An Open Letter to Mularkey, Cowher (Aug. 23rd, �01)
(This is an open letter to Coaches Mularkey and Cowher.)
Dear Coach Mularkey and Coach Cowhead,
I�m writing to express my concern over that abomination you people call an �offense�.��
I�m not sure if you realize this or not, but this appears to be the exact same offense that ranked 29th, 26th, and 29th in the NFL the past 3 seasons.� Some folks, including you, might accuse me of being too pessimistic.�� Here�s a pertinent article that I wrote last July, as this offense was sputtering and stinking heading into in �00: http://www.stillers.com/stillmill_show.asp?ID=-1152762224�� That was some 13 months ago, and frankly, I don�t see anything different as we edge close to the start of the �01 season.�� Sure, Billy has fired the Off. Coordinator, and the best all-around RB on the team was released, but otherwise this offense appears to be a Xerox copy of the �00 version.� And the �99 version.� And the �98 version.� Funny coincidence about all 3 of those versions...none of �em made the playoffs.
I�ve heard this ridiculous malarkey (no pun intended) that Mike is �hiding� his offense in preseason.�� No offense, but this has to be one of the Top 10 most absurd, asinine ideas, since the suggestion to build a faster submarine by using a screen door rather than a solid steel one.� Perhaps you can enlighten me, Mike, on exactly what is so top secret in your offensive arsenal that you cannot practice it during a preseason game??�� I understand, for example, when the USA gets a bit protective of its spy planes and jet fighter technology in the hands of China and other rogue nations.� But is a 25-yard post pattern, or a simple �go route�, that top-secret that it cannot be practiced and executed in the preseason??�� Is a 20-yard flag pattern, which I recall running in 5th grade football back in 1977, that �classified� that no one dares run it in public, for fear of �the enemy� getting wise to it?�� We open against the Jaguars �- isn�t it remotely possible that the Jax DB�s have seen Jimmy Smith run downfield patterns from time to time?�� And once you play Jax -� and unveil the Steeler version of the top-secret B-2 Bomber -- isn�t it at least remotely plausible that the rest of the NFL �- and the entire free world -- will see exactly what you�ve been hiding ??
In the past, I�ve written similar �open letters� to the Off. Coordinator only.� Why�d I include you on this letter, Bill?�� Well, you�re the boss.� You approve Mike�s gameplan every week.� You give Mike guidance, instructions, and orders.� You�ve personally seen �- and lived through -- the abortions created by Gay Ray Sperman and Kevin Gaypride during the past 3 seasons...and presumably, you�ve learned from those abortions and are ready & willing to avoid that same fiasco in �01.�� Bill, you can claim that you�re not an offensive coach and so on, but at the outlandish salary you are currently earning, it seems to me that you are inherently responsible for everything that goes on with that team...from the defense, to the offense, to the special teams, to the brand of tape your trainers use to wrap players before practice.��
My specific worry revolves, of course, around this Nickel-and-Dime passing offense of yours.�� Call me a pessimistic if you�d like, but I�m having trouble seeing how an NFL passing game that refuses to throw the ball further than 9 yards downfield expects to move the ball -� and more importantly, score POINTS �- in this era of pro football.�
This Detroit game is your 3rd game of the 4-game preseason slate, but for all intents and purposes, it�s actually the last preseason game for your starting offense to gel.�� We all know that, because of the fear of injury, your starters will be wearing their sideline caps long before the end of the first quarter in the preseason finale versus Buffalo.� In light of this fact, may I suggest a thing or two for your upcoming game versus Detroit?�
Instead of running line plunges, and 2-yard outs to your speedy fullback, how about conducting an offense Saturday afternoon, whose PRIMARY purpose is to throw the ball on virtually every down?�� Mix in some 2-minute offense, and treat almost every down as though it were �3rd and 6�...?�
On top of that, how about throwing the ball downfield a few times?� And by �downfield�, I�m talking about something longer than the 4-yard curl.� �Downfield�, at a minimum, should be about 18 yards past the LOS.�
I know this might sound a bit radical, but perhaps you might try to get the ball downfield, and �up in the air�, for that tall, rangy, athletic, former 1st round draft pick named Burress??�
I know the temptation is there to want to spend a lot of time vs. Detroit looking at the other QBs, but hasn�t Kordell Stewart�s pathetic performance this preseason �earned� him the right to play a full 3 quarters vs. the Lions?�� And rather than spending a lot of time looking at Jason Gavadza, Vanness Provitt, and Kamil Loud, wouldn�t it make more sense to try getting some cohesion and confidence between the scattershot Stewart and, say, Edwards, Ward, Shaw, and Burress?� On 3rd down and 11, can we at least attempt to complete a pass to a Steeler who is position beyond the marker?�
I don�t expect that you have to prove anything to me...but perhaps you might want to consider proving something to yourselves...ie, proving that your perennially-29th-ranked offense can do something -� anything -� more than merely running plunges and completing the gimme, 4-yard curl passes.