Art Rooney Asserts His Authority

I have no idea what’s going on in Pittsburgh right now. For some god forsaken reason, team president Art Rooney wants the the Steelers to return to their roots (whatever that means), which apparently includes running the ball more more effectively (first introduced before the 2010 season — and by the way, where the hell was he in 2003 when Tommy Maddox happened?) and “tweaking” Big Ben’s style of play so he takes fewer hits.

So what happened? According to Football Outsiders, the Steelers had the No. 6 offense in 2011, 7th in passing and 7th in rushing. By comparison, the offense was 5th, 3rd and 14th the season before. Not good enough, it turns out and Bruce Arians is now out of a job.

But the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette‘s Gene Collier says we’ve misunderstood.

Again, I’m fine with the organization moving on from Arians even if, in general, I thought he did a pretty good job. And maybe the team does has a plan, it just doesn’t look like it from where I’m sitting. (Also: any “plan” involving the words “Jim” and “Caldwell” isn’t a plan at all.)

I’m probably overreacting but with each passing story or tweet I read about Rooney, Arians, the Steelers and RUNNING THE BALL MORE OFTEN, I can’t help but think Rooney is trying to make himself relevant. I get that — living in the shadow of your old man and his old man can create such anxieties. Or maybe Rooney just really loves the ground game. Whatever, I don’t understand the logic. The Steelers’ offense was among the league’s most balanced this year and that was with a horrendous o-line (until Max returned) and a ton of injuries.

One more thing: why does it matter that Arians and Ben were tight? The reasoning that “somebody needs to keep Ben in line” is great if we’re talking about an off-the-field chaperone but silly given that Roethlisberger is one of the league’s best quarterbacks. Why does he need someone to be firm with him? What’s the point?

If the suggestion is along the lines of “Tomlin shoulda taken his ass out of the 49ers game after it was decided” then, yeah, I agree. But changing OC’s won’t affect that. Unless, of course, Rooney makes that decree, too. (Allegedly, of course.)

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  • Chuck

    Where is the exact quote from Rooney saying he wants to run the ball more? I remember he mentioned it a few years ago, but I feel like the media is exploiting his comments. 

    The Steelers didn’t score enough under Arians. Sure they tallied up the yardage, but they should have put the ball in the end zone more frequently.

    • http://www.steelerslounge.com/ ryan

      Chuck,

      So I went back and looked and Rooney made his “we need to run better” comments two offseasons ago. His theme in this year’s end-of-season speech was ‘tweaking’ Ben’s style of play to keep him from getting crushed quite so often (not sure where the controversy is there — I think everybody’s in favor of upgrading the o-line). He never said directly that the Steelers need to run the ball more now, but the media implication is that that is why Arians no longer has a job. 

      (Dean mentioned Dale Lolley above, whom I also like a lot, and he wrote today that the Steelers should fashion themselves after the Giants’ in terms of a more balance offense. I couldn’t disagree more, but it falls in line with the ‘more run, less pass’ anti-Arians world we’re now entering.)

      I’ve, ahem, tweaked the post above to better reflect that.

      • Cols714

        That’s funny because I think that Eli Manning’s playing style mostly resembles Ben’s. He’s less accurate, but the same ability to move around the pocket and try to convert long 3rd downs looks pretty similar to Ben.

      • GlennW

        The Giants finished DEAD LAST in the entire NFL in both total rushing yardage AND rushing average (3.5 yards/carry).  Even Ahmad Bradshaw posted a thoroughly mediocre 3.9 yards/carry.  And the Giants are winning in the playoffs flinging the ball all over the place, with the exception of the Atlanta game (which turned into a blowout).  Under 100 yards rushing in each of the GB and SF games, at 3.4 yards/carry total.  Lolley needs to get out more often.

      • Dean Keaton

        Yes, I find it hilarious that Lolley is calling for Kevin Gilbride’s offense. He has (and others have) mentioned Tom Clements’ name as well… Can we try to bring Ron Erhardt or Ray Sherman out of retirement? I think this discussion now includes every OC the Steelers have had in the last 20 years.

