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Old 11-12-2008, 09:46 AM   #1
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Default Steelers' offense softening

Steelers' offense softening
By Joe Starkey
TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Hard to say whether the following statistic speaks to the Steelers' mentality, to their depleted backfield or to a simple lack of ability and/or attitude up front, but it's an eye-opener:

They are the NFL's worst team in converting third-and-1 situations.

That's right, the big, bad, go-ahead-and-try-to-stop-us Steelers have converted just 4 of 12 such situations.

That's embarrassing.

The 33.3-percent success rate, according to Elias Sports Bureau, ranks just behind San Francisco at the bottom of the league. Whether it's short-yardage offense or coaches dropping trow in the locker room, you really don't want to be keeping company with the 49ers.

Not surprisingly, the best third-and-1 team is the unbeaten and ultra-physical Tennessee Titans, who have converted 12-of-13 chances.

The Steelers' offense, ranked an unheard-of 24th in the NFL in rushing, has grown softer and softer under second-year coordinator Bruce Arians, less and less able to implement the hardcore mentality coach Mike Tomlin desires.

Tomlin's term is "smash the run."

A better one to describe this offense might be, "The Longest Yard."

But forget third-and-1. What does it say that the Steelers are treating third-and-2 as if it were third-and-20?

Maybe Arians is just being logical, given his personnel, but the Steelers have attempted passes on 11-of-12 third-and-2s. Four of those resulted in sacks. On another, late in the first half Sunday, Ben Roethlisberger threw a game-changing interception.

Tomlin spoke Tuesday to his offense's identity crisis. This was two days after it averaged 2.1 yards per carry against the undersized and previously ineffective Colts rush defense.

"When you're not being successful, you're probably lacking an identity - and that's us at this point," Tomlin said. "But that's not going to be our story. We won't allow it to be."

Aside from Roethlisberger's gaffes, the paltry running game was the story Sunday. It reached a graphic conclusion in the fourth quarter, on third-and-goal from the 1-yard line, when a 265-pound, undrafted rookie defensive tackle named Eric Foster submarined guard Chris Kemoeatu, slipped tackle Trai Essex and body-slammed tailback Mewelde Moore.

So what if the Colts knew what was coming?

A yard is a yard.

Again, Tomlin spoke truthfully about his team's failure to exert its will, saying, "I think if you're going to have the personality we desire offensively, than in those instances you have to be committed to and capable of running the football over people."

The Steelers' offense can be a tricky topic. The temptation is to say, "They need to stuff it down people's throats the way they did three years ago."

Actually, the Steelers reached the Super Bowl largely because they abandoned their predictable ways and unleashed Roethlisberger early in each playoff game.

Then again, they did run effectively to protect leads, something this offense has struggled with under Arians.

Only the Titans ran more often than the Steelers last season, but the Steelers often did not run efficiently, especially against quality opponents.

That trend has continued, likely for many reasons.

Those could include the lack of a prototypical short-yardage back, the phasing out of a blocking fullback, a lack of pedigree on the line, injuries to Willie Parker and the inability, of late, to make defenses honest with a quality downfield passing game.

A soft offense doesn't bode well for a Super Bowl run, but here's the thing: A mistake-free offense might.

The Steelers' defense is built in the mold of the 2000 Ravens, good enough to win games by itself. In a year when the AFC isn't exactly rife with explosive attacks, simply taking care of the football and depending on the defense and the improved special teams might be enough to win tight, low-scoring playoff games.

In other words, the mandate for a banged-up Steelers' offense couldn't be more clear going into Sunday's game against San Diego: Don't screw it up.

And if you can make a yard when you need one, well, that would be nice.

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pitt.../s_597965.html
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Old 11-12-2008, 10:01 AM   #2
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Default Re: Steelers' offense softening

Yep, that "go ahead and try to stop us" mentality brought us a lot of championships, didn't it? When teams could stop the Steelers' run game, we couldn't counter it, and we wound up being in dogfights, and eventually losing or winning in close finishes throughout the Cowher era.

The Steelers have not lost their physical edge, physical edge has nothing to do with it. They've lost their execution on offense. When the offense starts executing, and that means good blocking, stop dropping passes, and stop committing boneheaded turnovers, we'll see something different.
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Old 11-12-2008, 10:07 AM   #3
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Default Re: Steelers' offense softening

losing mendenhall sucks. i think he woulda been just fine on 3rd and 2 runs.

passing on every 3rd and 2 (or shorter) sucks even worse.

if ben were healthy i think we'd see some more sneaks (maybe fakes and rollouts).

what about heath miller or carey davis? oh, hurt. what about max starks? oh, filling in for somebody who is hurt.

these conversions are the plays where the rb used to follow faneca through the hole.

passing it almost seems like our best option.
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Old 11-12-2008, 01:01 PM   #4
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Default Re: Steelers' offense softening

This was my issue with the new Steeler offense. No true FB to convert in short yardage and less emphasis on power football.

