View Full Version : A Conversation With Steelers OC Bruce Arians

08-24-2011, 10:28 PM
A Conversation With Steelers Offensive Coordinator Bruce Arians

published by Ken Laird on Wed, 08/24/2011


On Wednesday leading up to the Steelers third preseason game with the Atlanta Falcons, offensive coordinator Bruce Arians had a candid chat with the media regarding a number of topics. Here were his responses:

On the team’s greater success on 3rd downs in the second half of last season compared to the first half:

“Yeah, number seven was playing quarterback [laughs]. That’s it, I mean the month of September we were struggling a little bit with it and as soon as he got back in there the percentages were really, really high and that got us back up where we’re normally at, you know 6th, 7th in the league. We always try to be in the top 5 on 3rd downs. [We put] a ton [of emphasis on it]. Situational football: 3rd down, red zone, two minute, short yardage, goal line; the situational areas are the major focus of everything we do.”

On the team’s 3rd down success in Preseason Game #2 at 10 for 17:

“We were so poor against Washington [in Preseason Game #1] because we dropped five balls. We want to shoot for 55 to 60 %. The first half [in Game #2] was awesome. It was a nice comeback and that’s one of our goals this week, to see if we can do it two weeks in a row against quality defenses.

On whether Heath Miller was a ‘marked man’ last year:

“No. With Ben out in September [Heath] missed [out on] a lot of balls there and he missed two ballgames. It’s just one of those things. When you miss ballgames your numbers aren’t going to be the same, and you don’t have your quarterback it’s really six games.”

On Heath being the 13th ranked TE on ESPN.com’s recent rankings:

“Everybody goes by the number of passes they catch. Most of those guys [ahead of him] are not tight ends, they’re wide receivers. They don’t block anybody, they can’t block anybody. I mean, he’s a pure tight end. I think he’s the best pure tight end in the league. I think [Brandon] Pettigrew in Detroit is another quality pure tight end. The rest of those guys that are in the Pro Bowl and probably who are ranked there are just glorified wide receivers.”

On whether David Johnson could be the team’s #2 tight end:

“He is number 2. Has been. Never a doubt in my mind. He’s a quality blocker on the line of scrimmage and in the backfield. He’s improving as a receiver. I have all the confidence in the world of him blocking whoever he’s got to block. They switch between personnel groups, he and Heath, whether they’re the the tight end or the H-back.”

On the battle for the team’s 3rd tight end:

“That’s a whole ‘nother ballgame [laughs]. A whole lot of bodies fighting for that one. The guy who can play fullback is an added dimension and if he can do that his stock rises. Heath is the true tight end, and David [Johnson] can play true tight end there’s not a problem with that. He also gives you the nice ability to go in the backfield. The rest of those guys are fighting it out to find those roles, whether they’re strictly line of scrimmage guys or what all they can do. Are they more receiver? Are they more blocker? We’d kind of like to have another total package. Don’t see one out there right now but they’re working on it, they’re working real hard.”

On TE Weslye Saunders:

“He’s getting there. He has so much to learn. He’s gotten better each day. He really suffered with all the missed practice time because it was a change of offense for him being basically a wide receiver at South Carolina. But I’ve been real pleased with his effort blocking and he’s got a nice future.”

On whether Arians will have enough footballs to spread to all his targets:

“That’s the key with our offense right now, you cannot get selfish. You’ve got to wipe selfishness out of it because there are not enough balls. The quarterback is not pressed to throw to one guy. Just take the open guy and let’s roll. As long as everybody stays with that and contracts and everything else don’t get in the way we could be pretty solid but the minute selfishness creeps in it can tear you down real quick.”

On his collection of wide receivers:

“This is the best group we’ve had since I’ve been here. There’s some great competition for 4, 5, and 6. And they can all play. It’s nice to see that many guys out there, and [we’ll] try to find ways to get them all involved.”

On the temptation to go with true five-WR packages:

“Yeah, we did a little bit of that last year when the two young guys [Emmanuel Sanders and Antonio Brown] could handle it at the end of the season and right now to be that 5th guy there’s three guys fighting for that spot and they’re all quality. [Whether we keep a 6th] will all depend on special teams. That’s where those 4, 5, and 6 they’ve got to separate themselves by either being a return man, cover guy, or someone else on special teams to get their ‘hat’ on Sunday. You can have six on the roster but if they can’t help you on special teams, you’re not going to dress six.”

On what role he envisions for Trai Essex:

“Both tackle and guard. They beauty is that he’s always had is position flexibility. He’s also our third center. Just get him back up to speed ‘cause there’s a lot of rust on him right now.”

http://sportstalk.triblive.com/content/ ... uce-arians (http://sportstalk.triblive.com/content/conversation-steelers-offensive-coordinator-bruce-arians)

08-24-2011, 11:32 PM

Hello Mr. BA,

What kind of game plan can we expect from you this year? Let me remind you that you have Big Ben at the trigger, and a plethora of targets to choose from..namely, Ward, Wallace, Sanders, Brown, Cotchery, Miller, Mendenhall, and Moore to name a few...
Mr. Bruce Almighty Arianus, can your offense put up some points, and help out the defense?

