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Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Post Gazette Defends Arians

Bob Smizik of the Post-Gazette is in the minority here.

Those wishing to fire Arians, and their numbers multiplied several times after the loss to Indianapolis Sunday, almost make it sound like a dismissal would be putting him out of his misery. They consider him badly over matched when it comes to calling plays and that, they insist, not the injuries is what's wrong with the Steelers' offense.

For the record, this column does not think Arians should be fired.

Anyone who thinks they can evaluate play-calling by sitting in front of a television set or in the stands at Heinz Field is delusional. It's far more complicated than that.

While I agree that Arians should not receive all the blame, it is pretty evident that he is struggling. Smizik goes on to challenge those that second guess the play calling that lead to Big Ben's interception at the end of the half and the two consecutive running plays from the 1 yard line that were stuffed. First of all, I actually like the running plays called on 2nd and 3rd and goal at the one. A good football team exerts its will on opponents. The Steelers should be able to gain one yard against a drastically smaller defensive front. No beef there. Now the Big Ben interception play call was asinine. The only goal, up 17-7 with 1:00 left in the half, should have been to get a first down. If you call a run, at worst, you make Indy use their final timeout and punt it away. Sure Indy might get a field goal, but you still go in with a 7 point lead. If you call a pass, the only goal should be to get two yards. So call a quick slant. A drag. A swing pass. A 4 yard route to the TE. Heaven forbid, we call a screen. The only thing you CANNOT do is turn the ball over. How does it make sense to have your injured quarterback throw deep? It doesn't. Then again, just because the play call was terrible doesn't excuse the horrendous decision making by Big Ben.

Coaches jobs are to put their players in the best position to win. No, Arians should not be fired because of those two play calls on Sunday. Arians should be fired because he has been over matched by nearly every team we have faced. Because he has turned the Steelers identity from a powerful,methodical offense to one of the most inconsistent offenses in the league. He should be fired, because he can't protect his quarterback. Because he can't adapt mid game. Because he can't adapt post game. Because he has no imagination. Because his play calling is predictable. Because he is predictably bad. And mostly, because we can win now, if the offense improves.

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