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SteelCrazy
07-22-2010, 02:03 PM
http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsbu ... 91409.html (http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/steelers/s_691409.html)

For the critics who believe offensive coordinator Bruce Arians needs to call more running plays, that he needs to get back to the type of blue-collar Steelers football that provided the organization so much success over the years, he has a revelation.

"We need to run the ball better," Arians said, "not necessarily more."

That's what Arians took away from meetings with the organization's higher-ups, including team president Art Rooney II and coach Mike Tomlin, after last year's 9-7 team missed the playoffs. The veteran offensive coordinator couldn't agree more with the theory.

So as the Steelers await next week's training camp at St. Vincent College, Arians is dedicated to running the ball better situationally and not necessarily more frequently, even if he will be without quarterback Ben Roethlisberger for at least a quarter of the season.

"It is the quality of the runs more than the quantity that I am worried about," Arians said.

The Steelers ran only 42 percent of the time in 2009, but still had their most successful offensive season in team history with a 4,000-yard passer (Roethlisberger), two 1,000-yard receivers (Hines Ward and Santonio Holmes) and a 1,000-yard rusher (Rashard Mendenhall).

Despite the lack of rushing attempts, the Steelers' 112 yards per game were nearly seven more than they accumulated during their 2008 Super Bowl season.

Short-circuit
The Steelers were one of the worst short-yardage running teams in the NFL last year. Here is how the 2009 runners fared on attempts third-and-3 yards or less:
Player Attempts-Conversion %
Rashard Mendenhall 6 of 12 50
Mewelde Moore 3 of 5 60
Willie Parker 1 of 3 33
Ben Roethlisberger 3 of 3 100
Dennis Dixon 2 of 2 100
Total 15 of 25 60

Where the Steelers noticeably lacked with their running game was in short-yardage situations; they ranked 25th in the league in converting third-and-shorts, categorized as 3 yards or fewer.

The Steelers converted only 60 percent of their third-and-short rushing attempts (15 of 25). Miami led the NFL at 82 percent.

"We need to do it better especially in those situations," Arians said. "We can't put our defense back on the field after leaving a third-and-two out there. You have to make that first down. The ability to take it at the end of games and continue to make first downs hasn't been there for a while. That forces us to do other things."

That only other thing is to throw the ball, and Arians isn't shy about having his quarterback do that.

In six seasons as an NFL offensive coordinator -- three with Cleveland and three with the Steelers -- Arians has called more running plays than passing plays once.

In short-yardage situations last season, Arians called three more passing plays (28) than runs, and he did not call a single run play on a third-and-3 situation the entire season.

"We are going to play football," Arians said. "It is all about scoring points. If you have a lead in the fourth quarter, you are going to run the ball a whole lot more than you are going to throw it. We would love at the end of the season be straight up 50-50."

Roethlisberger, who converted 16 of 28 third-down passes into first downs in short-yardage situations last year, agrees that the Steelers need to run the ball better, even if it means a dip in his statistics.

"We have capable guys," he said in a TV interview in June. "You have to be able to run the ball effectively, and I think that was the key that Bruce and Mr. Rooney and Coach Tomlin tried to get across this offseason and at the end of the year."

The Steelers believe balance will be the key to their success without Roethlisberger in the lineup early in the 2010 season.

"If we need to run to win or pass to win, we will be able to do that," said Mendenhall, who rushed for 1,108 yards and seven touchdowns in only 12 starts last year. "We are confident in our offense that we will be able to do whatever we need to do to win."

The organization and coaches believe the fix to their flawed running game is to tackle the team's short-yardage woes.

The numbers show the Steelers were almost average in that category. One more conversion would've moved them to 15th in the NFL. However, those numbers are skewed because the Steelers were 5 for 5 on quarterback sneaks. Remove those attempts, and the running game's success rate dips to 50 percent.

Mendenhall's success rate on third-and-short was 50 percent. By comparison, Indianapolis' Joseph Addai converted nearly 80 percent of his attempts.

"You have to look at the guys you have back there," Arians said. "Some guys have to learn that they aren't running for a touchdown. We need a yard. Rashard did a good job on goal line, but not as good a job on short yardage. That will again be an emphasis in training camp."

Tomlin welcomes competition for the short-yardage job, and candidates include Mendenhall, last year's training camp star, Isaac Redman, and Georgia Tech rookie sixth-round pick Jonathan Dwyer.

"We are looking for people to distinguish themselves in situational football," Tomlin said. "It is interesting; we've got some young guys in the backfield who might have a degree of pedigree that is geared toward those things."

Mendenhall, 23, figures to be the workhorse in the backfield with the departure of Willie Parker to the Washington Redskins. He wants to be the featured back, playing on third downs and, of course, short-yardage situations.

"Every day I work to try to put myself in a position to be able to carry out whatever they ask me to do," Mendenhall said. "That is what I am preparing myself for. I feel a lot more comfortable out there. I have gone through it all before, so I know what to expect."

hawaiiansteel
07-22-2010, 03:11 PM
it's not easy converting short-yardage running plays from the 5-wide empty backfield formation... :stirpot

Iron Shiek
07-22-2010, 05:40 PM
Well...our qbs were 100% on short yardage conversions. I don't see the problem here...but really the solution.

Ha. :?

DukieBoy
07-22-2010, 07:30 PM
it's not easy converting short-yardage running plays from the 5-wide empty backfield formation... :stirpot
And, of course, with NO fullback lead blocking.

