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Author Topic: Advance Scouting Report  (Read 696 times)
Big Virgil
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« on: Dec 06, 2007 at 12:54 »

Are there any ESPN "insiders" that can post the link or text for the Advance scouting report for the Patsy Steeler game? Just curious what the ESPN "machine" is propaganda-ing.   The link is below.  Thanks.



http://proxy.espn.go.com/nfl/scouting
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Looks like you've been missing a lot of work lately.
I wouldn't say I've been *missing* it, Bob.
aj_law
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« Reply #1 on: Dec 06, 2007 at 13:07 »

Several good points here.

Why To Watch
The Steelers are the last team with the best opportunity to derail the Patriots' quest to finish the 2007 regular season at 16-0. The Pittsburgh Steelers are an elite AFC team, but where does that put them versus the Patriots, who have shown they are a cut above the elite teams in the NFL. This game will feature the best offense statistically in the NFL in the Patriots versus the best defense statistically in the NFL in the Steelers. Will the Steelers be able to beat the Patriots at their own game by using the spread offense and throwing from the shotgun? Do the Patriots have enough speed in the back seven to deal with Pittsburgh's versatility on offense? Will the Steelers' No. 3 ranked run game be able to control the clock and keep QB Tom Brady and his explosive offense on the sidelines?

When the Steelers have the ball
Rushing: The Steelers are ranked No. 3 in the NFL in run offense. Even though they are ranked so high, Pittsburgh has not been able to consistently run the ball as efficiently as they would like and they have not been able to pound it at will when they have needed to. This new-look Pittsburgh offense is more pass-first and run second, but they are going to need the ground game this week. The Patriots first close call this season came in Indianapolis where the Colts were able to control the tempo of the game on the ground with RB Joseph Addai. Steelers RB Willie Parker has some similar characteristics that give him an opportunity to make some plays this week.

The Patriots are ranked No. 6 in the NFL against the run. However, those numbers are deceiving. They gave up 179 yards at Miami, Dallas ran for a 6.0 yards per carry and the Colts ran it at will on the ground as well. The Patriots ranking versus the run is based more on them blowing out opposing teams and forcing them to use the passing game. New England is getting a little long in the tooth at the LB position. They are a veteran unit, but Tedy Bruschi, Mike Vrabel and Junior Seau in particular do not run nearly as well as they once did. They still have very good speed with Adalius Thomas, but overall the speed of the LB unit is suspect and it makes the entire defense vulnerable to the speed that "fast" Willie Parker brings to the table.

For Pittsburgh to run the ball they will have to get a good push up front from the interior of their offensive line, in particular guards Alan Faneca and Kendall Simmons. Look for the Steelers to try to run the ball wide this week and force a slow Patriots LB unit to play in pursuit. Parker has the speed to get the edge in this game and can make people miss or run by people at the second and third levels.

Passing: While the Colts showed one way to move the ball versus the Patriots' defense, the Eagles showed another. The Eagles spread the field with multiple-receiver sets and threw quickly from the shotgun formation. One of the staples of Pittsburgh's passing game in definite passing situations is to put three and four receivers into the game and play from either empty or one-back sets. The key to being effective in this formation is the ability to protect the QB. Pittsburgh has allowed 35 sacks this season, which ranks them No. 24 in the NFL. Now some of that is the offensive line, but a good part of it is that QB Ben Roethlisberger has never seen a sack attempt he did not think he could fight his way out of. It is hard to fault him for that though because he does possess excellent size and strength. Plus, he does break tackles and make plays when it appears the defender has a shot to get him wrapped up.

Look for New England to mix up its approach defensively in this game. At times the Pats will sit back and drop seven or eight while trying to get into passing lanes and at other times they will bring multiple defenders to create pressure. The Patriots' packages will be predicated on down and distance, which means it will be imperative for the Steelers to have some success on early downs and stay out of third-and-long situations.

Pittsburgh has one of the most underrated receivers in the NFL in Hines Ward. He can play a major role in this game in terms of picking up first downs and keeping time of possession. The Steelers will try to get him matched up as often as possible on No. 2 CB Ellis Hobbs. TE Heath Miller also needs to be a factor this week in the passing game as they will try to get him matched up versus SS Rodney Harrison, who is much better against the run. There will be plenty of plays to be made versus the Patriots' defense because it is a unit void of speed and athletic ability. The Pats would like to play this game in tight quarters, so it is up to Steelers to try to play in space where they will have the advantage.

