Martavis Bryant On How To Fix Steelers’ Offense: ‘I Have No Clue’

If you’re just as dumbfounded as to why the Pittsburgh Steelers are struggling as much as they are, join the club. So are the players.

Jeremy Fowler’s article from ESPN today has a couple extra quotes from players. Who are having just as much a tough time determining the fix to get this offense back on track. Martavis Bryant essentially threw his hands in the air when asked about the solution.

“Honestly, I have no clue, man,” Bryant said when asked what’s missing from a few years ago. “We’ve just got to get better, period.”

David DeCastro said similar, only offering that if they knew the fix, “it’d make their jobs a lot easier.”

It’s in part with what I wrote this morning. Ben Roethlisberger is struggling, that’s clear as day, but the fix is much more fleeting. Is it scheme? Is it mechanical? All of the above?

Either way, it’s one of the worst stretches the Steelers have been in. Through five weeks, they’re averaging under 20 points per game. They’re the only team in the NFL not to have scored more than seven points in at least two separate quarters; they’ve done so only once, the second quarter against the Baltimore Ravens.

Even the lowly Miami Dolphins, who went two games without a touchdown, have done it twice.

The Steelers are far away from their typical lofty goal of 30 points per game. They haven’t hit that mark in the first five weeks. Since 2001, it’s only the third time they’ve gone this long. In 2001, it took them until their sixth game and in 2013, it took until game number eighth.

Outside of just play better, I doubt we’ll hear much from the Steelers’ locker room on what exactly they need to do in order to fix things. Maybe that’s because they’re playing things close to the vest. Or maybe they genuinely have no idea.

About the Author

Alex Kozora

Full-time blogger from mom’s basement. Marrying tape and statistics. Chidi Iwuoma is my favorite Steeler of all-time.

  • Mister E

    Bunch of lollygaggers.

  • CP72

    This is Le’Veon Bell’s offense now. Don’t get cute. Run the ball and play defense.

  • William Weaver

    Football is a physical game. Stop trying to out think your opponent or out scheme them. Keep everything very simple and just hit them in the mouth as hard as you can for 60 minutes. Battle of wills. If you get out-willed, then you need new players and or coaches. Can’t make the Bears or Jaguars beat you over the top? Couldn’t even make them try? Wow

  • NCSteel

    I know there’s some frustration in these comments but maybe some truth as well.
    Perhaps there’s so much talent that the simple things are being overlooked. Run the ball and stop the run.
    The Jags are keeping it simple and they sure looked good doing it. Ran it right down the Steelers throats. Yea, smash-mouth.
    Anyone remember smash mouth.
    I mean, being on the giving end, not the receiving end of it.

  • srdan

    Yup, 2005 football. My favorite kind anyway.

  • CP72

    Yeah it’s not as pretty, but this team needs an identity. I think working the running game and challenging teams occasionally with vertically to keep them honest is what we’re best at.

  • Edjhjr

    I still think it was bad plan. After the big completion to AB, early they really should have been running and playing field possession.

    They most likely would have won the game, I’d say 12-6

  • John Volpe

    Right do the same thing Cowher did with Bettis and take the pressue off Ben for now. The mistakes will stop. And Ben will get his confidence back.

  • StrengthOfVictory

    Oh, good. Glad to hear the offense is as lost behind the scenes as they are on the field. Since they don’t know what to work on, I guess we can expect they won’t be fixing their issues anytime soon.

  • walter

    The coaches better know. If both the players and coaches dont know, we are in trouble.

  • walter

    Sounds like they need coached up.

  • Tobi Ge

    Involve Eli Rodgers!

  • Chris92021

    Winning is pretty. I don’t care if Big Ben never throws for 300 yards in a game again. We cannot rely on 7 to lead us statistically. 26 has to be it.

  • Phil Brenneman II

    I know in the other thread I made it about Ben being somewhat checked out and not having fun so this time I will take more of a football look at it. For me it is actually kind of simple. Do what you are good at, and stop doing what you are not good at.

    1. I believe they showed a stat during the game that Ben was 4/20 on balls he throws with more than 20 air yards (might have been 10 air yards but I am pretty sure it was 20) and it only got worse after this game. So STOP letting Ben do it. I don’t care if it is 1 on 1 and AB is up against Valentino Blake…..the risk just hasn’t been worth the reward. Until we get back on track and actually put up 30 in a game, shorten the passes up.

    2. Justin Hunter needs to lose his helmet. He is the same receiver as DHB and Bryant. Take his helmet back and give it to Rogers. Rogers hasn’t been perfect but at least he has flashed as a possession threat and a good chain moving option. We don’t need another deep threat in Hunter when Ben isn’t completing those passes anyway.

    3. Clean up the playcalling. I know it isn’t all on Haley but there were 2 standout plays that to me are unforgivable. So regardless of whether they are on Ben or Haley, someone needs to slap whoever is to blame. The AB double move in the endzone was abysmal. Even if it wasn’t a double move why is he trying to corner AB when we have guys like Bryant, Hunter, and James who are much bigger targets? AB is made for slants and comebacks in that area.

    The other call (and I am not sure if was a broken play or not) looked like a kind of delayed screen to Jesse James. Jesse James has the mobility of Stephen Hawking so why on earth would we be throwing a screen to him? Get the ball into the hands of your playmakers on those types of plays. Don’t mind the play at all but no way James should be the target.

    4. Really stress the high percentage plays. This kind of connects with the not throwing the deep ball but lets get more of the underneath shovel passes to Bell and AB or more stuff where James and Rogers are sitting down in zones for 4 or 5 yards. It seems to me like we are doing things kind of backwards. When it is 2nd and 6 we throw a 30 yard pass and when it is 3rd and 8 we are throwing it 3 yards underneath. On 3rd we have to be trying to move the chains a bit better and on 1st and 2nd we should be aiming to make that 3rd down task easier.

    So yeah, there you have it. Nothing there is rocket science but they are all things that should help. Obviously players have to actually execute as well but seeing as how they are not currently executing, lets make it as easy as possible for them to do so.

  • Bruce

    The defense is playing better all the time, Steelers need to compliment them by running the ball more. They don’t need to score 30 points a game anymore.

  • Chad H

    Or just don’t suck!?

  • Orlysteel

    No this team is Ben’s team, as he goes so will the team.

  • 6 ring circus

    Until somebody can come up with something better, yes. Sprinkle the passing game in.

  • Orlysteel

    Who went into Indianapolis and Denver and lit them up, what did they win before Ben?

  • 6 ring circus

    +10. Nice synopsis. Also, I agree with the players saying they have no clue other than to play better. Finger pointing by them does no good. We all know the coaches have to come up with a better game plan and the players have to execute.

  • Jason Vancil

    Do we miss Heath Miller more than we think? He was a good blocker and he was Bens cuddle blanket. Just a thought. Why never a fade to Bryant in the Red Zone?

  • will

    So you are saying that they are in trouble!

  • Alan Tman

    I said the same thing. This should no longer be the Big Ben show. We need to go back to ball control, time of possession, and defense, because the defense is playing much better than our 90 million dollar offense. We need to win games 20 to 13 because Ben is not playing well is an understatement. Now if they don’t do that we won’t make the playoffs. Because, letting Ben throw the ball all over the yard makes us lose time of possession especially with turnovers. This defense is really light in the middle, and built on speed. It’s not made to withstand 30 rushes. This D is built to play with the lead. If we can’t score like we expected then we must have time of possession to win games.

  • SkoolHouseRoxx

    Run the ball. Limit turnovers. Keep the chain moving. Play to your strength and take advantage of the opposition’s weakness. Have fun again. Idk maybe a trade will shake things up a bit. I’m not worried about the defense a whole lot.

  • Ni mo

    Fire Haley

  • 6 ring circus

    Hell yea, we miss Heath…and Big Snack….and Troy….and Rod….and Bill….

  • Ni mo

    Fire Haley

  • dany

    Well that ain’t working so they gotta try something else, and the 15 million dollar man might just be it

  • GravityWon

    Each player can look at their own game and find ways to improve. I don’t care for the “I dunno” answers.

    Bryant should watch some tape of DeAndre Hopkins and try to emulate his game.

  • Mark

    LeVeon must have saw this coming and thus asking for $15 mil.

    However, Haley must mix up the offensive plays. QB’s that can run the Run/Pass option are making it tough on defenses.

    Ben is afraid of being hit and starting to make awful reads/throws.

    Hubbard was a liability at right tackle.

    We can fun/fake reverses with Antonio, Bryant, and Schuster.

    Also, James is a liability at TE. Doesn’t block well and is slow on the offensive side.

    Mike Mitchell, please stop with the theatrics, especially after tackling someone after a 10 yard plus gain and 1st down, you look silly bro.

    However, it all starts and ends with Ben!

  • Matt

    With a performance like that we’ll be missing Neil O’Donnell

  • Matt

    Haley is less the culprit than Ben. Seriously, we could get the greatest OC in all of football and this offense will be average unless Ben can find a way to pick up his level of play.

  • #beatthepats

    Look at the difference a new oc did for the bengals- its time. There is no rythm to this offense. Shotgun-go out, im throwing to brown.

  • Reggie Cunningham

    Tell AB to stop crying for the ball on every play. Ben is getting like Matthew Stafford when he had Megatron. Spread the ball. Run bell and switch out rb. Run Watson at 2 yard line. Tell Todd to stop throwing the ball at the 2

  • Darth Blount 47

    The Vikings defense is good. The Bears defense is good. The Ravens defense is good. The Jaguars defense is good. Heck, even the Browns defense isn’t terrible. They’ve given up rushing totals of: 35, 136, 92, 86, 34. And not a single 300 yd passing game. In fact, the high has only been 264. So there has been a certain trend here through 5 weeks. We’ve played against good defenses. Plain and simple.

    I think I much preferred Le’Veon Bell’s answer which was essentially: “RUN THE EFFIN’ BALL MORE!”

