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View Full Version : If the problem was the defense- how do YOU fix it?



Chadman
01-06-2010, 09:00 AM
Go on- give your "can't fail" opinions on what direction the Steelers should go that turns it all around for next season & the triumphant return to the Super Bowl.

SteelAbility
01-06-2010, 09:11 AM
Add Troy. Can't fail. :moon

MaxAMillion
01-06-2010, 10:16 AM
I am not sure there is an easy answer to this question. The Steelers had one of the oldest defenses in the league. They also were missing their usual quality depth on defense. I am not sure you can fix it in one off season. The team needs to add at least two safeties, an OLB for depth, a NT, and an ILB (probably in the draft). I also think the OL needs to be upgraded. Colbert has done a poor job constructing the OL. There are a lot of problems that need to be fixed.

Can we really expect Aaron Smith or Troy P to play 16 games anymore? Both players have battled mutiple injuries and they have a lot of wear on the tires. Do we have replacements on the roster for either player that allow the defense to work at a high level? I don't think we do.

I have pointed out to some of my Steeler friends that the drafts have not been as productive as in the 90's and the team has been headed for a fall. Either the Steelers need to be more active in FA or they need to draft better in the middle rounds.

frankthetank1
01-06-2010, 11:37 AM
I am not sure there is an easy answer to this question. The Steelers had one of the oldest defenses in the league. They also were missing their usual quality depth on defense. I am not sure you can fix it in one off season. The team needs to add at least two safeties, an OLB for depth, a NT, and an ILB (probably in the draft). I also think the OL needs to be upgraded. Colbert has done a poor job constructing the OL. There are a lot of problems that need to be fixed.

Can we really expect Aaron Smith or Troy P to play 16 games anymore? Both players have battled mutiple injuries and they have a lot of wear on the tires. Do we have replacements on the roster for either player that allow the defense to work at a high level? I don't think we do.

I have pointed out to some of my Steeler friends that the drafts have not been as productive as in the 90's and the team has been headed for a fall. Either the Steelers need to be more active in FA or they need to draft better in the middle rounds.

huh? if anything i think the steelers drafts have been much better this past decade than the 90's. i remember a good number of busts in the first few rounds in the 90's. not so much in this past decade though. every team struggles to find success in the middle rounds

ramblinjim
01-06-2010, 11:49 AM
I think the D will be helped with a youth infusion. We drafted DL in the first round last year, it needs to come early in this draft too. We probably need to pick up a veteran free agent for our DL too, someone like Kemo Von Olhoffen that is pretty darn good but under the radar a little bit, that can help us out for a couple of years.

I've been screaming for Sonny Harris to play but the fact that we had Keisel out last game and he couldn't crack the top 40 makes me think that he just isn't as good as I had hoped. Back to the drawing board. You can't always hit on a 6th round pick.

We need a better starting corner than Gay. Hopefully Lewis can be it. Gay could very well be a pretty good, professional nickel back guy. I don't know. Joe Burnett will get some time in that role too. Ike Taylor makes me crazy but then I think back to the Chad Scott Dwayne Washington days and think "well at least Ike can run with most of the receivers"....There may not be a corner in the draft that is worth picking in the 1st round where we pick. I'm no draft expert but the scuttlebut I've heard on this board and others is that CB is a little scarce this year and there could be a stud safety or two on the board. So maybe we grab either the stud safety or the stud DL in the first round again.

ILB just looks like a problem. Farrior is a savvy vet but just can't run with the likes of Ray Rice anymore. Maybe there is a six year younger James Farrior floating around somewhere in free agency that we can pluck. That would be ideal. Oh and we have to find some team willing to part with said Farrior clone.

My ideal draft, the way I see things right now (which means it will change by noon today probably) is this.

1st round - Best value DL, ILB, or Safety
2nd round - Best value DL, ILB or Safety
3rd round - Best value, DL, ILB or Safety

papillon
01-06-2010, 12:03 PM
Nose tackle is the biggest issue in my estimation. What they do here will determine how the draft unfolds.

If Hampton will take (unlikely) the salary of a two down player and a 3 year contract I'd re-sign him. If he won't, unfortunately, I'd have to let him walk and look to NT in the first round and use Hoke and the rookie next year.

If Aaron Smith retires then Hood becomes a full time DE. If he doesn't then Smith and Kiesel will be the DEs, but Hood and Eason will need to see the field a greater number of plays than this year. I think the Steelers are okay here for a year or two. In an ideal world Smith comes back and plays well. I'd hate to have Hoke/rookie at NT and 2nd year Hood at RDE along with Kiesel.