Here is what I posted back in July.

The fact that the only FB's on the roster are Carey Davis and Billy Latsko means the Steelers are willing to "Accept Mediocrity" at a position vitally important to convert on 3rd and short running the ball.

The Bruce Arians school of short yardage is spread the field and either run a single back or throw for the first down. The higher percentage play is bring in your goal line offense and line up in the "I formation".

Billy Latsko or Carey Davis as FB dont allow the Steelers to run a short yardage offense and thus dont give the best chances to convert on those downs.


Its what I still believe.

The other side of the coin is that you can say we should be able to convert 3rd and short by passing, but just arent executing. I think its lower percentage.
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Old 11-12-2008, 01:12 PM   #5
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Default Re: Steelers' offense softening

Quote:
Originally Posted by El-Gonzo Jackson View Post
This was my issue with the new Steeler offense. No true FB to convert in short yardage and less emphasis on power football.

The fact that the only FB's on the roster are Carey Davis and Billy Latsko means the Steelers are willing to "Accept Mediocrity" at a position vitally important to convert on 3rd and short running the ball.

The Bruce Arians school of short yardage is spread the field and either run a single back or throw for the first down. The higher percentage play is bring in your goal line offense and line up in the "I formation".

Billy Latsko or Carey Davis as FB dont allow the Steelers to run a short yardage offense and thus dont give the best chances to convert on those downs.[/COLOR]
Have you seen Jorvorskie Lane from Texas A&M?..... 6'0 275 lbs!!!!!!! He not only blocks but in 2007 he had 780 yards, a 4.6 average and 16 TD's.
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Old 11-12-2008, 01:31 PM   #6
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Default Re: Steelers' offense softening

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Originally Posted by lamberts-lost-tooth View Post
Have you seen Jorvorskie Lane from Texas A&M?..... 6'0 275 lbs!!!!!!! He not only blocks but in 2007 he had 780 yards, a 4.6 average and 16 TD's.

[YOUTUBE]LaDTBQfngL0[/YOUTUBE]

Wow I like this guy, Hes got Jerome Bettis written all over it lol, not quite but very similar.
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Old 11-12-2008, 01:44 PM   #7
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Default Re: Steelers' offense softening

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Originally Posted by XxKnightxX View Post

[YOUTUBE]LaDTBQfngL0[/YOUTUBE]

Wow I like this guy, Hes got Jerome Bettis written all over it lol, not quite but very similar.


That isnt right!! Those nimble feet and size remind me of Bettis, but he doesnt have the big legs like the old #6 from Notre Dame. I like him, but still think we need a FB that can block and catch. A William Henderson kind of guy.
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Old 11-12-2008, 01:49 PM   #8
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Default Re: Steelers' offense softening

Hes currently in a system at A&M in which the FB does that, catch and run and block for his back, DUE TO THE INEXPERIENCED LINE(familiar to us?). Anyways this guy looks great man I wouldnt be surprised if the coaches will be eying him next year, Id say hes about 4rd to 5th round type of guy, unless someone else puts eyes on him.
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Old 11-12-2008, 01:55 PM   #9
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Hes currently in a system at A&M in which the FB does that, catch and run and block for his back, DUE TO THE INEXPERIENCED LINE(familiar to us?). Anyways this guy looks great man I wouldnt be surprised if the coaches will be eying him next year, Id say hes about 4rd to 5th round type of guy, unless someone else puts eyes on him.
If he would replace Carey Davis ......great!!

This reminds me of years ago when Brandon Jacobs transferred from Auburn to Southern Illinois because Ronnie Brown and Cadillac Williams were already there. Lots of Steeler fans wanting a big back were screaming to draft him and instead took .....Trai Essex.
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Old 11-12-2008, 02:05 PM   #10
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Default Re: Steelers' offense softening

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If he would replace Carey Davis ......great!!

This reminds me of years ago when Brandon Jacobs transferred from Auburn to Southern Illinois because Ronnie Brown and Cadillac Williams were already there. Lots of Steeler fans wanting a big back were screaming to draft him and instead took .....Trai Essex.
Pffffttt dont remind me, please.....And i actually got to meet Jacobs in person, this guy is unreal man he walks as if he had shoulder pads on, met him at a high school football game in clifton. My coach even mentioned how he reminded him of Ironhead when he coached him, obviously ironhead being much smaller in height, but with the same punishing power and speed.
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