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    Default Ben v Manning: James Harrison doesn't know how lucky he is

    James Harrison doesn't know how lucky he is
    Cold, Hard Football Facts for July 18, 2011
    By Ian Roderick
    Cold, Hard Football Facts Doctor of Bigbenology

    Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison caused a firestorm in the football world with an interview for Men's Journal in which he criticized his team’s quarterback, Ben Roethlisberger.

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ID:	2959“Stop trying to act like Peyton Manning,” Harrison said, “You ain’t that and you know it, man; you just get paid like he does.”

    Beyond the question of whether Harrison was wise to publicly denounce a teammate, there is the question of whether Harrison was correct.

    Is Peyton Manning a demonstrably better quarterback, and are the Pittsburgh Steelers overpaying for Ben Roethlisberger’s services?

    The answer in both cases is no: Manning is not demonstrably better than Roethlisberger and the Steelers are not overpaying for Big Ben, at least if Manning's contract is the yardstick by which we measure "overpaying."

    Let’s begin with salaries. Manning signed a seven year contract with the Indianapolis Colts in 2004 worth $99 million, meaning his average salary over the past seven years has been $14.17 million. Roethlisberger signed an eight year deal with the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2008 worth $102 million, with an annual value of $12.75 million.

    The Manning contract is worth approximately 11 percent more per year than the Roethlisberger contract, not counting inflation. So Harrison is correct that Roethlisberger’s salary is in the same ballpark as Manning’s. Both are considered elite quarterbacks, and both are paid as such.

    The real question worth answering, though, is whether Harrison’s implication that Manning is significantly more valuable than Roethlisberger lives up to statistical scrutiny.

    Manning vs. Roethlisberger: Passer Rating
    The most popular statistic that measures quarterback performance in the NFL is passer rating. A lot of fans and analysis dis passer rating because of the complex formula used to create it and because of the seemingly arbitrary numbers it spits out. We understand the complaints.

    But the Cold, Hard Football Facts love passer rating because it is a "Quality Stat," that is, it's a stat that has a direct correlation to winning football games.

    Let’s compare Manning's and Roethlisberger's passer ratings since 2004, Big Ben's first year in the NFL.

    Manning vs. Roethlisberger (passer rating)
    Year........Manning..........Roethlisberger
    2004.........121.1 ................98.1
    2005.........104.1 ................98.6
    2006.........101.1 ................75.4
    2007.........98.0 .................104.4
    2008.........95.0 ..................80.1
    2009.........99.9 .................100.5
    2010.........91.9 ..................97.0
    Totals......101.6 ................92.5

    As a volume passer, Peyton Manning is superior to Ben Roethlisberger. Over the past seven years, Manning has thrown more times for more completions, yards, and touchdowns, with a better rating.

    Manning had a historically great season in 2004, when he threw 49 TDs to break Dan Marino’s 20-year-old record (48) and set the mark for best passer rating in a season (121.1). Since 2004, Manning has been exceptionally good. But his performances, as measured by passer rating, have also been on a fairly obvious downward trajectory since that record peak in 2004.

    As Manning’s performance has slipped in recent years, Roethlisberger’s passer rating has surpassed Manning’s. Most fans and analysts, not to mention teammates such as James Harrison himself, seem ignorant of the fact that Big Ben has posted higher ratings than Manning in three of the past four seasons, including each of the past two.

    The numbers are even more remarkable when you consider that Manning enjoys the benefit of playing his home games in a stat-inflating dome, where the conditions are always conducive to big passing days; Roethlisberger plays in one of the NFL's worst-weather outdoor arenas.

    Manning vs. Roethlisberger: Passing YPA
    The Cold, Hard Football Facts also like Passing YPA as a way to measure the effectiveness of each quarterback. It's easier to understand than passer rating, it provides for better comparisons across eras (YPA has remained relatively constant over the past 70 years, while passer ratings have soared) and, most importantly, YPA is also a Quality Stat. In other words, like passer rating, it has a direct correlation to winning football games.

    Manning vs. Roethlisberger (YPA)
    Year........Manning..........Roethlisberger
    2004..........9.17 ..................8.89
    2005..........8.27 ..................8.90
    2006..........7.89 ..................7.49
    2007..........7.85 ..................7.81
    2008..........7.21 ..................7.04
    2009..........7.88 ..................8.55
    2010..........6.92 ..................8.23
    Totals.......7.88 ..................8.04

    By this measure, Roethlisberger has often outperformed Manning, particularly over the past two years. As we wrote earlier this week, Yards Per Attempt is extremely predictive of success in the NFL. Teams that pass the ball most effectively are often the teams that make deep runs into the playoffs and end up bringing home Super Bowl trophies.

