PFW Sees Offensive Fireworks For Steelers In 2012

By Jeremy Hritz

In the July 15, 2012 print edition of Pro Football Weekly in the article “Summer Session,” the publication made what it called a “Fearless prediction” about how each NFL team will fare during the 2012 season. For the Pittsburgh Steelers, PFW asserted:

The Steelers’ point-scoring issues of a season ago don’t repeat themselves. This talented of an offense should expect to at least rank in the upper half of the NFL in points scored, and it would be a surprise if the Steelers didn’t light up the scoreboard a little more this season. Added punch on offense would make Pittsburgh all the more formidable, considering the strength of its experienced, physical defense.

While most of these sentiments are shared by Steelers fans as a result of the numerous offseason moves, will they be able to meet these expectations?  On paper, the addition of young, athletic offensive lineman to the starting lineup, and the injection of youth to a few defensive positions, looks promising. Whether or not it will be able to translate to success will be unknown until training camp.

PFW is making several assumptions in their prediction for the Steelers in 2012.

The first is that Todd Haley will make this a better offense.

Outside of the change in coordinator and the addition of two rookie offensive linemen, the offense will mostly be intact for next season. So how can PFW make the claim that the Steelers will improve? I don’t think there is any greater criticism of Bruce Arians.

The rhythm-less offense underperformed under Arians. Arians was not a coordinator who made his offensive players look good; rather, it was his players that made him look good. Think about it, without Ben Roethlisberger and his knack for converting the broken play into first downs and points, would the Steelers have beaten the Cardinals for their sixth Super Bowl? Earlier in the year, I wrote an article about Arians’ career as offensive coordinator and how the statistics show that year after year, it was nothing more than average. Haley comes to the Steelers with a history of leading explosive offenses that establish a tempo and score points, the converse of Arians, and the salient reason why the offense is expected to perform at a higher level.

The second is that the defense will continue to be dominant.

PFW says that the Steelers will be an even better team, considering the improved offense, and the “strength of its experienced, physical defense.” Last year, the Steelers finished ranked number one in overall defense, first in passing defense, and first in points allowed. However, the Steelers were shaky against the run last season, despite finishing eighth overall. While statistically it appears that the defense was dominant last season, the dearth of turnovers, sacks, and the susceptibility to the run made it somewhat of an off year. While much of the struggles on the defense last season were attributed to the age of some players (James Farrior, Aaron Smith), they have since been released. And the Steelers have made it a point this offseason to work some of their youth into the lineup at key positions. Hopefully, these changes will make a statistically strong defense a game changing defense that can force turnovers and make the big plays when needed.

The national media is starting to share the high expectations that Steelers fans have for their team in 2012, and there are no reasons to believe that they will not be fulfilled.

The pressure is on.

  • zekemowat

    I will wait until Haley gets the team to a Super Bowl before I say he’s better than BA. BA must be pretty good because his chief nemesis hired him to lead his offense in Indy.

  • dave

    Let me ask you a question, Jeremy. Hypothetically speaking, what would you rather have, a defense that is statistically dominant but doesn’t generate turnovers or one that is mediocre statistically but does generate turnovers? For the sake of argument, assume that the offenses and special teams are equal. I’ll vote for the former, because, in my opinion, the team that relies on turnovers to stop the other team is more than likely going to lose the game where they don’t generate turnovers. And if that happens in the playoffs…

  • I won’t and can’t wait, Haley will be a comet compared to Below Average.

  • I can’t say I didn’t like Arians but I defiently am happy that we made a change……. I think Haley will do alot for this offense and we will have a great team with alot of different things we can do….. And more so keep Ben from getting hit so much……. I look for us to be a top 10 easy in yds…… And with the D we always have, We should easily compete for a Super Bowl for the next few years even if we don’t hang onto Wallace….. 2 guys that really have me looking forward to this offense that alot of other teams no nothing about are Rainey and Batch I think they will both have huge years and help us the most……. I sure hope someone steps up in that 2nd TE spot so we can have more catches from Miller and the other TE being open more because of the protection on Miller……. This is going to be a big yr. in Pittsburgh all together, I’m thinking the pirates hitting .500 for the first time in 20 yrs. The Steelers getting back to the Super Bowl and then The Pens dominating the Stanley Cup for the next 3 or so yrs. especially if they pick up the FA’s there trying to get here in the next couple days……. I hope this is a very remarkable year in the Burgh……

  • SteelerLifer

    Arians sucked balls. He should have been booted years ago. The articled is dead on regarding that deadbeat moron. The Oline has been a problem since 2006 and should have been fixed much sooner. Hopefully we’ll have a more diverse and moderate offensive game plan like the one against Tennessee last year. In fact if Wallace doesn’t play might be a good thing is some respects. It would be one less reason for Bledsoe, I mean Roth to quite heaving it down field every other play and nail guys when they’re open underneath.
    The concern now is Lebeau. He’s a class act but the defensive philosophy employed against Balt that allowed them to steal the game in Pitt and the stubborn refusal to switch basically back from man to man coverage to his defensive philosophy (zone) for almost his entire coaching career against the joke Tebow after the first bomb (I turned off the game on the second when I realized he wasn’t going to) is inexcusable and should have been outright fired if he were anybody else. The fact that he and Tomlin have said they would have played the same defense again infuriates me. He’s clearly lost it upstairs and I firmly believe this is his last year. I can only assume the Rooney’s wanted to give him an opportunity to redeem himself before passing the baton to Butler.
    Otherwise the talent is there on both sides of the ball. The loss of Farrior is addition by subtraction since he was done years ago. Any of the young corners are an upgrade over Gay. The rookie NT will perform better than Hampton even if healthy. Redman is an upgrade over Mendenhal since he can actually run in traffic. Assuming Wallace does come back than he requires double coverage down field opening up the middle. And if anybody doubts that Adams can’t outperform Scott at LT than you should quit watching football. Good thing Starks was available last year or we would be talking about the new coach and GM.

  • SteelSpine

    Re PFW predicting: What is PFW’s past record of predicting? Or What did PFW predict a year ago for teams?

    Re your predictions: Haley has a history of improving offenses? I’m not doubting that, just would like to see what you back that claim up with, because I simply don’t know. For example, Rams had a great SB year on offense long ago, what about Heley’s many years in NFL since then? I’m not doubting anything here, & I dunno what facts (if any) PFW based their prediction, just think you’re missing too many historical facts to come up with your own predictions in this post. I like what you’re predicting, just like to see any historical basis. Normally you guys include some historical facts.

    As to Arians being the problem: It has always seemed popular for fans of teams to blame the offensive coordinator. As if to say, “Call only the plays which worked & stop calling those plays which didn’t work.” Heheh. A great quote from a head coach regarding calling plays on offense: If you listen to the fans, you’ll be sitting in the stands with them. I hope our offense will be improved & I’m optimistic it will. But based on history of every other OC, there will will be posts of “fire Haley” posters named “FireHaley” by end of season unless our offense performs consistantly above&beyond expecations.

  • In addition, a team that is dominant without turnovers is likely to remain dominant in following years because turnovers are based partially on chance. Fumble recoveries in particular are random. That is why you see teams like the Saints and Packers who excel creating turnovers and are middle of the pack defenses, then the next year when they don’t create turnovers, the teams end up near the bottom.