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Stella Nation

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PostSubject: Re: Week 14: Steelers @ Bills   Week 14: Steelers @ Bills - Page 3 EmptyTue Dec 15, 2020 4:25 am

Well, here are my observations and thoughts on what you guys posted lately:

1. Unless Ben has some injury that's really bothering him I think this should be he last season and it's time for a little rebuild. Only a little rebuild because we have some valuable young pieces on both sides of the field. The tough task will be to find a new QB and some great OL players. We also need to find a truly #1 RB, but that should be easier. As MOP stated Ben isn't worth letting go Juju, Hilton and Sutton.

2. On the FA's: we need to resign Juju, Hilton, Sutton, Feiler, Banner and Alualu. I would let Dupree walk, but only because of what Highsmith has shown so far. Of course he isn't at the level of Dupree right now, but he looks very promising for a rookie and Dupree will simply cost too much.

I would keep Juju, because he's still our most reliable WR. I know we have a talented group, but also very inconsistent. Let's hope Johnson and Claypool can get over their slump. Juju is also the prototype of a Steeler, hardnosed and fighting for every inch on the field, working for others and not complaining about targets or numbers.

Hilton is one of the best nickel cornerbacks in the league making a lot of splash plays. He really sparks our defense. I believe every Steelers fan would love to have him back next year. Sutton can play every cornerback position and is for me a future starter. He's getting better every year and let's face it Joe Haden isn't getting any younger. Sutton is also the only good CB we drafted the last decade so it would be a shame to see him go.

Our OL is getting old and declining fast (AV, Pouncey, DeCastro) so we need some young blood. That's why I would keep both Banner and Feiler. They both proved to be good (not great), but we can't afford to lose our younger OL if we want to rejuvenate.

Alualu is having a great season and is a crucial centerpiece in our running D. I'm also not sold on Buggs and Davis. Quality depth is pretty thin at the position.

3. On Sam Darnold, I already discussed him earlier and I would give it a try if the price is right, but I don't believe he's the answer. And certainly not with our current OL. If we want him to regain his confidence, it's utterly important that he will have enough time in the pocket. And we need to establish a running game if we want him to have a chance. Otherwise we will just get the Sam Darnold of the Jets. On a sidenote he already has a great connection with Juju so that would already help him a bit to integrate.

https://trojanswire.usatoday.com/2020/10/02/usc-trojans-nfl-juju-smith-schusters-cringey-quote-jets-sam-darnold/

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solardave

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PostSubject: Re: Week 14: Steelers @ Bills   Week 14: Steelers @ Bills - Page 3 EmptyTue Dec 15, 2020 4:31 am

@kirklandrules wrote:
The Steelers lost because Ben played poorly. There's a lot of things that did not go well, but it was his play that resulted in a loss. 1-10 on 3rd downs absolutely sucks. Yes, the pick 6 right before the half was a killer, but the general failure to get the ball into scoring opportunities lays at the feet of the QB. That pick 6 was not only off target, but his receiver wasn't open ... which seems to be a trend that he's trying to jam his passes into situations that he probably shouldn't. His other pick can be blamed on poor mechanics. He checked down from his primary target on the left and saw Washington open deep on the right side, but he didn't set his body to throw a deep pass over there and under threw it. He's not hitting deep passes which allows teams to keep the short routes in front of them and focus on tackling the catch.

Are there other issues? Yes. 2 straight drops by the guy who leads the league in dropped passes is a poor way to start a game. The second drop stopped a drive, and the first drop was part of the reason they didn't convert on their opening drive. And that same guy didn't run a route well on another critical 3rd down (that failed) and we all saw Ben gesticulating in a manner that indicates his expectations weren't met. It was great seeing Johnson on the sidelines for a good portion of the game and Washington, in replacement duty, score a TD. BTW, Claypool was on the sideline for most of the 4th quarter, so there's obviously something going on there as well.

The run game improved from Sucks to Bad. Maybe next week they will improve to Meh. I know the O-line went through a bunch of guys, which was sad to see. But we've faced other teams with O-line replacements that seemed to be effective. What isn't clear is if they really want to run the ball because they haven't really committed to it yet.

The defense had struggles, but that's to be expected when you're playing without 4 starters you had at the beginning of the season and those missing guys are very good. Can they win without Bush? Yes. But trying to win without Bush, Dupree, Williams, and Haden is a tall order.

It's easy blaming Fitchner for the Steelers struggles. And maybe he deserves blame. However, the receivers need to catch very easy passes and run their routes correctly, the QB needs to perform up to his capabilities and not give the game away, and the defense needs to stop resembling a MASH unit, basically the players should execute before before I jump on the wagon of blaming the failure on quality of the offensive game plan.

The good news is they finished their 3 games in 12 days gauntlet. They now have a normal prep week against an opponent they should have an opportunity to get back on track against.

