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Oviedo
04-30-2009, 11:05 AM
Interesting information. We obviously really didn't like Duke Robinson and really did like Eric Wood. Seems to really like Urbik. Excellent point about OL being a group and not focused on individuals.


Q&A: Bruce Arians


By Jim Wexell
SteelCityInsider.com
Posted Apr 30, 2009


Steelers offensive coordinator Bruce Arians sat down with Fox 970's Jim Wexell, Greg Linelli and Bill Hillgrove for a radio interview after picking two players in the third round of the NFL Draft. Here's the transcript:


Q: You just drafted a receiver in the third round, Mike Wallace. What does he bring to the table?

A: Well, Mike is one of those guys whoís pure speed. He can take the top end off the coverage. Heís very, very similar to Nate Washington: a little bigger, maybe a little stronger at this point already being a 200-pounder. He is extremely fast on a kickoff return, which is what we need. He hits it like Quincy Morgan, who we had a few years ago. But heís an outside guy, deep threat, great kid. Itís amazing, we got another guy who was his high school teammate in New Orleans, after Katrina. Great kid in that heís overcome a lot of things already in life. I really like his work ethic.

Q: Could you touch on his story?

A: One of his brothers was killed. I think another oneís in prison. And he was displaced by Katrina. Walker High School is a great high school. We recruited a lot of kids out of there when I was at Mississippi State years ago. Yeah, heís not had the easiest of times, and to get where he is today tells you about the qualities he has inside.

Q: You wrote down the names of Wallace and Kraig Urbik three weeks ago and then sat back and watched them come to you. What moved you to do that?

A: Well, as an offensive staff we do it every year. We put down our dream drafts. If we can get these five guys out of this draft, itíd be the perfect draft for us. In the first round we loved Max Unger and we loved Eric Wood, especially Eric Wood, and then Ziggy Hood was way too good to pass up and we tried to go back up and get Max. As things fell to us, Kraig is a guy whoís just a blue-collar, tough, Wisconsin lineman who can play a couple of positions. Smart and tough is what weíre looking for, and both guys are extremely healthy. They donít have any nicks on them. So it was real clean for us.

Q: So it was like, ĎIf we donít get these guys here, we can get these guys later.í

A: Right. And we have a couple guys down here as Round 5 guys who weíll have to fight the defense over. There are a couple kids we have penciled in here who can make our football team and dress on Sundays. Weíre a good enough football team to wait for guys to develop, but, if you can find a guy now who you think is going to dress next year on Sunday, thatís a heck of a valuable pick.

Q: Especially on the offensive line, right?

A: Yeah. Itís something weíve had to address. I donít know. There are a couple more guys who possibly could be in the developmental stage for us at positions that weíd like to have a young guy at. Itís kind of what weíre doing with Tony Hills. Itís a position to consider, but there are a couple of skill guys out there that I think could be really valuable to us.

Q: What can you tell us about Tony Hills? Or do we have to wait until preseason to learn how heís developed?

A: I think we all have to wait till we put the pads back on. Heís bigger, stronger. He had a nice minicamp last week. He looks like heís improved his footwork and his tenacity. Now itís just putting the pads on and hitting people and seeing if that strength equates into power Ė not only at the point of attack blocking, but holding off those bullrushers. Heís very athletic, so he can handle all the dancer types. But the big guys who are just going to come down the middle on him, letís see if he can hold them.

Q: Could Hills be your swing tackle now? Or does the drafting of Urbik allow you to use Trai Essex as the swing tackle?

A: That kind of was behind it. If Kraig is what we think he is, then Trai can go back and not have to play five positions. You know, we had him snapping the ball for the Super Bowl if we needed him as an emergency center. Thatís his value: He can play every position. But he can get back in the mix at both tackles, then we have a guy in the middle that weíll eventually try to teach how to snap the ball, too, so we have a third guy to get us out of a ball game and still only dress seven linemen.

Q: Urbik told us heís comfortable putting the ball between his legs, even though heís never done it in a game.

A: Thatís the nice thing about his position flexibility. Heís played tackle and guard and practiced at center. Now letís see if he can do that with Casey Hampton over him.

Q: I remember asking Russ Grimm whatís Caseyís secret. Russ put his hand a foot-and-a-half from the floor and said, ĎThatís his helmet. Let me see you block that.í

A: And then there are about 15 cinder blocks on his butt behind his helmet. He ainít going anywhere. If you just stalemate him youíre doing a heck of a job.

Q: Were you consciously looking to address your short-yardage unit and does Urbik address that?

A: Yeah, that was kind of a four-pronged deal. The interior, when we did not make it on the goal line, it was more mental errors and people running through a gap, than it was getting our butts kicked. Gary Russell addressed a lot of that for us. He addressed that niche and he was very good at it. Now weíve got to replace him. Hopefully Rashard (Mendenhall) is going to be very good at that because heís got the size and the speed to hit all the holes, but, yeah, we think just correcting it and not letting the lineman or linebacker run through a gap will help at the goal line. The short-yardage thing, we were OK once Gary came on. Also, the acquisition of Sean McHugh -- not that Carey Davis isnít a good fullback -- but Sean gave us a 260-pound guy to send up in there and still have three tight ends in the game so you donít know where theyíre going to line up. Thatís a nice little thing. When you have a fullback, you pretty much know youíre going to have two backs in the backfield and you can get your defense set. When you have three tight ends, you can have wings, all kinds of different formation changes. Sean was a nice pickup for us.

