View Full Version : The Pittsburgh Steelers' 'fool-back problem'

10-08-2011, 02:54 PM
The Pittsburgh Steelers' 'fool-back problem'
Published: Saturday, October 08, 2011, 9:30 AM
By Michael Sedor, PennLive.com
http://blog.pennlive.com/nfl-football/2 ... ool-b.html (http://blog.pennlive.com/nfl-football/2011/10/pittsburgh_steelers_fool-b.html)

full∑back (flbk)
n. Abbr. FB
1. Football
a. An offensive backfield player whose position is behind the quarterback and halfbacks and who primarily performs offensive blocking and line plunges

The position of fullback was a sense of pride for many generations of Pittsburgh Steelers fans. It was the position that after center, was the main catalyst for the most feared power run game in the NFL.

I would go as far to say that many older Steelers fans would have considered the great Franco Harris more of a Fullback than your standard Halfback. I donít think Iím reaching here when I say if there was any team with some type of true fullback tradition, it was Steelers.

Most fans Iím guessing are probably in the camp of- The game is evolving and the fullback is an archaic position, and in modern football teams need multi-taskers / playmakers at every position, Etc.

The Steelers havenít employed a true fullback, since the trio of ďBus DriversĒ Tim Lester, Jon Witman and Dan Krieder, respectively. The position was gradually phased out under the Mike Tomlin era and a single back/ 2 tight end system was employed. We all witnessed how the single back set single handedly wrecked Fast Willie Parkers career.

The offensive line injuries and overall inadequacy make them an easy scape goat for the amount brutal hits Ben Roethlisberger has absorbed, and the downright awful start of Rashard Mendenhall. This line is put to gather with bubble gum and bailing wire and no one can argue, there is plenty of footage, mostly x-rated.

With Benís sandlot style of play, and a beat up O-line that lacks experience, the need to re-introduce a run blocking, and more importantly, a blind side pass blocking scheme, that utilizes a fullback, might be the needed approach for the Steelers to survive this season.

The full back needs to come back into the mix. I believe there are 3 things that will improve with this little adjustment:

1. Rashard Mendenhall and Ben Roethlisberger will finish the season in one piece. The single back set will topple Mendenhallís career faster than he can tweet, and Ben can relax knowing that there is a blindside body guard for him on the field.

2. Heath Miller will see an increase in targets due to the fact heís not stuck in pass protection and run support every play. When Heath is involved the game plan- good things happen.

3. Clock management- the Defense will look even older if the Steelers canít find a way to dominate the time of possession statistic again.

I guess it really boils down to a ďFoolĒback problem, not a Full Back problem-that fool being Offensive coordinator Bruce Arians. I truly believe the inability of Arians to adjust from his offensive philosophies will sink the ship this year, not our offensive line as many would want you to believe.

To be honest, even with 2 Super Bowl appearances, and multiple playoff wins, Iíve always thought the Steelers, when they do win, do it generally is in spite of his questionable play calling. He, not Mike Tomlin, was the architect, of the 2 TE single back run formation thatís was adopted and still in place.

The school girl crush Big Ben has on him basically has saved his Offensive Coordinating job time and time again. Roethlisberger likes him because I think falls into the ďyesĒ man OC mold. He lets Ben do whatever he wants, whenever he wants. See Milledgeville, GA. Many forget Arians and Benís off-season coziness was the reason Ben purchased a home down in Georgia the first place.

Would this switch in offensive philosophy reap instant results? Tough to say, Issac Redman has all the tools to be a fullback. His skill set is nice, but he has limited experience. Melwede Moore is in a walking boot and weighs roughly 140lbs. Jonathan Dwyer has no real game experience, and his skill set is built more for a wing eat contest anyway. Maybe use Heath? Ken Whisenhunt tried that occasionally the year of the Super Bowl XL run. Maybe go the Max Starks route and see if there is free agent out there that fits the mold, weíll see.

Now can a complete change in offensive philosophy be implemented this quickly, No. The Steelers personnel wonít allow it. But I do think the team can survive this year due to Benís gamesmanship and a schedule that looks like it was put together by Tim Curley. Execution and Turnovers will tell the story form here on out. This off-season though, I can only hope that the front office takes a good look at bringing in a fullback-type player. The NFL is a copycat league; all itís going to take is one team showing a fullback position isnít dead.

On a side note, John Kuhn was extended by the Packers in August to the tune of a -three-year, $7.5-million deal. The FB lives on in Green Bay, where keeping Aaron Rodgers healthy is a prime concern.

fool∑back (flbk)
n. Abbr. FB
1. Example-Coach- see, Arians, Bruce OC
a. A coach that refuses to harken back to a game plan, which while slightly out dated, is the type of Steeler football that possibly could get a season back on track

10-08-2011, 03:21 PM
I agree with the article. I've been on the "get a new actual full-back" bandwagon since we let Kreider go.

10-08-2011, 05:37 PM
I agree 1 million percent!!

Been saying this for years!

When BA is in love with the 2 TE 1 back set, and then you have only 1 decent TE on the roster to begin with, that's a recipe for disaster.