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Don’t Just Assume the Steelers Will Run the Ball More

The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports that the Steelers, despite QB Ben Roethlisberger suspended for up to the first six games of the season, might not run the ball more this year. “We need to run the ball better,” offensive coordinator Bruce Arians said, “not necessarily more. It is the quality of the runs more than the quantity that I am worried about.”

The report says that the Steelers ran only 42 percent of the time in 2009, but still had their most successful offensive season in team history with a 4,000-yard passer (Roethlisberger), two 1,000-yard receivers (Hines Ward and Santonio Holmes) and a 1,000-yard rusher (Mendenhall).

The Steelers believe balance will be the key to their success without Roethlisberger in the lineup early in the 2010 season. “If we need to run to win or pass to win, we will be able to do that,” said Mendenhall, who rushed for 1,108 yards and seven touchdowns in only 12 starts last year. “We are confident in our offense that we will be able to do whatever we need to do to win.”

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.

3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. arrow61095

    July 23, 2010 at 9:03 am

    The big issue is being able to control the clock and keep the defense fresh. While running has commonly been the way to do this, it is not the only way. Many teams have been able to use the short passing game like a running game to help control the clock. I think this would be ideal for the Steelers who have very strong possession receivers with Hines Ward and Heath Miller and could take some pressure off of the running game and the O-line.

    The past few years the Steelers have been more of a Run-n-Gun type offense where they either run the ball or throw mostly medium or deep routes. It could be time to change that offensive identity a little.

  2. DrGeorge

    July 23, 2010 at 11:53 am

    As my colleagues know, I haven’t been a big Arians fan, but in this instance, he is quite right. The Steelers ran the ball often enough in prior years to win, but the team was not proficient running when it really counted — short yardage and red zone. With Ward well over thirty and Holmes gone, the receiving corps can’t be expected to compensate for our rushing inadequacies any more. Preseason injuries to our struggling O-line further complicate the challenge. But we must run the ball better this year, or it will be a very long season. I’m glad Arians has got the message. Now we’ll see if he can devise a running game to balance the passing attack.

  3. mark

    July 23, 2010 at 1:00 pm

    I want to believe Arians and the “new” philosophy but I find it difficult to do so. With the great relationship Arians has with Ben, I have a hard time thinking Arians/Tomlin is going to limit Big Ben’s growing passing talents.The records Ben is setting is evidence that he and the coaching staff are very comfortable in this passing offense. Who can argue with the success that they have had throwing? I also want to see a new dedication to running the ball. I think that if Arians is honest about game-planning a running attack,then at some point the balance achieved will benefit the offense…and the defense! The object is not to abandon the run even if it is sputtering early on. It looks like it might take a while (games,seasons) to re-establish the Steeler way of pounding/grinding the ball. Do we have the players up front? Do we have the RB’s to pound it out? Do we have a QB with the mindset to hand the ball off in a big situation and forego the numbers and praise that passing the ball gives him? Do we have patience, both player and fan to work through the speed bumps of trying to implement something that the team has gotten away from but still has had success without? These are the things I am curious about and question before I am certain that the committment is true.

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