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fordfixer
11-23-2009, 03:45 AM
Harris: Steelers pick a strange time for run
By John Harris, TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Monday, November 23, 2009

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsbu ... 54515.html (http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/steelers/s_654515.html)

KANSAS CITY — The defending Super Bowl champions are waging an internal war on offense.

On the one hand, the Steelers now fancy themselves as a passing team that ranked No. 8 in the NFL at better than 253 yards per game entering Sunday's disaster against the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium.

Before leaving with a concussion-type injury, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger passed for 398 yards and three touchdowns.

On the other hand, the Steelers remain an enigma on offense because they appear to be torn between becoming a dominant passing team while attempting to remain true to their successful history as a power-running team.

It was during crunch time of yesterday's shocking 27-24 overtime loss to the Chiefs that the Steelers picked a strange time to return to their offensive roots.

A third-down sweep by running back Mewelde Moore on the Steelers' only possession in overtime — one play after Rashard Mendenhall rushed for an 8-yard gain — resulted in a three-yard loss against the league's No. 27-ranked rushing defense.

Not wanting to gamble on fourth-and-5 from the Kansas City 38 following Moore's unsuccessful run, the Steelers punted, playing the percentages and turning the game over to their defense.

It seemed like a smart move — considering the Steelers' defense had gone 12 consecutive quarters without allowing a touchdown until the third quarter of yesterday's game.

Ultimately, it backfired for coach Mike Tomlin.

If Roethlisberger described his performance in last week's loss to Cincinnati as him having a "bad day," Tomlin took having a "bad day" to a whole new level yesterday.

"I take responsibility for that performance," Tomlin said after Kansas City drove downfield and kicked the winning field goal. "I have to have this team better prepared to play ... We tried to get a perimeter run to get down inside that (field-goal) range, and we got dropped for a loss."

It wasn't so much that the Steelers ran the ball on third-and-2 when they've made a habit this season of passing the ball all over the lot, particularly on traditional running downs.

Simply put, giving the ball to Moore in that situation was a strange call by offensive coordinator Bruce Arians.

Although Moore is the team's surest-handed running back, he ranks third behind Mendenhall and Willie Parker in terms of getting outside and turning the corner.

Throwing the ball to Moore, who leads Steelers running backs in receptions this season, would have been a higher-percentage call.

"Whatever B.A. (Arians) calls, we have to execute the play," said Hines Ward, who led the Steelers with 10 receptions for 128 yards and a touchdown. "We can second-guess ourselves, but we're not going to point fingers. Third-and-3, third-and-2, I like our chances with our running backs.

"We called a toss sweep. With the crowd noise, you want to make sure you get everybody out and blocking. I cracked down on the end. Tone (Santonio Holmes) got the linebacker. Usually, when Tone and I got that, we usually get that play. That was a crucial play."

I asked right tackle Willie Colon if the offense is struggling to find the proper mix between the pass and the run.

"It's a lot more complicated than that," Colon said. "Right now, we've just got to find a rhythm, and we've got to execute better."

The Steelers ran 31 times for 114 yards and passed 44 times for 401 yards. More than 500 yards of total offense still wasn't enough to beat one of the league's weakest teams.

In back-to-back losses against Kansas City and Cincinnati, the Steelers have attempted 84 passes compared with only 49 running plays.

That's why it was so shocking to see the Steelers run Moore on a sweep on their biggest offensive play of the game.

anger 82&95
11-23-2009, 09:08 AM
So… It’s not all about execution by the players!? Pure and simple, It was a ridiculous call by the individual that receives a paycheck to coordinate play calling efficiently, wisely and professionally. If the OC can’t accomplish said criteria, then the Steelers need to find someone that can. Plainly put, for the players to “execute" efficiently, the play should have a statistically significant chance of success.

sd steel
11-24-2009, 03:10 AM
So… It’s not all about execution by the players!? Pure and simple, It was a ridiculous call by the individual that receives a paycheck to coordinate play calling efficiently, wisely and professionally. If the OC can’t accomplish said criteria, then the Steelers need to find someone that can. Plainly put, for the players to “execute" efficiently, the play should have a statistically significant chance of success.

If you look at the play call, and I'm not saying it was the right call, because it failed, but we just rushed Mendy for 8, and we bring in our 3rd down unit. You and I and I am sure most people expected us to pass, but at the same time Batch hasn't played in 2 years. It was an imaginative play call that everyone is looking for, and safe at the same time. If Moore picks up the first on the sweep, Arians is lauded. But it didn't. I wouldn't have called it, but it wasn't a predictable call, and it was a safe call if we didn't lose 3 yards.

California-Steel
11-24-2009, 05:34 AM
[quote="anger 82&95":1iny9kwd]So… It’s not all about execution by the players!? Pure and simple, It was a ridiculous call by the individual that receives a paycheck to coordinate play calling efficiently, wisely and professionally. If the OC can’t accomplish said criteria, then the Steelers need to find someone that can. Plainly put, for the players to “execute" efficiently, the play should have a statistically significant chance of success.

If you look at the play call, and I'm not saying it was the right call, because it failed, but we just rushed Mendy for 8, and we bring in our 3rd down unit. You and I and I am sure most people expected us to pass, but at the same time Batch hasn't played in 2 years. It was an imaginative play call that everyone is looking for, and safe at the same time. If Moore picks up the first on the sweep, Arians is lauded. But it didn't. I wouldn't have called it, but it wasn't a predictable call, and it was a safe call if we didn't lose 3 yards.[/quote:1iny9kwd]
Wrong!!!! Bad call all the way. You use your 3rd down back that is slower than your first or second dwon back and you call a toss sweep!!! Are you serious. It was not safe nor was it unpredictable. Sometimes you make plays when you should not, doesn't mean that the call was a smart one. The call was pure dumb and that all there is to it. You can try to sugar coat it if you want but BA seems to make a few to many bad calls at critical times.

I could care less if he calls a perfect game except for 1 play. If that 1 play is the scoring play and the winnng play and he messes it up what good was all the other plays. You did great son. You played everything by the book. You only made one mistake. Oh by the way that one mistake cost you your life, so to bad.

NWNewell
11-24-2009, 10:13 AM
[quote="anger 82&95":2td91knm]So… It’s not all about execution by the players!? Pure and simple, It was a ridiculous call by the individual that receives a paycheck to coordinate play calling efficiently, wisely and professionally. If the OC can’t accomplish said criteria, then the Steelers need to find someone that can. Plainly put, for the players to “execute" efficiently, the play should have a statistically significant chance of success.

If you look at the play call, and I'm not saying it was the right call, because it failed, but we just rushed Mendy for 8, and we bring in our 3rd down unit. You and I and I am sure most people expected us to pass, but at the same time Batch hasn't played in 2 years. It was an imaginative play call that everyone is looking for, and safe at the same time. If Moore picks up the first on the sweep, Arians is lauded. But it didn't. I wouldn't have called it, but it wasn't a predictable call, and it was a safe call if we didn't lose 3 yards.[/quote:2td91knm]

I won't complain too much. But I'm not crazy about sweep runs on 3rd and 2-3 when the game is on the line. Sweeps are nice, but they seem to either get stuffed if there is good pursuit and discipline, or break off 5-10 yards plus. It was creative thinking, because I don't know that it was the first thing the defense was looking for. But it was a bit of a gamble.

However, with that said:
I was happy to see Moore in there as a 3rd down back when Willie was the starter because Willie is a terrible receiving back and Mendenhall was unproven. But given the success Mendenhall has had catching the ball out of the backfield... I'm hoping to see Mendenhall in there on third and 3 or less more often (even 3rd and 4).

And of course hindsight is 20-20 but I would have loved to seen them keep Mendenhall in their on that 3rd and 2. And do one of two things:

- Have Mendenhall fight it up the middle for two because he rarely seems to get tackled for a lose up the middle and tends to often make a yard or two out of nothing.

- But since we are deliberately leaving Mendenhall in their in 3rd and short when Moore is typically our 3rd down back we are telegraphing a run. And we were very inconsistent and they had success stopping the run at times. I would have seen play action and had Batch roll out on a naked bootleg. I think the fact that Mendenhall just gouged them for 8 yards two plays earlier and we were leaving him in on 3rd and short would have sold it. And for good measure, I would have had Ward motion in next to the line to help sell it. I would have had Miller drag across the field for a check down 3-4 yards deep and then Mendenhall might be able to fight free and trail Miller for kind of a delayed check down. Have Holmes run deep to take the top off to the side of the roll out and have Ward run an out route 10-15 yards deep. If everyone was covered, Batch may have even been able to sprint for the two yards.

I'm sure my scenario has some flaws, but something like that is what I would have loved to see. That is the kind of mental "second leveling" I wish we saw from our OC.

PS This is the reason I'm such a proponent of running more often than BA does. Not necessarily because I think our running game is more effective than our passing game. But staying with the run makes the defense play balanced and can open up passing opportunity, making your pass plays that much more effective when you really need them.

NorthCoast
11-25-2009, 09:28 AM
[quote="anger 82&95":3a5krzo7]So… It’s not all about execution by the players!? Pure and simple, It was a ridiculous call by the individual that receives a paycheck to coordinate play calling efficiently, wisely and professionally. If the OC can’t accomplish said criteria, then the Steelers need to find someone that can. Plainly put, for the players to “execute" efficiently, the play should have a statistically significant chance of success.

If you look at the play call, and I'm not saying it was the right call, because it failed, but we just rushed Mendy for 8, and we bring in our 3rd down unit. You and I and I am sure most people expected us to pass, but at the same time Batch hasn't played in 2 years. It was an imaginative play call that everyone is looking for, and safe at the same time. If Moore picks up the first on the sweep, Arians is lauded. But it didn't. I wouldn't have called it, but it wasn't a predictable call, and it was a safe call if we didn't lose 3 yards.

I won't complain too much. But I'm not crazy about sweep runs on 3rd and 2-3 when the game is on the line. Sweeps are nice, but they seem to either get stuffed if there is good pursuit and discipline, or break off 5-10 yards plus. It was creative thinking, because I don't know that it was the first thing the defense was looking for. But it was a bit of a gamble.

However, with that said:
I was happy to see Moore in there as a 3rd down back when Willie was the starter because Willie is a terrible receiving back and Mendenhall was unproven. But given the success Mendenhall has had catching the ball out of the backfield... I'm hoping to see Mendenhall in there on third and 3 or less more often (even 3rd and 4).

And of course hindsight is 20-20 but I would have loved to seen them keep Mendenhall in their on that 3rd and 2. And do one of two things:

- Have Mendenhall fight it up the middle for two because he rarely seems to get tackled for a lose up the middle and tends to often make a yard or two out of nothing.

- But since we are deliberately leaving Mendenhall in their in 3rd and short when Moore is typically our 3rd down back we are telegraphing a run. And we were very inconsistent and they had success stopping the run at times. I would have seen play action and had Batch roll out on a naked bootleg. I think the fact that Mendenhall just gouged them for 8 yards two plays earlier and we were leaving him in on 3rd and short would have sold it. And for good measure, I would have had Ward motion in next to the line to help sell it. I would have had Miller drag across the field for a check down 3-4 yards deep and then Mendenhall might be able to fight free and trail Miller for kind of a delayed check down. Have Holmes run deep to take the top off to the side of the roll out and have Ward run an out route 10-15 yards deep. If everyone was covered, Batch may have even been able to sprint for the two yards.

I'm sure my scenario has some flaws, but something like that is what I would have loved to see. That is the kind of mental "second leveling" I wish we saw from our OC.

PS This is the reason I'm such a proponent of running more often than BA does. Not necessarily because I think our running game is more effective than our passing game. But staying with the run makes the defense play balanced and can open up passing opportunity, making your pass plays that much more effective when you really need them.[/quote:3a5krzo7]

Can we sign you up as OC? If it wasn't a straight between the tackles run by Mendenhall your play would have been a good one. I am still not sure why we don't see Ben roll out more in games. He is deadly accurate when throwing on the run and it would slow the rush down. I am all for pocket passing but rollouts have become as rare as a pimple on Pamela Anderson's butt.

BTW, not sure if anyone else has noticed but Ben's rushing stats this season are out of whack with historical. Up to 2008 Ben was averaging about 3 yds/att but this season is half that. On the otherhand, his rushing attempts are on pace to break his personal record. Not sure what to make of this but with the concussion play he definitely needs to learn to slide feet first.