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Friday, January 20, 2012

Philbin hire means Clements likely out

With Joe Philbin's hiring Friday as head coach of the Miami Dolphins on Friday, you can likely cross Green Bay QB coach Tom Clements off the list for potential Bruce Arians replacements.

It's likely that Clements will get the first shot to replace Philbin as Green Bay's offensive coordinator. So unless he has a burning desire to come back to Pittsburgh – where he grew up – to join the Steelers staff for a second time, it's unlikely Clements will be the man.

Arians, of course, "retired" on Friday after being with the Steelers since 2004, including the past five seasons as offensive coordinator.

Randy Fichtner would be the top candidate from within the organization to replace Arians.

The top two outside candidates could be a pair of fired NFL head coaches, Kansas City's Todd Haley and Indianapolis' Jim Caldwell.

Haley is a Pittsburgh native whose father - a McDonald native – Dick was a longtime personnel man for the Steelers.

Caldwell, meanwhile, coaches with Tomlin under Tony Dungy in Tampa Bay and the two maintain a relationship.

© Here are my picks for this weekend's games:

Baltimore (plus 7 1/2 ) at New England
The Ravens were bad on the road this season, but New England made it to the AFC Championship without beating a team this season that finished the season with a winning record.

Something tells me the Pats will figure out a way to bottle up Ray Rice.

Take Baltimore to cover in a 27-20 loss

N.Y. Giants (plus 2 1/2) at San Francisco

The Giants look like a team of destiny right now. Plus, they led the NFL with 48 sacks, while the 49ers gave up 44, most of any team that made the playoffs.

Take the Giants, 23-17


Patrick said...

any chance Mark Whipple could be a candidate?

That was Ben's boy and according to Wikipedia, he is currently the Browns QB coach, so it would be an upward move.

Patrick said...

never mind on Whipple. I didn't realize Tomlin let him go. I thought he left for a college position on his own.

Steve-O said...

My vote is for Todd Haley to come to Pittsburgh but Tomlin has ties to Caldwell which in my mind isn't necessarily a bad thing. Both are smart guys with a lot of experience and in my opinion an upgrade over Arians whose play calling was adequate but often predictable.

adamg said...

I don't know about Caldwell. It's hard to know how much credit to give him given his qb was Manning or how much blame given the Polians did such a poor job drafting. Don't forget one of BA's selling points was that he coached Manning, too.

BR doesn't need another best buddy, he needs a task master who will make him improve.

Eric said...

Caldwell BLOWS!!!!!!!!! he was a QB Coach in Indy & really does Pey Pey need a qb coach?

The Steelers need some one to be firm with Ben & not an asskisser like Arains & Fichtner

Maybe GB has someone else in mind for the OC job?

Dale Lolley said...

Why does everyone assume Fichtner would coddle Roethlisberger? Why does everyone assume that was the problem?

Dan said...

"Why does everyone assume that was the problem?"

I think it's because (1) Roethlisberger is reportedly very close with Arians (for example, he's taking Arians with him to the Pro Bowl this year); (2)Roethlisberger has publicly voiced his support for Arians several times over the past few years and apparently talked Arians out of retiring a few years ago and (3) Ben's game hasn't improved or changed over the past few years (and may have actually regressed)- he still holds the ball way too long way too often looking for the big play, and this year he looked to be actively avoiding open check down options.

The whole situation makes me and others suspicious about the Arians-Roethlisberger relationship. Ben seemed to have free reign to do what he wanted at the expense of the overall wellbein of the offense.

Dan said...

Just to clarify, I love Ben's playmaking ability. However, it seems to have developed into a crutch. He's trying to turn every play into a miracle, even when doing so isn't needed given the game situation.

Ben's injury this year is a perfect example of this. It was mid second quatrter against a medicore Browns team. The Steelers were leading. It was second down. Ben had an open check down for positive yardage, maybe even a first down. Ben looked at the check down (I think it was Brown), then looked deep again and held it, waiting and watching the three closest Browns defenders swarm him and injure his leg.