    In this respect, Roethlisberger is one of the most prolific and underappreciated quarterbacks not just today, but in all of NFL history. Big Ben is No. 5 all time with a career average of 8.04 YPA. Three of the players ahead of him are in the Hall of Fame: Otto Graham (8.63), who parlayed his record average into a record six straight NFL championship games; Sid Luckman (8.42 YPA) and Norm Van Brocklin (8.16 YPA).

    (The one oddball in the Top 5 is No. 4 Tony Romo of Dallas, who has yet to parlay his statistical proficiency and slight advantage over Roethlisberger in YPA (8.043 vs. 8.036) into championship-caliber playoff performances.)

    The Steelers went undefeated with Roethlisberger starting at QB during his rookie year, before finally falling to the dynastic Patriots in the AFC title game; they won the Super Bowl the following year, with Big Ben the youngest QB in history to lead his team to achievement. He was far more than a caretaker: his incredible 8.9 YPA in 2004 and 2005 represents the most prolific first two years by a quarterback in NFL history, even if everybody but the Cold, Hard Football Facts failed to take notice.

    Manning vs. Roethlisberger: running with the ball
    A third statistical category that can be used to compare the quarterbacks is rushing. Since 2004:

    * Ben Roethlisberger has rushed for 874 yards and 14 touchdowns.
    * Peyton Manning has rushed for 140 yards and 8 touchdowns.

    While rushing statistics are secondary to passing when measuring a quarterback’s performance, the superior rushing ability of Roethlisberger, who stands 6-5 and weighs 241 pounds, presents a real challenge to opposing defenses.

    As noted above, Peyton Manning is a more statistically prolific quarterback than Ben Roethlisberger, at least in terms of meaningless volume indicators (i.e., he passes the ball a lot more).

    In terms of the more important Quality Stats that relate to efficiency (passer rating) and effectiveness (YPA), Roethlisberger has been the better passer in recent years. And he remains a better rusher.

    Most importantly, Roethlisberger outperforms Manning in the most crucial statistic of all: Super Bowl wins. By that measure, there is no question that Roethlisberger is worth every penny, even if his on-field performance resembles a fuel efficient Honda Accord more than Peyton Manning’s high performance Ford Mustang.

    The Steelers have won three AFC titles and two Super Bowls in seven seasons with Roethlisberger at the helm; the Colts have won two AFC titles and one Super Bowl in Manning's 13 years at the helm.

    Bearing that in mind, Harrison might want to rethink his opinion of his team's quarterback. Then again, thinking before speaking has never been a strong suit for James Harrison.

    http://www.coldhardfootballfacts.com/Articles/11_3781_James_Harrison_doesn't_know_how_lucky_he_i s.html
    Last edited by Kipper; Jul-21-2011 at 04:11 PM.
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    Default Re: Ben v Manning: James Harrison doesn't know how lucky he is

    Thanks for posting this and to JH for running out his mouth. These "real" stats show how valuable Ben really is to the Steelers barely half way through his career. Plenty of time for those numbers to improve.
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    Default Re: Ben v Manning: James Harrison doesn't know how lucky he is

    It's really hard to say anybody not named Brady is better than Peyton Manning strictly from a traditional QB perspective. Those two make reads and throws that Ben would never make, he simply lacks their kind of vision. I personally think that's because Bruce Arians is a garbage OC, but everyone will say "Two SB appearances since we got Arians!" which is another argument all together.

    You gotta remember what makes Ben so successful, and that's the intangibles, and the playmaking. While you can say "Peyton makes reads and throws that Ben doesn't" you won't see many QB's in the NFL do what Ben does under pressure. The way he extends plays is an elite skill that very few have. This offense is still very much a work in progress, this could be the year he puts together a Manning/Brady-like offensive season, not that his stats have been bad or anything.

    As for the contract, I think it's stupid to say he's overpaid. You have to look at overall value to the team. Yeah, we can win a few games without him, but he's the guy who gets us to the SB, and wins the SB. He's the guy who beats the Baltimore Ravens twice a year. Look at how much money Eli Manning makes, and I think it's more than safe to say at this point that he is not Ben Roethlisberger-level of QB. Ben's paid what he's paid because that is the new NFL standard, you draft your guy and then you lock him up for 5-10 years if you can. You have three SB appearances with this guy, two of them wins. How many teams can say that?

    And honestly, Ben's the kind of guy that if it comes down to it, and he needs to restructure or take a paycut in order to improve the team, I believe he'd do it. Because he has that kind of competitive drive. On the flip side, I seriously doubt James Harrison would ever take a paycut.

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    Right now this year I would rather have Ben then Manning or Brady. I think those guys are starting to age. Ben can still get better. This discussion is getting a little old now though there are other guys in the discussion now. The guy that beat us in the SB this year proved to me that he is the real deal. Other guys will prove themselves as well. Ben I think is a throwback type QB who lives off of broken plays. He is pretty unique. I like his style for the Steelers. He isn't really going to ever be the best in the stat sheets tho. I am fine with that. Steelers fans pay attention to the biggest category = super bowls won.

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    Default Re: Ben v Manning: James Harrison doesn't know how lucky he is

    ^^^Yeah, when you factor in Ben's age, it's a whole different argument. His numbers right now, at this age, aren't much different than Brady's numbers at this age. And everyone at the time said "Manning > Brady" because of the stats. Brady just kept getting better though. Ben does too for the most part. He just has more bad habits than Brady that he needs to curb.

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    Default Re: Ben v Manning: James Harrison doesn't know how lucky he is

    Quote Originally Posted by The Curtain View Post
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    ^^^Yeah, when you factor in Ben's age, it's a whole different argument. His numbers right now, at this age, aren't much different than Brady's numbers at this age. And everyone at the time said "Manning > Brady" because of the stats. Brady just kept getting better though. Ben does too for the most part. He just has more bad habits than Brady that he needs to curb.
    Brady's stats didn't start to explode until Bill Belichick turned into Air Belichick and they suddenly went pass happy as opposed to a mroe ball control type offense. Ironically that is also when they stopped wining Superbowls too
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    Default Re: Ben v Manning: James Harrison doesn't know how lucky he is

    Manning vs. Roethlisberger: Passing YPA
    The Cold, Hard Football Facts also like Passing YPA as a way to measure the effectiveness of each quarterback. It's easier to understand than passer rating, it provides for better comparisons across eras (YPA has remained relatively constant over the past 70 years, while passer ratings have soared) and, most importantly, YPA is also a Quality Stat. In other words, like passer rating, it has a direct correlation to winning football games.
    Cold Hard Facts suck on one of my cold hard testicles. YPA is a useless stat. The Dutch Wydo's use this **** fill;ed stat as a measure of some sort of success. It's Yards Per Attempt. This stat has very little to do with the Individual. You need the Receivers, the Offensive scheme and game plan, either the time in the pocket or the ability to move around inside and outside of the pocket etc... It's a stat that is dependent on too many other things. Ben could throw 5 yard dumps all game and with the right blocking and right WR's/RB's, could still end up with 8-9 YPA's as opposed to trying to gun the ball 10-15 yards per try like the Ben/Bruce offense does. Either way, you still have to have the proper personnel to do it.

    It's really a stupid stat to use but it's used because if you want to try and make close comparisons statistically that's about the only one there is. Yards, Yards per game, TD's, INT%, even Completion % where Manning has become a much more efficient QB with age... aren't really that close... Then again, Manning plays in an Offense that is pure pass. Manning is usually always throwing over 500 Passes per season, Ben has only topped 500 pass attempts once. Manning had over 650 pass attempts last season, which is ridiculous. Ben plays in a far more balanced Offense and scheme no matter how many fans ***** that we might throw too much. Compared to the Colts, we don't
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    Default Re: Ben v Manning: James Harrison doesn't know how lucky he is

    We certainly don't throw too much. I have no problem with our balanced offense, I think what screws with the numbers is not executing it right. We don't use PA as much as we should. We never seem to stick with what is working or exploit matchups. I think our offense underachieves every year, and Ben's stats suffer because of it.

    Like if we're killing a team with the running game, keep pounding it and use PA passes. But no, we'll simply stop and come out in a 4 wide set to "confuse them".

