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View Full Version : The End of the Rickety and Incompetence Periods


TheVet
05-18-2012, 03:48 AM
After many years of a respectable offense and a solid OL, 2007 is where things began to go badly, ushering in the 5-year Rickety Period of the Offensive Line. It's a very interesting topic for Steelers historians, as it coincides with the 5-year Incompetence Period of the Offensive Coordinator. When two forces of mishmash collide, it's difficult to separate the cottage cheese from the tofu. Indeed, it's best viewed from the perspective of afterwards.


2003 Marvel Smith Alan Faneca Jeff Hartings Kendall Simmons Todd Fordham
2004 Marvel Smith Alan Faneca Jeff Hartings Keydrick Vincent Oliver Ross
2005 Marvel Smith Alan Faneca Jeff Hartings Kendall Simmons Max Starks
2006 Marvel Smith Alan Faneca Jeff Hartings Kendall Simmons Max Starks
2007 Marvel Smith Alan Faneca Sean Mahan Kendall Simmons Willie Colon
2008 Marvel Smith Chris Kemoeatu Justin Hartwig Kendall Simmons Willie Colon
2009 Max Starks Chris Kemoeatu Justin Hartwig Trai Essex Willie Colon
2010 Max Starks Chris Kemoeatu Maurkice Pouncey Trai Essex Flozell Adams
2011 Jonathan Scott Chris Kemoeatu Maurkice Pouncey Doug Legursky Willie Colon


The 2007 season saw the loss of Hartings at C, the failure of Sean Mahan as his replacement, and a noticeable drop-off in Faneca's attitude/performance due to the very bitter contract negotiations. Essentially we lost our strong interior plus the great leadership all at once.

It was also Tomlin's first year, and I've always wondered whether he was fully aware of how decisively things had changed. He viewed the team as having a "Super Bowl pedigree", and rightfully so, but it just wasn't the same line. At any rate, an ineffective, porous OL was destined to become business as usual over the subsequent five years. But that's not all. Oh no, that's not all.

In 2007-2008, things were quite confusing. Yes, we had lost Hartings, and it was easy to see that Mahan was struggling. But nobody was looking at Faneca - after all, hadn't he always been the rock? Of course, but now an unhappy and demotivated rock.

And then there was this squirreley new OC named Arians. It was hard to tell what was going on; were our linemen dropping their assignments, or were our offensive schemes actually designed to allow freedom of defensive movement within our backfield? Were we even running actual designed plays at all times? Could it actually be all of the above, and a chicken-wired OL without much NFL-caliber talent? (Do running backs really need holes, or is that just for inferior teams?) Of course, it was all of the above, and more.

The Miracle Defensive Super Bowl season of 2008 allowed many casual fans to look past the OL (and OC) problems, but knowledgeable observers knew we had big problems. The dirty truth was exposed in September, when the Eagles Defense tore through the Steelers OL and scheme as if they were a high school team. Perhaps once a decade, a defense for the ages can carry an inept offense to the Super Bowl. We were thankful, but at the time we had no idea that we'd spend the next year or two chafing at the incessant bleating of the ignorant; "How bad could [Arians or the OL] be? After all, we won a Super Bowl."

Thankfully, the Rooneys always know what they're watching.

By 2009, virtually everybody recognized it, and we began hearing polite and gracious statements trickling down from the Rooneys, statements that became stronger each year. To translate coarsely: "Guys, fix this so it looks like football." "Guys, really, fix this. I'm not telling you what to do, just do something effective so it's not embarrassing." "Last chance guys, no kidding, big heads are gonna roll if my QB is decapitated."

And even though the OL Rickety Period and OC Incompetence Period lasted five long years, you could see the effects of behind-the-scenes pressure from the NFLs best management team. Changes were made - a few OL draftees at earlier rounds than usual, the firing of a scapegoated OL coach (a skillful deflection of blame by the OC, but undoubtedly coupled with a "last chance" warning), Pouncey at #1, then finally taking out the root of the disease (the OC), and now a wholesale commitment to rebuilding the line.

Thank you, thank you thank you Mr. Rooney.

The Rickety Period is over! The Incompetence Period is over!