  • Dean Keaton

    All I can say is that I agree 100%. Why is Jim Caldwell a good candidate? Indy’s ground game was much worse than the Steelers’ the past few years, if that even should be a priority. Furthermore, wasn’t Tom Moore the OC most of the time that Caldwell was in Indianapolis?

    And while I love Dale Lolley, his calls have been more off than on this year, and he is saying that Caldwell and Todd Haley are the leading candidates from outside the organization. Is the theory with Haley that he’d never be buddy-buddy with anyone, so that Ben doesn’t get so close to the OC again? I have this fear that we’re going to end up with Cam Cameron or Hue Jackson too.

    The craziness doesn’t stop there… Mike Mularkey and Chan Gailey are head coaches . . . AGAIN. Whisenhunt is doing a decent job as a HC in Arizona. Kevin Gilbride is the OC for a second time on a Giants team that is on its way to the Super Bowl. Arians was clearly better than two of those guys with the Steelers, yet he’s on his way out. Yes he made some bad situational play calls at times, but he coached two offenses that made it to the SB, and almost won the second one.

  • Dean Keaton

    Oh, and don’t forget that Arians and Kelly Holcomb rolled up over 400 yds passing on the Steelers in the playoffs once upon a time. That’s to go with your Quincy Morgan pull from a couple of weeks ago, Ryan.

  • Cols714

    Yep this is totally weird, especially for a Steelers organization that doesn’t seem to usually have stuff like this floating around.

    Please no return to the ground and pound strategy. That got us to exactly zero Super Bowls from the Bill Cowher era. The 1995 team went there on Chan Gailey’s 5 WR sets.

    This does not bode well. If they hire Cam Cameron or Jim Caldwell I fully expect a riot…

  • GlennW

    I read Collier’s column last week.  I found it entirely unconvincing, and not because I fear that Art Rooney II is personally going to ensure that our offense is blown up and scrapped.  Rather it’s the fact that he makes absolutely no mention of Arians’ impending “retirement” (which was not yet official but had been widely reported as a done deal) in this discussion.  That 800-pound gorilla in the corner of the room represents more than an offensive “tweak”, Gene, almost by definition.

  • Mike L

    Here are a few points in defense of the decision:
    1) It is no secret that Ben is the $100 million man and he has taken too many hits over the year, whether by holding the ball too long or poor line play.  Tomlin has said having offensive weapons will cover for poor line play but that has not happened. 
    2)  No QB can win consistently if injured.  Ben is better than most but the reality in the playoffs is you do not win if injured against top competition, the QB is the driving force for teams.
    3)  Arians playcall would not be called “take what they give you” against Denver when the run game was working exceptionally yet he called the pass 70%+.  Ben was sacked 5 times and after the first sack he had a bad int that helped Denver open up their lead. 
    4)  On sportscenter today they said the Patroits attack the safeties and LBs in coverage on 20 or more passes which led to scoring drives.  Also for the season Brady to Gronkowski was 14 of 18 in the red zone for 14 TDs.  Brady to everyone else was 9 of 32.  Pittsburgh need Ben to be willing to checkdown to TE and backs to avoid taking as many hits, then pick your spots to go deep.
    5)  Ben is reckless we know this but it is that same attitude that makes him so dangerous late in games.  He needs someone to help him protect himself from hits and it does not seem like that person was Arians. 

    • Cols714

      You know, the Steelers had a pretty good day offensively playing at Denver with an injured QB, Jon Scott at LT, Legursky at center, and the backup RB starting.

      Brady and NE didn’t look all that great in the red zone yesterday, but they won because they lucked out at the end of the game.

      Ben and Arians have been pretty successful over the years. I’m OK with Arians leaving, but I wish people would quit blaming him for that loss in Denver. He didn’t snap the ball over Ben’s head, drop a 58 yard pass, let Ben get the ball poked out, etc. 

      • Mike L

        Playcalling has nothing to do with the plays you mention.  Please defend Arians playcalling or stop defending him.  He called 45 pass plays to 20 run plays even though the run was 6.8 yards per play and the pass 5.4 yards per play.  5.4 is very bad.  They still ran better than they passes with those backups in the game so what is your point. 
        I don’t hate Arians neither did I hate the previous ST and OL coaches but I believe we have better coaches now at those positons.  The new OC could be worse or better I trust the Steelers to hire a good one.

