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Bruce Arians faces a major challenge

The Steelers will be encountering a major mess this season, with a starting quarterback who’ll be banished from the facility after training camp and the preseason and a collection of backups who’ll vie for the short-term starting job.

The problem?  There may not be enough first-team reps to go around to get Roethlisberger ready for his return and the replacements ready to replace him.

It’ll all happen on the watch of an offensive coordinator who faced widespread criticism in 2009 for passing the ball too much.  Bruce Arians now knows he needs to re-commit to the run, given the muddled quarterback situation and a passing game depleted by the trade of Santonio Holmes.

But the Steelers’ opponents realize this, too, and they’ll likely load up against the run, forcing Arians to do that which he’s wired to do anyway.

It’s a recipe for potential disaster, if Arians refuses to commit to the run and rely on the defense.  With coach Mike Tomlin’s background coming on the defensive side of the ball, it’s not as if Tomlin can take over calling the plays.

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49 Responses to “Bruce Arians faces a major challenge”
  1. blitzburgh1 says: May 15, 2010 9:47 PM

    Dream on, Florio.
    Steelers win the superbowl in Dallas while Jerry Jones’ head explodes and Roger Goodell has a stroke while handing Ben the MVP trophy.
    Book it.

  2. ItalianArmyGuy says: May 15, 2010 9:51 PM

    Yes – major challenge – maybe dumb-a$$ Arians will need to start learning to call some running plays, using a fullback occasionally, and not letting his brain-dead qb wing it from hurry-up shotgun the entire game
    Maybe he’ll have to figure out how to make a 3rd-and-1 or goal-to-go using the ground game for once
    I once thought Greg Davis at University of Texas was the stupidest Offensive Coordinator I would ever see win a major championship – until Bruce Arians took the reins in the ‘Burgh. When Gruden talked about dumb-a$$ coaches, he surely was talking about Arians in his top 3
    If the idiot had developed a power running game he wouldn’t be in this crappy situation, AND the Steelers would have won the division last year. IMAGINE THAT – using a power running game in an outdoor stadium, in terrible weather, on grass – WHO’D-A-THUNK IT???? DOHHH – Arians, you are the Homer Simpson of NFL OC’s. Please — change your game, or get fired fast, I don’t care which you choose

  3. hamburglar says: May 15, 2010 9:59 PM

    For the record, it wasnt the offense that got their cocks kicked in by Josh Cribbs and Louis Murphy in successive weeks.

  4. ennis63 says: May 15, 2010 10:00 PM

    steelers start out 3-0 in the first 3 weeks (havent lost a home opener in years, and wont lose to tenn or tampa on the road)…the baltimore game, who knows, with the way those 2 beat each others up anythings possible…as long as they avoid injury the defense will carry them to some wins until #7 returns

  5. Bri715 says: May 15, 2010 10:03 PM

    Hey Florio. Did you also know water is wet?

  6. Norv Turner says: May 15, 2010 10:08 PM

    Steelers fans are so elitist and delusional

  7. CJCrazyLegs28 says: May 15, 2010 10:19 PM

    ^^The Steelers are going to beat the Falcons and Titans to start 3-0? With Byron Leftwich at quarterback? Dream on.. this is the same Steelers team that squeaked by a Kerry Collins led Titans team (you know, the one that went 0-6 with him at the helm before turning it over to a capable quarterback) last year IN PITTSBURGH.
    The Falcons and Titans will do work on the Squealers.. you should be worrying more about the Bucs game, because the other two are automatic losses.

  8. PittsburghSteelerz says: May 15, 2010 10:22 PM

    All this Arians bashing is pretty insane…
    Sure, he’s struggled in the redzone and needs to improve there, but the Steelers offense was great and near the top on the league last year. R.M. had 1000+ yards too.
    If they didn’t give up so many special teams touchdowns or blow all those 4 quarter leads, they would’ve been in the playoffs and who knows…
    They lost all those close games,but Ben always took the lead late and stood on the sidelines as the defense blew it

  9. JJRS89 says: May 15, 2010 10:26 PM

    I feel bad for whoever the steelers have at qb when they play the titans. Derrick Morgan is gonna make them look like Edward Norton in the shower scene of american history x everytime they drop back to pass

  10. Dixon29 says: May 15, 2010 10:30 PM

    Steelers- last place AFC North… Book it!
    Steelers suck!

