View Full Version : Bires: Arians isn't the only target of criticism

01-10-2010, 08:07 PM
Bires: Arians isn't the only target of criticism
Beaver County Times

Sunday January 10, 2010 01:41 AM

For those who want to keep on criticizing Bruce Arians for throwing the ball so much, make sure to include Mike Tomlin in your criticism.

The head coach is every bit to blame as the offensive coordinator.

For the record, Tomlin claims that he’s responsible for every decision that goes into a game plan, whether it’s offense, defense or special teams. But truth be known, he’s a hands-off kind of guy.

He lets his coordinators run their shows.

Seldom, if ever, has Tomlin ordered Arians what to call.

Yes, it is Arians’ choice to throw more. It’s his opinion that the offense is suited to pass often because he has three No. 1 draft picks (Ben Roethlisberger, Heath Miller and Santonio Holmes) plus Hines Ward to work with.

Apparently, Tomlin agrees.

Therein lies one of the fundamental differences between Tomlin and his predecessor, Bill Cowher.

Cowher was never shy about vetoing a coordinator’s decision. If Cowher wanted more runs, he’d yell it out, “Run the ball!”

Tomlin has yet to do that.


How come no one is criticizing Dick LeBeau? Does his outstanding track record as a defensive coordinator give him a free pass?

In virtually every key defensive statistic, the Steelers’ defense fell short of last year’s figures.

They recorded 47 sacks compared to 51 last year, allowed 5.1 yards per play compared to 3.9, intercepted 12 passes compared to 20 and created only 22 turnovers compared to 29.

Most importantly, they allowed 29 touchdowns to only 19 last year.


One of the anti-Arians arguments is that the offense could have spared the defense the embarrassment of so many fourth-quarter collapses by possessing the ball longer.

That’s a major misconception.

The Steelers won the time of possession battle in 12 of their 16 games. In the Sept. 23 loss at Cincinnati, the Steelers had close to a 10-minute edge in time of possession. In the Nov. 17 loss at Kansas City, they had a whopping 22-minute edge in time of possession.

For the season, the Steelers had the ball on average more than five minutes per game longer than their opponents.

The bottom line is that the defense just didn’t get the job done when it mattered most.


It’s too early to predict who the Steelers will pick in the 2010 draft. They must decide on which of their free agents they’ll keep and which free agents they’ll go after on the open market.

But with the 18th overall pick of the draft, why not take a defensive back? It could be either a cover cornerback or a free safety … depending on who’s available.


I would imagine that Charlie Batch isn’t quite ready to call it a career. But he is 35, and he’s definitely injury prone. He’s missed two of the past six seasons with injuries (a knee in 2004 and a shoulder last year). In the only game he played this year, he broke his wrist.

With Dennis Dixon entrenched as Ben Roethlisberger’s back-up, Batch might never play another down if he stays in Pittsburgh as a player.

But might he remain in town as a coach? After all, the Steelers are looking for a new QB coach now that Ken Anderson has retired.


Here’s hoping that Limas Sweed makes a full recovery from whatever is ailing him and that he bounces back with a confidence that will allow him to get his game in order.

Sweed’s struggles as a pass receiver the past two years have been well-documented.

It’s mysterious that the Steelers refuse to say why Sweed was put on the non-football illness list late in the season.

There’s no doubt Sweed has the physical skills to play in the NFL. He’s big (6-foot-4, 220 pounds), strong and fast. That’s why the Steelers used a second-round pick on him.

He certainly works hard at practice. And he’s really a nice kid.

But for some reason, it just seems that Sweed lacks the concentration and mental toughness necessary to play pro football

He’ll probably get just one more chance to prove he can do it.

Only in Sunday’s print editions: Steelers position-by-position grades and player breakdowns

01-11-2010, 04:38 PM
But might he remain in town as a coach? After all, the Steelers are looking for a new QB coach now that Ken Anderson has retired.

I would really like to see Charlie Batch as our next QB coach. IMO he could be really solid as a QB coach and then eventually move up to OC.