Offensive Football 101: Offense For Dummies

Timothy KesslerAnalyst IJuly 15, 2009

PITTSBURGH - JANUARY 1:  Running back Willie Parker #39 of the Pittsburgh Steelers runs the ball against the Detroit Lions with blocking help from offensive lineman Alan Faneca #66 at Heinz Field on January 1, 2006 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The Steelers defeated the Lions 35-21.  (Photo by George Gojkovich/Getty Images)

Of course an offense's first goal is to score. The easiest way to do this is to evaluate the team you are playing as to their strengths and weaknesses on defense.

If the team you are playing has a defense that is strong against the run, then you should focus more on passing plays. If the team you are playing has a defense that is strong against the pass, then you should focus more on the run.

All the while, knowing your offensive strengths while trying to minimize your weaknesses, of course.

Also, it is common sense to have an offense that is good at mixing things up, as to be less predictable. If the other team knows what is coming, they will stack their defense to cover it.

This is offensive football 101 and it is common sense.

But within those set rules each team has its own identity as too their own offensive style and what defines them as a team.

Some teams, such as New Orleans and Indianapolis, focus mainly on the pass while throwing in running plays. Other teams, focus more on the run while throwing in passing plays.

This is what separates the great teams from the average. Any team incapable of being good at both will more than likely not succeed in winning the big one.

If you are only good at one, say passing, and you run into the best pass defense in the league, then you are in trouble.

All great teams need offenses capable of adjusting from game to game to the opposing team's defense and their strengths and weaknesses, by adjusting their own game plan and being good at both the run and pass.

Some team's seem to forget these basic truths and simply stick to their strengths, and neglect trying to mix things up or trying to expose the other team's weaknesses. Against certain teams, your weaknesses could now be a strength.

A lot of teams can be way too predictable on offense.

While other teams realize this, but their weaknesses are simply too weak to get the job done. And you end up seeing coaches trying in vein to get something going that just isn't working, instead of moving on sooner to what is working. As Arians did with the Steeler's running game last season. He was obviously forcing the issue.

Which is how I know the Steelers still understand the importance of a good running game. They will do everything in their power to become good at the run again, and in fact, focus on it because their passing game is already strong. They will not be able to mix things up without being successful at both again.

Though teams can win while being good at only one, they more than likely will not be successful or accomplish their goal of winning it all. Their weakness will eventually be exposed and used against them.

In no way, does that mean a team can not have an identity as being better at one over the long as they mix things up.

I feel there is a clear advantage at being better at one over the other and this is why...

Another goal of a team's offense is to try and take as much time off the clock as possible during their attempt at scoring. The more time they can be on the field, the less time the opposing team's offense will be on the field. The less time the opposing team's offense is on the field...the less they can score.             

Having a good running game is the best way of taking time off of the clock. A dropped or incomplete pass stops the clock, while a run allows it to continue rolling. Just another reason having a good running game is so important.                        

Keeping your offense on the field by running the ball also keeps the opposing team's defense on the field, and your defense off the field. This will help to wear out their defense by late in the game and keep your defense fresh.            

While it is of utmost importance to be both good at passing and running, being good at the run will do more for the teams chances of winning the game.

And while it is of paramount importance to mix things up; again, being good at running the ball will do more for the team's ultimate goal of winning it all.

In my honest opinion, it makes more sense to me that while it is important to be good at both the pass and the run, it is of more importance to be run oriented in your offensive style.

The Pittsburgh Steelers seem to have been thinking along those same lines over the past 40 years and have consequently become the single most consistently successful football team in the league over that period of time.

For them to lose their way now would be a mistake. They need to find the run again.

The fact that the Steelers were ranked 22nd offensively last season shows the importance of a good running game and the fact that you need to be able to do both, which they couldn't.

The fact that they won the Super Bowl shows that there are exceptions to every rule.

So, even though a lot of people want them to stay more of a passing team, thats fine. But they still need to find a way of becoming a good running team again. It is way too important.

They will not win the Super Bowl again unless they can improve their running game and mix things up a whole lot better.

Which is why I have many reservations about Arians.

But that is the making of a whole new article; although, "Arians: Offensive Football for Dummies" could've worked for that one as well.