Whomever will be the new face of the offense, they will have a strong minded QB to gel with. Courtesy stickspicks.files.wordpress.com/

New Offensive Coordinator Will Test How Good Roethlisberger Really Is


This happy marriage is over. Can Ben quickly move on? Courtesy US-Presswire

Since his rookie year in 2004, Ben Roethlisberger has had it pretty damn good when it comes to consistency and stability with his offensive schemes.  Prior to last week, Big Ben has had as many offensive coordinators in the past eight seasons as the rest of Steelers Nation has had head coaches in the past 20 years.  Consistency is a very good thing, especially when the situation is good.  Times are a changin’ – Ben will need to shrug off the ill feelings of Arians getting the boot and find a happy place with his union of OC and QB.

The transition Ben experienced from Ken Whisenhunt to Bruce Arians was a very easy one.  Arians was already the receivers coach, and most of his schemes were already intermixed with Whisenhunt’s play calling.  There was a comradery already there when Arians stepped up to take over the offense.  And why wouldn’t he be?  The pass heavy Arians was a dream for a young QB.  Ben’s pass attempts increased overall season to season.  The offense got revamped for quickness and good hands over brute size and hard nosed.  For every critic of Arians, Ben was right there to defend his OC.  It was a happy marriage from the very start and continued for the next four seasons.

The Steelers have some choices internally for the OC job – Randy Fichtner, Sean Kugler and Kirby Wilson.  It’s strange how the football universe can be cruel.  Kirby, probably the best internal candidate for the Steelers, is so traumatically injured from a house fire that he may not retain his job as the running back coach let alone be well enough to become the new coordinator.  Kugler really hasn’t been with the team long enough and quite frankly the performance of the offensive line (or lack thereof) really doesn’t make him that great of a candidate in my book.  Sure he did what he could with injuries – but even at full strength, the line was riddled with poor execution and penalties.  That leaves us with Fichtner, QB coach and former WR coach for the Steelers.  And while I like Fichtner because of his ability to quickly develop young receivers like Holmes and Wallace, I fear that Fichtner at the helm will provide us with the same results as we had with Arains.

Some of you might be saying – ‘But wasn’t the Red Zone efficiency the biggest problem with Arians?’ Truth.  But remember that this booting of Arians came from the top.  And the top, wanted the team to run the ball more.  Would Fichtner be able to facilitate that requirement from the Steelers team president?  No idea.

I think the reality of the situation is that the Steelers will be hiring outside of the organization.  That will be a big adjustment for Roethlisberger.  And, it will force him to show us how good he really has become.  I’m pretty sure, as is the way of offensive coordinators, that the new guy will change up the scheme for better or for worse.  He will make it his own.  I’m sure he will take input from Tomlin and from Ben on what is really working for them and what will help them manage the game from the sidelines and on the field.  But the bottom line is that this coordinator will be tasked with focusing on running and ball control.  These are things Ben hasn’t been accustomed to since his first couple seasons under the Whiz.  Ben’s developed into his own QB and his own style of playing.  This new coordinator will test that development.  He may be passing less frequently, meaning each throw will have to count that much more.  He will have less opportunities to find a groove.  Pretty much, the pressure is on his balling skills.  The new coordinator will also be a test of his patience – especially if the no huddle and on the field play calling is off the table with the new coordinator.

So we know for sure that the newbie will be a test of skill and patience for our veteran QB.  We can only hope that this transition and new union of QB and OC will be a smooth one.  Some feel that this was a bad move because Tomlin stressed the importance of consistency with the coaching staff.  But I think this is a golden opportunity to catapult this offense to a new level of being a juggernaut.  And that doesn’t necessarily translate into huge amounts of points.  The team is in a beginning period of getting rid of the old and acquiring and developing the new.  A new coordinator may be the keystone in keeping it all together as the team tries to adjust to the cap and re-acquire their identity as an offense.

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  • ToddWilliams

    Maybe I’m wrong, but wasn’t about the only time our offense moving effectively in the past couple years coming from the no-huddle? It seemed like whenever Arians had them huddle up for one of his stupid plays, he ended up grinding the offense to a halt. What I don’t want to go back to is the predictable RUN-RUN-PASS, RUN-RUN-PASS that it seemed like we were running during Whisenhunt’s tenure. It always turned into RUN (get stopped), RUN (get stopped), PASS (get blitzed), and PUNT…because it was so predictable. Throwing in the gadget play now and then was our only attempt to mix it up.

    And now we have these 3 great receivers, Wallace, Sanders, and Brown who are going to go to waste in a run-heavy scheme. I think the main problem with our offense this year has been our O-Line injuries and execution paired with terrible playcalling at times (NOTE: bubble-screen, passing plays that take 3 minutes to develop, lack of the RB screen, lack of the TE slant). I’m not a big Arians fan, and maybe I’m imagining things, but our offense ran better this year than any year I can remember…especially against the Patriots.

    Please, I just don’t want to go back to run-run-pass. Can’t we just develop a good balanced offense with BOTH run and pass?

  • ToddWilliams

    Forgot to mention…good article, btw Craig. :)

  • ToddWilliams

    Maybe I’m wrong, but wasn’t about the only time our offense moving effectively in the past couple years coming from the no-huddle? It seemed like whenever Arians had them huddle up for one of his stupid plays, he ended up grinding the offense to a halt. What I don’t want to go back to is the predictable RUN-RUN-PASS, RUN-RUN-PASS that it seemed like we were running during Whisenhunt’s tenure. It always turned into RUN (get stopped), RUN (get stopped), PASS (get blitzed), and PUNT…because it was so predictable. Throwing in the gadget play now and then was our only attempt to mix it up.

    And now we have these 3 great receivers, Wallace, Sanders, and Brown who are going to go to waste in a run-heavy scheme. I think the main problem with our offense this year has been our O-Line injuries and execution paired with terrible playcalling at times (NOTE: bubble-screen, passing plays that take 3 minutes to develop, lack of the RB screen, lack of the TE slant). I’m not a big Arians fan, and maybe I’m imagining things, but our offense ran better this year than any year I can remember…especially against the Patriots.

    Please, I just don’t want to go back to run-run-pass. Can’t we just develop a good balanced offense with BOTH run and pass?

  • ToddWilliams

    Forgot to mention…good article, btw Craig. :)

  • SmoothAce5

    Todd i coudnt have said it any better. Ben is a great and smart Qb and we have great recievers. the no Huddle is very effective and keeping them guessing on if were going to keep passing the ball throws them off. and once we go back to the running game were not stuck on averaging 4 yards a carry or a loss of yards.. i personally think isaac redman is a better running back and to top it off with a new coach i believe were going to see some great things out there. btw it was a very good article. Ben think before you speak. as a team leader you cannot always speak with feelings… its a business and you need to accept that u must loose a friend to grow a business

  • SmoothAce5

    Todd i coudnt have said it any better. Ben is a great and smart Qb and we have great recievers. the no Huddle is very effective and keeping them guessing on if were going to keep passing the ball throws them off. and once we go back to the running game were not stuck on averaging 4 yards a carry or a loss of yards.. i personally think isaac redman is a better running back and to top it off with a new coach i believe were going to see some great things out there. btw it was a very good article. Ben think before you speak. as a team leader you cannot always speak with feelings… its a business and you need to accept that u must loose a friend to grow a business