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Author Topic: Heads must roll  (Read 3273 times)
Preacherman0
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« on: Dec 17, 2007 at 09:38 »

I know that it probably won't happen because it's not the "Steeler" way to do things.  But I think that it's time for some people to get the axe.  Stay with my argument here for a minute.

Our offense has actually REGRESSED from last year.  In a season when we were 8-8, we are playing worse on offense than we did a year ago.  Think about that and let it sink in.  I was not a huge fan of the Whizinator, but we have actually gone backwards from him.  It's hard to believe, but think about it:  Last year, I never had any doubt that we would move the football.  I just wondered when we were going to give it back to the other team (fumble, int, etc).  

This year, I hold my breath hoping for a first down.  I'm praying that Ben has sense enough to start running before the line opens the floodgates.  I actually HOPE for him to take the checkdowns and short routes because I'm worried that he'll get killed trying to throw the ball down the field.  I worried about that enough last year, but it's getting worse.  I don't have any hope for a long bomb or a big play, and I'd rather not even think about whether or not our receivers are going to catch the ball.  In spite of the hits he takes on this board, the only bright spot IMO is Willie Parker.  Say what you want, he has come to play the last couple of weeks in spite of the fact that most of the team, including the coaches, acted like they were watching the game on tv with a cold beer.

Even in his first year, it is time for Mike Tomlin to make some changes.  I understand the calm, even-tempered approach and all that, but reality needs to set in at some point and he needs to see the big picture.  He has several players, coaches, and people within the organization who need to go.  In priority order:

Arians, Marvel Smith, Faneca, Mahan, Scouting staff, and Kevin Colbert.

I am not willing to give Bruce Arians a "pass" on this season.  He is absolutely inept, and it shows in the attitude and play of the team.  They look like they are all lost out there.  The last time that I witnessed Hines Ward dropping this many passes was in 2003, when no one had a clue what was going on.  When things are working, Hines is catching the ball.  Not sure why that happens, but receivers seem to be shocked when the ball comes their way.  That tells me that we are very unsure of what we're doing and what's happening.

His insistence on the stupidity of 18-step drops and 3rd and 14 draw plays and screens and his refusal to adjust during the game is not acceptable.  I agree with DJF that you can't put all the "blame" on play calling; and, you can't completely scrap everything.  But I haven't seen us make any decent adjustments since the second half vs. Denver.  I don't even think we made adjustments vs. Cleveland, we just started putting the ball in the end zone instead of kicking FGs.

If he keeps this up, the frustration is really going to seep in and we could be witnessing a disaster in the last two games of the season.  I am worried that Ben is going to get seriously hurt unless we put in some three-step drops and some WELL-TIMED, WELL-EXECUTED screens and draws.  That's the only way that we're going to beat the pressure, and as Jax should us yesterday, they can get pressure 4 on 5 vs. this oline.  If everyone is dropping into coverage, then dink-and-dunk them to death or RUN THE FRIGGIN' BALL!  If there is not some significant improvement in the offense over the next two games, let the axe drop on the Bruce Arians Experiment.

Now, I say "Run the ball" in this sense:  Run it if we've demonstrated some ability to do it.  As in, FWP is averaging 7 ypc.  But as we all know, that is going to be a rarity behind the wall that we loosely refer to as our offensive line.  More like a "Leaking Dam" than a wall.

Faneca is a dead issue because he is not going to take reasonable money to return, and I don't think the Rooneys will do it anyway because of his big fat redheaded mouth.  Let him go out to the desert with his butt buddies.

It is time to cut our losses with Mahan and Marvel Smith.  Smith looks absolutely inept out there, whether it's injury or ability or whatever.  An aching back is difficult when you're sitting at a desk much less trying to play football.  He's had the problem for a few years and it's a pretty good indication that he's lost it, just can't recover and play.  Let him go try somewhere else or retire with some dignity, he deserves that for what he's done in his career to this point.  But don't bring him back unless you plan to use him as a backup, and rework his deal for backup money.  Mahan--well, let him be the Duffy of the new century.  He might be a serviceable backup, but that's all he is.  I guess you could give him a shot at guard, but he ain't no center.

For the record, Simmons should be gone (I can barely stand to watch him) but we can't do it, obviously, because of $$$.  I still believe that Starks and Colon have a lot of upside and can play.  As for Kemo, move him to defense, play him, or cut him.  If he's too dumb to play offense then let him back up Snack and clog the middle.

That leads us to the joke that is our scouting dept. and front office.  I doubt it will happen and Tomlin has little power to influence it, but how about letting them know that you're not happy with what they're doing?  Should we make a list of bad signings/resignings/draft picks?  In no particular order:

-Coclough
-Simmons
-#95 (can't even remember his name)
-Essex
-Bo Lacy
-Spaeth
-Mahan
-Okobi (did play well in spots)
-Nkwenti
-Receiver from GA

Need we go on?  