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    Default Re: Ben v Manning: James Harrison doesn't know how lucky he is

    Quote Originally Posted by Kipper View Post
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    Cold Hard Facts suck on one of my cold hard testicles. YPA is a useless stat. The Dutch Wydo's use this **** fill;ed stat as a measure of some sort of success. It's Yards Per Attempt. This stat has very little to do with the Individual. You need the Receivers, the Offensive scheme and game plan, either the time in the pocket or the ability to move around inside and outside of the pocket etc... It's a stat that is dependent on too many other things.
    Gotta say that I disagree with you... I think the "individual" makes it (or the play) happen and makes the stat more important... If anything, Manning has better WRs and game plan, but yet Ben has exceeded him in recent years. Time in the pocket or ability to scramble is also indicative of a better qb, and IMO Ben creates just that... Yea, there is no doubt that it depends on "other things", but almost any faccet of the game does just the same... Ben is doing "more with less" IMO.
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    Default Re: Ben v Manning: James Harrison doesn't know how lucky he is

    Stats schmats. I don't put much stock in 'em, but I'll take Ben as our QB any day over Peyton Manning. As posted above, the intangibles as well as Ben's ability to keep plays alive is what makes him so valuable as a QB. And he doesn't look or talk like he's from Cornholeville, USA.


    Quote Originally Posted by Kipper
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    Brady's stats didn't start to explode until Bill Belichick turned into Air Belichick and they suddenly went pass happy as opposed to a mroe ball control type offense. Ironically that is also when they stopped wining Superbowls too.
    That. And they got caught cheating.

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    Default Re: Ben v Manning: James Harrison doesn't know how lucky he is

    Quote Originally Posted by NKySteeler View Post
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    Gotta say that I disagree with you... I think the "individual" makes it (or the play) happen and makes the stat more important... If anything, Manning has better WRs and game plan, but yet Ben has exceeded him in recent years. Time in the pocket or ability to scramble is also indicative of a better qb, and IMO Ben creates just that... Yea, there is no doubt that it depends on "other things", but almost any faccet of the game does just the same... Ben is doing "more with less" IMO.
    Sure Ben is doing more with less talent. Just the number of pass attempts that I mentioned showed that Ben is doing what he does though in a more balanced offense but, you have to also appreciate what Manning does in a pure pass happy offense. They aren't keeping anyone off balance, teams know they are passing the ball mostly and planning 100% to stop the pass, stop Manning. In 2007 when Brady picked apart the Steelers, they didn't even run the ball, they just threw it and we couldn't stop it. We knew they were throwing it and couldn't stop them. That is impressive when you can be that one dimensional and be that efficent and at times dominating and against good defenses.

    Facing the Steelers, teams are still stopping the run first since we are more balanced and run the ball a lot still. Manning on one hand to put up the numbers he does while teams are gunning for him and the pass game solely is pretty impressive. To put up his very high completion percentages and ratings I think in a way is more impressive than say doing it from a balanced approach. The Touchdowns and passing yards aren't so much impressive, but the efficency that it's done is.

    It's also why guys like Manning and Brady 2.0 havent had great success obtaining the hardware in pure passing offenses. When they won super Bowls, they had running games that the opposition had to respect which allowed them to get bigger plays or have a harsher striking passing game. Same thing with Ben. Our run game keeps teams honest, they have to respect it because we can easily take the air out of the ball and run on you.
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    Default Re: Ben v Manning: James Harrison doesn't know how lucky he is

    Quote Originally Posted by Lady Steel View Post
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    Stats schmats. I don't put much stock in 'em, but I'll take Ben as our QB any day over Peyton Manning. As posted above, the intangibles as well as Ben's ability to keep plays alive is what makes him so valuable as a QB. And he doesn't look or talk like he's from Cornholeville, USA.




    That. And they got caught cheating.
    I would certainly take Ben as well. Brady and Manning could surely operate this Offense with Ben like results as well IMO but... Mannikng and Brady are pussies. Those 2 would've been done a while ago if they had to take some of the abuse that Ben takes. Bottom line is Ben is a grit QB that gets it done, limps, plays with broken bones but he plays and never whines about it. He's not a primadonna on the field. Some people might want the more cerebral QB like a Brady or a Manning but I prefer a guy that's tough that can do all of the things those other guys can.
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    Default Re: Ben v Manning: James Harrison doesn't know how lucky he is

    It is true that he tries to be like Peyton/Brady 2.0 (that's a good name for current Brady, lol) at times, and it doesn't suit him. He's Elway. He's Montana. He's a leader on the field, he's not a stat-junkie. And the thing is, when we've needed him to be a Peyton/Brady 2.0 and shoot it out with people, he's been more than capable of doing that. I don't know what the deal was in the SB this year, just chalk it up to the Pack's defense being better than ours in that game and really taking it to Ben and Arians. I personally think a better OC, and we win that game.

