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Old 01-10-2010, 08:08 PM   #1
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Default Mehno: Arians' role in failures is overblown

Mehno: Arians' role in failures is overblown
By: John Mehno
Beaver County Times

Saturday January 9, 2010 05:31 PM

What a tough week for a lot of people.

The holidays are over, the weather has been miserable, thereís no Pittsburgh Steelers playoff game, and Bruce Arians is coming back as the teamís offensive coordinator.

The weather will eventually change, and the Christmas shopping season will restart in August, but thereís no escaping the agony brought on by Ariansí continuing employment.

Itís the offensive play calling, of course, that has the defending Super Bowl champions on the outside looking in this January.

(Never mind that Arians was the offensive coordinator when the Steelers won the Super Bowl 11 months ago. Keep your logic out of this).

This raises a bigger question: When did coordinators become focal points? Bet you canít even name the coordinators on the Steelersí first Super Bowl team.

(Bud Carson was the defensive coordinator in 1974. They had no official offensive coordinator, as Chuck Noll and the quarterbacks collaborated on the play calling. They played the season anyway).

Maybe itís the networksí compulsion to focus cameras on them during game broadcasts. Maybe the popularity of video games has created a mindset that actual players are puppets, manipulated totally by string pullers above.

Whatever the case, thereís a belief that every failed play is the result of faulty play-calling.

You, too, can be an expert. Hereís the secret formula:
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If the running play fails, it should have been a pass. If a pass is incomplete or intercepted, any idiot knows they should have run the ball.

Are there bad choices of plays during NFL games? Of course there are.

But itís doubtful there are as many as some people think there are.

Sometimes players donít execute. You know when you see an offensive lineman standing next to the running back whoís just been dropped for a 4-yard loss? That may have less to do with the chosen play than it does with that linemanís ability to execute his block.

But, naturally, that never would have happened if the knuckleheaded coordinator had ordered a pass.

If a double reverse gains 40 yards, itís imaginative play calling. If the same play gets stopped for a loss, itís a worthless gimmick called by a coordinator who should have stuck to basics.

The path from play call to the final result depends on a lot of variables. Thatís why you donít hear the smarter TV analysts making a constant issue of play calling.

They know. A lot of others donít, but they think they do.

Two things are certain here:

1. Bruce Arians is coming back.

2. If he had a nickel for every time his name is taken in vain in someoneís living room, he wouldnít need to work.
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