Some may remember me paraphrasing Jim Wexell, who had an off-topic conversation with an unnamed source who spoke of revenge if Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger wasn’t “great” in their playoff game against Denver.
It spoke possibly of the removal of offensive coordinator Bruce Arians.
It seems it was prophetic after all.
The issue now is no longer Arians. Now we wonder what the Steelers want their offense to be. Where is it going?
Whether we want it to be or not, this is a passing team. Passing teams can succeed in the red zone. Running teams can fail in the red zone.
What this offense does not have is an air of invincibility. It gets beat while looking like it knows it’s going to get beat.
One team that doesn’t have that problem is Green Bay. Quarterbacks coach Tom Clements has led several players to the Pro Bowl, and has had a high level of succes.
He is the perfect guy to take over for the “retired” Bruce Arians as the Steelers offensive coordinator.
Cast your mind back.
The Steelers were coming off a Tale of Two Halves kind of season in 2000. Despite a dominating defense, the Steelers just missed out on a playoff spot, finishing 9-7.
In 2001, the Steelers added Pittsburgh native Tom Clements to join Pittsburgh natives Bill Cowher and Kevin Colbert as a piece of the team’s leadership.
Quarterback Kordell Stewart is arguably the only person associated with the Steelers organization who’s taken more criticism than the departed Arians over the last 20 years, but his 3,109 passing yards and 537 rushing yards (and five touchdowns) the Steelers returned to their ground dominance of the mid-90s, and advanced to the AFC Championship game).
It was without question the best season of Stewart’s career.
The next season, when Stewart inexplicably melted down, Arians made a hero out of Tommy Maddox, helping him earn NFL Comeback Player of the Year and leading the Steelers back to the playoffs after a disastrous 0-2 start (nearly 0-3, had Maddox not replaced Stewart in the second half).
In 2004, it was the young Ben Roethlisberger replacing Maddox after an injury, and he won 13 straight regular season games, and one more in the playoffs.
After spending some time in Buffalo, where many have failed at the quarterback position, Clements wound up under Pittsburgh native Mike McCarthy in Green Bay. In 2007, Clements helped guide future Hall of Fame passer Brett Favre to a Pro Bowl season, and another appearance in a conference championship game.
He got the pleasure of coaching during the Favre leaving Green Bay insanity of 2008, and had another stint with a young passer. This time, some guy named Aaron Rodgers. Maybe you’ve heard of him.
Clements is a few weeks away from the announcement confirming the first quarterback he ever coached to win an MVP.
As fun as it is to wax nostalgic about the glory days of Bettis behind Lester into the 4-hole, the reality is this is a passing league. Clements gets that. The Steelers are likely to at least enter longterm contract discussions with WR Mike Wallace this offseason, and it won’t be long until they ink Antonio Brown to a long-term deal.
Roethlisberger will likely be given an extension this offseason in order to help free money up from next year’s cap. They could be drafting an offensive tackle or guard with either or both of their first two picks in April’s draft.
The news is all about the offense right now. Why not select a guy who not only is from Pittsburgh and understands the city, not only is a former coach who had success in a pretty solid run by the Steelers, but was the man behind the direct mentoring of the 2011 MVP (a.k.a. The Year Quarterbacks Became More Important Than Any Two Players).
The offense Green Bay runs is not possible without excellent coaching. Rodgers’ success is based on his level of preparation and confidence in his decision-making.
It’d be tough to say Roethlisberger is a more skilled passer than Rodgers, but he’s certainly a few light years ahead of where Stewart was. He’s proved in his career he’s capable of leading the game’s most important position when it’s a part of a running offense or an extremely pass-heavy offense. He’s had Pro Bowl quarterbacks, he’s had bad quarterbacks, but his trending graph of success goes up far more often than it goes down.
He’s a winner, he’s a native Yinzer, and if I had my way, he’d be our guy tomorrow.
Source: Behind the Steel Curtain
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