Monday, November 23, 2009

Steelers should adjust game plan

With Charlie Batch out with a broken wrist, many Steelers fans are in a panic.

Who will start next week against the Baltimore Raves with Batch out and Ben Roethlisberger having left Sunday's game against Kansas City after taking a knee to the head?

Don't worry, Roethlisberger is fine.

But let's be honest here. It's likely that Roethlisberger will be a little more susceptible to a full-blown concussion after taking the knee from linebacker Derrick Johnson Sunday.

With that in mind, now would be a good time for the Steelers to dust off an older playbook, one that won't require so many passes from the unquestioned leader and best player.

Rashard Mendenhall is proving capable of carrying the load and Willie Parker looks as if he's as close to 100 percent as he's been in two months.

Baltimore's defense is also not the Baltimore defense of old. The Ravens can be run on - even though the real weakness is at cornerback.

Plus it would make far more sense to have Roethlisberger hand off 35 times than drop back and throw into a secondary that includes Ed Reed.

He may have passed all of the cognitive tests the team gave him Monday, but testing Reed too much is tempting fate, especially if Roethlisberger is even the slightest bit slow.

35 comments:

deljzc said...

Dale,

That makes too much sense for the Arians/Roethlisberger think tank.

To them, they will think the opposite as a "surprise" for the Ravens and come out pass happy from the get go.

I hope you're right about Roethlisberger though.

Patrick said...

I'm sorry, but the timing and irony of this is too much:

PFT reports Fabian Washington is done.

http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2009/11/23/ravens-lose-fabian-washington/

Of course this is the week that the corners are begging to be thrown on.

MJ said...

But how is the NFL's new concussion policy going to affect Roethlisberger's availability. He might have been cleared three years ago after his concussion against the Falcons, but I wonder if the same will happen after this latest one... With four concussions in three years, we're getting into Steve Young territory here.

Anonymous said...

How did Batch break his wrist? Is this it for him as a steeler?

Anonymous said...

What difference does it make? The way my favorite team is playing now, and with the seemingly inability of the coaching staff to correct the situation, it makes no difference who plays QB.

The team is playing very poor football and no one on the coaching staff is taking action.

I knew 3 years ago that Arians was not a good choice. His offense failed in Cleveland and it is not doing much better her. Too much inconsistency.

But I will still root for my team!

noel said...

OK, I'm not an Arians fan but I think some of the problem on offense is not his fault. Of course with so much offense yesterday some will question why we think there's a problem at all. ~500 yards against Kansas City is not overly impressive and it's somewhat negated by all the penalties and turnovers. Completely negated by the big 4 in the loss column.

Anyhow, the biggest knock on Arians is the pass-happy offense. I don't like it either but the truth is we still don't get enough push in the middle of the line to consistently run in the middle of the field. Yes, Kemoeatu has improved. Yes, Colon has really improved. Against strong defenses though, we haven't shown an ability to generate the type of push or open holes consistently that a strong running game requires, especially to close out games. Hartwig and Essex have done a good job but we need to see more push from one of these guys in order to see the balance we crave. Even the Quarterback sneaks are barely working. There is nothing to stop teams from sealing the perimeter and blitzing guys when they need to to keep the pressure on late in games.

No miracle fixes are coming. All we can do is have faith in the coaching staff that they can button down some of these issues, particularly with the coverage units. Last year our coverage was outstanding. It seems unlikely to me that the special teams coach forgot how to coach between then and now. Something else has to be wrong there.

adamg said...

The thing about the running game is that you have to stick with it even when it goes for little or no gain. That's what the Steelers did under Cowher and what they don't do under Arians. The running game doesn't provide the instant gratification of the downfield passing game. It also takes a few runs for the OL to start getting the best of the push with the DL.

It seems neither BR nor BA have the patience for running and the other team's defense knows it. They don't really have to bother stopping the run because they know the Steelers will abandon it sooner rather than later, no matter how good it is, in a game making themselves one-dimensional.
Then when the Steelers need to run the ball, they can't and teams know they can tee off on the qb.

Tim said...

The good coverage units last year was an abberation. Our Special Teams coverage units have been piss poor for years. Yet we still retain the same guy to coach ST's.

And Arians sucks too. I don't care how many yards our offense rolls up. His offense doesn't deliver and when it does its on "broken plays" that ben pulls out his @ss. The Bengals rolled their coverage downfield and left the short field open ALL DAY and Arians/Ben could not take advantage. Get a real OC than can call plays and coach Ben to be a complete QB.

adamg said...

The ironic thing with that suggestion is that the QB coach, Ken Anderson, was the master of the short to intermediate passing game.

marc said...

some food for thought,

in BR's career he has attempted 40+ passes in 11 games and racked up 18 int's in those games.

hmmm, i don't know, let's not throw it up so much.

NO TOMMY GUN OFFENSE! said...

No Tommy Gun Offense PLEASE!

Dale Lolley said...

I'm pretty sure the new concussion policy is why Mike Tomlin never said Roethlisberger was concussed. He said he had a concussion-like injury.

Patrick said...

Lets get to the spirit of this blog, which is not to bicker or name call, but for a first hand view from Dale.

Dale, did you see them last week doing or adjusting anything in practice on the kick coverage? Is there anything specific you see?

