Not only do NFL franchises want to model themselves after the Pittsburgh Steelers’ organization, they want to replicate their offense, too. That’s what Carolina Panthers’ head coach Ron Rivera pretty much admitted yesterday.
Speaking with Ross Tucker on Sirius, Rivera said he’s looking to rebuild the Panthers’ attack much in the same way the Steelers have theirs.
“Look what they did in Pittsburgh with Ben Roethlisberger,” Rivera told Tucker, via PFT’s transcription. “Look what they did with the type of players they put in their backfield, put in their receiving corps. They run the ball with a very quick, slashing style running game. They can ground and pound it at the same time with the same running game. Then they’ve got some very versatile, quick receivers that make plays once they get the ball in their hands.”
The Panthers went all-in on their offense this year. They drafted running back Christian McCaffrey with the 8th overall pick, a slash type who will be able to help them out as a runner, receiver, and returner. Carolina doubled-down by taking Curtis Samuel in the second round. A curious move to some, an offensive weapon without a true position, the Panthers will have to hope he doesn’t emulate Dri Archer.
Pittsburgh has shown they have the ability to win with any gameplan. Todd Haley has started games in empty, others with two tight ends and a fullback. They’ve won through the air, on the ground, and everywhere inbetween. That doesn’t mean this offense has its issues; anyone who watched them last year is painfully aware of that. But on paper, they serve as one of the league’s best benchmarks, even, yes, they’re still behind the New England Patriots.
With the return of Martavis Bryant and the growth of young players – Jesse James comes immediately to mind – there’s no reason this squad can’t finish in the top three in points per game. An area any team would gladly like to end up.