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Sugar
12-25-2008, 10:14 PM
Steelers promising they won't shun the run in playoffs
Associated Press

http://www.nfl.com/news/story?id=09000d ... nfirm=true (http://www.nfl.com/news/story?id=09000d5d80d9f9dd&template=with-video-with-comments&confirm=true)

PITTSBURGH -- The Pittsburgh Steelers' commitment to the run began with Franco Harris in 1972 and hasn't wavered since. With only three coaches during that time, the Steelers have never abandoned the mindset that all good things offensively start with the run.

Of course, running backs such as Harris and Jerome Bettis -- two of the top 12 rushers in NFL history -- and, more recently, Willie Parker, made it simple to stay the course.

Now, it almost seems the run is becoming the offensive option of last resort, at least by the end of the many tight games the Steelers (11-4) are playing.

Going into their regular season-ending game Sunday against the Browns (4-11), the Steelers are 24th in rushing, only one spot ahead of Cleveland. They have been held below 100 yards six times in nine games, and Parker has gained more than 100 only once since the second game of the season, Sept. 14 in Cleveland.
Given the Steelers' history of running to win, the one surprise of their season is their record is this good without the one element of their offense that has remained consistent under coaches Chuck Noll, Bill Cowher and, last season, Mike Tomlin.

"I am concerned," Tomlin said. "I think that with an effective running game, it increases our chances of winning. Therein lies my concern: Do we need to get hot in the running game? Absolutely."

Tomlin's concern is, uhh, well-grounded.

Last season, Parker was leading the NFL in rushing with 1,135 yards until he broke a leg in St. Louis on Dec. 20. Without Parker's productivity and speed, the Steelers lost a week later at Baltimore and in the playoffs to Jacksonville, rushing for exactly 46 yards in both games.

Parker came back strong to begin this season, running for 138 yards and three touchdowns against Houston and 105 yards a week later in Cleveland. Since injuring a knee in Philadelphia on Sept. 21 and an elbow after that, Parker has lacked his usual acceleration and cutting ability, and the effect is evident.

Parker, a three-time 1,000-yard rusher, was held to 29 yards on 18 carries during a 31-14 loss in Tennessee last weekend, the fourth time in five games he has had 12 or more carries for 47 or fewer yards.

Parker's injuries aren't the only reason for the dramatic dropoff in the Steelers' run game productivity. An offensive line that is without injured starters Kendall Simmons and Marvel Smith has been inconsistent all season.

The Steelers recognized their line would be a worry after star guard Alan Faneca signed with the Jets after last season, so the season-long problems with run blocking and pass protection aren't a total surprise. Ben Roethlisberger has been sacked 46 times, one off his career high set a year ago when Faneca was around.

Several times recently, Parker said the Steelers must commit themselves to running the ball the way they have in the past. The problem with this is they don't have the healthy Parker of the immediate past.

After nearly winning the rushing title last season, Parker is down to No. 30 in the league with 673 yards gained. He has scored one touchdown since the season opener and has one 100-yard game since Sept. 14.

"The run game is always something you want to focus on because you want to always stay two-dimensional as an offense," left tackle Max Starks said. "Eleven guys all being on the same page is going to be a big emphasis."

Developing some continuity is one reason Tomlin plans to play many of his starters as long as possible Sunday, even if the Steelers can't improve their playoff position by winning.

"We acknowledge some of the areas we are deficient in, we work at them, we wait for the next opportunity to prove that we are not," Tomlin said. "That's the same mentality I have regarding the run game and all of our deficiencies. I tend to have a short memory."

Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press

SidSmythe
12-25-2008, 10:33 PM
Then they better start getting Mewelde Moore involved b/c he's the best hope for us behind this O-Line. I think he can at least get up 4 yards a carry.

Ozey74
12-25-2008, 10:56 PM
Then they better start getting Mewelde Moore involved b/c he's the best hope for us behind this O-Line. I think he can at least get up 4 yards a carry.