    I'd rather our offense stay more balanced, than decide we need to pass more just to suit this current-day culture of stats. I just wish we were better at being balanced, we could KILL teams sometimes if Arians would just execute right.

    What people tend to forget about Manning/Brady 2.0 is that Manning is more famous for his playoff LOSSES than his playoff wins. Brady 2.0 hasn't won anything. There's always a game in the post season where they have to go defense vs. defense, and their team loses because of it. I don't get why there's still that idea of NOBODY CAN STOP THEM! Everybody can be stopped. Or at least slowed down significantly. Bart Scott in his insane rambling was so right after the Jets beat them when he said something like "EVERYBODY DISRESPECTED OUR DEFENSE, BUT WHAT ABOUT THEIR DEFENSE? WHAT'S THEIR DEFENSE RANKED?" It's almost always going to come down to defense vs. defense, no matter how much Goodell hates it. And in that situation, I'd rather have Ben Roethlisberger, because the "superman QB's have lost more than they've won in these cases.

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    Default Re: Ben v Manning: James Harrison doesn't know how lucky he is

    Quote Originally Posted by The Curtain View Post
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    It is true that he tries to be like Peyton/Brady 2.0 (that's a good name for current Brady, lol) at times, and it doesn't suit him. He's Elway. He's Montana. He's a leader on the field, he's not a stat-junkie. And the thing is, when we've needed him to be a Peyton/Brady 2.0 and shoot it out with people, he's been more than capable of doing that. I don't know what the deal was in the SB this year, just chalk it up to the Pack's defense being better than ours in that game and really taking it to Ben and Arians. I personally think a better OC, and we win that game.

    I'd rather our offense stay more balanced, than decide we need to pass more just to suit this current-day culture of stats. I just wish we were better at being balanced, we could KILL teams sometimes if Arians would just execute right.

    What people tend to forget about Manning/Brady 2.0 is that Manning is more famous for his playoff LOSSES than his playoff wins. Brady 2.0 hasn't won anything. There's always a game in the post season where they have to go defense vs. defense, and their team loses because of it. I don't get why there's still that idea of NOBODY CAN STOP THEM! Everybody can be stopped. Or at least slowed down significantly. Bart Scott in his insane rambling was so right after the Jets beat them when he said something like "EVERYBODY DISRESPECTED OUR DEFENSE, BUT WHAT ABOUT THEIR DEFENSE? WHAT'S THEIR DEFENSE RANKED?" It's almost always going to come down to defense vs. defense, no matter how much Goodell hates it. And in that situation, I'd rather have Ben Roethlisberger, because the "superman QB's have lost more than they've won in these cases.
    I disagree. i had no problems with Arians' game plan. Actually didn't have a big issue with him most of the season. Always will be questionable calls here and there, that's life with any play caller and there's stuff I dont like about Arians and it's the stuff that he does that Ben likes but... Those Interceptions,. the Mendenhall fumble... you can't blame the OC for those. That's on the players, sometimes on the defense for making a good play. We moved the ball in that Super Bowl. you eliminate all of those turnovers and we put 30+ easy on Green Bay, a good Green Bay defense. you can't turn the ball over like we did and expect to win.

    I like a more balanced aproach myself. I agree with who you say en should be like. He is more Elway than marino. Montana was probably more Brady but, Ben isn't a pocket passer and for whatever reason, maybe it changes with age, he doesn't like throwing short. That been is as efficient as he is with his preferences and the way he plays is also something that is very impressive. If the guy would ever utilize a short passing game like Brady does, like Brees does, he could be completely dominant. The offense would be so much more dominant, brice arians wouldn't look like a dumb *** to most. But ben just doesn't like to throw short and I always felt it was a piece of the pass game that is missing and a piece of the offense that could bail it out and make it more efficient from the 20 to the endzone where it has all of it's problems
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    It would be nice if he could do the short game even just a little bit to get the O out of jams. I don't blame it on Arians that much. He can't give Ben plays that he doesn't want too often. Ben never seemed very coachable. That's my biggest knock on him. Arains might be the best we can do. You bring in a genius to but heads with Ben and there could be big problems. I have a feeling people will still be *****ing about Bruce 30 years from now lol.

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