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Thread: Offense Continues To Evolve

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    Offense Continues To Evolve

    Alright, I don't care for Arians, but I like just about everything Wexell puts out in print...
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    Offense continues to evolve
    By JIM WEXELL
    Digest Correspondent


    It was almost like a commercial for Disney World. A reporter, who was way too excited, put forth the following question to Ben Roethlisberger: “Hey Ben, what’s new with the
    offense? Can you give us a taste? Huh, Ben? Huh, Ben?”

    But Ben didn’t play along.

    “Nope,” said the quarterback. “If I did that, I’d have to kill you.”

    He should have anyway.

    So the reporter went to Hines Ward with the same question: “What’s new with the offense?” “Look for the offense to just keep expanding,” Ward said. “Bruce Arians, he’s an evolver.”

    Arians, of course, is the Steelers’ offensive coordinator. Last year he used three tight ends, he used a pass-catching fullback, he brought Roethlisberger into the thick of the
    game-planning, and he even had his playmaking quarterback execute the ol’ scramble-and-heave attack so favored back at Virginia Tech where Arians quarterbacked in 1974.

    Oh, Tech finished 4-7 that year? And the scramble-and-heave isn’t so much a plan as it was an emergency exit strategy?

    So what will Arians do about that offensive line?

    “Oh, it’s not all on the offensive line,” Arians said of a Steelers offense that allowed 53 sacks in 17 games last season.

    “No, the offensive line was responsible for probably 30 sacks, and I’m just throwing that out as a round number. There might have been 15 where the quarterback was trying to create plays, and I’m not going to stop that. But there were four or five by running backs, four or five by tight ends. It’s a blocking unit. It’s a receiver missing a hot or
    a quarterback missing a hot.”

    Little wonder that a blitz-pickup drill was the very first drill practiced during the first walk-through on the first day of training camp. In fact, blitz pickup has become a recurring theme. “Anytime we play against our defense, it’s all blitz pickup” Arians said. “But the first play of camp was a great read by Ben and Hines and we got a first down on, really, a
    complicated blitz, so they obviously have been doing their homework.”

    Roethlisberger calls it “just another year under BA.” And that the progression now is just “learning what everybody else is doing.” In other words, they’re doing their
    homework. But that all revolves around protection.

    “Really, it’s the all-around whole package,” Arians said. “Every individual has to get better as a pass protector, the unit has to get better at recognizing, because it’s becoming very modern for defenses to run around on defense. They don’t just line up and tell you we’re going to kick your (rear end); it’s confusion, so it’s very difficult in that sense.

    Luckily we’re one of the teams that do it, so we get to see it a lot.” Arians won’t call more three-step drops because he considers them too risky. What he will do is “couple”
    plays. If he calls a running play, and the defense is overloaded against the run and in single coverage, Roethlisberger can opt for the other play that’s “coupled” with the
    run play. “You throw the ball quick,” Arians said. “Just don’t get it picked.”

    Roethlisberger actually threw more “picks” this past spring than ever, because Arians was experimenting with new plays. Suffering that type of “short-term misery” for the benefit of the long haul is how he’s become known as “The Evolver.”

    “You have to,” Arians said. “If you’re not evolving, you’re not getting better. You have to keep pressing the envelope to see what’s available for each guy. You fit the pieces, and if one guy can’t do it, it doesn’t work. If they can all do it, let’s keep moving, let’s keep evolving. The more we can show a defense, the better we’re going to be.” And the current evolution? “It started in the spring with some different packages and obviously
    different players and we’ve continued to grow.”

    More no-huddle?

    “I don’t think we can do any more than we did last year,” he said. “Hopefully it’ll be when we want to, not out of necessity when we’re down by 12.

    “We want to be able to control the game with speed or a slow pace. By slow pace, we’ve got to be able to run the ball like we did in September and October at the end of a game, and not like we did in December when we gave it back to the other team. You have to be able to be tough enough and good enough to slow the pace down with a lead, and also speed the pace up when necessary.”

    Slowing down the pace a bit is the reason the Steelers drafted Rashard Mendenhall in the first round. The Steelers had trouble finishing games last year because the running game couldn’t move the sticks against eight- and nine-man fronts. Mendenhall might help in that area.

    “That’s an obvious thing you’d think he’d be ready for,” Arians said. “And any time Willie (Parker) comes out of the game, we’re putting in a stud. So hopefully he doesn’t have to be thrown into the fire before he’s ready, because I think he’s going to be dynamite.”

    And what about Ben? Rumor has it that he just threatened one of the geeky reporters.

    But is he still evolving?

    “Every day he grows.” Arians said. “We talk about plays, the new packages. He says he doesn’t like it, likes it, likes it only out of this formation, and then we as coaches respond. But Ben, he just keeps working.” The hope is he doesn’t have to work so hard this year. Or he might be the one who gets killed.

  2. #2
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    Re: Offense Continues To Evolve

    I think Arians is the right man for the job. He is familiar with the team and the players and most importantly he gets the type of league this has become--a passing and scoring league. All the recent rule changes have favored the passing game and Cowher never embraced that. Arians is building an offense that can exploit the rules, but also has the flexibility to run the ball.

    I never get the criticism when our QB is coming off the best season ever by a Steeler QB while simultaneously having the NFL's leading rusher before his injury. No other team has that kind of balance. Do you really think that would have happened with Whisenhunt?
    Playing Fantasy Football does not qualify you to be the in the front office or on the coaching staff of the Pittsburgh Steelers. They are professionals and you are not!

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    Re: Offense Continues To Evolve

    Quote Originally Posted by Oviedo
    Do you really think that would have happened with Whisenhunt?
    Well, we'll never know because that's pure speculation. I would say "yes". ... But again, no one can predict something like that.... Ben has been "evolving" as well... Could it just be his progress? Who knows.... I still want to see proof that "Mr. Evolver Arians" can adapt late in a game....

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    Re: Offense Continues To Evolve

    I think your right about Arians being the man, I mean Ben had a record year under him last year right? Also how many OC's turn over the reigns to the QB, probably not too many as that takes the credit and glory away from them. If Bruce can fix some of his play calling (which happen to make Willie into the leader rusher going before his injury) then we'll be just fine.
    ours is not to wonder why just invert and multiply...

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    Re: Offense Continues To Evolve

    Quote Originally Posted by costanza2k1
    I think your right about Arians being the man .... If Bruce can fix some of his play calling (which happen to make Willie into the leader rusher going before his injury) then we'll be just fine.
    I hope you're all correct about this.... BTW, Bruce may have called the plays for Willie to gain yardage, but he was also the one that didn't adjust during games late in the season, and in the playoffs against Jax.... If I'm wrong, I will gladly eat crow, but I don't think so.... Hopefully everyone can have some fun at my expense on this one....

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    Re: Offense Continues To Evolve

    Quote Originally Posted by NKySteeler
    Quote Originally Posted by costanza2k1
    I think your right about Arians being the man .... If Bruce can fix some of his play calling (which happen to make Willie into the leader rusher going before his injury) then we'll be just fine.
    I hope you're all correct about this.... BTW, Bruce may have called the plays for Willie to gain yardage, but he was also the one that didn't adjust during games late in the season, and in the playoffs against Jax.... If I'm wrong, I will gladly eat crow, but I don't think so.... Hopefully everyone can have some fun at my expense on this one....

    NKy, I hear you with what your saying but I don't think we can judge the man off of a couple of games or 1 season we have to look at the overall picture. I mean we can blame D ick for his defensive calls in that game but we won't as he's a proven DC. I think this is the year we can judge Arians as it's his second year in the system. My biggest fear is Ben falling back a year under a new coach if Arians is gone. What happens then? I just think we need some continuity with the OC and the QB and hope that are OC learns as he goes on (like now). I do have to admit that I always wonder what would happen if our Oline blocked as designed, how effect would our offense be then? That's is scary in a good way.

    I guess the bottom line is as humans we will never be satisfied with anything especially something we're all passionate about, in this case our beloved Steelers!
    ours is not to wonder why just invert and multiply...

