View Full Version : Steelers wise to follow Dallas' lead

09-13-2008, 04:15 PM
Steelers wise to follow Dallas' lead
http://www.timesonline.com/articles/200 ... 784852.txt (http://www.timesonline.com/articles/2008/09/11/sports/steelers/doc48c9ed95cea72887784852.txt)

By Mike Bires
Times Sports Staff
Published: Friday, September 12, 2008 12:19 AM EDT
PITTSBURGH — If it’s true that the NFL is a copycat league, the Steelers’ game plan Sunday night ought to be pass, pass and pass some more.

After all, when the Dallas Cowboys whipped the Cleveland Browns last week, quarterback Tony Romo had a field day. In a 28-10 romp, Romo threw for 320 yards.

Obviously, the Cowboys exploited a young and injury-riddled Browns’ secondary. Yet, doesn’t it make sense that the Steelers will do the same?

“It depends on how the game goes,” wide receiver Hines Ward said. “We still have Willie Parker. We’ll still try to mix it up and be balanced. If we start slinging the ball all over the place, then (the media) will be questioning why we didn’t run Willie Parker.”

Parker, the Steelers’ Pro Bowl running back, opened with a bang last week by rushing for 138 yards and three touchdowns on 25 carries. Because the Steelers rolled over the Houston Texans, 38-17, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger only dropped back to pass 16 times in three quarters of play.

But considering the Browns’ troubles in the secondary, the Steelers may find it hard not to throw more.

At cornerback, the Browns start two second-year pros in Brandon McDonald and Eric Wright.

On Thursday, strong safety Sean Jones had arthroscopic surgery to fix a damaged knee. He’s out indefinitely. At free safety, Brodney Pool is questionable after missing the opener with a concussion.

In fact, the Browns — who’ve lost nine straight to the Steelers — just might have the league’s worst secondary.

It’s hard to imagine that cast will have much success defending Ward, Santonio Holmes, Nate Washington and tight end Heath Miller.

The Browns couldn’t cover Romo’s targets. Tight end Jason Witten caught six passes for 96 yards. Wide receivers Patrick Crayton and Terrell Owens combined for 11 catches, 169 yards and a touchdown.

“The guys the Browns have now (in the secondary), those are quality guys. They’re just young,” said Ward, an 11th-year pro who has more career starts (136) than all of the Browns’ defensive backs combined. “They’re talented. They just don’t have a lot of playing time under their belts.

“So we definitely would like to exploit that. Hopefully, we can get some match-ups that Santonio and I can take advantage of and make some plays.”

Last year in two wins over the Browns, the Steelers had success running and throwing. Parker rushed for 105 and 109 yards, respectively. Roethlisberger threw for 161 and 278 yards and compiled an excellent passer rating of 114.3 and a better-than-average rating of 99.9.

“We’re concerned about our personality and playing to our strengths,” coach Mike Tomlin said. “What Dallas was able to do was right and good for Dallas. It may play out very differently (on Sunday) because we’re not Dallas. We’re the Steelers.

“We’re going to put together our plan. Of course, that will include some passing. But we’re not going to try to mirror what Dallas did. We’ve got to play to our strengths.”

That’s the company line. But no one will be surprised if Roethlisberger riddles the Browns’ secondary just like Romo did.

09-13-2008, 05:34 PM
I'm glad Ben has an extra half day to rest that shoulder. If things go well, it'll be a repeat of last week - 21-0, then let FWP loose.

09-13-2008, 05:34 PM
I'm glad Ben has an extra half day to rest that shoulder. If things go well, it'll be a repeat of last week - 21-0, then let FWP loose.

09-14-2008, 02:00 PM
The Steelers tend to be ideologues. They will go close to 50/50 run/pass because 'that's what they do' regardless of the opponent. I'm just happy they will go for it a little more by throwing than in the Cowher era.