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Author Topic: A Handful of Random Steeler Thoughts  (Read 2102 times)
Winters in Holland
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« on: Oct 31, 2007 at 21:00 »

1.  I'm a tad concerned that a 3rd WR beyond Holmes and Ward hasn't stepped up.  In a way, it's not a bad thing, because Heath Miller has really become the #3, which means we're finally throwing to the TE more.

But still, someone else needs to step up.  Cedric Wilson is clutch and rarely drops a ball, but lacks deep threat big play ability (though he did come up big during the XL run).  Nate Washington has big play ability, but is inconsistent as hell, and always seems to drop a key pass.

I think Wilson will be the #3 in the end, but the Steelers would probably be better off if it were Washington, because otherwise, Holmes is the only big play WR threat.


2.  Holmes has been very, very good.  I'm most excited that he can do the dirty work over the middle if needed...though hopefully they avoid it at all costs.


3.  For whatever reason, the majority of our screen passes are no longer effective.  It's either an error in execution or playcalling, because over 50% of the time anymore, at least 1-2 defenders have them sniffed out.  The problem needs fixed, because the Steelers need to continue to call screens and draw plays to keep the defensive pass rush at bay.


4.  Despite their strong start, our O-line could yet be the weakness that does us in.  For the 2008 draft, I don't think it would be bad at all to use the first 2 picks on O linemen.  


5.  The areas that should be addressed in the next draft are O-line, D-line, and RB.  The secondary, LB corps, and QB should not be addressed unless someone really falls in the draft.  It wouldn't hurt to pick a WR on day 2, though I still have hopes for Dallas Baker.


6.  As amazing as Ben has been getting out of pressure, that ill-advised INT he threw in the 3rd quarter of the Cincy game really turned the momentum, and kept the Steelers from putting the game away.  There are times when a pass simply needs thrown away, or a sack taken.


7a.  Is anyone else concerned that Timmons and Woodley have been relative non-factors this year?  I haven't even seen them make any special teams plays as of late, unless I missed some.  I'm not too worried, as Timmons has been injured, and we have a veteran LB corps that may take some time to displace.  But still...successful teams usually have their day one picks contributing within the first 1-2 seasons.

7b.  They need to come up big next year, because our LB are no longer getting a fast enough pass rush.  They simply can't get to the QB in time, which is a bad, bad thing.  My guess is that our sack totals will be way down this year by the time the season ends.


8.  I was down on the Spaeth and Sepulveda picks during the draft, but I'm pretty happy now.  After researching how few mid-round picks actually make a contribution, we stand to have a pretty good coup there...especially if 6th rounder Gay continues to develop as he is.  


9.  I don't think reverses really work anymore.  We usually pull one out somewhere in the 1st or 2nd quarter, and the end result is our WR runs a good 30 yards to gain 2.  Unless a defense is really overpursuing, I think the NFL today is too fast for them to consistently work.


10.  Plays and formations I could stand to see less of:  the quick WR screen, the empty back backfield, the single back backfield where Parker needs to run a good 7 yards just to get to the line of scrimmage.


11.  Formations I'd like to see:  split back set with Willie and Carey Davis, "wishbone" formation with Parker, Davis, and Davenport.


12.  I don't like how the whole Davis/Kreider situation is playing out.  Davis has been used primarily as a blocking back, yet is probably better suited to relieve Parker and catch out of the backfield.  Kreider is probably best suited as the pure blocking back, but we haven't seen much of him at all.  I'll think we'll see more Kreider as the season wears on.


13.  I want to see Najei earlier in games.  After a lackluster preseason, he's been running like a man possessed.  He's Bam Morris to Willie's Eric Pegram, and the more we use him now, the better chance Parker has of reaching the playoffs healthy.


Thanks for reading,

.WiH.
« Last Edit: Oct 31, 2007 at 21:02 by Winters in Holland » Logged

I don't care if Lovie Smith and Tony Dungy are black. Good for them. But that doesn't change the way I feel about them. The longer we keep looking at guys like Tony Dungy and Lovie Smith as "BLACK HEAD COACHES" as opposed to just "coaches" the longer race will continue to be a problem. --DoctorJohnnyFever
VThrilla18
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« Reply #1 on: Oct 31, 2007 at 21:45 »

Quote
7a. Is anyone else concerned that Timmons and Woodley have been relative non-factors this year? I haven't even seen them make any special teams plays as of late, unless I missed some. I'm not too worried, as Timmons has been injured, and we have a veteran LB corps that may take some time to displace. But still...successful teams usually have their day one picks contributing within the first 1-2 seasons.

Im not worried at all.. if you remember back a few years. Mostly every Steeler fan was saying the SAME shit about Polamalu. Dick LeBeau's D isnt all that easy to learn either. Normally takes guys ATLEAST 1 year to get the timing and understanding down of it.

So yeah Im not to worried about where any rookie D players stands right now...
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Hercules50
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« Reply #2 on: Nov 01, 2007 at 08:07 »

Quote
Quote
7a. Is anyone else concerned that Timmons and Woodley have been relative non-factors this year? I haven't even seen them make any special teams plays as of late, unless I missed some. I'm not too worried, as Timmons has been injured, and we have a veteran LB corps that may take some time to displace. But still...successful teams usually have their day one picks contributing within the first 1-2 seasons.

Im not worried at all.. if you remember back a few years. Mostly every Steeler fan was saying the SAME shit about Polamalu. Dick LeBeau's D isnt all that easy to learn either. Normally takes guys ATLEAST 1 year to get the timing and understanding down of it.

So yeah Im not to worried about where any rookie D players stands right now...
I wonder, too, if this is planned?

In the sense that, once we get to December, we might have some very healthy, very fresh pass rushers to unleash on Brady and in the playoffs, when every key player on every other team will be tired or beat-up?

Woodley and Timmons rushing the passer in January as though it's September for them could be a big edge.
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Preacherman0
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« Reply #3 on: Nov 01, 2007 at 09:06 »

I thought Woodley looked pretty good playing that rollout by Palmer on Sunday...or was that last week?  Or both?

In response to WIH:

#1:  Not a real concern.  Few teams have a legit 3, outside of the Pats and Colts.  Using a 3 by committee is okay w/ me.

#2:  Yes

#3:  We simply don't time them or execute them well, and Ben is horrible at them.  Doesn't sell the fake nearly enough.

#4:  Clearly, the oline is our weakest link.

#6:  That's been a problem for a while, but he's improved about as much as I expect him to at this point.  I suspect we will have to deal with this throughout Ben's career, as he'll always believe he can put the ball somewhere that he can't.

#10:  Why?  The WR screen worked great in the second half vs. Denver.

#11/12:  Formations I'd like to see:  Willie Parker and Dan Kreider.

#13:  I see your point, but FWP is twice the back that Peagram ever thought about being.
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« Reply #4 on: Nov 01, 2007 at 09:35 »

One thing I'd like to see more of is Ben on designed runs.  He can pick up 10 yards pretty easily when the coverage is right.  (Uhhh, Ben... NOT head first, thanks.)  If Ben ran more, I think that would help sell some of the screen plays that haven't worked, as teams would over-pursue: throw it back to Davis or Reid or Parker or whoever, with lots of bodies cleared.

As far as reverses and end-arounds, I think they can work, but not with the OL play we've been getting.  DEs and LBs are RIGHT THERE when the ball is handed off.  With better OL play (the tired mantra), we'd be more effective.
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Hercules50
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« Reply #5 on: Nov 01, 2007 at 09:43 »

I'd like to see more of the pass plays we run in the red zone.

Ben dropping back, and firing a slant, quickly.

Between the 20s, too many of our pass plays are slow-developing summbitches. Not only does this result in Ben taking too many hits, but calling plays with different tempos could keep the defense off balance.
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« Reply #6 on: Nov 01, 2007 at 09:58 »

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Between the 20s, too many of our pass plays are slow-developing summbitches. Not only does this result in Ben taking too many hits, but calling plays with different tempos could keep the defense off balance.

I've never really understood our ongoing reluctance--over the YEARS, not just this season--to use the quick-hitters in the passing game.  Hate to beat the dead horse, but they worked extremely well in the 2nd half at Denver, and won the game for us in the finale vs. Cincy last year.
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Winters in Holland
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« Reply #7 on: Nov 01, 2007 at 10:02 »

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One thing I'd like to see more of is Ben on designed runs.  He can pick up 10 yards pretty easily when the coverage is right.  (Uhhh, Ben... NOT head first, thanks.)  If Ben ran more, I think that would help sell some of the screen plays that haven't worked, as teams would over-pursue: throw it back to Davis or Reid or Parker or whoever, with lots of bodies cleared.
I agree with this 100%

When Ben is scrambling, he has by far the highest passer rating in the entire NFL.

Yet EVERY SINGLE PASS PLAY Arians has called this year has been a straight 3- to 5-step dropback.  

The advantage of a QB rollout pass- especially for a larger QB like Ben- is that it provides him with two options, and forces the defense to choose which one to take away quickly.  If the LBs dropped back in coverage decide to break their assignment to stop Ben, it leaves men open underneath.  If they decide to stick with their coverage, it provides Ben with an easy 7-10 yard running lane.

The normal disadvantage of rollouts is that it takes the QB out of his pocket of protection.  But lately, that pocket has been collapsing so quickly that rolling out may actually buy him more time.


.WiH.
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I don't care if Lovie Smith and Tony Dungy are black. Good for them. But that doesn't change the way I feel about them. The longer we keep looking at guys like Tony Dungy and Lovie Smith as "BLACK HEAD COACHES" as opposed to just "coaches" the longer race will continue to be a problem. --DoctorJohnnyFever
Hercules50
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« Reply #8 on: Nov 01, 2007 at 11:04 »

I agree, too, with Winter's point about using Najeh earlier in the game.

Among other advantages, staggering Willie's series in odd sequences could put Willie on the field when the opponent has their backup defensive line in there, or at least some backups.

But also, I think that Najeh is just plain productive. Granted, he's as boom or bust as Willie, if not more so, so playing him isn't a recipe for consistency. But, still.  
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Finnegans Wake
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« Reply #9 on: Nov 01, 2007 at 11:21 »

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I'd like to see more of the pass plays we run in the red zone.

Ben dropping back, and firing a slant, quickly.

Between the 20s, too many of our pass plays are slow-developing summbitches. Not only does this result in Ben taking too many hits, but calling plays with different tempos could keep the defense off balance.
Great point.  We could really exploit some mismatches in coverage, too, using a guy like Willie Reid as a 4th WR.  Short slants, I guarantee Reid will burn their DB.
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