View Full Version : Four-corner offensive philosophy not working

tony hipchest
10-02-2009, 08:14 PM
sure the players need to execute the plays that are called, but they are done no favors if the coaches constantly telegraph what is coming up.

all offensive coaches will tell you they self scout and call plays accordingly to not reveal a trend. doesnt appear to be so in this case. maybe this will help some understand where the frustration with arians lies.


By Jim Wexell
Posted Oct 1, 2009

The Steelers have lost two late leads, and Jim Wexell says it's not all the defense's fault. The offense needs to change its way of thinking.

PITTSBURGH – Ben Roethlisberger might be the king of the comeback – as he repeatedly shows against some of the toughest defenses in the league.

But, with a lead, Roethlisberger’s just another robot taking orders from a coach who wants to kill the clock with the running game.

In the last two games, the Steelers have not killed the clock, and they’ve squandered leads and lost both games.

So, why can’t the Steelers attack with Roethlisberger as if he’s trying to come from behind?

“I guess you could,” said Roethlisberger. “When we’re behind we’re pressing the issue, we’re passing, we’re really hurrying things up, and when you get the lead you tend to slow things down and run the ball and try to use up as much clock as you can. So, I guess you could, but the smart play is to use the clock and count on your defense.”

But, it hasn’t been so smart lately, has it?

“Two games,” Roethlisberger said, emphasizing the shallow pool of statistical evidence.

Problem is, it hasn’t only been two games for the Steelers. Before letting 4th-quarter leads slip in Chicago and Cincinnati, the Steelers lost a 4th-quarter lead in the Super Bowl. In fact, the last six times the Steelers have sent out their offense for a series (that didn’t include a kneeldown) with a lead of 8 points or fewer, they’ve lost that short lead five times. The Steelers lost late leads, and games, to the Bears, Bengals, Colts and Giants. Fortunately, they had enough time to re-rally for wins after blowing late leads against the Cardinals in the Super Bowl and the Ravens in the first meeting last season.

The only short 4th-quarter lead they haven’t squandered since hosting the Ravens early last season was the AFC Championship Game, in which the Steelers went 3-and-out with a 2-point 4th-quarter lead. Troy Polamalu’s interception return for a touchdown ended Baltimore’s rally in that game.

Want to blame the defense for the recent problems? Fine. But, the offense isn’t helping. While playing with short 4th-quarter leads since the start of the 2008 season, the Steelers have run 15 first-down plays. Eleven of those have been running plays for 23 yards, with four passes (two completions) for a total of zero yards. Inevitably, the Steelers stall, punt and blow the lead.

Can’t the Steelers keep their foot on the accelerator with a lead?

“Oh, yeah, sure,” said offensive coordinator Bruce Arians. “We kind of did that in Chicago.”

Only, they didn’t. In Chicago, with a 14-7 fourth-quarter lead, the Steelers handed off to Parker on one first down and threw Parker a 3-yard pass on the other. The drive stalled, Jeff Reed missed a kick, the Bears tied the game, and later won it.

“We were successful on first down in Cincinnati and not as successful on seconds,” Arians continued. “It set up a couple third downs where we were outside of a makeable third down when they all-out blitzed and tackled the hot receiver.”

With a 5-point 4th-quarter lead in Cincinnati, Parker ran for no gain on one first down and for 3 yards on the other. The Steelers punted and the Bengals drove for the winning touchdown.

“If you feel you can take the time off the clock, and make first downs, you can run the ball,” Arians said. “If not, you’ve got to continue to throw it and mix it up and make first downs. The key thing is making first downs and gaining possession of the football.”

Maybe that’s the problem. Maybe the key is not “making first downs,” but instead scoring, adding to the lead, and driving a spike into the heart of the opponent.

The Steelers have the quarterback and the receivers to do it. Maybe they just need to change the way they look at it.

And why not? It couldn’t be worse than the current course of action.

10-02-2009, 08:20 PM
Steelers are not that far off from making everything click . They may be looking ahead too much . One game at a time is all it takes .

tony hipchest
10-02-2009, 08:39 PM
10 hot topics for Week 4


4. Time to balance the offense

Getting teams to balance up their offense is important if they want to reduce their tendencies and be less predictable. Five teams that simply have to run the ball more than they pass are Tampa Bay (who pass 67 percent of the time), New England (64 percent), Houston (64 percent), San Diego (63 percent) and Pittsburgh (62 percent). The Buccaneers have to pass because they are chasing teams from behind, but the other four have good teams and need to force the run on opponents or they are headed for disappointing seasons.

these 2 articles may seem contradictory, but really they go towards the same point.

kirwan was talking today about how when he was with the jets, he had data going back on what several offensive coaches would call on 1st and 10, when down by 7 points, for 10 years. every time the coach was in that situation, he had the percentages to tell the odds of what play was going to be called. according to him (and denzel in remember the titans) its quite revealing and valuable information.

this is the type of "situational football" tomlin constantly preaches about.

he said no matter how much a coordinator says theyre trying to "balance things up", when the heat is on they always go back to the well and revert to their tendencies. its like instinct takes over with the pressure.

so sure the players need to execute. but coaches being so predictable is like blaming the defensive players not being able to beat the mighty patriots, when the offensive coordinators knew what was coming (thanks to taping defensive signals).

its a significant edge (one that almost cost us a 6th title).

10-02-2009, 09:20 PM
You have always been a favorite poster of mine "Hipchest" . The knowledge you have of the game is admirable .
Predictability on offense is something that has been rearing it's ugly head for some time now .
When crunch time comes , that is something that Ben takes into his own hands .
He is good at it .
I guess we just don't want teams to prepare too much for that aspect of our game .
Why , i can't answer that . No matter what , the execution of the play must prevail .
Execution seems to be the key in this offense .
When the play is executed properly , the reciever drops the ball . Now what ?

:tt: :tt: :tt: :tt: :tt: :tt: :tt:

tony hipchest
10-02-2009, 10:11 PM
Having a 300-yard passer is no longer a losing proposition

(steelers lone win this season is with ben having a 300 yd game).


It has been said that most passing records have been set in losing efforts. For the most part, statistics back it up.

Of the eight 500-yard passing games in NFL history, only three have resulted in a victory. The top three -- Norm Van Brocklin (554), Warren Moon (527) and Boomer Esiason (522) -- all won their games; after that, five defeats.

Quarterbacks being forced to throw when their teams are attempting to come from behind, and opponents teasing with prevent defenses, is not exactly a new phenomenon. What is new is that teams are now continuing to throw while ahead.

Passers accumulating 300-plus passing yards in defeat were, and still are, commonplace. But the pendulum on that trend is gaining momentum on the backswing. Today it appears that a 300-yard passing day is a better indicator of a winning team than a losing one.

As recently as 2005 there were 64 300-plus passing days in the regular season and only 31, or 48 percent, resulted in a win. The year before was worse; just 36 of the 81 300-yard passing days, or 44 percent, culminated in a victory. Go back to 1997 and just 20 of the 46 300-yard efforts (43 percent) in that season put a "W" on the board.

Things are changing in the passing game, and after a good discussion on the subject with former Steelers coach Bill Cowher, I decided to look into it a bit deeper.

A little background is necessary. From 1996-2007, NFL quarterbacks averaged 68 300-yard passing games a season, or in roughly 13 percent of the games. Only 52 percent of those performances resulted in a victory for the team with the 300-yard passer. But things started changing dramatically in 2008. Last year saw a 10-percent jump from the previously mentioned 12-year average in success rate to 62 percent (47 of 76 games with a 300-yard passer resulted in a victory, with one tie).

In 2009, that percentage has grown even higher. There have already been 21 games this season with a quarterback surpassing 300 yards. Fifteen of those have resulted in wins for the 300-yard passer's team, or 71 percent. Last week eight quarterbacks crossed the 300-yard mark and their teams went 5-3. I'm not sure the success rate will stay that high all season, but the first three weeks tell us there is a significant increase in the desire to throw the ball, even when a team has the lead.

Take Kevin Kolb of the Eagles, for example. He made his starting debut two weeks ago with the Eagles and got a second start on Sunday. Philadelphia didn't exactly hold him back. On Sunday, he became the first quarterback to throw for more than 300 yards in back-to-back games in his first two starts. We all know Drew Brees, Peyton Manning, Philip Rivers, Kurt Warner and Tom Brady are going after wins by passing the majority of the game, but what about a quarterback like Joe Flacco, who is lighting it up in only his second season, on a historically defensive-minded team, no less?

