Home > Steeler Articles > Midseason Thoughts Or How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love Bruce Arians

Midseason Thoughts Or How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love Bruce Arians

– Does the Steelers offense have an identity? Does the Steelers offense move at a sluggish pace through a majority of most games? Do the two questions have something in common? I’d say yes. When an offensive coordinator puts no actual discernible gameplan together and seemingly throws out plays in predictable but yet random fashion (1st down off-tackle run, 2nd down empty set) it will inevitably grind your offense to a sluggish pace. Through the first half of this year the Steelers offense really doesn’t seem to have any kind of identity. Tomlin and the FO obviously want to run the ball better than last year. They said so in preseason and training camp. And it’s so obvious that they still want to as evidenced by all the predictable off-tackle run plays that have been called over and over and over again on 1st down this year. Has this worked? Well, how many TD drives have been a result of this approach this year? Hardly any. The Steelers have just 19 TD’s in 8 games (just over 2 a game) and have one of the lowest totals of 1st downs of ANY team in the NFL right now, tied with the lowly Carolina Panthers with 116! The only team with fewer 1st downs is the Seahawks. If the Steelers have actually been successful with running the ball on early downs shouldn’t the team have more 1st downs? Don’t those two things go hand in hand together? The fact is whenever the Steelers have actually scored TD’s, there’s a good chance it was either in the no-huddle or “up tempo” offense or it was a deep ball by Ben or Batch. So you might be asking “Well, why does Mendenhall have 700 yards then”? Well, Mendy has had a good year so far but a good chunk of his yards have come on a handful of long runs. He has 7 runs of 20 or more yards, that’s about a 4th of his yards on 7 carries! The fact is the Steelers have not run the ball consistently at all. How many TD’s were scored against the Bengals this week from running the ball consistently? None. Here’s a little tip for Arians and Tomlin – When you don’t have a dominating O-line, the best way to consistently run the ball is to actually MIX IT UP on early downs ALL THE TIME. The Steelers are running the ball 70% of the time on 1st down. That is beyond asinine with this O-line. Hasn’t worked, change it up! The actual running plays could use a little more variety as well. It doesn’t take a brain surgeon to figure this stuff out. Alright, I think could write a whole book about this subject but I had better stop before my head explodes.

– Why is Randel El STILL starting ahead of Manny Sanders? How long does this charade have to go on for? I barely even saw Sanders on the field against the Bengals outside of his special teams play.

– With Max Starks out for the season, does Jonathan Scott step it up? Do the Steelers find someone else in FA? At the midway point, the Steelers O-line has seen a marginal improvement from last year. Still a ton of room for improvement which may not actually happen until some more personnel moves are made.

– Heath Miller continues to be grossly underused and misused on this offense. Just amazing.

– Is Lebeau ever going to fix the defenses 4th quarter meltdowns? If not, I’m predicting it’ll cost the Steelers 2 to 4 games the rest of the season. The Steelers have already dodged a few bullets this year (Titans, Dolphins, Bengals) and lost another one (Ravens game) due to these meltdowns. You can dance with the Devil only so long before he finally punches you right in the fucking face.

– Let’s not forget, the Steelers started last year 6-2. Let’s hope the rest of this season turns out a little bit better. Although the concerning thing is all the problems from last year – 4th quarter meltdowns, grab-bag no identity offense, redzone problems and questionable coaching and personnel decisions are all alive and well this season. Let’s cross our fingers.

Mid-Season MVP

James Harrison – Harrison really is a throwback player. He never takes a play off. He plays with 100% intensity on EVERY play. He is 3rd on the team in tackles, leads the team with 7 sacks, has 4 forced fumbles. But above all else it’s all the intangibles that Harrison brings on every play that really makes him the MVP so far for the Steelers this season in my eyes. Plus, he’s quickly becoming a martyr for unfairly persecuted NFL defenders everywhere with week after week of bullshit fines and penalties for simply playing the game the way it’s meant to be played. You simply have to love this guy.

Surprise Player

Manny Sanders – Sanders has made a big impact on this team in just a few short weeks as a returner. Not only that but he’s shown, albeit in limited action, that he has the potential to replace Holmes by showing off a smooth, natural athletic ability out on the field as a returner AND WR. Tomlin, put this guy out on the field more!

Disappointment of the Year

Ryan Clark – Maybe it’s a bit unfair to give this to Clark since he pretty much disappoints every year. And if he isn’t disappointing you then your expectations are REALLY low! I like to call Clark “Mr. Invisible” since he makes virtually no impact on most pass plays and is a complete liability in the open field against a WR, which is kinda bad considering Clark is a FS! I like Clark’s attitude and personality, I don’t like his limited physical abilities at the position he plays.

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