Gaypride is Gone !! (Dec. 27th, '00)
Yes!! Santa answered one of the main items on my Xmas Wish List !! I don't know if I was quite good enough this year to warrant Santa coming through like this, but hey -- I'll take it!!
Kevin Gaypride -- the man hired to IMPROVE the 29th worst passing offense -- never got it above 29th, and was finally fired.
Any of the regular readers here for the past two seasons, know of my dislike of Gilbride. To be fair, I gave the guy an honest chance to show something -- anything -- when he arrived. However, by about week #4 in the '99 season, with the offense wallowing around in shit and looking EXACTLY like Gay Sperman's offense, I had enough. By the time we lost to Cleveland in a game in which we could muster only 15 points and threw the game away on the Gaypride Screen Pass (his favorite playcall), I was ready to chase Gaypride out of the Steel City with a hacksaw in one hand and a hockey stick in the other.
I'd frequently asked here --- "name one improvement or change that Gaypride brought in the TWO years since Sperman's firing?", and no one was ever able to give an answer. Gaypride arrived with the credentials of being an "offensive guru who was good at developing QBs". Ok, great -- just what we needed. Instead, Gaypride simply dusted off Sperman's playbook, and re-issued it to the team. And, Stewart never once progressed as a PASSER in the NFL under Gaypride's supposed tutelage. Can anyone name just one innovation that Gaypride brought to our offense? No? How 'bout incorporating the two most recent #1 draft picks -- Edwards and Burress -- into the offense ?? How 'bout one just one use of Hines Ward and his triple-threat potential? Oh, yeah, that's right -- Gaypride LOVED having Doughboy Bettis -- the guy with the jumbo-sized shoulder pads and ZERO experience ever as a QB -- to throw the HB Option pass, not Ward.
The team's management bent over backwards to accommodate Gaypride. After the miserable '98 season under Gay Ray, the Stillers signed FA LT Wayne Gandy. They passed on Kearse and drafted Edwards with their #1 pick. Still not enough, the team then spent its '00 #1 pick on yet another WR, Plex Burress, and its #2 pick on OT Marvell Smith. The team also re-signed RFA Richard Huntley for quality depth at RB, as well as a bit of "dash" to go with the "bash" of Bettis. The ROI -- return on investment -- for all of this?? A big fat goose-egg. Our passing game ain't any better than the day Gay Ray was fired.
I debated with my conscience all day -- "What am I most glad to see departing when Gaypride departs?"
* The futile draw plays on 3rd and 13.
* The refusal to throw a fade pass to either Plex Burress or 6'-5" Malcolm Johnson.
* The incessant screen plays, that were so obvious and repetitive and EXPECTED that in two consecutive games, an opponent made a crucial, game-winning INT of a Gaypride screen pass.
* The absurd use of slowpoked clods like Witman, Bettis, and Bruener as split-out receivers, which did nothing except produce laughter and snickering from opposing defenses.
* The refusal to incorporate the team's true (and only) SKILL PLAYERS -- Huntley, Edwards, Plex and Amoz -- into ANYTHING that used their skills and talents.
* Keeping Kordell shackled in the pocket, until about week 11 of the '00 season.
The only one sure thing I ever gained from watching Gaypride's offense, was the full appreciation of WHY Buddy Ryan found it necessary to punch the piss out of Gaypride on the sidelines while the two coached for the Oilers. My only regret, is that Ryan didn't clobber him a bit more, so that Gaypride would have given up coaching long before he was hired by the Stillers.
Thursday's Pgh. newspapers will be filled with mushy, teary-eyed stories about how "Gilbride didn't deserve this fate", yaddy yadda. Please -- don't succumb to this balderdash. Yes, Cowher is making Gaypride into a scapegoat. I agree. Every OC has a boss, and that boss is the head coach. Every week, Gaypride submitted his shitty game plan to Cowhead, and every week, Cowhead presumably approved it. Cowher has overseen a pitiful morass of an offense for over 3 years now, and it's high time Little Billy looks in the mirror and ADMITS that he is part of the problem and needs to be part of the solution. Cowher is ultra-conservative; he plays not to lose' and he hates change. All of this must be adjusted, or the change in OC will be no different than changing your car's oil filter but refusing to change your 7,000 mile-old oil. But don' cry too hard or too long for Gaypride. This man had been around the block several times. He had access to game films from '97 and '98. Even in a drunken stupor, he should have been able to discern what worked in '97 and what did NOT work in '98, and more importantly, why.
It's high time the Stillers scrap the tired old scheme Ron Erhardt made famous back in '94 -- an I-formation, lumbering, slowpoke attack. If you have the horses up front, and on your defense, you can play this scheme and do well, as the '94 Stillers and the '91 Giants did. The current Stillers have neither. The first question asked of any candidate for the OC job, should be: "You have Troy and Plex at WR, and Huntley and Amoz as backup RBs (or Hunt as a starter if Bettis departs as a FA), and the most athletic QB in the league. How are you going to use the multitude of skills these men bring to the table?" And, additionally, ya tell the guy: "Here's 3 napkins -- draw up your scheme and list your variances and so on." If it takes more than 3 napkins, then it's probably the same fat-filled load of horse manure that comprised Gaypride's offense, which was never mastered in 2 seasons of use. If Peyton Manning can master the Colt offense within a month after being drafted, then I expect that a group of seasoned professionals should have our offense down pat by at least the start of training camp in Latrobe. I myself have grown rather tired of watching a discombobulated goatscrew for an entire preseason and the first 13 weeks of the regular season. We don't need another puppet to come in a run the same old Whaleshit Offense. We should give the new OC free reign to scrap the entire system (if you can call it that) and start anew. When something is that badly broken down -- be it a mangled car, or a city devastated by a nuclear bomb, or the 29th ranked passing offense for the third consecutive year -- you don't try to throw band-aids on it. You scrap it and start anew, which is what the Stillers MUST do to revitalize the weakest part of their team.
December 27th, 2000 -- what a day to remember! Mario makes his comeback with the Pens, and Kevin Gaypride gets canned. I'm still not sure which event makes me happier�.
The Still Mill