      • Mike L

        Playcalling has nothing to do with the plays you mention.  Please defend Arians playcalling or stop defending him.  He called 45 pass plays to 20 run plays even though the run was 6.8 yards per play and the pass 5.4 yards per play.  5.4 is very bad.  They still ran better than they passes with those backups in the game so what is your point. 
        I don’t hate Arians neither did I hate the previous ST and OL coaches but I believe we have better coaches now at those positons.  The new OC could be worse or better I trust the Steelers to hire a good one.

        • Cols714

          That’s my point. It was not bad playcalling that caused them to lose that game. It was
          1. The defense
          2. The defense
          3. The defense
          4. The offensive miscues that were as you said unrelated to playcalling.

        • GlennW

          Citing the pass/run ratio in the Denver game is quite misleading.  When you’re already down 14 points in the 2nd quarter– mostly due to egregious defensive breakdowns, although Ben did contribute 3 points with his bad INT– of course you’re going to start chucking the ball.  Then there’s the small matter that this 14-point deficit was cut to 0 in the second half, which must have entailed somebody doing something right on offense even given the slanted pass/run split.  As Cols states, playcalling falls way down on the list of contributors to this particular loss.

          • Mike L

            First of all I made 5 points.  You want to talk about Denver that’s fine.  Arians abandoned the run after it was 7-6 not 20-6 look it up, I did.  Even with a 14 point deficit you don’t scrap the run in the second quarter.  In fact, the limited running game lead to one of the two second half TDs, even thought there were 3 times as many passes called.  The playcalling lead to Ben getting hit too much, when running was a great option considering the success they were having.  I hope you can agree with this statement, if not you are ignoring the facts.  I don’t know of anyone who has chimed in in the last 3 years on this website and said all the sacks will not hurt Ben’s career. 
            The reason I am talking about the playcalling only is because this article is about the Steelers organization letting Arians walk/retire.  Yes the defense did not do well.  Yes there were plays left on the field, and yes the playcalling was below average on offense.  The problem is players made mistakes on defense, everyone agreed the correct call was to force Tebow to throw.  So unless you want to post an article to run Ike Taylor out of town, try to focus on the topic.
            The bottom line is without a healthy Ben the Steelers will not win any Superbowls in the near future, the coaching staff did not do enough to protect his health.

  • Mike L

    Here are a few points in defense of the decision:
    1) It is no secret that Ben is the $100 million man and he has taken too many hits over the year, whether by holding the ball too long or poor line play.  Tomlin has said having offensive weapons will cover for poor line play but that has not happened. 
    2)  No QB can win consistently if injured.  Ben is better than most but the reality in the playoffs is you do not win if injured against top competition, the QB is the driving force for teams.
    3)  Arians playcall would not be called “take what they give you” against Denver when the run game was working exceptionally yet he called the pass 70%+.  Ben was sacked 5 times and after the first sack he had a bad int that helped Denver open up their lead. 
    4)  On sportscenter today they said the Patroits attack the safeties and LBs in coverage on 20 or more passes which led to scoring drives.  Also for the season Brady to Gronkowski was 14 of 18 in the red zone for 14 TDs.  Brady to everyone else was 9 of 32.  Pittsburgh need Ben to be willing to checkdown to TE and backs to avoid taking as many hits, then pick your spots to go deep.
    5)  Ben is reckless we know this but it is that same attitude that makes him so dangerous late in games.  He needs someone to help him protect himself from hits and it does not seem like that person was Arians. 

  • Randy Steele

    Are we defending Arians now? Okay, fine, but remember this: The Steelers’ offense this year often looked like a Ferrari, ran like a Ferrari, and broke down like a Ferrari.

    I like shiny toys as much as the next guy, but if they’re not reliable, you’re not going anywhere.

    • Cols714

      Kind of. I’m just baffled that on a day when the Steelers came up with the worst defensive gameplan ever, Arians is somehow to blame for the Broncos loss.

      That’s all. I’m OK with them finding a new OC. I’m all for a fresh look for the offense.

      • Randy Steele

        I don’t know anyone with an IQ with three digits who is blaming the Denver loss on Arians.

