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Old 06-06-2006, 08:12 AM   #1
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Default No-Huddle for Ben, next step?

Starkey: No-huddle twist for Ben?

By Joe Starkey
TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Tuesday, June 6, 2006


The Steelers aren't about to revamp their offense -- they've won 31 of their past 38 games -- but they'll surely add some wrinkles to keep defensive coordinators off their trail.
If quarterback Ben Roethlisberger gets his wish, one such wrinkle will be sprinkling in the kind of no-huddle attack that colleagues Carson Palmer and Peyton Manning run on a full-time basis. Roethlisberger's experience, combined with the infusion of speed around him, makes this a realistic and potentially explosive possibility, if only for an occasional series.

It seems like a logical next frontier for the 24-year-old Roethlisberger. He'd relish the challenge of calling plays at the line of scrimmage.

In an interview last week with The Trib's Mike Prisuta, Roethlisberger was asked to identify ways in which he's looking to expand his game.


"Hopefully ... having enough confidence in myself, and coach (Bill Cowher) having it also, to go no-huddle, to be able to call no-huddle plays," he said. "If we can get to that point, where we're able to do the stuff that Cincinnati does, then we can be pretty effective."

Wide receiver Hines Ward would love to participate in such an experiment.

"Of course I'm up for it," Ward said Monday. "When we get into a lull and things aren't going our way, we could pull out our no-huddle just to light a spark under our tails. But, I don't see us opening up the game with a no-huddle, because that's not who we are."

The Steelers already include a no-huddle package in their weekly repertoire, and not just for hurry-up situations.

"We've always had it in," offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt said. "In fact, we've done it a few times with Tommy (Maddox). We haven't done it so much with Ben, just because it hasn't been the time. But we're kind of gravitating towards that. The thing is, when he says he wants to do that, that's the first sign we're ready to do it. He's ready to take that next step and do a little bit more, and it's exciting to see."

The beauty of the Steelers offense in the playoffs was that it was able to "open up" without abandoning its allegiance to the run. The idea was to throw to get a lead and run to shorten the game. In the AFC Championship, Roethlisberger dropped back on 15 of the first 23 snaps.

Ultimately, though, the Steelers ran the ball 58 percent of the time in the postseason. That was a slight increase on the regular season and just below their astounding 61 percent mark of 2004.

That figure might dip to the mid- or even low-50s this season, but no more than that, so long as they are winning with frequency.

Even though they love to run, the Steelers hardly are a predictable team. NFL.com analyst Pat Kirwan, a former NFL assistant coach and personnel evaluator, had this to say in a recent column: "The Steelers are often perceived as a very conservative, 'old-fashioned' offense, but coordinator Ken Whisenhunt stresses opponents with personnel as well as any coach in the league. Pittsburgh used 11 offensive packages last season to mix-and-match and find ways to create advantages."

In other words, they were a very tough team to defend. A sprinkling of the no-huddle could make them that much tougher -- and keep them a step ahead of the pack.
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Old 06-06-2006, 08:19 AM   #2
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Default Re: No-Huddle for Ben, next step?

So what do you guys and gals think? Are we ready to cut the kid loose with a no-huddle offense at times? After this past season I see no reason why he can't handle the situation. He's matured quicker than any QB I have seen in a long, long time.
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Old 06-06-2006, 08:57 AM   #3
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Default Re: No-Huddle for Ben, next step?

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Originally Posted by 83-Steelers-43
So what do you guys and gals think? Are we ready to cut the kid loose with a no-huddle offense at times? After this past season I see no reason why he can't handle the situation. He's matured quicker than any QB I have seen in a long, long time.

My thoughts are this you see where them teams(bengals colts) that run that no huddle offense was during the SB at home watching!!!! If we need it ever now and then to surprise a team that is giving us trouble then ok use it but to run it like the colts i dont want to see that. My thoughts dont have anything to do with how well Ben could run an offense like that its just not our style of football.
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Old 06-06-2006, 09:12 AM   #4
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Default Re: No-Huddle for Ben, next step?

Quote:
Originally Posted by 83-Steelers-43
So what do you guys and gals think? Are we ready to cut the kid loose with a no-huddle offense at times? After this past season I see no reason why he can't handle the situation. He's matured quicker than any QB I have seen in a long, long time.
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Old 06-06-2006, 09:30 AM   #5
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Default Re: No-Huddle for Ben, next step?

Part of the reason we run the ball is to keep our defense on the sideline resting and the other teams out on the feild also when we get a lead we run the ball to keep the clock moving!!! A no huddle offense is more for the pass happy guys right? I say run the ball until they beg you to throw it!
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Old 06-06-2006, 09:38 AM   #6
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Default Re: No-Huddle for Ben, next step?

While the run game is still the front runner in our offense, I see no reason why we can't and won't open up the passing game with a QB that we have been waiting for since Bradshaw.

Keep in mind I'm not stating we should become an air-it-out type of football team, but I believe we have a QB that can put up some mean numbers if you loosen up the ropes. The Colts playoff game this past season comes to mind. In my opinion, it will only make our offense more potent and unpredictable.
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Old 06-06-2006, 09:45 AM   #7
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Default Re: No-Huddle for Ben, next step?

Do they run the ball out of the no huddle very much? Does ones o-line get tired faster in a no huddle? Not trying to pick a fight and I know Ben is good its just I hate change when things are going good
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Old 06-06-2006, 09:49 AM   #8
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Default Re: No-Huddle for Ben, next step?

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Originally Posted by 83-Steelers-43
A sprinkling of the no-huddle could make them that much tougher --
We have the tools and weapons to mix it up a whole lot more this year and years to come, I say stick to our philosophy and hit them with lefts when they are thinking rights. I can see where Ben wants to air it out more and thats a great mindset for our QB to have that shows a lot of confidence in himself and our offense. I'm sure Cowher will loosen the rope a little more each year but not totally. DAMN its going to be a GREAT year!!!!!
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Old 06-06-2006, 09:55 AM   #9
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Default Re: No-Huddle for Ben, next step?

ball control is important to keep our defense off the field and keep them fresh. but the coaches realize it is important to let the offense have fun. im sure the offense looks at how the defense is able to play no holds barred and with wreckless abandon and they wanna do the same.

ben has been developed at the perfect pace and i dont think the evolution of his game will stop just cause the ultimate success was achieved. now is not the time to become complacent and rest on what worked last year. some new wrinkles will be great to keep defenses thinking. and ben can definitely handle it.
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Old 06-06-2006, 10:01 AM   #10
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Default Re: No-Huddle for Ben, next step?

Once again, I'm not stating we should run a no-huddle and throw bombs on every play which would tire out your o-line, but I think we will see Ben run the no-huddle more often this season and more of a passing game in general.

Over the years I think some fans have become completely paranoid at the thought of this team opening up the passing game to a larger extent compared to years past. It is understandable to a degree. The 2003 season for example and the fact that the QB's we have had in past years were not exactly top notch passers. But now that we actually have a QB that can manage an offense and who also has a howitzer for a right arm, I see no reason why we can't open up the passing game to larger extent. Again, I'm not asking for an air-it-out type of offense. Just open up the offense more while making it a more potent and unpredictable offense.
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