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Spinning Tires: Steelers 2021 Offseason and Beyond...


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26 minutes ago, warfelg said:

Why continue to run it so much in 2019?  Because your playbook is designed with QB1 in mind and you hope to have a QB2 that can run with that playbook design.  Do you know how hard it is to completely re-write the playbook in season and get everyone on page with operating an offense that's different you just spent an entire offseason installing?

The fact that you insist that there was some decline in 2019 tells me that you don't understand statistics. 2% is a blip. Regardless...

You finally answered the question! You went with the only argument you could have, and it's a pretty weak one. Fitchner had an entire season to tweak things, and going under center more, say 10% more often, is a tweak, That's not a redesign. Hell, there are games where they've done just that in the past (say, Buffalo in 2016). If Fitchner really valued putting the QB under center, we'd have seen in it 2019.

I suppose they didn't run play action last year because it was the Ben offense and that would have been too much of a change on the fly, as well, right?

EDIT:

I also never said it's "just" Fitchner. Ben is on record as stating he likes shotgun so he can see the whole field. I said it isn't only Ben, and there's nothing but speculation that he wouldn't run it more if called upon.

But I also see little evidence that going under center more is going to be some great solution for this offense. Getting play action going? Yea, that matters. Having an effective rushing attack? That matters. But neither of those things requires being under center or having a mobile QB out of the shotgun.

Edited by CKSteeler
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You are really underestimating how hard completely rewriting a playbook in season is if you think those changes aren't that significant.

As for the last part of the edit....all of that matters.  If you are going to run out of shotgun and have a lateral baised offensive run game, you have to be a threat to use the entire width of the field on any play, which is why there's a correlation of mobile QB's and use of RPO out of the shotgun.  And when you have a QB who can't do that, it involves running an offense more based in running from under center because it creates a situation where players run downhill.

We run an offense without a mobile QB, based in shotgun, without significant play action, and the league's worst rushing attack; which all put us at one of the least efficient offenses in the NFL.

I'm almost willing to bet that if Ben is back, we'll be top 5 in shotgun no matter who the GM and will still suck at rushing the ball.

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Anyways, this isn't a worthwhile conversation to have. I don't get the insistence that everything is fine with Ben.  Tom Brady has 2 top 20 WR's, a top 5 OL, an above average run game, along with 2 TE's all better than what we have, along with AB playing here and there.  Only reason Tom could throw 3 picks and not look done is the rest of the team is that good.

Ben's 38.  He's played 17 years.  Absolutely nothing wrong with hanging it up or admitting he doesn't have it anymore.  Does it suck to see it come to an end? Sure.  But it's gonna end at some point, and the longer you hold onto his play of late being good enough, the longer you push off the pursuit of a Lombardy.  Ben's not winning another one.  We won't win another playoff game with Ben as a QB.  In fact I'd be shocked if we make the playoffs with Ben as the QB next year.

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I'd hardly be surprised if the team internally tried to change as little as possible between Rudolph and Ben,more so because the coaches are intellectually lazy rather than changing an offense on the fly being some great feat. We have in fact seen teams redesign and make large scale changes to offenses midseason. The Bucs have been constantly evolving all year on offense and are going to the Super Bowl. The most extreme example I can think of would be Denver with Tebow. There was Baltimore when they inserted Jackson over Flacco etc.

But my point was that running more under center is actually not some great adjustment. A 10% shift wouldn't require rewriting the playbook, just a greater emphasis on what you practice. If the coaches and players aren't capable of that, than none of them should be in the NFL. As much as I mock Tomlin, even I give him more credit than that.

I am willing to bet that if they fix the OL, the rushing attack will be fine. The rushing attack was just fine in 2016. What were those shotgun numbers like that year, again? It was pretty effective in 2018, as well, with a pocket passing QB.

There is a correlation between mobile QB's and the shotgun usage, but there's also teams with successful offenses that buck that trend. The 2018 Steelers offense being one example. The 49ers last year. Even Tampa's last year when they weren't turning the ball over.

I should add that having an actual vertical passing attack will also be a huge boost to the run game. We've seen that even this year. The rushing attack was more effective when defenses felt threatened deep. Indy second half, Cleveland week 17.  Earlier in the season when teams were still expecting "old" Ben who would throw it over the top.

If the team hires from outside the organization for the OC position, and they run more under center, that won't be what fixes the run game.

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4 minutes ago, warfelg said:

I don't get the insistence that everything is fine

If Ben played like he did in the first half of the season in the second half, they most definitely would have beaten Cleveland and most of the rest of the AFC outside KC who is a different beast. The biggest issue Ben has had in the playoffs is the turnovers. He's still effective moving the ball. He can still make all the throws. But you typically can't turn it over and win in the playoffs.

What was Ben doing earlier in the year? He was still looking deep, occasionally connecting even if struggling, and he was avoiding turnovers at a career high rate and almost league best rate. The emphasis on small ball to the exclusion of everything else in the second half of the season killed the entire offense from the ground game (which wasn't great, but good enough early on) to the ball security.

Throwing it short is not always safe. The reads are actually more complicated with what the Steelers were doing than if they were throwing intermediate/deep, especially with no threat of the run game.

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A lot of what was wrong with Ben/Offense was on play calling.  When you dink and dunk down the field, one dropped ball or one holding penalty kills drives.   Play calling did not adapt when other teams adjusted to the dink-n-dunk.  Fitchner should have been fired by week 8-10

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Fitchner didn’t help but continuing to absolve Ben like this does nothing. Ben was a big part of the issue too. Cant push the ball downfield as well anymore. 10-20 yard passing was non-existent and that was his wheelhouse. One of his worst years for 25+ Yard plays. 
 

Like I said. He’s 38. Nothing wrong with his career ending or saying he’s declined and not as good. 

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10 minutes ago, warfelg said:

His play didn't really change.  What changed was facing better teams and not getting lucky with kickers missing game winning FG's.

Anyone who thinks nothing changed in the offense from the first half to the second half of the season is blind or being willfully obtuse, in my view. They didn't even attempt to stretch the field vertically. And outside Buffalo, there really wasn't any change in the difficulty of opponents (he played well against Tennessee, moved the ball effectively all game). He had one of his best performances in the second half against Indy. I suppose the play calling didn't change there, either, right? Are we counting Washington as some tough out? Are we ignoring Baltimore game 1?

Nah, it was clear as day that the Steelers starting in that first Baltimore game started to go to a small ball approach and cut a lot of the motion and shifts out of the offense. By Baltimore game 2, opposing teams adjusted and the Steelers never really did.

There was a lot of short passing all year, which is absolutely fine. But when there's no vertical threat to compliment it, you are dead in the water. Indy first half vs. second half tells the whole story.

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1 minute ago, warfelg said:

Fitchner didn’t help but continuing to absolve Ben like this does nothing. Ben was a big part of the issue too. Cant push the ball downfield as well anymore. 10-20 yard passing was non-existent and that was his wheelhouse. One of his worst years for 25+ Yard plays. 

No one would deny that the downfield passing was an issue. The question is why, and physical decline isn't the answer. Ben isn't any dumber, either. You complained a good chunk of the year about Ben putting too much heat on his short passes and claimed it was causing the drops, but then out of the same mouth want to argue that his arm has declined.

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