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Old 05-20-2010, 03:39 AM   #1
Galax Steeler
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Default On the Steelers: More focus put on running game

How do the Steelers become more adept in their ground game next season? Simple, according to their offensive coordinator.

"You just focus on it," said Bruce Arians.

Arians and the rest of the Steelers' offensive coaches have a mandate from the team president to run the ball more consistently in 2010 than they did last season, when the once-proud Steelers ground game ranked 19th in the NFL.

Art Rooney did not say the Steelers needed to run the ball more; he said they needed to run it more effectively. Coach Mike Tomlin acknowledged as much later, and Tuesday, Arians agreed in his first interview since the end of the season.

"At the end of the game, in the four-minute [offense] to run out the clock and not punt the ball, short yards, goal line are areas we have to be more efficient," Arians declared.

Arians did not get into specifics, but said the Steelers will work on it more, and players say they have been doing that. Arians cited some of the changes that involved the backfield last season that likely led to the inconsistency. The Steelers lost their starting halfback, Willie Parker, to a toe injury in the third game of the season. It took Rashard Mendenhall some time to get up to speed, so much so that Tomlin benched him for a game for missed assignments in practice. They released their short-yardage back, Gary Russell, for reasons that remain hazy, and the tight end they used effectively as a fullback, Sean McHugh, was lost for the season to injury.

"Get better at it," Arians said is the goal. "Get better at it and, again, the change between Willie, Rashard, Mewelde [Moore] -- they all do things differently. We kind of found what Rashard did pretty well, and he had real good success. When Willie got back healthy in the last game or two, he had some success.

"Yeah, I think the critical runs -- short-yardage, goal-line -- have been a problem. They got addressed with Gary Russell. Now, is it going to be Rashard? It could be Isaac Redman, it could be a bunch of guys. Is it a back or is it by committee? Those are the things. This time of year, you get your running game going, but, in training camp, you find out that short-yardage stuff and you win jobs that way."

Many of the Steelers' passing yards should be credited to the ground game, Arians said, because they began as running plays and morphed into passes because of what the defense did.

"Take the Super Bowl for example. There were seven catches or six catches Santonio [Holmes] had that were running plays when [there were] safeties blitz that are unblockable, and you have runs called. So it's not a 'number' of runs because we threw the ball out there and got a bunch of yards. 'Oh, that's a good pass.' No, that was a running play. That happens quite often. And what we do, we take some short screen stuff and treat that as [part of the] running game."

Arians, then, was satisfied with much of the way the Steelers ran last season except in those situations that often are most critical, trying to run out the clock and trying to get a first down in short yardage. Some of the blame for that also must fall on the offensive line, one reason Tomlin hired Sean Kugler to replace Larry Zierlein as offensive line coach too.

"There's a lot of different stuff, but, basically, it'll be the same," said Arians. "Techniques are a little different, the way he teaches things. It's been a real good breath of fresh air the way he sees some of the guys and the pulling and stuff. Larry did a hell of a job, and Larry's a good friend, but Sean's done a nice job coming in."
Quick hits

Outside linebacker James Harrison and defensive end Brett Keisel did not practice. Andre Frazier filled in for Harrison, and Nick Eason, not Ziggy Hood, filled in at right end. ... Will Allen is running at strong safety in the absence of Troy Polamalu. ... Kick-returner Stefan Logan, who played wide receiver last season (or at least practiced there) and is listed as a wide receiver on the depth chart, is at running back. That is where he played in the Canadian Football League and where the Steelers first tried him last spring. ... Former Pitt punter Adam Graessle has been doing a lot of kicking off this week. ... Linebacker Thaddeus Gibson and not defensive lineman Doug Worthington is the rookie not able to practice until classes end in June at Ohio State. Worthington has graduated and is practicing.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10140...#ixzz0oSP34yz5
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Old 05-20-2010, 05:22 AM   #2
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Default Re: On the Steelers: More focus put on running game

Quote:
"At the end of the game, in the four-minute [offense] to run out the clock and not punt the ball, short yards, goal line are areas we have to be more efficient," Arians declared.
There are so many snarky comments in my head, I don't know where to start.




And of special note.....
Quote:
Kick-returner Stefan Logan, who played wide receiver last season (or at least practiced there) and is listed as a wide receiver on the depth chart, is at running back. That is where he played in the Canadian Football League and where the Steelers first tried him last spring. ...
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Old 05-20-2010, 05:52 AM   #3
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Default Re: On the Steelers: More focus put on running game

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Originally Posted by stillers4me View Post
There are so many snarky comments in my head, I don't know where to start.




And of special note.....
BA is an arrogant jerk IMO - and that is keeping it clean.

he is a dolt, an arrogant hard headed dolt. He is saying what he has to say because his job is on the line.

