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Old 01-07-2013, 01:16 PM   #1
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Default Robinson: 10 Ways to Fix the Steelers

http://triblive.com/sports/steelers/...#axzz2H4oXKHqV

10 ways to fix the Steelers
By Alan Robinson
Published: Sunday, January 6, 2013, 12:01 a.m.


Every three years, the Steelers go through their own accelerated version of a leap year. It happened in 2000, ‘03, ‘06, ‘09 and, yes, in ‘12.

There are numerous injuries. Veteran players underperform. Early-round draft picks don‘t contribute. They lose close games and lose some games that don‘t have any business being close. The playoffs don‘t happen.

In the past, they‘ve always fixed what went wrong, and in a hurry. Each of the last four times they sat out the playoffs following a single-digit win season, they bounced back to have a double digit-win season and make the playoffs.

“The one thing Pittsburgh has going for it is that they are a really, really, really stable organization, and they‘re not going to rush out and do something that helps them for only one month or one year,” former Cowboys personnel chief Gil Brandt said. “They understand the big picture as well as anybody in the league.”

How do the Steelers do it? Maybe they don‘t always get the season right, but they always seem to get the offseason right. And this is one offseason they need to get right following an 8-8 season.

A top 10 list of what the Steelers need to get right — and right now, based on the recommendation of multiple former NFL executives and coaches:

1. Address the running game

Only once in 45 years have they run the ball as poorly as they did this season. They‘ve used a first-round pick on a lead runner only once since 1989; they might have to do it again.

“You‘ve got so much invested in that quarterback (Ben Roethlisberger) that (a running back) would be a wise investment,” former Redskins and Cowboys general manager Charley Casserly said.

2. Find a way to stay healthier

Staying injury-free isn‘t always staying lucky; often it‘s the residue of training hard, training long and training right. For LaMarr Woodley, linebackers coach Keith Butler said that means a greater emphasis on getting his hamstrings in shape. For Troy Polamalu, it could be as simple as staying slimmer in the offseason.

“I think winning eight games with all the injuries they had is almost mind-boggling, to do as good as they do,” Casserly said. “To me, the No. 1 issue with this team was being decimated by injuries.”

3. Stabilize the o-line

An offense that ranked only 22nd in scoring was never more efficient than it was when the oft-disrupted line stayed intact during a four-game midseason winning streak. Maybe that means finding a veteran-type lineman like Max Starks to provide some consistency until Mike Adams, Marcus Gilbert and Kelvin Beachum settle in. Or maybe it means they can‘t count on the frequently injured Willie Colon any longer.

4. Don‘t be stuck on the corner

If they‘ve decided Cortez Allen is ready to start, Keenan Lewis could become expendable. If not, they‘ll need to find a way to pay Allen fair market value, yet still keep cap space for other important needs. That won‘t be easy.

“(Ike) Taylor and Polamalu, they‘ve got to be playing at the top of their game, or they‘re in trouble,” Brandt said.

5. Get back to what they do best on defense

And that‘s pressuring and disrupting. They paid their linebackers more than all but one team in 2012 and didn‘t get a payback on their investment. That could mean selling some stocks and buying some new ones.

“(Jason) Worilds made some plays at times, but nobody else is establishing themselves at outside linebacker,” said Casserly, an NFL Network analyst. “Outside linebacker is crucial in that defense.”

6. Make sure BIG BEN is sold on Todd Haley‘s strategy

Maybe that requires playbook tweaking on Haley‘s part or more offseason collaboration. Whatever the method, Roethlisberger must believe in what he‘s being asked to do, or it won‘t work.

7. Find a deep threat

Roethlisberger needs to be able to slam dunk occasionally, not just dink and dunk.

8. Refine the D-line

Casey Hampton might be gone, and Brett Keisel will be next. The defensive line is a major concern, especially given Ziggy Hood‘s low-grade play and Cam Heyward‘s lack of development. This might require some creativity.

9. Tighten up the offense

They need another tight end, especially with Heath Miller‘s start-of-season status in doubt.

10. Bring in some new ideas

Mike Tomlin will hire a new offensive line coach, and he also has another staff opening. If he chooses to fill it — and how he fills it — could be telling.