This might be a silly question since whatever they did obviously didn't work. Just curious what goes on/what adjustments are being made during the week.

Anonymous said...

Yes, Baltimore's defense is not what it used to be and they "can" be run on. However, I would still say they are a good defense. The Steelers can focus on the run, the pass, whatever, this offense has NOT shown much against good defenses all year. (Although they do pile up yards, but not enough POINTS, and too many mental mistakes, against bad defenses.)

noel said...

I have a question too. Is there any hope for Kraig Urbik? Not for this year but down the road. I'm used to seeing rookies sit with this team and I like the way they do things but I don't think I've ever heard anything promising about this guy. Ramon Foster appears to have the confidence of the coaching staff. Does Urbik seem like a guy who can start someday?

Anonymous said...

Why did you report the Steelers will hold a workout for QBs today?

noel said...

There's a rumor they'll be signing Tyler Palko to the practice squad for QB insurance, maybe they're working him and some other guys out to see how they look?

Patrick said...

Have they started looking for that kickoff specialist?

Anonymous said...

"Lets get to the spirit of this blog, which is not to bicker or name call, but for a first hand view from Dale.

Dale, did you see them last week doing or adjusting anything in practice on the kick coverage? Is there anything specific you see?

This might be a silly question since whatever they did obviously didn't work. Just curious what goes on/what adjustments are being made during the week."

The adjustments they make are to try and tackle the guy with the ball. Patrick - you are a friggin idiot. You dont know $hit about football so STFU

marc said...

i'll be very disappointed if they don't bring in a veteran backup QB. i don't know who's out there, but palko can't be our best option in case BR goes down.

Patrick said...

you just have to be a pain in the ass, don't you. Please explain why that idea is just SO absurd to you.

It's a drastic solution, but to a major problem that has not shown any signs of being fixed and is losing the Steelers games.

Carolina has one (Floyd) and he lead the league in Touchbacks last year with 30. So far this year he has 18, Jeff Reed has 1. Floyd's average is 68.8 compared to 60.5 for Reed.

I know it is hard to get through your skull, but the Steelers could use a few touchbacks on kickoffs.

Don't login duplicating my name. If you want to be an internet clown, use an original name.

MJ said...

So is the new NFL policy going to preclude teams from admitting a player had a concussion? Seems very dangerous if teams do that to skirt the policy. It will be interesting to hear what Tomlin says today at his presser.

Patrick said...

anonymous: your response is beyond dumb. I'm asking a question to Dale about if they have made adjustments or changs to strategy. No shit the objective is to tackle the guy.

Dale can you start moderating this? This is ridiculous.

noel said...

If you keep getting worked up they'll keep poking at you, just let it go.

I agree we could use more touchbacks on kickoff (I wonder how Sepulveda would look kicking off)but there's more wrong than that. If they can't tackle guys starting at the fifteen yard line, they won't be able to tackle guys starting from the two-yard line or the end zone.

Patrick said...

I agree there is more wrong than that, I'm just suggesting something to help and reduce the chance of returns/possible TD's.

Reed's kicks aren't only short, they are also line drives. But before we put words in my mouth, I'm blaming Reed, I'm just suggesting that could help to change some things.

Patrick said...

not blaiming Reed....

Patrick said...

Patrick actually suggested tackling as a solution the other day:

"Heres an idea for the coverage: Tackle the guy with the ball. Lets start there and see where we end up."

I think it's a great start.

Patrick

adamg said...

Patrick, the coaches tell the kicker what direction and how far to kick the ball. On the last two KR TDs, Reed's kick basically pinned the KR within several yards of the sideline. There is no way a receiver should be able to run all the way across the field and turn the other corner.

Anyway, after listening to Tomlin's presser, it looks like a few more changes will be made. He said they are working out a couple of players and flying in another for a look see.

Dale Lolley said...

The past two kickoff returns for TDs, the return man has completely run all the way across the field on the minus side of the 50. When that happens, it's a tackling issue, not a kicking or scheme issue.

I won't pretend to know enough about special teams to know if they've significantly changed their coverage.

Anonymous said...

Why is Patrick so testy all the time?

Patrick said...

Dale - can the Steelers coaches make some adjustments like a new tackling technique that works better? Also, what if we find a kicker that can do kickoffs through the goal post, that way we don't let the other team return the ball and we get 3 extra points. What do you guys think?

Patrick said...

adamg, its fine and well that the kicker is placing the ball where the coaches tell him. But clearly it isn't working.

All I'm saying is we have a roster spot dedicated to a ST player that could be used by a curent player without a dropoff that would be devastating. So why not use that dedicated ST spot where the glaring weakness is, and that is kickoffs.

As to the above poster, I never said anything like that. And when you give up as many kicks as the Steelers have, is it that crazy to think they might try and change some things, including strategy?

Let me answer for you, since you can't comprehend that. No it isn't.

Contribute something - all you do is duplicate my name and post idiotic bullshit.

Anonymous said...

Good scouting by the Chiefs - have the KR run across the field horizontally, and the Steelers coverage team won't know what the f--- to do.

Patrick said...

Patrick is one nasty guy.

Anonymous said...

Why did you report the Steelers were working out QBs when they'd signed Palko?