Contrary to what some fans and players believe, Steelers' offensive coordinator Bruce Arians says this will be a pass happy offense again this season.
I have been preaching it this entire offseason to Steelers fans to no avail. I wrote an article criticizing Troy Polamalu for cowering away from what actually ailed the Steelers last season, while aiming to put the emphasis of the blame on Arians' play calling.
“But, with the smothering defense, you can't have a pass-happy offense. For example, you would think you could take a great defense and mesh them together, but our defense would not work well with a New England Patriots offense or Indianapolis Colts offense. They may put up a lot of points, but it takes a lot more energy to play our defense than a Tampa 2-type defense," said Polamalu.
I think the concept of having balance on offense in regards to the run/pass ratio is an outdated ideology.
However, knowing when to run and when to pass is not. The Steelers' and Patriots' run/pass ratio being nearly identical pretty much outlines the formula for success. It is not about balance, it is rather a proper run to pass ratio model...
Patriots ran a 3-4 base defense as well last season.
Well what do you know? Arians' confirmed my insight after all.
"We need to run the ball better," Arians said, "not necessarily more."
Last season in week five against the Lions, Arians' admitted he "got a little greedy" in the second half, when he got away from the running game.
"It is the quality of the runs more than the quantity that I am worried about," Arians said.
The Steelers' 112 yards per game average was better last season than the average the Steelers had during the Super Bowl run in 2008.
Rashard Mendenhall managed seven touchdowns and over 1,100 yards last season.
Curbing pass-happy tendencies in the second half of games ought to help Rashard Mendenhall break the century mark in more than 3 games this season.
But we can't forget about Jonathan Dwyer—the competition Kevin Colbert brought in to vie for the rock on all three downs.
"We are looking for people to distinguish themselves in situational football," Tomlin said. "It is interesting—we've got some young guys in the backfield who might have a degree of pedigree that is geared toward those things."
According to Tomlin, the sixth-round rookie sleeper from Georgia Tech brings the speed and versatility to make him an every down back.
Steelers fans can look forward to some excellent competition at the running back position this season. Isaac "Redzone" Redman and Dwyer are going to give Mewelde Moore a run for his money.
The way undrafted free agent Ramon Foster looked last season as a rookie while putting on a clinic against the Packers' vaunted defense, I would not be surprised to see him moved from left guard to left tackle, while switching Max Starks back to right tackle.
Foster is not as adept at running the counter-trap plays as Chris Kemoeatu—who is a great run blocker despite the fact that he struggles at times on passing plays. With Foster shoring up the left side, the offensive line will be stout this season. Oh and we have not even discussed Maurkice Pouncey.
One can't help but wonder how much Pouncey's influence on Tim Tebow's success at Florida had to do with Pouncey being the first center the Steelers have drafted in the first round since 1937.
Dwyer's performance as well as the lines potential despite the loss of Willie Colon during the offseason, has the Steelers' coaching staff in awe of the rushing offense's potential this season, especially on third down, where Dwyer may be able to get to the holes quicker than Mendenhall.
"We need to do it better especially in those situations," Arians said. "We can't put our defense back on the field after leaving a third-and-two out there. You have to make that first down. The ability to take it at the end of games and continue to make first downs hasn't been there for a while. That forces us to do other things."
"You have to look at the guys you have back there," Arians said. "Some guys have to learn that they aren't running for a touchdown. We need a yard. Rashard did a good job on goal line, but not as good a job on short yardage. That will again be an emphasis in training camp."
"If we need to run to win or pass to win, we will be able to do that," said Mendenhall. "We are confident in our offense that we will be able to do whatever we need to do to win."
"We are going to play football," Arians said. "It is all about scoring points. If you have a lead in the fourth quarter, you are going to run the ball a whole lot more than you are going to throw it. We would love at the end of the season be straight up 50-50."
WOW so Arians wants to be able to achieve a 50-50, but until then it appears it is going to be a pass happy offense, at least the first three quarters of the game!