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fordfixer
12-14-2010, 03:32 AM
Steelers stalled by lack of rush
By John Harris, PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsbu ... 13614.html (http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/s_713614.html)

Run the football.

Louder this time, with feeling:

RUN THE FOOTBALL!

That's Hines Ward, Mr. Future Pro Football Hall of Famer talking.

That's Mike Wallace, Mr. Faster Than The Speed of Light talking.

That's the Steelers' top two receivers, who would rather catch passes than eat, discussing the best way to attack the steady diet of Cover-2 defenses that has brought the offense to a standstill.

For those doing the algebra at home, the offense has scored two touchdowns over the last 13 quarters.

The Steelers are 3-0 during that span.

Any other team -- any other defense -- and the Steelers wouldn't be 10-3, atop the AFC North and playoff-bound.

That's a credit to the defense, which picked up the slack when quarterback Ben Roethlisberger missed the first four games because of a suspension and contributed heavily to a 3-1 start.

"When teams play Cover-2, you should be able to run the ball because they only have seven guys in the box," Ward said.

"Teams that play a lot of Cover-2, we should have a good day in the running game. That's how it's supposed to go."

The Steelers rushed for 123 yards on 27 carries in Sunday's 23-7 win over Cincinnati, an impressive 4.6 yards a carry.

However, the Steelers, as has been their custom, passed more than they ran. Roethlisberger was 21 of 33 for 258 yards and an 87.7 passer rating.

Ward had a game-high eight receptions for 115 yards. Wallace had five receptions for 78 yards. They were targeted 19 times, the two of them accounting for more than half of Roethlisberger's pass attempts.

Rashard Mendenhall, the No. 1 option in the run game, had 18 rushes for 66 yards. You do the math.

"It's been like that the last two or three weeks," Wallace said of facing the Cover-2, a zone defense that's designed to prevent the long pass. "They don't want us to take it over the top. We don't have a problem with that. We'll pound it if we have to."

It goes without saying: The Steelers don't want to pound it. They want to pass it.

Offensive coordinator Bruce Arians is a Roethlisberger guy. It's his offense. His quarterback. His call.

Roethlisberger has a $102 million contract and two Super Bowl titles on his resume. Again, do the math.

Against the Cover-2, running the ball is the best strategy. But the offense is giving up on the run too soon.

"Teams that sit back and play Cover-2 and stop the run, it makes for a long day, offensively," Ward said.

That's Ward talking. That's Wallace talking.

"We see Cover-2 all day," Ward said. "Are they doing it more or any less? I can't tell you. But they're doing it. It's just a matter of picking and choosing the right time (to pass or run)."

The offense's struggles are magnified in the red zone, where the Steelers went 0 for 3 against Cincinnati. That's fine in the regular season against a 2-11 Bengals team, but that lack of production will get a team bounced from the playoffs.

On first-and-goal at the Cincinnati 5 with 34 seconds left in the second quarter, Roethlisberger spiked the ball. Two incompletions later, Shaun Suisham's 23-yard field goal gave the Steelers a 10-7 lead.

"We make good plays all the way down the field. Then, when the field gets condensed and we get to the red zone, we're not scoring points." Wallace said.

The Steelers are going to have to find some answers against the Cover-2, because that's what they'll face in the postseason.

The AFC playoffs will pass through New England. No defense can stop Tom Brady, not even the Steelers'. That means the offense -- Cover-2 and all -- will have to pick up the pace or go home.

There are holes in the middle against the Cover-2. Roethlisberger found some against Cincinnati. Ward made a great 29-yard catch down the middle while falling on his back. Antwaan Randle El made a spectacular one-handed leaping stab for 22 yards. Wallace hit a seam and stretched the secondary for a 33-yard catch.

"When we tried to take our shots, they were in Cover-2, so it negated some of the big plays," Ward said. "When they went single-high, they brought a lot of pressure. El made a play, I made a play, Mike made a play."

If the Steelers make more plays in the running game, it will open up the passing game. That's Basic Offensive Football 101.

"When it comes to crunch time, we have to start putting up touchdowns," Ward said. "Field goals won't win it."

That's Ward talking. That's Wallace talking.

Run the football.

Oviedo
12-14-2010, 09:04 AM
Pretty much says it all. You beat a Cover-2 by throwing underneath and trusting your WRs to get yards after the catch. Yes that is "dinking and dunking." Lots of throws to RBs and TEs are going to have to start happening.

SanAntonioSteelerFan
12-14-2010, 09:14 AM
Steelers stalled by lack of rush
By John Harris, PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsbu ... 13614.html (http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/s_713614.html)

...

The AFC playoffs will pass through New England. No defense can stop Tom Brady, not even the Steelers'. ....

Run the football.

Disagree with that statement. I think if we hurry Brady, make him uncomfortable in the pocket, we can and will win.

feltdizz
12-14-2010, 09:44 AM
Pretty much says it all. You beat a Cover-2 by throwing underneath and trusting your WRs to get yards after the catch. Yes that is "dinking and dunking." Lots of throws to RBs and TEs are going to have to start happening.

and running the ball... not dancing, running after one cut.

I want more Redman!!!

Mister Pittsburgh
12-14-2010, 09:46 AM
Pretty much says it all. You beat a Cover-2 by throwing underneath and trusting your WRs to get yards after the catch. Yes that is "dinking and dunking." Lots of throws to RBs and TEs are going to have to start happening.

Precisely. You don't need to run to beat the cover 2. You gotta throw quickly though. Its Arians job to design the quick hitters, Bens job to throw the freaking ball quickly when guys are open instead of holding onto it waiting for the big play, and Tomlins job to make sure his QB is doing just that.

Some day people will realize you can open up the run, by passing. That is today's NFL. We don't have a pro bowl line and we don't have a power runner. We have a **** line and a finesse RB. He can run hard, he just chooses to dance instead.

JAR
12-14-2010, 09:47 AM
Mendy has 1,073 yards and is on pace to have the 5th best rushing yard season....

Oviedo
12-14-2010, 09:52 AM
Pretty much says it all. You beat a Cover-2 by throwing underneath and trusting your WRs to get yards after the catch. Yes that is "dinking and dunking." Lots of throws to RBs and TEs are going to have to start happening.

Precisely. You don't need to run to beat the cover 2. You gotta throw quickly though. Its Arians job to design the quick hitters, Bens job to throw the freaking ball quickly when guys are open instead of holding onto it waiting for the big play, and Tomlins job to make sure his QB is doing just that.

Some day people will realize you can open up the run, by passing. That is today's NFL. We don't have a pro bowl line and we don't have a power runner. We have a bad word line and a finesse RB. He can run hard, he just chooses to dance instead.

I have no issues with Mendy's running style and I hardly would call him a "finesse RB". His problem is that he is running behind a crap line. Most of his "dancing" is looking for a opening that never appears with our OL. You can't "hit a hole" when that hole never appears and you are running into the butts of your OL.

JUST-PLAIN-NASTY
12-14-2010, 09:52 AM
I have been calling and preaching in many topics about an unbalanced front with an OL at TE. You want to make a defense think twice about cover 2....Put Essex at TE and run out of 12 personnel. If they stay cover 2...Run until the RBs need a breather. If the drop a S down...Then Mr BA gets what he wants. Have Miller help Scott and release off of PA and Watch the S retreat because you have a single S helping out on Wallace. It is so easy...Even a caveman can do it. BA< Caveman...So he didn't figure it out yet.

Oviedo
12-14-2010, 09:54 AM
I have been calling and preaching in many topics about an unbalanced front with an OL at TE. You want to make a defense think twice about cover 2....Put Essex at TE and run out of 12 personnel. If they stay cover 2...Run until the RBs need a breather. If the drop a S down...Then Mr BA gets what he wants. Have Miller help Scott and release off of PA and Watch the S retreat because you have a single S helping out on Wallace. It is so easy...Even a caveman can do it. BA< Caveman...So he didn't figure it out yet.