        • Cols714

          Read Mike L below

          • Mike L

            I am sorry I ever mentioned the Denver game as the example of poor playcalling, I did since it was the most recent game.  Never did I say the loss was because of the playcalling.  That has been your assumption that you have repeated over and over.  The loss to Denver sucked.  Get over it and stop taking your frustation out on me.  Again for your sake I will repeat my reasoning the playcalling was poor; Ben took unnecessary hits when the Denver defense was playing the pass and pass rushing (watch the game or view the stats) , the running game was the most effective it has been all season because of Denver’s defensive scheme.  Arians ran Redman 9 times in the last 3 quarters in which he had 9 carries for 82 yds.  Please re-read my posts.  This topic is only about Arians and he needs to be judged solely on the playcalling, not Ben’s performance or the defense’s. 

  • Rob D

    I guess two straight seasons of Ben doing his FrankenBoot fashion show kinda makes an owner think maybe they should protect him better.

    We all know its the O-line. Fix it and you fix the STeelers offense. Time for the organization to realize that too. Arians was a good OC. But I think it was time for a change because of BEN’s age and his lack of patience this year which was obvious to anyone who watched the games. He needs to change his game because he’s not 25 anymore. He’s a lumbering 30 with a lot of mileage and hits on him. He can’t keep on with the matador thing..he’s not as elusive and he’s getting crushed on some of those hits including the one that basically ended our playoff hopes in the last Cleveland game. Maybe Art is a dummy with father/family issues and he wants to make his mark. But I think he’s not going to micromanage this offense and bring back Bettis 2 or anything remotely like that.Nor do I think he’s a dummy , for the record. I think he realizes that Ben was not ..and is not progressing like he should.( That Denver game blew my mind…Ben ignoring Heath for a first down in favour of throwing to Wallace in double coverage. That’s got to stop whether it was just on Ben or just on Arians..or a clusterthingie)

    If Arians thought it was cool to start J. Scott at LT, dump Starks and FLozell and run everybody and his brother in law out there to take the RG position away from Foster, then he probably deserved to get “retired”. How much is that fiasco on him? How much on Tomlin? Or the O-line coach? Or ARt Rooney II ? We don’t know but it certainly comes under Arians purview at some point, doesn’t it? That stuff nearly capsized this season early and only by quickly grabbing Starks off his couch was further damage avoided. If he gets credit for Antonio Brown, he’s got to take the heat for Jonathan Scott..starting LT, in my little world.

    I think we all have problems at times with playcalling (Lebeau had possibly his best and worst called games in his illustrious history this year.. NE and Denver) But I tend to think the Steelers just may be catching up to some of the fans who watch other teams QB have those extra seconds to make plays happen  with superior blocking by the O-line. It’s quite scientific..not. Take your watch and time it out. Ben rarely has the luxury of being able to come back all the way across the field with his 2nd or 3rd option..set his feet and throw the ball. Brady and others (Brees, Rodgers) gets to do that a LOT..He knows he is usually going to have the time and thus he’s able to hit receivers in stride, thread balls down the seams, hit Welker with an accurate ball that makes the C or S try to make an awkward tackle against the flow of the play..a tackle they usually miss..etc. Nothing is ever that simple in NFL style football but extra time for a QB makes the Alex Smith’s look better than they have a right to be. And less time  makes Ben look worse than he is at times. It also puts him in a not very flattering boot.

  • Cols714

    This doesn’t excuse Harbaugh for not calling a TO, but apparently Cundiff thought that it was only 3rd down because the Patriots scoreboard operator had the down wrong for the entire last series. 

    Weird how these things happen in NE.

    • GlennW

      This still doesn’t make much sense though.  I’m watching at home, see the ball placement and the down markers on the field, and I have no doubts whatsoever about the situation.  Nor did the coaches, who reportedly were furious with Cundiff when he was unprepared.  Players really shouldn’t be relying on the scoreboard anyway, as they’re notoriously inaccurate or delayed with regard to down-and-distance information.  I chalk this one up to “dumb kicker” syndrome.

      • DC in ATL

        “coaches…were furious with Cundiff when he was unprepared”.

