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Old 12-21-2012, 10:27 PM   #41
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Default Re: GREG COSELL: Haley & Big Ben

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Originally Posted by FanSince72 View Post
Soooo, when do you figure the offense should start getting better?

It's funny that this Cosell dude points out:
"The problem arose when the O-line got injured/shuffled, and then the running game suffered, and BB got hurt, and they just haven’t gotten back on track. ", because I could say the same thing in reference to last season and the season before that and the season before that and so on. Yet in all those years I don't recall the offense looking as disorganized as we do right now and have for much of the season.

I like some of the things that Haley has done (or seems to be trying to do), but overall I really don't see all that much of a difference and in some ways I think it's worse. There doesn't seem to be any particular chemistry or evidence of everyone being on the same page. Sure, from time to time it seems like things click, but not so much that I get any sort of feeling of confidence about what I'm seeing.
That's because this offense isn't built to the strengths of its players, it's built for:

1.) Playing not to lose

2.) Playing not to get Ben hurt by turning him into Mike Tomzack

3.) Babysitting the defense with TOP

The Steelers felt that Arians offense took too many unnecessary risks. Unfortunately, the Steelers have now gone to the extreme in the opposite direction by playing scared football. Dink-and-dunk could be justified if you actually took shots down field after suckering a defense in, or if you actually let your three speedy receivers run routes beyond 10 yards more often. But they don't do that in fear that Ben will get hurt or that they won't possess the ball long enough, even though it's already been proven that a) Ben can get hurt in this offense, and b) this defense can still blow a game when the offense owns TOP.

Perhaps taking a few more risks would result in a record better than 7-7 and an offense that actually maximizes its potential.
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Old 02-09-2013, 12:50 AM   #42
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Default Re: GREG COSELL: Haley & Big Ben

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Originally Posted by GoFor7 View Post
That's because this offense isn't built to the strengths of its players, it's built for:

1.) Playing not to lose

2.) Playing not to get Ben hurt by turning him into Mike Tomzack

3.) Babysitting the defense with TOP
I agree they could have taken more shots downfield with Mike Wallace. More of that would make the opposing FS learn some respect.

But I do disagree with your constant assessment of them "playing not to lose" and whatnot.

I was very happy with Todd Haley's offense. I thought it was aggressive, yet balanced, and it used Heath properly. One area where I think it still needed some work, was in the red zone obviously. We were still not scoring enough points. But that doesn't mean they were playing not to lose. They did everything an offense can be expected to do to help an aging defense out-- call it babysitting or whatever. The truth is, our defense had some old guys, and ToP is the old guys' friend.

Under Arians, we used to try and go for the homerun, right away in the redzone. We'd waste downs with Ben trying to throw bombers into the endzone. Haley took things in a more conservative approach and wasted downs running the ball with mostly ineffective guys like Baron Batch and Rainey. Either way the results were about the same.

I recall reading somewhere that Ben's injury really hurt their long term strategy-- that was right around the time they were going to start opening up the playbook (unleashing hell?) to some goodies they had been saving specifically for late season. They had some new packages they had been practicing, but never got to implement because they ended up having to plug in Charlie Batch, and never got back in sync after Ben returned. A lot of planning had gone into those two back to back Ravens games, a lot fo work that got smashed by the injury bug. I really wish I could find that link now.

I am actually expecting big things from the offense this next season though. I think there are several things going for us:

a) another year in Haley' s system. Plays and routes will be more instinctual.

b) better (hopefully) offensive line.

c) ground game will be addressed (pls keep Osama Bindenhall).

d) maybe a reshaped WR corps that better fits Haley's system. Admittedly, Wallace does not really fit into a west-coast offense, which is basically what we are talking about here. We need guys who can make tough catches in traffic and that can get YAC. Danny Amendola might be a nice pickup if we could. I still say Wallace for Welker.

e) resign plexiglass. As long as he understands he is here to play a specific role, and not be a feature guy, we can come to an understanding. He is still a great redzone target. We need that height to offset Heath probably being out to start the year.
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Old 02-09-2013, 01:28 PM   #43
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Default Re: GREG COSELL: Haley & Big Ben

I think Haley is a smart guy. I also think his playcalling was affected by the "new philosophy" as stated by the organization. It was obvious watching the games after Ben came back from the injury. Teams were jumping all the short routes. I think that they were trying to protect Ben by making him get the ball out of his hand quickly. I think that defenses smelled blood in the water with the ineffective running game, and the predictable quick short passes. You could see them jumping the routes,and that led to a few interceptions and a lot of incomplete passes and 3-and-outs. With a healthy O-line, this offense has a chance to work well with some tweaking and adjustments. I think they will get more aggressive with the routes and the playcalling this coming year. Mendenhall is the only back that has the speed to run outside the tackles, and we don't know if he will be around next year. We definitely need a running back that can threaten the edge and taking it to the house. If they get most of this done, they will be much more effective next year. The points will follow.
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Old 02-10-2013, 02:41 PM   #44
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Default Re: GREG COSELL: Haley & Big Ben

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I think Haley is a smart guy. I also think his playcalling was affected by the "new philosophy" as stated by the organization. It was obvious watching the games after Ben came back from the injury. Teams were jumping all the short routes. I think that they were trying to protect Ben by making him get the ball out of his hand quickly. I think that defenses smelled blood in the water with the ineffective running game, and the predictable quick short passes. You could see them jumping the routes,and that led to a few interceptions and a lot of incomplete passes and 3-and-outs.
This is exactly what I've been saying. Roethlisberger's injury resulted in a domino effect that caused the entire offense to collapse late in the season. Once defenses started taking away all the short routes, the passing game had no choice but to go more vertical. The problem was, Roethlisberger's throwing shoulder still wasn't fully healed, and it showed in both his accuracy (worse) and the velocity of his passes (lower). Injuries along the offensive line compounded the problem because the line often wasn't able to hold up long enough for anybody to get open downfield.

This is why the offense began to resemble "backyard" football late in the season: nobody could get open short, and pressure came before anybody could get open long. As a result, there was no way to keep defenses honest. They just kept crowding the line and taking away the short passing routes, which downgraded the running game from mediocre to bad, and made the passing game one-dimensional and unsustainable. And this is exactly why the Steelers need to draft a tall, strong WR: because sometimes a QB just has to heave the ball downfield and have a WR make a big play in order to get defenses to back off. It'll make the offense much more versatile and dangerous, especially the passing game.


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With a healthy O-line, this offense has a chance to work well with some tweaking and adjustments. I think they will get more aggressive with the routes and the playcalling this coming year. Mendenhall is the only back that has the speed to run outside the tackles, and we don't know if he will be around next year. We definitely need a running back that can threaten the edge and taking it to the house. If they get most of this done, they will be much more effective next year. The points will follow.
A large, physical WR, and a new RB suited for "zone" blocking will help tremendously. Mike Wallace isn't physical enough, and Rashard Mendenhall has burnt his bridges in Pittsburgh.
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