Totally agree. I have been yelling at the TV to put Essex in to help Scott for weeks. I think it is just plain rude that I never get an answer back. :wink:

JUST-PLAIN-NASTY
12-14-2010, 09:58 AM
I have been calling and preaching in many topics about an unbalanced front with an OL at TE. You want to make a defense think twice about cover 2....Put Essex at TE and run out of 12 personnel. If they stay cover 2...Run until the RBs need a breather. If the drop a S down...Then Mr BA gets what he wants. Have Miller help Scott and release off of PA and Watch the S retreat because you have a single S helping out on Wallace. It is so easy...Even a caveman can do it. BA< Caveman...So he didn't figure it out yet.

Totally agree. I have been yelling at the TV to put Essex in to help Scott for weeks. I think it is just plain rude that I never get an answer back. :wink:

Anyone take notice last night how many times the Ravens used an unbalanced front with an OL playing TE? Ran PA off of it with a 2 man pattern. And Bolden & Mason were wide open even with 2 man patterns....But Mason dropped a TD. :tt1 Hmmm...Wonder if Wallace could get behind that? :shock:

Mister Pittsburgh
12-14-2010, 10:19 AM
Pretty much says it all. You beat a Cover-2 by throwing underneath and trusting your WRs to get yards after the catch. Yes that is "dinking and dunking." Lots of throws to RBs and TEs are going to have to start happening.

Precisely. You don't need to run to beat the cover 2. You gotta throw quickly though. Its Arians job to design the quick hitters, Bens job to throw the freaking ball quickly when guys are open instead of holding onto it waiting for the big play, and Tomlins job to make sure his QB is doing just that.

Some day people will realize you can open up the run, by passing. That is today's NFL. We don't have a pro bowl line and we don't have a power runner. We have a bad word line and a finesse RB. He can run hard, he just chooses to dance instead.

I have no issues with Mendy's running style and I hardly would call him a "finesse RB". His problem is that he is running behind a crap line. Most of his "dancing" is looking for a opening that never appears with our OL. You can't "hit a hole" when that hole never appears and you are running into the butts of your OL.

He ran like a scared bizatch vs. the Ravens. He wasn't hitting the hole with authority like earlier in the season and there were some holes. But when I say a finesse back, I guess I mean in comparison to what people view as Pgh Steeler running game with huge backs like Bettis, Deuce, Fu, Etc.

JUST-PLAIN-NASTY
12-14-2010, 11:56 AM
The Steelers run game would be more productive with a one cut runner right now. Mendy can do this...He is very capable. You can see the difference when Redman & Moore carry because that is all they are. Redman & Moore are not better...Mendy has more abilities. Mendy just has to drill it in his head to be a one cut runner until he gets the 2nd level throughout the entire game when that is how the game is unfolding.

This is something you see all over the league week in and week out. It isn't because a better back gets the ball...Just some defenses and/or offenses dictate a better style. Too many RBs put the athletic abilities on the top shelf and that isn't the best recipe for success unless there are other things in place. JB ran well behind good, bad, & ugly OLs because of his style. You get a back like him going one direction, he will break arm tackles and move the pile.

Mendy has good speed & size to go along with balance and vision. He is getting into the habbit of using his speed & quickness first intead of his other abilities and that shouldn't be the case. If he is running out of a 3 WR set...Fine. But when he is facing 8 & 9 man fronts...He won't run away from anyone sideline to sideline. He needs to hit the hole and stay vertical into the 2nd level. If he does that, you will see a much improved output by him. The proof is in the rotation. Redman or Moore get a carry on 1st or 2nd...you see what they do. They aren't better backs...They just don't have any other option but get up the field when they get the ball. That fits the fronts and the OLs struggles perfectly. Mendy should take note. Of course there are times when a guy comes unblocked and drops Mendy for a loss. But more often than not, Mendy sees the flow and tries to work against it for a bigger play by using his athletic ability. The dancing just allows defenders to break down in space. You would be surprised how many times that little crack is hit at full speed and defenders momentum carry them out of position. When a RB goes flat footed...You negate that.

