Pittsburgh Steelers: Proving Plan B's Sometimes Work

Timothy KesslerAnalyst IJuly 7, 2009

17 Nov 1996: Offensive lineman Dermontti Dawson of the Pittsburgh Steelers warms up prior to the Steelers 28-3 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars at Three Rivers Stadium in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

I am truly amazed that people could actually look at last season and see it as a change in the Steelers philosophy on offense, as opposed to what it actually was—the Steelers' plan B offense in action.

The fact that the Rooney's are not big on change and the fact that the offensive and defensive philosophies of the team have remained the same for so long, is something that has made Pittsburgh as successful and competitive as we have been over the past 40 years. Even more so than any other team in the league.

Consistency breeds consistency.

Tomlin was not brought in here to change the offensive and defensive philosophies of the team. Nor is he looking to change them. He is looking to improve upon them, and he has done a fine job thus far.

He was brought in because fundamentally he agreed with the philosophies and could bring his knowledge, youthfulness, and exuberance to the table.

The run simply didn't work last season as they would have liked, but it most definitely will be back and will remain the signature of the Steelers offense. It's what makes us the team that we are, the team that we have been over the past 40 years.

The fact that we can adapt and pass if needed is simply icing on the cake but not a sign of a change as big as that. It was the Steeler's plan B offense in action. And although it was good enough to win it all, in no way should it become the norm. Nor should we drop our whole offensive philosophy as a consequence.

That is what Tomlin has made us...more multidimensional.

We will certainly throw the ball more often than in the past. That is for certain. But there is a big difference in passing more- which we will do- and becoming a pass heavy, pass first team- which we will not do.

Tomlin will not change our run-first philosophy or our identity as a time consuming, ball control offense.

It is way too important, especially to our defense which benefits from it, and as a result, is at the top of the league year in and year out.

As soon as our offensive line gels and they start playing together more efficiently as unit, and as soon as the injuries are not an issue, we will once again see an offense based on the run.

Once the running game is back on track, everything else will follow suit and start to click.

A good running game will make opposing defenses more honest, opening up our passing game. With the play action pass clicking on all cylinders. As a result, Ben should have great numbers this season as well.

Also, the opposing defenses will be on the field longer as we eat up time of possession, tiring them out by the fourth quarter. Our defense, however, will be on the field less as well as the opposing teams offense. This bods well for our chances of success. As has been proven over many years.

To change to a pass first offense would not be a smart move. It is a move that I am sure is not being made. To even suggest it is lunacy. For us fans that have been fans since the late '70s, its common sense.

Also, the fact that Arians went to a different style of running had more to do with a change from Bettis to Parker, not a change in philosophy.  It is not another sign of us heading towards a pass first offense.

As long as Arians can learn from his mistakes and not be so predictable in his play calling, he would take less heat from the fans. He needs to show more creativity, especially in his running plays. Maybe that shows he isn't the best fit for this style of offense.

If he can do that, however, then he can become the guy we all hoped he could be. As of now, he still has a whole lot to prove.

This upcoming season, barring more injuries, we will see what our offense was meant to be- run first. Of that I am certain!

But if not, it is nice to know that when plan A isn't working, sometimes plan B can be more than capable of getting the job done.