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Monday, January 23, 2012

And then there were two

The Super Bowl matchup is now set and for Steelers fans, I offer this insight.

On one side, you have the kind of offense the Steelers have long proclaimed they'd like to be - the multiple sets of New England.

On the other side is the kind of offense they should be - a Giants offense that employs two running backs to go along with its three pretty darn good receivers.

Here's why the Steelers could be the Giants offensively a lot easier than they could the Patriots.

Pittsburgh has three outstanding young receivers in Antonio Brown, Mike Wallace and Emmanuel Sanders. Add Jerricho Cotchery to the mix - if they can re-sign him - and add in a dash of Heath Miller and the Steelers could be every bit as dangerous as New York.

The interesting thing here is that while the general belief is that the Giants are a run-first team, they decidedly were not this season. But they ran the ball reasonably well when Ahmad Bradshaw was healthy.

Rashard Mendenhall could be used in the same fashion, if, and this is a big if, he would get more looks in the passing game.

Bruce Arians always raved about Mendenhall's hands. But the Steelers rarely did much to take advantage of them.

As for Brandon Jacobs, I'd say that Isaac Redman is a better, younger version of the big back, capable of picking up a yard when you need to and help run out the clock at the end of the game.

And yes, the Giants employ a fullback, former Pitt star Henry Hynoski.

It is interesting to note that Hynoski said in a radio interview last week with Joe Starkey that the Steelers wanted to sign him as an undrafted free agent.

Odds are that whomever the Steelers hire as their new offensive coordinator, having a true fullback will become a priority once again.

It is, after all, easier to find a fullback than it is the next Rob Gronkowski.


Anonymous said...

Good call, Dale. Whenever I see the Giants play I think "now THAT is what the Steelers offense was supposed to look like this year." A solid commitment to the running game, even when it's not working, mixed with a lot of vertical plays to a bunch of talented WRs. None of this sandlot stuff or going deep-deep-deep every play.

Interestingly, I thought the Giants O looked like the Steelers O late in the 4Q and OT when it looked like Eli was locked into going deep-deep-deep to Cruz on every play. Predictably, the offense stalled and Eli got sacked a bunch of times.

Anonymous said...

They threw the ball 65-66 times vs the 49ers! For an average of 4.6 yards per catch. And Eli got sacked 4-5 times. This is what you want? They only won this game because the poor kid catching punts muffed 2. You must not be talking about this game.

adamg said...

Dale, what's your sense of how BR stands with the Rooneys? Is there a chance he might wear out his welcome sooner rather than later?

The Steelers might actually have found a reasonable facsimile of Gronkowski already in Wes Saunders.

I'm still waiting for teams to rediscover they're allowed to use two RBs who can both carry the ball AND block for each other ala Harris/Blier.

Anonymous said...

Dale, ESPN is now on the BA firing/retiring bandwagon and promoting it as a slap to BR since him and BA were close. How much of a rift with the cause with BR and ownership? What are your thoughts on any lone term effects?

Jeff G.

superfan99 said...

I love the idea of the Steelers running a similar offense to the Giants.

The only problem is the Steelers do not have a Hakeem Nicks/Plaxico Burress type WR. That is one of the keys to the NYG offensive success.

Anonymous #2, consider the matchup. Nobody runs on the 49ers, and they have elite pass rushers in Aldon and Justin Smith.

joe said...

screw that espn report. all steeler fans know br lobbied for arians last year, and i'm sure he did this year too. pffft non story. yet espn is trying to make a big deal out of it.

i'm sure nearly everyone on offense wanted ba back. it happens all over the league and guys get over it

TarheelFlyer said...

The best thing the new OC can do is have early success. Any coach needs to show the guys who have been doing XYZ that doing ABC will now work. It is just the reality. Whoever they hire MUST have guys buy into their system.

I think we will still be a pass first offense...I honestly have no problem with that, but if you watch the NE game yesterday their OC understood the situation and trusted his guys. He allowed guys to make plays for him. I need 8 he throws it 3 and lets the guy get the other 5. He has Welker sit down at the 8 yard mark. He doesn't have everyone running fly patterns down the field hoping they get open.

Anonymous said...

lol Gayvens

CHOKE SO HARD university

Robert K said...

After all Ben has put the Steelers organization through off the field he should just shut his mouth and play ball. If he really cared about his buddy Arians keeping his job he should have played with more discipline. Instead he fed his ego.

Dale Lolley said...

Wes Saunders is most definitely not in the same class as Gronkowski. Not even close.