Until Harrison becomes something less than what he's been the past three years I'd put Timmons back in the role he had in 2008, but expand it to include a breather for Harrison on occasion, take Fox's spot in passing situations and as relief for Farrior. Insert Fox where Timmons played this year. I think something like this will maximize Timmons explosiveness and disguise the defense a bit. He may not be able to handle ILB and OLB, but I'd give it a try. Timmons will get his chance to be an OLB when Harrison steps down or becomes ineffective, be patient.

The secondary is a disaster right now with or without Troy. There are absolutely no playmakers back there. Gay and Carter are not starting caliber NFL players at their respective positions. Obviously, get Troy healthy and take him off the kick blocking teams, he plays with enough reckless abandon we shouldn't need him on the field for FG tries and XPs. Okay, now the ship has a captain and this improves Ryan Clark, so, I'd be fine with that and Mundy as backup. The draft is loaded with safeties, find one they like and draft him.

Ike will be Ike, he'll cover, defend passes, but won't get interceptions. He's fine for now. I'm not sure what to think of Burnett and Lewis. Either Lebeau just didn't want to risk a rookie mistake or they are just plain bad, but the fact that neither could take Gay's job is disheartening. The Steelers will probably have to use a round 1-3 pick on a cornerback again, that sucks.

It would be great if Sonny Harris could work out and get into the defensive line rotation, but Nick Eason at 29 years old began to make some noise at the end of the year. Lets see what happens there.

Needs: NT, ILB and DE in that order


This isn't much of a plan really, the age of this group is really going to be an issue and Casey's contract won't help matters either. The defense is going to make Colbert turn gray or get grayer or drink heavily or all of the above. There are a lot of things to take into account and, unfortunately, two of those things can't really be determined. Injury and how age will effect a player. Good luck Kevin

Pappy

Oviedo
01-06-2010, 12:09 PM
First and foremost I seriously consider whether we go to the 4-3 defense or whether we stay with the 3-4. Based on that decision all other decisions on free agency and the draft will flow.

I'll assume we stay with the 3-4 (IMO the wrong decision) so I see our needs are in order:

1. ILB to replace Farrior late next season but definitely
2. NT to replace Hampton, but unfortunately I think we either tag him or sign him to an extension. In both cases I think we eventually have to deal with an unmotivated Hampton.
3. CB through free agency because it takes a rookie too long to play for LeBeau. Ike isn't a spring chicken so we may need two CBs over the next couple of years so hopefully either Gay, Burnett or Lewis (I think will eventually be a Safety) can step up.
4. RB. Can't have enough capable RBs on the roster.
5. Center to replace Hartwig

JAR
01-06-2010, 12:16 PM
With Smith out, the pass rush suffered, with no pass rush, even Bruce Gradkowski can look like Joe Montana against your secondary.

Oviedo
01-06-2010, 12:33 PM
With Smith out, the pass rush suffered, with no pass rush, even Bruce Gradkowski can look like Joe Montana against your secondary.

And that is the nature of the problem because the league has proven they want referees to ignore holding calls. How many years do we think that James Harrison will be able to be mugged by 330lb OTs before it takes its toll on him.

The 3-4 only works if you have a dominant pass rush.

phillyesq
01-06-2010, 12:40 PM
The D needs a lot of work in a lot of areas:

DT: Whether or not Hampton is franchised, the Steelers need to draft a replacement at NT, unless by some miracle Hampton signs an extension.

DE: I think with Smith, Keisel, Hood, Eason and Harris, this position is fine. I would guess that Kirshke will retire or be released. Another developmental guy makes sense.

OLB: After missing with Bruce Davis, the Steelers have no depth behind their starters. A mid-round developmental pick who can contribute immediately on special teams is needed here. Also, the ability to spell some of the pass rushers late in games would be huge.

ILB: A big thumper in the middle would be great, especially if Farrior is kept for another year to mentor him. If the value is there, I wouldn't mind seeing a first round pick here. Otherwise, somebody in the 2nd - 4th range makes sense. The Steelers have done pretty well grabbing guys in that range who develop into starters (Holmes and Foote come to mind). It isn't ideal, but I think the Steelers could get by with Fox as a starter, and Rocky Boiman filling the Fox role as backup ILB/special teamer.

CB: I think a FA is needed here. I haven't looked at who is available, but the Steelers need help. I think Ike will be fine, but Gay was a liability all season. I'd love to see Lewis and Burnett develop into what we all envisioned when they were drafted, but I'm wary of guys that can't even get onto the field on special teams (like Bruce Davis). I don't think the Steelers can risk bringing back the same group as last year. From what I've read, there is no top flight talent at CB, so I think a FA makes sense.

S: Before this season, I really wanted to see Clark return, because he paired well with Troy. After watching his limited abilities without Troy, I'm much more lukewarm on his return. Carter obviously needs to be replaced, and Mundy didn't show much. I think a mid-level FA makes sense here, regardless of whether Clark returns. This is another area where I could see the Steelers investing a first or second round pick. A top cover safety to pair with Troy would mask a lot of the deficiencies of the corners, and would provide insurance against another injury to Troy P.

