Well, earlier this year, long-time Pittsburgh sportswriter Bob Smizik officially retired (although he does still blog on the Post-Gazette website). Say it isn't so, Bob! To whom will we turn to provide irregularly-timed, unsolicited opinions born of biased random thought processes? Someone must take the mantle of BS.
Therefore, I shall take it upon myself to restart the engines, so to speak, and I invite any and all to join in at your whim. So, in honor of (and with apologies to) Bob Smizik:
Nobody Asked Me, But...
Maybe Dan Rooney should kiss the Blarney Stone before every Steelers game this season, to bring the "Luck O' the Irish" to the Black & Gold. The way things are going so far, we can use all the help we can get. (Yes, "we", meaning fans included, so that we don't freak out over every little imperfection).
How bad is the Steelers' running game? Dare I say that the Pirates have better runners?
How bad is the Steelers' short-yardage running game? Dare I say that the Pirates fare better with runners in scoring position?
Bruce Arians seems to have built an offense that is just as unbalanced as the offense that Bill Cowher oversaw, only the style is different.
Cowher's offense rushed about two-thirds of the time.
Arians' offense passes about two-thirds of the time.
Cowher's offense was predictable, inflexible, ultra-conservative, and heavily dependent on execution rather than employing a good amount of misdirection and deception.
Arians' play-calling is predictable, also heavily dependent on execution rather than employing a good amount of misdirection and deception, often lacks common sense and often takes ridiculously unnecessary risks instead of running high-percentage plays.
The pendulum has swung too far the other way.
At the start of training camp, the general consensus was that the Steelers' schedule this year was quite weak (ranked something like 27th out of 32). I say hogwash. Aside from what should be four relatively easy wins (Detroit, Oakland, Cleveland twice), every other opponent was either a playoff team last season, is a playoff contender this season, or is one of those "maybe" teams that the Steelers stumble over for some stupid reason (i.e., Denver and Kansas City). The Steelers' schedule certainly isn't anywhere near as difficult as last season, but it is no pushover, either.
Forget Chad Ocho-I-Don't-Even-Know-What-My-Name-Is-This-Week. Chris Henry is the receiver that the Steelers need to worry about against the Bengals. Chad 85 has never done anything significant against the Steelers defense, so they don't need to change anything to counter him.
It was always T. J. Houshmandzadeh who killed them, with an occasional dagger to the heart by Chris Henry. Now that Houshmandzadeh is gone, Henry is the dangerous one, especially now that it looks like he has his head screwed on straight.
Thus far, Frank Summers has been a liability to the offense. He has consistently missed blocks that have hampered the inside running game.
Something for the Steelers offensive brain trust to consider: History is against pass-happy teams winning the Super Bowl. Only two such teams have won the Super Bowl: New England in the 2004 season, and St. Louis' "Greatest Show on Turf" in their first Super Bowl appearance in 1999.
Every other Super Bowl winner, even if they had a powerful passing game, had a good running game and a reasonably balanced offense (e.g., Indianapolis in 2006, Denver in 1997 and 1998, New York Jets in 1968). Some of those pass-crazy teams who lost in the Super Bowl, or didn't even make it to the game: