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View Full Version : Our Defensive Strategy vs. Cardinals...



mshifko
01-20-2009, 11:03 PM
first off, we're going to have to be able to stop the run on 1st and 2nd downs...that will be key...i think we'll be able to do that just fine, i'm just worried about the passing situations...

what coverages do you think will work against this cardinals offense? i'm thinking on passing downs, we might try to shift to a cover 3 and roll one of our safeties/timmons to fitz's side to try to make their WR's attack the seams, which ironically i think is going to be a decent option...we have to try to at least limit the drags, hitches, and outs that the cardinal offense loves to run...

i think if we run some cover 2 that intermediate middle (10-15 yards) will be open and they'll just be able to sit down in the soft spots, because the quick stuff is going to be their bread-butter against our 4 man pass rush...we seemed to run a lot of cover 2 against the ravens and chargers, based off my observations...

we have to make kurt warner hold onto the ball longer and i think if we go into a soft zone he'll be able to dink and dunk us all night long...trying to make him hold onto the ball a split second longer by taking away his comfort throws will do just that...question is, how do we do it?

i'm not a huge proponent of blitzing kurt warner because he's a vet who knows how to read the defense and find open zones...we have to be able to win matchups and send pressure with only sending 4 guys...we will need to have at least 7 guys in coverage the vast majority of the evening i think...

SidSmythe
01-21-2009, 01:09 PM
MSHIF....

Fitz is the KEY ... the difference between us and Philly is we can pressure the QB w/out overload blitzes & stunts. We can get to Warner w/ a tradition 4 & 5 man pass rush w/out sacrificing big holes in coverage.

We will stay cover 3 b/c of the deep threat. We have too.

We just have to roll coverage to Fitz ... he's very dangerous on the deep jump ball and the crossing pattern.

I think the Steelers do a great job at letting 1 man get all the passing yards and making teams try to beat you 1 dimensionally.

For example. If Breston wants to have a 120 yards pass catching, that's fine. We just aren't going to let FITZ have 220 yards.

steelsnis
01-21-2009, 04:59 PM
What will really be interesting is how the Cards defend against our pass rush. Watching Tunch the other night on SportsBeat, he mentioned that Baltimore kept extra backs and TE's in to block all night to keep Flacco from getting crushed but that left fewer players out to flood the field as receivers.

Will AZ max protect? Sid's right, if we can get pressure w/o bringing constant blitzes, we have a great chance to win the game.

mshifko
01-21-2009, 05:02 PM
yep...i know they're going to get yardage, we just have to find a way to limit them to 3 points or less when they get into the red zone...that's going to be another key factor

Chavezz
01-21-2009, 05:16 PM
I'm thinking that we might see Troy on Fitz in some key situations. I think it was 2 years ago that Troy was singled up on T.O. and did a great job on him.

I think we also see alot of Timmons on the field. His speed will allow him to keep up with the WR's on the underneath routes.

I think the key here isn't stopping Fitz, I don't think you can. What we have to do is stop the guy (warner) who gets him the ball. Fitz can't hurt us if warner doesn't have time to get him the ball.

We need to blitz the middle of the line and get Warner out of the pocket. He's not NEARLY as accurate when he's moving around.

The other factor is hitting Warner early and often. We don't have to get the sack but we need to make Warner aware that we're there. I've been a Warner fan for a few years and have watched quite a few games this year. Once he's rattled he can really start the meltdown. Fumbles, interceptions and bad passes can start to build up.

One thing we cannot do is sit back in zone. He's as accurate a QB as there is and he will pick us apart if we just sit back and play bend but don't break. we need to roll with what got us here and that's pressure, pressure, pressure with help deep in case that pressure doesn't get there.

I think that's something that most fans and media miss about Lebeau. He's aggressive but he does it in a way where if it gets picked up, we have a "contingency" plan in place. A player is almost always back to prevent a huge play.

SidSmythe
01-21-2009, 05:31 PM
I have a theory about double teams.

I don't understand why teams double team using their best CB. I say use youre 2nd or 3rd best CB if he's going to get help. That allows your best CB to single up on the #2 WR.

IKE & B-Mac on Boldin or Breston
Gay & Clark over FITZ

Allow Troy to play robber and take away the crossing stuff and occasionally put Timmons on the slot to jam.

flippy
01-21-2009, 05:52 PM
We can get pressure rushing 3-4 guys.

AZ needs 7 guys to block our 3-4 pass rushers which are going to likely be some combination of Debo, Smitty, Hampton, Keisel, Woodley, Farrior, and Timmons.

You've gotta double the first 3 guys. So even when we only rush 3, you've gotta keep 7 guys in to block in case we send the 4th guy. Your definitely not letting Wood, Keisel, Farrior, or Timmons potentially get a shot a Warner.

So that leaves us with 7-8 guys in coverage to defend 3 WRs.

I think we'll go more cover 2 than cover 3 so Warner can't kill us with the short passing game. And remember Warner's struggled against Tampa's cover 2 in the past.

Another thing I'd consider is putting Ike on Boldin if he's healthy or Breaston if Boldin's not up to par. Boldin is the YAC guy and Ike's our best tackler at CB and he'd shut that down.. And then double Fitz with BMac or Gay and Troy who both have better ball skills than Ike.

Bottom line, we've gotta get pressure with 3-4 guys and I'm sure we can.

Chavezz
01-21-2009, 06:08 PM
As much as I think Timmons needs to be dropped into coverage, I think his speed should be utilized on the blitz too.

Something I think Timmons should be coached on is taking the pass pro RB on straight ahead. I know this may seem contrary to what you may think but hear me out. LT isn't as strong as he needs to be yet so he ends up trying to go around the blocker, but what happens is he just gets redirected from the play.

If he takes him head on he has a chance to use his head of steam to walk the RB to the QB.

flippy
01-21-2009, 07:07 PM
As much as I think Timmons needs to be dropped into coverage, I think his speed should be utilized on the blitz too.

Something I think Timmons should be coached on is taking the pass pro RB on straight ahead. I know this may seem contrary to what you may think but hear me out. LT isn't as strong as he needs to be yet so he ends up trying to go around the blocker, but what happens is he just gets redirected from the play.

If he takes him head on he has a chance to use his head of steam to walk the RB to the QB.

He's so blazing fast, he'd knock the RB through the QB.

100$handshake
01-21-2009, 08:12 PM
Kurt Warner is tough and has a high Yards/Attempt average but the one thing he does do alot is fumble. Look for Harrison and Woodley to try and strip the football alot even when they can't quite get there for a sack. Look for Warner to lose two fumbles in this game.

mshifko
01-21-2009, 09:17 PM
Kurt Warner is tough and has a high Yards/Attempt average but the one thing he does do alot is fumble. Look for Harrison and Woodley to try and strip the football alot even when they can't quite get there for a sack. Look for Warner to lose two fumbles in this game.
good point...i remember when kurt warner was at his worst with the giants, he fumbled a lot...

jj28west
01-21-2009, 09:27 PM
This is a great thread in breaking down some potential gameplans...
I dont know if any of you buy into the psychological aspect of football but the G-MEN defense seemed to use this to their advantage. There were several defensive players interviewed weeks after the SB that were saying how sick and tired they were about if the Pats* were the greatest offense ever. Dont get me wrong, Spagnola(sp) had a masterpiece game plan to get pressure with the front four being physical and some firezone blitzes mixed in.
I read somewhere that Tomlin likes to "press buttons" also with his players. Maybe he could bust IKE's stones on media day and point out the crowd around FITZ. Say what you want but Tomlin has put the swagger back in IKE and has made him believe that he could cover anyone. At the same time how can anyone try to tell the Steelers D that they are not that good (they actually will probably be asked where do they rank with the all time best)

As far as X's & O's, I would not become passive with Kurt. He basically carved a top tier Philly D with relative ease. The timing on those opening drives were precise and in rhythm and Philly became reactive. Like several others have mentioned I would try to disrupt and in the beginning bring more than they can block. Then once this gets in his head we could come with 3 & 4 and still disrupt this rhythm while mixing coverages trying to confuse him with different looks. I dont know about you but I could never tell what Baltimore is doing on any given play.

I have only seen the strategy with overloaded blitzing backfire on us three times where we were getting burned on quick pass plays {twice against Tom Brady and the Pats*} and once against Rich Gannon of all QB's when he was with Oakland. Speaking of blitzes I have not seen the cross fire blitz with Farrior and Foote dialed up in a while. Maybe teams finally found out a protection scheme to neutralize it. How awesome is it this year when we dont have to bring 5 to get pressure!

mshifko
01-21-2009, 09:41 PM
This is a great thread in breaking down some potential gameplans...
I dont know if any of you buy into the psychological aspect of football but the G-MEN defense seemed to use this to their advantage. There were several defensive players interviewed weeks after the SB that were saying how sick and tired they were about if the Pats* were the greatest offense ever. Dont get me wrong, Spagnola(sp) had a masterpiece game plan to get pressure with the front four being physical and some firezone blitzes mixed in.
I read somewhere that Tomlin likes to "press buttons" also with his players. Maybe he could bust IKE's stones on media day and point out the crowd around FITZ. Say what you want but Tomlin has put the swagger back in IKE and has made him believe that he could cover anyone. At the same time how can anyone try to tell the Steelers D that they are not that good (they actually will probably be asked where do they rank with the all time best)

As far as X's & O's, I would not become passive with Kurt. He basically carved a top tier Philly D with relative ease. The timing on those opening drives were precise and in rhythm and Philly became reactive. Like several others have mentioned I would try to disrupt and in the beginning bring more than they can block. Then once this gets in his head we could come with 3 & 4 and still disrupt this rhythm while mixing coverages trying to confuse him with different looks. I dont know about you but I could never tell what Baltimore is doing on any given play.