The defense sorely needs an injection of youth. That said, I bet the D returns at least 8 starters from last year.

feltdizz
01-06-2010, 01:16 PM
First and foremost I seriously consider whether we go to the 4-3 defense or whether we stay with the 3-4. Based on that decision all other decisions on free agency and the draft will flow.

I'll assume we stay with the 3-4 (IMO the wrong decision) so I see our needs are in order:

1. ILB to replace Farrior late next season but definitely
2. NT to replace Hampton, but unfortunately I think we either tag him or sign him to an extension. In both cases I think we eventually have to deal with an unmotivated Hampton.
3. CB through free agency because it takes a rookie too long to play for LeBeau. Ike isn't a spring chicken so we may need two CBs over the next couple of years so hopefully either Gay, Burnett or Lewis (I think will eventually be a Safety) can step up.
4. RB. Can't have enough capable RBs on the roster.
5. Center to replace Hartwig

Lebeau is not going to the 4-3.. sorry Oviedo.

Tag Hampton..
Eason and Hood are more then enough for the DL... should have went to them sooner!
Fox in for Farrior
Gay returns but we really need to let the other youngin's get a crack at his spot.
Resign Clark if possible... with Troy he is spectacular..

go hard at FS in the draft and CB if one is available and worth the pick.

NW Steeler
01-06-2010, 01:23 PM
Draft a ILB in the first round if it is McClain or Spikes (although Florida LB's worry me...Huey Richardson anybody?).
If those two are off the board, is a 3-4 NT available?
If no on both counts, then I could actually see us drafting an OT.
Sign a CB in Free Agency.
Draft a FS with BALL SKILLS in the second round.
Draft for more depth on D in the 3rd.

I think that we need to dip into the free agent market this year. I can't see Clark returning, so we probably need to find a starting caliber FS to replace him. A couple of smart signings and a good draft will go a long way towards solving our problems.

I don't want to EVER see Carter on the field again. Nor do I want to see Gay start at CB again. Hopefully Burnett turns into something. I don't know what to think of Keenan Lewis since I don't think he ever saw the field at all this year and that is concerning.

JTP53609
01-06-2010, 01:29 PM
somehow i can bet that most feel it is bruce arians fault that our defense sucked....

look forward to saying bye to clark and carter, farrior needs to be replaced just like how he replaced earl holmes, i would not mind keeping him as a backup though...

RuthlessBurgher
01-06-2010, 01:36 PM
I think Dick LeBeau can go back into his mad scientist lab and come up with some new wrinkles the league hasn't seen before. What about something like a 3-3-2-3 base defense that caters to the unique abilities of the athletes that we have available to us?

Same 3 man front that we use for the typical 3-4 (Keisel and Eason splitting time at the one DE spot, Smith and Hood splitting time at the other DE spot, and Hampton and Hoke or Hoke and a rookie splitting time on the nose).

Then you keep Harrison and Woodley as outside rushers just like they are now. However, instead of having 2 ILB's like in the 3-4, you have one true MLB like in the 4-3 (right now, we'd have to rotate Farrior and Fox here). I know, it's weird, but stay with me.

On either side of the MLB, lined up deeper than the typical LB but shallower than the typical safety, are our two athletic hybrid playmaking types, Troy Polamalu and Lawrence Timmons. They would play the role of dual box-safety types that could cover TE's or RB's out of the backfield, could drop back into deep coverage on certain occassions, come up to fill running lanes on other occassions, and blitz either up the middle or even from the outside if Harrison and/or Woodley did a stunt blitz to the inside.

You could only play such a defense effectively with two players with elite athletic ability and superhuman closing ability like Polamalu and Timmons, who could do all of those things listed above at any given time. If the opposition ran the ball, it would be like having 8 men in the box to stop it. If the opposition passed the ball, it would be like having a nickel package out there.

Finally, you'd have one deep safety to play centerfield, and of course, the typical 2 cornerbacks.

Just a thought...

grotonsteel
01-06-2010, 01:50 PM
2009 Paper Curtain Steelers D is a mess due to age and 10 yard cushion schemes.

2010 Steelers D need: NT,CB,ILB,FS

DT: Steelers need a dominant NT if they are planning to play 3-4 defense. I would prefer Steelers going after Jamal Williams rather than signing Casey Hampton unless Casey is willing to sign for cheap. Draft a NT in 2010 who can start in a year or so.

DE: This group is fine. Smith, Hood, Kiesel, Eason and Harris should be fine. They can draft a late round round DE.

OLB: Draft a backup OLB.

