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Why The Steelers Offense Has Used 11 Personnel 65.63% Of The Time Through Four Games


Pro Football Focus has posted the personnel grouping percentages used by all 32 NFL teams through the first four games of the season and the numbers posted for the Pittsburgh Steelers offense are not surprising at all considering what has transpired.

The Steelers have used their 11 personnel grouping (1RB, 1TE, 3WR) 65.63% of the time thus far. The 12 personnel grouping (1RB, 2TE, 2WR) has been used on 13.28% of the offensive plays run while the 21 grouping (2RB, 1TE, 2WR has been used 10.55% of the time.

Why is this not a surprise? Through the first four games of the season, the Steelers offense has been behind on the scoreboard for 126 of 129 offensive plays run this year in the second half of games. 80 of those plays were run in the fourth quarter and on all 80 the Steelers were down seven or more points. That certainly dictates more use of three wide receiver sets.

The Steelers would obviously like to lower their 11 personnel usage down by about 10% a game, but will only be able to do so if they start leading some games in the second half. This in turn should lower the passing attempts of quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and hopefully limit the amount of sacks and hits he takes as well.

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About Dave Bryan

I am, I'm me. 40 something, retired and a life long Steelers fan.
  • cencalsteeler

    If you win the coin toss, don’t defer till the second half.

  • Richard Edlin

    I’m confused and concerned by his … why modify the formations in the first half away from what should be our strengths? Even 10 points down is only two scores. As a rule of thumb, we should only start really panicking and changing our gameplan when the time left is about 2 or 2.5x the difference in the score.

    Play some 22, work our way back into the game, and chew the clock whilst it’s there to be used. This formation would make it easier to establish the run, it would keep our defense off the field so that they’re not gassed come the second half, and it would put pressure on the other team by killing their momentum. Playing 11 personnel without an established run means that we’re signalling that any big 2nd or 3rd down play will come from the WR, making coverage and containment easier. We then end up either taking risks and either kicking the ball away or conceding turnovers.

    Dumb players (and coaches, it seems) worry about the scoreboard; smart ones worry about their own game. I can remember last year when Luck engineered a comeback win for the Colts from a decent way down. The secret – which he knew as a ROOKIE – was to make sure that you took your time and played your game, and looked for one score at a time rather the whole of the task. We don’t seem to have done that.

  • greeny

    I agree with you. I do emphasize dumb coaching. You don’t make substitutions in a no huddle offense either. Why give the other team a chance to substitute. This cost us potentially the game in Cin. on Paulson fumble where idiot Haley called for substitution allowing bengals to challenge and last week allowing vikes to get better personnel on the field

  • Riverstko

    We did at the end of last years season and it backfired every game. We would go 3 and out,punt, opp. short field and they score.

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