I have only seen the strategy with overloaded blitzing backfire on us three times where we were getting burned on quick pass plays {twice against Tom Brady and the Pats*} and once against Rich Gannon of all QB's when he was with Oakland. Speaking of blitzes I have not seen the cross fire blitz with Farrior and Foote dialed up in a while. Maybe teams finally found out a protection scheme to neutralize it. How awesome is it this year when we dont have to bring 5 to get pressure!
i tend to buy into the pyschological aspect of the game...i think it's good that a lot of people are going to be keying in on fitz, he's a great player, but i'd prefer the spot light be off our guys for a change...this will be nice...

as for the cross fire blitz, i think that it's still tough to stop...we haven't ran it enough, IMO because i rarely see it NOT work...

for kurt warner, it's just going to be a matter of getting to him early/often...if we can do that, hopefully it'll make him uncomfortable and anxious in the pocket...kurt warner scares me, he has that veteran experience and it's hard to faze him...this matchup is a scary one IMO...i have faith in our guys though

NorthCoast
01-22-2009, 12:17 AM
'Zona is the dog in this game. I expect they will take some big chances down field, just like with Philly. The safeties are going to have to play disciplined and make sure tackles. If they get up by 10 or more, their D can be tough to deal with.

I agree with others, our best D will be a solid, long-driving, O. If we have the ball for 14 min 43 sec in a quarter we should be OK.

Steel Life
01-22-2009, 01:13 AM
Guys...not to throw water on all the suggestions but the numbers show that Warner is the best in the league throwing against a blitz - so we shouldn't. He is at his best when he can get rid of the ball quickly - he's seen it all & has got a quick trigger. But by making Warner play a guessing game with multiple players crowding the line & then dropping back or sending the unexpected guy in, we can create enough confusion on both the line & in Warner's head.

The Cards - Whiz, Warner & Fitz in particular - & the media, have fallen in love with their vertical passing attack & trick plays, so we need to frustrate them into mistakes. A more conservative defensive game-plan is the answer with brilliantly disguised blitzes thrown in. By clogging the passing lanes & letting our 3 to 4 up-front guys get to Warner - preferably up the middle - we start to get him to start moving around where our D has the advantage. I see Timmons & Gay playing more significant roles with Troy playing tighter coverage.

My main three points to consider are...
1. The Cards are weak up the middle - force the action the to force Warner to move.
2. Coverage sacks will be huge - we need to throw a wet blanket over their offense, just like the Giants did last year.
3. The best defense will be...a great running offense. Take the air out of the ball & just grind them down like we did to SD.

jj28west
01-22-2009, 07:21 PM
I see your point about not trying to blitz. When the Bills and the K gun was an offensive scoring machine the Giants (Parcells and Bellicheat) in Super Bowl 25 used a ton of a two and three man line to make Buffalo take time to drive down the field.

Does anyone remember when Warner was with the Rams what type of strategy the Pats used besides the infamous practice tapes to neutralize the greatest show on turf? I remember the Pats* being physical within the 1st 10 yards trying to knock the receiver off his timed route but I cant remember formations, etc.

I know we want to confuse with coverages but we cant let Warner feel comfortable. Timmons may be quick enough to disrupt even a guy as good as Warner against the blitz. I guess we pick our poison and hope the offense can sustain some drives.

Steel Life
01-24-2009, 09:30 AM
I see your point about not trying to blitz. When the Bills and the K gun was an offensive scoring machine the Giants (Parcells and Bellicheat) in Super Bowl 25 used a ton of a two and three man line to make Buffalo take time to drive down the field.

Does anyone remember when Warner was with the Rams what type of strategy the Pats used besides the infamous practice tapes to neutralize the greatest show on turf? I remember the Pats* being physical within the 1st 10 yards trying to knock the receiver off his timed route but I cant remember formations, etc.

I know we want to confuse with coverages but we cant let Warner feel comfortable. Timmons may be quick enough to disrupt even a guy as good as Warner against the blitz. I guess we pick our poison and hope the offense can sustain some drives.
The way I see it...Timmons (& Farrior) will be crucial to the for their ability to help cover the crossing routes in front of them as much as their blitzing. Timmons is the fastest LB we have & he can help out with Breaston & definitely cover Arrington on 3rd downs.

Something else - there were a few plays where Harrison & Woodley flipped sides against the Ravens & one time it produced a sack for Woodley. I hope this continues because the OT's for AZ will be coached up against who they think they'll normally take on & it might provide enough of an adantage to get a big play or two. Matter of fact if the RT looks up & sees Harrison across from him on an obvious passing down, he might just sh1t his pants right there.

jj28west
01-31-2009, 09:22 AM
One thing that a lot of you pointed out and in a lot of football X's & O's analysis articles I have been reading has caused me to change my thoughts on how we play them defensively. At 1st I thought the Steelers D (as good as they are) should on the 1st couple drives should go after him and try to disrupt his timing.

I now have seen enough film where Kurt (with Wiz's play calling) destroyed and even toyed with some blitz packages. He is literally getting rid of the ball in less than 2 seconds! I know we are getting pressure with only 4 where in the past we needed Troy, etc to blitz but coming from the edge (even with SilverBack/Wood) may even take too long in many cases.

Instead maybe we can dial up the cross fire blitz up the middle in the right situations on occasion and have Timmons shoot those gaps around the center when Casey, Brett, and Aaron can occupy two guys.
Thanks

As far as the DB's, keep everything in front and let them take time to move the ball. There was a statistic where I saw when this spread offense goes 4-5 wide that they had an incredible positive yardage percentage rate. Experts claim that this spells trouble for a 3-4 alignment but one thing that they still underestimate is our lateral speed.
Anyone else change their minds on what we expect from the D?

Also, I only see what TV shows me but what type of coverages did we typically use in the secondary against a offense like the Colts that feature playmaker receivers? I do see when we blitz from a specific side the quarterback is able to sometimes throw a quick out on the blitzing side for a 10 yard gain because Ike (by design) plays soft as part of the D play scheme.

BradshawsHairdresser
01-31-2009, 11:09 AM
I'm thinking that we might see Troy on Fitz in some key situations. I think it was 2 years ago that Troy was singled up on T.O. and did a great job on him.

I think we also see alot of Timmons on the field. His speed will allow him to keep up with the WR's on the underneath routes.

I think the key here isn't stopping Fitz, I don't think you can. What we have to do is stop the guy (warner) who gets him the ball. Fitz can't hurt us if warner doesn't have time to get him the ball.

We need to blitz the middle of the line and get Warner out of the pocket. He's not NEARLY as accurate when he's moving around.

The other factor is hitting Warner early and often. We don't have to get the sack but we need to make Warner aware that we're there. I've been a Warner fan for a few years and have watched quite a few games this year. Once he's rattled he can really start the meltdown. Fumbles, interceptions and bad passes can start to build up.

One thing we cannot do is sit back in zone. He's as accurate a QB as there is and he will pick us apart if we just sit back and play bend but don't break. we need to roll with what got us here and that's pressure, pressure, pressure with help deep in case that pressure doesn't get there.

I think that's something that most fans and media miss about Lebeau. He's aggressive but he does it in a way where if it gets picked up, we have a "contingency" plan in place. A player is almost always back to prevent a huge play.

Excellent post.

Mick'sTeam
02-01-2009, 12:23 AM
I think the biggest thing our D needs to do is disrupt the timing of the passing game. If you watch the Philly game, they gave Fitz a 10-yard cushion at the line of scrimmage. It's pretty easy for Warner to take two steps and get rid of the ball quickly when the defender is ten yards away. We need to be physical and jam the receivers at the line. This will throw the timing of the quick slants and passes off and force Warner to hold the ball longer than he wants; allowing Woodley and Harrison to do their thing.

jj28west
02-01-2009, 11:38 AM
I think the biggest thing our D needs to do is disrupt the timing of the passing game. If you watch the Philly game, they gave Fitz a 10-yard cushion at the line of scrimmage. It's pretty easy for Warner to take two steps and get rid of the ball quickly when the defender is ten yards away. We need to be physical and jam the receivers at the line. This will throw the timing of the quick slants and passes off and force Warner to hold the ball longer than he wants; allowing Woodley and Harrison to do their thing.

I have been noticing that this year Tomlin or Mr Lebeau has been getting the corners to play a little tighter then the usual cushion they used to give that seemed to be always there. I could swear the Pats* did this when Warner had the speed receivers {Holt, Bruce, Hakeem(sp)} for the Rams in the Super Bowl.