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Sunday, January 19, 2014

What the Steelers want

Watching the AFC Championship game today, I couldn't help but think that the Denver offense is exactly what the Steelers want their offense to look like moving forward.

They want the ball out of Ben Roethlisberger's hands quickly, just as Manning did all day.

They want Roethlisberger calling plays at the line of scrimmage, giving him the ability to check out of bad plays and into good ones, just as Manning did.

They want to control the clock with their offense, just as the Broncos did, keeping Tom Brady standing on the sidelines for long periods of time.

Do the Steelers have the ability and players to run that style of offense?

They certainly did in the second half of 2013. While they didn't put up the 40 points per game the Broncos did this season, the Steelers averaged 28.2 points per game over their final nine games.

What they need is another dynamic receiver opposite Antonio Brown to make the offense complete.

In Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker, the Broncos have a pair of big, physical receivers capable of creating size mismatches. And Thomas has outstanding speed as well. The Steelers really don't have one of those.

That's why if they get a chance to grab a big, dynamic wide receiver early in this year's draft, the Steelers should do so.

As we saw with Denver, your defense doesn't have to be great to get to the Super Bowl. A dynamic offense can make an average defense look a whole lot better.

34 comments:

bruinmann77 said...

Dale would be your top 3 WR .

Steve-O said...

That's why I wanted the Steelers to draft Cordarelle Patterson last year. Not only is he that guy but he also scares the bejesus out of opposing kickoff teams. Oh well, it's too late to cry about that now. Looking forward to 2014 I would love to see the Steelers get Sammy Watkins. Unfortunately he'll be long gone by pick 15 so I would settle for Mike Evans who would be an awesome addition to the Offense. After that I would focus entirely on defense.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry but comparing a Peyton Manning offense to whatever Ben does is just funny.

Anonymous said...

Man, I dunno. I'm fine with this offense going forward if that's what they now want to do. But that had the feel of them begrudgingly giving in to Roethlisberger when absolutely nothing else was working. Then after seeing they had pretty good success with it, say "Yeah, we meant to do that all along. Just couldn't cuz apparently the most important center in the history of football got hurt."

When they had initial success with it, didn't they say don't get use to seeing it. And how they couldn't rely on it full time cuz teams would figure it out really quick and adjust?

Anonymous Brian said...

Complete non-sequiitur but I think Richard Sherman just had an Adderall Rage episode in an interview.

I agree with Anon 9:23. Seems like they turned it over to Ben once they got to 2-6.

But maybe they will learn from it and lean more in that direction next year. I think the plan last August was to pound the rock with Bell and their zone scheme that they didn't practice.

Really wanted Keenan Allen or Arthur Brown in the 2nd round last year. Have no idea what Brown did on the Ravens but I liked Allen because he was won the most-reminiscent-of-Hines contest in my head. (Golden Tate a little bit, too, speaking of tonight again...)

Loved watching Seattle's & SF's defenses. Feel awful for Bowman.


bruinmann77 said...

I still like to see tem go Offense WR/TE in first two rounds and then Defense rest of the draft if needed

bruinmann77 said...

I like Benjamin and The Wash TE in round two
or Enron and Matthews in round 1-2

Dale Lolley said...

They had planned to do it from the start of the season, but all of the offensive injuries kept them from doing so. So no, it wasn't desperation.

I don't see them doubling up on offense in the first two rounds. Maybe one early and one in the middle. Rest on defense. Need a playmaker at safety.

Homegrown Misanthropist said...

You could also see it from the defensive standpoint, the pats where unable to run the ball because the Broncos made a great job in stopping it early and taking the lead, thus making them one dimensional. I think Knighton and the defensive line had a lot to do with this win too.

I think they will have a chance in grabbing a big receiver with their first pick, maybe Watkins will be gone but Evans or Benjamin should be available.

Anonymous said...

I agree Dale and I think Mike Evans will be there at 15 (I can't see Watkins falling to 15). I'd like to see a TE who can stretch the field like Ebron also.
I don't see a CB worth the 15th pick. I also think Troy and Thomas are the starting safeties next year, so I don't see a high pick on one. Don't forget they will have at least 3 compensation picks for Wallace, Lewis, Colon leaving.

David Corbett

adamg said...

Didn't ARII just say that the team's defense is what needs rebuilt and that he's happy with the offense?

I think that makes it clear the emphasis will be on drafting for defense early and often.

WRs are a dime a dozen.
(A Brown, afterall, was a sixth rd pick.)
Further the Steelers rarely take them in the first round and when they have, it's been more miss than hit. Even the recent serviceable choices like Burress and Holmes were allowed to walk when their rookie contracts expired.

Anonymous said...

Colbert took Burress 8th also and I feel Evans is better than Burress. Took Holmes in the 1st also. If the WR is good, it's worth the pick. Evans would give Ben a strong red zone target.

TarheelFlyer said...

I think the Steelers will do what they always do.

First, they will identify those guys that are "too good to pass over" no matter the position.