I can't even tell you how many draft picks we have left on the team from the Colbert era, maybe someone else has some research on this.  But I can't remember many guys that we brought in via the draft who we've kept.  In fact, I can't remember the names of a lot of our draft picks.  What does that tell you?

Let's also factor in the veterans we've lost (Keydrick Vincent) and the lack of serious FA acquisitions (Cedric Wilson???  Sean Mahan???).  I give him credit for Ryan Clark, Hartings, and drafting Ben and Troy, but I think his blunders have begun to outweigh his successes.

Perhaps things will change with Tomlin being here this year.  Maybe he'll be a little less loyal to vets than Cowher was to at least SOME vet players.  The fact that the FO didn't see the need to get some real linemen on both sides of the ball tells me that Colbert is not getting it done.  Perhaps it's time to let Tomlin bring in someone that can work with him.  A team that has prided itself on building in the draft next to have a GM that knows who to draft and HOW to draft rather than reaching for the likes of Trai Essex and Ricardo Coclough.

Well, that's just my opinion.  Fire away!
« Last Edit: Dec 17, 2007 at 09:39 by Preacherman0 » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: Dec 17, 2007 at 09:53 »

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Even in his first year, it is time for Mike Tomlin to make some changes.  I understand the calm, even-tempered approach and all that, but reality needs to set in at some point and he needs to see the big picture.
This was a great post.  I just wanted to re-iterate the part above.


I'm all about the "professional" approach, but clearly Tomlin isn't implementing it clearly, because aside from the first Baltimore game, his team has come out entirely flat in just about every game this season.

It's to the point that we need to rely on the 4th quarter rally just to get us back from where we should've been in the first quarter.

Time for that garbage to stop.  Tomlin needs to start showing a bit of emotion, because there's a fine line between "professional" and "emotionless", and his team has been crossed over it for most of the season.


.WiH.
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« Reply #2 on: Dec 17, 2007 at 09:55 »

I think you make a lot of great points and I agree with the one big point, which is that the team should rethink its commitment to continuity and make some changes.

In particular, I wouldn't be disappointed to see Colbert go. I think the only thing he does well is make first-round selections, and he's average-to-terrible at everything else. The FO can be relied on to keep the most important Steelers here (good deals were negotiated with FWP, Troy, others, and I'm confident they'll do a good job with Ben's deal). But that's more Omar than Colbert, anyway.

I disagree about Arians, and I think I'm in a 2% category. I like his aggressiveness, and I like the downfield attack. It's not his fault we have the worst offensive line in football. Further in his defense, his system has allowed our top two playmakers, Willie and Ben, to have statistically outstanding seasons, and the team is heading toward a team-record for points scored.

There are plenty of stats that point in the other direction, I know, and the team's record against good defenses isn't any good. I don't think Arians is great, and he may not even be good, but I just don't think he's the problem.

Are there little things here and there that I'd like him to do? More slants and quick passes, of course. More passes to Heath Miller, many more. Making Santonio the priority in the downfield passing game. Yes there have been calls here and there I haven't liked, but I think usually it's the results of the play, not the play selection, that's the problem.

Should Willie have run more against the Jags? Possibly. I hear fans say they should have run Willie two or three times after his big runs. But I think some of these fans would say Arians is too predictable if we run it a lot, or too cute when he does the unexpected.

As for draws on 3rd-and-15, it depends on the situation. Many, many NFL teams concede the series and run draws on this type of play, for good reasons in many cases, so Arians isn't alone here.

As for the line, I don't think Colon is very good, while I think Simmons would be functional if he were playing with talent around him. But Mahan and Colon are awful, and Simmons isnt' good enough to overcome the mistakes next door to him.

Starks is going to be expensive to keep and the question is going to be whether the team thinks he's worth the investment.

Anyway, these are just my opinions, and good post, Preach. I'll root hard for this team the last two weeks, I want Tomlin and some of the young guys to get some playoff experience, but this offseason is going to require a lot of work and creative thinking by the FO and the coaching staff.
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« Reply #3 on: Dec 17, 2007 at 11:15 »

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I disagree about Arians, and I think I'm in a 2% category. I like his aggressiveness, and I like the downfield attack. It's not his fault we have the worst offensive line in football. Further in his defense, his system has allowed our top two playmakers, Willie and Ben, to have statistically outstanding seasons, and the team is heading toward a team-record for points scored.
 
I agree and disagree. I DO think everyone seems overly fixated on BA's playcalling. Yes, he's shat the bed at times, but fact is fact -- his OL sucks dick. Not much can be done.

At the same time, I think that BA doesn't seem to adjust when the OL is playing particularly poorly in some facet. If they aren't able to even remotely pass-protect, then he needs to call plays that have shorter drops and  quicker throws. He isn't doing that.