:Agree


Willie can't do it! :HeadBanger

AngryAsian
12-26-2008, 01:18 AM
Then they better start getting Mewelde Moore involved b/c he's the best hope for us behind this O-Line. I think he can at least get up 4 yards a carry.



:Agree


Willie can't do it! :HeadBanger


To the third power! :Agree

California-Steel
12-26-2008, 05:58 AM
Most of the Steelers issues in the run game come from predictability there formations. Everyone knows when we are running it and or passing it so it is a bit easier to stop the run when you know it is coming then it is to stop the pass when you know it is coming.

All I can say is, we will see. Hard to stay committed to the run when you are down and have to pull off 4th quarter miracles each week.

We need to beat teams handedly we are suppose to beat. We seem to be in dog fights no matter who we play.

frankthetank1
12-26-2008, 11:24 AM
i dont think the problem is fwp. i think with this offense it is better suited for moore or at least moore has more sucess in this kind of offense. fwp is a rb that NEEDS a fb in front of him. it also doesnt help that fwp isnt 100% which is just another reason for moore to be getting the bulk of the carries

pfelix73
12-26-2008, 11:58 AM
FB? What's a FB? You guys are right about the predictability and those formations. I's like to see more dump off passes to Moore too. I'd play him more and more going into this post season. He'll get a lot of reps tomorrow along with Russell.

pfelix73
12-26-2008, 11:58 AM
er- I mean on Sunday.

Sugar
12-26-2008, 12:07 PM
I would like to see a bit more of Russell in short yardage situations too. He seems to run with power.

frankthetank1
12-26-2008, 12:07 PM
FB? What's a FB? You guys are right about the predictability and those formations. I's like to see more dump off passes to Moore too. I'd play him more and more going into this post season. He'll get a lot of reps tomorrow along with Russell.

i cant wait to see more of russell. i think he has a lot of potential. what i have seen of him i have liked a lot and he is very young. i think if they could run out of those formations then the play calling wouldnt be very predictable. teams dont respect the run when they see that formation from the steelers and they shouldnt

TallyStiller
12-26-2008, 05:43 PM
Could the schedule have something to do with it? Since that 105 yard game for FWP vs. Cleveland, we've played defenses ranked (not in order) 2, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 10, 11, 12 in the league. The only respite was Cincy at #23 (twice) and San Diego (#25, in the snow).

Still remember holding rushing champ Earl Campbell to 15 yards on 17 carries in bad weather in the playoffs in '79 - good defenses often get the best of even good offenses. I have a hunch we'll look a lot better this week against Cleveland - and against our first round playoff opponent if it's not New England, as among Miami, San Diego, Denver, and Indy, Indy's #12 is the best total D.

I'm just happy with the 11 (soon to be 12) victories against the toughest schedule in the league in 30+ years.

Steeler Shades
12-26-2008, 07:33 PM
I'm just happy with the 11 (soon to be 12) victories against the toughest schedule in the league in 30+ years.
Do you have a source for that stat? Is it based on our opponents actual W-L percentages this year or in some previous time? 8)

TallyStiller
12-26-2008, 09:25 PM
I'm just happy with the 11 (soon to be 12) victories against the toughest schedule in the league in 30+ years.
Do you have a source for that stat? Is it based on our opponents actual W-L percentages this year or in some previous time? 8)

The toughest schedule stat was based on last year's records... this year's records aren't as strong -

Dallas, San Diego, NE, Indy, Jax, Cleveland have all seen win totals drop, but Baltimore, Philly, NYG, and Tennessee are better.

That said, records aren't always the best indicator... sometimes schedule plays a part - I consider our 15 - 1 from '04 to have been a soft 15 - 1 because of the schedule, just like Miami and New England will have soft 11 - 5's if they get them this year. Those "soft" records, like Tennessee's this year, often lead to playoff upsets because teams get better seeds than they can defend.

To me, the proof is in the defenses we've played. Like I say, and this is total YPG average, we've played 2 (Baltimore) twice, 3 (Philly), 4 (Washington ?!?) 5 (Tennessee), 7 (NYG), 8 (Dallas), 10 (New England), 11 (Jacksonville), and 12 (Indy) in 10 of our last 13 games. San Diego is 25 overall, but 11 vs. the run, and we played them in a snowstorm. The only two "easy marks" since week 3 have been Cincy there and here, and we scored 38 and 27 in those.

