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Thread: Kovacevic: Will Steelers Pass Up Another Chance?

  1. #1

    Kovacevic: Will Steelers Pass Up Another Chance?

    http://triblive.com/sports/dejankova...#axzz2euNA6J58

    Kovacevic: Will Steelers pass up another chance?
    By Dejan Kovacevic
    Published: Sunday, Sept. 15, 2013, 12:41 p.m.


    Just to make sure I've got this all straight before the first snap ...

    The Steelers' offensive plan for this already-mega-critical Monday night matchup with the Bengals will include “striking a balance” by upgrading the run, according to Mike Tomlin last Tuesday. “Obviously, we are working hard to do so,” the coach added.

    Obviously.

    Because, you know, upgrading the run is a reasonable priority in a league that's gone from 55.6 percent running plays in 1972, the year of the Immaculate Reception, to an all-time low of 42.9 percent last season. In Week 1 of this season, NFL teams passed for 8,143 yards, most ever for a single week.

    But hey, balance away.

    The Steelers' offensive plan will include, again per Tomlin, a running-back-by-committee approach. You'll see Isaac Redman, Felix Jones and Jonathan Dwyer sharing the carries.

    Because, you know, that approach last season resulted in a sickly No. 28 ranking even though, on the rare occasions one back was allowed to own the position, they often fared well: Redman scorched the Giants for 147 yards on 26 rushes on Nov. 4, then never touched the ball more than nine times in any of the final eight games. Dwyer sliced up the Bengals for 122 yards on 17 rushes at Paul Brown Stadium on Oct. 21, then had 107 yards on 17 rushes the following week against the Redskins, then was relegated to part-time duty.

    Blame the tap-outs or the Cleveland turnover nightmare, if you will, but this coaching staff is short-attention-span-theater when it comes to these backs.

    The Steelers' offensive plan will include, based on practices leading up to this game, Markus Wheaton watching from the sideline.

    Again.

    Because, you know, Wheaton tantalized all through camp and the preseason, drew thick praise from Ben Roethlisberger and others and was supposed to be part of a rookie class that helped shatter the stigma of 8-8.

    The reason the Steelers' offensive plan will keep Wheaton out is that it'll be based on the standard three-receiver set with a tight end.

    Because, you know, David Paulson.

    The Steelers' offensive plan will keep utilizing all the usual screens and sideline routes, as if LaRod Stephens-Howling never left.

    Because, you know, it's maximizing your best asset to have Roethlisberger throw 23 passes of less than 10 yards, compared to just nine longer than that.

    That really happened vs. Tennessee. Count 'em up.

    The Steelers' offensive plan will challenge their line, the clear weak link in the opener, to create the desired balance by driving back one of the NFL's most formidable defensive lines, the Bengals' front four of Geno Atkins, Carlos Dunlap, Michael Johnson and Domata Peko.

    Because, you know … ugh, I can't even come up with a quip for this one.

    The Bengals aren't nearly as strong at linebacker or the secondary, but, hey, let's see how Mike Adams and Marcus Gilbert fare in knocking back these guys.

    That about cover it all?

    OK, just checking.

    It'll be good to know which players to blame if all this somehow goes awry.

    Look, I'm not forecasting doom and gloom, I swear. My prediction for the Steelers to go 10-6, ambitious as that looks after Tennessee, will still look plenty doable with a W in this game.

    It was based on:

    1. The defense, which more than held its own against the Titans.

    2. The soft schedule, including what's shaping up to be an awful AFC North if you caught that Browns-Ravens snoozefest Sunday.

    3. The talent on offense.

    Yeah, talent. The latter isn't what it's been, and the line in particular needs to perform infinitely better. But the notion that any offense led by Roethlisberger lacks what it takes to win is hard to support with precedent. Moreover, Antonio Brown is a recent team MVP who played like one in the opener. Emmanuel Sanders is capable of far more than he showed, and he knows it. Jerricho Cotchery contributed a couple key catches.

    Once Heath Miller and Le'Veon Bell return, there will be more stability, too.

    But before and after that happens, you've got to coach to the talent at hand, and you've got to coach to the time at hand. This offense's strengths are almost entirely pass-based, and this era of the NFL and its rules that protect the quarterback and offer space to the receiver, that's no different.

    It's well past time the Steelers get back to accepting that, even embracing it as they did not so long ago.

    This isn't about being stubborn. It's about succeeding.

  2. #2
    Backup AzStillers1989's Avatar
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    Blah blab blah blah BLAH!!!! Just freaking win !!!

  3. #3
    Pro Bowler Steelhere10's Avatar
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    The article is 100%, just like practicing the zone blocking all summer and barely using it. I have supported Tomlin up until now, but either Haley have to go or both.

  4. #4
    Legend papillon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steelhere10 View Post
    The article is 100%, just like practicing the zone blocking all summer and barely using it. I have supported Tomlin up until now, but either Haley have to go or both.
    This position is becoming easier and easier to defend as the Steelers get farther and farther from actually being competitive. I think what happened was, they knew they had Ben and a certain amount of time to take advantage of his talent and made the conscience decision to not dismantle the team, but to keep the roster together to make a run or two at the Super Bowl. Now as they see the twilight of Ben's career on the horizon rather than tear it down and start from scratch they are still trying to cobble together a team that Ben can carry to the playoffs.