:tt04::tt04:

bornaSteelersfan
05-18-2012, 05:18 AM
I do like your perspective of looking back. These are off-season musings of what this coming season could be. I am not one to count my chickens... While the potential is there, I have yet to see a game. I will hold back my elation until such time as it becomes a reality.

Steelersfan87
05-18-2012, 06:05 AM
It's amazing how you refuse to draw any parallel between Arians' lack of success to the suddenly poor level of talent on the offensive line. Is it really surprising that the offense was suddenly...less after losing Pro Bowl players? Things like this really get tiring for people like me who have no desire to actually support Arians and tout his abilities. The reality is that he's a middling talent of a coordinator with a relatively unsophisticated philosophy. The mythology is that he is the worst coordinator ever and a horrible human being that destroyed the greatest sports franchise in the history of the world. Who knows? Maybe Arians could have had a top 5 scoring offense this season with this offensive line, and not a line that had 22 different combinations. A good deal of the Steelers' lack of success in the red zone was due to RBs being stuffed at the line and Ben being pressured. You know, things a better offensive line would be better at preventing. So let's get this out here now: if the offense has a huge year this year, it will probably be more because of the offensive line being better than because of Todd Haley (aka NotBruceArians).

steeltheone
05-18-2012, 06:16 AM
I do like your perspective of looking back. These are off-season musings of what this coming season could be. I am not one to count my chickens... While the potential is there, I have yet to see a game. I will hold back my elation until such time as it becomes a reality.

I agree....Have to see it work on the field first. Does look very promising though!

LVSteelersfan
05-18-2012, 12:48 PM
Sorry, but a good OC works around the strengths and weaknesses of his players. Let's see now. 3rd and goal inside the 10. Why don't we run an empty backfield set that gets our QB sacked more than 50% of the time. What about 3rd and goal from about the 9. Let's just run the ball up the gut 3 straight times with a pitiful Oline using the same exact play. Two of them lose a yard. The third one might gain one yard. Kick a field goal. Don't even try to tell me that most of the fault for the ineptness of the offense in the red zone area was not on the slow developing play calls by Airhead. I am not a football genius but it is plain as day to anyone who knows anything about the game and watches how the better teams do it.

Sixburgher
05-18-2012, 12:54 PM
It's amazing how you refuse to draw any parallel between Arians' lack of success to the suddenly poor level of talent on the offensive line. Is it really surprising that the offense was suddenly...less after losing Pro Bowl players? Things like this really get tiring for people like me who have no desire to actually support Arians and tout his abilities. The reality is that he's a middling talent of a coordinator with a relatively unsophisticated philosophy. The mythology is that he is the worst coordinator ever and a horrible human being that destroyed the greatest sports franchise in the history of the world. Who knows? Maybe Arians could have had a top 5 scoring offense this season with this offensive line, and not a line that had 22 different combinations. A good deal of the Steelers' lack of success in the red zone was due to RBs being stuffed at the line and Ben being pressured. You know, things a better offensive line would be better at preventing. So let's get this out here now: if the offense has a huge year this year, it will probably be more because of the offensive line being better than because of Todd Haley (aka NotBruceArians).

Bingo. Can't wait to see what is said around here the first time they have to settle for a FG in the red zone after Haley takes the reins.

TheVet
05-18-2012, 05:12 PM
Things like this really get tiring for people like me who have no desire to actually support Arians and tout his abilities.

And yet you do support Arians, and tout his abilities beyond any level that he's earned. He's not competent, he's nowhere near being a mid-level NFL OC. Where are his successes?

A good deal of the Steelers' lack of success in the red zone was due to RBs being stuffed at the line and Ben being pressured. You know, things a better offensive line would be better at preventing. So let's get this out here now: if the offense has a huge year this year, it will probably be more because of the offensive line being better than because of Todd Haley (aka NotBruceArians).
I don't understand. Are you the same Dodens Gray who has been regularly singing the praises of all the sub-mediocre Steelers OL players all over these threads? If you like the OC, and you like the OL (or now you don't?), then how do explain the ineffective offense? Or do you think the offense has been fine? If you can't recognize the problems, how will you understand the fixes?

