Tag Archives: Cam Newton

Roasting the Goose, Part 4

img_0532By Ivan Cole

For Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3 click the links.

Unintended consequences

This coming weekend the Pittsburgh Steelers play the Ravens in Baltimore. Even though M & T Bank Stadium is a relatively short drive away, I doubt if I would attend the game if someone gifted me the tickets and parking. And I am not alone.

The stories that I have heard from those who have attended Steelers games in Baltimore are almost universally horrific, with many fans experiencing everything from verbal abuse to being urinated upon. Nor are other game experiences all that different in kind, if not degree.

The last NFL game I attended was a Monday Night tilt between Washington and the Philadelphia Eagles that attained its own level of ugliness, such that I can say I am in no particular hurry to witness another game in person anytime soon.

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Rebuild vs. Reboot: Did the Steelers Do It the Hard Way?

AP photo/Mike McCarn

Part 1

Although it was stoutly denied by all parties who should know, in retrospect it seems pretty clear the Steelers went through a gradual rebuilding process that began around 2012 and may or may not be over, depending on how you look at it.

There are lots of different ways to do this, naturally. A lot of people thought the Steelers should just clean house. Clear out the older players (presumably except for Ben), take the pain in a couple of massive doses, and voila, you’re back to the Super Bowl!

The Steelers owners and coaching staff aren’t big fans of losing games, and also don’t appear to be fans of wholesale purging of players. Instead they chose the gradual road. They managed to get through the process (or most of it—I think there is a reasonable argument that the defensive backfield is the last stage in the rebuild) without ever having a losing season.

During this time we have seen several example of teams who did it differently.  We will look at what they did and how successful it was, and eventually compare the various outcomes to how the Steelers went about their own process.

The first is the Carolina Panthers, who just went to the Super Bowl. In 2010 they were the worst team in the league.

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How Close Did the Steelers Come to a Championship, Part 2a: Total Offense

Pass interference or just a friendly shove? You decide...

Pass interference or just a friendly shove? You decide…

Since I began this series, former Steelers head coach Bill Cowher gave some validity to the exercise. In today’s Tribune-Review Cowher had this to say:

You have to be careful not to tinker too much some times. Sometimes it is a play here and a play there that doesn’t allow you to move forward. You sit there and go back and overanalyze and make changes that they don’t necessarily need to make. The biggest thing sometimes is to recognize where you are.

I think they are very close [to a championship.] Easily, you can sit there and say if their young running back doesn’t fumble in that game that they could’ve beaten the Denver Broncos. They were a team that nobody really wanted to play. They have a great window of time with a young nucleus. Their quarterback still has many good years ahead of [him.]

Cowher, according to writer Mark Kaboly, warned against tinkering too much, although he said the secondary needed some attention. But it seems clear Cowher thought this year’s Steelers could have very well been the AFC team in this year’s Super Bowl. So with Cowher’s blessing, whether he meant to give it or not, I’m going to continue with my speculations.

In Part 1 I addressed the quarterback position. Not surprisingly, the conclusion was the Steelers were certainly qualified to compete with the Panthers at the quarterback position, based upon how Roethlisberger had played this season. However, you can’t really take these things in a vacuum, so today I’m going to look at how the three offenses under consideration managed against other defenses.

Part of the issue is the relationship between quarterback and receivers (and for that matter, who they had), part is how much of a threat of a running game they had, and part is how proficient the opposing defense was in dealing with that type of offense. Although it is pretty much impossible to say what would happen in any given game, even with powerful computer simulations, there are some things we can look at.

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How Close Were the Steelers to a Championship?

via Broncos Wire

Part 1—Quarterback

In this series I am going to indulge in the sort of pointless speculation we’re all forced into at this time of year if our team doesn’t make it to the final game. I thought it might be interesting to compare the Steelers to the teams who did make it. So this will be a bit of statistics and a bit of narrative/commentary. I’m going to try to avoid too much “Of all the words of tongue or pen, the saddest are ‘It might have been.'”

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