    I don't see it working for two main reasons: Draft day 2008 and draft day 2009, I think there are two players (Hood and David Johnson) from those two drafts still on the roster and those two drafts should be the core of the team by now, that's 16 picks and only two players still on the team, one contributing (to some degree) and the other a backup TE drafted in the 7th round.

    The second reason is the cap situation. In trying to keep the team together veterans may have been extended and paid handsomely when, in fact, it may have been time to cut ties a little sooner. Of course, the Steelers did win a Super Bowl and make it to another, so maybe it was worth the price. I'm not sure when Ben's contract is up, but it could make the decision about his next contract very easy since he is 31 and doesn't play the game like Brady or Manning, so longevity past 30 probably isn't something he'll have.

    In my opinion, as fans, it may be difficult to watch for a few years, but maybe the light bulb will come on for some of the players and they'll surprise the heck out of us, but right now, the last 17 games are pretty good proof that Steelers aren't the team they were hoping to be at this point.

    Pappy
    Last edited by papillon; 09-16-2013 at 08:42 AM.


    1.15) Ryan Shazier - ILB/OLB
    2.46) Stephon Tuitt - DE
    3.97) Dri Archer - RB
    4.118 ) Martavis Bryant - WR
    5.157) Shaquille Richardson - CB
    6.173) Wesley Johnson - OT
    6.192) Jordan Zumwalt - ILB
    7.215) Daniel McCullers - DT
    7.230) Rob Blanchflower - TE

    "Before you can win a game, you have to not lose it." -- Chuck Noll

  5. #5
    Hall of Famer SteelCrazy's Avatar
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    If it's not working, keep plugging away until it does, even if there is no hope in sight. That's a winners mentality.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by papillon View Post
    This position is becoming easier and easier to defend as the Steelers get farther and farther from actually being competitive. I think what happened was, they knew they had Ben and a certain amount of time to take advantage of his talent and made the conscience decision to not dismantle the team, but to keep the roster together to make a run or two at the Super Bowl. Now as they see the twilight of Ben's career on the horizon rather than tear it down and start from scratch they are still trying to cobble together a team that Ben can carry to the playoffs.

    I don't see it working for two main reasons: Draft day 2008 and draft day 2009, I think there are two players (Hood and David Johnson) from those two drafts still on the roster and those two drafts should be the core of the team by now, that's 16 picks and only two players still on the team, one contributing (to some degree) and the other a backup TE drafted in the 7th round.

    The second reason is the cap situation. In trying to keep the team together veterans may have been extended and paid handsomely when, in fact, it may have been time to cut ties a little sooner. Of course, the Steelers did win a Super Bowl and make it to another, so maybe it was worth the price. I'm not sure when Ben's contract is up, but it could make the decision about his next contract very easy since he is 31 and doesn't play the game like Brady or Manning, so longevity past 30 probably isn't something he'll have.

    In my opinion, as fans, it may be difficult to watch for a few years, but maybe the light bulb will come on for some of the players and they'll surprise the heck out of us, but right now, the last 17 games are pretty good proof that Steelers aren't the team they were hoping to be at this point.

    Pappy
    Totally agree. We waited two years too long to start to rebuild key elements of this team. The problem started with wishing and hoping on Aaron Smith to return, add Casey Hampton too. That in itself wasn't the total problem but it was the symptom of the problem wanting to hold on to veterans too long. We can argue why but as you know my opinion has been an over emphasis on "Knowing the system." We need a system, whatever it is, that allows younger players to contribute more, earlier. Until we do we are going to treading water in the mediocrity end of the NFL swimming pool.
    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!

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by SteelCrazy View Post
    If it's not working, keep plugging away until it does, even if there is no hope in sight. That's a winners mentality.
    Yes, why would we ever embrace change. It might make someone uncomfortable.
    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!

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by BlitzTo7 View Post
    Antonio Brown is a recent team MVP who played like one in the opener.
    I wish I could say I see what these Pittsburgh hacks see, but once again I don't. Although the bar is low given our stud Kion on ST.

  9. #9
    Pro Bowler Steelhere10's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by flippy View Post
    I wish I could say I see what these Pittsburgh hacks see, but once again I don't. Although the bar is low given our stud Kion on ST.
    Brown did have a good game, it was Sanders that stunk with some drops.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Oviedo View Post
    Totally agree. We waited two years too long to start to rebuild key elements of this team. The problem started with wishing and hoping on Aaron Smith to return, add Casey Hampton too. That in itself wasn't the total problem but it was the symptom of the problem wanting to hold on to veterans too long. We can argue why but as you know my opinion has been an over emphasis on "Knowing the system." We need a system, whatever it is, that allows younger players to contribute more, earlier. Until we do we are going to treading water in the mediocrity end of the NFL swimming pool.
    To the extent that you are saying that Wheaton should be playing over Cotchery, or that the Steelers should do something different on offense, I agree completely.

    The problem on this team is the offense. There is a talent issue and a coaching issue. Haley comes up with one or two good calls per game - the fake bubble screen was a great call, but Ben and Sanders couldn't connect. Outside of those few good calls he has each game, the rest of his game plans and calls leave a lot to be desired.

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