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fordfixer
09-23-2008, 01:09 AM
Tomlin plans to remain patient in decisions concerning offensive front
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
By Ed Bouchette, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/08267/914308-66.stm

Steelers coach Mike Tomlin showed last season that he would not tolerate ineffectiveness on the playing field when he benched Anthony Smith as his starting free safety.

It took Tomlin, however, eight games before he turned from Smith to Tyrone Carter, who replaced him in the 15th game of the season.

Tomlin sounded as if he will take a similar, patient approach toward any personnel moves in the aftermath of Ben Roethlisberger's Bloody Sunday in Philadelphia.

"I'm not going to have a knee-jerk reaction," Tomlin said Sunday night.

He also might not have Roethlisberger around long if it does not stop. After three games, Roethlisberger has sustained a hyperextended knee, a slightly separated right shoulder and an unspecified injury to his right hand from the smackdown by the Eagles in Philadelphia.


X-rays on Roethlisberger's hand taken in the game showed no broken bones. Tomlin said he would have more information on the injury by yesterday morning, but declined to release that information publicly.

Finding a way to protect their quarterback is not an issue that just developed. Roethlisberger was sacked 46 times in 2006, then sacked 47 times last season. Those represent the second- and third-most sacks suffered by a Steelers quarterback since at least the 1969 season, long before the statistic became official.

Only Cliff Stoudt was sacked more often in one season, 51 times in 1983.
Under Pressure

At this rate, however, that many sacks could be a relative soft landing for their quarterback. Roethlisberger is on pace for 64 sacks. His rate of sacks to pass attempts last season was 11.6 percent. This year, it's 20.3 percent.

The Steelers are passing less and Roethlisberger's getting bounced around more.

The Steelers changed their starting right tackle and center in 2007, and their starting left guard and center again this season. Tomlin and the players say it involves more than just the five starting offensive linemen because there are all kinds of factors that go into pass protection, and not just blocking.

There are, for example, "hot" routes -- predetermined short routes receivers run when they recognize a blitz. There is the protection call, which Roethlisberger was given the freedom to adjust last season at the line of scrimmage. There is awareness in and out of the pocket by the quarterback. There must be receivers who hang onto passes -- Hines Ward, Rashard Mendenhall and Santonio Holmes dropped catchable passes Sunday. And there has to be successful plays to keep a rampaging defense off balance -- draws, screens and the like.

The Steelers got little of that Sunday as their offense was dazed and confused in Philadelphia.

"Yes, it starts with protection," Ward said, "but we had guys breaking hots, we missed some hots and sometimes that saves some hits of your quarterback.

"We had different guys blocking different guys. A lot of guys were thinking. When you're thinking out there, you're losing your proper technique and consequently you're going to get beat one on one. You do think you have a guy, but you don't know if it's the right guy or not.

"We have to see that defensive front again and have everyone on the same page and make sure we pick up those fronts. It wasn't that different a blitz but we had two guys on one man and let one go free and consequently Ben got hit on a lot of those plays."

Ward peppered everyone with blame.

"The quarterbacks, receivers, tight ends, running backs," he stated. "The quarterbacks missing hots, the receivers missing hots, the tight ends missing hots."

And that's not all.

"We thought one protection slid the other way but it actually was to the right. There were times we thought we were hot on the right when actually we were hot on the left. It's a matter of not having 11 guys on the same page."

And that's not all.

"When we tried to run [the snap] on 'three' it was just a matter of losing focus. Big Juicy [guard Chris Kemoeatu], we told everyone on 'three, on three.' He jumps on 'three;' it's a lack of concentration."

That would have been a false start, one of two by Kemoeatu. He wasn't alone, though. Everyone on offense had a hand in it.

Tomlin has alternatives -- as one example, he has $7 million backup tackle Max Starks, who started when the Steelers won Super Bowl XL. He has veteran tackle Trai Essex, who can play guard, too, but did not dress on Sunday, and second-year guard-center Darnell Stapleton.

He also has shown he has something else available to him -- patience, and it appears more than anything that is what he will deploy to try to stop the bleeding of his quarterback.


Ed Bouchette can be reached at ebouchette@post-gazette.com.
First published on September 23, 2008 at 12:00 am

steelblood
09-23-2008, 08:17 AM
a few of those sacks were on individual lineman that were beat. most were a result of poor execution or poor scheme. These can be remedied. The question is, can captain smut zierlin and arians do that. Considering that Arians can't design a decent screen play, probably not.

BigBen2112
09-23-2008, 10:15 AM
Its time for Tomlin to blame the coaching staff.

Their game-plan and lack of adapting to what the Eagles were doing is extremely troublesome.

The OL does suck, but what the hell will changing sh*t for sh*t do?

Change the coaches and then things might happen.

SanAntonioSteelerFan
09-23-2008, 11:03 AM
In my mind, it's not being rash and impulsive to consider wholesale changes at this time.
The clock didn't start this past Sunday,this horrible inability to protect our QB was apparent last year, the time for patience was then, and the clock ran out on that this past Sunday evening.

OK - as fans and message board coaches we don't have the ability to view the game films, or to get the information from the post-game coaches debriefing or whatever it was called. So maybe we're not aware that maybe there are a few tangible fixes that can make it all better, or at least let our high powered offense win games and keep Ben from getting crippled.

But the bottom line is performance. I think it is reasonable, no it is mandatory, for wholesale changes to be made if there are not significant improvements against the Ravens this Monday night. And I mean major league friggin' changes, not the kind that are described like "We took some important steps forward this week against the Ravens, and we feel we are on the the right path to where we need to be. Oh, and we expect Leftwich to step up and produce, we are are professionals, and that is what professional football players do. And we wish Ben the best of luck in rehabbing and hope he will be back in time for next season" :twisted:

BigBen2112
09-23-2008, 11:07 AM
If Ben gets sacked 1/3 as much or 1/2 as much against the Ravens then changes need to be made b/c the game plan should be 1) Protect Ben, 2) PROTECT Ben, 3) PROTECT BEN...and if they fail at that then changes need to be made.

3-4-5 sacks against the Ravens with this OL is MORE than realistic. And if that happens wholesale changes need to be made.

Oviedo
09-23-2008, 01:01 PM
In my mind, it's not being rash and impulsive to consider wholesale changes at this time.
The clock didn't start this past Sunday,this horrible inability to protect our QB was apparent last year, the time for patience was then, and the clock ran out on that this past Sunday evening.

OK - as fans and message board coaches we don't have the ability to view the game films, or to get the information from the post-game coaches debriefing or whatever it was called. So maybe we're not aware that maybe there are a few tangible fixes that can make it all better, or at least let our high powered offense win games and keep Ben from getting crippled.

But the bottom line is performance. I think it is reasonable, no it is mandatory, for wholesale changes to be made if there are not significant improvements against the Ravens this Monday night. And I mean major league friggin' changes, not the kind that are described like "We took some important steps forward this week against the Ravens, and we feel we are on the the right path to where we need to be. Oh, and we expect Leftwich to step up and produce, we are are professionals, and that is what professional football players do. And we wish Ben the best of luck in rehabbing and hope he will be back in time for next season" :twisted:

You have to remember that new and different is bound to be better :wink: