Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

03 Jun 2013

Mandatory Monday: Running for their Lives

The Steelers running game: awful in 2012, sorta new in 2013. I will be writing the Steelers chapter for FOA 2013. That chapter takes more of a big picture view of the Steelers organization, but this article provides some sneak previews into the player, unit, and coaching comments.

Posted by: Mike Tanier on 03 Jun 2013

7 comments, Last at 15 Jun 2013, 12:27pm by steveNC


by drobviousso :: Mon, 06/03/2013 - 10:59am

Last year was hard to watch, because stupid coaching decisions annoy me more than bad luck one player just getting out performed by another. Tomin is a good coach with some flaws, and last year was a perfect storm of all those flaws.

Still can't believe we've spent all those high draft picks on bulky knuckle dragging line men and decided the solution is zone blocking.

We'll see how it goes.

by Perfundle :: Tue, 06/04/2013 - 3:58am

I especially like how Pittsburgh was at least top 10 running in every other direction; opponents must have not bothered with defending anything else. It's seriously mind-boggling that this kind of extremely sub-optimal strategy by Pittsburgh can persist for an entire season in today's stats-oriented NFL.

by drobviousso :: Tue, 06/04/2013 - 11:27am

I haven't seen any evidence that Pittsburgh uses any kind of stats in their decision making. They are the platonic ideal of the pre-stat organization, as far as I can tell.

by Theo :: Tue, 06/04/2013 - 1:22pm

In Tomlin's mind, Steelers football = smashmouth football = run up the middle.

by Perfundle :: Tue, 06/04/2013 - 2:37pm

The thing is, Pittsburgh never ran up the middle under Tomlin as much as they did last year. Starting from 2007, they've been at 53%, 59%, 56%, 61% and 67%, before jumping to 75% last year. Perhaps he saw how well running up the middle worked in 2011, and decided to simply increase the percentage regardless of the results.

by Jerry :: Thu, 06/06/2013 - 4:53am

It's not like Redman or Dwyer (who reportedly showed up overweight for OTAs) is a great outside threat. They might pick up some yardage on misdirections, but they're primarily up-the-middle kind of guys. Mendenhall is OK everywhere, but last year wasn't his year.

by steveNC (not verified) :: Sat, 06/15/2013 - 12:27pm

I realize this comment is a bit late, oh well. I enjoyed the article, but no mention of the tight ends or fullback/halfback as blockers?

Wouldn't it be fair to say that DeCastro is actually much better known for his ability to pull and get upfield than he is for drive blocking? Not sure why the author described him as a drive blocker who must change for the new system. He may actually be one of the main reasons they are moving to this system, as he and Pouncey are exactly the type of smaller, mobile linemen that the zone blocking scheme was made for.