  11. tdowdy11 says: May 15, 2010 10:33 PM

    Steelers will finish 4-12.
    Wins vs. TB, Cleveland, @Buffalo, @Cleveland
    Losses to Atlanta, Tennessee, Baltimore, @Miami, @New Orleans, @Cincy, New England, Oakland, @Baltimore, Cincy, Jets, Carolina
    QB play is going to be horrid even after Ben comes back with the distractions from the media and the rust of not having played in camp or first 6 weeks. #2 WR traded, #3 WR already out the season and mediocre RB with an OC that refuses to run. That said, it wouldn’t shock me if they even lost one or both of the games against the Browns or if they squeaked out a win against Oakland or Carolina.

  12. funi says: May 15, 2010 11:10 PM

    Leftwich was QB when Pitt beat deadskins on MNF 2 years ago! Pitt will start off 4-0 releying on def to carry them. With Troy back that is a hugh differance. Allof there losses last year were within 7 points! With Troy there 4 of those losses would not have happened! Steelers win 11 games easily this year!

  13. cgc1969 says: May 15, 2010 11:10 PM

    norv turner you are delusional and stupid, dixon29 you go shove it, all haters can talk their
    smack but you will all eat those words you’ll see!
    bunch of dumb critics! yes bruce arians needs to
    be fired! mendenhall is a good RB, not mediocre!

  14. ItalianArmyGuy says: May 15, 2010 11:11 PM

    PittsburghSteelerz says: May 15, 2010 10:22 PM
    All this Arians bashing is pretty insane…
    Sure, he’s struggled in the redzone and needs to improve there, but the Steelers offense was great and near the top on the league last year.
    ===================
    You had me at “struggled in the redzone”
    In fact, they were pathetic inside the 3 yard line – how many 1rst and goals from the 1 yard line did they fail to convert in 4 tries in the past 2 years? I’ll bet the Cowboys of the early-to-mid 90’s didn’t fail to convert a 1st and goal from the 1 at any time during their Super Bowl run.
    Bruce “I don’t believe in the fullback” Arians is truly moronic. He has no sense of the fact that the Steelers are having to play outside, in the snow and driving rain, with muddy, torn up fields, icy conditions, blizzards, etc…. You handle those conditions with a power running game, which is how the Steelers have built their teams for 40 mostly successful years.

  15. robert ethen says: May 15, 2010 11:14 PM

    A major challenge for Ariens is tying his shoes so the laces don’t come undone, but not so well that he has to use a knife to cut them at the end of the day. His wife only buys him slip ons these days.

  16. Ben Roetlisbunger says: May 15, 2010 11:19 PM

    This isn’t really a news or rumor post… It’s just pointless, obvious, mindless observations.

  17. cgc1969 says: May 15, 2010 11:20 PM

    tdowdy 11 #3 reciever out for season if youre talking about sweed, he SUCKS! he was inactive
    a lot last year! he is now released and cleared waivers so he is on IR! Sweed was never a #3 reciever! You dont know what youre talking about, he cant catch the ball, hes a BUST! show some knowledge, oh yea 4-12 youre dead wrong
    guaranteed!

  18. HandsofSweed says: May 15, 2010 11:23 PM

    @Tdowdy:
    Deep in your soul, you know goddamn well that Pittsburgh will be a hell of a lot better than 4-12. Keep praying. If you have been on planet Earth for any/all of the last 40 years, you have never seen that franchise bottom out like that. (Profootballreference.com if you don’t believe me.) It isn’t going to “start” now, dreamer.

  19. cgc1969 says: May 15, 2010 11:26 PM

    ken wisenhunt was far a better OC than bruce arians ever will be. arians should be thankful he has a job!

  20. RebaT. says: May 15, 2010 11:28 PM

    The Steelers will go 4-0 or 5-0 the first 4 or 5 games. Do you REALLY think Rapistberger is going to be #1 again? NOT. That would be stupid. We need a new Offensive Co-ordinator anyways. Bruce sucks! Willie is gone and now we have MR. FUMBLE himself, Mendenhall.
    Tomlin needs to get his nose out of the defense and let LeBeau handle it. Look what happened last year when Tomlin got too involved with the defense. It sucked. Troy being out didn’t help either.
    I think Tomlin will have the shortest career as head coach of the Steelers anyways. He sucks. He didn’t win the SB with his picks. He won with Cowher’s picks. The only good thing about Tomlin is he didn’t like Ben to begin with. Ugly, fat loser in life. He almost lost SB XL with his two ints. If Ben does come back after 6 games, the away games are going to eat at him because the crowds will TEAR HIM UP! He’s already messed up in the head anyways. Not too sure the home crowd won’t do it either. A few beer bottles need to be thrown at his head. Unfortunately the one thing that would get him OUT won’t happen – and that is A LOT of empty yellow seats at Heinz Field. Major Cha-ching for the Rooneys out the window. Heck, it’s Pit, what else do they have but the Steelers and the hockey team? What else is there to do there? Not much.