Answer: Uhhhh....duhhhhh....ummmm....not really sure at this point.

Thank you Bruce, that was absolutely genius!!


08-25-2011, 09:36 AM
With some ingenuity and a little common sense, this offense could be a powerhouse. Too bad it's still BA calling the plays.

08-25-2011, 09:41 AM
I remember when a BA story would have 15 pages... :stirpot

08-25-2011, 09:59 AM
I remember when a BA story would have 15 pages... :stirpot

I was thinking the same thing. And I do find it kind of funny that the first complaint of the thread had nothing to do with a fullback or running the ball more. :)

08-25-2011, 10:05 AM
I remember when a BA story would have 15 pages... :stirpot

I was thinking the same thing. And I do find it kind of funny that the first complaint of the thread had nothing to do with a fullback or running the ball more. :)

Maybe the Neandertahl thoughts of still trying to play 1970s Steelers' football is finally leaving the board like it has left the NFL.

08-25-2011, 11:31 AM
I get frustrated with BA sometimes, but he has been good for this team and has developed an offense that Ben is comfortable with. I hope this is his finest season as an OC.

08-25-2011, 12:14 PM
I remember when a BA story would have 15 pages... :stirpot

I was thinking the same thing. And I do find it kind of funny that the first complaint of the thread had nothing to do with a fullback or running the ball more. :)

Maybe the Neandertahl thoughts of still trying to play 1970s Steelers' football is finally leaving the board like it has left the NFL.

What about the equally insightful "we must fundamentally alter our eternally successful defensive scheme to allow rookie draft picks to be able to play immediately while simultaneously writing off any undrafted free agent rookies as future FedEx drivers" mentality?

08-25-2011, 12:17 PM
I will start to give BA credit when they do 2 things

get consistent in the red zone[/*:m:e422eb6k]
step on the opponents throat when we have the lead[/*:m:e422eb6k]

Until then I will be dis-satisfied with Bruce.

09-05-2011, 12:10 AM
Third down is first priority for Steeler offense

Monday, September 5, 2011


Bruce Arians' formula for success as offensive coordinator with Cleveland and the Steelers has been simple: Excel at situational football.

Arians believes that putting up points in the red zone, scoring touchdowns around the goal line and being efficient on short-yardage plays makes his team tough to beat.

"Situational football," he said, "is the major focus of everything we do. You have to be good at it in this league."

It all hinges on third down, though.

"Converting on third down is just as big a play as throwing the ball deep and scoring 60-yard touchdowns," receiver Hines Ward said.

No team over the final seven games last year did a better job of converting than the Steelers, who were successful about 53 percent of the time. For the season, the Steelers ranked sixth-best at 43 percent -- up nearly 4 percent from the previous year.

It doesn't come without an investment. The Steelers devote practice time daily to third-down situations.

"When you invest time, you want to see the results in that investment," Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said.

"Our mentality on third down is always execution," tight end Heath Miller said. "If you win those situations, you are going to likely win the ball games."

That was proved last year.

When the Steelers won the third-down conversion battle, they were 10-2. When the opposition converted better on third downs, the Steelers were 4-4.

"B.A. hammers third downs to us," Roethlisberger said. "It is such a big down for us. I try to emphasize it with the guys when we come out on third down. I call it the money down. It was just a focus. Guys need to focus on third down, and that's what we did."

It doesn't hurt having Roethlisberger under center.

Last year, Roethlisberger converted 48.3 percent of third downs in 15 games, including the playoffs. The four games he missed at the beginning of the season, the Steelers converted only 28.5 percent.

"Yeah, No. 7 was playing quarterback. That's the reason we were good at the end of the year," Arians said. "The month of September we were struggling with it a little bit, but as soon as he got back in there, the percentages were really high."

Roethlisberger completed 65 percent of his third-down passes a year ago, with eight going for touchdowns.

Roethlisberger picked up where he left off by converting 57.1 percent of his third downs this preseason in nine series over three games and leading the offense to 38 points in about three quarters of playing time.

"Our goal is to score a point a minute," Ward said. "If we possess it 30 minutes, we should score 30 points."

To possess the ball for 30 minutes, they have to convert third downs.

"You can lose on first and second down, but if you win on third down, it doesn't matter," Ward said. "For us to be where we want to be, we have to be a good third-down team."

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsbu ... z1X2YIt7ix (http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/steelers/s_755108.html#ixzz1X2YIt7ix)