These have not been the good old days, Dodens. An NFL-caliber OL and OC is coming to Pittsburgh, ready or not! I think you're going to like it when you see it, whether or not you agree with the Rooneys on the rationale.

TheVet
05-18-2012, 05:29 PM
For those of you who are concerned about immediate results - relax, that's not important. Good results will ultimately follow good decisions. I'm elated to see all the evidence of great decisions lately. The Rooneys are all about solidly building for the long term; that's why we have such a great Steelers institution.

The Rooneys looked past the mirage of apparent successes, and recognized the problems that casual fans don't see and that many aware journalists won't talk about. They've been systematically exerting pressure in the right directions. NFL-caliber starters are being pulled into the fold, and the root cause has finally been eradicated.

We're on the right path, building the necessary infrastructure for the second half of our franchise QB's career. Success will follow well-directed actions, but of course there will be missteps. The knowledgeable fans will understand an occasional hiccup on the road, but they won't accept institutionalized incompetence. Let the casual fans squawk at the losses and cheer the wins on a weekly basis; they'll be happy with the overall result.

Bingo. Can't wait to see what is said around here the first time they have to settle for a FG in the red zone after Haley takes the reins.

Hahah, I can hear it now. The same geniuses who will remind us that "after all, Arians won us a Super Bowl!!!"

Steelersfan87
05-18-2012, 06:04 PM
There's a difference between supporting or liking a coordinator or offensive line and defending them against practical slander. I will give a more proper response when I have more time. But in the meantime, I urge you to stop instigating me with this "ready or not" crap and acting like I'm an abused spouse that only accepts my position because I haven't known any other way. Seriously. Cut that crap out. That's not how to have a discussion.

MACH1
05-18-2012, 06:49 PM
Lets keep this civil gentlemen.

tony hipchest
05-18-2012, 07:00 PM
i cant wait to see what people say arount here the 1st time in over 5 years our offense puts up more than 5 offensive TD's in a single game. i bet people will be stoked!

even some of the most limp dicked scrub teams have accomplished that feat in the past 5 years.

i cant wait!

weve had a number of shut outs. now we have potential for blow outs.

Sixburgher
05-18-2012, 10:11 PM
The Rooneys looked past the mirage of apparent successes, and recognized the problems that casual fans don't see and that many aware journalists won't talk about.

Like you have so much more insight? What position do you occupy on the team?

Your arrogance is becoming tiresome. Especially considering that you have exhibited no particular insight and instead have offered nothing more than the hackneyed and beaten to death "Ariens sux and wuz teh wurst OC evurr!" talking points. If you're going to puff your chest out and continually pop off like you're some great authority on the subject, come up with something original at least.

MasterOfPuppets
05-19-2012, 01:40 AM
Lets keep this civil gentlemen.
http://t3.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcTOQUVvuOxrSvtESv8y4MWP0q19oUr28 6ZjYaAQPE9w5yI6yITGyyYNGNx2wg

MACH1
05-19-2012, 02:12 AM
http://t3.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcTOQUVvuOxrSvtESv8y4MWP0q19oUr28 6ZjYaAQPE9w5yI6yITGyyYNGNx2wg

http://www.signsbypost.com/sm_images/BITE-ME-0450.jpg

:chuckle:

Hawaii 5-0
05-19-2012, 02:20 AM
Lets keep this civil gentlemen.

"Your mother was a hamster and your father smelt of elderberries!"

http://media.tumblr.com/tumblr_lracvo5ivT1qca9vm.gif

TheVet
05-19-2012, 02:50 AM
Like you have so much more insight? What position do you occupy on the team?

Your arrogance is becoming tiresome. Especially considering that you have exhibited no particular insight and instead have offered nothing more than the hackneyed and beaten to death "Ariens sux and wuz teh wurst OC evurr!" talking points. If you're going to puff your chest out and continually pop off like you're some great authority on the subject, come up with something original at least.

Sorry SixBurger, I'm not going to trade personal insults on the internet. I'm here to talk about the Steelers if you like. Please try to play nice, and enjoy the Steelers.

lloydwoodson
05-19-2012, 03:08 AM
And yet you do support Arians, and tout his abilities beyond any level that he's earned. He's not competent, he's nowhere near being a mid-level NFL OC. Where are his successes?