Of the 96 starts made by quarterbacks this season, 21, as mentioned above, have resulted in 300-yard efforts, a pace that would see 112 300-yard games at season's end -- a whopping 31 more than any year since 1997, or almost double the 12-year average. That is more than possible. In fact, it looks probable when you consider there are already 22 quarterbacks averaging 30-plus pass attempts a game. The top eight quarterbacks in passing yards are averaging 294.6 yards per game and their teams have a combined record of 16-8.

Cowher said he thought the game was changing and teams might have to rethink the passing game. If they don't soon, we could see the first year that 70 percent of the 300-yard passing games will result in a win.

maybe tomlin and arians are a bit at odds. tomlin beleives in teh rooney way and the smashmouth, ball control, control the clock with the run.

all one needs to do is see my avitar to know i approve of the "run the wheels off of willie" philosophy.

coach knows best.

the wheels are off.

the previous coach is no dummy either.

now i dont expect this thread to become yet another of the hunnerds of arians bashing threads cause ultimately i know that tomlin is the boss.

he got hired because he sold the rooneys on his capabilities and philosophy.

go with what works, coach.

kreider, jerome, faneca, grimm, et al hogs are gone.

the days of being 121-1-1 (or whatever it was) when holding a 10 point lead may be gone with the "jerome" philosophy.

10-02-2009, 10:34 PM
I know what you are illustrating , but Mike has his agenda also . He is sticking by his guns , and maybe he could still be correct . He seems like the straight forward kind of coach up front , and i have no reason to believe that he would be different behind the scenes .
We hired him for a reason , and one reason alone . Make us the best team we can be . If he is not able to fullfill his aspirations he will never be satisfied . Niether will we be as fans .
I love the way he has embraced the statured job that he has aquired , and i do not see him taking it lightly . He must make some astute decisions , and he knows it is so .
Pittsburgh has kind of embraced him , i am almost certain , that he knows it too.
We are in no means out of this thing by any means . we had 4 losses last season , and we have only 2 now .
We are losing games that are concievable wins , twice in a row .
Is it the coach ? I find that hard to believe .
If there are changes to be made , i trust Mike to get the job done .

:tt02: :tt02: :tt02: :tt02: :tt02: :tt02: :tt02:

10-02-2009, 10:44 PM
OH , about the wheels , i don;t think they fell off just yet . We carry a few spare tires .

10-02-2009, 11:48 PM
nice read thanks for posting~

10-03-2009, 12:03 AM
I have absolutely no problem with the concept of running the ball, driving it down a teams throat at the end of the game and running the clock down...IF (and it's a might big if), you've got the running game to do it. At this point I don't know if it's our offensive line or Bruce Arians' system, but we've been lousy running the ball right from the get go at the beginning of the game....what leads him to believe we're going to be able to run it at the end when EVERYONE knows it's coming. When John Riggins and the Washington Redskins ran the ball at the end of the game with their "counter tray" in the 80's, EVERYONE in the stadium knew what was coming but the defense couldn't stop it. When Jerome Bettis was in his prime during the Cowher era, we were also tough to stop. Right now, we can't run effectively in normal running situations. (Short yardage especially) As long as that's the case, the mindset behind our play calling has to adapt and keep the play calling balanced.

10-03-2009, 01:41 AM
at least we have the talent to win, we just need the rite combo, its not like were the lions, who dont even have the talent to win, at least were close, were the best 1-2 team out there, and if we can beat the chargers, then well kill the lions and browns and be 4-2

10-03-2009, 02:17 PM
Steelers are not that far off from making everything click .

I completely agree. They are really close and just need to put everything together for 60 minutes of good football. Oh and getting Troy back wouldn't hurt either :tt02:

10-03-2009, 09:09 PM
Conversely, though, we throw a pick late in one of these games that SHOULD HAVE BEEN PUT AWAY EARLIER, and the same arguments will be made AGAINST, saying we should have run the ball and drained the clock.

Execution is breaking down...that's all. The game plans on both sides of the ball have been good enough for this team to be 3-0.

10-04-2009, 08:47 AM
The game should be put away by the thrid quarter so I can go to bed and rest easy. Have to get up at 4am for work and don't need to be stressed out at 10;30 pm with 5 minutes to go.

Fire Haley
10-04-2009, 11:33 AM
4th quarter defensive philosophy not working.

There - that's better.

10-04-2009, 02:20 PM
You just might be onto something Killer :chuckle: