Thanks to Jim Wexell of SteelCityInsider.com who has been tweeting up a storm the past few days. Wexell has been ripping on everyone, which has been absolutely awesome. He's been ripping on the Arians lovefest that's been going down from Ron Cook and Bob Smizik over at the Post-Gazette.
We're with Wexell on this one. We were never big Arians fans, but the Browns game alone was grounds for dismissal.
In that game, against the worst run defense in the league, Arians called 42 passes and 20 runs in sub-zero temperatures and 30-45 mph winds.
Read that again and think about it for a moment. There's not even a good analogy to fit that.
Ligashesky had to be fired. In his three years as special teams coach we had two downright awful special teams (2007 and 2009) and one very good special teams (2008). Not sure what the difference was between the 2008 season and the others schematically, but there were some personnel changes between 07 and 08 (such as adding Keyaron Fox and Patrick Bailey) that generated significant improvement.
Obviously cutting Anthony Madison in favor of Keiwann Ratliff was a terrible decision this off-season. They rectified that mid-season by bringing Madison back, but also cut Arnold Harrison in favor of Rocky Boiman. We still don't quite understand that one.
On the Zierlein front, we'll start with this article from his son. We don't agree with everything he says (such as the fact that Ben cares too much about passer rating), but he brings up some very good points. Yes, the O-line had a lot of issues this year. However, there were more problems with the scheme than there were with the blocking.
How many times did Ben get sacked when the Steelers were in a 5-wide set with no help for the O-line? This is not to say that the O-line should need help with a 4-man rush. However, when there are only 5 blockers and the defense is sending 6 or 7 guys on a blitz, this is a scheme problem, not a line problem.
This is not to say that the Offensive Line wasn't poor. However, given the lack of investment in the line, it's not surprising they were so bad.
By this point, I think everyone knows where we stand with Arians. His offenses put up good numbers between the 20s, but struggle to punch it in. Why does that happen? The primary reason is because the biggest plays the Steelers get on offense are when individuals (usually Ben) make a great play and make something happen on a broken play. The plays that are being called aren't successful. We don't have plays that are designed to get guys open. And this is why our Red Zone offense was so lackluster.
Our final thought (for now) on Arians. Smizik and Cook will tell you all about the great numbers that the Steelers offense put up this year. They'll tell you about how this was the first time in Steelers history we had a 4,000 yard passer. They'll say how we've never had a 4,000-yard passer, two 1,000-yd receivers, and a 1,000-yd rusher in the same season. What they won't tell you, is how in spite of all that, we only managed 23.0 points per game. While 23 points per game isn't bad, it's not good when your defense is giving up 14+ points in the 4th quarter.
Yardage numbers a great, but they don't mean anything if you're not scoring points or winning games.