Steelers could use red-zone makeover in 2012
Pittsburgh Steelers could use red-zone makeover in '12
By Dan Hanzus
Published: July 8, 2012
The Pittsburgh Steelers have great tools on offense. It's the execution that wasn't always stellar in 2011.
In an NFL season defined by explosive offensive production, the Steelers were merely adequate, averaging 20.3 points per game (21st in the league) and scoring more than 30 points on just three occasions.
This can be explained, at least partly, by struggles in the red zone. As Jamison Hensley at ESPN's AFC North blog points out, Pittsburgh ranked 18th in red-zone efficiency last season. The Steelers recorded 27 touchdowns on 53 red-zone possessions, a 50.9 percent success rate. With talented players like Ben Roethlisberger, Antonio Brown, Mike Wallace and Rashard Mendenhall, that wasn't nearly good enough.
Improved play from Roethlisberger inside the 20 would help. Last season, the quarterback's completion percentage dropped nearly 15 percentage points once he got inside the 20 (64.7 to 50). Roethlisberger was sacked 22 times in the red zone, second-most in the NFL. The Steelers are counting on a revamped offensive line to help matters in this department.
It's worth noting some oddities in the above statistics as well. The Jets -- 8-8 last season and nobody's example of an offense to envy -- led the league in red-zone efficiency at 65.5 percent. And the man who took the most red-zone sacks in 2011? Aaron Rodgers, who might have produced the greatest season ever for a quarterback.
What does it mean? We're not entirely sure, but perhaps new Steelers offensive coordinator Todd Haley has a theory of his own. We know he won't be afraid to share it.
Dammit Ben hand off better when you run the ball 65% on first down in the red zone.
And the 22 sacks are from 2008-2011. Not 2011.
The NFL's own website, and they employ jokes like that on it.
Nah, it's all good! Everything is fine!
Originally Posted by hawaiiansteel
They need to remember they have a TE in the Red Zone versus throwing to smurfs. Hopefully Haley uses the TE more effectively than Arians did.
Originally Posted by Slapstick
Who's been to blame for Red Zone production?
Maybe Ben should take all shots to the endzone between the 50 and 20 yard line to avoid the Redzone.
...or they could fix the problem, I guess...
Originally Posted by flippy
Originally Posted by Crash
Care to address the fact that when he did throw, he didn't do it nearly as well as he did outside of the redzone?
Dammit Ben, throw better when you pass the ball the other 35% of first downs in the redzone.
I've brought this up a few years ago. Ben might not be all the problem in the redzone, but he is certainly a piece of it. With a short field, a lot comes down to presnap recognition. Ben has the option to audible out of any play, so why doesn't he when he sees a particular defense? Rather than trusting his reads, he is waiting for guys to break free in coverage....not an easy thing to do in the red zone.