Second, they will identify which positions wouldn't make ANY sense for this team to take a player at...ie QB.

Third, they will sit back and wait until other teams pass up on one of those players who is "too good to pass" and take someone who builds up hype at the combine, and they will take that player who dropped for one reason or another.

Fourth, IMO, the player we pick will be one of the following:

WR, TE, LT, OLB, ILB, CB, or S. The other positions I think we pass over.

Anonymous said...

I don't recall no-huddle getting much use in the preseason, and little mention during the offseason/training camp. They use it against Buffalo to counter their D front and had success. Won. Jumped out on Detroit with it the next week. Won. Used it again the next week against Clev. Won again. It wasn't really until then that the media picked up on it and started asking the coaches about it. And the coaches threw a wet blanket on it, saying it's just a package. And they can't start relying on it like a crutch because other teams will quickly adjust to it. True to their words, they mothballed it against Baltimore. Until they got behind in H2, then Roethlisberger brought them back with it. Same thing the next week against Miami. Wasn't until H2, and it was Roethlisberger who did it on his own. Hit a big play on 3rd and 1 with Miami's shortyardage D on the field, went hurry-up and caught them in the wrong personnel for the long TD to Brown. Got them back in the game. But after winning three games in a row with no-huddle, they went away from it in H1 the next two games losing both. Then finished the season with it winning 3. At least that's how I recall it all unfolding.

Dale Lolley said...

Colon was released, so they won't get compensation for him. They'll get a 3 and a 5.

They didn't plan on using it exclusively, but they planned on using it more than in the past, maybe half the time to change the pace of the game. But the injuries derailed that. It's the reason they drafted Bell. They wanted a back who wouldn't need to be switched out when they went to passing mode.

Dale Lolley said...

As for Art's comments, that's fine. They were true. But they also have a big hole at WR right now.

TarheelFlyer said...

I agree that our D needs rebuilt, but I think the truth is, we already know the starters within a couple of unknowns....

DE: Heyward
NT: McLendon
DE: Keisel, Hood, or Woods
OLB: Jones
ILB: Timmons
ILB: Foote, Williams, Spence or Garvin
OLB: Woodley or Worilds
CB: Allen
CB: Gay or Ike
S: Troy
S: Shamarko

That more than likely is our starting group. We may also look to bring in some cheaper vets who can contribute right away.

TarheelFlyer said...

I agree that our D needs rebuilt, but I think the truth is, we already know the starters within a couple of unknowns....

DE: Heyward
NT: McLendon
DE: Keisel, Hood, or Woods
OLB: Jones
ILB: Timmons
ILB: Foote, Williams, Spence or Garvin
OLB: Woodley or Worilds
CB: Allen
CB: Gay or Ike
S: Troy
S: Shamarko

That more than likely is our starting group. We may also look to bring in some cheaper vets who can contribute right away.

Dale Lolley said...

I don't know why everyone is assuming Shamarko Thomas will be the starting free safety. He's a strong safety. They want more of a centerfielder type of player. Doesn't mean that won't be Thomas, but it's certainly no definite.

I also think there's a possibility that Woodley returns AND they bring back Worilds. Will take some financial juggling, but it's possible.

Patrick said...

if Woodley is cut, a logical landing spot is now TN

I think the cap hit is the same for a trade v. cut right?

Anonymous said...

Only in Pittsburgh would they try to turn a more successful QB into a less successful QB.

bruinmann77 said...

Dale if they don;t use Thomas at FS then why the hell did they move up and gave up a 3rd rounder for a guy who won;t be starting in his first 2 years

Ed said...

If they do go D in the first, what about a guy like Allen Robinson in the second? Good size and although not a burner, he's pretty good in the open field. He caught a lot of screens at PSU and did them well. From what I've seen he should be then at 47.

marc said...

the offense is going in the right direction. bell is the perfect back for this offense, brown the perfect #1 WR and miller the perfect TE. as I said before, if the steelers think that one of these big athletic WR's is for real, then it would be hard to pass it up in the first round. that type of WR would really complete the offense and make it very dangerous. all of this is certainly based on #7 being able to play as he did the second half of last season.

regarding the defense, if they can't bring in a FA safety to replace clark, then I expect there will be a competition between allen, Thomas, golden and whoever they draft to take it over. and, considering the hybrid defenses lebeau has been using, #47 will be back there at times as well. it seems to me, more and more, the steelers strong safety/free safety positions are interchangeable. imo, Thomas will get plenty of playing time regardless.

if McClendon starts at NT again, I think they will continue to have problems stuffing the run.

Anonymous said...

I understand you want as many playmakers as possible, I just don't think taking a WR in round 1 is the smart move. The Steelers just took Marcus Wheaton in the 3rd round this year, so are we declaring that as a bad pick? We need help on both sides of the ball but the greater need is DL or secondary. I am cool taking another receiver in round 3 or later just not the first round.

kyle said...

marc,

I don't usually suggest Steelers Depot since most of the writing there isn't so hot but they charted the running plays this year. Here are the results:

http://www.steelersdepot.com/2013/12/so-you-think-steve-mclendon-was-bad-against-the-run-in-2013/

Mclendon wasn't the problem, it seems.

marc said...

kyle,
you're killing me. I have work to do today but I couldn't resist reading the link you provided.

