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fordfixer
05-09-2009, 10:34 PM
Steelers Run Game Looking to Rebound in 2009

Posted by Matt Loede under Pittsburgh Steelers

http://www.nflgridirongab.com/2009/05/0 ... d-in-2009/ (http://www.nflgridirongab.com/2009/05/09/steelers-run-game-looking-to-rebound-in-2009/)

Go back to 2008, and it was not your typical type of Steelers winning season when it comes to offense. Usually the formula for the Steelers to win and go deep in the playoffs includes a physical, punishing running game and a passing game that does enough to get the job done. Not so in 08.

The running game was the weak spot on the Steelers when it came to offense, as they put up just 105.6 yards on the ground, while the passing game led by Ben Roethlisberger put up 206.3 yards per game. In the Super Bowl, the passing game clearly bailed out the offense, as Big Ben was able to pull out that last drive to get the job done in the 27-23 win.

So now we turn the book to 09, and the offense again is looking to get better when it comes to the running game, and that will come down to the backs as well to getting better on the O-line. The line, with a season under their belt, should be better at both run and pass blocking. The backs? It will be a question mark once again as you can flip a coin somedays on what your going to get.

Willie Parker is entering the final year of his deal, and says he won’t be a problem in the locker room, and is ready to be dominant once again like he was before he broke his leg late in the 2007 season. Last year in 11 games he had 791 yards (71.9 per game) with five touchdowns. His injuries are a concern, as well as his ability sometimes to simply disappear from games.

Parker had four 100-plus yard games in the regular season, and another in the playoffs against the Chargers. The problem was after his 115-yard effort against the Chargers on November 16th, he really didn’t do much of anything until the final game of the season vs Cleveland when he had 116 yards. In between were efforts of 37, 87, 25, 47 and 31 yards. That won’t get the job done.

It’s a critical year for Parker, as the Steelers have to find out if he is a player that is going to be able to be counted on, or one that actually has seen better days despite being only 29 years old in November. That’s exactly why the team picked upRahsard Mendenhall in the first round of last seasons draft.

Mendenhall played in just four games before breaking his shoulder, and had 58 yards on 19 carries. I am excited to see what role he’ll play in this offense, as theSteelers need another back to give them a spark and one that they can count on.

Then there is Mewelde Moore, who really saved this team in a couple of games last season and I am convinced that they would not have won the Super Bowl without him. Moore had 588 yards and five touchdowns on the ground, and his play was a huge lift in the first win over the Ravens, and also had 120 yards and twoTD’s vs the Bengals in the first game.

So with that, the team looks forward to running the football better in 08. Parker, Mendenhall and Moore will again be the key parts of that puzzle, it just remains to be seen if they can be better in that area.

Mister Pittsburgh
05-10-2009, 09:49 AM
You would think one of these seasons they would realize a balanced attack isn't necessary to win it all. The two times we hit the playoffs and were a pass oriented team we win the Superbowl. When they force a non existent run game our offense totally sputters. Let your 100 million dollar QB win games for you. Design a passing attack around him and his abilities.

Slapstick
05-10-2009, 12:42 PM
When did the Steelers pake the playoffs as a passing oriented team?

In 2005, the Steelers were 5th in rushing and 25th in passing...

They had the fewest pass attempts and the most rush attempts in the NFL...

I guess that you could say that the Steelers were more passing oriented in 2008, you know, with their top 2 RBs missing significant parts of the season...but, even then the Steelers averaged 31 pass attempts vs. 29 rush attempts per game...pretty balanced...

In the 2008 playoffs, the Steelers averaged 30 pass attempts vs. 31 rush attempts per game...again, pretty balanced...

By way of comparison, the New Orleans Saints averaged almost 40 pass attempts vs. 25 rush attempts per game in the regular season...they did not participate in the 2008 playoffs...

BURGH86STEEL
05-10-2009, 04:31 PM
You would think one of these seasons they would realize a balanced attack isn't necessary to win it all. The two times we hit the playoffs and were a pass oriented team we win the Superbowl. When they force a non existent run game our offense totally sputters. Let your 100 million dollar QB win games for you. Design a passing attack around him and his abilities.

Most of the time the offense sputters because of the inconsistent play of the players and other reasons. Ben has not proven to be the type of QB to throw the ball up and down the field on a consistent basis. Who knows, he may never be that type of passer. Time will tell. The Oline has not been great for several reasons. Injuries to the RBs hurt the offense last season.

Even if the run game sputters, they have to attempt to run the ball for several strategic reasons.

MeetJoeGreene
05-11-2009, 07:53 AM
You would think one of these seasons they would realize a balanced attack isn't necessary to win it all. The two times we hit the playoffs and were a pass oriented team we win the Superbowl. When they force a non existent run game our offense totally sputters. Let your 100 million dollar QB win games for you. Design a passing attack around him and his abilities.


We would have won more games with greater ease had we been able to punch more TDs into the endzone and convert 3rd downs and run out the clock more.

I am not saying "balanced" means go back to a run-first, grund-it out O. - but it has to have more "ooompf" than last year.

Mister Pittsburgh
05-11-2009, 08:07 AM
When did the Steelers pake the playoffs as a passing oriented team?

In 2005, the Steelers were 5th in rushing and 25th in passing...

They had the fewest pass attempts and the most rush attempts in the NFL...

I guess that you could say that the Steelers were more passing oriented in 2008, you know, with their top 2 RBs missing significant parts of the season...but, even then the Steelers averaged 31 pass attempts vs. 29 rush attempts per game...pretty balanced...

In the 2008 playoffs, the Steelers averaged 30 pass attempts vs. 31 rush attempts per game...again, pretty balanced...

By way of comparison, the New Orleans Saints averaged almost 40 pass attempts vs. 25 rush attempts per game in the regular season...they did not participate in the 2008 playoffs...

I am not asking what they did. I am saying what they should do. I am not talking about the regular season either. When we hit the playoffs in 2005 we threw the ball in the playoffs and rolled to the Superbowl. This past playoff run to the Superbowl...we passed the ball when we moved it. Then Arians would force a non existant run game and that almost cost us the AFCCG and the Superbowl. He took the air out of the ball and our offense was dead. Then he relied on Ben to bail his butt out. Kind of like he did in Baltimore in the regular season.

Anytime in the past 2 or 3 seasons that we go no huddle or from the gun and hit our WR and TE on short passes that are high percentage and let the receiver make plays for us we move the ball right down the field on teams.

You don't got to be balanced. You have to attack a teams weakness. If a team is 20th against the pass and 2nd against the run, why on earth would you run the ball half the time just to say you did? We could have beat Baltimore by 3 TD's in the AFCCG with that horrendous secondary and the way we were throwing the ball with ease on them the first half. Arians would rather keep the game tight though so the D had to bail him out when Troy took it to the house. YOu can say missed opportunities with Sweed dropping one and Willie dropping a huge gainer......but those opportunites were there all night. Why take the air out of the ball against a team with a make shift secondary that couldn't stop the pass the entire first half?

BURGH86STEEL
05-11-2009, 08:16 AM
You would think one of these seasons they would realize a balanced attack isn't necessary to win it all. The two times we hit the playoffs and were a pass oriented team we win the Superbowl. When they force a non existent run game our offense totally sputters. Let your 100 million dollar QB win games for you. Design a passing attack around him and his abilities.


We would have won more games with greater ease had we been able to punch more TDs into the endzone and convert 3rd downs and run out the clock more.

I am not saying "balanced" means go back to a run-first, grund-it out O. - but it has to have more "ooompf" than last year.

Hopefully, the team will not have as many injuries on the offensive side of the ball as they had last season.

Oviedo
05-11-2009, 08:40 AM
Anytime in the past 2 or 3 seasons that we go no huddle or from the gun and hit our WR and TE on short passes that are high percentage and let the receiver make plays for us we move the ball right down the field on teams.

This is the key. Ben utilizing quick, short passes to get LBs off the LOS is the key to helping the run game. We do not do enough of this because as correctly pointed out when we do it is almost impossible to stop.

Slapstick
05-11-2009, 09:00 AM
The no huddle is almost impossible to stop...precisely because there is the threat of the run...

Stop attemptng to run and make yourself one-dimensional...teams WILL stop you...

Offenses aren't the only phase of the game that attack the opponent's weakness...

BURGH86STEEL
05-11-2009, 09:33 AM
When did the Steelers pake the playoffs as a passing oriented team?

In 2005, the Steelers were 5th in rushing and 25th in passing...

They had the fewest pass attempts and the most rush attempts in the NFL...

I guess that you could say that the Steelers were more passing oriented in 2008, you know, with their top 2 RBs missing significant parts of the season...but, even then the Steelers averaged 31 pass attempts vs. 29 rush attempts per game...pretty balanced...

In the 2008 playoffs, the Steelers averaged 30 pass attempts vs. 31 rush attempts per game...again, pretty balanced...

By way of comparison, the New Orleans Saints averaged almost 40 pass attempts vs. 25 rush attempts per game in the regular season...they did not participate in the 2008 playoffs...

I am not asking what they did. I am saying what they should do. I am not talking about the regular season either. When we hit the playoffs in 2005 we threw the ball in the playoffs and rolled to the Superbowl. This past playoff run to the Superbowl...we passed the ball when we moved it. Then Arians would force a non existant run game and that almost cost us the AFCCG and the Superbowl. He took the air out of the ball and our offense was dead. Then he relied on Ben to bail his butt out. Kind of like he did in Baltimore in the regular season.

Anytime in the past 2 or 3 seasons that we go no huddle or from the gun and hit our WR and TE on short passes that are high percentage and let the receiver make plays for us we move the ball right down the field on teams.

You don't got to be balanced. You have to attack a teams weakness. If a team is 20th against the pass and 2nd against the run, why on earth would you run the ball half the time just to say you did? We could have beat Baltimore by 3 TD's in the AFCCG with that horrendous secondary and the way we were throwing the ball with ease on them the first half. Arians would rather keep the game tight though so the D had to bail him out when Troy took it to the house. YOu can say missed opportunities with Sweed dropping one and Willie dropping a huge gainer......but those opportunites were there all night. Why take the air out of the ball against a team with a make shift secondary that couldn't stop the pass the entire first half?

It was really not about about passing vs running. The bottom line was better execution by the QB in the 05 playoffs (outside of the SB). That did not happen in the 04 playoffs. Overall, they ran more in the 05 playoffs. They will continue to run the ball heading into the future. The more Ben or any QB passes, the more likely the ball will end up in the other team's hands.

Most of the the better teams maintain a good balance. Even if a team is not running the ball well, that team has to continue to try for several reasons. You should really ask yourself why coaches continue to run the ball? One reason is the clock stops on an incomplete pass. The clock does not stop on running plays. That is huge when it comes to resting a defense during the coarse of a game. There are other reasons why coaches continue to run the ball. Again, ask yourself why? There are other reasons. Think about it.

Why is it that teams don't run the no huddle more often? There are several reasons for that too. We are not playing Madden. Those are real players out there that get tired. There is also the element of surprise. The more teams run the no huddle, the more likely the other team will be prepared for that style. As we have seen, it is better to unleash it when it is really needed.

At the end of the day, maintaining a balance is the best way to win games in the NFL. It keeps our defense fresh, takes some pressure off Ben, gives the other teams more to prepare for, and there are so many other factors.

You write as though the Ravens secondary was horrible. They were second to us last season in pass defense. Not only that but they have guys that can get to the QB and a guy by the name of Reed that knows how to make plays in the secondary. It is not as simple as lining up and throwing the ball all over the field. Ben has not proven to be that type of QB on a consistent enough basis just yet.

aggiebones
05-11-2009, 04:21 PM
We would have won more games with greater ease had we been able to punch more TDs into the endzone and convert 3rd downs and run out the clock more.

this

steelers43
05-11-2009, 06:14 PM
When did the Steelers pake the playoffs as a passing oriented team?

That's what I was wondering. Someone hasn't been paying attention.

Mister Pittsburgh
05-12-2009, 08:06 AM
When did the Steelers pake the playoffs as a passing oriented team?

In 2005, the Steelers were 5th in rushing and 25th in passing...

They had the fewest pass attempts and the most rush attempts in the NFL...

I guess that you could say that the Steelers were more passing oriented in 2008, you know, with their top 2 RBs missing significant parts of the season...but, even then the Steelers averaged 31 pass attempts vs. 29 rush attempts per game...pretty balanced...

In the 2008 playoffs, the Steelers averaged 30 pass attempts vs. 31 rush attempts per game...again, pretty balanced...

By way of comparison, the New Orleans Saints averaged almost 40 pass attempts vs. 25 rush attempts per game in the regular season...they did not participate in the 2008 playoffs...

I am not asking what they did. I am saying what they should do. I am not talking about the regular season either. When we hit the playoffs in 2005 we threw the ball in the playoffs and rolled to the Superbowl. This past playoff run to the Superbowl...we passed the ball when we moved it. Then Arians would force a non existant run game and that almost cost us the AFCCG and the Superbowl. He took the air out of the ball and our offense was dead. Then he relied on Ben to bail his butt out. Kind of like he did in Baltimore in the regular season.

Anytime in the past 2 or 3 seasons that we go no huddle or from the gun and hit our WR and TE on short passes that are high percentage and let the receiver make plays for us we move the ball right down the field on teams.

You don't got to be balanced. You have to attack a teams weakness. If a team is 20th against the pass and 2nd against the run, why on earth would you run the ball half the time just to say you did? We could have beat Baltimore by 3 TD's in the AFCCG with that horrendous secondary and the way we were throwing the ball with ease on them the first half. Arians would rather keep the game tight though so the D had to bail him out when Troy took it to the house. YOu can say missed opportunities with Sweed dropping one and Willie dropping a huge gainer......but those opportunites were there all night. Why take the air out of the ball against a team with a make shift secondary that couldn't stop the pass the entire first half?

It was really not about about passing vs running. The bottom line was better execution by the QB in the 05 playoffs (outside of the SB). That did not happen in the 04 playoffs. Overall, they ran more in the 05 playoffs. They will continue to run the ball heading into the future. The more Ben or any QB passes, the more likely the ball will end up in the other team's hands.

Most of the the better teams maintain a good balance. Even if a team is not running the ball well, that team has to continue to try for several reasons. You should really ask yourself why coaches continue to run the ball? One reason is the clock stops on an incomplete pass. The clock does not stop on running plays. That is huge when it comes to resting a defense during the coarse of a game. There are other reasons why coaches continue to run the ball. Again, ask yourself why? There are other reasons. Think about it.

Why is it that teams don't run the no huddle more often? There are several reasons for that too. We are not playing Madden. Those are real players out there that get tired. There is also the element of surprise. The more teams run the no huddle, the more likely the other team will be prepared for that style. As we have seen, it is better to unleash it when it is really needed.

At the end of the day, maintaining a balance is the best way to win games in the NFL. It keeps our defense fresh, takes some pressure off Ben, gives the other teams more to prepare for, and there are so many other factors.

You write as though the Ravens secondary was horrible. They were second to us last season in pass defense. Not only that but they have guys that can get to the QB and a guy by the name of Reed that knows how to make plays in the secondary. It is not as simple as lining up and throwing the ball all over the field. Ben has not proven to be that type of QB on a consistent enough basis just yet.

You are generalizing way too much. Here are some quick comments in response to yours...
-Don't think we should abandon the run. I think we should attack an opponents weakness.
-Don't think we should go no huddle all the time. Simply saying when we did we drove the ball down the field with ease which would lead me to believe we should design the offense around our best offensive player, Ben. We don't need him taking 5 or 7 step drops and trying to throw 30 yards downfield. We have good receivers...put the ball in their hands on shorter higher percentage passes and let them make plays with their legs.
-RB needs to be used as more of a weapon in the flats and on swing passes. The screens can be seen developing from the top row of Heinz Field.
-If you think the Ravens secondary we faced in the AFCCG was a top secondary, you must have missed the part when most their starters were out of the game.....thus the reason we were throwing the football all over them.
-You say the more the QB passes the ball the higher the odds the ball ends up in the other teams hands......I say the more Ben passes the ball, the higher the odds the ball ends up in our receivers hands in the endzone. Points on the board are what decides the game.
-Not sure if it is just me, but I get annoyed when a poster talks down to me like they feel like they are explaining football to a two year old. I know a little something about the game as well, just have a differing opinion than you.
-I am all for a balanced 50/50 attack......as long as it is working....if you are gaining 2 yards per carry yet throwing well on them....quit banging your head against the wall and hurt them where they are vulnerable.
-Mewelde Moore did just fine with very comparable numbers to Parker so not sure why people want to blame our running woes on the RB.

feltdizz
05-12-2009, 03:32 PM
It's not how many times you pass its "when you pass"

with Ben in 2005 we passed more on first down.

frankthetank1
05-12-2009, 04:45 PM
i really hope they are better in short yardage situations than last season. i assume frank the tank will be the short yardage back or mendenhall. the oline has to get a lot better than they have been in that aspect. i dont know how many times last season i saw russell being hit in the backfield in short yardage situations so he wasnt the problem

ikestops85
05-12-2009, 04:57 PM
i really hope they are better in short yardage situations than last season. i assume frank the tank will be the short yardage back or mendenhall. the oline has to get a lot better than they have been in that aspect. i dont know how many times last season i saw russell being hit in the backfield in short yardage situations so he wasnt the problem
:Agree

The line seemed to blow quite a few assignments in short yardage situations. Russell was able to get a few 1st downs with his second and third effort. Generally it doesn't matter who we have running the ball if we allow defenders to penetrate the line of scrimmage we will not be successful. Definitely an area of concern for the SB champs.