Well said as usual KR. Here's what I see about Fitchner's short passing game. Let's be honest. How many of those drops would have resulted in a first down? 50%? I'm in no way defending Johnson or Ebron but throwing crossing routes one yard down the field doesn't get it unless it's Ju Ju who will fight for yac.We were seeing 4 wide bubble screens that were working but none in the last 2 games. I'm also wondering where Claypool has gone. I'm hoping his early success hasn't created that "I have arrived" mentality because he's got a long way to go toward consistency IMO. Remember Chase that NFL stands for "NOT FOR LONG".
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jak341

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PostSubject: Re: Week 14: Steelers @ Bills   Week 14: Steelers @ Bills - Page 3 EmptyTue Dec 15, 2020 7:00 am

Benz chiming in, agreeing with Madden.

https://triblive.com/sports/mark-madden-on-ben-roethlisberger-i-thought-he-was-mvp-now-i-wonder-if-his-career-is-over/

Another Benz article. The eye opening statistic? Only one team has less than the Steelers in average yards per game: the Jets.

https://triblive.com/sports/tim-benz-the-new-normal-stinks-especially-as-a-way-to-describe-the-steelers-rotten-offense/
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solardave

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PostSubject: Re: Week 14: Steelers @ Bills   Week 14: Steelers @ Bills - Page 3 EmptyTue Dec 15, 2020 7:28 am

@jak341 wrote:
Benz chiming in, agreeing with Madden.

https://triblive.com/sports/mark-madden-on-ben-roethlisberger-i-thought-he-was-mvp-now-i-wonder-if-his-career-is-over/

Another Benz article. The eye opening statistic? Only one team has less than the Steelers in average yards per game: the Jets.

https://triblive.com/sports/tim-benz-the-new-normal-stinks-especially-as-a-way-to-describe-the-steelers-rotten-offense/

I can't say I haven't been wondering about Ben. His arm looked fine early on but I've seen him more than once rubbing that elbow. The last TD to Washington was sharp,pinpoint and looked like the old Ben but we're seeing a lot less of that and a whole lot more of off throws. It doesn't help one bit when he is on target and the pass is dropped.
If this is his last year there's nothing I'd love more than for him to go out as the SB MVP. Pipe dream? If we don't play much better going forward it is but we can do it if the coaches figure this out. I really expected the announcement yesterday that Fitchner was fired but what if this is all about Ben and Fitchner's pathetic play calling is the best he can do?
In a lot of ways this year has been more aggravating than last year. Getting hosed by other team's covid issues hasn't helped us one bit. I have little faith at this point that we'll make it past the first playoff game.
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jak341

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PostSubject: Re: Week 14: Steelers @ Bills   Week 14: Steelers @ Bills - Page 3 EmptyTue Dec 15, 2020 8:24 am

@solardave wrote:
@jak341 wrote:
Benz chiming in, agreeing with Madden.

https://triblive.com/sports/mark-madden-on-ben-roethlisberger-i-thought-he-was-mvp-now-i-wonder-if-his-career-is-over/

Another Benz article. The eye opening statistic? Only one team has less than the Steelers in average yards per game: the Jets.

https://triblive.com/sports/tim-benz-the-new-normal-stinks-especially-as-a-way-to-describe-the-steelers-rotten-offense/

I can't say I haven't been wondering about Ben. His arm looked fine early on but I've seen him more than once rubbing that elbow. The last TD to Washington was sharp,pinpoint and looked like the old Ben but we're seeing a lot less of that and a whole lot more of off throws. It doesn't help one bit when he is on target and the pass is dropped.
If this is his last year there's nothing I'd love more than for him to go out as the SB MVP. Pipe dream? If we don't play much better going forward it is but we can do it if the coaches figure this out. I really expected the announcement yesterday that Fitchner was fired but what if this is all about Ben and Fitchner's pathetic play calling is the best he can do?
In a lot of ways this year has been more aggravating than last year. Getting hosed by other team's covid issues hasn't helped us one bit. I have little faith at this point that we'll make it past the first playoff game.

I was wondering the same thing at the beginning of the season. I was exciting to see the short passing game at first and figured that Ben and our WRs would eventually be taking the top off of defenses once they started defending the short passing game. It never happened though.

Ben made an interesting comment late last week when asked about the offense: it was to the extent of if there was a fix, we would have done it already. There just may not be any fixes to make. The OL is not good, we don't have a star RB, and our QB is ailing. The WRs can make plays, but are prone to drops. It just may be a fatally flawed offense that no amount of coaching will change.
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jak341

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PostSubject: Re: Week 14: Steelers @ Bills   Week 14: Steelers @ Bills - Page 3 EmptyTue Dec 15, 2020 8:56 am

@Stella Nation wrote:
Well, here are my observations and thoughts on what you guys posted lately:

1. Unless Ben has some injury that's really bothering him I think this should be he last season and it's time for a little rebuild. Only a little rebuild because we have some valuable young pieces on both sides of the field. The tough task will be to find a new QB and some great OL players. We also need to find a truly #1 RB, but that should be easier. As MOP stated Ben isn't worth letting go Juju, Hilton and Sutton.

2. On the FA's: we need to resign Juju, Hilton, Sutton, Feiler, Banner and Alualu. I would let Dupree walk, but only because of what Highsmith has shown so far. Of course he isn't at the level of Dupree right now, but he looks very promising for a rookie and Dupree will simply cost too much.

I would keep Juju, because he's still our most reliable WR. I know we have a talented group, but also very inconsistent. Let's hope Johnson and Claypool can get over their slump. Juju is also the prototype of a Steeler, hardnosed and fighting for every inch on the field, working for others and not complaining about targets or numbers.

Hilton is one of the best nickel cornerbacks in the league making a lot of splash plays. He really sparks our defense. I believe every Steelers fan would love to have him back next year. Sutton can play every cornerback position and is for me a future starter. He's getting better every year and let's face it Joe Haden isn't getting any younger. Sutton is also the only good CB we drafted the last decade so it would be a shame to see him go.

Our OL is getting old and declining fast (AV, Pouncey, DeCastro) so we need some young blood. That's why I would keep both Banner and Feiler. They both proved to be good (not great), but we can't afford to lose our younger OL if we want to rejuvenate.

Alualu is having a great season and is a crucial centerpiece in our running D. I'm also not sold on Buggs and Davis. Quality depth is pretty thin at the position.

3. On Sam Darnold, I already discussed him earlier and I would give it a try if the price is right, but I don't believe he's the answer. And certainly not with our current OL. If we want him to regain his confidence, it's utterly important that he will have enough time in the pocket. And we need to establish a running game if we want him to have a chance. Otherwise we will just get the Sam Darnold of the Jets. On a sidenote he already has a great connection with Juju so that would already help him a bit to integrate.

https://trojanswire.usatoday.com/2020/10/02/usc-trojans-nfl-juju-smith-schusters-cringey-quote-jets-sam-darnold/

To your points:
1) I don't think we are in for a "little rebuild". When Ben goes, it is time for a complete overhaul. I am thinking a 2-3 year rebuild. Including in this is an evaluation of the coaching staff. Yes, we keep hearing Tomlin for coach of the year, never had a losing season, etc. I also see this stat: 3 playoff wins in 10 years (https://www.pro-football-reference.com/teams/pit/index.htm). The stigmas are there: playing down to the competition, lack of adjustments, lack of discipline in previous years, and all the rest.

Rebuilding the OL has to be #1 priority over all else. The QB may be the most important player on the team, but the OL are collectively the most important. The OL is lacking in every position these days, and I don't see the backups stepping into a starting role. Same with the QB: you can't win without a franchise QB in today's league. The best chance of getting a franchise QB is picking top 10. You either get there by sucking, or paying a king's ransom to move up. We're not getting a franchise QB this year.

2) Your list looks good. I don't see us resigning Dupree. Some team will break the bank for him. I still think JuJu will sign a #1 deal somewhere. It won't, and shouldn't be, here. The rest will fall in, including the OL FAs if they sign for what a backup OL will cost. I am not sold on Buggs either. Montreux wouldn't be getting snaps if Buggs was the guy. Alualu is getting long in the tooth, and I don't know how long we will be able to hold up as a full time starter. Lest we forget was well, the DL is aging too. Cam is here to stay, but what about Tuitt? How long will they be able to play at a high level?

3) Darnold isn't the answer, but the Jets are a dumpster fire and who knows. I still don't think Darnold is the answer. We do need a RB, and have needed one for years. Conner, Snell, and Samuels are not starting caliber RBs. They are good complementary pieces / backups. We don't know what we have in McFarland, but I'm inclined to think that he is a complementary piece as well.
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kirklandrules

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PostSubject: Re: Week 14: Steelers @ Bills   Week 14: Steelers @ Bills - Page 3 EmptyTue Dec 15, 2020 1:31 pm

@solardave wrote:
@kirklandrules wrote:
The Steelers lost because Ben played poorly. There's a lot of things that did not go well, but it was his play that resulted in a loss. 1-10 on 3rd downs absolutely sucks. Yes, the pick 6 right before the half was a killer, but the general failure to get the ball into scoring opportunities lays at the feet of the QB. That pick 6 was not only off target, but his receiver wasn't open ... which seems to be a trend that he's trying to jam his passes into situations that he probably shouldn't. His other pick can be blamed on poor mechanics. He checked down from his primary target on the left and saw Washington open deep on the right side, but he didn't set his body to throw a deep pass over there and under threw it. He's not hitting deep passes which allows teams to keep the short routes in front of them and focus on tackling the catch.

Are there other issues? Yes. 2 straight drops by the guy who leads the league in dropped passes is a poor way to start a game. The second drop stopped a drive, and the first drop was part of the reason they didn't convert on their opening drive. And that same guy didn't run a route well on another critical 3rd down (that failed) and we all saw Ben gesticulating in a manner that indicates his expectations weren't met. It was great seeing Johnson on the sidelines for a good portion of the game and Washington, in replacement duty, score a TD. BTW, Claypool was on the sideline for most of the 4th quarter, so there's obviously something going on there as well.