Crash
07-22-2010, 07:40 PM
Too much Matt Speath and the jumbo package. It's a waste in red zone because we hardly throw from it, they know whats coming based on the formation.

Jooser
07-22-2010, 08:45 PM
Too much Matt Speath and the jumbo package. It's a waste in red zone because we hardly throw from it, they know whats coming based on the formation.

:Agree Yep, and no one could ever argue that Matt's a great blocking TE anyways, why not fake the run and toss one his way? :idea:

frankthetank1
07-23-2010, 08:24 AM
Too much Matt Speath and the jumbo package. It's a waste in red zone because we hardly throw from it, they know whats coming based on the formation.

:Agree Yep, and no one could ever argue that Matt's a great blocking TE anyways, why not fake the run and toss one his way? :idea:

this is one of the reasons why arians isnt a great OC. i think he gets some unfair blame at times, but the jumbo package in short yardage as well as not using a fullback is just awful. everyone knows we are going to run the ball in the jumbo package. the Oline isnt good enough yet to "impose there will" when the other team knows whats coming. i think arians generally calls an ok game. if he mixed it up in short yardage and we actually had a FB it would help him out a lot. im sure he will make zero changes though because he doesnt seem to adjust his game plan ever.

Shawn
07-23-2010, 03:34 PM
I'm not an Arians hater even though I'm not a huge fan either. The main reason I'm not a huge fan of Arians is because I love Steeler blue collar ball. I'm not saying I don't like a healthy robust passing game but I love to be able to impose the teams will on another with the running game. But, how much of this is Arians fault? I'm honestly not sure.

I do think it's odd he gets as much heat as he does when you have a 4000 yard passer, 1000 yard RB and 2 1000 yard WRs. How much of our loses surrounded our D and a shotty OL? I don't see Arians having much to do with that.

cruzer8
07-23-2010, 04:46 PM
I'm not an Arians hater even though I'm not a huge fan either. The main reason I'm not a huge fan of Arians is because I love Steeler blue collar ball. I'm not saying I don't like a healthy robust passing game but I love to be able to impose the teams will on another with the running game. But, how much of this is Arians fault? I'm honestly not sure.

I do think it's odd he gets as much heat as he does when you have a 4000 yard passer, 1000 yard RB and 2 1000 yard WRs. How much of our loses surrounded our D and a shotty OL? I don't see Arians having much to do with that.

The NFL is a passing league now. The NFL evolves. We have to evolve as well.

Shawn
07-23-2010, 06:40 PM
I'm not an Arians hater even though I'm not a huge fan either. The main reason I'm not a huge fan of Arians is because I love Steeler blue collar ball. I'm not saying I don't like a healthy robust passing game but I love to be able to impose the teams will on another with the running game. But, how much of this is Arians fault? I'm honestly not sure.

I do think it's odd he gets as much heat as he does when you have a 4000 yard passer, 1000 yard RB and 2 1000 yard WRs. How much of our loses surrounded our D and a shotty OL? I don't see Arians having much to do with that.

The NFL is a passing league now. The NFL evolves. We have to evolve as well.

Your point with concerns to my post? Did I say we should pass less? No. What I do miss is our ability to impose our will on someone with the running game when it matters. It cost us more than one game last season.

Jooser
07-23-2010, 07:42 PM
Well I guess for me it's about Quality AND Quantity, in that I'd like to see more quality run plays. :wink:

costanza2k1
07-23-2010, 09:13 PM
I'm not an Arians hater even though I'm not a huge fan either. The main reason I'm not a huge fan of Arians is because I love Steeler blue collar ball. I'm not saying I don't like a healthy robust passing game but I love to be able to impose the teams will on another with the running game. But, how much of this is Arians fault? I'm honestly not sure.

I do think it's odd he gets as much heat as he does when you have a 4000 yard passer, 1000 yard RB and 2 1000 yard WRs. How much of our loses surrounded our D and a shotty OL? I don't see Arians having much to do with that.

The NFL is a passing league now. The NFL evolves. We have to evolve as well.

We evolved in the 70s, the answer isn't to run the ball like mad or just pass it like mad it's to be able to do both effectively even when the other team knows what you're going to do. That's the Steeler way...do what you want when you want...oh and the Steeler way is also to win SBs. :)

BradshawsHairdresser
07-24-2010, 01:11 AM
I have no problem with being a team that passes more than runs, but you've got to be able to pick up short yardage running when you need to, and you've got to be able to manufacture touchdowns in the red zone. With all our gaudy offensive stats, there were way too many drives that ended up with scores of "0" or "3".

feltdizz
07-24-2010, 12:57 PM
We lost Hartings and Faneca in the last few years and replaced them with average talent. Then some of those guys got injured. We fired our OL coach and finally drafted a lineman in the first round.

Hopefully we will see more quality (and quantity on 3rd and 3).

RuthlessBurgher
07-24-2010, 01:00 PM
I have no problem with being a team that passes more than runs, but you've got to be able to pick up short yardage running when you need to, and you've got to be able to manufacture touchdowns in the red zone. With all our gaudy offensive stats, there were way too many drives that ended up with scores of "0" or "3".

That's pretty much what Rooney said, but people tend to interpret it incorrectly. People heard his sound bites and took from it that he wants us to run more, but he never said that. He said that he want us to be able to run consistently. Like you said, pick up short yardage when we need to, be able to manufacture touchdowns in the red zone, etc. Yards don't go up on the scoreboard...points do.