November 18, 2008

Where Have All The Big Runs Gone?

"That's the drive that really like -- just keep calling run plays, keep calling run plays...The defense knows we're about to run and they just can't stop it. That's Steeler football to me."

- Willie Parker
Alright, listen. I love Steeler football. I love running the ball. I love controlling the clock. I love ice cream sandwiches. But my question is, will we see any more of Willie's traditionally ridiculous runs with the Fullback position virtually non-existent in Arians' Offense? Willie's still fast. No denying that. But he himself has acknowledged that he prefers running behind a Fullback.

It just makes sense, to me, at least. He's not Jerome Bettis, and the blocks a Fullback would lay out in front of him would create more holes or bigger holes for him to use his quickness and burst through for big gains. Now, I don't have any numbers to support this, much to the chagrin of some of you, no doubt. But it seems logical enough to me.

Willie Parker isn't going to run anyone over, at least not consistently. Nor do I want him to, really. Just look at what's happened between last season and this season - we de-emphasized the Fullback position and Willie broke his leg in Week 15 last season and had already injured his knee by Week 4 this season (not to mention also injuring his shoulder in Week 9). Maybe there's a correlation, maybe there isn't...

I would just rather see him have games like the one he had against New Orleans in 2006 (which Domski and I attended) or the one he had against Cleveland that same year. Of course, I recognize that those could easily have been once (twice?) in a lifetime games, but I have to think that if we had a guy in there paving the way for him (in addition to Kemoeatu), he'd be breaking a lot more big runs - I'm talking about the home runs, the 20+ yarders. This season, his longest run was 32 yards. Last season, it was also 32. In 2006, it was 76. And in 2005, it was 80. I'm just sayin'...

Either way, I doubt Arians has any firm plans to change what he's doing with this Offense anytime soon...and maybe he shouldn't? I don't know. I'm just throwing the thought out there. I'm not saying I want the Steelers to be handing the ball off on every play. But if you've got Willie Parker running like the established home run (pun intended) threat we know that he can be, everything else should follow, including some of Arians' favs (hell, the reverse might even work...uh, well maybe not, but).

Of course, the flipside to all of this is - Steeler football isn't necessarily big runs. It's running the ball effectively enough to control the game. And that Willie has done pretty well under Arians (when he's not hurt, that is). But come on, who doesn't want to see Willie busting another 75 yarder for a score? I know I do.

Am I crazy or does this make some sense?

See, I told y'all I'd make it up to you this afternoon.


marc said...

I think that the fullback elimination has a lot to do with it, but so does the fact that we lost an all pro LG, a pro bowl center, and that our best LT has played a handful more downs than I have this year.

We need a new line, I like Kemo and Hartwig, and Stapleton can stay, but that leaves two tackles. It's not looking like we'll have a high draft pick this year, so the premier tackles will be gone. Hopefully we can find two tackles this year, or Tony Hills will develop and we can get another in the draft.

matt said...

We need a fullback and a coordinator who isn't dumb.

I don't enjoy th fact that we use pass to set up a run...thats not who we are. It may be the Arians philosophy, but it has never made the Steelers a winning team.

We are winning in spite of the O, period.

big TC said...

arians = fail.

i know that has been said before, but it doesn't make it any less true lol.

we need to put a FB back there. I think its easier said then done though.