The run game improved from Sucks to Bad. Maybe next week they will improve to Meh. I know the O-line went through a bunch of guys, which was sad to see. But we've faced other teams with O-line replacements that seemed to be effective. What isn't clear is if they really want to run the ball because they haven't really committed to it yet.

The defense had struggles, but that's to be expected when you're playing without 4 starters you had at the beginning of the season and those missing guys are very good. Can they win without Bush? Yes. But trying to win without Bush, Dupree, Williams, and Haden is a tall order.

It's easy blaming Fitchner for the Steelers struggles. And maybe he deserves blame. However, the receivers need to catch very easy passes and run their routes correctly, the QB needs to perform up to his capabilities and not give the game away, and the defense needs to stop resembling a MASH unit, basically the players should execute before before I jump on the wagon of blaming the failure on quality of the offensive game plan.

The good news is they finished their 3 games in 12 days gauntlet. They now have a normal prep week against an opponent they should have an opportunity to get back on track against.

Well said as usual KR. Here's what I see about Fitchner's short passing game. Let's be honest. How many of those drops would have resulted in a first down? 50%? I'm in no way defending Johnson or Ebron but throwing crossing routes one yard down the field doesn't get it unless it's Ju Ju who will fight for yac.We were seeing 4 wide bubble screens that were working but none in the last 2 games. I'm also wondering where Claypool has gone. I'm hoping his early success hasn't created that "I have arrived" mentality because he's got a long way to go toward consistency IMO. Remember Chase that NFL stands for "NOT FOR LONG".

But before I get into specifics, it's worth noting that the passing game the Steelers employ is a ball-control passing game. The key points of this strategy are: high completion rate, low risk of turnovers, puts the ball in your playmakers hands, and spreads the defense horizontally (although the Steelers haven't taken advantage of this with their run game).

Now, you are correct that several drops were not going to directly result in a first down. My issue with those drops is it totally undermines the purpose of the short, ball-control passing attack. Johnson's drop on the first play of the game Sunday night was not going to result in a first down. But he easily had 5 yards. Instead of 2nd & 5, the Steelers had 2nd & 10. In a ball control passing attack, you want to avoid long yardage beyond 1st down. Success on 1st down is key.

I want to stress the one benefit that I think has not come to fruition in several games: getting the ball in your playmakers hands. Ben had done a good job this year getting the ball to the receivers. However, those receivers aren't looking like playmakers. They're getting tackled after catching the ball. Of course it helps that defenses are more focused on tackling the catch, but our playmakers have to make them miss. Washington took a pass to the house ... against Washington. When's the last time Johnson caught a short pass and turned it into a splash play?

Don't take my comment in the prior post about Ben playing poorly to be an indictment that goes beyond the Bills game. He had a bad game that cost them a win. He hasn't lost it. Hell, a few weeks ago, there were people saying Rogers, Mahomes and Roethlisberger as MVP candidates. Now he's washed up? Nah. My point here is that the last 4 games or so, it's the Steelers WRs who have been underperforming. The drops, the lack of splash plays, poor route running. If the Steelers turn this around, it's because that group finds its mojo.

Here's something to consider: When the Steelers were 8-0, what team could stop JuJu, Johnson, Claypool, Washington, and Ebron? The answer is: there wasn't a team that could stop them. What happened is those guys have stopped themselves. Washington is probably the only one that has been somewhat consistent. But the other 4 have not been making splash plays and it's not that Ben isn't throwing to them. The opportunities are there, but they aren't getting the job done.
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jak341

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PostSubject: Re: Week 14: Steelers @ Bills   Week 14: Steelers @ Bills - Page 3 EmptyTue Dec 15, 2020 4:26 pm

OL reinforcements have arrived!

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PostSubject: Re: Week 14: Steelers @ Bills   Week 14: Steelers @ Bills - Page 3 EmptyTue Dec 15, 2020 5:26 pm

@kirklandrules wrote:
@solardave wrote:
@kirklandrules wrote:
The Steelers lost because Ben played poorly. There's a lot of things that did not go well, but it was his play that resulted in a loss. 1-10 on 3rd downs absolutely sucks. Yes, the pick 6 right before the half was a killer, but the general failure to get the ball into scoring opportunities lays at the feet of the QB. That pick 6 was not only off target, but his receiver wasn't open ... which seems to be a trend that he's trying to jam his passes into situations that he probably shouldn't. His other pick can be blamed on poor mechanics. He checked down from his primary target on the left and saw Washington open deep on the right side, but he didn't set his body to throw a deep pass over there and under threw it. He's not hitting deep passes which allows teams to keep the short routes in front of them and focus on tackling the catch.

