An Article That the Steelers Are on the Right Track on Offense

ESPN North blogger James Walker has an interesting piece on the site today about the AFC North and how the teams in the division do a little too much running – except one- the Steelers. This is a pretty interesting article considering how many of our very readers think the team doesn’t run the ball enough:

When it comes to the AFC North, the Pittsburgh Steelers, directly or indirectly, were ahead of the curve.

Despite their lengthy history of ground-and-pound football, the Steelers began passing the ball more often than running it the past two seasons. That included most of their title run in 2008 when the fate of the season rested on quarterback Ben Roethlisberger’s arm down to the last drive in Super Bowl XLIII.

According to ESPN Stats & Information, Pittsburgh had the highest pass percentage in the division this past season by a sizable margin. The Steelers threw the football 57.8 percent of the time and ran just 42.2 percent of time.

As a result, Roethlisberger became Pittsburgh’s first 4,000-yard quarterback, and Hines Ward and Santonio Holmes also gained more than 1,000 yards receiving.

Many have criticized offensive coordinator Bruce Arians for gradually changing Pittsburgh’s longstanding identity. But the Steelers are adjusting with the times and remain ahead of the curve in the AFC North in terms of putting together a high-powered offense. Pittsburgh was ranked seventh offensively in the NFL last season.

“That Steeler offense is a handful for anyone, and they will probably be better than ever next year,” Williamson said. “They can throw with most teams, and I think they can run.”

About the Author

Matt Loede
Matt Loede has been in the sports media for over 16 years, with experience covering the MLB, NBA, and NFL. On Sunday’s during football season, you can hear Matt on national networks like Fox Sports Radio, Associated Press, and others. Born and raised in Cleveland Ohio, Matt studies and talks football inside and out, and is anxious to share his thoughts and comments with readers on a daily basis.

5 Comments on "An Article That the Steelers Are on the Right Track on Offense"

  1. Well they did miss the playoffs last year.

  2. Fine, I agree, but, keep in mind, a lot of us who “pine” for the run (at least I speak for me here) don’t NECESSARILY want to (re)implement a 60% (run) 40 % (pass)—ala Cowher ere; BUT, maybe run the ball anywhere from 3-5% more of the time which would take it to around 50-55% pass and 50-45% run. I think the misperception is there are two (polarizing) factions or perceived factions; one is predominantly run and the other predominantly pass. I do feel that Arians throws the ball too much and, much like Andy Reid and in a selfish manner, is or has devised a system that produces numbers that make it hard for management to argue with in terms of letting him go. The two major differences are we have Big ben and a staunch defense whereas Reid has overrated McNabb and a mediocre defense. We need to run the ball more does not mean revert back to smashmouth…it just means that 60%-40% in favor of the pass is a bit too much and it also means that by simply adding a marginal amount more running at the right times and in the red zone can make a world of difference. We need Ben for the next ten years, not the next 3-5 (200 plus sacks in past 4 seasons), draft a tackle in round one and go defense the rest of the way, sign a RB in free agency and practice more quantity of running and more running plays at practice (situational) and watch us (so long as we shore up our pass defense) compete for another title.

  3. Roethlisberger was able to pass for over 4000 yards while missing a game with a concussion. Keep in mind that Ben was sacked 50 times last season, which is nearly 30 more times than the other leading passers in the league.

  4. Mr. Loede missed the mark a bit in characterizing the comments on this site. Jay has it right. The complaint isn’t with how often the Steelers run, but with how inept the running game is when it counts: red zone, short yardage. Most of the playoff teams that won this year out gained their opponents on the ground — even though they passed more often than they ran. The rules favor passing. We understand that. But the ability to run on demand is crucial to winning football. In 2009, the Steelers were a one dimensional football team, easy to defense, and too dependent on Ben’s arm.

    However, the focus on the Steelers offensive woes ignores the larger problem: a slow and aging defense. The offense scored enough points to win last year. The defense gave games away. Unless our defense improves markedly in 2010, Ben can throw for 5,000 yards, and it still won’t be enough. To win consistently, our defense must become dominant again.

  5. I have to agree that the rules favor the pass, and that it may not be a bad thing that the Steelers pass more than run. Currently, their roster favors the passing game (Ward, Holmes, Miller, and Wallace may be the best array of receivers the Steelers have ever had. All of the 4 have the ability to beat single coverage).

    That being said, I do have a problem with the Steelers offense at times. Running in and of itself does not concern me, not being able to play ball control offense does. The main offensive weakness is the O-line (which is probably why they have trouble running). That being said, I would not have a problem with the Steelers using a high percentage short passing game to control the clock. Unfortunatelly, the play calling does not match this. Often, the Steelers take too many shots down the field looking for the big play. I have no problem with taking a shot every once in a while, but they really should pay attention and be more selective when they do it.

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