No, Roethlisberger isn't wearing out his welcome anytime soon.

Players play, coaches coach and owners own. There won't be any rift.

Anonymous said...

All I can say is its all about Brady!!! He's on our new song entitled "Its Brady Bitch"

adamg said...

Dale, I'd be willing to bet that if BR doesn't start playing qb/running the offense as Art II wants, he'll find himself on the outside looking in pretty quick.

Let's face it, if Gronkowski played for the Steelers, he'd have been made into a primarily blocking TE with few balls thrown his way just like the other Mackey Award winning TEs the Steelers have had on their roster. The Steelers have a long history of ignoring their TEs in the passing game.

siggy00 said...

"Good call, Dale. Whenever I see the Giants play I think "now THAT is what the Steelers offense was supposed to look like this year."

#32 in the league in rushing?

Face the facts, if the 49ers DBs could catch the football the Giants lose.

Anonymous said...

"Dale, I'd be willing to bet that if BR doesn't start playing qb/running the offense as Art II wants, he'll find himself on the outside looking in pretty quick"

Ben doesn't need the Steelers. He would just go somewhere else and win.

If this were Jones, or Snyder butting into football matters what would be said?

Art II is a lawyer, not a football coach.

He should remember that.

Anonymous said...

"The Steelers have a long history of ignoring their TEs in the passing game"

And yet somehow Heath Miller caught 51 passes this season.


Dale Lolley said...

I'd take that bet with you in a second Adam.

And yep, they've ignored Heath Miller so much that he's the 4th all-time leading receiver in team history, ahead of some guy named Swann. Miller is routinely the third-leading receiver on this team. Has been pretty much in each of the last four or five seasons.

Dale Lolley said...

As for the Giants being last in rushing, how many games did Bradshaw miss? About 1/3 of the season. As I said, Redman is better than Jacobs.

In addition, their defense was so bad for about 3/4 of the season that they were forced to play catch up a lot. They also use their backs as receivers out of the backfield, which is a much different "run option" than throwing eight WR screens per game.

Anonymous said...

The point is everyone bashes Arians when it's Art II's meddling that has done this offense in.

In 2009 they were a top 10 offense and were 12th in scoring. Not bad considering the Bengals were good that year and you also face the Ravens twice a year.

But because no one wanted to admit that Dick LeBeau's 4th quarter scheme stunk (Not to mention that it took the CBs 15 games to catch an interception that year), the offense fell on the sword.

They then trade away Santonio Holmes.

In 2011? The 4th quarter defense again has issues, they also had issues with starting games slow, with causing turnovers, but rather than admit that, once again the offense falls on the sword for LeBeau.

In short? When is LeBeau going to be held accountable? 92 yards to Joe Flacco and 316 yards to Tim Tebow? If his last name was Arians he'd have been lynched.

I hope they promote Fichtner. Let him use his top three wides as the base offense with Miller and Mendy and go from there. No more 2-3 TE sets, no more bunch sets.

Spread these teams out, and use your speed.

Anonymous said...

How can you say Jacobs is better than Redman? We have yet to see him carry the load for more than 2 consecutive games, and against two pretty average run defenses. Jacobs may be much slower than before but he still has him beat in experience

probably next season though

adamg said...

Dale, who did Heath Miller pass to become the all-time leading TE receiver in team history? Elbie Nickel, who played half a century ago. Miller got nearly half his catches in just 4 games. That works out to about 2 recs/game for the other 12 games.

Gronkowski, otoh, caught 90 balls.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous Ben-abler: Defense 1st in fewest pts allowed. Offense, 21st in pts scored. Deal with it. And don't come back with the bs about turnovers because Ben and the offense turn the ball over plenty.

Anonymous said...

"Anonymous Ben-abler: Defense 1st in fewest pts allowed"

And most of the QBs they faced were garbage or rookies. Brady was the lobe exception.

Ben had 21 turnovers, 9 of them were in two games. That leaves 13 in his final 14 games. His INT % is the same as it was in his 2007 Pro Bowl year.

This defense gets fat against nobodies. Their last two playoff games? 620 yards passing and 5 TDs.

If Art wants 70s football? Trade Ben for two #1s, save the $30 million you have to pay him the next two years and move on.

Dale Lolley said...

Miller is the fourth leading Steelers receiver of all-time.
Again, if you want Miller catching 90 passes like Gronkowski, whose passes is he going to catch.

Would you rather have Wallace or Brown catching the ball, or Heath?

This offense is going to run the ball more moving forward, which means fewer passes. Again, whose catches are you giving Miller?