  21. ItalianArmyGuy says: May 15, 2010 11:35 PM

    robert ethen says: May 15, 2010 11:14 PM
    A major challenge for Ariens is tying his shoes so the laces don’t come undone, but not so well that he has to use a knife to cut them at the end of the day. His wife only buys him slip ons these days.
    =================
    My point EXACTLY!!
    And you know why Arians was “qualified” to be the Steelers OC?? Because he was the OC that oversaw the Cleveland Browns trainwreck of an offense from 2001-2003.
    What’s next? Let Dick LeBeau retire, and hire a defensive coordinator who benches Troy Polamalu because “he doesn’t believe in the strong safety position”????

  22. masssquarred says: May 15, 2010 11:55 PM

    The steelers are not a losing organization. Not only that Tomlin keeps a good mind on these soldiers. The steelers had the hardest schedule in all of history and still won the SB. This year is looking very similar. With sidney crosby falling short of winning the cup then the gold then the cup again – big ben will have to step up.
    The raven are looking really well with a very VERY talented qb in joseph flacco. They added top WR in the league mr. boldin to there lineup and ray lewis remains another year.
    The bungels will also fight for the top spot in the division for ced ben seems to be a punishing back. And ocho cinco now proves he can dance with the stars so look for more touchdown celebrations which include big breasted women and curtsies.
    Browns lose some more.
    Big ben is so confident under center its quite disgusting. No QB has better ratings than him in the 4th and his comeback wins top all highlight lists. Patriots reign is over and look for the JETS to prove that. Look for 10+ wins this season as long as TROY P remains healthy and more importantly aggressive.

  23. cgc1969 says: May 15, 2010 11:56 PM

    i will take mendenhall over parker any time, more powerful back, more durable, he can break tackles, the issue of fumbling will be corrected

  24. edgy1957 says: May 16, 2010 12:33 AM

    With coach Mike Tomlin’s background coming on the defensive side of the ball, it’s not as if Tomlin can take over calling the plays
    ******************************
    I’m not saying that it could happen but you do remember that Tom Landry was the DEFENSIVE coordinator of the Giants and he was the guy who called the plays for the Cowboys and they were always a high scoring team that could pass and run.

  25. DanRooney says: May 16, 2010 12:42 AM

    Norv Turner says:
    May 15, 2010 10:08 PM
    Steelers fans are so elitist and delusional
    ———————————————
    Funny. I guess we’re delusional because we’ve beat the Chargers 3 times in the past 2 years. Especially that ass whopping this past year without our best player.
    So I’m wondering, are the Chargers a top 5 team again this year? Seems like they have been for the last decade with still have no SBs to show for it. I mean for f#$#s sake even Eli has one more ring than Rivers.

  26. steeler560 says: May 16, 2010 12:54 AM

    What are some of you going to do when Pittsburgh wins the AFC North :-o ?

  27. TheDPR says: May 16, 2010 1:09 AM

    I wouldn’t underestimate Tomlin’s ability to do ANYthing. He’s an excellent coach. Calling plays isn’t rocket science; it’s the offensive design that requires more of an expert offensive mind. Once the game is going on, Tomlin could probably call the plays just fine.

  28. BenInAZ says: May 16, 2010 1:48 AM

    blitzburgh1 says:
    Steelers win the superbowl in Dallas…..
    Book it.
    AH-HAHAHAHAHAHA………thanks blitzburgh, it was a long day and that bit of comedy above was just what I needed to get some rest…

  29. ebapen says: May 16, 2010 2:29 AM

    The stealers will be a joke this season.
    HAHAHAHAHAHA !!!!!
    I can’t wait !

  30. this class sucks says: May 16, 2010 3:56 AM

    Steelers fans need to back off of Arians. We should thank him for being the only team in the AFC North that didn’t have a regressing offensive last season. The league is rapidly changing in both rules and culture to favor the passing game. The purists (I consider myself among them) often feel that the running game is the key to victory, but no more. When the Steelers won the Super Bowl, was it because of their running game? No, it was the passing attack. They went 9-7 last year. Did the 7 losses come at the hands of the offense? I would say 2 of the games were on the offense. Arians has made the Steelers into a team (when all the players are playing) that has an above average offense. You morons that want to go back to the old days are the amish of football.
    Of the top 5 rushing teams last year, 3 didn’t make the playoffs. Conversely 4 of the worst 5 teams at rushing the ball were in the playoffs including the Colts who advanced to the Super Bowl.
    Of the top 5 passing teams 4 made the playoffs and the 5th (Pittsburg) had a winning record. None of the bottom 5 were any where near the post season.
    Incase you idiots who want to keep reverting back to rushing the ball can’t get the message let me make it clear.
    PASSING THE BALL IS MORE IMPORTANT

  31. Child_Please! says: May 16, 2010 7:25 AM

    It’s always refreshing to see posts by RebaT. cause you can always count on an accurate assesment of the Steelers.
    Where is RebaT’s imposter? The lame ass loser that had to get a similar ID

  32. Tomthebombtracy says: May 16, 2010 7:58 AM

    When the season ends Steelers will say Ben’s four-game exile was the best thing that ever happened in recommitting to run game as a way to win if you have to…….
    I think Leftwich starts and Dixon is used every third series to befuddle defenses. His 25? yard run against the Ravens was a walk……and that changeup will drive teams crazy.
    Leftwich is a statue but unlike Ben he won’t get sacked ’cause he’ll dump the ball.
    If Steelers are say 2-2 or 3-1 in those first four games and if no one is better than a game ahead in the AFC North at that time, it will be a great lift.
    Ben is said to be working hard and in great shape. He’s always played with a bad ass attitude anyway after not playing QB in high school until his senior year because the coach played his son.
    He eneded up in the MAC and then was clearly pissed….watch the video….when he dropped to 11th behind Eli’s Coming and Cry Me A Rivers….and going to a team that everyone in his Ohio home town hates….the Steelers.
    Back with a vengeance.

  33. .RebaTe says: May 16, 2010 9:20 AM

    [ sigh ] It’s another slow news day I see, so Florio just invents another one out of this air.
    Where do you people find jobs like this?
    I’m actually expected to produce something where I work…

  34. .RebaTe says: May 16, 2010 9:23 AM

    # Dixon29 says: May 15, 2010 10:30 PM
    “Steelers suck!”
    If that’s all you got against a team that has more hardware than you’ll ever see in your lifetime, then you are truly out of ammo.

  35. SteelTown-6 says: May 16, 2010 9:28 AM

    The Steelers are going to be playing pissed off this year, and that will make them very dangerous.
    The last time anything like this happened was with the Pats in the year of Spygate. They ran the table, and they pissed off a lot of people along the way.

  36. .RebaTe says: May 16, 2010 9:34 AM

    # RebaT. says: May 15, 2010 11:28 PM
    I love being lectured on football knowledge by some miscreant who thinks that Terry Bradshaw actually is dead.
    What? No Dykes-on-Bikes ride this weekend?

  37. .RebaTe says: May 16, 2010 9:38 AM

    Child_Please! says: May 16, 2010 7:25 AM
    ” It’s always refreshing to see posts by RebaT. ”
    …stupidity attracts and combines to further agendas.

  38. HamBurghlar says: May 16, 2010 2:01 PM

    It’s not like the WORLD knew the Steelers were a running team for oh, I dont’ know, the last 15 years? It’s about time they get back to business. This will be a good thing, ground and pound w/ Mendy and our new weapon Dwyer.. O line is getting better (can’t get any worse) and that’ll give the QB, whoever it may be, more ammo to make plays as they happen instead of “5 step drop, shimmy, juke out of 3 tackles and heave the ball downfield”.
    Oh, and @hamburglar, you best not be stealin my thunder w/ that screenname.. Daddy’s been here for the DURATION, so make me proud. lolz…

  39. Deb says: May 16, 2010 4:33 PM

    @TheDPR …
    Yes … exactly :)

  40. RebaT. says: May 16, 2010 5:00 PM

    .RebaTe
    No dikes on bikes… however you would fail to be on the dicks on bikes group. You don’t have one nor do you know football you moron.

  41. Matt says: May 16, 2010 5:12 PM

    (1) People are talking about the pros and cons of using pass-heavy and run-heavy offenses; someone above highlighted the point that pass-oriented teams did well last year, while teams that relied more on the run fared more poorly. This is an interesting point, but what wasn’t discussed was the fit between offensive strategy and both your overall game strategy and your strengths/weaknesses on defense and STs. The Steelers did not have great clock management last year; they also lacked a solid, consistent running game capable of chewing up clock when needed (particularly in poor weather situations). Both of these problems are compounded by the fact that we had a leaky secondary prone to giving up yardage at inopportune times (an issue that I’m willing to bet that the other pass-oriented teams that did well last year did not have to deal with repeatedly). While acknowledging that the absence of Polamalu and Smith contributed to the defensive issues, I’m also not convinced that the issues on defense are going to be resolved going into next season. Wouldn’t this, in and of itself, motivate a greater emphasis on running, even without considering the issues at QB at the beginning of the year?
    (2) I’ve not had a chance to keep up on things recently because I live in Michigan and don’t have time to follow the details as well as I’d like. However, why isn’t Dennis Dixon being treated more seriously as a potential starter next year by people? He didn’t do poorly when he came in last year, particularly given the circumstances he was playing in. Because he’s been here over the past two years, he should be as knowledgeable as Leftwich about the passing game, if not more so. Leftwich, on the other hand, is aging and not incredibly mobile. I could see using Leftwich to compete with and push Dixon to prepare harder (i.e., to groom him as the go-to guy come August) or as a fall-back if Dixon winds up doing poorly, by it seems Dixon’s not even being given a chance by a lot of people who are instead assuming Leftwich is a shoe-in. Is there some other information that I’m not considering, or … ?

  42. RebaT. says: May 16, 2010 5:26 PM

    Matt,
    I totally agree with your assessment of Dixon. He played well against Balto. He’s also much quicker than the #7 idiot on his feet. Ben can’t run at all!! Dixon also knows how to get rid of a ball when necessary. Ben just gets sacked or throws interceptions. Dixon’s stats in that one game were as good as Ben’s during the season.
    Hopefully Tomlin will not run the defense this year. He did last year and it was bad. It should be in any coaches’ contract with regards to LeBeau – don’t mess with Mother Nature. LeBeau is in the HOF and should be left alone to do his job.

  43. stnmmc says: May 16, 2010 8:22 PM

    @ Matt
    1. Agree, but think that McFadden will be more effective than Willie Gay. Hopefully Lewis or Butler will make big steps this year as well.
    2. Agree. I am sure Tomlin is giving the kid a look, and that is the only opinion that matters.

  44. RebaT. says: May 16, 2010 10:29 PM

    stnmmc
    The only opinion that matters with this team is a last name of Rooney. Don’t think they do not have a hand in the everyday goings on with that team. The Chief did and it worked. Don’t think they would change something that works. Tomlin is treading on thin ice as it is. That’s obvious. Tomlin says yes sir to a Rooney all day long and goes with the flow. The Rooneys’ know that the last SB was a Cowher team.

  45. Rafterman says: May 17, 2010 6:38 AM

    # RebaT. says: May 16, 2010 10:29 PM
    stnmmc
    The only opinion that matters with this team is a last name of Rooney. Don’t think they do not have a hand in the everyday goings on with that team. The Chief did and it worked. Don’t think they would change something that works. Tomlin is treading on thin ice as it is. That’s obvious. Tomlin says yes sir to a Rooney all day long and goes with the flow. The Rooneys’ know that the last SB was a Cowher team.
    ____________________________________
    Proving yet again what a MORON you are.
    The Rooneys own the friggin’ team and Kevin Colbert in their GM. If he inherited Cowher’s team, then Cowher inherited Noll’s. LOSER

  46. Rafterman says: May 17, 2010 6:41 AM

    RebaT. says:
    “Hopefully Tomlin will not run the defense this year. He did last year and it was bad. It should be in any coaches’ contract with regards to LeBeau – don’t mess with Mother Nature. LeBeau is in the HOF and should be left alone to do his job.”
    ______________________________________
    You are truly an imbecile, Dick Lebeau called the D as he always does.

  47. rolli1967 says: May 17, 2010 11:04 PM

    RebaT. says:
    May 16, 2010 5:00 PM
    .RebaTe
    No dikes on bikes… however you would fail to be on the dicks on bikes group. You don’t have one nor do you know football you moron.
    ————————————————
    RebaT.-Come on, get it right! LMAO…… .RebaTe does qualify to be in the dicks on bikes group because she is a chick with a dick;)
    As a Browns fan, I follow the entire AFC North quite closely and I agree with your premise that the Steelers are not as good with Tomlin as with Cowher. IMO Tomlin’s success was mostly the result of Cowher’s 15 year body of work as head coach. Tomlin has done little to actually improve the Steelers since Cowher left.
    Last but not least….I know Cowher would not have tolerated any of Worthlessburgers off the field shenanigan’s from day ONE. Imagine this scene: After Cowher gets wind of BR’s Furburger in Georgia incident….imagine how much spit would fly onto BR face as he yelled the shi* out of him for being such a dumbass. BR would probably drown!!! IF there more incidences…..he would be gone for good.

  48. RebaT. says: May 23, 2010 12:29 AM

    For this guy? Don’t let the door hit you on the way OUT!

  49. RebaT. says: Jun 1, 2010 7:42 PM

    Rafterman
    About LeBeau. Watch the NFL Network. They say the same thing you dickless wonder. Why don’t you go back to the 3rd grade and finish school.

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