View Full Version : Expecting the unexpected

10-16-2009, 01:33 AM
Expecting the unexpected
October 15th, 2009
http://blog.triblive.com/view-from-the- ... nexpected/ (http://blog.triblive.com/view-from-the-press-box/2009/10/15/expecting-the-unexpected/)

Film study of an upcoming opponent is a vital part of the preparation leading up to a game.

Yet to hear free safety Ryan Clark talk, it’s a little like studying for a test only to find out the questions on it are completely different than what was expected.

At least for the Steelers’ defense.

“It’s frustrating at times because you do all that studying all week and you don’t get what you’re expecting,” Clark said.

That teams add wrinkles or save plays specifically for when they meet the Steelers is the ultimate sign of respect for a unit that finished first in the NFL last season in scoring, passing and total defense.

It may also explain why teams have had success offensively against the Steelers this season.

“You play a San Diego whose been a vertical team all year and they throw what four vertical passes (against the Steelers)?” Clark said. “They’ve completed more than that in every game.”

Last Sunday’s game in Detroit also served as an example of teams showing one thing on film and something different when they play the Steelers.

The Lions got a first down on an 8-yard run by Jerome Felton on third down. They also gashed the Steelers for 16 yards on a screen pass to tight end Will Heller. They were, as coach Mike Tomlin would put it, thoughtfully non-rythmic in their offensive approach to the game.

In other words, they weren’t predictable.

“We watch film, watch film, watch film of other defenses and then when we get to (an opponent) their tendencies changes because they’ve got a totally different package for the Pittsburgh Steelers,” cornerback William Gay said.

Not that the Steelers are using it as an excuse.

But if they have learned one thing this season it is this: the one thing they should expect from opposing offenses is the unexpected.