Q: A lot of fans saw Duke Robinson at the top of the Mel Kiper rankings and thought he was the guy. What do you think about him?

A: Heís more of a low-motor guy. We want high-motor, high-intensity, smart, tough guys. Not that he might not turn into a heck of a pro, but at this point in time his motor does not run fast enough.

Q: But Urbik?

A: Heís got that. Now, when you go down to the Senior Bowl and watch the one-on-one stuff, I know he looked a little rigid and stiff. Most linemen are. But when you put them together, five guys, he knows how to play football. He knows how to cover up the guy next to him, work together. I always talk about the Giantsí offensive line. Theyíre not the most talented. I had Shaun OíHara in Cleveland. Heís a free agent out of Rutgers. He walked on at Rutgers. Now heís in the Pro Bowl because he knows how to play as part of a group. You have to have five guys playing as one to really have a good line. The last half of the season, once the injuries occurred, we got to play together, and in late November, December, our offensive line played extremely well as a group, other than the goal line where we turned a guy loose every now and then.

Q: The failings in the screen game last year, were they due to a lack of mobility up front?

A: Yeah. You lost two great, great players in Jeff Hartings and Alan Faneca, who might be the best screen combination Iíve ever been around; one getting out and the other peeling back, and they always knew who was out front. That takes time. We tried it and tried it and tried it and figured ĎWeíre just whistling Dixie here, letís just throw the screen to our wide receivers and get them out in space.í Itís an area we want to go back to, see if we can get guys to work cohesively out in space. When we go back and study it Ė as a matter of fact, one of our offseason projects next week is to go back and look at all the screens Ė but last year in the NFL those things were way, way down compared to what they had been coming out of the backfield.

Q: What about the rest of your receiving corps?

A: Limas (Sweed) had a real nice camp, as did Dallas Baker. It was nice to see him come back and have some confidence because heís a guy who can play. He just lost his confidence last year when he dropped some balls. Martin Nance can play all four positions. Thereís quality and depth there. Young guys coming in and having speed, thatís the thing. Hopefully Limas can continue. He got behind a lot of guys last year. He just needs to relax and catch the ball. Heís working so, so hard at it, I have no problem saying heís going to be all right.



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stlrz d
04-30-2009, 11:49 AM
Nice read...thanks for posting!

There's a lot of good that can be taken from that.

BURGH86STEEL
04-30-2009, 12:04 PM
Nice read...thanks for posting!

There's a lot of good that can be taken from that.

At the very least it will give people something to think about before they complain.

SteelCzar76
04-30-2009, 12:16 PM
Good read. I especially found it interesting that he spoke of Alan and Jeff's ability to "pull". Arians took a great deal of heat last season which i felt was unjustified because at the end of the day,...your personnel has to do their jobs.

My only problem with him is all of the single back and two TE sets. Other than that,..i'm good with his play calling.

feltdizz
04-30-2009, 12:20 PM
Maybe I'm too nice.. but Arians sounds like he knows his stuff.

I love how his honesty about the pathetic screens and the kick return game...

and I think Casey will be around for a few more years.. note to all fans.. he is fat and getting old but no one does it better.

Djfan
04-30-2009, 12:47 PM
Good read. Here's hoping that I'm wrong and BA is the real deal. I would love to be wrong about him.

This sounds solid. I'm behind you BA! WIN!!

Oviedo
04-30-2009, 01:14 PM
Nice read...thanks for posting!

There's a lot of good that can be taken from that.

I agree but I bet we have at least three posters who will turn it into a negative. Particularly on Hills and Arians not annointing him as a Pro Bowler. he will therefore be determined to be a bust and our OL is horrible and will get Ben killed.

I think this is one of the best statements about why OLs are good:


Q: But Urbik?

A: Heís got that. Now, when you go down to the Senior Bowl and watch the one-on-one stuff, I know he looked a little rigid and stiff. Most linemen are. But when you put them together, five guys, he knows how to play football. He knows how to cover up the guy next to him, work together. I always talk about the Giantsí offensive line. Theyíre not the most talented. I had Shaun OíHara in Cleveland. Heís a free agent out of Rutgers. He walked on at Rutgers. Now heís in the Pro Bowl because he knows how to play as part of a group. You have to have five guys playing as one to really have a good line. The last half of the season, once the injuries occurred, we got to play together, and in late November, December, our offensive line played extremely well as a group, other than the goal line where we turned a guy loose every now and then.

It's about group play not individuals. Continuity is the key to an OL.

flippy
04-30-2009, 01:28 PM
Seems every coach got someone they wanted.

RuthlessBurgher
04-30-2009, 02:21 PM
Seems every coach got someone they wanted.