He is too soft to run the ball, he does not have the mental makeup to instill a hard core running attack on this team.
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Old 05-20-2010, 06:05 AM   #4
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Default Re: On the Steelers: More focus put on running game

Let the BA bashing begin. Ready, Set, GO!!!! Seriously, if we run effectively in short yardage and goal line situations we will be improved. I don't care if we throw up and down the field as long as we can punch it in and run out the clock when we need to. That's what wins games (or at least doesn't lose them).
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Old 05-20-2010, 06:25 AM   #5
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Default Re: On the Steelers: More focus put on running game

Keeping Matt Spaeth off the field would be a big start. Honest to god I've never seen anyone who routinely gets running plays blown up before they ever start than Spaeth. As long as Arians continues to make his three tight end package with Spaeth a big part of the run game it will likely continue to fall short of the mark.
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Old 05-20-2010, 07:09 AM   #6
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Default Re: On the Steelers: More focus put on running game

Steelers' Arians: Power run game lacking
By Scott Brown, PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Thursday, May 20, 2010
http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pitt.../s_682019.html

Speaking for the first time since team president Art Rooney II said the Steelers need to put more emphasis on the running game, offensive coordinator Bruce Arians acknowledged Wednesday that improvement has to be made in that area.

"At the end of the game, in the four-minute (offense) to run out the clock and not punt the ball, short yards, we have to be more efficient," Arians said after practice yesterday.

Rashard Mendenhall rushed for more than 1,108 yards last season, but the Steelers had problems in short-yardage situations.

Inconsistency in the power running game is why the Steelers were tied for 21st in the NFL last season in offense inside the opponents' 20-yard line — they managed touchdowns just 48.2 percent of the time — even though they were seventh in the league in total offense.

"I think the critical runs, short-yardage, goal line, have been a problem," Arians said. "They got addressed (in 2008) with Gary Russell. Now is it going to be Rashard? It could be Isaac Redman, it could be by a bunch of guys. Is it a back or is it by committee? This time of year you get your running game going, but in training camp you find out that short-yardage stuff. You win the job that way."

Arians has been a lighting rod for criticism when the running game has bogged down, in large part because of his philosophy.

Arians has generally eschewed the use of a traditional fullback and instead used a tight end or tight end/fullback as an extra blocker in the backfield.

The Steelers were 19th in the NFL in rushing (112.1 yards per game) in 2009.

Arians said he had higher hopes for the ground game going into the season.

"When we came out of training camp last year, we were running the ball as well as we have since Super Bowl XL (in 2005)," Arians said. "We're having success in training camp, running the ball pretty good. Now the problem occurs when you see a different style, when you see penetrating 4-3 (defensive linemen). It's a totally different technique for the offensive line and tight ends."

The Steelers played opponents with 4-3 defenses in their first three games in 2009 as well as in three of their four preseason contests.

They will have to figure out a way to solve the kind of base defenses they don't practice against on a daily basis.

The reason: their first three opponents this season employ 4-3 defenses.

The Steelers ran the ball 44.4 percent of the time last season, but Arians said the sheer number of running attempts don't necessarily translate into a successful running game.

He said the Steelers will continue to change plays at the line of scrimmage if a defense is loading up to stop the run.

Citing Santonio Holmes' nine-catch, 131-yard performance in Super Bowl XLIII, Arians said, "there were seven or six catches Santonio had that were running plays. When safeties blitz that are unblockable and you have runs called ... it's not a 'number' of runs because we threw the ball out there and got a bunch of yards.

"That happens quite often and what we do, we take some short screen stuff and treat that as running game."
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Old 05-20-2010, 02:29 PM   #7
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Default Re: On the Steelers: More focus put on running game

Let's hope Arians finally gets fired if this doesn't turn out to be true
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Old 05-20-2010, 03:33 PM   #8
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Default Re: On the Steelers: More focus put on running game

I've heard a lot from the coaches the last few years and I'll wait for comments...because the proof will be in the pudding.
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Old 05-20-2010, 03:49 PM   #9
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Default Re: On the Steelers: More focus put on running game

Art Rooney did not say the Steelers needed to run the ball more; he said they needed to run it more effectively. Coach Mike Tomlin acknowledged as much later, and Tuesday, Arians agreed in his first interview since the end of the season.

(Snicker)

Also, I can already feel the hurricane gales as this this little tid-bit rushed right over the heads of dozens of posters here:

"Take the Super Bowl for example. There were seven catches or six catches Santonio [Holmes] had that were running plays when [there were] safeties blitz that are unblockable, and you have runs called. So it's not a 'number' of runs because we threw the ball out there and got a bunch of yards. 'Oh, that's a good pass.' No, that was a running play. That happens quite often. And what we do, we take some short screen stuff and treat that as [part of the] running game."

(Double snicker)
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Old 05-20-2010, 03:54 PM   #10
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Default Re: On the Steelers: More focus put on running game

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Originally Posted by Galax Steeler View Post
.

"At the end of the game, in the four-minute [offense] to run out the clock and not punt the ball, short yards, goal line are areas we have to be more efficient," Arians declared.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10140...#ixzz0oSP34yz5
I'm with those who think the Defense has their big share of blame for the 2009 season failure, but I expect this Brucey speech comes true as I expect the D doesn't melt in the 4th quarters in 2010.

The 5 wide with empty backfield in short yardage situations and the 10 yard cushion by Gay makes me go
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