        Harbaugh has no problem calling a time out when his defense isn’t lined up right, when the playcall is late going in, to gain an advantage with the clock or to ice the opponent kicker.   If he didn’t think to call a time out when he saw his kicker rushing on to the field late, it seems to me that the one who was unprepared for this situation was John Harbaugh.

        • GlennW

          No question.  Part of coaching is being prepared for contingencies when your players are (sometimes) unprepared.  Harbaugh admitted he didn’t even think of using the timeout.  I still think that Cundiff was clueless here too, and the last thing I’m going to do is blame the scoreboard operator (humorously, this line of conspiratorial suggestion is what led T-Sizzle to call Skip Bayless a very bad name).  These two failures/faults are not mutually exclusive.

          • DC in ATL

            Agree with everything you wrote Glenn.

            I just like the idea that Harbaugh blew it after seeing all his whining and complaining on the sidelines over the past couple years. 

            If only it hadn’t been against the Patriots…

  • Dean Keaton

    Off topic, but I hope this gives a little enjoyment for today…

    http://deadspin.com/5878391/this-baltimore-fan-is-rather-perturbed-about-the-ravens-loss

    (warning: explicit language)

  • Canadian Steeler

    http://www.ydr.com/sports/ci_19803396
    I think this is probably about right. He didn’t do a poor enough job to be fired by any means, but if his contract was up, it’s reasonable they decided to go in a different direction. The offense needs to score more points and improve its efficiency in the red zone, and while you can’t blame Arians for all of that, I see other offences around the league putting up more points with similar or inferior talent, and wonder what could be. I can understand Rooney doing the same. 

    If it’s an internal replacement, I like Fichtner over Kugler. He’s a spread guy, which is where the offence, which is where we should be heading with our personnel. It could probably make our line look decent as well if it involves getting the ball out more quickly.

    I don’t mind Caldwell as much as others if we look outside the organization. Obviously he’s coming off a disastrous season, but he did go 26-10 over his first two seasons, even if that has a lot to do with Peyton. The fact that he came from a bad team isn’t all that relevant to me. Colbert came from the Lions. Kugler came from the Bills (and was previously with the Lions). It’s about evaluating the person, and I trust Colbert and Tomlin to do that. Of course Art II will be involved. He was involved in hiring Tomlin too. All Art II’s done is not renew a guy’s contract who probably deserved as much, IMO.

    • Cols714

      I agree with all of this.

    • Anonymous

      I agree that Caldwell would probably not be the disaster that most associate with the collapse in Indy. Caldwell was Peyton’s QB coach for years and I assume had something to do with his development – it’s not like Peyton sprang full-blown from the head of Tom Moore – he took years to develop into what he is now. I also read that Peyton said that Caldwell knew more about the Colts’ offensive system than anyone once Moore left. 

      But since the Colts’ offense is the ultimate finesse style, utilizing one back and 3 wide, I doubt this is the system best suited for Pittsburgh and what Rooney wants. It works well with a QB who has a superquick release and fast decision making skills – Ben is not that guy, and our OL cannot hold up against the kind of pass rush that Baltimore and Cincy bring to the table with only one back in the backfield to assist where the TE is most often flexed out. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Charles-Williams/100002104303146 Charles Williams

    we must run the ball better and put TDs on the score bord you do that by running the ball.i have been a steelers fan for 40 years and never though that are running backs are soft……….

  • EasyLikeSundayMorning

    This is probably old for most of you, but I’m catching up on some stuff and came across these…

    It’s a bit of puff piece, but it is good to see that some people have good things to say about Fichtner:  http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/steelers/s_778223.html

    And here’s a piece looking at the offenses he ran at Memphis: http://burgh.us/cb3

    With Joe Philbin getting the Miami HC job, Tom Clements seems likely to be the GB OC. 

    • Rob D

      Those were good reads, Easy..thank you

      I think you are right about Clements. He might have been our OC if they didn’t lose Philbin to the Dolphins. REading about Fichtner…I don’t think we’d be unhappy with him. There’s actually a few guys available who look very good for the job so that’s a good thing. WE won’t be picking from scraps.