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    Re: Offense Continues To Evolve

    Quote Originally Posted by costanza2k1
    NKy, I hear you with what your saying but I don't think we can judge the man off of a couple of games or 1 season we have to look at the overall picture. I mean we can blame D ick for his defensive calls in that game but we won't as he's a proven DC. I think this is the year we can judge Arians as it's his second year in the system. My biggest fear is Ben falling back a year under a new coach if Arians is gone. What happens then? I just think we need some continuity with the OC and the QB and hope that are OC learns as he goes on (like now). I do have to admit that I always wonder what would happen if our Oline blocked as designed, how effect would our offense be then? That's is scary in a good way.
    That's what I'm willing to do.... However, it's just not "a couple of games" that has formed this opinion for me... It also includes his prior career with Cleveland.... Yes, his second year will be quite "telling". ... Yes, "continuity" is important, but not at the expense of a poor situation... I'm not saying that is the case. Yet. But I do want to see some variation late-game when needed... I'm going to keep an open mind because I'm a homer, and want good things... But I still want to SEE it and not just HEAR it.

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    Re: Offense Continues To Evolve

    Quote Originally Posted by NKySteeler
    Quote Originally Posted by costanza2k1
    NKy, I hear you with what your saying but I don't think we can judge the man off of a couple of games or 1 season we have to look at the overall picture. I mean we can blame D ick for his defensive calls in that game but we won't as he's a proven DC. I think this is the year we can judge Arians as it's his second year in the system. My biggest fear is Ben falling back a year under a new coach if Arians is gone. What happens then? I just think we need some continuity with the OC and the QB and hope that are OC learns as he goes on (like now). I do have to admit that I always wonder what would happen if our Oline blocked as designed, how effect would our offense be then? That's is scary in a good way.
    That's what I'm willing to do.... However, it's just not "a couple of games" that has formed this opinion for me... It also includes his prior career with Cleveland.... Yes, his second year will be quite "telling". ... Yes, "continuity" is important, but not at the expense of a poor situation... I'm not saying that is the case. Yet. But I do want to see some variation late-game when needed... I'm going to keep an open mind because I'm a homer, and want good things... But I still want to SEE it and not just HEAR it.
    You can't look back at his time with the Browns. It was an expansion team with no mtalent whatsoever and he still made them marginally competitive. The only realistic metric is last season and the facts are best season ever by a Steeler QB and an NFL leading rusher.
    Playing Fantasy Football does not qualify you to be the in the front office or on the coaching staff of the Pittsburgh Steelers. They are professionals and you are not!

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    Re: Offense Continues To Evolve

    Quote Originally Posted by Oviedo
    Quote Originally Posted by NKySteeler
    Quote Originally Posted by costanza2k1
    NKy, I hear you with what your saying but I don't think we can judge the man off of a couple of games or 1 season we have to look at the overall picture. I mean we can blame D ick for his defensive calls in that game but we won't as he's a proven DC. I think this is the year we can judge Arians as it's his second year in the system. My biggest fear is Ben falling back a year under a new coach if Arians is gone. What happens then? I just think we need some continuity with the OC and the QB and hope that are OC learns as he goes on (like now). I do have to admit that I always wonder what would happen if our Oline blocked as designed, how effect would our offense be then? That's is scary in a good way.
    That's what I'm willing to do.... However, it's just not "a couple of games" that has formed this opinion for me... It also includes his prior career with Cleveland.... Yes, his second year will be quite "telling". ... Yes, "continuity" is important, but not at the expense of a poor situation... I'm not saying that is the case. Yet. But I do want to see some variation late-game when needed... I'm going to keep an open mind because I'm a homer, and want good things... But I still want to SEE it and not just HEAR it.
    You can't look back at his time with the Browns. It was an expansion team with no mtalent whatsoever and he still made them marginally competitive. The only realistic metric is last season and the facts are best season ever by a Steeler QB and an NFL leading rusher.
    its a big difference of having ben at qb instead of tim couch. you cant deny those two facts which arians has to get at least some credit for. i just had a problem with the play calling last year. obviously we all know the qb sneak on 3rd and 7 was just awful and the end around on a 4th and 1 to hines. they were still so predictable last season which i thought would be different when the chin left. all last off season all i heard was this offense will be different and very unpredictable

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    Re: Offense Continues To Evolve

    Belichick was fired in Cleveland too.

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