Except Kenny Anderson and Keith Butler. But based on the talent they already have at QB and LB, I don't think they will complain to much about having to pick through the UDFA scraps for new faces.

Oviedo
04-30-2009, 02:25 PM
Seems every coach got someone they wanted.

Except Kenny Anderson and Keith Butler. But based on the talent they already have at QB and LB, I don't think they will complain to much about having to pick through the UDFA scraps for new faces.

That's why they got those positions in UDFA. The vets need someone to carry their pads from practice at St Vincents and they probably complianed to the coaching staff they didn't have their "boys" like everyone else.

D Rock
04-30-2009, 08:54 PM
Seems every coach got someone they wanted.

Except Kenny Anderson and Keith Butler. But based on the talent they already have at QB and LB, I don't think they will complain to much about having to pick through the UDFA scraps for new faces.

Mike Reilly is a good UDFA pickup who can spend a year on the PS and then if Dixon is ready to be a real #2 next year, he can maybe move in and take the #3 spot and Batch can go find a life after football.

Mel Blount's G
04-30-2009, 09:06 PM
If Kraig is what we think he is, then Trai can go back and not have to play five positions. You know, we had him snapping the ball for the Super Bowl if we needed him as an emergency center. Thatís his value: He can play every position. But he can get back in the mix at both tackles, then we have a guy in the middle that weíll eventually try to teach how to snap the ball, too, so we have a third guy to get us out of a ball game and still only dress seven linemen.

Q: Urbik told us heís comfortable putting the ball between his legs, even though heís never done it in a game.

A: Thatís the nice thing about his position flexibility. Heís played tackle and guard and practiced at center. Now letís see if he can do that with Casey Hampton over him.
Interesting. Hadn't really considered Urbik as an option at center but obviously the coaching staff is thinking about it. Lessens the chances of SAAQ Shipley making the cut particularily since it looks like Shipley can't/won't long snap

papillon
04-30-2009, 09:19 PM
Maybe I'm too nice.. but Arians sounds like he knows his stuff.

I love how his honesty about the pathetic screens and the kick return game...

and I think Casey will be around for a few more years.. note to all fans.. he is fat and getting old but no one does it better.

I never thought that he didn't know his football; I just don't like the style of offense that he runs, empty backfields, two TEs, no lead blocker, etc. I'm a product of the 70s that preferred to run the opponent over than to go around them.

I'm certain Bruce Arians understands football, you don't become an OC without understanding the game.

Pappy

Mel Blount's G
04-30-2009, 10:07 PM
I never thought that he didn't know his football; I just don't like the style of offense that he runs, empty backfields, two TEs, no lead blocker, etc. I'm a product of the 70s that preferred to run the opponent over than to go around them.

I'm certain Bruce Arians understands football, you don't become an OC without understanding the game.

Pappy
Uh huh. I'm with you paps. And Arians pretty much confirms his preference in this Q&A :arrow:

Thatís a nice little thing. When you have a fullback, you pretty much know youíre going to have two backs in the backfield and you can get your defense set. When you have three tight ends, you can have wings, all kinds of different formation changes...
But Bruce, even if the defense knew it was coming they didn't know which hole and whoever filled that hole got pancaked by Krieder and if there was anything left of them The Bus ran that over. Bruce just doesn't like the smashmouth offense and I hope that Tomlin has some say if BA remains stubborn about this. I'm pretty sure I read/heard that we were the very worst in the league at converting 3rd's and 4th's and a yard.

papillon
04-30-2009, 10:42 PM
I never thought that he didn't know his football; I just don't like the style of offense that he runs, empty backfields, two TEs, no lead blocker, etc. I'm a product of the 70s that preferred to run the opponent over than to go around them.

I'm certain Bruce Arians understands football, you don't become an OC without understanding the game.

Pappy
Uh huh. I'm with you paps. And Arians pretty much confirms his preference in this Q&A :arrow:

Thatís a nice little thing. When you have a fullback, you pretty much know youíre going to have two backs in the backfield and you can get your defense set. When you have three tight ends, you can have wings, all kinds of different formation changes...
But Bruce, even if the defense knew it was coming they didn't know which hole and whoever filled that hole got pancaked by Krieder and if there was anything left of them The Bus ran that over. Bruce just doesn't like the smashmouth offense and I hope that Tomlin has some say if BA remains stubborn about this. I'm pretty sure I read/heard that we were the very worst in the league at converting 3rd's and 4th's and a yard.

Yup, that is correct. The Steelers didn't have a power runner, they rarely used a fullback, their interior line was their weakest link on the o-line and Bruce Arians outsmarted himself sometimes with his play calling. It was a combination of bad things that caused it; hopefully, "The Tank" can help rectify this problem.

Pappy

pfelix73
04-30-2009, 10:47 PM
I'm not a fan of the 2 TE 1 back formation either. He likes that 3 TE set too where he can move the TE to the FB pos. if the play calls for it. That makes a lot of sense, BUT you have to have a TE that can block like a FB and I still don't think we have anyone that can do that on a consistent basis. I know he likes Mchugh. I don't.

He's come a long way since his Temple days............. :shock: