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SteelHead
05-10-2010, 07:35 PM
So , per ownership , media and apparently Hines....were going to put more emphasis on the run game this year.

Ok , fine. I agree wholeheartedly with improving our run game , especially in short yardage and goal line situations. No problem there.

There seems to be however this sentiment that running more often , just for the sake of playing "Steeler Football" , is going to increase time of possession and compliment our D better than recent versions of our offense.

I call bullsh*t. It's not just about running more , it's about "when" you run. IE: closing out games with a lead.

2004 T.O.P = 33:59
2005 T.O.P = 31:44

2008 T.O.P = 31:41
2009 T.O.P = 32:51

The difference in possession time between our 2 most recent dominant run years vs. our pass happy offense of 08-09 is negligible. In fact , I'm on record right now as saying TOP has absolutely nothing to do with our struggles last year. Our problem, offensively was not finishing off long time consuming drives with 7 points.

To say that our change in offensive philosophy (leaning to pass) has affected how the O compliments the D , is just stupid. Run , pass.....who cares , put up the points.

As far as the D is concerned , them having a down year had everything to do with THEM and very little to do with the offense. Pressure was inconsistent and coverage was lame without Troy.

Let's everyone put a stop to the whole theory of running more equaling better TOP and thus complimenting our D better. Look at the #'s.

birtikidis
05-10-2010, 07:50 PM
I think on teh surface our TOP looked good. but in 2008 we didn't give up nearly as many return for td's (int, punt, KO)... and i think that played a big part in making our TOP look better than it actually was...

flippy
05-10-2010, 07:55 PM
I think it's about red zone efficiency and converting 3rd downs on offense.

And getting QB pressure and off the field on 3rd downs on defense.

Do those and the wins will follow. Run or pass.

Flasteel
05-10-2010, 08:11 PM
So , per ownership , media and apparently Hines....were going to put more emphasis on the run game this year.

Ok , fine. I agree wholeheartedly with improving our run game , especially in short yardage and goal line situations. No problem there.

There seems to be however this sentiment that running more often , just for the sake of playing "Steeler Football" , is going to increase time of possession and compliment our D better than recent versions of our offense.

I call bullsh*t. It's not just about running more , it's about "when" you run. IE: closing out games with a lead.

2004 T.O.P = 33:59
2005 T.O.P = 31:44

2008 T.O.P = 31:41
2009 T.O.P = 32:51

The difference in possession time between our 2 most recent dominant run years vs. our pass happy offense of 08-09 is negligible. In fact , I'm on record right now as saying TOP has absolutely nothing to do with our struggles last year. Our problem, offensively was not finishing off long time consuming drives with 7 points.

To say that our change in offensive philosophy (leaning to pass) has affected how the O compliments the D , is just stupid. Run , pass.....who cares , put up the points.

As far as the D is concerned , them having a down year had everything to do with THEM and very little to do with the offense. Pressure was inconsistent and coverage was lame without Troy.

Let's everyone put a stop to the whole theory of running more equaling better TOP and thus complimenting our D better. Look at the #'s.

You're right and wrong here in my opinion. I don't think anyone is saying that we need to run the ball more often for the sake of playing it the "Steeler Way". It's the efficiency and dedication to the run which need to improve. This has obvious and sometimes profound effects in complementing the defense.

Like you stated, our short-yardage and goal line running game has stunk it up the past couple of seasons. It's a fallacy of logic to look at overall time of possession because that can be skewed by the aforementioned long drives which result in 3 or no points. Roethlisberger is simply money when it comes to converting third downs and that keeps a lot of drives going.

However, we have struggled in converting third and short on far too many occasions, including late in games, which has put our defense right back on the field. I agree that their failure to get off the field primarily rests with problems inherent to that unit, but the offense could have converted far more third and shorts, regardless of our TOP.

The problem is three-fold the way I see it.
1. BA is a moron. The 3rd and 1 against Cleveland with an empty set is unfortunately more than an aberration. He does it around the goal line all of the time. His lack of committment to punching the opposition in the mouth in those situations is maddening.
2. We're not getting any push from our interior lineman...especially at center. Yeah Hartwig isn't getting blown up like Mahan did, but we are not moving the pile like we need to. This is a talent issue in my opinion as well as a mind-set which BA has failed to instill due to his play-calling.
3. The lack of a power back or fullback. I love Mendenhall's ability to spin and find small seams between the tackles but he seems to lack either the lower body strength, nose for the hole, or necessary pad-level when that 8th man is stacked in the box. A true FB would have been nice but a guy like Jonathan Dwyer could also be the answer.

That's the way I see it and a committment to the running game will certainly help our defense stay fresh on a more consistent basis.

NorthCoast
05-10-2010, 08:22 PM
We've been through the TOP in a past thread. Sorry don't have time to search for it, but it showed game TOP was pretty steady the last few seasons but the key was very poor TOP in the 4th qtr. last year (which was balanced by good 3rd qtr TOP). You have to control the ball late in close games or the risk of losing is that much greater. Not rocket science here.....

feltdizz
05-10-2010, 08:58 PM
50 sacks also helped our TOP...

I have to disagree with our short yardage running game. It was actually decent last year. Mend converted most 3rd and shorts... The problem is we rarely gave him the ball in those situations

The league has changed though... I've seen Dallas, NO, NE and Indy all go shotgun on 3rd and 1 last year. Maybe the rules have the OC's seeing pass pass pass...

Part of the problem is hot reads and blitz pick up. How many times have we seen a DB on the line and no one picks him up or cuts their route short.

Shawn
05-10-2010, 09:33 PM
I honestly think we had three main issues last season...STs is obvious. Redzone issues are also obvious. Less obvious was how poorly our D played in the 4th quarter. I believe this was because they are old...plain and simple these guys are getting up there. As the game wears on their age shows. Infuse more youth in the rotation, keep Troy healthy and watch our D look very good all game.

Flasteel
05-10-2010, 10:52 PM
50 sacks also helped our TOP...

I have to disagree with our short yardage running game. It was actually decent last year. Mend converted most 3rd and shorts... The problem is we rarely gave him the ball in those situations

The league has changed though... I've seen Dallas, NO, NE and Indy all go shotgun on 3rd and 1 last year. Maybe the rules have the OC's seeing pass pass pass...

Part of the problem is hot reads and blitz pick up. How many times have we seen a DB on the line and no one picks him up or cuts their route short.

You're right about Mendenhall not getting touches in these situations but he wasn't exactly effective. He only had 13 3rd down carries all year (not just 3rd and short) for an average of 2.5 yards a pop (this includes 1 carry for 9 yards). He only converted on 7 of these carries. I wasn't able to find the down and distance, but if you take out that 9 yard run (assuming it was indeed a converted 3rd down), he had 12 carries for 22 yards and 6 first downs. That's 1.83 ypc and a 50% conversion rate. I realize there are a lot of gaps in this statistal "evidence", especially since we can't look at the actual 3rd and short carries. Regardless 13 3rd down carries by our primary back is pretty pathetic.

I got sick of looking for the average conversion rates for 3rd and short to compare this to but I did come across this from Football Outsiders:
On third-and-1, a run will convert for a new set of downs 36 percent more often than a pass. Expand that to all third or fourth downs with 1-2 yards to go, and the run is successful 40 percent more often. With these percentages, the possibility of a long gain with a pass is not worth the tradeoff of an incomplete that kills a drive.

Take note BA!

Captain Lemming
05-10-2010, 11:08 PM
Less obvious was how poorly our D played in the 4th quarter.

While I agree, this is also where 4th quarter TOP plays a role.

Cowhers defenses while typically good were not ALWAYS better than last years D.

The often criticized "turtle" was why is was virtually impossible to mount a big comeback on his teams. There were many a game where we went "turtle" and stopped scoring and a double digit lead was cut. People would rip Cowher for not being more aggressive with a lead.

People would say, "we went into the 4th with a double digit lead and we won by only 7, or 3." "They ALMOST lost the game" they would say.
But they almost NEVER did, no matter how the defense was playing, because the other team did not get enough possessions.

Like you said we had many problems with special teams and the aging defense. Our defense was good enough in 07 and 08 to win without a great run game.

But "the turtle" alone would have won two more games last year.

Build a lead with Bens arm yes. But maintain it with power running.

It is THAT kind of balance that is hard to beat.

Steel Life
05-10-2010, 11:14 PM
I think it's about red zone efficiency and converting 3rd downs on offense.

And getting QB pressure and off the field on 3rd downs on defense.

Do those and the wins will follow. Run or pass.
:Agree Pay attention kids...class is in session! That goes for you too Arians!

Steel Life
05-10-2010, 11:16 PM
50 sacks also helped our TOP...

I have to disagree with our short yardage running game. It was actually decent last year. Mend converted most 3rd and shorts... The problem is we rarely gave him the ball in those situations

The league has changed though... I've seen Dallas, NO, NE and Indy all go shotgun on 3rd and 1 last year. Maybe the rules have the OC's seeing pass pass pass...

Part of the problem is hot reads and blitz pick up. How many times have we seen a DB on the line and no one picks him up or cuts their route short.

You're right about Mendenhall not getting touches in these situations but he wasn't exactly effective. He only had 13 3rd down carries all year (not just 3rd and short) for an average of 2.5 yards a pop (this includes 1 carry for 9 yards). He only converted on 7 of these carries. I wasn't able to find the down and distance, but if you take out that 9 yard run (assuming it was indeed a converted 3rd down), he had 12 carries for 22 yards and 6 first downs. That's 1.83 ypc and a 50% conversion rate. I realize there are a lot of gaps in this statistal "evidence", especially since we can't look at the actual 3rd and short carries. Regardless 13 3rd down carries by our primary back is pretty pathetic.

I got sick of looking for the average conversion rates for 3rd and short to compare this to but I did come across this from Football Outsiders:
On third-and-1, a run will convert for a new set of downs 36 percent more often than a pass. Expand that to all third or fourth downs with 1-2 yards to go, and the run is successful 40 percent more often. With these percentages, the possibility of a long gain with a pass is not worth the tradeoff of an incomplete that kills a drive.