I understand what the stats show, and that's nice. but it doesn't show how often McClendon was double teamed, which was not often, and that's the problem.

for example, take a look at the three gifs located at the bottom of the link you provided me.

in the first gif, mclendon is single blocked and that allows the extra blocker to pickup Timmons leaving the RB one-on-one with clark at the second level - the RB won.

in the second gif, McClendon is double-teamed and Williams is virtually unblocked but runs up behind his own guy and loses sight of the RB. Williams blew this play, but double teaming McClendon is why Williams went unblocked.

in the third gif, McClendon is single blocked again and the extra blocker picks up Sylvester as he's getting reading to stuff the rushing lane and again, clark misses the tackle at the next level.

they need a NT who demands a double team and can penetrate on rush plays, imo. if you're going to run a 3-4 defense, the NT is the keystone to stopping the run.

kyle said...

Those three gifs were not runs up the gut. They were off guard, I believe (they aren't showing up for me at the moment). Even Casey Hampton in his prime wasn't always getting double-teamed on runs away from him. Plus, McClendon was doubled on one of the three runs. The Steelers' troubles stopping the run last year had much more to do with Wilson/Williams/Garvin/Hybrid-Troy than with Steve, in my opinion. As you said, on the play where Steve was doubled, Williams made a mistake.

I'm not banging the table saying he's the answer but I think there are several places on defense where an upgrade is needed more.

Dale Lolley said...

The Steelers moved up to get Thomas A. because they liked him as the best safety available. And B. because they had no depth at that position.

At that point, Robert Golden and Damon Cromartie-Smith were there only backup options. Will Allen and Ryan Mundy had left in free agency.
You're talking about him like they traded up in the first round to get him. He's a third/fourth-round guy. If he becomes a starter, that's a bonus.

But Thomas is a strong safety. That's where he worked all last season. Doesn't mean he can't move to free this offseason, but it's not the no-brainer some are saying. This team wants a true centerfielder. Thomas had two interceptions in his college career. He can cover and tackle, but he's not going to help much on takeaways. At least he hasn't shown that ability. He's the eventual replacement for Polamalu for now.

TarheelFlyer said...

I agree completely with your comment about Shamarko at S, and I think the ideal situation is finding the next "Ryan Clark" in free agency. That being said, right now he is our best option to start at the safety position unless we move someone like Ike over to the S position, he is what we got.

Anonymous said...

That first GIF, they're showing 2 gap, but they stunt into a 1 gap. Chicago caught them with the right play call, and the ILBs both crapped their runblitz, and Clark took a poor angle. The DL executed as designed, the Steelers just didn't fit it up behind them.

The second, McLendon again did his job. Again it was a fit issue behind the DL. Williams for one, Timmons momentarily paralyzed from reacting, and the biggest culprit was Polamalu jumping up and in, losing his gap/lane and getting cracked/sealed by the WR.

The 3rd, the big problem there was Worilds abandoned the edge, first things first, and he failed to do that first thing. Clark again took a bad angle and fit was off. Timmons did a nice job taking on the ISO with his inside shoulder forcing it inside. But Sylvester wasn't home and Clark crapped it.

But all of this is entirely beside the point. People see the drop from #1 to #21 in run D, and immediately start blaming the new NT. Truth is they went from a mostly base 34 team in 2012 to a mostly dime team in 2013. They took two fat guys off the field for two midgets. Tends to put a dent in your run D.

Hell, Hampton played half the D snaps in 2012, and McLendon a third. He wasn't on the field enough to get this much blame.

Everyone is looking at this backwards. The problem is on the backend, notsomuch the front end. While all those extra DBs on the field did have a negative effect on the Run D, there so no reciprocal trade off in positive Pass D. Slightly worse actually.

That, and they just never collectively played as one cohesive unit. Blown fits left and right, guys trying to do too much, others just trying to figure out what timezone they're in. That's a Buck problem. Whoever they threw out there with a green dot couldn't get them together, even with Polamalu coming down for hand-holding.

Not saying McLendon is all that, or that they should write off looking to upgrade. Just saying this D has bigger problems than NT. Get a Buck, and get some playmakers.

Ben Houston said...

Take Bryant out of Clemson , going to be a great pro with the right team

Anonymous said...

So Shamarko is Troy's replacement? Does that mean he will only get serious playing time in his contract year, creating another Keenan Lewis / Worilds type situation?

I hope that's not that case. This team can't afford to have talented players on the bench. They need their best 11 out there.

But then again, AR2 seemed happy with 8-8 so maybe that's the new standard...

Dale Lolley said...

No, that does not mean that. But he has worked strictly at strong safety to this point - in addition to being the nickel - and it shouldn't just be assumed he'll move to free safety. He doesn't do what they want their free safety to do - get takeaways.