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Flasteel
08-15-2010, 11:21 AM
I have admittedly been one of the biggest bashers of BA over the years. His failure to adjust to pressure, rely on the pass, and general lack of creativity or sense of timing are at the root of my problems with him. What I saw in one preseason game isn't going to necessarily soften my stance, but I witnessed some things last night that I didn't think BA was capable of.

1. The committment to the run. On several 3rd and shorts, we lined it up and powered our way for the 1st down. We had 16 running plays in the first half to 11 passes. We scored a TD from the one yard line as well. I realize that you may rely on your QB a little more, when his name is Roethlisberger, but Lefty and Dixon also need their reps/looks throwing the ball.

2. The RB screen. One of the most madening aspects of BA's failure to adjust to pressure was the complete absence of the screen play. I think a lot of folks could somewhat rightfully put that at the feet of Willie Parker, and I did see more of it last year with Mendenhall. However, I haven't seen it used consistently and strategically in a game, for quite some time.

3. The creative and balanced play calling. We had a nicely-timed end-around, a good commitment to the run, a couple of designed bootlegs/rollouts by Dixon (not sure if they were audibled or even improvised though). Arians attacked the defense horizontally and vertically with a nice balance as well. I get that it was primarily executed against a second team defense, but once Dixon got in there, BA really helped him out with the play-calling.

I'll hold off on singing BA's praises for now, but I was really encouraged by some of the things I saw last night. Let's see if he can keep it going.

Djfan
08-15-2010, 11:22 AM
He's learning that Rooney is watching him.

Captain Lemming
08-15-2010, 11:31 AM
I have admittedly been one of the biggest bashers of BA over the years. His failure to adjust to pressure, rely on the pass, and general lack of creativity or sense of timing are at the root of my problems with him. What I saw in one preseason game isn't going to necessarily soften my stance, but I witnessed some things last night that I didn't think BA was capable of.

1. The committment to the run. On several 3rd and shorts, we lined it up and powered our way for the 1st down. We had 16 running plays in the first half to 11 passes. We scored a TD from the one yard line as well. I realize that you may rely on your QB a little more, when his name is Roethlisberger, but Lefty and Dixon also need their reps/looks throwing the ball.

2. The RB screen. One of the most madening aspects of BA's failure to adjust to pressure was the complete absence of the screen play. I think a lot of folks could somewhat rightfully put that at the feet of Willie Parker, and I did see more of it last year with Mendenhall. However, I haven't seen it used consistently and strategically in a game, for quite some time.

3. The creative and balanced play calling. We had a nicely-timed end-around, a good commitment to the run, a couple of designed bootlegs/rollouts by Dixon (not sure if they were audibled or even improvised though). Arians attacked the defense horizontally and vertically with a nice balance as well. I get that it was primarily executed against a second team defense, but once Dixon got in there, BA really helped him out with the play-calling.

I'll hold off on singing BA's praises for now, but I was really encouraged by some of the things I saw last night. Let's see if he can keep it going.

I dont put much stock in play calling in the preseason. They are looking at people as much as they are trying to win. For example the goal line run. They know it is a problem, they need to see if Redman can be the guy. EVEN IF HE IS INCLINED to pass, strategically, he needs to know if Redman MAKES THE TEAM.

I think Redman just made a great case for himself.

I think Dwyer is in trouble.

steeler_fan_in_t.o.
08-15-2010, 12:11 PM
Let me plat Devil's advocate for a second here. I've never been much of either a basher or supporter for Arians but here is my take..........

Remember during Lebeau's induction speech he kept saying things like "I had Lloyd and Greene at OLB, they made me much smarter" and "I had Woodson and Lake playing together, they made me real smart too"?

Why is that? Because when you have the right guys on the field then you can do almost anything you want with them and look good. When you have a RB who cannot catch a screen pass then all you can do is cross that off of your list of potential plays. If you have an OL that can keep the QB clean then you can run any play you want, but if they can't then you are severely limited.

And when you have Ben on the field and keep running the ball then you are taking it away from his ability to make plays. Especially when you are handing it to a guy who averages 2.8 YPC behind an OL that is not opening holes.....and still win a couple of Lombardis.

Now I'm not saying that he is making the right decisions out there, and I do agree that he sometimes gets caught up in patterns - which many coaches do - but give any OC a solid line and great weapons and he becomes a whole lot smarter.

Captain Lemming
08-15-2010, 12:23 PM
Let me plat Devil's advocate for a second here. I've never been much of either a basher or supporter for Arians but here is my take..........

Remember during Lebeau's induction speech he kept saying things like "I had Lloyd and Greene at OLB, they made me much smarter" and "I had Woodson and Lake playing together, they made me real smart too"?

Why is that? Because when you have the right guys on the field then you can do almost anything you want with them and look good. When you have a RB who cannot catch a screen pass then all you can do is cross that off of your list of potential plays. If you have an OL that can keep the QB clean then you can run any play you want, but if they can't then you are severely limited.

And when you have Ben on the field and keep running the ball then you are taking it away from his ability to make plays. Especially when you are handing it to a guy who averages 2.8 YPC behind an OL that is not opening holes.....and still win a couple of Lombardis.

Now I'm not saying that he is making the right decisions out there, and I do agree that he sometimes gets caught up in patterns - which many coaches do - but give any OC a solid line and great weapons and he becomes a whole lot smarter.

Nice

Chucktownsteeler
08-15-2010, 12:39 PM
I have no, nor will I ever have any faith in Bruce "The Genius" Arians.

The sooner he is gone the happier I will be.

Chucktownsteeler

:2c

Official BA :Hater

Flasteel
08-15-2010, 01:24 PM
[quote="steeler_fan_in_t.o.":5djei22b]Let me plat Devil's advocate for a second here. I've never been much of either a basher or supporter for Arians but here is my take..........

Remember during Lebeau's induction speech he kept saying things like "I had Lloyd and Greene at OLB, they made me much smarter" and "I had Woodson and Lake playing together, they made me real smart too"?

Why is that? Because when you have the right guys on the field then you can do almost anything you want with them and look good. When you have a RB who cannot catch a screen pass then all you can do is cross that off of your list of potential plays. If you have an OL that can keep the QB clean then you can run any play you want, but if they can't then you are severely limited.

And when you have Ben on the field and keep running the ball then you are taking it away from his ability to make plays. Especially when you are handing it to a guy who averages 2.8 YPC behind an OL that is not opening holes.....and still win a couple of Lombardis.

Now I'm not saying that he is making the right decisions out there, and I do agree that he sometimes gets caught up in patterns - which many coaches do - but give any OC a solid line and great weapons and he becomes a whole lot smarter.

Nice[/quote:5djei22b]
You canít deny that great players are going to make any coach look better, but you guys are missing the point. In my opinion, Arians has been guilty of not adapting his play-calling to his talent and trying to fit everything into his narrow box. He consistently fails to take advantage of mismatches and doesnít stray from his tendencies. I saw evidence of him moving away from those problem areas last night, en masse.

You can have all of the great players or dominance up front you want and still fail to match them up correctly. Talent wins games, but poor coaching can cost you just as many.

steeler_fan_in_t.o.
08-15-2010, 01:38 PM
but you guys are missing the point. In my opinion, Arians has been guilty of not adapting his play-calling to his talent and trying to fit everything into his narrow box.

I get the point, but my point is that he might not always have those options at his disposal. For example, let us say that the opponent pass rush is killing us. In years past BA could scratch his head and say "OK, let's run a couple of screen passes, that'll slow them down." Only problem is that it would mean that we yank our starting RB out of the game (until last year) because Moore could run the screen and Parker could not. That telegraphs our strategy to the D.

So instead we run a couple of draw plays to slow them down but still keep FWP in the game. Only problem is that the same line that can't protect the QB also cannot keep the D out of the backfield on the draw. So instead of no gain on a running play we lose 4 yards.

Once again, I'm not trying to say that BA is a genius who is being hidden behind a poor team. I also agree that he doesn't always adjust as quickly as those of us watching on TV do. But I am saying that it all comes down to execution and I think that he is sometimes handcuffed by the ability of some of his players to execute. Specifically, the OL and previous one dimensional RBs.

BURGH86STEEL
08-15-2010, 01:47 PM
Let me plat Devil's advocate for a second here. I've never been much of either a basher or supporter for Arians but here is my take..........

Remember during Lebeau's induction speech he kept saying things like "I had Lloyd and Greene at OLB, they made me much smarter" and "I had Woodson and Lake playing together, they made me real smart too"?

Why is that? Because when you have the right guys on the field then you can do almost anything you want with them and look good. When you have a RB who cannot catch a screen pass then all you can do is cross that off of your list of potential plays. If you have an OL that can keep the QB clean then you can run any play you want, but if they can't then you are severely limited.

And when you have Ben on the field and keep running the ball then you are taking it away from his ability to make plays. Especially when you are handing it to a guy who averages 2.8 YPC behind an OL that is not opening holes.....and still win a couple of Lombardis.

Now I'm not saying that he is making the right decisions out there, and I do agree that he sometimes gets caught up in patterns - which many coaches do - but give any OC a solid line and great weapons and he becomes a whole lot smarter.

This is a point I made over and over again. There is a place for coaching but overall, sports boil down to the players and how well they perform/execute.

Let's be honest, Lebeau's had better overall talent on defense then BA's had on offense.

BURGH86STEEL
08-15-2010, 02:14 PM
[quote="steeler_fan_in_t.o.":24hwki08]Let me plat Devil's advocate for a second here. I've never been much of either a basher or supporter for Arians but here is my take..........

Remember during Lebeau's induction speech he kept saying things like "I had Lloyd and Greene at OLB, they made me much smarter" and "I had Woodson and Lake playing together, they made me real smart too"?

Why is that? Because when you have the right guys on the field then you can do almost anything you want with them and look good. When you have a RB who cannot catch a screen pass then all you can do is cross that off of your list of potential plays. If you have an OL that can keep the QB clean then you can run any play you want, but if they can't then you are severely limited.

And when you have Ben on the field and keep running the ball then you are taking it away from his ability to make plays. Especially when you are handing it to a guy who averages 2.8 YPC behind an OL that is not opening holes.....and still win a couple of Lombardis.

Now I'm not saying that he is making the right decisions out there, and I do agree that he sometimes gets caught up in patterns - which many coaches do - but give any OC a solid line and great weapons and he becomes a whole lot smarter.

Nice
You canít deny that great players are going to make any coach look better, but you guys are missing the point. In my opinion, Arians has been guilty of not adapting his play-calling to his talent and trying to fit everything into his narrow box. He consistently fails to take advantage of mismatches and doesnít stray from his tendencies. I saw evidence of him moving away from those problem areas last night, en masse.

You can have all of the great players or dominance up front you want and still fail to match them up correctly. Talent wins games, but poor coaching can cost you just as many.[/quote:24hwki08]

I can point out times when the offense took advantage of mismatches. I've seen the offense take advantage of the players they have. The goal is to improve on the areas they had trouble with last season, i.e. red zone and short yardage.

It would take research over opinion to make a determination about tendencies. I believe all teams have tendencies. Those tendencies are based mostly on the players the coach has. Could not having Ben in the line up be the reason you feel he moved away from his tendencies?

I don't believe coaching can costs teams as many games. I believe the game is mostly about the players.

In any event, I don't like to get caught up in pre-season games. It's not an accurate portrait of things to come for the season.

Flasteel
08-15-2010, 02:38 PM
but you guys are missing the point. In my opinion, Arians has been guilty of not adapting his play-calling to his talent and trying to fit everything into his narrow box.

I get the point, but my point is that he might not always have those options at his disposal. For example, let us say that the opponent pass rush is killing us. In years past BA could scratch his head and say "OK, let's run a couple of screen passes, that'll slow them down." Only problem is that it would mean that we yank our starting RB out of the game (until last year) because Moore could run the screen and Parker could not. That telegraphs our strategy to the D.

So instead we run a couple of draw plays to slow them down but still keep FWP in the game. Only problem is that the same line that can't protect the QB also cannot keep the D out of the backfield on the draw. So instead of no gain on a running play we lose 4 yards.

Once again, I'm not trying to say that BA is a genius who is being hidden behind a poor team. I also agree that he doesn't always adjust as quickly as those of us watching on TV do. But I am saying that it all comes down to execution and I think that he is sometimes handcuffed by the ability of some of his players to execute. Specifically, the OL and previous one dimensional RBs.


So in one breath, BA is handicapped by the presence of a guy like Willie Parker, but in the same argument, he would be forced to remove his starting back in favor of a guy who excels at screens (Moore). HmmmÖ

This is exactly my point. Granted, you canít run too many specific packages for certain personnel, but when you have guys on the roster who can contribute; then you get them on the field and create the match-up edge. You reach deep into the playbook or design plays to diversify your attack, but keep it largely in the hands of your best players.

Yes, it limits your options when say for instance, the offensive line is doing its best Swiss cheese imitation. Thatís when you counter by going to 3-step drops, rolling the pocket, go no-huddle, mixing in some draws, and of course break out the RB SCREEN. BA has continually hesitated to incorporate many of these counter measures, and when he does, they look like theyíve never been practiced and/or they are ill-timed.
.
I was fully expecting Burghsteel to weigh in with his opinion, and it should serve as the model for all of you guys who just don't seem to get the impact coaching has. Donít make the mistake of twisting my words to minimize the role of talent either. You canít win without it, and it is largely on the shoulders of special talent that teams win championships. Coaching however, can stand in the way, or it can maximize the talent you have.

Captain Lemming
08-15-2010, 03:18 PM
you guys are missing the point. In my opinion, Arians has been guilty of not adapting his play-calling to his talent and trying to fit everything into his narrow box.

I think you miss the point. The nature of our talent is THE REASON you do see the plays you want to see. Arians has not changed.


1. The committment to the run. On several 3rd and shorts, we lined it up and powered our way for the 1st down. We had 16 running plays in the first half to 11 passes.

As I said, they were looking at "people" also looking to be BETTER at short yardage runs. He does not intend to run the ball "more". Quote from 3 weeks ago:

"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 one area where I share your criticism is his lack of commitment to the run. But what we saw last night is no proof of said "commitment". Based on the comments above, they want to be better WHEN they run. They ran a bunch to see if they were getting better at it.


2. The RB screen. One of the most madening aspects of BA's failure to adjust to pressure was the complete absence of the screen play. I think a lot of folks could somewhat rightfully put that at the feet of Willie Parker, and I did see more of it last year with Mendenhall.

You answer your own point with the same point others have said. With better receiving backs he is naturally calling more screens.


3. The creative and balanced play calling. We had a nicely-timed end-around, a good commitment to the run, a couple of designed bootlegs/rollouts by Dixon (not sure if they were audibled or even improvised though). Arians attacked the defense horizontally and vertically with a nice balance as well. I get that it was primarily executed against a second team defense, but once Dixon got in there, BA really helped him out with the play-calling.

Perhaps he is calling these wonderfully creative plays BECAUSE of Dixons talents? That is the point, what you are seeing as some philosophical change is merely a result of different players. And before you mention last year, we weren't anticipating Dixon actually starting so plays were not implemented that were tailored to him. Even when Dixon had to start, Dixon had to run the offense like Ben, with so little warning.

Sugar
08-15-2010, 03:55 PM
I don't want the Steelers to run the ball more than last year. I just want them to be able to make those 3rd/short and goal line runs that weren't successful. That equals a more effective running attack.

With guys like Hines, Wallace, Heath and the emergence of Sanders and Brown we'll need to spread the ball around quite a bit and Bruce seems like just the guy to see to it.

Flasteel
08-15-2010, 04:35 PM
[quote=Flasteel]you guys are missing the point. In my opinion, Arians has been guilty of not adapting his play-calling to his talent and trying to fit everything into his narrow box.

I think you miss the point. The nature of our talent is THE REASON you do see the plays you want to see. Arians has not changed.


1. The committment to the run. On several 3rd and shorts, we lined it up and powered our way for the 1st down. We had 16 running plays in the first half to 11 passes.

As I said, they were looking at "people" also looking to be BETTER at short yardage runs. He does not intend to run the ball "more". Quote from 3 weeks ago:

"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 one area where I share your criticism is his lack of commitment to the run. But what we saw last night is no proof of said "commitment". Based on the comments above, they want to be better WHEN they run. They ran a bunch to see if they were getting better at it.


2. The RB screen. One of the most madening aspects of BA's failure to adjust to pressure was the complete absence of the screen play. I think a lot of folks could somewhat rightfully put that at the feet of Willie Parker, and I did see more of it last year with Mendenhall.

You answer your own point with the same point others have said. With better receiving backs he is naturally calling more screens.


3. The creative and balanced play calling. We had a nicely-timed end-around, a good commitment to the run, a couple of designed bootlegs/rollouts by Dixon (not sure if they were audibled or even improvised though). Arians attacked the defense horizontally and vertically with a nice balance as well. I get that it was primarily executed against a second team defense, but once Dixon got in there, BA really helped him out with the play-calling.

Perhaps he is calling these wonderfully creative plays BECAUSE of Dixons talents? That is the point, what you are seeing as some philosophical change is merely a result of different players. And before you mention last year, we weren't anticipating Dixon actually starting so plays were not implemented that were tailored to him. Even when Dixon had to start, Dixon had to run the offense like Ben, with so little warning.[/quote:3cxi5lu4]


If you think that that he mixed in some screens due to the presence of Redman, Summers, or Dwyer, then Iíll just let that statement rest on its own.

