice to see big passing days from Ben Roethlisberger and a great output from the wide outs, one need look no further back than the 2003 season to see what a pass happy offense can do.

Tommy Maddox lit up the airways with some impressive numbers. That year they were second to last in the run department. The end result a 6-10 slate.

The run game has been its bread and butter since the days of Chuck Noll. Smash mouth football is what made other teams fear the Black and Gold. The Steelers have amassed 83,907 yards rushing since the NFL merger according to Stats LLC.

So is Thursday's game a sign of things to come?

"For us to go out there and sling it 40 or 50 times, its not going to happen," wide receiver Hines Ward. " I was here when Tommy Maddox did that, and it's not Steelers football. Our identity is never going to change. We just couldn't get things going in the run game so we had to hurry things up and Ben feels comfortable with that.

"But we have two great running backs, its a matter of working at it because when the weather gets bad we are going to depend on those guys."

Last season before his injury, Parker rushed 243 yards. He had just 19 on 13 carries against the Titans.

Part of the blame lies in the game plan, which seems to center around the pass. Part in fact is to Parker missing most of the pre-season, and a big part to the offensive line, who seemed baffled by the 4-3 scheme, and the way the Titans stacked the line of scrimmage.

"Coming into (Thursday's game) we talked about things we needed to do to be successful," coach Mike Tomlin said. "We talked about big men and blades of grass -- winning the trench warfare. We didn't do that."

The good thing is the lineman know they need to do better.

"We had a lot of communication errors out there tonight," tackle Willie Colon said. "We were kind of sloppy in the protection at times, and that's going to happen in the first game."

Last season the Steelers were able to win without the run, but a lot of credit should be given to the defense. With Troy Polamalu out indefinitely, Parker and crew need to step things up.

fansince'76
09-12-2009, 10:32 PM
While its nice to see big passing days from Ben Roethlisberger and a great output from the wide outs, one need look no further back than the 2003 season to see what a pass happy offense can do.

Tommy Maddox lit up the airways with some impressive numbers. That year they were second to last in the run department. The end result a 6-10 slate

And that was also the final year (thankfully) of Timmah Lewis' bend-AND-break defensive philosophy. We ain't going 6-10 against this schedule with this defense. No way, no how.

tony hipchest
09-12-2009, 10:35 PM
wherever would tomlin be w/o the wise advice from matt pawlikowski. :huh:

Shellshock
09-12-2009, 10:58 PM
Ben's arm and defence are two reasons why we can shit can the running game. Times have changed.

sharkweek
09-12-2009, 11:04 PM
Ben's arm and defence are two reasons why we can shit can the running game. Times have changed.

Bad weather can change things in a hurry. Of course bad weather generally only helps our stellar defense, so its not like we need much offensive output in such games anyways.

However all this doom and gloom BS after ONE FREAKING GAME is getting super old, super fast.

SteelC7
09-12-2009, 11:38 PM
hopefully we stay with the run and get better production early, if not, were gonna have to find a different solution, if we become a passing team, were still gonna need the run, the pats and saints and colts all still run the ball and pass like crazy, but they dont have the defense we do, but we dont have the o lines they have

fansince'76
09-12-2009, 11:41 PM
....the pats and saints and colts all still run the ball and pass like crazy, but they dont have the defense we do, but we dont have the o lines they have

And therein lies the tradeoff.

BehindSteelCurtain
09-12-2009, 11:46 PM
The Steelers couldnt run the ball because they couldn't run the ball.

Willie Parker...12 carries for 19 yards
Rashard Mendenhall- 5 carries for 8 yards

Those guys had their chances but they werent moving the ball.

OneForTheToe
09-13-2009, 02:38 AM
hopefully we stay with the run and get better production early, if not, were gonna have to find a different solution, if we become a passing team, were still gonna need the run, the pats and saints and colts all still run the ball and pass like crazy, but they dont have the defense we do, but we dont have the o lines they have

I'm not sure I agree with that. The Saints don't run the ball very well at all. They averaged less than 100 yards a game last season. In addition, we had 70 more attempts than the Saints last season. And I believe the lack of a willingness to establish a running game killed the Pats in 07. The Colts ran well the year they won it all but have become even more pass happy now.

The difference is that those teams don't care, or even try, to run the ball. There is a big difference between struggling to run and just abandoning the running game altogether. When you play the Saints and the last few Pats teams you can pretty much disregard the running game. Even when the Steelers struggle to run the ball, defenses must still respect our running game because they know we will continue to attempt to get it going. Therefore, unlike the aforementioned pass happy teams, the Steelers don't become one dimensional.

I believe that is why we succeed last season where so many passing teams have failed in the past, Even against the rat birds last season we were able (and willing to try) to run just enough to keep them honest.

Kal
09-13-2009, 02:50 AM
Not many defences with the depth of talent of the Titans, so I'd expect the Steelers to run a more balanced attack against some of the teams on their schedule. That said if that doesn't work there aren't many teams that they shouldn't be able to pass on should that fail.