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Ruff Thoughts on the Stillers

November 18, 2010 by Guest

By Still Ruff


Everybody in Steeler Land has their theories as to what ails the Steelers and what is the reason behind the recent onslaught they suffered courtesy of the Pats � the team I absolutely despise more than any other. �Our players suck� they�ll say. �Ben can�t read a defense.� �Our defense is too old.� Blah blah blah. It�s time we all realize one depressing truth�no, not so much about the Steelers, but about the NFL�and that is this�it isn't about talent in the NFL when you have superior coaching.


If coaching is at least close or is a push between two teams, then talent will absolutely win out. But in today�s NFL, talent is so even that really, coaching and scheme are usually what rule the day. However, in some cases what should never happen actually happens�and we just witnessed it. What we saw last Sunday night was so bad that in this case, coaching actually overcame a SUBSTANTIAL differential in talent between two teams. And that is what is so depressing about this loss.


What we saw that night was a clinic on 1) how to dictate to the other team how the game is going to be played and 2) how to play not into the STRENGTH of a team but into its WEAKNESSES. That�s what the Pats did.


And what did our Steelers do? Beats me. Do you know? Does Tomlin know? Does Arians or LeBeau or maybe Ambassador Rooney know?  Maybe Jeff Reed knows and that�s why they fired him�can�t have the inmates running the asylum now can we? Seriously, can anyone identify what was our approach on offense, especially, but also on defense? We were simply reacting to what NE did all night. Actually, it was more watching than reacting, because best I can tell, there were no adjustments made whatsoever other than the only thing we ever do when we�re behind, which is go no huddle and let Ben react.  More on that later.


Now let�s get one thing straight�nobody on this planet can convince me that man for man and position by position, the New England Patriots as now constructed are a more talented team than the Pittsburgh Steelers. It�s not even close folks. So it can�t be about talent. Simply put, our coaches, especially Arians, put us in position to fail every week. Belichick puts his team in a position to succeed. That's all there is to it. And it�s depressing because of what it means going forward.


Here�s just a couple lines of evidence that I could see:


Did you see our Steelers play bump and run at the line of scrimmage once Sunday night? Ok, maybe they did a couple times, but for the most part, it was soft zone. You mean a 6-0 cornerback can�t jam a 5-8 squirt and get him off his timing? And don�t tell me Troy Polamolu can�t jam up a Gronkowski if he�s allowed to play him straight up off the line. That�s the only way to play a team like the Patriots � don�t let them get into their routes properly, otherwise Brady will just kill you, as we saw. But no, our DBs were 5-8 yards off the line of scrimmage all night long. That allows Brady to take a step or two, with his EYES on his receivers the whole time, process the field and then pick the one guy most open 7 yards downwind after, say, 1.2 seconds at most. It�s impossible for any rush to get to a QB in that situation.


The Patriots did this ALL NIGHT LONG and it wouldn�t have mattered if the Steelers blitzed them all night long as long as they weren�t going to deflect WRs at the line of scrimmage. That�s a result of an intelligent Patriots coaching staff reaching the obvious conclusion that �hey, I know we aren�t going to run against the Steelers in traditional fashion, and I know they�re going to bring the heat if we stand back and scan the field, so let�s not let them do that.�


So the Pats played to our weaknesses, not our strengths, knowing full well we�d sit back in soft zone all night and not get physical on their mighty mite WRs. And they just played pitch and catch all night. Only after they had done this oh, say, 45 times, did they then throw the long ball down the middle after our DBs were completely shell-shocked and conditioned to play the short passes. They DICTATE, not REACT to the other team.


You will note that Tom Brady took no more than three step drops all night. He was put in a position to SUCCEED by his coaches. Yet, what did the Steelers do on offense? The same crap they do every week. Nothing unexpected. Nothing revolutionary. Might as well mail the game plan to the opposing Def. Coordinator, that�s how easy it is to scheme against. EVERY WEEK, our pitiful OC puts Ben in 5-7 step drops, oftentimes with his BACK TO THE RUSH for 2 seconds doing play action (especially on third down which absolutely fools nobody), then he has to turn around, locate his receivers who are 15 or 20 yards down the line already, process what he�s seeing, pick the best option, and then make a high degree of difficulty throw whilst three guys are rushing in his face. It�s ASININE!


And there are few, if any, QBs in history that can pull that off. Maybe none. It�s just too much to ask. Yet everyone will say, �Ben can�t read a defense.� Baloney. Give him time to read, and he can read. Why do you think Ben is so good when the play breaks down? Because it gives him a precious few moments to actually take in what�s going on in the secondary, to process the field and locate his receivers, and then make a throw. It takes time for even the most genius of QBs to process information, people. So give him that time! However, week after week, Arians is putting Ben in bad situations that are next to impossible for him to succeed in.


You want evidence, do you? Well, when is the only time we actually move the ball with regularity? When did we do so against the Pats, for instance? It�s in the no-huddle or hurry up offense, which we played the entire 4th quarter in the other night. And why does it work? Because it takes Arians out of the equation and allows Ben to do what Brady did last night�short drops, eyes on his receivers from the snap of the ball, pick the best option, and chuck it. It let�s the QB be an athlete and gives him time to process what he is seeing. You say Ben can�t read a defense?�you�re right, if he�s forced to play the way he is forced to play. And neither can any other QB.


I guarantee you if you put Ben in Belicheck�s offense, he would run it better than Brady because I think he is a better thrower than Brady. It�s SCHEME! It honestly makes me hate to watch them play because it�s just wasting the enormous talent of our players. And if you�re wasting the talent of your QB, you are by default directly wasting the talent of every other single player on your offense and, indirectly, also on your defense.


Finally, you mean to tell me that stone-hands Randle El can�t use his short-area quicks like Welker and take those quick short passes and get YAC? Of course he can. And so can Hines and so can Sanders. We have a bunch of smurfs for WR�s, so use them like smurfs. If you have a Randy Moss or Andre Johnson, you use them to physically dominate the DBs. We don�t have that. So, PLAY TO THE STRENGTH OF YOUR PLAYERS!  We have smurfs, so put 4 or 5 guys in the pattern and send them on routes to far corners of the near secondary like NE does, not bunched together like our idiot does, or worse, having all of them run 15-20 yard patterns. Is there anything more stupid than that?  Watch them sometime�why do all of our WR�s always run patterns the same depth? Am I missing something?  Spread out the defense!  That way, when a guy actually does catch a pass, he�s not lit up by three guys a half second after he catches it nor does he have to fight with his own teammate for the ball like Hines and Sanders were doing two weeks ago.


I could go on, but it just makes me more angry every time I think about it. Until next time�



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