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News » Arians discounts running game theory

Arians discounts running game theory

Arians discounts running game theory
The Steelers have become so associated with a dominant running game, it has created the perception that they cannot succeed offensively without one.

That is not reality, said offensive coordinator Bruce Arians, who pointed to the Super Bowl run the Steelers made during the 2005 season as evidence. In winning three games to get to the Super Bowl, Arians said, the Steelers used the pass to set up the run.

"It's different in Pittsburgh because people believe if you run it 30 times (a game) you automatically win, but when I was here we didn't win any Super Bowls that way," Arians said Wednesday. "I know how we won them, and No. 7 (quarterback Ben Roethlisberger) won them for us offensively."

Roethlisberger, who led the Steelers to their last Super Bowl title, is recovering from a concussion he sustained in a 31-0 win over the Browns on Sunday. He is expected to be OK, and a running game that has been suspect this season might have to carry more of the load as the Steelers prepare for an AFC divisional playoff game on Jan. 11.

Arians has been criticized for moving the Steelers away from what is considered their roots: a power running game. And the second-guessing of Arians only intensified this season, as the Steelers finished 23rd in the NFL in rushing (105.6 yards per game).

"It's always easy when you're an armchair quarterback," left tackle Max Starks said. "Fans are going to look at it differently, and the media is always going to look at it differently. But if we have confidence in (the running game), that's all that really matters."

Arians said the running game is merely different from the one to which Steelers fans had become accustomed. Personnel has partly dictated that, he said, as the Steelers haven't had a big, bruising back such as Jerome Bettis since he retired following the 2005 season.

The Steelers have run more out of a one-back set since Arians started calling the plays, and the use of the traditional fullback as well as the I-formation has been de-emphasized.

A different



coordinator Bruce Arians said the

Steelers used the pass to set up the run in the three playoff games

they won in 2006 to get to the Super Bowl. Here is a breakdown of the

yards the Steelers gained in those games.



Passing yards

Rushing yards


W, 31-17




W, 21-18




W, 34-17



"We do something a little different without him," Arians said of Bettis, "but we do have Willie (Parker), we do have Mewelde (Moore) so we have good backs and we've run the ball satisfactorily, but not great."

The Steelers rushed for 176 yards Sunday against the Browns, and they ran Parker out of the I-formation more than usual. Parker rushed for 116 yards on 23 carries and scored on a 34-yard run.

Arians, however, dismissed the notion that the I-formation is some sort of elixir for the running game and said the Steelers will use it in the playoffs as circumstances dictate.

"Willie's touchdown run (against the Browns) was the same run he had in the Super Bowl," Arians said, "one back, the exact same play, so no, I don't put any stock in that (stuff)."

Parker said recently that he prefers to run behind a fullback and questioned the approach the Steelers had taken in regard to running the ball. His criticism drew a pointed rebuttal from coach Mike Tomlin. Parker has since refused to get drawn into any discussions about the Steelers' philosophy of running the ball.

"I'm not getting into that, if we have a fullback or not," Parker said. "If we run it, I'm happy."

Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: January 2, 2009

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