I've watched a few more pre-game shows, Playbook breakdowns and replays of some Cards games from this past year and there are a few things that I'd just like to throw out there.
Blitz the statue, relentlessly
I had mentioned this earlier last week on another thread and at this point, I'd like to pull a total 180. I think Pittsburgh should do very little blitzing in this one. A few timed blitzes here and there, but that's it. Sure, they might look like they're gonna bring the house by having like 6 or 7 on the LOS, but it should serve only to confuse. Give 'em the look, but drop back at the last second. Almost all of the Cards' big plays came on plays where the opposition blitzed, Warner checked to a hot read and dumped it quickly. Then
, his playmakers took over and turned those quick decisions into big plays.
Compare that to those situations where the defense forced Warner to hold the ball longer; to maneuver in the pocket; to have to find an open receiver. In those instances, he struggled, big time. The longer that internal clock ticked, the happier those feet got which resulted in poor decisions.
In conjunction with that, Pittsburgh needs to do their best at collapsing the pocket up the middle.
Edge rushes didn't seem to faze Warner as much. He usually was able to step up and quickly unload. However, when guys got up in his face and the pocket was compromised, he was extremely ineffective. If that means moving guys like Woodley or Harrison up inside on the line somewhere between the tackles to mix things up, so be it.
To really counteract their attack, I might even scrap the base D altogether and play give 'em a nickel look most of the game. Slide Woodley down onto the end, with Harrison and Timmons roaming the middle and five DBs playing behind. Try to get as much pressure with 4 and an occasional 5 and force Arizona to beat 'em on the ground.
Long and short of it, keep the ball in Warner's hands and out of their playmaker's hands as long as possible. Make them press and force the issue resulting in a mistake or two.
One other thing that I noticed, not only does Warner do a good job of getting rid of it quickly, but he also does a very good job of looking defenders off. At the snap, he'll stare down the SE only to quickly turn and dump it off to the opposite side of the field. That's the kind of thing that can really neutralize a swarming D like Pittsburgh's that has guys that are constantly reading the QBs eyes and "cheating" one way or another.