Take note BA!
How many of those carries went to our bruising "chain mover" Moore? I was very disappointed with his performance last season & was glad when Mendy started getting more of the load on third down.

Shawn
05-11-2010, 12:05 AM
Mendy has the ability to be our redzone, goaline, 3rd down guy. But, the center of our line has been so poor for so long. Pouncey should be an instant upgrade. Even a very green Pouncey is better than Essex, Urbik or Foster. When we move Pouncey to center and draft his brother for guard watch us move chains. This isn't a Mendy issue.

Northern_Blitz
05-11-2010, 12:28 AM
Less obvious was how poorly our D played in the 4th quarter.

While I agree, this is also where 4th quarter TOP plays a role.

Cowhers defenses while typically good were not ALWAYS better than last years D.

The often criticized "turtle" was why is was virtually impossible to mount a big comeback on his teams. There were many a game where we went "turtle" and stopped scoring and a double digit lead was cut. People would rip Cowher for not being more aggressive with a lead.

People would say, "we went into the 4th with a double digit lead and we won by only 7, or 3." "They ALMOST lost the game" they would say.
But they almost NEVER did, no matter how the defense was playing, because the other team did not get enough possessions.

Like you said we had many problems with special teams and the aging defense. Our defense was good enough in 07 and 08 to win without a great run game.

But "the turtle" alone would have won two more games last year.

Build a lead with Bens arm yes. But maintain it with power running.

It is THAT kind of balance that is hard to beat.

But we have to go "turtle" on defense too. Last year our D was uncharacteristically bad and giving up big plays (especially late in games). People on the board always complain about hte cushion our DBs give, but the purpose is to make the tackles and force opposing Os to drive down the field.

Last year, we didn't do that. We gave up huge gains in the 4th, which lead to the opposing teams scoring points quickly. We need to get back to the fundamentals. Keeping your man in front of you and making the tackle.

SteelCrazy
05-11-2010, 06:40 AM
TOP in the 4th quarter is where we need to improve...Yes, it is that simple. We did not control the clock at the end of games and the other teams were able to score because our D cant hold every time.

Watch and see, if we control the clock in the 4th quarter, we will control the outcome 9 outta 10 times. In the end, whatever you believe, Arians is to blame.

papillon
05-11-2010, 07:42 AM
Statistically the Steelers may have won TOP often, but visually they were horrid in any short yardage situation last year. I found my self hating 3rd and 1, 3rd and 2, 3rd and 3, 4th and 1 or 4th and 2, because, it seemed that the offense simply couldn't pick up short yardage when it needed to. On the other hand, I relished 3rd and 5 or greater that seemed to be an easy conversion.

Winning the TOP{ battle at 32 vs 28 while somewhat better I think most teams would like to be in the 35 minute TOP range to really put the lock down on the game.

Pappy

Oviedo
05-11-2010, 07:54 AM
I honestly think we had three main issues last season...STs is obvious. Redzone issues are also obvious. Less obvious was how poorly our D played in the 4th quarter. I believe this was because they are old...plain and simple these guys are getting up there. As the game wears on their age shows. Infuse more youth in the rotation, keep Troy healthy and watch our D look very good all game.

I would agree. Improved special teams would have gotten us two wins last season. Improving and making adjustments in the 4th Qtr on defense could have also converted 2 losses into the win column.

Our offfense has not been bad in any of the past 3-4 years. The only area I think they were less than average is in the Red Zone.

New Orleans TOP was 31:10 for 11th in the NFL compared to our 32:13.

http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/stats/team ... eContainer (http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/stats/teamsort/NFL/OFF-TOTAL/2009/regular?sort_col_1=15&_1:col_1=15&tag=pageRow;pageContainer)

I'd trade our season for theirs wouldn't you? TOP is a meaningless stat.

Northern_Blitz
05-11-2010, 08:48 AM
Here's a previous thread where we broke down the TOP and the points scored by the O and given up by the D / minute.

http://www.planetsteelers.com/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=10213

Here's the summary

New Numbers with data from Steel Navy:

Points per Quarter
...............1st Qtr...2nd Qtr...3rd Qtr...4th Qtr... OT...Final
Offense......81.........119........61.........83.. ........3.... 347
Defense.....39..........61.........47.........121. ........6.... 274

Qtr-----Steelers TOP-------S PPM------Opponent TOP-------O PPM
------------------------------------------------------------------
1st: ------9:08-------------0.56-----------5:52---------------0.41
2nd: -----7:21-------------1.01----------7:39---------------0.50
3rd: -----7:37-------------0.50------------7:23---------------0.40
4th: -----7:40-------------0.68----------7:20----------------1.03
------------------------------------------------------------------
Average:-------------------0.69-----------------------------0.59

I changed the PPM stats to be actually PPM, not "PPM x 16".

The problem was not TOP in the 4th (we had the ball > half the qtr). The problem is that we gave up huge plays on D and let the oppositon score fast. In fact, opposing teams scored better than twice as fast as they did in qtrs 1 - 3.

Sadly, when we were up by < 7 with 4:00 remaining, I found myself hoping that we'd let them score quick so that Ben would have time for a winning drive.