Last year, we played a bunch of weak teams - the NFC West, the AFC East... lead off the season Cleveland, Buffalo, San Fran, Arizona, Seattle, and just rolled people (except for Whiz). It was aesthetically pleasing, but set up by the fact that those were wall to wall pathetic defenses. We hit the wall later.

This year, every week has been a wall. We'll see where we get in the playoffs, but I'm certain we're tested this year.

Steeler Shades
12-26-2008, 11:01 PM
The toughest schedule stat was based on last year's records... this year's records aren't as strong -

Dallas, San Diego, NE, Indy, Jax, Cleveland have all seen win totals drop, but Baltimore, Philly, NYG, and Tennessee are better.

That said, records aren't always the best indicator... sometimes schedule plays a part - I consider our 15 - 1 from '04 to have been a soft 15 - 1 because of the schedule, just like Miami and New England will have soft 11 - 5's if they get them this year. Those "soft" records, like Tennessee's this year, often lead to playoff upsets because teams get better seeds than they can defend.

To me, the proof is in the defenses we've played. Like I say, and this is total YPG average, we've played 2 (Baltimore) twice, 3 (Philly), 4 (Washington ?!?) 5 (Tennessee), 7 (NYG), 8 (Dallas), 10 (New England), 11 (Jacksonville), and 12 (Indy) in 10 of our last 13 games. San Diego is 25 overall, but 11 vs. the run, and we played them in a snowstorm. The only two "easy marks" since week 3 have been Cincy there and here, and we scored 38 and 27 in those.

Last year, we played a bunch of weak teams - the NFC West, the AFC East... lead off the season Cleveland, Buffalo, San Fran, Arizona, Seattle, and just rolled people (except for Whiz). It was aesthetically pleasing, but set up by the fact that those were wall to wall pathetic defenses. We hit the wall later.

This year, every week has been a wall. We'll see where we get in the playoffs, but I'm certain we're tested this year.
:Agree
Agree 100%. :Bow
8)

anjang86
12-27-2008, 12:17 AM
The problem is that Arians isn't opportunistic with his running plays. He's extremely scripted with his play calling and isn't taking what the defense is giving him.

How many times over this year have we seen them force a run with 8 in the box? If all you ever do is run w/ 8 in the box then you're bound to dig yourself a hole you can't get out of. The running game looks like crap because it barely gains any yards and you fall behind in the passing game as well.

If we want to succeed in running at this point, we pretty much have to set it up with the pass or get better at reading the defense so we know the right running play to call as a counter.

Arians needs to be a little more creative.

Djfan
12-27-2008, 12:27 AM
The problem is that Arians isn't opportunistic with his running plays. He's extremely scripted with his play calling and isn't taking what the defense is giving him.

How many times over this year have we seen them force a run with 8 in the box? If all you ever do is run w/ 8 in the box then you're bound to dig yourself a hole you can't get out of. The running game looks like crap because it barely gains any yards and you fall behind in the passing game as well.

If we want to succeed in running at this point, we pretty much have to set it up with the pass or get better at reading the defense so we know the right running play to call as a counter.

Arians needs to be a little more creative.

True. And I hope that the team that hires him is patient enough to let him learn that.

feltdizz
12-27-2008, 02:52 PM
we have played against the best D's this year week after week for a stretch and barely got by most of them. I really hope we go with Moore in the playoffs and really become pass first cause Arians run calling is terrible. Ben isn't the best at reading D's either so I hope he doesn't keep switching pass plays to runs.

SteelTorch
12-27-2008, 05:07 PM
Our first priority should be making sure we can pass the ball effectively. Had we been able to do that, we might not have lost to the Titans. If we can do that, the running game will come. Don't buy into the hype that you 'must' establish the run if you want to win a playoff game.

And for the record, we rushed Parker 19 times. It's not as if we weren't trying. :roll: