Bulk of Pittsburgh blame rest with Arians

With the entire coaching staff returning and 19 of 22 starters in place to begin the year, the Steelers were expected to make a serious run at accomplishing the thing that the Steelers of the 1970s did twice — win back-to-back Super Bowls.

A 6-2 start to the season only reinforced the belief that the Steelers would be right in the thick of things come January, and possibly February.

Though a return to the postseason is still not impossible, it’s highly unlikely at this point.

So what’s wrong with this team?  We devoted Friday’s PFT Daily exclusively to the subject, and there surely will be much discussion and debate in and beyond Pittsburgh regarding the things that need to be done to get the franchise back on track.

But here’s the most obvious fix — bid farewell to offensive coordinator Bruce Arians.

Arians has lived by the pass and, particularly on Thursday night in Cleveland, died by it.  As John Harris of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review points out, the Steelers’ first two drives of the game ended with sacks of quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who lined up in shotgun formation on third and short.

You figure that is a run down,” tackle Willie Colon said, per Harris.  “[T]hat’s usually a down for our running backs.”

But not with Bruce Arians, who has turned the notion of Steeler football on its head by throwing the ball in such circumstances.  Or, more accurately, by not throwing the ball because Roethlisberger again held the ball way too long.

Big Ben isn’t blameless here.  On third and short from shotgun formation, there’s no excuse to not get rid of the ball quickly.  Standing five yards back from the line, he’s in great position to check the coverages, adjust a route or two if needed, and put a guy in position to have the ball in his hands before Colon or any other member of the offensive line is getting another green stain on the seat of his yellow pants.

By Week 14, however, Arians needs to factor his quarterback’s tendencies into the plays that are called.  And with the running game working (as it was early Thursday night), there’s no reason to pass — from shotgun — on two straight third downs to start the game.

Coach Mike Tomlin has the ultimately responsibility for the offense and defense, but that Super Bowl trophy and a strong aversion by the franchise to changing coaches guarantees that Tomlin and “hot seat” won’t be used in the same sentence until he is well into his 40s, at the earliest.

But Tomlin can, and should, hold members of his staff accountable — especially those members of his staff that he inherited.

In order to get back to Steeler football, Arians needs to go.

104 responses to “Bulk of Pittsburgh blame rest with Arians

  1. Even when the Steelers won last year, so many offensive plays were questioned……We became a dynasty running the ball 75% of the time and tossing it 25%. It’s the other way around now. I agree that some major changes need to occur…The OC is one of them!!

  2. I have to absolutely disagree here. The Steelers tried to beat the Raiders with the run and it got them nowhere except for one good play by Mendenhall.
    The offense lives and dies by Roethlisberger. It was that way last year and things turned out alright. I think this post is too knee-jerk reactionary to Thursday’s game. In general, I think the pass has been the only real effective gameplan for the Steelers this year.

  3. Tomlin is a horrible coach who won his Super Bowl with Cowhers team. The offensive line is horrible and Big Ben is in decline. This team will be mediocre for a long time.

  4. Thats a start, but what about the numerous 4th quarter defensive meltdowns?? What is gonna fix that?

  5. Or how about Tomlin’s version of “Steeler football” isn’t Cowher’s version of “Steeler football?”
    Get used to it, Steeler fan. Finesse is your new game.

  6. Sure blame Arians. Was he not the OC last year when they won the SB. The Steelers are just not a powerhouse team no more. The Bengals and Ravens are catching up and it shows. Oh yeah don’t be surprised if in a couple years the Browns surpass the Steelers it’s been a long time coming, but it’s coming.

  7. What a tired old story – when a team is struggling, throw the offensive coordinator under the bus. I am not a big fan of throwing on third and short either, but the reality is that many, if not most, NFL teams do the same. You especially have to do it when your offensive line can’t create the holes, and you just don’t have the guy in the backfield who can get you those guaranteed yards.
    If you want to point the finger at one guy, point it at Roethlisberger. He is supposed to be an elite NFL QB, and he has been absolutely dreadful lately. A big reason is his conditioning. Let’s be blunt – dude has gone from being “big” to being plain fat. He can’t move anymore, and his lack of conditioning is really hurting his team. It is hardly Bruce Arians’ fault that Big Ben can’t push himself away from the buffet line, and is having his poorest season as a pro.

  8. What about management ignoring the obvious need to fix that offensive line over the past few years? You can’t run consistently if there isn’t a hole to run through.
    P.S. Screw Pittsburgh

  9. But Tomlin can, and should, hold members of his staff accountable — especially those members of his staff that he inherited.
    He didn’t “inherit” sh*t. Coaching staffs are evaluated at the end of each year just like they are when news coaches are brought in. If he didn’t evaluate them thoroughly it is his fault. Unless he took over mid-season, which he didn’t, then he had time to evaluate his coaches and it was his decision to keep the coaches they have for them now. They are his.
    Defense isn’t playing stellar ball either. They have been smoked on special teams repeatedly this year.
    Even if Tomlin doesn’t get put on a hot seat a lot more needs to be done aside from the O-coordinator.

  10. Arians needs to go. So people are like, look at his statistics and where the offense is. Look at what they have done in the redzone in the 5 straight losses. He is way too predictable and has too much of an ego to ever admit that his play selection is terrible. Tomlin also needs to stand by his words. When you stand in front of the media and tell people that changes are coming and then do nothing, that’s a bad sign. Too many guys on the team are way too comfortable right now.

  11. Couldn’t agree more. Against the Browns Arians ran the ball and got godd yardage but as soon as he faces a little adversity he drops the running game like a hot potato. Even against the Raiders with a 3rd string quarterback he fell in love with his hot start to the game and abandoned the run. Alson the running backs have requested a lead fullback be put into the offense to help the run, Arians response to this is ‘MY offense does not utilise a fullback. This guy is just an arrogant Ass. This losing streak has more to do with Arians then anyone else.

  12. Boy – from an outsiders perspective, I see a lot more problems than just Arians. It amazes me the way the Steelers & Ravens parallel themselves. Both are missing huge impact players in their D that impact run & pass (Smith & Polamalu and Suggs & Reed). Both are showing their age at some of the remaining positions…and lack of experience in their depth. Ravens started 6 defenders v. GB that were drafted in last couple yrs.
    Both teams also had sub-par O-line play. Steelers O-line came from nowhere for their SB run last year, and are starting to look like the sub-par group they were advertised to be. I don’t undertsand why the Ravens O-line, with 2 first rounders, Matt Birk and Gaither looks like crap – but it does!
    Tough league to repeat, even to repeat just simply being good. And another reason why I hate to say it, but you really have to be amazed by the Colts and Patriots (even though I maintain that Pats are back to being an average team…they sure were much better than that for the last decade)

  13. I disagree. The defense/ST is what got them into this mess. And continues to keep them there. Until Thursday the offense had scored enough points each of their losses that would of been W’s last year but a slumping D left the teams close enough to come back to win.
    While I do agree that the offense is not traditional “smashmouth” Steeler offense. It was a slumping rushing attack early on that led to that. Ben found a way to win and that was passing the ball. Oh and BTW, 4th & 1 QB sneak and didn’t get it. Maybe a good reason not to go to the run on 3rd down.

  14. Did everybody hear the latest about The Cheats being involved (now) in the sex sting ? Just adds to the CHEATING, lieing, weed-smoking vagabonds that reside in that glass house in NE.

  15. I am not a coach but one 3rd down and one put a full back in the backfield with the rb and run the ball. Also leave a back into help pick up the the blitz or to the the o line.On the last drive there was 3 min and 2 time outs and they still keep passing mix it up Arians should of been fired before last year.But also the def as been a big let down of late.

  16. Amen to that!
    Arians should have been replaced in the off-season. The guy needs to go coordinate somewhere else, I’m sure he can excel somewhere, but nobody rooting for the Steelers wants to see his pass-happy schemes here anymore.
    See ya Bruce! Thanks for nothing good.