When the Patriots have the ball
Rushing: New England is ranked No. 8 rushing the football, despite not staying patient with the run game. This could be an issue this week versus the No. 2 ranked Pittsburgh run defense. It is very difficult to run versus the Steelers because they can make an offense frustrated and one dimensional. If New England struggles to run the ball, look for it to use RBs Laurence Maroney and Kevin Faulk out of the backfield to off-set the speed of Pittsburgh's front seven. To run the ball versus Pittsburgh there must be a push up front at the center position. There will be a big-time and intense battle inside in this game between C Dan Koppen and NT Casey Hampton. Hampton is almost impossible to block without a double team, but doing that essentially opens up holes in the A and B gaps for ILBs James Farrior and Larry Foote to run through.

New England does not like to run from a standard I-formation. However, Pittsburgh is very tough to run on from a one-back set because not having that lead FB to block Farrior and Foote gives them the opportunity to play downhill and straight through the hole. Pittsburgh is also very tough to run wide on because of the speed it's front seven possesses. The Steelers play fast and they play well laterally. Pittsburgh safety Troy Polamalu will play his usual role, which means he will align all over the field. However, we think a key for Pittsburgh in this game will be its ability to stop the run with seven and sometimes even six defenders in the box. That will allow Polamalu to be in coverage more in this game, where they are going to need him more versus a New England pass offense that is one of the best to come down the road in a long, long time.

Passing: Brady and the Patriots have the No. 1 ranked pass offense in the NFL and they are number one by a big margin. Brady is having a career season and putting up huge passing numbers on a weekly basis. Weather could play somewhat of a factor this week depending on storm movement, but even bad/cold weather has not really put a dent in what the Patriots can do with their passing game. The Patriots' spread offense gives opposing defenses fits and it is something the Steelers' defense has struggled to deal with in recent years.

The first thing Pittsburgh will have to decide is what it is going to do on early downs if New England spreads the field. If New England comes out in the spread, will Pittsburgh stay with its base defense on early downs? If the Steelers don't, it will limit the snaps they get from Hampton because he is not a consistent figure in Pittsburgh's sub-packages. The Steelers are most comfortable in their base defensive package, so they may opt to stick with that on early downs versus the spread to see how they can deal with it. However another 3-4 defense, the San Diego Chargers, tried to take that approach and it did not work very well.

Pittsburgh has received much better play this season in the backend. The Steelers have the No. 1 ranked pass defense in the NFL and did a great job holding Bengals WR Chad Johnson to one catch for four yards in Week 13. The one advantage Pittsburgh has over any offense it plays is that is is always the more physical team. Look for the Steelers to get physical in this game. Do not expect to see many free releases for WR Randy Moss this week because they will use CB Ike Taylor, who possesses very good size, to jam him and re-route him at the line of scrimmage.

Also look for Pittsburgh to play more zone after the jam. One of the strengths of Pittsburgh's defense is its ability to zone blitz. A lot of teams in the NFL blitz and have to play man in the back end, which would allow Brady make them pay. However, Pittsburgh will blitz and back it up with zone hoping that forces Brady to hold the ball a split second longer for them to get some hits and try to rattle him. One guy to watch on Pittsburgh's defense is Harrison. He has a knack for being in the right spot and forcing fumbles versus the run or during his pass rush. LOT Matt Light and ROT Nick Kaczur will have to play their best games of the season if they are going to keep Brady clean this week.


Special Teams  
Both of these teams are pretty sound in the special teams department. Pittsburgh has veteran return specialist Allen Rossum who has been fairly quiet of late, but is a big-play threat with the ball in his hands and has shown a knack for coming up big in big situations over his career. New England's return units are ranked in the top-10 in kickoff and punt returns. Both teams do a pretty solid job with their cover units and are defensive-oriented teams, which also carries over to their cover units. However, Pittsburgh has had some issues this season versus solid return teams ala the Cleveland Browns. New England has a slight edge in the return and cover units, but Pittsburgh has the edge in the kicking game, which could prove vital in a close game.


Pittsburgh is the clear underdog in this game. And one way to win a game as an underdog is to find and negate the hidden yards that come via special teams. If the Steelers are going to pull the upset, they must win the special teams battle in this football game.


Scouts Inc. watches games, breaks down film and studies football from all angles for ESPN.com.
« Last Edit: Dec 06, 2007 at 13:08 by aj_law » Logged

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aj_law
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« Reply #2 on: Dec 06, 2007 at 13:14 »

They were doing very well and making good points until they got to this part:

Special Teams
Both of these teams are pretty sound in the special teams department.


Really, their whole Special Teams analysis is junk, but the rest is pretty good; especially for the four letter network.
« Last Edit: Dec 06, 2007 at 13:15 by aj_law » Logged

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Cogitobsw
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« Reply #3 on: Dec 06, 2007 at 13:43 »

Wait, where's the discussion of bulletin board material?
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« Reply #4 on: Dec 06, 2007 at 13:59 »

Quote
Look for the Steelers to try to run the ball wide this week and force a slow Patriots LB unit to play in pursuit.

I'll be looking.  We haven't been all that good in offensively gameplanning against opponent weaknesses, though, IMO.  I expect plenty of runs up the gut.

Quote
The Patriots' packages will be predicated on down and distance, which means it will be imperative for the Steelers to have some success on early downs and stay out of third-and-long situations.

Ummm, pretty much all our 3rd downs are 3rd and long.

Quote
Steelers will try to get him [Ward] matched up as often as possible on No. 2 CB Ellis Hobbs.

If Holmes is healthy, I like him against Hobbs for the home run.

Quote
TE Heath Miller also needs to be a factor this week in the passing game as they will try to get him matched up versus SS Rodney Harrison, who is much better against the run.

No shit.  We should do this... all... day... long.  Which means you won't see any passes to Miller against Harrison after the first quarter.

Quote
Pittsburgh safety Troy Polamalu will play his usual role, which means he will align all over the field. However, we think a key for Pittsburgh in this game will be its ability to stop the run with seven and sometimes even six defenders in the box.

Agree.  If they spread the field as I expect, I'd go 6 in the box, with plenty of ****-like movement pre-snap, and the occasional blitz to keep Brady guessing.  But most of the time, drop into coverage.

Quote
Do not expect to see many free releases for WR Randy Moss this week because they will use CB Ike Taylor, who possesses very good size, to jam him and re-route him at the line of scrimmage... Also look for Pittsburgh to play more zone after the jam.

We don't really do a lot of jamming at the LOS, especially against spread teams.  We'll try to force them to take the smaller yardage situations, which is fine, except that Brady is the master of both dinking and dunking.  We can't go for the jam, let any WR get past his man and get an easy 6.  So we keep them in front of us.

I think Anthony Smith will have to be patient in his deep zone, and it will be up to Troy and Potsy to disrupt routes.  If they can bust up routes, that will allow the CBs to make a jump.  It's gonna be a real chess match.

Quote
One guy to watch on Pittsburgh's defense is Harrison. He has a knack for being in the right spot and forcing fumbles versus the run or during his pass rush. LOT Matt Light and ROT Nick Kaczur will have to play their best games of the season if they are going to keep Brady clean this week.

Silverback is a liability in coverage, but he's better than Peazy was as a pass rusher.  He'll be lined up more on Light, who will hold him every chance he gets, with a free pass from the refs.  Hope James has a game like he did against McNair...


Stuff not mentioned:

I'd like to see Woodley get more reps in 3rd down pass rush situations.

If it's a goal line situation and Vrabel comes in, someone needs to punish him.  I am sick of that little dog and pony show.

Anthony Smith needs to lay some motherfuckers OUT.

Matt Spaeth WILL score a TD this week.  Book it.

I expect FWP to do very little.  This will be a battle of passing teams.
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msdmnr2002
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« Reply #5 on: Dec 06, 2007 at 16:31 »

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If it's a goal line situation and Vrabel comes in, someone needs to punish him. I am sick of that little dog and pony show.

I have never understood in goal line situations, why teams don't assign one player to knock the TE on his ass every time.  He shouldn't be allowed off the line of scrimmage.  
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VThrilla18
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« Reply #6 on: Dec 06, 2007 at 17:08 »

Quote
Quote
If it's a goal line situation and Vrabel comes in, someone needs to punish him. I am sick of that little dog and pony show.

I have never understood in goal line situations, why teams don't assign one player to knock the TE on his ass every time.  He shouldn't be allowed off the line of scrimmage.
actually its a touchy rule.. the TE can "block"/"pick" a defender... but to shit can a TE on a PA pass is most of the time called holding or illegal contact.
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LambertsFrontTeeth
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« Reply #7 on: Dec 06, 2007 at 17:17 »

Can you cut the TE at the line?
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