Are there other issues? Yes. 2 straight drops by the guy who leads the league in dropped passes is a poor way to start a game. The second drop stopped a drive, and the first drop was part of the reason they didn't convert on their opening drive. And that same guy didn't run a route well on another critical 3rd down (that failed) and we all saw Ben gesticulating in a manner that indicates his expectations weren't met. It was great seeing Johnson on the sidelines for a good portion of the game and Washington, in replacement duty, score a TD. BTW, Claypool was on the sideline for most of the 4th quarter, so there's obviously something going on there as well.

The run game improved from Sucks to Bad. Maybe next week they will improve to Meh. I know the O-line went through a bunch of guys, which was sad to see. But we've faced other teams with O-line replacements that seemed to be effective. What isn't clear is if they really want to run the ball because they haven't really committed to it yet.

The defense had struggles, but that's to be expected when you're playing without 4 starters you had at the beginning of the season and those missing guys are very good. Can they win without Bush? Yes. But trying to win without Bush, Dupree, Williams, and Haden is a tall order.

It's easy blaming Fitchner for the Steelers struggles. And maybe he deserves blame. However, the receivers need to catch very easy passes and run their routes correctly, the QB needs to perform up to his capabilities and not give the game away, and the defense needs to stop resembling a MASH unit, basically the players should execute before before I jump on the wagon of blaming the failure on quality of the offensive game plan.

The good news is they finished their 3 games in 12 days gauntlet. They now have a normal prep week against an opponent they should have an opportunity to get back on track against.

Well said as usual KR. Here's what I see about Fitchner's short passing game. Let's be honest. How many of those drops would have resulted in a first down? 50%? I'm in no way defending Johnson or Ebron but throwing crossing routes one yard down the field doesn't get it unless it's Ju Ju who will fight for yac.We were seeing 4 wide bubble screens that were working but none in the last 2 games. I'm also wondering where Claypool has gone. I'm hoping his early success hasn't created that "I have arrived" mentality because he's got a long way to go toward consistency IMO. Remember Chase that NFL stands for "NOT FOR LONG".

But before I get into specifics, it's worth noting that the passing game the Steelers employ is a ball-control passing game. The key points of this strategy are: high completion rate, low risk of turnovers, puts the ball in your playmakers hands, and spreads the defense horizontally (although the Steelers haven't taken advantage of this with their run game).

Now, you are correct that several drops were not going to directly result in a first down. My issue with those drops is it totally undermines the purpose of the short, ball-control passing attack. Johnson's drop on the first play of the game Sunday night was not going to result in a first down. But he easily had 5 yards. Instead of 2nd & 5, the Steelers had 2nd & 10. In a ball control passing attack, you want to avoid long yardage beyond 1st down. Success on 1st down is key.

I want to stress the one benefit that I think has not come to fruition in several games: getting the ball in your playmakers hands. Ben had done a good job this year getting the ball to the receivers. However, those receivers aren't looking like playmakers. They're getting tackled after catching the ball. Of course it helps that defenses are more focused on tackling the catch, but our playmakers have to make them miss. Washington took a pass to the house ... against Washington. When's the last time Johnson caught a short pass and turned it into a splash play?

Don't take my comment in the prior post about Ben playing poorly to be an indictment that goes beyond the Bills game. He had a bad game that cost them a win. He hasn't lost it. Hell, a few weeks ago, there were people saying Rogers, Mahomes and Roethlisberger as MVP candidates. Now he's washed up? Nah. My point here is that the last 4 games or so, it's the Steelers WRs who have been underperforming. The drops, the lack of splash plays, poor route running. If the Steelers turn this around, it's because that group finds its mojo.

Here's something to consider: When the Steelers were 8-0, what team could stop JuJu, Johnson, Claypool, Washington, and Ebron? The answer is: there wasn't a team that could stop them. What happened is those guys have stopped themselves. Washington is probably the only one that has been somewhat consistent. But the other 4 have not been making splash plays and it's not that Ben isn't throwing to them. The opportunities are there, but they aren't getting the job done.

"When EF Kirkland talks, people listen." (reference to a really old but memorable ad).

Seriously though, Kirkland, you got it going on when it comes to analysis and level headed thinking. That's why I always enjoy reading your posts. I learn things.
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Master_Of_Puppets

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PostSubject: Re: Week 14: Steelers @ Bills   Week 14: Steelers @ Bills - Page 3 EmptyTue Dec 15, 2020 8:58 pm

@solardave wrote:
@jak341 wrote:
Benz chiming in, agreeing with Madden.

https://triblive.com/sports/mark-madden-on-ben-roethlisberger-i-thought-he-was-mvp-now-i-wonder-if-his-career-is-over/

Another Benz article. The eye opening statistic? Only one team has less than the Steelers in average yards per game: the Jets.

https://triblive.com/sports/tim-benz-the-new-normal-stinks-especially-as-a-way-to-describe-the-steelers-rotten-offense/