By this point in his career, Ben's playmaking should be the icing on the cake. It's not, and I think the Offense's reliance on Ben's improvisation is the root of the Offense's inconsistancy and red zone problems. Arians hasn't improved Roethlisberger's game. Without a change, I fear that the hits will take a toll and Roethlisberger's physical game is going to rapidly decline ala Dante Culpepper.

Anonymous said...

Im still gonna go with Fichtner. They finally have a franchise QB and he is who he is. I think minor things can be done and make a world of difference in 7's game.

Just because Fichtner worked under Arians doesnt mean he doesnt have different schemes etc..

Anonymous said...

From the outside, it looks like Ben loved Arians because Arians let Ben do whatever he wanted with the offense. It's Ben's offense as much as Arians. If Ben had played better in Ben's offense, Arians would still be here and no one would be complaining about him.

But typical Ben needed ten yards for a legit FG try to win a playoff game and instead took another sack-fumble (after, again, bad clock management right before) because he refuses to, or is incapable of, using his brain and instead wants to be a hero on every single play with the ever-ready excuses of "two rings" and "I'm just soooo competitive" (as if playing smart and living another down means you don't want to win -- self-justifying BS, in my opinion / as for the two rings -- thank you but you also had consistently top 3 defenses the entire time which you wouldn't even have made the playoffs without them carrying you).

And again, from the outside, it looks like Arians (and Tomlin) are the enablers of Ben's Ego Style, which results in an offense which, from my couch, looks awful 2/3 of the time. Eight games with less than 20 points. The highlight of the season was a game which the offense DOMINATED against the worst defense in the league at the time and yet they still managed to only score 23 points and leaved the D on the field for the finishing Kiesel sack.

Ben is as much the problem as Arians but maybe a change of OC would help him get smarter? Who knows? The other problem is, as much as I rant against Ben he is obviously a heck of a football player who you don't want to change THAT much, he's right up there in that second-tier non-Brady/Manning level in my opinion.

Dale, what do you think the problem is? Just Ben needs to mature (I mean, my God, he's 30, isn't he?) some more?

Tim said...


Because Ben and BA both consider 400 yards passing and 9 points more successful than 150 yards passing and 21 points.

We have the talent to have a top 3 offense, and we aren't even close. We have every weapon we need, but the offense literally is NOT COORDINATED ENOUGH. Poor gameplans, terrible situational playcalling, little chemistry among players, and BA and Ben talk about how prolific we are on offense.

Anonymous said...

It was not too long ago that people were all over Arians because he wasn't giving Ben enough freedom to run the no huddle or call his own plays. Now everyone thinks BA didn't give BR enough structure. I think the bottom line this year is the lack of talent on the offensive line and injuries. I understand that he had to go because of a lack of scoring, but getting rid of BA is not going to cure all this team's offensive ills.

Anonymous said...

By Arian's own measuring stick, his silly one point:one minute TOP metric, he consistently fell well short of his own mark.

Isn't Roethlisberger taking Fichtner + wife to Honolulu, too? Just sayin. Roethlisberger is credited with saving Arian's ass once before. Which says a lot about how much power he has. Course that was before Benapalooza. But his relationship with Arian's the enabler never changed. I'd think promoting Fichtner would be a sign of placating Roethlisberger. Poor sucker would be getting pulled in two different directions. I know Tomlin humped coaching continuity with his season wrap. So I'm expecting Fichtner. Just not sure it's a good idea setting him up like that where he has to try to play both sides. But whatever.

Anonymous said...

Dale, what is your opinion on who may be cut for us to get under the salary cap? Also, is this a draft that you could see the steelers trading down to pick up extra picks. Third, one of the beat writers (I don't think it was you) called Chris Carter one of the steals of the draft. How would you compare his upside to Worilds?
Thanks for the blog!

Dale Lolley said...

Again, why is Fichtner being equated with a continuation of Arians?
You guys do realize they are two different people.
Fichtner is not Arians' alter ego.