I don't understand. Are you the same Dodens Gray who has been regularly singing the praises of all the sub-mediocre Steelers OL players all over these threads? If you like the OC, and you like the OL (or now you don't?), then how do explain the ineffective offense? Or do you think the offense has been fine? If you can't recognize the problems, how will you understand the fixes?

These have not been the good old days, Dodens. An NFL-caliber OL and OC is coming to Pittsburgh, ready or not! I think you're going to like it when you see it, whether or not you agree with the Rooneys on the rationale.

Arians last year had the 12th ranked total offense, was first in time of possession, and first in third down conversion rates. He is a decent offensive coordinator. Most people don't like his philosophy and wanted him gone. Stop pretending you are the only one who wanted Arians gone when the reality is 70% of the posters here probably did.

tanda10506
05-19-2012, 04:01 AM
Arians last year had the 12th ranked total offense, was first in time of possession, and first in third down conversion rates. He is a decent offensive coordinator. Most people don't like his philosophy and wanted him gone. Stop pretending you are the only one who wanted Arians gone when the reality is 70% of the posters here probably did.

First off the 12th ranked offense got outscored by 20 other offenses, so that means nothing. Second, did you see the play calling on 3rd down? It's a wonder we converted ANY of them. We run up the middle and do 2 yard passes on 3rd and long yet throw long bombs on 3rd and short! With a QB like Ben throwing to guys like Wallace, Brown, Sanders, Cotchery and Miller, passes are going to be completed and 3rd downs will be converted in that case. The numbers don't lie, we were good on 3rd down, but watch the play calling on 3rd down, it's terrible, Arians didn't contribute to that stat, if anything he held it back. When you are on your 5th bubble screen and Phil Simms is calling it out before you run it, your not mediocre your bad. When Suggs can read our plays so well that Ben throws a bubble screen that appears designed for him, your not mediocre your bad. Running up the gut on 3rd and long and throwing long on 3rd and short is terrible play calling also. At first I cut Arians some slack due to the O line, but when I look at the play to play idiocy and when I go to the local bar and fans are calling out our plays, run and pass, before the ball is even snapped (seriously) that's not mediocre, that's just a shame.

Dalarin
05-19-2012, 05:15 AM
First off the 12th ranked offense got outscored by 20 other offenses, so that means nothing. Second, did you see the play calling on 3rd down? It's a wonder we converted ANY of them. We run up the middle and do 2 yard passes on 3rd and long yet throw long bombs on 3rd and short! With a QB like Ben throwing to guys like Wallace, Brown, Sanders, Cotchery and Miller, passes are going to be completed and 3rd downs will be converted in that case. The numbers don't lie, we were good on 3rd down, but watch the play calling on 3rd down, it's terrible, Arians didn't contribute to that stat, if anything he held it back. When you are on your 5th bubble screen and Phil Simms is calling it out before you run it, your not mediocre your bad. When Suggs can read our plays so well that Ben throws a bubble screen that appears designed for him, your not mediocre your bad. Running up the gut on 3rd and long and throwing long on 3rd and short is terrible play calling also. At first I cut Arians some slack due to the O line, but when I look at the play to play idiocy and when I go to the local bar and fans are calling out our plays, run and pass, before the ball is even snapped (seriously) that's not mediocre, that's just a shame.

Not necessarily. Sometimes film will show that a team is susceptible on long passes and a play action bomb on 3rd and short starts to sound really nice. Its a problem when you try so hard to be unpredictable that you fail in doing so. Whisenhunt was pretty predictable... until he threw a WR pass, or something of that nature, at you. The fact that he had a few trick plays up his sleeve at all times made defenses leery of committing to something.

Ricco Suavez
05-19-2012, 10:06 AM
The reality of NFL offenses now is scoring is much more prevalent on the pass than years before. With that said I still believe the run game is vital to championship teams. We have been lacking an effective run game for a while, some will say it was by Arian's design , others the lack of a quality O-Line. I believe the truth lies somewhere in between.

The Steelers have historically not been a high scoring team, in fact even as much as Arians was vilified for our scoring other than last year its was close to norm. Last seasons scoring was down more than usual but since defensive and special team scores are figured in the total and while we had the # 1 defense we were at the bottom in defensive scores and creating TOs.