      How could you not look at Big Ben and those WR’s , TE, RB’s and not say..hmmmm..I think we can fix the O-line and turn that unit into a monster. Lots of selling points and above all, you are working for a stable organization.

  • Ron Kurimsky

    I’m kind of amazed reading these comments. The fact of the matter is that the Pittsburgh Steelers underachieved on three levels this season – Offense, Defense & Coaching. The special teams – mostly due to rule change – actually improved because they didn’t allow as many kickoffs to be returned for touchdowns. The most disappointing of those three is coaching. The Team (both offense & defense) looked totally unprepared on far too many occasions. Have we forgotten Ravens game #1 & the Denver game already?  And, the coaching staff (responsible for that preparation) did a PP job. Frankly, if it were up to me, I would have changed both the Offensive & Defensive coordinators. I want Rooney to intervene because I fell that Tomlin has greated too much of a LOVE IN atmosphere. I sense that Labeau is showing his age and has lost his vigor & enthusiasm. And, it’s begun to show through the defense’s performance. The man is 185 years old. It’s time to step aside and turn it over to a youngster – maybe in his 60′s. And, Arians has uncerachieved based on the talent he had available to him. And, Tomlin & Arians combined to make some of the most BONE HEAD moves I seen from a Steelers organization in a very long time. Example was starting a 30% healthy Ben in San Fran with two of the very best backup QB’s in the NFL sitting on the bench. A brain dead move on many levels. The Steelers need to thank Arians for his contributions & move on. Frankly, they need to do the same with Labeau. But, Mr Rooney would have had toi step in to do it because Tomlin is still in LOVE IN mode.

    • EasyLikeSundayMorning

      Between the two stinkers of the first Ravens game and the Broncos game, the Steelers were 12-3 and had one of the top defenses in the NFL by any measure. All this despite 100% turnover on the starting OL and DL during the season, significant injuries to both outside LBs, and finishing with hobbled QB and 4 of their top 5 RBs injured. I don’t think things were as bleak as you paint.

      Also, I can’t understand why anyone would want LeBeau to retire. If it is based solely on one game, this would be the definition of short-sighted. He’s one of the best DCs of all time and the D was one of the best in the league, despite the injuries.

      • Rob D

        That’s basically how I see it as well. There were just way too many key injuries. Someone at another blog has done a thorough job of documenting the O-line chaos this past year. It’s just insane how hobbled and patched together they were. Then you lose your starting battery..Pouncey and Ben (who basically was never the same after the HAS (high ankle sprain..”I has a HAS!”) Then Harrison with his bad back to start the year (and I would argue he was never 100% the entire year) and his suspension..then Woodley and his never healed hamstring took away 2 of the premier pass rushers in the league. Starting RB. Look at the surgeries at the end of the year including Gilbert who obviously played hurt. Legs in a sling giving his all. It’s freaking endless. Curtis Brown and Cortez Allen gone for playoffs..2 kids who made great contributions on ST”s and helped in our nickle/dime packages especially in the NE game. Then they lose 2/3 of their D-line early in the game in Denver. And I wasn’t even surprised.

        So yeah,,they had some big missteps..they stunk on D a few times, the O didn’t get it donw in the red zone..no doubt. But I really think a healthy Steelers team is at mininum playing in the AFCCG this year and given the weakness of the field, maybe practicing right now in prep for the SB.

        BTW, Ron…That SF game was for a bye/divisionial championship. I would have rested Ben AFTER that game though. But then you could talk about rust forming. Ask Aaron Rodgers about how sharp he was after a layoff. It’s a decision that can go either way..you have a rested QB but a rusty one. Or you aggravate an injury and lose anyway as in the case of BEn.

        I think we will see enough change this offseason to satisfy everyone.And probably to fuel the bitch-fest when the new OC starts out slowly and the offense stagnates. O joy…lol..

        • Canadian Steeler

          I’ll be honest, besides the Patriots game, it’s hard to say that this ever really felt like our year (to me at least). Going into the Broncos game, our running back situation was ridiculous. Starter gone. 3rd string/3rd down specialist gone. 4th string gone. And to top it off, the horrible Kirby Wilson situation. It couldn’t have been much worse. I generally consider myself an optimistic fan, but even I had tempered expectations going into Denver (and possibly beyond). It just never felt like we quite clicked this year, like we have in the past. Overcoming adversity is so huge for championship teams, and we didn’t seem to quite have what it takes this year. Maybe those tempered expectations allowed me to shake off the loss rather easily (comparatively speaking).

          Last year was different, and I still can’t even bear mention of SB XLV. Between Ben’s suspension, Deebo being fined hundreds of thousands of dollars, even Flozell getting to his first Superbowl, it really felt like a championship team. That was tough.

          I don’t think we need major change, to be honest. There’s a certain amount that’s bound to happen because of the cap, but it’s not as if we turned into a pile of shit overnight. Who knows, maybe the more adversity this team faces the better.

          • Anonymous

            I don’t know which back is which string, but weren’t 4 injured: Mendenhall, Moore, Dwyer, and Batch?

          • Canadian Steeler

            Honestly forgot about Batch. Meant Dwyer.

          • Canadian Steeler

            Honestly forgot about Batch. Meant Dwyer.

        • Anonymous

          On Harrison, you left out the broken eye.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_T66F5NPDCPZKYOR5UCARW3VQDM Bolo

    Really? He did a worthy job as the OC? He posted the 21st scoring O in the league for cryin out loud. Who cares how many yards you rack up…the GOAL is POINTS! The D carried his sorry ass for long enough.

    • Rob D

      I think you want the ESPN boards..You’ve captured the tone perfectly. First door on your right, down the stairs, and ask for Morty.

      • Jason K

        Other than the tone, his point is correct. You can’t win games with YPG.

    • Rob D

      I think you want the ESPN boards..You’ve captured the tone perfectly. First door on your right, down the stairs, and ask for Morty.

  • Cols714

    Reading the various reports about Arians, the one thing that is certain is that he was well respected and liked by most of the players and other coaches.

    I’m officially on the Fichtner bandwagon for hire.

  • Danpiac1

    If it was my team I do the same don’t kid your self the Steelers will be a better team with out Arians. You have all that talent and you finish 20 in scoring. He relied on Big Ben to much became to close to Ben. His play calling was predictable lost 3 games because of it. I attribute one game to him as a victory against New England. Guess what if you run more you turn the ball over less and keep defense fresh for late in game. Ignorance anyone who states Arians should stay was an idiot, did you watch the Cleveland games. Look at there schedule 20th in the league in scoring behind Baltimore and Cincinnati. Really behind Cincinnati, with the talent we have. People who believe Arians should of stayed are reporters bucking the majority to make them feel relevant. Please educate yourself it was time for Bruce retire.Tomlin should of made the decision if he didn’t I would question his ability as a head coach. I guarantee and wager anyone we will finish better than 20th in scoring next year, and win at least one playoff game.

    • GlennW

      > Ignorance anyone who states Arians should stay was an idiot

      Okay, so you’re personally guaranteeing that the offense will be much improved next season.  I’ll see you next season, because I’m going to wait and see.  Frankly my prediction is that this change isn’t going to make as much difference as the Arians-bashers seem to think.  But the beauty of it is that the hypothesis is fairly testable and measurable, barring a major injury to Ben.

      • Cols714

        Do you know what would solve some offensive problems? Having a defense that takes the ball away at their normal levels instead of the way below average performance from last year.

        • GlennW

          Or conversely, a bad defense.  Okay, that wouldn’t “solve” anything, but statistically offensive scoring would jump in response to an increase in points allowed, as it does for so many teams with bad defenses.  That’s one of the problems with looking at any particular statistic in a vacuum.

          For the record, the Steelers were 21st in scoring in 2011 (which I agree is unacceptable if the offense were to plateau at that level), but 15th on average over Arians’ tenure.  If the defense holds up reasonably well, I’d like to see this offense push into the top 10 in scoring.  If it doesn’t, top 10 is almost inevitable even with no true offensive improvement.

        • Anonymous

          To throw some data at it.

          http://footballoutsiders.com/stats/drivestats 

          The Steelers average starting position was their 26.61 yard line, ranked 25 in the NFL. Unfortunately, I haven’t found data on variance of starting field position.