Marshall said...

Because for some reason people think that any coach who has a good relationship with Ben will let him "do whatever he wants", whatever that means. Anyway, criticism will always be thrown wherever it seems most popular. Arians was always the popular target even if the reason didn't always make sense. Expect the same to happen to the next OC no matter who it is.

emac2 said...

Why would Clements be unlikely because there is an opening in Green bay?

He can stay in green bay and hope to maintain the perfection that will always be credited to his predecessor or he can come home and save the Steelers.

I can see him staying in green bay but personally I would rather take the challenge and the reward offered by the Steelers situation and imagine that he would too unless he's worried Ben won't take the next step.

My guess is that he wants to build a house instead of just cleaning one.zones

emac2 said...

I think people, including myself consider Ben to be coddled because he has a history of being out of control and no one has been able to do anything about any of it until he got busted.

When a player causes problems for the organization and also shows a failure to display much self control on the field I think it is reasonable to consider that no one is no one has any control over him. You might call it something other then coddled but I think the bottom line is that people feel he isn't being pushed to improve because he isn't improving.

How many times does someone get sacked before they get rid of the ball quicker?

emac2 said...

Fichtner is being equated with a continuation of Arians because the feeling is that the whole organization has let Ben make too many decisions and that someone from outside will demand more respect if we hire a stong well qualified person.

Why would you expect Fichtner to get more respect/adherence from Ben then Arians? I would guess Ben is just as comfortable with him and probably respects him a little bit less.

Dale Lolley said...

Because Green Bay will make him OC, meaning they can deny the Steelers the chance to even talk to him since it would be a lateral move.

As for Ben and any new OC, I don't think it matters who the OC is, Roethlisberger is still going to run the show. You build your offense around your strength. The strength of this team is the QB and wide receivers. The only question is, how are the plays going to be called?
Fichtner is a very sharp guy.

adamg said...

Doesn't matter how sharp Fitchner is if BR audibles a lot and continues to play sandlot football. It will be same old, same old.

Wasn't a BA fan, but I think he is probably pretty sharp, too. The fact that the scripted plays on the first drives seemed to work so well indicates as much.

And, 1 Harbaugh down, 1 to go. :)

Anonymous said...

Tough way for the Ravens to go out. A little part of me wants to feel sorry for them, but schadenfreude is more enjoyable.

Dan said...

---As for Ben and any new OC, I don't think it matters who the OC is, Roethlisberger is still going to run the show. You build your offense around your strength. The strength of this team is the QB and wide receivers. The only question is, how are the plays going to be called?
Fichtner is a very sharp guy.---

I'm afraid that the strength at QB doesn't look as drastic now as it did in 2007. I think people are blaming Arians because it's less troubling to blame Arians than it is to blame Ben. Let's hope that there's some improvement next year. More turnovers than TDs from the QB position isn't going to cut it.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, Ravens outplayed the Pats for the most part, I thought.

Mark said...

After seeing the Ravens having the winning touchdown pass slip through their fingers, I wonder about the way the Steelers DBs play the deep ball.

It seems like when Ike and Gay get burned, they wave their arms up in the air (without looking) as the ball is coming in, hoping to get a lucky tip (or to distract the WR). They are usually in a better position than the WR to catch the ball (if they turned around to look for the ball), and they are usually close enough to poke the ball out (if they weren't waving their arms in the air). Is this really the way they are being instructed to defend the pass?

Anonymous said...

Maybe, Marshall, people are referring to the undisciplined offense Ben runs under Arians' coaching, along with the various articles about how close Ben & Bruce are off the field with quotes from Ben and Batch saying how Arians just throws out whatever plays Ben doesn't like & what a great player's coach he is. Even if this is exaggerated it creates the impression from the outside that this relationship contributes to the undisciplined play on the field. Whatever that means.