I defended Arians up to last year and even now I do not believe he was the whole problem, just as I believe Haley is not the whole solution. I came to believe that Arians needed to go because of a few points. One, I felt he lacked any imagination. Two, him and Ben were like an old couple in a rut. And finally he did not have any faith in running the ball. I am excited about the possibilities of a new offensive scheme, new faces on the O-line, but our success will lie with how well Ben adapts to the new system and our won loss column will still be determined by how well our defense plays. I hope that even if statistically we are not the #1 defense this year we somehow can create more TOs and even score a TD with a INT or Fumble every once and a while.

harrison'samonster
05-19-2012, 04:16 PM
Slander? The OL and the OC have been terrible the last couple of seasons. Now, if they improve this year or not remains to be seen, and we should give them some time before deciding if they are better or not.

MasterOfPuppets
05-19-2012, 06:26 PM
anyone who thinks arians wasn't the bulk of the offensive problems wasn't paying attention to the evidence.
1. its on record that someone stated that they NEVER practice against the 4-3
2 mendenhall stated that they don't spend much time practicing running plays.
3 there's a million examples of horrid play calling and game plans... but the one that stands out the most is arians failed passing attack against the browns in freezing temperatures and 35 mph winds.
4 fans have been clamoring for years to move colon to guard , arians gone, colon to guard.
5 fans bitch for years about lack of using short passing game to offset poor pass blocking ... arians finally has the light go off in his pea brain and uses it against NE...it works flawlessly ...he scraps it.
6 there's a million examples of the EMPTY backfield on 3rd and short ...why make the D think you might run the ball ? duh...
7 lets stop throwing the ball to the 6-6 TE in the red zone... lets do fade routes to the under 6 foot guys instead

tony hipchest
05-19-2012, 07:42 PM
3 there's a million examples of horrid play calling and game plans... but the one that stands out the most is arians failed passing attack against the browns in freezing temperatures and 35 mph winds.


oh you mean the game where we were in a playoff hunt to defend our championship and facing the worst team in football with a 1-11 record that we had beat 15 times straight?

the team that had the worst rushing defense in football and one of the worst passers(brady quinn- who went a respectful 6-19 for 90 yds on the day)?

i forget what hurricaine that was that turned into a tropical storm by the time it hit ohio that fridgid night, but everybody in the entire world knew all the steelers had to do, and WERE GOING TO DO, was simply run the ball and play some defense.

everybody but the browns and steelerfans who know the biggest problem with arians is he will defy conventional wisdom to try and trick the other coordinators. he wasnt to suprize them by doing the exact opposit to catch them off guard so he can be labeled a genius or "mad scientist". he would rather win a game with his brains than with his players. that game is when i realized he was the most selfish person on the steelers (not named santonio).

steelers ran the ball 19 times. many people try to count bens 3 scrambles as rushes, but they were failed passing plays. the same people will say we only passed 32 times, but there were 8 sacks.

8+3+32 = 43 passing plays vs. 19 rushing plays.

browns had 36 rushes vs 19 passes and 1 sack.

thats how the 1-11 worst team in football embarrassed the defending champs and ended their playoff hopes.

never have i seen ANY coach shit the bed worse than that.

Hawaii 5-0
05-19-2012, 07:53 PM
http://www.pittsburghmagazine.com/Best-of-the-Burgh-Blogs/Pulling-No-Punches/November-2010/Tomlin-Arians.jpg

NSMaster56
05-19-2012, 08:29 PM
[Precise and painful re-telling of the notorious 09 Steelers @ BrownsTNF game]

THIS.

[/discussion]

MACH1
05-19-2012, 08:50 PM
oh you mean the game where we were in a playoff hunt to defend our championship and facing the worst team in football with a 1-11 record that we had beat 15 times straight?

the team that had the worst rushing defense in football and one of the worst passers(brady quinn- who went a respectful 6-19 for 90 yds on the day)?

i forget what hurricaine that was that turned into a tropical storm by the time it hit ohio that fridgid night, but everybody in the entire world knew all the steelers had to do, and WERE GOING TO DO, was simply run the ball and play some defense.

everybody but the browns and steelerfans who know the biggest problem with arians is he will defy conventional wisdom to try and trick the other coordinators. he wasnt to suprize them by doing the exact opposit to catch them off guard so he can be labeled a genius or "mad scientist". he would rather win a game with his brains than with his players. that game is when i realized he was the most selfish person on the steelers (not named santonio).

steelers ran the ball 19 times. many people try to count bens 3 scrambles as rushes, but they were failed passing plays. the same people will say we only passed 32 times, but there were 8 sacks.