  17. With the weather in Cleveland ridiculously and historically cold and windy (did they really have wind chill factors in 1950?) I would have loved to see the Steelers use their No. 2 QB that night Dennis Dixon in a little of the role of Josh Cribbs.
    He made some key runs. The players were so bundled they looked like Apollo astronauts and Dixon could have made some plays, especially with all those third and shorts the Steelers missed.

  18. The least of your worries is Arians. Hey Florio try taking a look the the defense. They are middle of the road at best without Mr. Head and Shoulders back there roaming around. That o-line also couldnt block a high school team. Why all of you idiots think Ben is a qb that can throw the ball 35 times a game and win are clueless. You love every teams game plan is to keep him in the pocket. Meaning if his lineman ass isnt runnning around he is questionable at best. He does his damage runnning around. So ur qb sucks, o-line sucks, rb not good either, and no head and shoulders spells LOSS. Welcome to the under .500 club. Make all the excuses you want you lost to the Browns of all teams…..hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha. Florio thats for ur homer butt as well.

  19. Is same OC as last year. Steelers O line lacking…and thats the issue.
    Tomlin built from Cowhers team…but NOW will need to prove he can sustain…something only NE/Indy have done in salary cap era.
    Tomlin MAY not be strong enough to do so….and if salary cap removed..Pitts will be a franchise in trouble.

  20. It’s amazing. Nowadays, all it takes is one losing season, and coaches who won or helped win a Super Bowl are terrible and need to BE FIRED..NOW !!!!! They have no idea what they’re doing !!!!! Ease up, Steeler-boy. You’re sounding more like a meatball everyday.

  21. Roethlisberger kind of looks like Will Ferrell. Starting to move like him, too.
    I wonder if Ben is good with a cowbell.

  22. I’m not really trying to defend Arians here, but he’s not the problem. The fans will get their way and get a new OC next year, but you’re going to have the same problems you have this year unless your o-line can begin opening up holes and pass blocking. The defense’s surprising collapse has been the other problem. Hopefully no fans are dumb enough to call for LeBeau’s head.

  23. There are alot of problems on this team. They have lost most of these games with long passes down the middle of the field that would not have happened without troy back there. I think arians is to blame, against kansas city on third and two he ran a stretch play with mewelde moore in overtime shocker they didnt get it. I agree they need to address the offensive line hard in the offseason. And ben does need to take a look in the mirror, and clean himself up a lil bit and get rid of the ball. I dont know where you get the notion that he is having the worst season of his career. Mendenhall needs holes to run through to run the ball there not there, they paid alot of money to an average right tackle Max Starks so maybe the front office needs to be evaluated as well. Maybe taking Ziggy Hood, instead of a center like eric wood or Max Unger or maybe Phil Loadhoalt may not have been the best idea. Missing Aaron smith is killing them up front and Casey Hampton is fat, and old and looks like bizarre from D12. In the draft they should look at Cody from bama and the Pouncy Twins from florida to sure up that interior line. Oh and ike taylor catch the ball!

  24. Tomlin said they were going to “unleash hell in December” – they didn’t. Tomlin said he would be making player changes after the Oakland game – he didn’t. Nobody, including the players have any trust in him anymore. He’s lost the team. sure there are both offensive and defensive problems but most of the defensive problems are due to key injuries and the lackadasical play of Ike Taylor. the offense is just plain terrible and Ariens is so predictable and can’t adjust during the game. Yes, I agree Ariens must go but perhaps there should be more housecleaning to turn them around

  25. Another throw the OC under the bus, when the team does well the head coach is a hero and gets well paid and when they fail it is somebody else who pays. The Bears are now blaming the OC Turner and I’m sure he will be fired but Lovie stays on. This is just like college ball, yesterday Illinois fired 5 coaches but the head man stays on even after they lose a lot more then they win.

  26. Florio, as much as this will hurt you and all other Steelers fans to admit, the problem with the 2009 Steelers is the decline of their defense. Last year they ranked 1 in most categories that matter. This year, they’re in the 20s in some of those same categories. The offense wasn’t great last year, and they’re not scoring as efficiently this year, but put the Arians boogeyman crap to rest and realize the defense has collapsed, thus exsposing the offense.

  27. The Steelers have a lot of problems which have snowballed. I’m not one that is calling for Mike Tomlin’s head, but he has obviously failed miserably in holding people, including his coaches accountable. He has provided a lot of lip service but very little follow through. Hopefullly he learns from this.
    I’ve been a Steelers fan for almost 4o years and have seen some bad teams but I’ve never seen a Noll or Cowher team just go through the motions week in and week out like this one. That buck has to ultimately stop at the top.

  28. Pretty simple. They started to get away from the run game a few years ago..
    You need to run the ball in cold weather. Their defense isn’t as stout as it used to be.
    KC, Oakland, Cleveland. Man… that’s gonna leave a mark.

  29. Tomlin should be on notice.
    Keeping Arians as described who is Ben’s choice. They are too comfortable together and predictable.
    MT’s fingerprints on changes on secondary.
    Having gaming tables in locker room. Not establishing a solid foundation.
    Believing they had crossed the threshold at mid season as he admitted to Sanders.
    This is the first real adversity he has faced as a coach and leader. So far he is failing.
    If they lose out, which looks possible, the Steelers should not extend his contract till next season if warrented.

  30. Thank you outsiders for your comments. I’m gald you could find nothing better to do with your Saturday morning.
    For those who have watched every snap the Steelers have taken this year it is more than obvious that something has to change on offense. Arians seems to be the odd man out b/c we are not getting rid of any players. We throw the ball way too much. We go with an empty back field at least 5 times a game, that pretty much seals what they are doing on that play. There were 25 mph winds Thursday night yet Ben threw the ball 32 times!!! We have a very good 1-2 punch in Mendenhall and Parker and probably one of the best 3rd down backs in Moore. The offense is not helping the defense at all this year, no long sustained drives. Time for Arians to go!

  31. As a Pats fan, I had a severe shot of “deja fail” when I saw that 3rd & 1 shotgun pass.
    I HATE HATE HATE that stuff when it is used constantly. I HATE pass happy finesse offense. It doesn’t help your OL get tough.

  32. A couple points. First I have to give kudos to the Browns. They played hard and that says alot for Mangini. Some of you Steeler fans have been so busy bashing the Browns, you set yourselves up for the embarrassment you feel due to the loss. The Browns while not as good as the Steelers were all banged up and still performed. The improvement has been showing through the last few weeks. They are still an NFL team.
    #2 is your QB is not in playing shape. SeaOtter said it all. He was so slow in the shotgun, he was a sitting duck. If healthy, I think Charlie Batch is a better QB at this point.

  33. Like usual, when the players do not execute, let’s blame the coaches. I did not see Bruce Arians drop passes the other night. I did not see Bruce Arians stay in the pocket all day and hold the ball to long. The guy called offense last year that won you a Super Bowl. It is a down year, you have had injuries and that’s how it goes some years.
    BTW for you fans who talk about how you became a dynasty, you are not a dynasty currently. You were in the 70s. This decades version is a solid team, but you do not become a dynasty winning two super bowls and then not making the playoffs both times the next year in the same decade.

  34. The comment above which said “they beat the Vikings”, well the experts at ESPN and NFL Network say the Vikings are over rated.

  35. Fans questioned Bruce Arians LAST YEAR, but it was a little hard to argue when his schemes and play calling led to a record 6th Lombardi. Seems his ineptitude was masked by the performance of future Hall of Famer; Dick LeBeau, and one of the NFL’s best defenses – EVER.
    In the offseason we questioned the abandonment of the FB position in favor of two TE sets, and later watched Willie Parker’s production drop off. An injury helped mask the obvious problem there. Imagine what Mendenhall’s production might be like if the running game was fully supported by a bona fide fullback.
    Earlier in the season, I for one cringed every time I heard Ben Roethlisberger proclaim that, “…this isn’t your father’s Pittsburgh Steelers”.
    Yeah, in HEINZsite he definitely got that right.
    Bill Cowher was infamous for taking the air out of the ball when then the Steelers had a 10-point lead. In contrast, Bruce Arians does his best ‘Air Correal’ impression (circa 1970’s )with the lead, hangs the defense out to dry, and we’re subjected to hearing that Troy Polamalu, the secondary, and the defense is the problem.
    In addition to Arians, Mike Tomlin should consider firing Pittsburgh native, and special teams coach extraordinaire; Bobby Ligashesky.

  36. Fans questioned Bruce Arians LAST YEAR, but it was a little hard to argue when his schemes and play calling led to a record 6th Lombardi. Seems his ineptitude was masked by the performance of future Hall of Famer; Dick LeBeau, and one of the NFL’s best defenses – EVER.
    In the offseason we questioned the abandonment of the FB position in favor of two TE sets, and later watched Willie Parker’s production drop off. An injury helped mask the obvious problem there. Imagine what Mendenhall’s production might be like if the running game was fully supported by a bona fide fullback.
    Earlier in the season, I for one cringed every time I heard Ben Roethlisberger proclaim that, “…this isn’t your father’s Pittsburgh Steelers”.
    Yeah, in HEINZsite he definitely got that right.
    Bill Cowher was infamous for taking the air out of the ball when then the Steelers had a 10-point lead. In contrast, Bruce Arians does his best ‘Air Correal’ impression (circa 1970’s )with the lead, hangs the defense out to dry, and we’re subjected to hearing that Troy Polamalu, the secondary, and the defense is the problem.
    In addition to Arians, Mike Tomlin should consider firing Pittsburgh native, and special teams coach extraordinaire; Bobby Ligashesky.

  37. Because Pittsburgh has some of the most annoying and arrogant fans on earth, I love to see them lose. But this year, Big Ben you might have royally screwed me with that Pi$% poor performance. Learn how to get rid of the dang ball. With one of the best fantasy football teams ever assembled (minus a solid QB) I traded for Big Ben in week 5, for Donald Driver and Ryan Grant. With L-Fitz, Miles Austin, Roddy White, Dallas Clark, Ced Benson, S-Jax, Laurence Maroney, and Fred Jackson, all you needed to do was have an “ok” game..but no you cant. YOU SUCK! This is my Ruxin like rant of the week…although I prob will still win the first round of the playoffs

  38. dont just put all the blame on Arians, the whole staff sucks! Mike Tomlin, right on down the line. Fire them all! Get some tough hard nosed football coaches in here to get this thing turned around. I wanted back to back superbowls this year for christmas, but that is not going to happen. Well this year is a wash, better start preparing for next year since were no longer playing for anything. You talk about playing for pride, what pride? There is no pride with this team, I will be surprised if we win another football game this year. This is by far the worst collapse in steeler history a year after winning the superbowl.

  39. Fans questioned Bruce Arians LAST YEAR, but it was a little hard to argue when his schemes and play calling led to a record 6th Lombardi. Seems his ineptitude was masked by the performance of future Hall of Famer; Dick LeBeau, and one of the NFL’s best defenses – EVER.

  40. In the offseason we questioned the abandonment of the FB position in favor of two TE sets, and later watched Willie Parker’s production drop off. An injury helped mask the obvious problem there. Imagine what Mendenhall’s production might be like if the running game was fully supported by a bona fide fullback.
    Earlier in the season, I for one cringed every time I heard Ben Roethlisberger proclaim that, “…this isn’t your father’s Pittsburgh Steelers”.
    Yeah, in HEINZsite he definitely got that right.

  41. Bill Cowher was infamous for taking the air out of the ball when then the Steelers had a 10-point lead. In contrast, Bruce Arians does his best ‘Air Correal’ impression (circa 1970’s )with the lead, hangs the defense out to dry, and we’re subjected to hearing that Troy Polamalu, the secondary, and the defense is the problem.
    In addition to Arians, Mike Tomlin should consider firing Pittsburgh native, and special teams coach extraordinaire; Bobby Ligashesky.

  42. @steelerfanforlife:
    “Thank you outsiders for your comments. I’m gald you could find nothing better to do with your Saturday morning.”
    Last time I checked this was Pro Football Talk. You know, talk about PRO Football!You know, PROfessional football teams.Maybe you don’t think the squeelers are good enough to be considered a pro team right now!

  43. The Steelers have a lot more problems than Arians. The defense is getting slow too. You see how exposed the corners are now, that Troy is not there to cover their butts. Aaron Smith is so underrated and it now shows that both times that he has been lost for the season, the D has tanked. The Steelers need a complete overhaul. The O-line is pathetic. ConsussionBerger looks like he is playing in cement. They need to get some motivation. Tomlin needs to get that everyone needs to earn their job edge back and start kicking some ass. I give credit to teams like the Bengals who realized that they needed to improve and make the necessary changes. The Steelers need to get rid of their “old ways” of doing business and realize that the league is evolving so much faster now. All of the fair weather steeler fans need to shut up too and take the good with the bad.

  44. The biggest problems with the Steelers:
    1) The secondary is bad, but with a better pass rush the secondary would look better. Where were the linebackers Thursday night? Troy being out magnifies the problem.
    2) The offensive line is not good, but leaving no help in the backfield to help out with the pass rush was assenine.
    In addition, Rothlisberger was dressed like he was going on an arctic expedition Thursday night. He needs to show more toughness than that (and definitely get in better shape).
    To play a night game at 15 degrees & -12 wind chill w/ 30 mile an hour winds you better play with heart if you want to win. The Steelers played with no heart at all and the Browns took it to them.
    The Browns are young & hungry and turning the corner. The Steelers appear to be going the other way.

  45. Love to see all the Pittsburgh bandwagoners freaking out that the ride actually has an end.
    “Fire the coach!”
    “Fire the OC!”
    “Fire the DC!”
    “Change the QB!”
    Dude – the team has weak lines and could really use some new, solid players. By all means – please fire all your coaches! Create some desperation out there so we have at least a couple options when Al Davis fires ol’ Hamburger-Hair Cable. Works for me.
    p.s. all I want for Christmas is Universal Spell Check. C’mon people! Don’t you have to try???

  46. Hey FLORIO, is Arians also to blame for their special teams problems??? how about their defense not holding the lead against the Raiders??? Amazing how you singled out the OC, when this team has problems in all three phases of the game, …and the head coach knows this teams problems in kick coverage go back over the past few years that Tomlin’s been there, and WHAT has he done to address them???

  47. You can blame the Aryans for the execution of millions leading up to and during WWII, but I don’t think you can blame them for the problems in Pittsburgh.

  48. It is a combination of problems this year, and some are continuously recurring.
    The play calling has been suspect, and that falls to Arians. They clearly should have been able to have more of a running emphasis, especially on the short yardage situations. Arians is too pass-happy, but again getting rid of him would not have fixed all the problems.
    The offfensive line has been poor. Yes Ben holds the ball too long but I would rather him do that and get the huge plays he pulls out because of that. Ben has been sacked way too many times and in my opinion most of them were not his fault. The line blocking schemes were not correct (is that the coaches fault?), defenders were coming in unblocked, and then you have the big holding penalties in key situations. They need to upgrade the talent on the line. But again that would not have corrected everything this year.
    Ben has certainly made his share of mistakes, but almost the entire burden has been put on his shoulders to win every damn game singlehandedly. Early in the season he was primarily responsible, if you forgot. He takes a complete beating. He scrambles when he is hit. The moron that said he can’t run does not have a clue. But yes, he can and should play better and make smarter decisions. I would prefer to see more no-huddle.
    They do have major injuries to key players on defense, with Troy and Aaron out. But really, they have blown it when they had the lead. They had the lead in 5 of their losses and lost each game by only 3 points. That means the defense slacked off. The deep back have made a lot of errors and have dropped countless interceptions. I don’t think their corners have one interception this year! Farrior looks to me like he is getting slow and not making the big tackles he used to make. Cribbs made him look really bad. Ike Taylor, I cannot watch him play anymore. It looks like he is mailing it in now.
    And please don’t forget about the attrocious special teams play that has given up not only field position but TDs all year long. That is a combination of talent and coaching.
    Tomlin has a real problem now in getting back to basics, keeping the team together, and seeing if he can salvage something in the remaining games. I don’t think they will get in the playoffs, but they are not officially eliminated and stranger things have happened, like with the Eagles last year.
    Ultimately Tomlin has to make the right decisions to fix things and right now. Everyone will be looking to see how he handles this.
    For us Steeler fans, this is pretty unusual. I can’t remember a losing streak like this, and after a 6-2 start. It will be nice to get a victory again at some point.

  49. The nfl network announcers did a good job of pointing out what is evident to anyone who has attended a steelers game live. The receivers have a hard time getting open. People criticize Ben for holding the ball too long, but do you really want to see him chuck the ball out of bounds 15 times a game because he has gone thru his progressions and no one was open. I don’t think it is necessarily the receivers as much as the bunch formation that Arians is in love with, which usually results in 2 or 3 receivers being within 5 yards of each other. Often on defender can cover 2 or 3 guys at once.

  50. Even walking out of Raymond James stadium in February after winning the Super Bowl, I told my friends Arians needs to go.
    When his game plan works well, he’s okay. But he’s never been able to make any good adjustments, ever. When the Steelers have come back in games where they’ve been shut down offensively under Arian’s tenure, it’s been because of the no-huddle. Which is something Arians has refused to allow most of this year, even in games where the offense can’t get it going and has needed a spark.
    Some of Arians’ choices are just asinine. There’s no need to advertise that you’re going to pass on third and short in freezing cold weather. I don’t really agree with even calling a pass in that situation, but I could handle it if the defense had to at least think about the possibility that it could be a run. There’s is no sense in that whatsoever, and Arians not only did it once against Cleveland, but then was stupid enough to do it again, both times with failure as the result. This is just one example in a long string of them since Arians has assumed the role of OC.
    All that being said, Arians is far from the only problem. The 4th quarter defense has been pathetic. They’ve allowed numerous 3rd and long conversions, even in critical situations. The team is bad with their fundamentals: Not wrapping up tackles, taking bad angles to the ball carrier, dropping easy picks, dropping passes because they’re trying to turn and run before catching them. All of these are basic fundamental things that any NFL team should be expected to handle and the Steelers have had issues with them in several games. Special teams is another obvious problem that they seem to have no answers for, and Ligashesky needs to go also.

  51. One of the great things Tomlin did when he took over was take a step back and observe and let his staff do there own thing. I hope the problems on defense are not the result of Tomlin taking a more active role. Gay should not be starting, Carter should not be on the team. They should have cut him on the field during the Jacksonville playoff game 2 years ago. I hoped in April they would make another one of their many deals with Detroit and trade up to the #20 pick and take Michael Oher. Oher will be a fixture for years. Hood may be very good, but will likely never have the impact that Oher could have had on this OL. They need to fire the 2 special teams coaches, the OC and the OL coach.

  52. The Steelers offense found success over the years by running the ball, being efficient on 3rd down, and winning time of possession. The entire Steelers offense’s strength is to establish the run (or even the threat of it) and allow Ben to work out of play action. When the defense is able to pin their ears back, confuse the offensive line’s blocking scheme, and Ben is unable to call out the proper protections the consistent result is Ben under duress or sacked. With a stable of 3 solid running backs (Mendenhall, Parker, and the currently underutilized Mewelde Moore) the Steelers should be able to run the ball more effectively.
    It doesn’t help that the Steelers defense has 0 turnovers in the past 5 games tho!

  53. So, now the OC gets thrown under the bus? What about an overrated head coach? He shoulders none of the responsibility?
    Continue to be amazed at how some can hoodwink others so easily by doing things such as talking tough and opening yer eyes REAL wide and big while doing so.

  54. The other big problem is Hines Ward. Not his play, but the cancerous attitude. He should have sat Thursday, but played because he put his foot in his mouth 2 weeks before. He whined when Ben wanted a tall receiver. Ben’s contract put him over the edge. He cannot stand that Ben is the face of the team and he is not. If the media was not in his back pocket the same way they were for the other famous steeler two-face Jerome Bettis, they would expose him and he would likely tarnish his legacy. I suspect he is partly responsible for Sweed’s slow development. I am sure he is the reason the media jump all over Sweed but never mention all of Ward and Holmes’s drops.

  55. OR…
    Maybe the Steelers could just blame the officials? I mean, it was the officials who helped inflate the Steelers record.
    If it wasn’t for some crazy calls, the Steelers would have started off the season with a loss to the Titans. And they damn sure would have lost to the Vikings.

  56. Or… Perhaps you could blame the selfish Troy Polomolu for going on the cover of Madden even though the consequences have been well documented.
    Even if he didn’t verbally agree to be on the cover… You agreed with your eyes, Troy! You agreed with your eyes!

  57. Cut Bruce loose!
    Consistently throwing the deep ball on 3rd and short shows your arrogance and inability to adapt to your personnel.
    The defense gets a pass because of the loss of Polamalu and Aaron Smith, two guys that are tops in the NFL at their position.

  58. The blame should fall mainly on Big Ben and the horrible O-line. Last play of the game Ben had 2 receivers open to his left. One (Miller) could have gotten the first down with a well thrown ball and another was beyond the first down marker. Yet Ben locked his eyes on Holmes.
    How many sacks do teams have against pittsburg this year?
    Secondary might deserve a heaping helping of blame as well. Alot of Gradkowski’s passes in the Oakland should not have allowed to be completed.

  59. This is my take: The Steelers have become an arrogant team – and I am a Steelers fan. They keep losing games and look at them like they are all flukes. Instead of knuckling down to fix their problems, they just feel the next game will provide an answer and things will be normal. Maybe this team forgot how hard you have to work to get to the top. I think this team is losing games not on Sunday, but during the week in practice. Tomlin has taken it easy on this team since camp and look at all the 4th quarter meltdowns!
    What was Cowher, like 90-1 when his teams had a fourth quarter lead?? Well …
    I do think Arians needs to go. He was horrible in Cleveland! I also think the line play has been poor and that Farrior looks a step slower. And of course, add me to the list who thinks the DBs are AWFUL!
    In defense of the defense, they have played most of the season without their best player (Polamalu) and best lineman (Smith). That has to hurt. But other teams face injuries, too (Look at Indy).
    One thing though, this season has certainly made all you Steelers haters happy. LOL. Enjoy this one folks. It’s like Haley’s Comet … the Steelers suck once every 75 years! Us Steelers fans, even though we always expect the best (and usually get it) can accept one bad season. Anyone who thinks this is a long-term trend soesn’t know the organization very well. If things don’t change this season, trust me, there will be changes in the off-season. The Rooneys aren’t idiots.

  60. This makes sense….your defense is getting gashed by not just the other teams passing game but now the running game as well……Fire te OC!
    I thoughr ben loved arians. Didnt I hear that ben was almost calling his own plays at the line? I think the offens is tougher to figure out than just play calling. The last couple of years you could just say..ahhh its the Oline (which I did not entirely agree with) or ben is holding on to the ball too long (I did agree with this)….this year when I have watched the oline looked pretty good at times and I honestly thought that maybe ben was learning how to read defenses (something I always believed he could not do).
    The Thursday night game was bizarre…the oline was pourous and ben looked like he wanted to be sacked. I think the game the other night was the result of ben still having dome cob-webs from the KC game. Look at it this way you lost to Cincy (understandable), lost to KC (I would blame steelers D for that loss and then ben gets hurt), now ben is hurt and they lose to the Ravens without ben (understandable), lose to oakland (ben tries to play does well but the D again lets you down), and then lose to the browns (unacceptable) but this game was different in that ben looked like he was wtill suffering from post concussion (looked lost and was not runnning around like usual). I would give credit to the D but the steelers D didnt even need to be on the field and brady quinn would have still not scored a TD!!!
    The steelers secondary sucks (just like the Ravens with the exception of Ed Reed and Lardarius Webb) and I think they miss Aaron Smith and Foote. I also think ben still has issues from the hit in the head.
    I dont know that it is all arians fault.

  61. Unleash Hell Tomlin!!!!! Buwaaaaaaaa!!!!!! Ben is too fat and dumpy to do anything but hand off anymore. Steroid abuse is wearing on Harrison. Whines Hard is a locker room cancer…..
    …and oh yeah, Tomlin benefited from Cowhers guys when he won the Super Bowl. Tomlin has done nothing, and will continue to do nothing.

  62. @ SeaOtter who said:
    December 12, 2009 9:32 AM
    What a tired old story – when a team is struggling, throw the offensive coordinator under the bus. I am not a big fan of throwing on third and short either, but the reality is that many, if not most, NFL teams do the same. You especially have to do it when your offensive line can’t create the holes, and you just don’t have the guy in the backfield who can get you those guaranteed yards.
    If you want to point the finger at one guy, point it at Roethlisberger. He is supposed to be an elite NFL QB, and he has been absolutely dreadful lately. A big reason is his conditioning. Let’s be blunt – dude has gone from being “big” to being plain fat. He can’t move anymore, and his lack of conditioning is really hurting his team. It is hardly Bruce Arians’ fault that Big Ben can’t push himself away from the buffet line, and is having his poorest season as a pro.
    Everything Sea Otter said was dead on – I agree completely on all counts, especially the observations about Ben.
    (1) AGILITY: Ben used to be “BIG Ben,” a QB who could bob and weave, shuck and jive, shake and bake – and basically make defenders miss with jukes and fakes. Now he looks slow, sluggish, fat and as if he’s trying to run underwater.
    (2) STRENGTH: Ben also possessed the physical strength to literally shrup off defensive linemen that had a meathook or two on him, and then break away outside the pocket. No more – now he crumples to the ground the instant the first guy lays a paw on him. The difference is stark.
    (3) THROWING-ON-THE-MOVE: Speaking of throwing on the run, so much of Ben’s improvisional ability came after he had evaded a pass rush, and then took advantage of his uncanny knack of retaining accuracy on the move — well after the coverage had broken down. No more. On those ever rarer occasions when Ben evades the pass rush, he is slow, tippy-toeing and inaccurate – even on a number of checkdowns to the TE or RB. Again – the contrast is amazing.
    (4) ACCURACY: Ben has simply been much less accurate – not sure why. Perhaps the off-the-field concerns are compromising him there — but it’s very noticeable. Part of it too has to be because he can’t buy time like he used to.
    (5) DECISION-MAKING: There have been a lot more spotty decisions than in past years too. His last pass of his career to date – a 4th down and 6 throw with his entire team’s season on the line – had him throwing to Holmes who was nearly quintuple covered. There were like 5 Browns on the screen – he was blanketed beyond belief. Ben decides to pull the trigger there – with the season on the line? Should’ve been a pick six. There were at least two throws he had there that he bypassed — looked like a case of panic and target fixation. Not good. Season over.
    (1) don’t give a team an entire week off to do what they please on the bye. WTF? That sends the wrong message – instill discipline to a reasonable degree.
    (2) don’t rush Troy Polamalu out onto the field until his knee is solid. The Steelers ruined Kendrell Bell’s career with similar idiocy.
    (3) ban players commenting publicly about matters that are to remain internal. Use simple common sense – assume reporters are trying to bait you. If in doubt, keep the cards close to the vest.

  63. all i can say is, bill cowher’s teams sure do a lousy job at defending their title…
    beyond that, i would like to point out, 14 seconds, 15 seconds, 9 seconds, ot, ot, if those games fall the steelers way, its a whole other discussion at this point.
    more than that, its not big huge plays this team is missing, its little plays that should be made, even by ordinary players, the gradkowski duck, no way a real corner allows a reception, the dropped interception, embarassing for a pop warner player…no in each of those 5 games, a few little plays, by pretty much everyone on the roster, that is what is wrong with the steelers….
    i won’t be surprised if this team is 6-10, for some reason, the will and fight that gets those plays made by every winning team, every week, is gone…sapped out, arians, special teams, 8 straight games with a return td…this team is every bit what they are right now…but the future is not as bleak as it seems.
    lose arians, lose the offensive coaches who won’t tell him his plays aren’t even workable on a video game, lose whomever needs to go, just a bad, lost year…
    obtw, one other request, even though steelers headquarters might be the unhappiest workplace on the planet right now, please do the beefing with the door shut…we don’t need to melt down in the media like all the other teams melt down….

  64. Firing the special teams coach I could buy into. But not Arians. Not yet at least. The issue with the Steelers has been the absence of any real depth on d-line and a secondary that has become too dependent on Polamalu to cover their weaknesses.

  65. Florio…..I’ve been saying this for the past 6 weeks, even before the Steelers went on this horrible slide. You didn’t just discover plutonium here.
    To everyone who says “They just won a super bowl with him last year”…the Steelers weren’t blowing teams out last year by any stretch. If any one of you actually watched a game or remembered, we held small leads in the 4th (unlike this year) and had to make a few comebacks. Last year our defense was able to keep things very close all game. We were ranked #1 across the board and VERY dominating on that side of the ball. There wasn’t much pressure put on the offense last year.
    There is an obvious decline on the defensive side of the ball this year. It could be a multitude of reasons. The defense isn’t bailing out the offense like it was last year. We weren’t putting up a lot of points last year….it’s just as bad this year. When we need the offense to help us out this year it’s not happening. The offense should be held just as accountable for not captializing on great red zone opportunities early in games as the defense for giving up points late. I’ve said all year, there’s no excuse for our defense caving in the 4th, but even with that happening, if the offense capitalizes just ONCE earlier in the game…WE WIN….regardless what the defense does in the 4th.
    There’s plenty of blame to go around, but the massive bulk of it lies on the offense. If you argue that with “You won a super bowl with him last year” you’re an idiot. We won a SB dispite the offense last year. It’s Arians job to adjust HIS play calling and strategy to his players strengths….not the other way around. The wind was crazy in Cleveland and the wind chill was in the vicinity of -10….yet you throw the ball 33 times??? YEAH…that’s GENIUS…
    @ runtheball…
    What an idiotic comment…”all of Ward’s and Holmes drops”???? Ward having a “cancerous” attitude. LOL….Go post on your team’s stories and leave the Steeler stuff for people who know what they’re talking about.
    I’m glad to see you actually read the comments here Florio….thanks for posting my story.

  66. Bullshit!!!!!!!!!…I watched Arians coach football at Temple,the guys a LOSER…..get back to building the o-line and play Steeler football…..Smash-mouth in your face,kick your ass football.

  67. I have been screaming for this since last year. We won the SB last year IN SPITE of our offensive game plans throughout the year(exception is Holmes’ game winner and Ben running the hurry up offense). Arians passes WAY too much especially on third and short. We don’t punch anybody in the mouth anymore on offense and his play calling is completely predictable. What a joke!

  68. Vox’s mommy
    The Steelers are my team. Ward and David Tyree drop passes they should catch all the time. Ward the self proclaimed “leader of the wideouts” is like a high school girl he only thinks of himself. What kind of a leader publicly questions the qb like that? Ward should be worried about getting open.

  69. “…the offensive line is getting another green stain on the seat of his yellow pants…”
    It looked to me like Ben had a BROWN(s) stain on the seat of his yellow pants.