I can't say I haven't been wondering about Ben. His arm looked fine early on but I've seen him more than once rubbing that elbow. The last TD to Washington was sharp,pinpoint and looked like the old Ben but we're seeing a lot less of that and a whole lot more of off throws. It doesn't help one bit when he is on target and the pass is dropped.
If this is his last year there's nothing I'd love more than for him to go out as the SB MVP. Pipe dream? If we don't play much better going forward it is but we can do it if the coaches figure this out. I really expected the announcement yesterday that Fitchner was fired but what if this is all about Ben and Fitchner's pathetic play calling is the best he can do?
In a lot of ways this year has been more aggravating than last year. Getting hosed by other team's covid issues hasn't helped us one bit. I have little faith at this point that we'll make it past the first playoff game.

go back and look a games from the first few weeks...Ben was consistently OVER throwing receivers on deep passes..now he consistently UNDER throwing those deep balls. many of the passes that aren't even long throws the passes are getting to receivers at waste level or below. the poor receivers dont know if they should run faster or slow down .. Week 14: Steelers @ Bills - Page 3 2087824411
catching a fast ball thrown from 15-20 ft away  underhanded at knee level knowing your gonna get popped  is no easy task i could post dozens and dozens of these throws that weren't ideal to the success of the play. i dont just mean making it easier on the receivers, i also am talking about for YAC yards. i realize sometimes it is intentional to throw it where only the receiver can get it , but in most of these plays it  is just a bad throw. sloppy.
Week 14: Steelers @ Bills - Page 3 Bt510

Week 14: Steelers @ Bills - Page 3 Bt310
Week 14: Steelers @ Bills - Page 3 Bt412


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PostSubject: Re: Week 14: Steelers @ Bills   Week 14: Steelers @ Bills - Page 3 EmptyWed Dec 16, 2020 4:29 am

remember this one from washington game ? the ball travels 30 yards thru the air...if Ben throws it 35 yards where it needed to be it is likely 6 points. but instead JW has to turn his torso 180 degrees to catch it palms up on his hip.

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Master_Of_Puppets

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PostSubject: Re: Week 14: Steelers @ Bills   Week 14: Steelers @ Bills - Page 3 EmptyWed Dec 16, 2020 4:41 am

look at this a WIDE OPEN juju missing a perfectly thrown ball...that is if  his hands were attached to his knee caps instead of his arms ... Week 14: Steelers @ Bills - Page 3 1549491426
if you subscribe to the "if it hits, your hands you should catch it" , theory , then it is the receivers , which i mostly agree...but Ben should share some percentage of blame at least for some of the drops. if he puts the balls in a better spot i think a high percentage of those drops never happen.

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solardave

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PostSubject: Re: Week 14: Steelers @ Bills   Week 14: Steelers @ Bills - Page 3 EmptyWed Dec 16, 2020 5:55 am

@Master_Of_Puppets wrote:
look at this a WIDE OPEN juju missing a perfectly thrown ball...that is if  his hands were attached to his knee caps instead of his arms ... Week 14: Steelers @ Bills - Page 3 1549491426
if you subscribe to the "if it hits, your hands you should catch it" , theory , then it is the receivers , which i mostly agree...but Ben should share some percentage of blame at least for some of the drops. if he puts the balls in a better spot i think a high percentage of those drops never happen.

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I don't think it's a question of Ben sharing the blame because he's said it several times in pressers this year. My question is what are they not telling anyone? Before the season Ben,Tomlin,and Colbert said Ben's recovery was going great. Camp started and Ben said his elbow was better than it's been in years and everyone said the same but that's not what we're seeing. Tomlin call pull WR-TE who drop passes but he can't pull his franchise QB so we're left to hope Ben gets healthy or if health isn't the issue he gets his mojo back in time to help out the defense because we're thin at more than one position there.
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kirklandrules

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PostSubject: Re: Week 14: Steelers @ Bills   Week 14: Steelers @ Bills - Page 3 EmptyWed Dec 16, 2020 8:55 am

@Great Randino wrote:
@kirklandrules wrote:
@solardave wrote:
@kirklandrules wrote:
The Steelers lost because Ben played poorly. There's a lot of things that did not go well, but it was his play that resulted in a loss. 1-10 on 3rd downs absolutely sucks. Yes, the pick 6 right before the half was a killer, but the general failure to get the ball into scoring opportunities lays at the feet of the QB. That pick 6 was not only off target, but his receiver wasn't open ... which seems to be a trend that he's trying to jam his passes into situations that he probably shouldn't. His other pick can be blamed on poor mechanics. He checked down from his primary target on the left and saw Washington open deep on the right side, but he didn't set his body to throw a deep pass over there and under threw it. He's not hitting deep passes which allows teams to keep the short routes in front of them and focus on tackling the catch.

Are there other issues? Yes. 2 straight drops by the guy who leads the league in dropped passes is a poor way to start a game. The second drop stopped a drive, and the first drop was part of the reason they didn't convert on their opening drive. And that same guy didn't run a route well on another critical 3rd down (that failed) and we all saw Ben gesticulating in a manner that indicates his expectations weren't met. It was great seeing Johnson on the sidelines for a good portion of the game and Washington, in replacement duty, score a TD. BTW, Claypool was on the sideline for most of the 4th quarter, so there's obviously something going on there as well.

The run game improved from Sucks to Bad. Maybe next week they will improve to Meh. I know the O-line went through a bunch of guys, which was sad to see. But we've faced other teams with O-line replacements that seemed to be effective. What isn't clear is if they really want to run the ball because they haven't really committed to it yet.

The defense had struggles, but that's to be expected when you're playing without 4 starters you had at the beginning of the season and those missing guys are very good. Can they win without Bush? Yes. But trying to win without Bush, Dupree, Williams, and Haden is a tall order.

It's easy blaming Fitchner for the Steelers struggles. And maybe he deserves blame. However, the receivers need to catch very easy passes and run their routes correctly, the QB needs to perform up to his capabilities and not give the game away, and the defense needs to stop resembling a MASH unit, basically the players should execute before before I jump on the wagon of blaming the failure on quality of the offensive game plan.

The good news is they finished their 3 games in 12 days gauntlet. They now have a normal prep week against an opponent they should have an opportunity to get back on track against.

Well said as usual KR. Here's what I see about Fitchner's short passing game. Let's be honest. How many of those drops would have resulted in a first down? 50%? I'm in no way defending Johnson or Ebron but throwing crossing routes one yard down the field doesn't get it unless it's Ju Ju who will fight for yac.We were seeing 4 wide bubble screens that were working but none in the last 2 games. I'm also wondering where Claypool has gone. I'm hoping his early success hasn't created that "I have arrived" mentality because he's got a long way to go toward consistency IMO. Remember Chase that NFL stands for "NOT FOR LONG".

But before I get into specifics, it's worth noting that the passing game the Steelers employ is a ball-control passing game. The key points of this strategy are: high completion rate, low risk of turnovers, puts the ball in your playmakers hands, and spreads the defense horizontally (although the Steelers haven't taken advantage of this with their run game).

Now, you are correct that several drops were not going to directly result in a first down. My issue with those drops is it totally undermines the purpose of the short, ball-control passing attack. Johnson's drop on the first play of the game Sunday night was not going to result in a first down. But he easily had 5 yards. Instead of 2nd & 5, the Steelers had 2nd & 10. In a ball control passing attack, you want to avoid long yardage beyond 1st down. Success on 1st down is key.

I want to stress the one benefit that I think has not come to fruition in several games: getting the ball in your playmakers hands. Ben had done a good job this year getting the ball to the receivers. However, those receivers aren't looking like playmakers. They're getting tackled after catching the ball. Of course it helps that defenses are more focused on tackling the catch, but our playmakers have to make them miss. Washington took a pass to the house ... against Washington. When's the last time Johnson caught a short pass and turned it into a splash play?

Don't take my comment in the prior post about Ben playing poorly to be an indictment that goes beyond the Bills game. He had a bad game that cost them a win. He hasn't lost it. Hell, a few weeks ago, there were people saying Rogers, Mahomes and Roethlisberger as MVP candidates. Now he's washed up? Nah. My point here is that the last 4 games or so, it's the Steelers WRs who have been underperforming. The drops, the lack of splash plays, poor route running. If the Steelers turn this around, it's because that group finds its mojo.

Here's something to consider: When the Steelers were 8-0, what team could stop JuJu, Johnson, Claypool, Washington, and Ebron? The answer is: there wasn't a team that could stop them. What happened is those guys have stopped themselves. Washington is probably the only one that has been somewhat consistent. But the other 4 have not been making splash plays and it's not that Ben isn't throwing to them. The opportunities are there, but they aren't getting the job done.

"When EF Kirkland talks, people listen." (reference to a really old but memorable ad).

Seriously though, Kirkland, you got it going on when it comes to analysis and level headed thinking.  That's why I always enjoy reading your posts.  I learn things.

Now I just need to get my wife and kids to listen to me Week 14: Steelers @ Bills - Page 3 2829330259

Glad I can provide insight. It's just my opinion, I'm obviously not paid for that opinion (I'm part of a blogger sweat shop run by Wally Week 14: Steelers @ Bills - Page 3 1797695198 ), and I love the back-and-forth debate this forum often cultivates. Hell, I'm no more right about blaming the WRs than those that think Fitchner should be fired,  those that think Ben is washed up, or anyone who thinks the O-line is too old to run block. I don't think those things are true, but in spirit, I agree there are issues in each of those that resulted in the Steelers recent struggles.

My posts are aimed at helping to see alternative views. One thing I love about football is that it's really 20 different sports played at the same time. It's the game that most closely resembles the complexity of a battle. And because of that complexity, the drivers of success and failures are not always easy to identify.

Tomlin and his coaches came into this season with a strategy of having a top tiered defense and a ball controlled passing attack. That is how they were going to win a championship. That defense no longer has the talent that make it easy to be top tiered. Injury is a valid excuse and Next Man Up doesn't always produce what Devon Bush would have produced. My shining a light on the WRs for the Steelers recent struggles is that they lead the league in dropped passes and they don't really have an excuse. MOP rightly points out that not all of Ben's passes are spot on and I agree. But the idea was that that ball was better in Johnson, JuJu, Claypool, Ebron, or Washington's hands than Connor and Snell ... and I agree with that strategy. However, those receivers aren't living up to it and they really have no injuries to blame. I suspect being a very young group, they started to take winning for granted. I was encouraged by the effort Johnson gave when he came back into game after sitting the bench. To me, that's great because lack of focus or effort can be fixed easier than finding a replacement to cover for an injury. I hinted this before, but didn't quite say it straight out: There is not a defense in the league that can stop those 5 receivers simply because there is not a defense that has that many strong cover defenders. You can't scheme away a talent gap (you can try to hide it for a bit, but usually not for long). The league hasn't figure out the Steelers ... the Steelers just haven't performed offensively and it's my opinion those receivers need to start to own it.

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PostSubject: Re: Week 14: Steelers @ Bills   Week 14: Steelers @ Bills - Page 3 EmptyWed Dec 16, 2020 4:35 pm

The subject of Ben's elbow came up in Gerry Dulac's chat today.

Quote :
Benjamin Karp: Good morning! Thank you for your continued hard work keeping us informed. And than you for referring to him as “Coach” a couple weeks back! Do you think it’s possible it will be revealed after the season that Ben’s elbow wasn’t significantly healed and therefore the lack of downfield throws? Similar to the NHL’s, vague “upper body injury” that hides a player’s true acuity ...

Gerry Dulac: Ben's elbow has significantly healed. That is not an issue at all. But is it 100 percent like it was way back when? Of course not. No muscle or tendon injury heals better than it was before the pain, just bones. Is it POSSIBLE his arm could be be getting tired this late into the season after that surgery. Of course it's possible. The medical team spends each week, if not every day, making sure his elbow/arm is prepared to play. I hate to tell you this, they have been treating his elbow for years, a lot longer than anyone realizes, even before he won the second Super Bowl. So when you hear about them trying to make sure his elbow/arm is fine to get through the season, don't be alarmed or think someone unearthed some big scoop, as though this was ground-breaking stuff. Holy ****, where's the Tylenol?

https://www.post-gazette.com/sports/steelers/2020/12/16/Gerry-Dulac-s-Steelers-chat-12-16-20/stories/202012160094

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Master_Of_Puppets

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PostSubject: Re: Week 14: Steelers @ Bills   Week 14: Steelers @ Bills - Page 3 EmptyWed Dec 16, 2020 5:09 pm

@solardave wrote:


I don't think it's a question of Ben sharing the blame because he's said it several times in pressers this year. My question is what are they not telling anyone? Before the season Ben,Tomlin,and Colbert said Ben's recovery was going great. Camp started and Ben said his elbow was better than it's been in years and everyone said the same but that's not what we're seeing. Tomlin call pull WR-TE who drop passes but he can't pull his franchise QB so we're left to hope Ben gets healthy or if health isn't the issue he gets his mojo back in time to help out the defense because we're thin at more than one position there.

i went back and looked at the first 2 games to see if they were how i remembered them. it was. most of the poorly thrown balls were either too high, overthrown or behind the receiver. i also paid attention to see if his throwing mechanics were disrupted causing the bad throws...nope. at least not to the point where he couldnt set his feet to make the throw. often his bad mechanics are by his own design not necessity.

i found one example of a knee high ball against denver to a wide open ebron, which he missed , and none against the giants. there is definitely a pattern of under thrown, low balls which was not present at the beginning of the season.
given his age and recent need for surgery the logical conclusion is one of two things...his arm is losing strength or he is feeling discomfort when he throws.

one other takeaway i got from re watching those early highlights was how different and less diverse the offense play calling is. there was definitely longer routes and more intermediate passes being thrown. how much of that is because of the running game being a bit more successful changed the offensive strategy we can only guess..but it looks to me like tomlin and fichtner are calling plays purely out of fear of Ben taking a hit and are afraid to stray from that.
my conclusion is this predictable over used  short passing game shit show has 2 functions. keep Ben from being hit, and to keep his injured or tired arm from being exposed. the coaches are not sticking to this game plan by choice thinking it gives them the best chance to win.....they think this is their only option. this is survival mode.
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effyou515

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PostSubject: Re: Week 14: Steelers @ Bills   Week 14: Steelers @ Bills - Page 3 EmptyThu Dec 17, 2020 4:03 am

^^^ what MOP said about Ben he's 38 yo injured knee arm is wore out strength because of age repaired elbow for me the tell is this the deep ball is erratic imho is why all the under 15 yards passing game. might be another reason the running game is stumbling to many defenders close to the line of scrimmage.

now watch in the next game he lights it up. Week 14: Steelers @ Bills - Page 3 1797695198

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