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44 minutes ago, Steeler Hitman said:

I am not so sure. I actually think he actually is much more than a game manager. I don't think Ben was the problem. He was a major reason that the Steelers won 12 games more than he was the reason why they lost 5 games. I think the Steelers need to follow the Bronco model with Elway and Peyton winning SB's late due to a solid rushing attack and very good defenses. I think Ben is and was better than both Elway and Peyton when they won their SB's  at the end of their HOF careers. 

For coming off of major surgery to his throwing arm that late in his career, Ben exceeded most expectations with his play.  The supporting cast didn't complement him. In one of his worst games (WC Game vs. Browns) he still threw for more than 500 yards being a completely predictable and one-dimensional offense.  The Steelers root causes to poor offensive performance (in my humble opinion) were:

1. Play calling and lack of in game adjustments. Problem all year and many times the success was when Ben took over. 

2. They and Ben became a tired football team. The lack of a real bye, the game dates being switched at the last minute took them out of rhythm,  and playing 3 games in 12 days hurt them. 

3. Injuries to the defense: Bud and Bush were huge difference makers that raised the play of the entire defense. The run defense suffered after Tyson got hurt. Then losing Spillane and Haden hurt too. 

4. OL and RB's. The Steelers OL couldn't open holes. When they did, the RB's didn't read or follow the blocks properly.

5. Drops by WR's and the TE stalled drives and stopped potential TD's, eating up clock, resting the defense, and other potential scoring (FG's). 

6. Coaching, offense, defense and special rarely play complimentary football. It is always one or two of the four working and the team rarely getting in synch. It is rarely all four phases working together. The closest that they came was 28 minutes versus the Titans and the first half versus Cleveland in the first game in Pittsburgh. 

I think the Steelers were smart to build around Ben for 2021. If one or two of the other phases are off, I believe Ben can more than carry the team for the few games that may happen. Fix the OL, rushing attack, retool and get healthy on defense, and the Steelers have more than a puncher's chance to beat any team.

Good post, and alot of things I agree with, but a few things....

1)  Ben's deep ball ability has been regressing for years.   His inaccuracies pushing the ball downfield are a serious detriment to his game.  The only thing he did well last year really was make good decisions EARLY in the season.

2)  The term "game manager" gets a bad wrap.    There is nothing necessarily wrong with being a game manager, especially as a beat to hell 39 yr old QB.    When we were winnng last year....thats essentially all Ben was doing.    Problem is, with no ruuning game, no deep ball and terrible, predictable playcalling, teams were eventually able to figure out a way to shut it down.

3)  Ben is either unwilling or unable to move the way he  used to.   Not knocking him for that, but he was clearly playing scared at times.   We had several 4th and inches we failed where a QB sneak seemed automatic....but we didnt do it, and I think it was to protect Ben who didnt WANT to do it.   Yes, perhaps it was just awful playcalling....but I believe it was more.

4) Clearly, Ben wasnt the only or even biggest reason for our downfall, but he was a major one.    Ben's best assets were a) how well he moved around and throw behind the LOS,  b) his ability to escape pressure and c)  his ability to push the ball downfield.   Those assets are mostly gone now.

I do not believe they see Ben as much more than a game manager, and if they do....thats a mistake.   Again, there is nothing wrong with Ben being a game manager.    

A good defense, an effective running game,asking Ben to make plays when needed and limiting mistakes is our best chance.    If we need Ben to carry the offense, its not going to end well.  He doesn't have it anymore.    He might be able to do it for a game or 2....but not a full season and into the playoffs.

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22 hours ago, 43M said:

Good post, and alot of things I agree with, but a few things....

1)  Ben's deep ball ability has been regressing for years.   His inaccuracies pushing the ball downfield are a serious detriment to his game.  The only thing he did well last year really was make good decisions EARLY in the season.

I agree that he made good decisions EARLY.  I disagree that was the ONLY thing. I will add that I also think Ben has matured greatly as a person and leader on the team. Although I didn't add it his leadership was paramount in leading this team. I agree about the dep ball as some of that  was greatly contributed to the pain he played with. I don't expect him to have cannon of old as far as the long ball, but I think he will be more accurate and we should see improvement the second year after surgery. At times he made some difficult throws and put some pin-point lasers in there. As I have already probably over-stated, I believe that he was tired at the end of the year and no bye contributed to the fatigue both physically and mentally.