  70. BTW, When the Head Coach says (on the record) that “We are going to UNLEASH HELL” on the 2 weakest teams in the league, & then his team doesn’t back him up…this MEANS something.
    I think Tomlin might be losing his lockerroom. By this time next year, it may be obvious that things are no longer working out.
    A 5 game losing streak with THAT personnel should never happen…ESPECIALLY when you flush your playoff hopes down the toilet to 2 teams who cannot score, like the Browns & the Raiders.
    The loss against the Raiders was an indictment of the defense. The loss to the Browns villified the offense…and the Steelers are the only team in history to give up a Special Teams TD in 10 straight games.
    Do the math…
    2 weeks ago, he was saying “We are going to unleash HELL” to the meida. Now? He saying “We’re just trying to win another game”.

  71. Games are won and lost in trenches. All our d-linemen are about 31-35. We need to hit free-agent market to bring in experienced younger players. D-line coach Mitchell will soon retire, and Tomlin will have to decide whether to shift to the 4/3.
    Our o-line has been suspect for years. Part of that is personnel–particularly tackle. But when players consistently seem confused and sloppy, you also have to consider coaching.
    At 34, Farrior is showing his age at linebacker. Time to draft a potential replacement. Corners are horrible, which isn’t as noticeable when Polamalu is there. But you can’t hang the secondary on one stellar player. That’s another area where we need to hit free-agency.
    We’re good at receiver with Ward, Holmes, and Wallace, at running back, and with Heath Miller at tight end. Parker is going, Sweed should be gone, and I’m not sold on Spaeth. We need to draft another solid wideout/tight end.
    Ben is a terrific QB and his stats bear that out. But he can’t be allowed to dictate our identity. We don’t need 75 percent of run or pass. We need balance. Arians doesn’t provide it. His calls on the last series of the second Cincy game alone should be grounds for firing. I’ve never thought Tomlin would do it since Ben loves him and he won a SB. But if there’s a chance, I’m for it. No to Weiss though.
    And since we’re dead last in covering runbacks, we should re-organize special teams. We need ONE coach accountable for that unit and a new kicker with the passion to knock a returner out of bounds.

  72. The biggesdt problem with the 3rd and 1 and 3rd qand 3 situations on the first two Steelers drives was not merely the decision to pass. It was going with an empty backfield. Then the next biggest reason was another chronic problem under Arians – the inability of the QB and WRs to adjust to a hot route and make the defense pay for sending an extra rusher. It is that simple. I am one of those who think the days of pure smashmouth football are gone. But there are times when you still need to use it and Thursday was one of those days. And even if you don’t, then be prepared to get rid of the ball fast and adjust routes. Arians lacks the will to instill that discipline in Ben and his WRs. Peyton works with his WRs on timing. I am a Steelers fan who doesnt like the COlts. But that is one thing Ben needs to learn from Peyton . Get a work ethic if you want to live and die by the pass.

  73. He needs to go, the 2 corners need to go, they need something of a D Line since they dont have one. they need 3 ( bare minimum) offensive linemen and a damn runningback with a ‘set’ bigger than ballbearings.
    Mikey T and the Steelers sat on their hands and gave Maxx Starks “franchise money”
    for what they are paying him, they could get a REAL offensive tackle, not a big bumbling dingdong impersonating one.
    These Steelers look like they are Swiss cheese EVERYWHERE, and oh did i forget to mention their great coverage units as well??
    When all 3 coordinators are failing doesnt it fall on the Head Coach???
    Steeler fans
    take this as a sign of things to come for the next few years. Ben will be beat up beyond recognition within that time and when you get enough other talent, he will be trying to figure out where he is supposed to be and trying to figure out ‘how the hell am i going to get there’

  74. @wick
    Ben has completed 68% of his passes and has a QB rating of 98. Not sure what you mean by not being accurate? Throwing the ball in 25mph winds would probably make a lot of qb’s less accurate. That’s why those of us who do no like Arians are questioning throwing the ball 32 times!
    @ravens macg
    I would worry about your 6-6 team with a qb that is clearly in a sophmore slump than worry about what the Steelers are doing. You should be thanking them for making the Ravens road to the playoffs a little easier

  75. winvikes7 says:
    December 12, 2009 11:17 AM
    Because Pittsburgh has some of the most annoying and arrogant fans on earth, I love to see them lose. But this year, Big Ben you might have royally screwed me with that Pi$% poor performance. Learn how to get rid of the dang ball. With one of the best fantasy football teams ever assembled (minus a solid QB) I traded for Big Ben in week 5, for Donald Driver and Ryan Grant. With L-Fitz, Miles Austin, Roddy White, Dallas Clark, Ced Benson, S-Jax, Laurence Maroney, and Fred Jackson, all you needed to do was have an “ok” game..but no you cant. YOU SUCK! This is my Ruxin like rant of the week…although I prob will still win the first round of the playoffs
    Thanks for the fantasy update. We were all waiting for it.

  76. The problem with the Steelers is precisely the continuity from last year. Fact is last year they just weren’t a great team. They were a good team that ended up with a good record because of playing in a lousy division and then got the breaks in the playoffs.
    If you think I’m just being mean consider these numbers:
    Steelers of 2008:
    -AFC N record 6-0
    -record outside AFC N 6-4
    Steelers of 2009:
    -AFC N record 1-4
    -record outside AFC N 5-3
    So, the difference between 2008 and 2009 is that the rest of the division got better. There’s really no difference in how Pitt are matching up with the rest of the league. Pitt were lucky to win a Superbowl in a strange year in which there really weren’t any great teams and they played in a weak division (two terrible teams and one good team that started a rookie QB), and the win understandably blinded them about how far away they were from being a really great team.

  77. runtheball….
    I can’t agree with you on the “all the time” aspect. But I do agree that Ward screwed up big time by publicly calling out Ben like that. I couldn’t believe my ears. I’ve never thought of him as a selfish player….ever….but those comments made me think twice. This past game Ben was throwing some horrible balls. Whether that was just him…or the weather we don’t really know. Everyone drops a pass. Look at Heath Miller these past couple games, dropping balls he has no business dropping. For every pass that Holmes and Hines may drop, they make up for 10 fold with a pass that’s extremely difficult to bring down. Obviously those are minor issues as every receiver on every team drops passes from time to time. That’s NOT the problem. The problem is the line, the horrid play of our cornerback’s, the absolutely putrid offensive play calling, terrible red zone performance (which coincides with Arians), poor special teams. What we need is a new offensive coordinator, new line coach, and a new special teams coach and I honestly think that all of that will make a world of difference.
    @ Deb…
    I agree, Farrior is finally, after years of being durable, consistent, and dependable, slowing down a step. It’s obvious when he drops back into coverage. Timmons isn’t helping matters by being out of position all the time on running plays. He is great at pass rushing, but there’s an obvious drop off from Foote to Timmons when it comes to stopping the run.
    This is horrible. I’m not going to sit here and act like we would have won the Super Bowl again, but we have a playoff roster anyway you look at it. Only the usual Steeler haters would care to argue otherwise….obviously to no avail. There may be something going on inside the locker room we’re not aware of. History proves the Steelers are very good, if not the best, at keeping things behind closed doors.

  78. That might be the dumbest explanation I have ever heard Ryanmc. You cant compare this year to last year because just about everything changes from year to year. Players get older, worse, better, healed, knowledge, etc… The Steelers were a great team last year, so were the Titans (until the towel incident), and the Giants for the most part. You must realllllyyyy hate the Steelers if you want to believe that. The Steelers managed to remain relatively healthy all last year whereas certain teams (Bengals, Pats, Colts) all had key injuries. Those are the breaks, the games are played on the field (besides the first Chargers-Broncos game last season). Regardless, despite the fact that there are a lot of arrogant Steelers fans out there, I possibly being one of them, you cannot take away the accomplishment the Steelers team achieved last year by belittling it based on your own insecurity.

  79. No argument about Arians needing to go. Most of the Steeler fans I know have been echoing that same sentiment since early 2007. Arians and his arrogance suck. It isn’t that we want a run heavy offense. A balanced offense would be fine, great in fact. It would just be nice to establish the run every game to keep defenses honest by limiting predictability and know that they can run the ball in short yardage situations.
    Larry Zierlein and his offensive blocking scheme, or more to the point a lack of scheme, also need to go. I cannot recall a more pathetic use of offensive blocking personnel in all the years I’ve watched pro football. Guys are moving in the wrong direction and ignoring the man running past them, waiting to block someone who isn’t coming and trusting a non-existent someone else to pick up the blitz. Allen Faneca didn’t get along with this guy because he thought his scheme was a joke. I have to agree.
    Bob Ligasheshky and Amos Jones (Special Teams coaches) are both history, I would think. That seems like a pretty obvious call after the performance of the special teams this year especially on returns.
    Getting back to Arians: He installed a pass-first offense (and pass-second) that runs every now and again to mix it up. We have a QB that loves it not because it plays to his strengths, as Ben believes, but because it lets him freelance as much as he likes. It plays into Ben’s ego and leads to boom or bust drives. Going back 3 years the 3rd down conversion rate has consistently declined because of the predictability of the Steelers offense and the resulting 3rd and long situations. The Steelers cannot sustain drives. Someone has to come in and get control of Ben, his tendencies and the offense again. And for God’s sake, please establish the run. I like to see Pitt receiver’s get lots of balls thrown to them too, but mix it up. Whisenhunt got a little too fancy at times but at least he usually put a balanced product out on the field. Arians has allowed Ben to get a bit too greedy with the long pass and he is seemingly turning into a one trick pony as a result: always looking for the long ball, waiting too long for routes to develop and NOT dumping the ball off to the hot read as he should be. Neither the offensive line nor their coach’s adjustments have been great but some of this falls back to Ben holding the ball too long and the lack of an effective offensive game plan.
    Gross statistics be damned; the Steelers offense is not sustaining drives and is not coming through in situations where they must execute because their backs are against the wall. A change is definitely in order regardless of how the season plays out.

  80. @ryanmc …
    Bizarre assessment. The NFL ranks schedules mathematically based on the previous year’s win/loss record. The 08 Steelers played the most difficult schedule the NFL has doled out in more than 30 years. While the Browns and Bengals were weak, the Ravens were arguably the second-best team in football. Yeah, there were some great teams last year. The Titans were a terrific team. The Chargers were scary going into the playoffs. And the Cardinals, despite their overall record, were playing exciting, strong offensive football on their playoff run.
    What happened this year is …
    -an aging defensive line and the loss of Aaron Smith. Whenever Smith goes out, bad things happen. Smith was healthy last year. In Tomlin’s first year, Smith went out and we dropped multiple games.
    -a mediocre secondary and the loss of Polamalu. Polamalu was healthy last year. When he’s injured, bad things happen.
    -a mediocre offensive line. They played above their talent level last year–largely because they were motivated by the naysayers. This year they seem to figure they’d proved themselves and they slacked off.
    -special teams problems. We had them Tomlin’s first year and seemed to correct them. This year, Reed suddenly became less reliable and the corrections seemed to “un”correct–perhaps in part because we cut Anthony Madison, a strong tackler on returns.
    -an overreliance on the passing game. Arians has always been inconsistent in his play-calling. This year, with our defense falling flat and our offense not holding the line, his poor decision-making has been more of a factor than last year when everything else was clicking.

  81. Alright, A LOT of you are either looking way TOO much into this or are making really asinine comments about the Steelers organization, coach, players, history, etc. I dont care who you are, if you win TWO out the last THREE Super Bowls — especially in this ERA of the NFL — you are a legit organization and have the right management in place to compete/ make the playoffs on a yearly basis. Thats really all you can ask for if you’re a true football fan now adays because anybody and their mother can see that the NFL makes a living off of PARITY. The worst team every year picks first for a reason.
    Anyways, Bruce Arians does deserve to go after this year. Reason being is he is one of the worst situational football play callers I have ever seen. Earlier in the season when the Steelers played a nearly flawless game offensively against the Chargers, they came out with 3 and 4 WR sets right off the bat and attacked the Chargers d with play action, reverses, draws etc. This lead to not only an early lead, but deflated the Chargers right off the bat. They used the pass to set up the run (which you had to do against the Chargers d to be successful). Since that game, I have seen the offense almost “retreat” if you will and take monumental steps backwards, besides the Denver game. They got less creative as weeks wore on. This is an X’s and O’s league now (i.e. Bellichek, Peyton Manning, Drew Brees are all schemere’s who know EVERY defenses weakness and attack it). Arians does this occassionally, or plans to do this, and when his initial game plan is not successful he fails to make adjustments or makes them too late. Yes, the defense has given up some late TD’s and not held the lead. Yes, that is uncharacteristic for any Steelers team. BUT, they are still a TOP FIVE DEFENSE in the league this year WITHOUT THEIR TWO BEST PLAYERS. The offense has had PLENTY of chances in first 3 quarters of every game to attack and not only go up 7, but 10, or 14, or 17, etc and they ruin drives on 3rd and short and/ or in the redzone without getting points. This keeps other teams in the game and boosting their confidence to win, thus creating more and more pressure on the defense. Its almost as if the offense is playing this year ‘not to lose’ and say “oh well, the defense will keep us in it.” (i.e. the Ravens game was the most timid play calling EVER — I dont care if Dennis Dixon is your only QB his number 1 weapon is his speed and they bootlegged him only TWICE which both resulted in TD’s).
    That is too much pressure on ANY defense in this league now adays (with the speed, spreads, rule changes — its a scoring league). Especially putting that pressure on the defense in the 4th quarter when they have been on the field for 70% of the game and are without their two best players.
    When going over the roster, this team is still filled with a lot of talent from top to bottom. They are not “too old” like some people say, their Oline is legit and is good enough to compete with any front 7 in the league (name me the Colts, Saints, Pats oline players please? anyone?), and Tomlin is young and has some room to grow, but regardless will have a long and succesful coaching career in this league (Playoffs in year 1 and SUPER BOWL in year 2 — who does that?). After watching every game this year, I have come to the conclusion that they are not only awful on kick and punt coverage (ST coach needs to go as well and field position is such an important battle that people dont factor), but also in situational downs on offense. They can move the ball on anyone, but arent finishing off drives or converting simple 3rd down conversions.
    Ben does hold onto the ball too long and I do get frustrated when he doesnt recognize the blitz early and attack it (something Manning/ Brady/ Brees and the great ones LOVE to do). But Arians allows this to happen and his play calling is so lame and simple in crucial situations that it has become extremely predictable every week (any 3rd down and under 9 yards they go into a bunch and run 2 wr’s to the sticks and another guy goes deep with the occasional late release of heath miller or mewelde moore for a security valve SO d’s are playing man/ jamming the wr’s at the line and blitzing the shit out of the oline thus creating a sack or a miracle play by Ben to keep the drive alive). They have the talent — Ben could finish with 3,8oo yrds this season, Mendy 1,200, Santonio AND Hines 1,000 EACH plus a tight end with over 70 catches.) So Arians isnt by any means the worst OC in the league, but is not getting it done when it matters most.
    Just like Tomlin said “this isnt a hopefull business” so lets not “hope” the defense can bail us out every game because we have seen this year that doesnt work in todays NFL.

  82. You guys are missing the reasons why they lose.
    Copy and paste this note below, then watch the Packers game next week:
    It’s not that they pass too much. It’s not that they don’t run the ball (Before Thursday it was 54-46 run pass, that’s decent balance). The problems Arians has is he’s too predictable.
    1. When #89 Matt Spaeth comes in? They run the ball. They run the ball almost every play. 13 snaps for Spaeth, 10 runs Thursday night. 23 snaps the last two weeks, 3 passes. It’s by far the worst formation for YPC Mendenhall has. Not hard to stop him when teams know it’s coming.
    2. Shotgun. When Mendenhall is in the backfield on shot gun on 3rd down? It’s a pass. Why? Because he only has TWO carries in shotgun in the 11 games he’s played this season. Again, not hard to stop when teams know it’s coming.
    3. Empty set in shotgun. It’s either a pick, or a sack. The Steelers empty their backfield and teams blitz. The OL can’t handle it and a lot of the times the WRs never read hot route they just keep going. The ONLY play that usually works in this formation is a WR screen to Ben’s right side.
    4. Redzone. If it’s 1st and goal? We run with Speath back on the field. Mendenhall has struggled in this RZ jumbo formation all year, and they still do it.
    They don’t execute, but teams knowing what they are doing BEFORE they even run the play? Is a bigger issue all together.
    Print this note, and watch next week. You’ll see.

  83. @NateD …
    It takes nerve to tell the rest of us we’re overthinking, then write a dissertation of that length. I only want to address your apparent belief that Steelers don’t age.
    Our starting defensive line:
    Aaron Smith is 33
    Casey Hampton is 31; backup NT Chris Hoke is 33
    Brett Keisel is 31
    We’ve drafted Ziggy Hood and we have other young guys waiting, but need to prepare someone to replace Smith and Hampton. When Smith is out, we lose. Casey’s contract is up. Do we want to pay megabucks to a 31-year-old NT?
    Farrior is 34 and definitely showing his age. Harrison is 31, but because he didn’t start for much of his career, he hasn’t had the wear and tear and plays like a younger backer.
    No, the whole team isn’t stumbling into a retirement village, but we do have age issues that need to be addressed.

  84. Age on the lines is not really an issue until the knees are completely shot or they get too fat. Especially the d line. All they do is take up space and occupy blockers. Guys like Sam Adams and Ted Washington played into there late 30s at a high level. Farrior is another story. He is too slow to play the pass and he is not particularly stout against the run either. He got real old, real fast. Hampton has played really well this year due to the chip on his shoulder about not getting a contract. I wouldn’t close the door on signing him. I would let him see what he can get and maybe bring him back on a 2 year deal at the right price.

  85. Impressive response, Mr. Florio! You managed to unearth many of the Steeler haters on the planet. You are correct, of course. Bruce Arians should be replaced. He doesn’t establish a rhythm to the offense. He’s only concerned about intermediate routes giving the running game only tacit support. The Steelers have other problems like injuries, offseason personnel moves and the age of the defense but Arians is definitely a problem. Charlie Weiss anyone?
    The Brown’s defense with 5 starters out of the game shut down the Pittsburgh Steelers offense. The Steelers defense played well enough for the Steelers to win the game with the Browns. No points in the second half from the Browns.

  86. Good article Florio…
    To anyone that says Mike Tomlin’s coaching is the main issue: look what happened in 2006 after we won the Superbowl and quickly lost both Aaron Smith and Troy Polamalu to injuries. Combine this with Arians, and you have the bulk of the problem this season.

  87. @Klytus …
    I don’t want Charlie Weiss. Notre Dame couldn’t sweep him out the door fast enough. He’s a Belichick guy, and I wouldn’t really want a Belichick guy in our locker room. And as much as I hate to bring it up, you do have to question how much of the Pats’ success during his time had to do with their, um, unique methods for scouting other teams. There are other offensive minds available. Besides, Belichick’s got his own problems, and if they’re as close as people say, Charlie’s probably already house-hunting in Foxboro.

  88. It’s not that they pass or run too much its the predictability of the offense. Run, run, pass over and over. The defense stacks the line on first and second down then blitz on 3rd down. Everytime they get in the red zone the first play almost always is a run play up the middle or off tackle. If fans see it why doesn’t tomlin. It’s his ultimate responsibility.
    If we mixed up the plays Ben wouln’t have as many sacks and what if he did. Ben consistently makes plays out of the pocket thats why he’s an elite quarterback, but don’t stack the cards against him when he does have to pass. It’s time for Arians to change the way he calls plays in the last 4 games or go.

  89. @Deb
    Haha, good point about my dissertation. I was basically referring to the people on here that were stating how the Steelers shouldnt have won the SB last year now, and they need an overhaul of mgmt and players, and Ben sucks, the roof is caving, etc.
    I do feel Farrior has taken a step back, and the same with Hampton. But this team does not have “age issues” by any means. EVERY team in the league goes through this problem EVERY year with the roster. You have a handful of guys past their prime, and a handful that can still give you a couple years. Its what the draft is for.

  90. @NateD …
    Couldn’t resist getting in a dig on the length 🙂
    Well, I guess that’s true. I do worry about the d-line though–especially w/Johnny Mitchell nearing retirement. Hate to see what’s happened to Farrior. He seemed to deteriorate so fast. But that’s the breaks in the NFL. I agree about the Chicken Littles, though. The sky isn’t falling, and I’m confident Tomlin can address our issues. People seem to forget that Cowher didn’t exactly win Super Bowls every year either. He kept us competitive most years and I think Tomlin will, too.

  91. Some of these responses are completely rediculous. Some refering that Ben is in Decline? Tomlin is Mediocre? The bottom line is Ariens as well as the whole offensive coaching staff has to go. The oline has no talent what so ever. Thursday night Ben was sacked 8 times and 2 of them were on him. I have watched Ben call out blitzers on so many occassions and still watch the same blitzer he called out come in untouched. JOKE! Defensively, the secondary except for Troy needs rebuilt. Ike Taylor is garbage and has been for a long time. Cowher seen it and benched him in 06. Townsend is old, Gay is a average tackler and thats about it, Clark is just looking to get onto ESPN and Carter is a servicable backup. This team has got to go out and get better talent at the oline and in the secondary or this crap is going to happen every year.
    People wnat to know the difference between last year and this year? Aaron Smith and Troy Polumalu wasn’t hurt. Smith is huge up front and Troy is arguably the best safety in the game. Last year with the exception of a few come from behind wins, last years defense with Aaron and Troy won ball games. Ben’s stats were up and they did pass more than run but overall the defense was huge last year. IT WAS A COMPLETE TEAM. It is hardly a complete team this year. Ben takes those sacks thursday night and the defense from last year comes in, they would have made a big play to get the TEAM back into and win. Against Oakland the offense won that game, unfortunately the defense came back out and the secondary looked like pee wee football ultimately losing the game.

  92. @skess37
    What game were you watching Thursday night? The Browns scored ONE legit touchdown on our defense in the entire game and played with a short field the whole time because of special teams and the pathetic attempt on the offense to move the ball. If the Browns had a halfway decent offense and our defense wasnt TOP FIVE, than they would have gone up by 21 points before half, instead it took until 1 min left in the 4th for the game to be officially over.
    The offense did not win that game against Oakland. It was 10-6 for THREE quarters. We go up 17-6 or 20-6 etc in the 4th and its over. The defense was on the field the entire game because of so many 3 and outs that caused them to fatigue and have a let down at the end. Not making excuses, but I dont think many, if any, defenses in the NFL can stand that much pressure no matter who they’re playing against. You have to take into factor that the majority of the time the Steelers have scored this year, it has been in 2 to 4 minute drives. Quick big plays. So they are not sustaining drives, or grinding down the clock like years past where the defense is fresh in the 4th. The secondary does need to improve and thats a whole other issue, but the defense is not nearly as bad as everyone is making it seem. The major lack of consistency of the offense is the bigger issue.
    Another beef I have with the offense this year — why can they score so quickly when they fall behind, but yet never score when they have a small lead? Its like they think the game is over when they get ahead by 4 points and as soon as the other team scores its like “ohhh shit, I guess we have to score again” and they do. I know its impossible to put points up EVERY possession, but come on 10 points on Oakland through THREE quarters of play deserves to be a loss in my opinion.

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