The only thing easier & more annoying than criticizing the OC is saying how easy it is to criticize the OC. If we're not qualified or informed enough to criticize, then we're also not qualified or informed enough to praise. In that case, what's the use of message boards, blogs, etc. Everybody just be quiet and let the mature folks have their silence, please.

Anonymous said...

That's what we have Cook and Smizik for. They can tell us how stupid fans are for criticizing Arians, while they criticize Arians.

Tho I guess that's still better than being completely gutless.

Anonymous said...

Seems as though Arians' departure almost certainly signifies that we will not be able to re-sign both Antonio Brown and Mike Wallace. There wont be enough passes to go around to keep them both happy.

Marshall said...

Well, Anonymous, part of my point was made when you so confidently described Ben's play as undisciplined, as if you would know. I'm just a fan, but I would assume that it's commonplace for coaches to make alterations in order to make life easier for your franchise qb.

That being said, having a good relationship with a coach doesn't necessarily mean that "undisciplined" play is being encouraged or overlooked. If the issue is in fact with Ben's decision making, then it shouldn't matter who the OC is.

What I'm saying is, since the majority of our opinions are based off of speculation rather than truth, one man has taken too much criticism based off of speculation.

Praising and criticizing during an emotional game is indeed both fun and easy. But at the end of the day, making declarations on how someone did his job when we clearly have no idea is humorous to me. I'll wait until I hear it from Tomlin, Mr. Rooney or someone else who actually knows what they're talking about.

Robert K said...

So many times did Ben take sacks that killed drives and took us out of field goal range this year?

It doesn't take years of football coaching experience to see the bad plays Ben makes.

Ben is a good players but the number of rookie type mistakes he makes is frustrating.

Anonymous said...

Marshall, I don't believe your criticism of whiners like me is based on the "confidence" with which an opinion is expressed.

Do you seriously believe anyone here thinks they are more than "just a fan"?

If I put non-expert disclaimers before all opinions or just used a lot of "as a mere fan" or "it seems" or "from the outside it appears to me that" when I say Ben plays undisciplined, would you find me less humorous or yourself less smug? I doubt it.

Anyway, there is seemingly speculation in the media that "Mister" Rooney (and/or Tomlin?) apparently might have been somewhat unhappy with the coaching of Arians. It's true I don't know The Ultimate Truth about this but I thought I might speculate and discuss these things with other Steelers fans, since the Rooneys don't have a blog comment section of their own where I could discover it, and thus be worthy of speaking in a non-humorous to Marshall fashion.

--Anonymous Brian

Marshall said...

First, let me apologize for coming off as "smug" as you say, since that wasn't my intention. My statement wasn't an attack on you, but an observation made based off of what we say as fans sometimes, myself included. I was stating my opinion just as you have stated yours.

I just don't understand the level of criticism one coach has recieved since there are so many other variables involved in the game. Does Arians deserve some criticism? Absolutely. But so does Ben. So does Tomlin. So does everyone else involved because ultimately, they didn't get the job done this year.

I have no problem with complaining about my team or others complaining. I do more than my fair share during the game.

However, when I hear or see people make statements that I disagree with, I'm free to say so. As you said, forums like these are good for discussion, right? Don't take it so personally, Anonymous Brian.

Anonymous said...

OK, yeah, I did get all snippy. Hopefully the Steelers stay healthy down the stretch next year.

-- Anonymous Brian

Marshall said...

Definitely agree! Injuries are a killer.

marc said...

i'm curious how much of the decision for a new OC will be up to tomlin. is this a "group" decision between colbert, rooney and tomlin or do colbert and rooney listen to tomlin's suggestions then make their own decision?

either way, one poster commented on how they would want to hear from experts about how good arians is instead of critical fans. well, rooney and colbert are experts in my mind and i think the answer is pretty clear.

Robert said...

Such a great article which The top two outside candidates could be a pair of fired NFL head coaches, Kansas City's Todd Haley and Indianapolis' Jim Caldwell. Haley is a Pittsburgh native whose father a McDonald native Dick was a longtime personnel man for the Steelers. Thanks for sharing this article.