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Old 07-21-2007, 11:19 PM   #1
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Default Steelers set to unveil new-look offense

Steelers set to unveil new-look offense
By Scott Brown
TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Sunday, July 22, 2007

To hard-core Steelers fans, the idea may be as heretical as cracking open a wine cooler at a pregame tailgate.

The Steelers, after all, have become beloved in Western Pennsylvania (and far beyond) as well as symbols of a blue-collar area because they not only beat teams through the years but beat them up, as well.

So, what to make of all this talk about four-wide receiver sets and running around the opposition instead of running through it, the latter of which has been a Steelers' hallmark?

"I honestly think fans are going to be pleasantly surprised with this new offense," quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said.

Fans will get a look at the new offense this week, when the Steelers open preseason practice. Players report to training camp Monday at St. Vincent College in Latrobe, and the team will have the first two practices of the season Tuesday.

Change will be one of major themes at camp, as the Steelers have a new head coach, Mike Tomlin, for the first time since 1992.

They also have a new offensive coordinator, and Bruce Arians will run a close second to Tomlin in terms of scrutiny over the next couple of weeks and especially during the regular season.

The changes Arians plans to make to the offense qualify as radical if only because of the Steelers' reputation for producing rugged running attacks and because the team's ground game didn't fare all that badly last season.

On the contrary, the Steelers averaged 124 rushing yards per game -- 10th best in the NFL -- and sent a running back (Willie Parker) that entered the league as an undrafted free agent to the Pro Bowl.

However, Tomlin and Arians insist that a spread offense and physical football don't have to be mutually exclusive concepts.

"You're just dictating how many guys they have to defend, and we're not going to beat our head against the wall if they still overload the box," said Arians, who had been the wide receivers coach before becoming the Steelers offensive coordinator.

In non-football parlance, the Steelers are going to spread the field so teams can't bunch up along the line of scrimmage and try to smother their running game.

An added bonus of this new approach: When the Steelers do pass, Roethlisberger will be in position to exploit mismatches, especially if tight end Heath Miller evolves into a premier receiving threat and young wideouts, such as Santonio Holmes and Nate Washington, continue to progress.

Hines Ward, who's poised to break several of John Stallworth's team records and is still going strong at the age of 31, has bought into what Arians is doing, and not just because it should mean more opportunities for the four-time Pro Bowler.

Ward saw firsthand how effective spreading the field can be in a 2003 divisional playoff game.

The Cleveland Browns did it to the Steelers and nearly did them in with journeyman quarterback Kelly Holcomb throwing for 429 yards and three touchdowns.

Only a Browns defense that was even more generous than that of the Steelers prevented Cleveland from pulling off the upset -- the Steelers rallied from a 17-point deficit to win, 36-33.

The man running the Browns offense that day? Bruce Arians.

"They spread us out all over the field, and they went up and down the field," Ward said. "It was just unfortunate for them that their defense didn't complement their offense very well and gave us an opportunity to win that game."

The Browns didn't run on the Steelers. William Green managed just 30 yards on 25 carries. It also is worth noting that the Steelers opened the following season running primarily out of a one-back set but scrapped it in terms of a more traditional power attack.

The change indicated that the Steelers made a miscalculation with Amos Zereoue, not to mention Jerome Bettis. It also may have showed an organizational tendency not to stray too far from what is perceived to be its roots.

Roethlisberger is adamant that Parker can be even better this season in a spread offense, which is saying something since Parker's 1,494 yards in 2006 were the third-highest single-season rushing total in Steelers history.

But Parker is one of the fastest players in the NFL and should benefit from the extra room created in the new offense.

And those Steelers fans still wary after what happened in 2003 should consider this: Parker isn't Zereoue.

"When you spread out the defense, there's less guys in the box, and Willie can make guys miss," Roethlisberger said. "I think it will help in the run game when we spread them out and get him out of the backfield, catching some balls and getting him in some open space on linebackers."