8+3+32 = 43 passing plays vs. 19 rushing plays.

browns had 36 rushes vs 19 passes and 1 sack.

thats how the 1-11 worst team in football embarrassed the defending champs and ended their playoff hopes.

never have i seen ANY coach shit the bed worse than that.

Thanks for the play by play. I almost had that mentally blocked. :chuckle:

MasterOfPuppets
05-19-2012, 10:16 PM
oh you mean the game where we were in a playoff hunt to defend our championship and facing the worst team in football with a 1-11 record that we had beat 15 times straight?

the team that had the worst rushing defense in football and one of the worst passers(brady quinn- who went a respectful 6-19 for 90 yds on the day)?

i forget what hurricaine that was that turned into a tropical storm by the time it hit ohio that fridgid night, but everybody in the entire world knew all the steelers had to do, and WERE GOING TO DO, was simply run the ball and play some defense.

everybody but the browns and steelerfans who know the biggest problem with arians is he will defy conventional wisdom to try and trick the other coordinators. he wasnt to suprize them by doing the exact opposit to catch them off guard so he can be labeled a genius or "mad scientist". he would rather win a game with his brains than with his players. that game is when i realized he was the most selfish person on the steelers (not named santonio).

steelers ran the ball 19 times. many people try to count bens 3 scrambles as rushes, but they were failed passing plays. the same people will say we only passed 32 times, but there were 8 sacks.

8+3+32 = 43 passing plays vs. 19 rushing plays.

browns had 36 rushes vs 19 passes and 1 sack.

thats how the 1-11 worst team in football embarrassed the defending champs and ended their playoff hopes.

never have i seen ANY coach shit the bed worse than that.
yep..that'd be the one... remember 3 games before that one , they were in overtime with the chiefs ? 3rd down and less than 2 from the 35 , he calls a pitch (sweep) play to memo who gets hit fror a 3 yd lose and kills any chance for a FG ? ...we punt, KC kicks a fg...we lose.

Steelersfan87
05-19-2012, 10:45 PM
If I recall correctly, the difference in that game was the special teams, in a year in which the Steelers had a historically bad special teams unit. The entire team had no heart that day, either, it wasn't simply just the playcalling. They did not get up for that game. But if I recall correctly, neither team lost another game that year...

MasterOfPuppets
05-19-2012, 11:14 PM
If I recall correctly, the difference in that game was the special teams, in a year in which the Steelers had a historically bad special teams unit. The entire team had no heart that day, either, it wasn't simply just the playcalling. They did not get up for that game. But if I recall correctly, neither team lost another game that year...
they did indeed give up a return that game and yes they did play like crap..BUT... when your line couldn't hold back a troop of girl scouts , why would you call a slow developing run play that has a good potential to LOSE yardage when not properly blocked , and give it to your slowest running back ?


that lose was the 3rd of 6 straight that year.
the 2 weeks following that game, the chiefs got their ass's beat 43-14 by san diego , and 44-13 by the bronco's...the kyle orton bronco's !!! ....the freakin browns hung 41 on kc that year ... yet arians offense could only put up 3 td's...

bornaSteelersfan
05-20-2012, 03:47 AM
OK, your :rant: about that Browns game makes me want to :crying01: and :shots: until I :puke:. Can we simply stop :deadhorse: and :applaudit: the changes made in the offseason? When Arians left, I did this; :danceshout:. Last season, I was :sweating: every game. I give a :hatsoff: a :salute: and a :thmbup: to the Rooneys for addressing the problems. I will now just :hope: that our coaches can :scholar: the new players to :buttkick: the opposing teams and we can :dancing: our way to once again be :champs:. That is all for now so :wave: