One subject that is always a contested discussion these days among Steelers fans is Bruce Arians. Arians assumed the offensive reigns from departed OC Ken Whisenhunt when Whiz decided he wanted to take the sure thing in Arizona rather than gamble that he could beat Mike Tomlin and/or Russ Grimm out of the head coaching position. Before that Arians had been the club's wide receivers coach the previous four seasons. Arians brings 31 years of coaching experience and 15 years of that have been at the NFL level. Pre-Steelers Arians' highest achievement had been as OC for the Cleveland Clowns from 2001-2003. I'll be kind and not comment on any that.
Some fans love Arians and some fans think he is absolutely wretched. Some feel he leaves tons to be desired in the playcalling department and some say those two rings he has on his hands, one as co-ordinator, prove that the playcalling is fine. The discussion has become volatile and in some circumstances people outright call for his termination or resignation. There is even a fansite called "firebrucearians.com". Some say that the playcalling is a big reason our revered running game has faltered. The Steelers offense was ranked 22nd overall in 2008, 23rd rushing and 17th passing.
My take? The offensive line against the pass is myriad of woes and is only saved by Big Ben's ability to make something happen after the play breaks down. All to often however, Ben takes a sack or two or seven (40+ each of the last 3 seasons) and risks impending injury. This of course provides Arians' critics with even more fodder during the course of the season. Stuff like : "Where's the screen?", "Where's the draw?", "It's called a 3 step drop for a reason.", "Ever heard of a quick slant?". Alas I digress, some of those questions were answered by Ben's use of the no huddle and by using more plays out the bunch formation, which was a monstrous component of the offense down the stretch. It seemed like every clutch passing play came with a bunch formation being on the field, during the playoffs. Coaches around the league will be taking notes if Joe Schmoe, the blog guy, recognizes it, I'm pretty sure they do.
As stated above Arians has 2 rings from his tenure with the Steelers, and while we may not always agree with his playcalling, those 2 rings will buy him sometime to work out the woes on that beleaguered offensive line. If that line improves Arians might be around long enough to get a couple more of those rings. What do you think, would you fire Arians?