Parker didn't have a chance to do that last season in a pair of lopsided losses to the Baltimore Ravens, and the change in approach may be, above all, a tacit admission that the Steelers can't simply bully teams up front.

That is particularly true of the Ravens, the defending AFC North champions who physically dominated the Steelers twice in 2006.

A couple of years ago, "We could line up and say 'We're going to run the football' and still score," Arians said.

The offensive line isn't the force it was a couple of seasons ago, and the Steelers are confident they can embrace a new philosophy while not straying too much from the old one of playing physical football.

"We're going to find ways to win ballgames," Ward said, "We're (just) not going to be too predictable."

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pitt.../s_518395.html
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Old 07-22-2007, 12:15 AM   #2
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Default Re: Steelers set to unveil new-look offense

I love the power running game as well....But its tough to win a Super Bowl anymore with just pounding the rock down the throat of every team every week.....You have to have balance on offense....I like the potential of this offense....to me the parts are in place for the Steelers to have top five offense...Call me crazy I don't care.....The spread offense does fit Fast Willie's talents better....I think Willie easily goes over the 1500 yard mark this year and has a shot at 1700....
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Old 07-22-2007, 12:40 AM   #3
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Default Re: Steelers set to unveil new-look offense

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I love the power running game as well....But its tough to win a Super Bowl anymore with just pounding the rock down the throat of every team every week.....You have to have balance on offense....I like the potential of this offense....to me the parts are in place for the Steelers to have top five offense...Call me crazy I don't care.....The spread offense does fit Fast Willie's talents better....I think Willie easily goes over the 1500 yard mark this year and has a shot at 1700....
No, I actually think your right. I just wanted to see someone that could come in and help pound the ball late in the game.
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Old 07-22-2007, 12:46 AM   #4
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Default Re: Steelers set to unveil new-look offense

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I love the power running game as well....But its tough to win a Super Bowl anymore with just pounding the rock down the throat of every team every week.....You have to have balance on offense....I like the potential of this offense....to me the parts are in place for the Steelers to have top five offense...Call me crazy I don't care.....The spread offense does fit Fast Willie's talents better....I think Willie easily goes over the 1500 yard mark this year and has a shot at 1700....
Willie will definitely go over 1500, he just keeps on improving, the only thing I could see going down in him are the TDs.
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Old 07-22-2007, 01:21 AM   #5
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Default Re: Steelers set to unveil new-look offense

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Willie will definitely go over 1500, he just keeps on improving, the only thing I could see going down in him are the TDs.
Maybe not...

However, the only thing I worry about, is what happens if Willie loses his speed?
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Old 07-22-2007, 01:29 AM   #6
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Default Re: Steelers set to unveil new-look offense

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Maybe not...

However, the only thing I worry about, is what happens if Willie loses his speed?
PLEASEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE He is Fast Willie Parker! The man sat out in college, that body is much, much younger than most in the NFL. When he looses speed we fatten him up and we got BUS 2!!! No really think that isn't aproblem , not for awhile!..
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Old 07-22-2007, 01:32 AM   #7
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Maybe not...

However, the only thing I worry about, is what happens if Willie loses his speed?
We call in Duce Staley
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Old 07-22-2007, 01:34 AM   #8
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Default Re: Steelers set to unveil new-look offense

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PLEASEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE He is Fast Willie Parker! The man sat out in college, that body is much, much younger than most in the NFL. When he looses speed we fatten him up and we got BUS 2!!! No really think that isn't aproblem , not for awhile!..


God forbid, but all it takes is one busted knee..

I just worry when we are so dependent on speed... unless we have more then one guy.
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Old 07-22-2007, 01:42 AM   #9
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Default Re: Steelers set to unveil new-look offense

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:

I just worry when we are so dependent on speed... unless we have more then one guy..[
did our back ups have their genatalia chopped off? are slow backs less likely to get hurt than fast backs?

im not worried about our fast back or those behind him.
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Old 07-22-2007, 01:46 AM   #10
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im not worried about our fast back or those behind him.
Thats why we have Kuhn.
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