It was four games ago that the Pittsburgh Steelers began to turn to an 01 personnel formation in the second half against the Baltimore Ravens that seemed to take the fan base by storm—for multiple reasons. It was a no-huddle look in which quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was running the plays, and it was working, as well.
Even though they have hardly run it over the past two weeks, the impression that that package made over primarily a two-game span, which they used to climb back into games in which they trailed by 10-plus points was a lasting one—and rooted in the fact that Roethlisberger, corroborated by receivers like Chase Claypool, claimed that they were virtually drawing up plays in the dirt.
On the eve of a rematch with the team against which they originally unleashed their supposed streetball offense, Roethlisberger talked about the ad-lib nature of the offense that has grown so popular in recent weeks, which they have only run for 12 plays in the past two weeks across both 01 and 00 personnel groupings.
“It’s not like—I know we made a big deal about drawing stuff in the dirt like kind of just joking, but obviously, people made a big deal about it”, Roethlisberger told reporters earlier today. “Really, we are using parts of the no huddle in terms of routes, but they’re not the big overall concept. I’ll tell each guy a route, but it doesn’t make sense in the grand scheme of a specific play”.
“To me, when I made that comment, it was more—and I will continue to make it—it’s more of a compliment to them”, he continued. “It’s tight ends, too. It’s running backs. It’s everybody. They are able to line up wherever I’m able to ask them to line up. Wide receivers have to run tight end routes. Tight ends have to run running back routes. They all have to do it. They don’t blink, and they do it with ease and have done it great the last few weeks. To me, that’s what it’s about. It’s complimenting them that they are able to do that on the fly”.
In other words, the comment was made more about what each individual player was being asked to do within a broader concept, rather than fabricating new concepts altogether. It’s about every player knowing plays from all possible positions that they might be asked to play, and to be able to execute from any position when called upon.
Roethlisberger did say that they are doing this a lot, and I would imagine it’s not limited to just four-receiver sets, but also from their base 11 personnel set. “I trust them that they are going to do the right thing when you ask them to do it”, he added.
Considering that most of the package consists of players that he has had little or no experience with prior to this season, and they had a very abbreviated offseason, it makes the facts even more remarkable.