Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Dejan Kovacevic Correct, Steelers Must Tailor Offense to Talent


I will admit that I almost started a slow-clap after I read an article by Dejan Kovacevic on The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review’s website yesterday.  The reason why Kovacevic’s column made me so happy was due to the fact that he stated what many of us have want to see right now: Pittsburgh’s offensive game-plan must be tailored to the talent on their roster.

The end of  Kovacevic’s article perfectly sums up the point which him and most of us have tried to make during the last few seasons:


The offense’s strengths are almost entirely pass-based, and this era of the NFL and its rules that protect the quarterback and offer space to the receiver, that’s no different.


It’s well past time the Steelers get back to accepting that, even embracing that as they did not so long ago.


This isn’t about being stubborn.  It’s about succeeding.


At least to people like Kovacevic, Jeff Hartings, and many members of “Steeler Nation,” Pittsburgh’s offense has the tools to succeed when it comes to throwing the football.  No matter how many people want to see “smash-mouth” and “three yards and a cloud of dust” on offense, the Steelers need to accept that throwing the football gives them the best chance to be a competitive team.

As Kovacevic pointed out, Pittsburgh has a Pro Bowl quarterback, four competent receivers, a shaky offensive line, and a stable of below-average running backs.  While I might not agree with Kovacevic in the respect that “Big Ben” needs to stretch the field vertically as often, Pittsburgh’s offense would be best served if Roethlisberger was allowed to put the ball in the hands of his playmakers instead of a  group of three to four ineffective running backs behind an offensive line already in shambles.

Until Le’Veon Bell and Heath Miller can return to the lineup, the Steelers do not have a prayer of running the football with any consistency.  Even Bell’s addition adding much to the running game is a stretch, especially since he illustrated nothing during preseason play that he could improve the team’s already anemic ground attack.

Wasting possessions on running plays doomed to fail when the offense has four competent pass-catchers, zero of which are tight ends, only leads to they type of failure put on display in last week’s game.  The Steelers have the luxury of possessing a franchise quarterback with two Super Bowl rings.

Why should his skills go to waste because the front office, Mike Tomlin, and Todd Haley want to establish a running game which has not chance of being established to begin with?

This team should be using their personnel to “pass to set up the run” not the other way around, readers.  I am just glad that people like Kovacevic and Hartings can see how foolish Pittsburgh’s offensive strategy was last weekend.  Moreover, I am glad that they understand how doomed Pittsburgh’s offense could be if they waste the personnel currently at their disposal.




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  • Rob Thomson

    Well said,talent being wasted by not being utilized properly. Ben can be the key to this offence. It is not going to happen with the current “offensive” game plan.

  • Nine

    This is an excellent article – I agree 100%. I wish the Press would stop referring to the Steelers as being “Un-Steelerlike” if they don’t run the football. We have been a pass-first team for about 10 years now and have, in fact, won 2 Super Bowls being a pass-first team. As much as I love the Rooneys, I kind of hang this current problem on them. Rooney came out in public and said he wanted to run the football more. They fired Arians, who ran a very effective, pass-first offense (which fit our team), brought in Haley and basically told him we are a running team (which handcuffed him in a big way). I don’t like Haley, don’t think he was a good choice – but they put this on him as well. Right now, as it stands, we cannot win with a run-first offense – we simply don’t have the personnel to do so. Throw first, complete passes, and open up the run by doing so – that’s how we will win (if we win at all). But the current philosophy will keep us losing.

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