2)  The term "game manager" gets a bad wrap.    There is nothing necessarily wrong with being a game manager, especially as a beat to hell 39 yr old QB.    When we were winning last year....that's essentially all Ben was doing.    Problem is, with no running game, no deep ball and terrible, predictable play calling, teams were eventually able to figure out a way to shut it down.

I think he was more than a game manager. And I get your point that term is not a bad thing and especially for an aging QB. I think Ben has more in the tank  than given credit for. Again, making a comparison to some aging QB's Elway, Favre, and Manning, I think at the same points in their careers, Ben is more effective. It is not about showing people that you can still throw for 5000 yards or pass 60 times a game, but rather playing intelligently (balanced) or as you said by better managing the game.  I still believe that if he needs to carry this team with his arm, HE COULD. Not that we want him to or that is the best thing, but that he is not like some other older QB's who were limited with their arm due to injuries, age, etc. 

3)  Ben is either unwilling or unable to move the way he  used to.   

Not like the 23 year old Ben, but the Steelers have also gotten smarter in realizing that you need to protect your QB. As much as we criticized OC Todd Haley for his play calling, he  is probably the main reason Big Ben is still playing today. I am BA fan, but his philosophy helped get Ben beat up (that and the poor pass blocking maulers on the OL most of his early career). The game and the game philosophies have changed.

Not knocking him for that, but he was clearly playing scared at times.   

It depends on your Interpretation of fear. I don't think was afraid of any player or getting HIT. He has never played that way. I think he was afraid of getting HURT.  I think Ben knows that right now he is this teams best chance of winning a SB. How much better would the 2019 Steelers had been with Ben over Mason and Duck? He mentioned that he felt like his injury blew a great opportunity with a strong defense. Scared? Probably not by my interpretation. Cautious? Probably so in my eyes. 

We had several 4th and inches we failed where a QB sneak seemed automatic....but we didn't do it, and I think it was to protect Ben who didn't WANT to do it.   Yes, perhaps it was just awful playcalling....but I believe it was more.

Ben had that same argument under Haley. That is obviously something that has come in from much higher. I would SPECULATE (my opinion) Mr. Rooney! Back in 2017 that was addressed a few times as many got tired of seeing those failings and Ben himself stated as much. As much as I love Pouncey, he was just not going to blow a huge NG or DT off the ball. He struggled against the bigger stronger guys and that situation was certainly not his strength. Pouncey was great at pulling and getting to the next level. I don't think this is Ben saying he won't do a QB sneak to help his team win. Our scheme got predictable and our OL got blown up at times and our RB's couldn't read a block or have rushing discipline and patience at others. That's a poor combination for getting short yardage.  I suggested that the team get back to getting some strong maulers/manglers up front. 

4) Clearly, Ben wasn't the only or even biggest reason for our downfall, but he was a major one.    Ben's best assets were a) how well he moved around and throw behind the LOS, 

Youthful traits that are great when you are younger, but as wear and tear and father time catch up, much harder to do. I felt the loss of QB Coach Ken Anderson was a huge loss. Anderson was a laser accurate QB who would have developed/matured Ben as a veteran QB. Anderson did not have Ben's physical gifts, but knew how to move well enough to avoid hits in the pocket ( a la Da GOAT Brady). The Steelers wanted to extend plays and throw deep. You also get your QB hit like this and Ben was the most sacked and hit QB early in his career. The team did a poor job protecting him with scheme and OL talent early. Despite an occasional errant throw or the Gunslinger Mentality of forcing the ball, Ben is pretty accurate throwing. 

b) his ability to escape pressure

I think that changes with scheme and age. A good rushing attack, a balanced offense, and throwing more short to intermediate passes as opposed to extremely short or deep. He can't move like he used to, nor do we want him to. Even the young upstarts like Mahomes, Allen and Jackson will all reach that time as well.  Protect Ben with a sound OL, the ability to impose your will in the rushing attack, a strong legged punter, and good defense. 

and c)  his ability to push the ball downfield.   

The offense became one-dimensional and then looked lost when teams figured out what they were doing schematically. Playing in the shotgun the vast majority of the time limits your balance. With two TE's and a FB, the Steelers should be able to do far more than their three and four WR sets that they were so accustomed and predictable playing. 