Ditto for his refusal to let Ben run a no-huddle, in games where it has been apparent that this is the only way we have been able to move the ball.

I'm not in favor of firing Arians, though, because I hate constantly changing coaches. That type of inconsistency makes QB's heads spin. I'd rather keep BA, but give him better players at the OL.

Then, if he can't get it done, well, he's done.
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« Reply #4 on: Dec 17, 2007 at 20:59 »

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I'm not in favor of firing Arians, though, because I hate constantly changing coaches. That type of inconsistency makes QB's heads spin. I'd rather keep BA, but give him better players at the OL.

Then, if he can't get it done, well, he's done.
excellent point.  while i havent been a fan of BA's much of the year either, trying to get Ben into some kind of comfort zone has to count for something.  having 3 different OC's in 3 years (and a near-death experience thrown in for good measure) makes it hard for a QB to take his game to the next level.

i guess my big problem with BA is the fact that he NEVER adjusts in-game after seeing how the opposing defense has reacted.  it's like he has a gameplan drawn up, and he's going to call those plays, no matter what is going on in the game at that time.  that's something that Tomlin has to talk to him about, because that's what is killing the offense moreso than the overall gameplan.

Arians has to have another year and a better O-line before we can totally write him off, IMO.  that being said, i will admit i dont know if i have the patience to wait it out another year with Arians calling the plays.
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« Reply #5 on: Dec 17, 2007 at 21:23 »

I wouldn't be suprised to see wholesale coaching changes.  Maybe it's just in my head, but it seems like there were a few articles around the time when Tomlin was hired that suggested many of the staff, while not foisted upon Tomlin, were strongly suggested as people to retain.

Would anyone be suprised to see the end of the 3-4 as the base after this season?  Will Lebeau care to run a Tampa 2 type defense?  Could be a new hire there.  And Tomlin might have a guy (his own) in mind to run the offense  as well.  

Could be a very different team next season.  

I doubt Tomlin has any influence whatsoever over Colbert.  Forget that.

And one draft won't fix the OL.  Gonna have to make due with what there is and hope that one of the draftees will make the starting cut.  I hate to hope for the best here, but that's pretty much where we are.  

Wouldn't be a bit suprised to see a staff and roster shakeup after the season.  Then again, status quo won't suprise either.
« Last Edit: Dec 17, 2007 at 21:24 by jonzr » Logged

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« Reply #6 on: Dec 17, 2007 at 23:50 »

You have to be pretty lucky to get enough O-line horses (Jordan Gross, Logan Mankins, etc.) out of the draft to be effective in Year 1.  

I've been a fairly harsh critic of Arians for junk like his two and three TE system with players that don't block well, or swapping out Kreider for Davis and trying to run between the tackles.  However, the guy I'm starting to wonder about is the O-line coach, Zeirlein, in that the existing linemen such as M. Smith, Simmons, and Starks have actually regressed since 2005.  It may prove to be Tomlin's first real coaching mistake.  

The thing that worries me about Arians, Zeirlein, and ST coach Ligashesky is that their track record elsewhere wasn't all that good with the Browns, Browns, and Rams respectively.  Heck, the Browns O-line looks a lot better this year than last.  They retooled it and drafted Joe Thomas early, but still wonder whether coaching has something to do with it as well.
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« Reply #7 on: Dec 18, 2007 at 06:42 »

I've already felt that Zeirlein is on a short leash, since he sent the entire league porno.

Figured that the team couldn't replace him that late in the game, but if he didn't prove his worth, his ass is gone.  
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« Reply #8 on: Dec 18, 2007 at 08:10 »

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You have to be pretty lucky to get enough O-line horses (Jordan Gross, Logan Mankins, etc.) out of the draft to be effective in Year 1.  
 
I agree completely that the draft wouldn't give us an instant fix. But I don't see too many other options beyond the draft. I don't want us to throw a boatload of money at a Porkchop Womack or some other mediocre vet.

Gotta start somewhere, I think. Consider the Packers. After '05, they let their starting guards go but they drafted heavily on the O-line, and started, I believe, two rookies at guard throughout '06. They had their ups and downs, but this season, the Packers line has been very good. (Of course, they have excellent tackles, and that helps!)

I also agree with you that our line coach is unimpressive, based on results. On the other hand, I think our linemen began slipping way back even in '05, so it may not be his fault, either. Good point though, about what teams these guys came from and what results they had...
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« Reply #9 on: Dec 18, 2007 at 08:21 »

Playing devil's advocate on the BA burial, are we sure it's all on him?  Ben's physical skills, heart, and desire on the field aren't questionable, but isn't he supposed to be taking on a bigger role in the offensive playcalling?  Is he making the right reads pre-snap?  Is he calling for those deep patterns looking for the big play, putting himself and his O line in a bind?

I dunno, just asking.  
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