Arians gets last laugh
Guy was demonized here, when perhaps the problem was more to do with the QB refusing to adapt and evolve.
Jamaal Charles ran for 165 yards against the Colts Sunday.In the third quarter.
At one point in the fourth quarter at Arrowhead Stadium, interim coach Bruce Arians looked out onto the field and surveyed just who was playing for him. On offense, on the 73-yard game-winning fourth-quarter touchdown drive, he counted seven first-year players. On defense, well, he wasn't quite sure what he saw. Indy already had four defensive tackles on injured reserve, the nominal starter at the nose, Antonio Johnson, was inactive with an ankle injury, and two other defensive linemen went down during the game. So trying to somehow plug the leak were four Colts who'd been plucked off the street, off waivers from the Packers, Jets, Cowboys and Rams during this season. "Hang in there,'' Arians kept telling his waiver wonders. A week or so ago, Arians didn't know the name of the seventh nose tackle the Colts had employed this year, undrafted 355-pound plugger Kellen Heard, picked up from the Rams and activated earlier this month, but now he was trying to stone Peyton Hillis and Charles, and somehow it worked. Somehow, 352 Chief rushing yards later, it worked, and the Indianapolis Colts, 2-14 a year ago, won their 10th game of 2012, clinching a playoff spot.
"Mission accomplished,'' a totally spent Arians, 60, said from the bus, on the way to the airport. "This is the greatest moment of my coaching career. This is the top. I called the plays in a two-minute drive to win the Super Bowl, but this beats that. I mean, we're the College All-Stars. Remember when the NFL champion used to play the college all-stars in the preseason every year? That's who we are -- the College All-Stars. And we're in the playoffs.''
Arians was the perfect junkyard dog for one of the most difficult coaching assignments in NFL history. The Steelers let him walk last year, and Arians was bitter about it. For eight years he coached Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers offense, getting very close to Roethlisberger. Too close, some in the organization thought, and after last year the Steelers decided to make a change -- to get a fresh offensive voice and approach for the league's 12th-rated offense, and to challenge Roethlisberger too. It was Arians who called the plays, as he said, on the length-of-the-field drive in the final minutes of the Super Bowl four years ago, including the pass play into the corner of the end zone for Santonio Holmes that won it. When Chuck Pagano got the Colts' coaching job last January, he saw his old friend Arians on the street and hired him to coach the offense, including the new franchise quarterback in town, Andrew Luck. And when Pagano had to take a leave to treat his leukemia when the Colts were 1-2, the team tabbed Arians to take his place.
Arians won nine games and lost three. This morning, Pagano, his cancer in remission, returns to take his team back. And Arians will be in the office too ... only perhaps a few minutes late.
Arians and Pagano had an emotional phone conversation after the 20-13 win over the Chiefs. Pagano thanked Arians, twice. Arians told Pagano that he'd been given a job, and he tried to do it to the best of his ability. And Arians said: "Don't you come in too early tomorrow, because I won't be early. I might have a little hangover when I get there."
Imagine Arians' emotion today. He walked off the Arrowhead field at 3:07 p.m., having piloted a reeling team into the playoffs as an interim coach; no interim coach since 1952 had won nine games with any NFL teams. And while he was in the locker room, word came down that the team that dumped him was eliminated from playoff contention. Arians is no gloater, and he did none of that Sunday. But come on. Who wouldn't be thinking emotional thoughts at a time like that?
Owner Jim Irsay gave Arians a bearhug in the locker room and said into the coach's ear: "Thank you. Thank you."
"To be respected that much by Mr. Irsay after what I've been through this year ... '' and his voice trailed off.
Saturday night, Arians told his players to "finish the job. Chuck doesn't need a stressful week when he comes back Monday. He doesn't need to have a must-win to make the playoffs.'' And he said Sunday: "You give a professional athlete a cause, and he'll respond. These guys responded.''
Arians responded. He kept a new team with a 70 percent turnover from last year from fracturing, and he did it on his first shot to be an NFL head coach. "I finally got a chance to be a head coach,'' he said, "and I got the chance while leading a group of men on a special mission for a great man [Pagano] himself. Nothing can compare to this.''
Read More: [URL="http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/nfl/news/20121224/peter-king-monday-morning-quarterback-week-16/#ixzz2GHWgeSVV"]http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/nfl/news/20121224/peter-king-monday-morning-quarterback-week-16/#ixzz2GHWgeSVV[/URL]
I've always been a BA fan. I think he's a football genius, but not always able to translate that into pragmatism.
He did a lot of interesting things with formations. And he was creative. But the problem may have been either he over thought things or was too optimistic. He overlooked weaknesses and believed they could overcome poor blocking or poor TE play. He called plays like he had the best player at every position on offense. And I think he knew what he had in Ben and played the percentages based on Ben's talents rather than trying to reign him in.
Sometimes it looked bad and sporadic. But that's Ben. Odds are if you give him enough chances to keep a play alive and make a big play down the field, you're gonna hit on enough of those plays.
If BA has a problem with Ben refusing to adapt, he never breathed a word of it and Ben loved him, so I see no evidence for that claim.
Of course you didn't hear that from Arians. Ben is great, but he will never be an elite pocket passer. What happens as he continues to age and his playground football becomes harder and harder play athletically?
Originally Posted by lloydroid
Just look at Steve Mcnair. 2003 was his last elite year. 2004-2006 were very mediocre. A lot of that was due to injuries sustained running around the pocket and pitching it downfield.
Ben can't run a traditional offense. He hates it. He wants to chuck it deep as much as possible.
Im so sick of posts about Arians. He's NOT a coach on the Pittsburgh Steelers. Who gives a flying f*ck what he's doing or what some team I don't care about is doing either. Enough already. The Steelers have an offensive coordinator. I root for him to succeed. If he does well, then Ben does well, then the whole team comes alive and wins lots of games.
Haley has been nothing but enthusiastic and professional this year. He's put up with a lot of public sh!t from a diva, douche bag of a QB who didn't embrace change and consider this an opportunity to make something great happen. For the amount he gets paid, the talent he has, and the expectations he should be placing on himself, Ben sure whines a lot. How about see what you can do with the coaches dressed in Black and Gold (not yellow like that worthless song) on your sidelines each week and forget about a guy who's long gone and never coming back.
As I posted elsewhere, playing only 6 of 16 games against teams with a winning record certainly makes it easier to be successful (....the 2012 Steelers aside....). Indy was 2-3 against winning teams.
I'm not bashing Haley. My point is that perhaps Ben is just as much a problem with the Offense as the coordinator. Perhaps we should stop demonizing every O-coordinator there is here.
Originally Posted by Ghost
Hell I remember Whisenhunt being labeled as run, run, pass, punt. That was the year we went 15-1.
Steelers couldn't accomplish this much, huh?
Originally Posted by NorthCoast
If true, and Ben and BA were so chummy, why didn't Ben do more to keep BA out of hot water, like learn to improve his red zone opportunities? The offense was stagnant under Arians. One or the other, or both led to their own undoing.
Originally Posted by BigRob
The Offense has been stagnant with Ben as the QB period. I don't have it in front of me, but this offense has never been elite with Ben under center. Part of that is partially because of o-line issues and partly because of Ben's playing style.
Originally Posted by NorthCoast
It's more tolerable when he is clutch, and painful when he throws picks to end games as happened 3 times this year at least.
Our best offensive years were under Whisenhunt in 2004 and 2005. That is also the last time we had a great o-line.