Thursday, January 9, 2014

Steelers Players Like Playing For The Organization; Signings, Cammarata's "View From The Stands: 2013 Season Epilogue

Cody Wallace: "They Treat You Like A Man Here."

While most of the Steelers have no illusions about finishing 8-8 in the last two seasons, one thing is certain: they like playing for the organization. 

"They treat you like a man here," said C Cody Wallace. "They have that focus. Everybody's going for the same goal."

LaRod Stevens-Howling, who came from the Cardinals, added, "There's a great winning attitude around here...I love coming to work and seeing those {Lombardi} trophies upstairs. You know what you're fighting for when you come in...I love the organization. A lot of respect."

Steelers Announce Signings To Reserve/Future Contracts

Steelers understand they need to focus on adding depth to their roster. They did so this week with the signing of CB Devin Smith (Steelers + Dolphins practice squad), LB Don Molls (Chargers undrafted rookie), RB Miguel Maysonet (Redskins, Jets, Chargers and Colts) and WR Lanear Sampson (Cowboys practice squad).

View From The Stands: 2013 Steelers Season Epilogue

Here we are following the NFL Wildcard (my personal favorite football weekend) Playoff games and wild they were with three of the four games closely contested.

If these opinion pieces offered a theme throughout this football season, it focused on the lack of balance in the Steelers offense throughout the entire season. It focused on the misleading statistical and over-reliant nature of the Steelers offense regarding the formations and over use of a pass first offense that assisted in digging a deep hole in which we could not recover, even with the final ineptitudes of NFL officiating in the San Diego vs. Kansas City game. You say, he said "misleading statiscal" possible when our quarterback threw for more yardage than ever before, and not in just come behind efforts?  Well, let's look at the big picture considering stats, and incorporate even the most recently played wildcard games.

Of the eight starting quarterbacks playing this wildcard weekend only three of the eight threw over 300 yards, which has now become the media benchmark when evaluating a quarterback's success in any given game . Of those three performances where the QB's threw for 300 yards...only one came away as a winner, which was Andrew Luck in one of the greatest deficit combacks in NFL Playoff history. The three winning quarterbacks that threw for under 300 yards: Kapernick, Rivers and Brees...and yes...even the traditional pass happy offense of the New Orleans Saints finally recognized that ball possession with a solid run performance and a stout defense gave them their first road victory in the playoffs since forever. Philip Rivers name has been synonymous with 300 yard passing games throughout his career up until this season. Ken Whisenhut (remember excellent O.C.) took control of the offense in San Diego this year, and even though a near .500 club they led the league in ball control drives and length of time of possession. That does not happen when a team lives in the world of empty-set formations, five-wide spread offenses on first down in the opponent's red zone.

Three hundred yard passing efforts in the Steelers scheme are also only a ruse. This stat was provided earlier in the year, and only increased throughout the season. Please feel free to research it on your own. But here it is again for the last time:: in the past 13 game when the Steelers have thrown for 300 yards or the final analysis they are 2 wins and 11 losses (and not all were come from behind efforts). Whereas in the past 6 games where the Steelers have thrown for under 300 yards, but rushed for 100 yards or more, we are 6 wins and 0 losses. 

There is a media set in the Pittsburgh marketplace that views anyone that espouses the value of a balanced run/pass offense as part of the Paleozoic age of football, because in some way that devalues Big Ben and all his abilities. Let's hope that Coach Tomlin finally gets it come training camp at St. Vincent's next summer and begins to stress the fundamentals of run blocking no matter zone schemes or straight ahead power blocking mechanics...whomever the new offensive line coach. And more importantly, let's hope Ben (who is the on-field O.C.) at the age of 32 ingratiates the formula for long-term success by looking at the last portion of the 2013 season and the balanced offense we found, although too little, too late.

Ron Cammarata---Section 110, Row cc, Seats 9+10, Bleacher Report