  • ryan72384

    Exactly what I said yesterday. This defense is built for leads plain and simple. They have to be able to attack when other teams are forced to throw. They can not stop the run when the other team can run it 30 times and wear them down.

  • SteelersGeek4Lyfe

    If #7 has 55 throws in a game again I’m going to lose my mind. He doesn’t have it, feed Leveon.

  • SteelersGeek4Lyfe

    Agree. No more 55 pass games for Ben. Feed Leveon.

  • Bill

    How about an attitude adjustment by sitting some of the under performers down; how about using the running game more; how about #7 showing that he cares by showing up and participating in every practice; how about consistently using a somewhat standard defensive arrangement that is designed to stop the run and depends on player performance rather than scheme to be successful; perhaps more 3/4 with the down lineman controlling the line of scrimmage and the linebackers making the tackles and rushing the passer.

  • Steel City Slim

    Eliminate Haley’s horrible playcalling and go no-huddle.

  • John

    We miss Heath and Green. If we had Eric Green from yesteryear, Ben would be fine.

  • Steel City Slim

    Need to start taking what the defense is giving you instead of trying to force things.

  • PaeperCup

    They need to be balanced. I find that there is no identity to this offense. Run the ball, take the load off of Ben, please. He’s still a talent, he’s still a leader. This teams isn’t doing anything without him, so might as well find ways to help him. That starts with play calling imo.

  • PaeperCup

    Not against the Jags…I think Ben is a capable QB, but the JAgs had the worst run defense and the best pass defense. So why are we throwing it 55 times and running it 20?

  • Steve Johnson

    You’re right, it has been that for years now. The problem though is this, #7 still thinks he is the 2nd coming of John Elway (His Idol). He does a poor job when he audibles, too often he has broken the play down when he clearly didn’t need to. And here is one for you, when #7 throws 20-25 passes, he actually plays better. Go figure? However, this isn’t all his fault, I think the Scheme has to change, the play calling is horrible. Todd Haley? I’m not so sure the players are buying into it anymore.

  • Steve Johnson

    Poor road to take. Ben isn’t capable of leading that team.

  • Chris92021

    Judging by some of the comments yesterday, yeah, I am not so sure any of the players are sold on Haley. Changes need to be made.

  • melblount

    This request is ONLY for posters who have ever heard MB interviewed/speak:

    Raise your hand if you actually thought MB would have a clue about NFL X’s and O’s, and how to correct ones that are not working properly.

    OK then, let’s move on.

  • The Sun is Pro-Black

    Haley is terrible, sorry.

  • Douglas Andrews

    Been saying it for awhile now. Gone are those days Steelers can lean heavily on the QB time to run the ball and play sound defense.

  • 6 ring circus

    I liked ‘ol #14. He just had a game, in the Superbowl of all places, like BB had yesterday.

  • Axel

    That’s seems to be the major problem, they can’t run it and they sure the hell cant stop the run

  • Ni mo

    It’s notben it’s Haley and his bad play calling and dumb persona you can see the disgust on bens face , give Arians this talent no and they 5-0 ben can’t stand Haley’s offense , and how you not put a FB in on goaline

  • Av232

    What if we do away with Ben’s pre-snap shenanigans? Don’t even give him the opportunity to check into a deep shot on 3rd and 2 until he earns it back.

  • Chris92021

    Steelers offensive playcalling:
    1st down: throw deep, wonder why it didn’t work.
    2nd down: run the ball with Bell, hope he breaks 3-5 tackles and gets at least 5 yards
    3rd down and long: throw the ball to Brown, hope he does something amazing
    3rd down and short: throw deep again, wonder why it didn’t work.

    Sigh, there will be no changes anytime soon because Todd Haley is clueless and Mike Tomlin isn’t holding any of his coaches accountable. I guarantee he will apologize and say something pithy and cute tomorrow during his presser but expect more of the same garbage in KC next Sunday.

  • Paul Barracliffe

    Or maybe it is Ben–it is clearly Ben–and the players know better than to say that.

  • AndyR34

    No wait…don’t you know we are going into the lab and figure this out. As a chemist for my career, when I went into the lab it was to run experiments. Evidently, we are going to begin experimenting as a game plan. Should have been experimenting during training camp…not for the 6th game of the season.

  • Joeybaggadonuts

    Ben will be fine. Maybe not superstar Ben but much better than needed to win a Super Bowl

  • Constantinople

    not anymore it isn’t. sorry, but ben is about done, man.

  • Todd Borax

    Maybe mix in some no huddle??? Every time that works well we stop doing it.

    Also maybe help out the struggling O-Line by not snapping the ball with 1 second left on the play clock all the time so the D Line can’t get such great jumps? It drives me nuts but it has been going on forever. Do they not watch their own tape??.

  • Hagen Rinde

    I had to watch the game on german TV cause gamepass didn’t work once again. The german commentator (normally with no clue) said the exact same thing, lol. Every call is predictable. It’s just frustrating.
    Is there nobody who stops this crap? Tomlin? Ben? Anybody?

  • Paddy

    Well they better get a clue or else this season will go down as the most disappointing of all time!