It’s [the no-huddle offense] going to be tremendous for us. Any time we can get out and start fast and get a team off rhythm and off beat, allowing Ben (Roethlisberger) to call his reads and read the defense, not allowing a defense to get their calls in, is a positive for us. The earlier we start the better we will be at it.
-Antonio Brown (via Teresa Varley of Steelers.com)
The success of their hurry-up and no-huddle attacks on the offensive side of the ball were two of the biggest reasons why the Pittsburgh Steelers shined during their 6-2 finish to the 2013 regular season.
Ben Roethlisberger earned AFC Offensive Player of the Month honors in November, Antonio Brown was in the midst of his franchise record-breaking season in which he caught at least five passes for 50 yards in every game, Le’Veon Bell improved on a weekly basis as a runner and receiver and the once-makeshift offensive line finally hit their stride.
With a Pro Bowl quarterback and plenty of offensive weapons at his disposal, the Steelers were at their best last season when they forced opposing defenses into sub-packages and spread them out with three and four wide receiver sets.
Afraid and unwilling to really utilize the offense early in the regular season due to injuries and a lack of comfortable personnel, the Steelers’ offense scored at least 20 point in each of their final eight games, including 30 points three times. While they were far from a juggernaut as a unit, it was a marked improvement over the first half of the season in which they scored 20 points in only three of their first eight games.
With the sustained success they enjoyed with their hurry-up attack as the 2013 campaign progressed, the following question will loom large when the Steelers head into the fall:
How early and how often will Pittsburgh’s offense utilize no-huddle and hurry-up attacks?
As Brown alluded to above, the Steelers’ offense kicked into an efficient gear last fall when they employed the no-huddle and hurry-up strategies. Although their defense crapped the bed in the second quarter of their game against the Detroit Lions, Pittsburgh’s offense staked them a 14-point lead early on due in large part to a quick-paced attack.
Starting fast will be key for the Steelers, especially next season when their defense could be even younger and inexperienced. Thus, the onus of keeping the team in many games throughout the 2014 campaign will probably lie solely with Roethlisberger and the offense.
The no-huddle and hurry-up strategies helped the Steelers’ offense look like a well-oiled machine in 2013. With a healthy roster, more experienced and explosive play-makers and a Pro Bowl quarterback still at their disposal, Pittsburgh could potentially have one of the more surprisingly efficient offenses in the league in 2014. If they intend to employ the no-huddle and hurry-up strategies on a more consistent basis this fall, then I see no reason why they shouldn’t build off of the success they enjoyed towards the end of last year.
Like “NPC” on Facebook: Nice Pick, Cowher