Itís just one preseason game and Iím not trying to imply that there is necessarily any philosophical shift taking place. Iím merely stating that I liked some things I saw last night, that I rarely see out of Arians. It definitely had something to do with who was in the game (which is one of my points) and something to do with the timing of his play-calling, the rhythm he was generating, the diversity of plays, and the points of attack he continually hit.

Maybe those concepts are foreign to you guys, or you just donít feel the OC plays that big of a role. Whatever. The last thing I want to do is sit here and defend my positive remarks about BA.

BURGH86STEEL
08-15-2010, 04:40 PM
but you guys are missing the point. In my opinion, Arians has been guilty of not adapting his play-calling to his talent and trying to fit everything into his narrow box.

I get the point, but my point is that he might not always have those options at his disposal. For example, let us say that the opponent pass rush is killing us. In years past BA could scratch his head and say "OK, let's run a couple of screen passes, that'll slow them down." Only problem is that it would mean that we yank our starting RB out of the game (until last year) because Moore could run the screen and Parker could not. That telegraphs our strategy to the D.

So instead we run a couple of draw plays to slow them down but still keep FWP in the game. Only problem is that the same line that can't protect the QB also cannot keep the D out of the backfield on the draw. So instead of no gain on a running play we lose 4 yards.

Once again, I'm not trying to say that BA is a genius who is being hidden behind a poor team. I also agree that he doesn't always adjust as quickly as those of us watching on TV do. But I am saying that it all comes down to execution and I think that he is sometimes handcuffed by the ability of some of his players to execute. Specifically, the OL and previous one dimensional RBs.


So in one breath, BA is handicapped by the presence of a guy like Willie Parker, but in the same argument, he would be forced to remove his starting back in favor of a guy who excels at screens (Moore). HmmmÖ

This is exactly my point. Granted, you canít run too many specific packages for certain personnel, but when you have guys on the roster who can contribute; then you get them on the field and create the match-up edge. You reach deep into the playbook or design plays to diversify your attack, but keep it largely in the hands of your best players.

Yes, it limits your options when say for instance, the offensive line is doing its best Swiss cheese imitation. Thatís when you counter by going to 3-step drops, rolling the pocket, go no-huddle, mixing in some draws, and of course break out the RB SCREEN. BA has continually hesitated to incorporate many of these counter measures, and when he does, they look like theyíve never been practiced and/or they are ill-timed.
.
I was fully expecting Burghsteel to weigh in with his opinion, and it should serve as the model for all of you guys who just don't seem to get the impact coaching has. Donít make the mistake of twisting my words to minimize the role of talent either. You canít win without it, and it is largely on the shoulders of special talent that teams win championships. Coaching however, can stand in the way, or it can maximize the talent you have.

I stated there is a place for coaching. I am trying to think of a team where coaching stood in the way of an ultra talented team? It is very difficult to come up with the answer. I believe that talent is the biggest reason teams win. So, I choose to look at the players first.

We can question some of the talent the Steelers had on offense since BA became OC.
Ben is the one player that can make the offense great. I don't know if he will become that player. He is entering the prime of his career, so time will tell.

I don't believe there are any OC's in the league that will come in and make the Steelers offense a world beating unit. That's because of the talent that they have on offense. Yes, that talent can be questioned.

feltdizz
08-15-2010, 07:30 PM
Parker was not the reason we stopped running screens. Parker had a nice amount of receptions in 2006 if I recall. The reason we stopped running screens is because our OL went from Faneca and Hartings to Mahan, Kemo and Hartwig.

Arians said in 2008 that our OL talent couldn't sell the screen and I have to agree. The screens were obvious and weren't working. We tried but we stunk at it. Willie could catch screen passes but once we lost our top talent on the OL it made no sense to try to run a play the backups couldn't execute.

I think BA ran more last night because we wanted to see if our OL has improved and if Redman was ready to step up. I still expect BA to pass just as much when Ben returns. I just. Hope our runnig game improves.

BA gets way too much blame IMO. I noticed how Lebeau was spared last year and BA was blamed for the D's failures. BA does a pretty good job IMO given our OL injuries and inferior replacements for Faneca and Hartings. We don't have Bettis so those expecting us to run at will are delusional. With Ben, why would an OC pound the rock anyways? If we did pound it everyone would scream for more passing.

I truly believe it's easier to blame BA than it is to blame the players for not executing.