SteelCrazy
12-14-2010, 12:11 PM
Is it the cover 2 that is stopping our passing game or is it the fact Ben is running for his life every play? Is it the cover 2 that is stopping our running game or is it the fact there are no holes to run through?

Our band-aid OL is the cause for our lack of scoring in about 90% of our red zone failures. As long as the D can provide 14 pts/game we'll be fine all the way to the Super Bowl.

Crash
12-14-2010, 01:01 PM
Once again, and I quote:

The Steelers have run 24 first down red zone plays with Ben: 19 rushes, 5 pass plays. That's too predictable and it has to change.

Crash
12-14-2010, 01:03 PM
We run MendenBettis between the tackles too much. Everyone knows it's coming.

We did run him off tackle against the Bengals finally. The score was 23-7.

BradshawsHairdresser
12-14-2010, 01:05 PM
You beat a Cover-2 by throwing underneath and trusting your WRs to get yards after the catch. Yes that is "dinking and dunking." Lots of throws to RBs and TEs are going to have to start happening.

$$
You're right...rushing the ball helps, but it's not the only option for beating a Cover2. Spread the field and throw quick, short passes. We have too many plays that require 5-7 step drops and are looking 20+ yards downfield.

JUST-PLAIN-NASTY
12-14-2010, 01:41 PM
Is it the cover 2 that is stopping our passing game or is it the fact Ben is running for his life every play? Is it the cover 2 that is stopping our running game or is it the fact there are no holes to run through?

Our band-aid OL is the cause for our lack of scoring in about 90% of our red zone failures. As long as the D can provide 14 pts/game we'll be fine all the way to the Super Bowl.

I think you are off the mark saying the problems are all on the "band-aid" OL. They are part of the problem but everyone deals with injuries. You could coach around weakness. BA doesn't do that. This team could still run the ball effectively. But if you are not going to compensate for the weakness at LT & RG and just continue to design plays and call plays without taken any of that into consideration...You fail. If you remain predictable...You fail. If BA wants BB to take 5 & 7 step drops and throw vertical against Cover 2...You fail. And if BA continues down the same path...The Steelers fail no matter how well the D will play.

If you hear the same song over & over...Eventually you will learn the words. If you don't plug the hole....The dam will eventually break. If you keep throwing stones at the bee hive....Eventually you will get stung. And if your name is Bruce Arians...You eventually will get fired. Everyone in this league has read his playbook and BA doesn't have an eraser.

SteelTorch
12-14-2010, 02:12 PM
Is it the cover 2 that is stopping our passing game or is it the fact Ben is running for his life every play? Is it the cover 2 that is stopping our running game or is it the fact there are no holes to run through?

Our band-aid OL is the cause for our lack of scoring in about 90% of our red zone failures. As long as the D can provide 14 pts/game we'll be fine all the way to the Super Bowl.

I think you are off the mark saying the problems are all on the "band-aid" OL. They are part of the problem but everyone deals with injuries. You could coach around weakness. BA doesn't do that. This team could still run the ball effectively. But if you are not going to compensate for the weakness at LT & RG and just continue to design plays and call plays without taken any of that into consideration...You fail. If you remain predictable...You fail. If BA wants BB to take 5 & 7 step drops and throw vertical against Cover 2...You fail. And if BA continues down the same path...The Steelers fail no matter how well the D will play.

If you hear the same song over & over...Eventually you will learn the words. If you don't plug the hole....The dam will eventually break. If you keep throwing stones at the bee hive....Eventually you will get stung. And if your name is Bruce Arians...You eventually will get fired. Everyone in this league has read his playbook and BA doesn't have an eraser.
I also hear a lot about how "execution" is what kills this offense, not the playcalling. Why then does BA insist on running plays we don't "execute" well, such as running UTFM? :stirpot