Those assets are mostly gone now.

Gone... Not completely. It is kind of like saying that Mike Tyson or Randy Couture can't fight anymore. In the ring, yes they are limited against younger fighters. In a real fight? Different arena. I'll take the former champs. I don't think that he is to the point that there are no more bullets in the gun to shoot so to speak. I still think the Steelers best chance to win a SB is with Big Ben leading them at QB.

I do not believe they see Ben as much more than a game manager, and if they do....that's a mistake.   Again, there is nothing wrong with Ben being a game manager.    

I won't completely disagree with you. We may be phrasing the same thing with different words. Should the Steelers put it all on Ben to lead the team? No! Get him some support: OL, rushing attack, TE, defense and a punter who can flip the field as well. Don't make Ben have to pass 40 -50 + times every game. A good ground attack would allow them to run the ball 35 - 40 times and beat teams up on offense and defense. The long ball to Chase and Washington would be more effective, the intermediate passing game to Ebron and Freiermuth would open up, the crossing balls to Ju Ju are there again, and the quick hitters to Dionte or Ray Ray would not be as predictable. There will be games where he will have to throw to win. It just can't be every Sunday. 

A good defense, an effective running game, asking Ben to make plays when needed and limiting mistakes is our best chance. 

100% Agree!

If we need Ben to carry the offense, its not going to end well.  He doesn't have it anymore.    He might be able to do it for a game or 2....but not a full season and into the playoffs.

Agree 100% there as well. He will have to do it sometime here and there, but that can't become the focus of the offense nor should it. 

I think we are essentially saying the same thing in different ways. While we may not be completely on board with his abilities or lack thereof, I think we both believe that this team will still only go as far as Ben can take them. Yet that doesn't mean we expect Ben to carry them by himself.

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Posted (edited)
On 5/5/2021 at 2:31 AM, Steeler Hitman said:

I am not so sure. I actually think he actually is much more than a game manager. I don't think Ben was the problem. He was a major reason that the Steelers won 12 games more than he was the reason why they lost 5 games. I think the Steelers need to follow the Bronco model with Elway and Peyton winning SB's late due to a solid rushing attack and very good defenses. I think Ben is and was better than both Elway and Peyton when they won their SB's  at the end of their HOF careers. 

For coming off of major surgery to his throwing arm that late in his career, Ben exceeded most expectations with his play.  The supporting cast didn't complement him. In one of his worst games (WC Game vs. Browns) he still threw for more than 500 yards being a completely predictable and one-dimensional offense.  The Steelers root causes to poor offensive performance (in my humble opinion) were:

1. Play calling and lack of in game adjustments. Problem all year and many times the success was when Ben took over. 

2. They and Ben became a tired football team. The lack of a real bye, the game dates being switched at the last minute took them out of rhythm,  and playing 3 games in 12 days hurt them. 

3. Injuries to the defense: Bud and Bush were huge difference makers that raised the play of the entire defense. The run defense suffered after Tyson got hurt. Then losing Spillane and Haden hurt too. 

4. OL and RB's. The Steelers OL couldn't open holes. When they did, the RB's didn't read or follow the blocks properly.

5. Drops by WR's and the TE stalled drives and stopped potential TD's, eating up clock, resting the defense, and other potential scoring (FG's). 

6. Coaching, offense, defense and special rarely play complimentary football. It is always one or two of the four working and the team rarely getting in synch. It is rarely all four phases working together. The closest that they came was 28 minutes versus the Titans and the first half versus Cleveland in the first game in Pittsburgh. 

I think the Steelers were smart to build around Ben for 2021. If one or two of the other phases are off, I believe Ben can more than carry the team for the few games that may happen. Fix the OL, rushing attack, retool and get healthy on defense, and the Steelers have more than a puncher's chance to beat any team.

elite post and the the sort of post that wasn't made immediately after the playoff game, and understandably so as emotions were high etc

we definitely can go all the way this year. we've retooled the trenches and hit positions of need and as you point out, old ben can do more than old peyton, and though our d might not be the '15 broncs it's quite damn close; and i would argue our o is considerably better

Edited by Shady Slim
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On 5/4/2021 at 12:48 PM, AFF said:

@Steeler Hitman great post

Ben has his faults and isn’t what he was 5 years ago but he’s still an above average QB.

are you sure about this? He couldn't throw down the field (or scramble) and lost how many of his last 8 games? Retirement should have been a reality for him 3 years ago, but at least he made another $100M in the meantime. 

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I think the play calling and play design had a lot to do with the offense falling off the cliff. We shall see this year IF Canada is allowed to call his plays

 

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4 hours ago, 3rivers said:

are you sure about this? He couldn't throw down the field (or scramble) and lost how many of his last 8 games? Retirement should have been a reality for him 3 years ago, but at least he made another $100M in the meantime. 

You don’t go 33Td/11int with the leagues worst run game and your weapons leading the NFL in drops if you’re not at least average and probably above average. 

Not too many 38 year old QBs scrambling anywhere and he has the arm..his accuracy for whatever reason was off.

So yea...I’m sure.

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52 minutes ago, AFF said:

You don’t go 33Td/11int with the leagues worst run game and your weapons leading the NFL in drops if you’re not at least average and probably above average. 

Not too many 38 year old QBs scrambling anywhere and he has the arm..his accuracy for whatever reason was off.

So yea...I’m sure.

so perhaps I am in the minority here that thinks ben is done and has been for a few years. 2021 will be interesting

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On 5/8/2021 at 6:57 PM, 3rivers said:

so perhaps I am in the minority here that thinks ben is done and has been for a few years. 2021 will be interesting

I think if the running game is prominent and dominant, then I think Ben can make enough plays to keep defenses honest. But if we expect Ben to throw 300-400 YPG each week, then I think the season is going to be a bust.

The biggest issue with Ben's game now is the long ball accuracy. I don't know if it is mechanics or age, but if he can't fix that, then he is done.

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6 hours ago, cjfollett said:

I think if the running game is prominent and dominant, then I think Ben can make enough plays to keep defenses honest. But if we expect Ben to throw 300-400 YPG each week, then I think the season is going to be a bust.

The biggest issue with Ben's game now is the long ball accuracy. I don't know if it is mechanics or age, but if he can't fix that, then he is done.

lest not forget - he can't scramble anymore either and that was a major part of his game at times when required.

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3 hours ago, 3rivers said:

lest not forget - he can't scramble anymore either and that was a major part of his game at times when required.

I think he showed well enough last season that he doesn't need to scramble if his 1st read or two are open. He was delivering the ball very quickly. The problems started arising when teams simply began ignoring any threat of the run on most plays..

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8 hours ago, cjfollett said:

I think he showed well enough last season that he doesn't need to scramble if his 1st read or two are open. He was delivering the ball very quickly. The problems started arising when teams simply began ignoring any threat of the run on most plays..

The problem was ignoring plays beyond 5 yards of the LOS.  The Steelers need to have some mid-range (8-15 yard) routes.

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58 minutes ago, jebrick said:

The problem was ignoring plays beyond 5 yards of the LOS.  The Steelers need to have some mid-range (8-15 yard) routes.

Yep, that's the issue. They knew if they all crowded the line they could disrupt our route timing and stop the run all at the same time. Plus getting their hands in passing lanes. We never took intermediate shots to open anything up underneath. Our entire offense revolved around quick, up tempo, timing routes and overthrown deep shots. 

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On 5/8/2021 at 4:08 PM, 3rivers said:

are you sure about this?

I feel confidant in Ben's abilities and I completely stand behind what I wrote. The word elite may not be uttered, but yes, I believe that Ben is still "above average." In fact, I will even say still well above average. We will agree to disagree about Big Ben my friend.

He couldn't throw down the field

Simply not true. Yes he was coming off of major surgery, but he said that his arm from a pain standpoint was never better. Was he 100%? I would agree with you and many that he was not all the way back from surgery. To say he couldn't throw or as some have tried to say ineffective was simply not true. 

15 608 399 65.63% 3803 6.3 84l long 33 TD 10 INT 193 31.74 43 13 118 94.1

Play-off loss stats 47 for 68 4 TD and 4 INT 501 yards. My eyes and the stats say differently. I think with HELP, he is better. He carried the offense when he should have been given more help and support. These stats don't include the numerous dropped passes and dropped TD's. 

(or scramble)

He has primarily been a pocket passer who was strong as a bull and had some mobility. He was never Michael Vick, but 37 -38 who wants their aging QB running around? That is what a run game is for. 

and lost how many of his last 8 games?

You can look at 11-0 or 1-5 or both.  He was the reason they won a lot of games and yes he was a major reason for some losses. If the team was expecting him to fully carry them every week like he was 26, then they set him up for failure. Covid, no bye, poor coaching, defensive injuries, and a lack of a running game are all major contributors to this being a tired and eventually beaten up and beaten on football team. 

Retirement should have been a reality for him 3 years ago, but at least he made another $100M in the meantime. 

This is not and objectively should not be about liking or disliking Ben. Did Ben give this team the best chance to win? Heck yeah. Duck, Dobbs, and Mason combined are not yet even a 38 year old Ben.  I am not mad he made money. He also gave this team its best chances to win. Ben has had his issues as well. I think that we also see that Bell, Brown and even Coach T (he is the leader) can share in some blame with this offenses demise.

We see how the team was without Ben and them.  Mason, Duck, Dobbs had some support and health on defense yet couldn't elevate this offense either. Is Ben at the end of the ride? Yeah he is pretty close and yes it is time to also look to the future.  but not in 2021. That is why Mason was drafted. The Steelers future is right now! Like it or not Ben is here.

The old washed up QB threw for 500 yards in one of his worst games. There are many QB's who have never done that in their best.  Washed up QB's don't throw for 500 yards and compete.  He lost on his feet swinging. I highly respect that. His INT's and the teams lax offensive start are squarely on his shoulders as a team leader. Yes bad Ben appeared for much of the final six weeks. I think a lot of bad Ben had to do with him trying to do too much for a team that offered little to no support in other areas of the offense including play-calling. 

How many times and when have the Steelers played complete complimentary football game? Great defense and poor offense. Poor defense and great offense. Poor special teams and solid offense and defense. How many times has this team been stopped on third and one or fourth and one? You don't have to like Ben, but I think we are spoiled fans by greatness.  Brees, Rogers,  and Brady couldn't and can't  do it by themselves either. Did Tampa Bay win the SB  because of Brady or the fact they had a home game, a very solid defense and the support that his OL and a rushing attack gave him? 

I don't and I didn't see Ben as the main problem or root cause of the Steelers 2020 demise or implosion. 

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6 minutes ago, Steeler Hitman said:

The old washed up QB threw for 500 yards in one of his worst games. There are many QB's who have never done that in their best.  Washed up QB's don't throw for 500 yards and compete.

He threw the ball almost 70 times that game, and he lost the game with his terrible play. 500 yards doesn't mean too much to me. I thought Mason looked better against the Browns the last week of the year than Ben did in the playoff game. I don't think our offensive woes were solely on Ben's shoulders, but to act like he wasn't a major reason why we stunk is disingenuous. He had good stats, but he threw the ball a ridiculous amount. Add in that the vast majority of those throws were at the LOS doesn't bode well for your argument. 

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8 minutes ago, MOSteelers56 said:

Mason looked better against the Browns the last week

Will Smith Reaction GIF

9 minutes ago, MOSteelers56 said:

I don't think our offensive woes were solely on Ben's shoulders, but to act like he wasn't a major reason why we stunk is disingenuous. He had good stats, but he threw the ball a ridiculous amount. Add in that the vast majority of those throws were at the LOS doesn't bode well for your argument. 

Outside of my fun with the Mason comment I don't strongly disagree with that you said, but to highlight this part. 

Ben was part of the problem, but to me he was about 4th on the list. X's and O's, offensive line/Run game, wide receiver drop issues, Ben. That's the order I would put it in. Any of the first three help him be far less of a problem - two of which I believe we are already well on our way to fixing/having fixed. 

The design of the offense was to get the ball out quick and have those short throws at or behind the line. Going back to problem #1 for me, they thought they could outsmart people and they were dead wrong after the league caught up and they had no counter - they didn't even try. I think Ben showed more than enough to say he is okay throwing in the intermediate with a better offensive plan. But I dont blame him for the game plan....well, that's not true, I think he and Fichtner are both to blame mentally. But I dont blame Ben physically for throwing short.

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