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Friday, January 27, 2012

Roethlisberger's words not damning

Some people will try to make a mountain out of a molehill, which is what is happening with the Steelers jettisoning offensive coordinator Bruce Arians.

But Ben Roethlisberger seems to have put things in proper perspective.

"When I get back, I'm going to go up to Mr. Rooney's office and ask him what he wants from me, what he wants from this offense, because I think that's a viable question for him," Roethlisberger told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review on Thursday following an AFC practice at Hickam Air Force Base. "He's our owner and our boss, so I really would like to know kind of what he wants and where he sees our offense going because I'd like to tell him where I see us going."

Roethlisberger is 100 percent correct, though he didn't identify which Rooney, Dan or Art II, that he was speaking about.

The bottom line is that Dan Rooney has the title of chairman and Art II that of team president. If they were unhappy with the direction of the offense, they were free to express it.

In fact, Art did just that a couple of years ago, saying the team needed to run the ball more effectively.

And you know what, the Steelers made that a point of emphasis in 2010.

But the offense obviously took a step backward in 2011, though the defense's lack of forced turnovers certainly didn't help.

Still, the point is that Art Rooney II or Dan Rooney or whoever made the call for Arians to go - I believe it was Dan - was perfectly within their rights to do so. They are, after all, the guys writing the checks.

And this isn't out of character for the Steelers. Remember, back in 1989, Dan Rooney ordered Chuck Noll to fire linebackers coach Jed Hughes.

If Noll can be ordered to fire an assistant - one that Noll liked - why not Mike Tomlin?


adamg said...

Love to be a fly on the wall at that meeting...

Obviously, BR got the message that his and the offense's play wasn't good enough this year and needs to improve. Kudos to him for taking the initiative to sit down with the ownership to find out their thouhgts. I just hope what he hears doesn't go in one ear and out the other.

Robert K said...

Couldn't you also say that the offense failing to score hurt the defenses chances to get turnovers? Since we never forced teams to play from behind opposing offenses had no urgency to go downfield and score. They could play conservatively knowing that our offense wasn't going to put up that many points.

This is why teams like the packers/saints and NE have often gotten lots of turnovers. Teams attack them recklessly because they know they need to score to keep up. Teams playing us don't have that worry.

Thats not the whole story. Our defense needs some work but I still believe the offense is the cause of more of the teams problems.

Anonymous said...

I think our biggest issue was not have a bigger "red zone" targets. Our little receivers are great at separating in space, but when the field shrinks in the red zone, you need people who can make a play when they are covered. Look at the touchdown scores in this league.

Calvin Johnson
Dwayne Bowe
Larry Fitzgerald
Jordy Nelson
AJ Green
Vincent Jackson
Laurnent Robinson
Hackeem Nicks

All big bodied guys who can make a play when on a jump ball.

DD said...

I agree with the comments here. I also just don't understand how Big Ben can't see that there has consistently been an issue with scoring in the red zone with this team. It wasn't just this yr. They haven't broken the top 10 in scoring (PPG) since 2007 (9). For a perenial SB contender, that just isn't good enough and shows that the D carries this team yr in an yr out. Something does have to change. Yards don't matter, points do.

adamg said...

IMHO, BR would be wise not to offer his opinion or defend the offense. When the boss has made a decision, he doesn't want to hear what you think.

As for needing tall receivers, you don't necessarily need that if you have well designed routes and/or you have a running game that's capable of pounding the ball in, which, in turn, makes the defense play more honestly and opens up more possible ways to score.

TarheelFlyer said...

I don't think we need taller players, we need more physical players. A guy like Anquan Boldin is only 6'1" tall, only an inch taller than Mike Wallace, but Wallace comes in at 199 while Boldin is 223. That 25 pounds makes a huge difference.

Add this to our lack of more than 1 TE threat and not using the RBs as weapons and you have an offense that struggled in the redzone.

Anonymous said...

Ben's words aren't nearly as bad as they look. TheFan has the audio up there, they totally left out some other key statements and made it appear that the article was Ben talking because Arians got fired.

Typical jackass move.

Mark said...

Like Anonymous above mentioned, hearing the words (instead of reading snippets) gives Ben's words the proper context. On one of the fan sites, people who were ripping Ben about being arrogant and power-hungry changed their tune quickly after actually hearing the way he said it.

DAVE said...

Can someone post a link to the audio? Or at least the website where it can be found.

kelly said...

Dave, check out the audio here:

adamg said...

Interestingly, The Fan morning guys all said that "media Ben" is far different from everywhere else Ben. They said he never speaks/talks like in any other situation. Phony is the word that popped into my head right away. I think I'd take how he sounded with a grain of salt.

Robert K said...

That list of the top scoring all being tall/physical guys is very interesting. That is a part of our offense we are missing.

I think Heath Miller could do more for us in the red zone if targeted more.

Obviously the running game could be better too.

Anonymous said...

Who are we kidding? All of our receivers are 6' tall burners who can run by the coverage, which is all fine and dandy, that's how Arians preferred things. His gameplans were centered around our athletic receivers making plays. However, if it wasn't a long bomb TD then the receivers in the red zone were pretty ineffective. That TD leaders list being riddled wit big bodied athletes is no coincidence, the Steelers need to find a bigger, badder target to help Ben. Look around the league, all the elite QB's have a big target except Ben.

Anonymous said...

Until the problems with the offensive line are addressed I don't feel that the stats will improve. It is still a game of blocking and tackling and we need help in the first category!

TarheelFlyer said...

Just to throw some fire into this conversation:

Patriots: 24 TDs to 2 BIG TEs, 9 to Welker a possession guy, 5 to Branch and 1 to Ochostinko. Basically NE used physical matchups to score their TDs.

We had 2 to Heath, 1 to David Johnson, and 1 to Saunders.

We had 5 guys with at least 2 TDs. Maybe we had too many weapons that we never focused on what we wanted to accomplish?

TarheelFlyer said...

Looking around at some stats, I have been pretty amazed what I have seen.

For instance, 15 of Ben's 21 TD passes have been from in the Redzone. That surprises me.

I started looking at our FG attempts on the year. 31, but you see NE had 33. I am thinking they must have been longer attempts due to our Redzone struggles, but was surprised to see similarities.

50+ - both kickers 2 tries
40-49 - both took 11
30-39 - We took 8, they took 6
20-29 - We took 8, they took 13
1-19 - We took 2, they took 1

I find that interesting. That means they struggled inside they stalled inside the 20 more than we did...or at least that what the stats would tell us, but they mislead.

We punted 59 times, they punted 57 times. They scored 513 points...we scored 325. They only averaged about 50 yards more than we did per game.

This leads me to a conclusion, the lack of TOs really hurt us. We took the ball away 15 times. NE, whose defense is bad, had 11 Fumble recoveries and 23 interceptions. That is insane compared to us. Not only was our O not very good, our D didn't help our cause. I know any D built on OLBs who loses them will struggle, but wow!

Anonymous said...

You can't blame the D for everything, if the offense could score points they wouldn't have to bail out the offense all of the time.

Anonymous said...

Ben needs to get over the fact his "buddy" was fired. The Rooney's are in charge of the orgainization. I am glad they finaly fired the OC, it has been needed for years.

Anonymous said...

Arians had to do a lot of tricky things in the end zone, such as that end around to wallace in the broncos game, to scores

why we don't throw more to our TEs in the end zone I don't know. Remember the Saunders TD in KC? That's some natural ability we could use this season. I don't particularly have a hard on for the guy like many seem to have, but he's got potential to help us in those situations

and like always, if our tackles didn't need so much help Heath would not have to stay in blocking all the time. Especially in the red zone. With Gilbert no longer a rookie and Colon, hopefully, coming back healthy we might get that chance. So long as Gilbert's transition goes smoothly

Eric T said...


I would add that our offense had 11 more giveaways than NE (28 to 17). Ben and co need to take better care of the ball.

Anonymous said...

In terms of red zone scoring percentage, the Steelers were @ 51% - 17th in the league.

Some of the teams with higher percentages in the red zone are a little surprising - Detroit leads the league @ 66.13%, while a plethora of non-playoff teams like the Jets, Vikings, Carolina, Tennessee, Buffalo, Chicago, and Philadelphia are ahead of the Steelers.

Meanwhile, grind-it-out teams with big scoring targets like Cincy (Jerome Simpson, Jermaine Gresham, AJ Green), Houston (Andre Johnson, Owen Daniels) and SF (Braylon Edwards, Vernon Davis) are at the bottom of the pile - Houston is 23rd @ 47%, Cincy 25th, and SF 30th.

Maybe RZ % is not all its cracked it up to be?

bruinmann77 said...

I agree Ben has the right to ask questions and sure Art will give him the answer that the scoring offense was not good and since he the QB he has to wind a way to improve.
he has the weapons and needs to get the job done. The Red zone their our options in our Big TE Miller and Saunders but they are always used as blockers instead, the easy answer is improve the OL.

Anonymous said...

Looks like Arians has agrees to be the OC for the colts

Patrick said...

Dale can you comment on Tomlin saying that Arians retired when that is clearly not the case. Was that Tomlin's words or do you think he was just following what the powers that be told him to say?

My guess is it was suggested he phrase that way, Arians didn't like his departure none too much and decided to set the record straight and make the organization look a little dysfunctional at the same time. (which at the moment, they kind of do)

bruinmann77 said...

wow if Arians does turn it around in Indy what does it say for ben

Mark said...

bruinmann77, many of the Arians-detractors said that he was getting bailed out by Ben. If Indy gets turned around while Peyton is there, it doesn't say much of anything.

Anonymous said...

It will be interesting to see what Arians contract in Indy looks like. Will he sign a 1yr contract? Or will it be multiple years? Will Peyton or Luck have to talk him into signing a new deal every year?
People that compare ArtII to Jerry Jones are suffering from tunnel vision.

Anonymous said...

No worries, Peyton Manning has taken his last snaps as an Indianapolis Colt.

adamg said...

Wasn't BA at Indy before? I seem to recall part of his resume being he coached Peyton Manning.

Dale Lolley said...

BA was Peyton's first QB coach