12.08.2008

Can We Never See This Again? Please?


Of all the terrible gameplans Bruce Arians has put together in his tenure as offensive coordinator, yesterday's had to be the most scattered and rudderless. Granted, the offense was helped out by fumbles from Heath Miller and Roethlisberger on a sneak, but the playcalling on a whole was horrendously bad.

This is an offense without identity, but one that leans toward the pass. Yesterday was evidence enough of a lack of commitment to the running game. Even if a back picks up five yards on first down, the defense knows the Steelers will be throwing on second and third down. When have the Steelers tried to run on a 3rd or 4th down on anything less than two yards. As the Patriots and Cowboys have shown, the shotgun draws are quite effective against a defense selling out on pass coverage. Can the Steelers incorporate that into their gameplan? Probably not while Arians is around.

If there's any downside to the Steelers having more success as a team than last year is that it makes the argument for firing Arians more difficult unless there is some epic offensive meltdown on the playoffs. God forbid the Steelers postseason fortunes come down to a 4th down on the opponent's goal line. What're the chances Arians dials up the counter run yet again? A thousand percent?

Any time I see the above formation, the shotgun five-receiver empty set, on first down, I start shouting uncontrollably, whether it works or not, though it doesn't more often than it does. It signals a complete lack of faith in a running game that picked up 160 yards the week before on the road. Whisenhunt used to drive me nuts with shotgun formations on 3rd and 2s. The Steelers are well removed from their grind-it-out days of the '90s but I think most fans still like to embrace the illusion that they haven't tried to turn into a watered down West Coast Offense.

6 comments:

matt said...

"If there's any downside to the Steelers having more success as a team than last year is that it makes the argument for firing Arians more difficult unless there is some epic offensive meltdown on the playoffs."

I couldn't agree with that statement any more!

It also sucks we won't see any decent OL in a draft anytime soon.

Tomlin should be able to veto some of those plays/formations. It's "mind-bottling" some of the shit Arians dreams up.

Anonymous said...

Well said ape. It's funny to bitch and moan when the team is 10-3. But we know that this team can be even better if only the offense could produce some points without having to rely on the defense to set them up.

Dixie Normess said...

Line Davis/Russell at FB and FWP/Mewelde at tail and run the I.


Jesus Scrap-Booking Christ.

Spatula said...

The lack of identity on offense really is the key. Our O-Line is set up to run block, but Arians and Ben want us to be a spray and pray offense. Last night Aikmen and Buck actually said something insightful (I'll wait for everybody to regain their composure) when they said the Cowboy defense just had to pick a spot 8 yards behind the center and that's where Ben would be. I think if the coaching staff (including Tomlin) is trying to transition to a wild, gunning offense (and we all know how well the Tommy gun offense worked out), we can expect several more seasons of what we've seen the past two years. I'm not pleased.

Anonymous said...

Honestly, the defense is bound to have an off game and hopefully not at an inopportune time. Sadly, I state that I don't feel this offense would be able to cover for them if that were to happen. What is it, 3 offensive TD's off all the turnovers the past two games? Of those three, one was from the eight off a muffed kickoff and another occurred after Timmons returned a INT to the one. Sad. Should I even mention the fourth down problems? Or barely being able to get two inches on a QB sneak?

Christmas Ape said...

Arians seems to think the Steelers have the personnel to run the schemes the Patriots did last year. Sure, spreading out the defense with five-wide is fine, if you have a shifty slot receiver like Wes Welker who can get underneath routes. The closest the Steelers have to a pure slot receiver is Hines. And they obviously don't trust Limas Sweed enough yet to try any jump balls to him.