  • Hoffstra323

    I like what Art Rooney is doing. You can make the argument that Bruce Arians has done a good job but the Steelers are great for many reasons. Not just one man is going to make or break this team. Art Rooney is not Jerry Jones. I believe that Mr. Rooney is far enough away from all this that he has a good view of what is going on, and what works and what doesn’t. A big problem in sports is that guys making big decisions are often to close to what is going on and i think that it clouds there judgement. Look at what the Houston Texans were able to do this year being a run first team. Fans seem to be obsessed with this pass first offense. There are many reasons why the Steelers should still be a run first team. If you look back at big Ben’s career I think the stats show that the Steelers were a better team when Roethlisberger was not putting up big flashy numbers, these numbers stick out like a sore thumb. in his first two years he lost 4 regular season games, he missed a few in 05 due to injury and won 24 regular season games in his first two seasons. He also won 4 playoff games and a super bowl. during those first two years he threw the ball 563 times. this year he threw the ball 513 times, that is just 50 fewer passes than his first two seasons combined. If you look at our offensive linemen you will also see guys that are more capable of blocking for the run than they are the pass. If you look at how many times ben got sacked, i think that proves my point. Having said that, i am well aware of the struggles in the run game. We do need to upgrade the offensive line. more important than being a run first or past first team, if you look at the game today the trenches are the most important positions next to the quarterback. the Steelers seem to go into panic mode the past two seasons, and when they do its pass, pass, pass. For all the great pass weapons we have, teams have been able to shut it down. Issac Redman had an awesome game against the broncos and there was enough time at the end to give him the ball, but instead it was business as usual and another sack of big ben. Speaking of redman I hope that he is the starter next year, he flat out deserves it. I know he is not the physical specimen that Mendenhall is but he continues to out perform Rashard. If we had a great offensive line like in years past then I would start Rashard hands down, but for now the glory days are over. our backs arent getting 5 yards into the hole before they get touched. We need a bruiser, we need Redman.

  • Cols714

    Postgameheroes has some interesting takes on Arians.
    1. They claim the tempo of BAs offense is slow by design to help the defense
    2. They claim they Steelers offense has outperformed the better offenses in the league during the playoffs as they’ve averaged 27 points in their playoff losses during the BA era.

    Anyways, interesting stuff, I’m not arguing they are right, just that you should go read it. Link

    http://www.postgameheroes.com/

  • ncsteelerfan

    Hoke retired. Hopefully Heyward and Hood learned enough from him.

    • GlennW

      I read in the PPG that moving Ziggy Hood to NT is a possibility.  Is he big/strong enough to handle this (or can he be)?  I have no knowledge or opinion on this; it’s just something that I’d not previously considered.  Such a move would take some of the heat off in replacing Hampton, if that’s the direction we’re moving in (as opposed to Hampton accepting a big pay cut).

      • Cols714

        That would be good if he can play there. Ziggy Hood seems like the shakiest of our first round picks in recent years. He hasn’t really shown all that much.

        • http://www.steelerslounge.com/ ryan

          Just posted the latest SL podcast and JJ talked specifically about Ziggy. And it ain’t good — at either end or nose tackle.

        • Rob D

          Ziggy ..the experts say he doesn’t command the double team. That makes him virtually useless as a starter at DE in a 3-4. HOw that translates into some people thinking he can play NT is beyond me. He’s very close to being a bust after a promising start. OK..not a bust bust..he’d probably be fine in a traditional 4-3. Or playing with an Aaron Smith clone on the opposite side of him. Time will tell if Heyward is that elite level talent.

      • GlennW

        By the way, this nugget came from Easy Ed Bouchette, about a week ago (before the news of Hoke’s retirement– no surprise there– and Hampton’s impending ACL surgery, which the team had previously been saying would not be necessary):

        “Hampton’s possible loss would prompt the biggest facelift. He has been a fixture at nose tackle since 2001. His possible replacements range from current backup Steve McLendon to end Ziggy Hood to a draft choice. Moving Hood would affect two positions, but they also drafted Cameron Heyward to play defensive end and that would open the job for him. Depth might be a problem, although they have shown some interest in young backups at end, Al Woods and Corbin Bryant.”Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/12022/1204978-66-0.stm#ixzz1kgATmTKW