Alan Robinson is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at arobinson@tribweb.com or @arobinson_Trib.
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Old 01-07-2013, 03:36 PM   #2
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Default Re: Robinson: 10 Ways to Fix the Steelers

Thanks for the write up. Not sure there's anything new here but I agree with most of it except #5 and #8. Anything you say about the D is silly considering where we ranked. Except in the turnover department but that has lacked for several years. Don't understand the "lack of development" for Cam. What %'age of snaps did he play in 2012??? That's like saying Spence didn't develop really. What I saw of Spence in the pre season I liked. Same with Cam in the regular season. Neither played a ton but Cam blew up several plays when given the opp.
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Old 01-07-2013, 09:45 PM   #3
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Default Re: Robinson: 10 Ways to Fix the Steelers

6. Make sure BIG BEN is sold on Todd Haley‘s strategy

Maybe that requires playbook tweaking on Haley‘s part or more offseason collaboration. Whatever the method, Roethlisberger must believe in what he‘s being asked to do, or it won‘t work.


And if Ben isn't buying what Haley's selling -- then what?



Punt?
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Old 01-07-2013, 11:36 PM   #4
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Default Re: Robinson: 10 Ways to Fix the Steelers

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6. Make sure BIG BEN is sold on Todd Haley‘s strategy



And if Ben isn't buying what Haley's selling -- then what?



Punt?
No then you give Roethlisberger the position of HC, OC and GM and let him control the franchise from here on officially.
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Old 01-08-2013, 08:14 AM   #5
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No then you give Roethlisberger the position of HC, OC and GM and let him control the franchise from here on officially.
No, you get rid of Haley and find someone whom Ben can work with.

If Ben was a rookie or otherwise young player, I'd say that it would be up to him to adjust to whatever the OC has in mind.
But Ben has been at this now for nearly a decade and he has an established football "personality" and it's foolish to think that Ben is going to simply get rid of who he is and become something that someone else wants him to be.

At this stage in Ben's career, It would be wiser (and a lot easier) to try to find an OC who would complement Ben's skill-set than to try to reinvent him to fit someone else's idea of who they think he should be.

It's a lot like buying a big-screen TV; it's a lot easier to buy a big-screen sized to fit the room than it would be to have to build a new room to fit the size of the big-screen.
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Old 01-08-2013, 11:22 AM   #6
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Default Re: Robinson: 10 Ways to Fix the Steelers

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It's a lot like buying a big-screen TV; it's a lot easier to buy a big-screen sized to fit the room than it would be to have to build a new room to fit the size of the big-screen.
BREAKING NEWS: Art Rooney II working on a renovation project for his living room.
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Old 01-08-2013, 12:05 PM   #7
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Default Re: Robinson: 10 Ways to Fix the Steelers

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Thanks for the write up. Not sure there's anything new here but I agree with most of it except #5 and #8. Anything you say about the D is silly considering where we ranked. Except in the turnover department but that has lacked for several years. Don't understand the "lack of development" for Cam. What %'age of snaps did he play in 2012??? That's like saying Spence didn't develop really. What I saw of Spence in the pre season I liked. Same with Cam in the regular season. Neither played a ton but Cam blew up several plays when given the opp.
That's probably why he keeps getting benched. He makes plays, something that is discouraged in this defense that neuters defensive linemen.

Would love to see what a guy like Lovie Smith could do with our young linemen before Mitchell and LeBeau completely ruin them.
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Old 01-08-2013, 01:03 PM   #8
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Default Re: Robinson: 10 Ways to Fix the Steelers

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BREAKING NEWS: Art Rooney II working on a renovation project for his living room.
LOL

Hey, it's his money and his team and he's free to do as he wishes with both.

If it were me, I'd be sending cards and letters with little smiley stickers on them to Bruce Arians.
But if the Rooney's would rather re-invent the wheel, there's nothing I can do about it.
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Old 01-08-2013, 01:11 PM   #9
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LOL

Hey, it's his money and his team and he's free to do as he wishes with both.

If it were me, I'd be sending cards and letters with little smiley stickers on them to Bruce Arians.
But if the Rooney's would rather re-invent the wheel, there's nothing I can do about it.
At some point, you wonder if Artie will realize winning is more important than being right. It's not even just about trying to change the kind of QB Ben is, it's also about his resistance to the way the NFL is changing.

Maybe now that Dan is back he'll help his son see some sense.... or make him stand in a corner and count to 100.
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Old 01-08-2013, 01:34 PM   #10
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Default Re: Robinson: 10 Ways to Fix the Steelers

I was wondering when the I Heart Arians/Fire Haley/Free Ben/Artie Should Shutty/Marty Ball IS Alive . . . thread was going to be made.

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