ILB: Farrior need to take backup role since he has slowed down due to age. He can't cover backup TE/RB. Steelers need to draft a ILB in 1-3 rounds. I wish they would have drafted Cliff Avril instead of Bruce Davis. Steelers need a vacuum player beside Timmons which will allow Timmons to make more splash plays.

CB: Steelers are in big trouble because of CB play. If Ike Taylor is your best CB then Steelers do need help. Ike Taylor can't catch and he can't defend a fade away. Ike Taylor was schooled by youngsters like Sidney Rice this season. There is no swagga there. Ike Taylor at best is a No. 2 CB. I am surprised how come Ike Taylor is not called for Pass Interference penalties. William Gay..well i don't think he should be playing in NFL. I don't think Steelers can get hold of Joe Haden in the draft. Steelers will have to sign a FA. I think Steelers should splash some money in FA for CB position. Steelers need a No.1 CB on the team.

S: Ryan Clark plays well along with Troy. But if Troy gets injured then Ryan Clark is exposed. I won't mind resigning Ryan Clark but T Carter needs to go. If BPA in the first round is a FS i would say draft a stud like Earl Thomas .It would provide an insurance against another injury to Troy P.

If Steelers Defense entirely depends on Troy then Steelers Defensive schemes are a failure. Dick Lebeau and team need to do a better job. I blame Dick Lebeau for Paper Curtain Steelers Defense in 2009. He need to do a better job of coaching the players.

RuthlessBurgher
01-06-2010, 02:24 PM
I would prefer Steelers going after Jamal Williams rather than signing Casey Hampton unless Casey is willing to sign for cheap.

Why would you prefer Williams to Hampton? Jamal is a year and a half older than Casey and has been in the league since 1998 (Casey arrived in 2001). Plus, Williams is coming off an injury that limited him to one game last season, while Hampton made the Pro Bowl. Plus, Williams still have one more year left on his contract, so he won't be a free agent unless the Chargers release him.

Oviedo
01-06-2010, 02:26 PM
First and foremost I seriously consider whether we go to the 4-3 defense or whether we stay with the 3-4. Based on that decision all other decisions on free agency and the draft will flow.

I'll assume we stay with the 3-4 (IMO the wrong decision) so I see our needs are in order:

1. ILB to replace Farrior late next season but definitely
2. NT to replace Hampton, but unfortunately I think we either tag him or sign him to an extension. In both cases I think we eventually have to deal with an unmotivated Hampton.
3. CB through free agency because it takes a rookie too long to play for LeBeau. Ike isn't a spring chicken so we may need two CBs over the next couple of years so hopefully either Gay, Burnett or Lewis (I think will eventually be a Safety) can step up.
4. RB. Can't have enough capable RBs on the roster.
5. Center to replace Hartwig

Lebeau is not going to the 4-3.. sorry Oviedo.

Tag Hampton..
Eason and Hood are more then enough for the DL... should have went to them sooner!
Fox in for Farrior
Gay returns but we really need to let the other youngin's get a crack at his spot.
Resign Clark if possible... with Troy he is spectacular..

go hard at FS in the draft and CB if one is available and worth the pick.

Novel thought: LeBeau could be part of the problem. :shock:

grotonsteel
01-06-2010, 02:39 PM
First and foremost I seriously consider whether we go to the 4-3 defense or whether we stay with the 3-4. Based on that decision all other decisions on free agency and the draft will flow.

I'll assume we stay with the 3-4 (IMO the wrong decision) so I see our needs are in order:

1. ILB to replace Farrior late next season but definitely
2. NT to replace Hampton, but unfortunately I think we either tag him or sign him to an extension. In both cases I think we eventually have to deal with an unmotivated Hampton.
3. CB through free agency because it takes a rookie too long to play for LeBeau. Ike isn't a spring chicken so we may need two CBs over the next couple of years so hopefully either Gay, Burnett or Lewis (I think will eventually be a Safety) can step up.
4. RB. Can't have enough capable RBs on the roster.
5. Center to replace Hartwig

Lebeau is not going to the 4-3.. sorry Oviedo.

Tag Hampton..
Eason and Hood are more then enough for the DL... should have went to them sooner!
Fox in for Farrior
Gay returns but we really need to let the other youngin's get a crack at his spot.
Resign Clark if possible... with Troy he is spectacular..

go hard at FS in the draft and CB if one is available and worth the pick.

Novel thought: LeBeau could be part of the problem. :shock:

To be frank Dick Lebeau has to take some blame for poor schemes.

birtikidis
01-06-2010, 02:47 PM
1st huey richardson was a DE at Florida.
2nd Aaron Smith back to the rotation will make the biggest difference. i personally think he'll retire, but i don't know. 2 gap DE's are as important to a 34 as a 2 gap NT. you're kidding yourself if you think Eason is a 2 gap player. Alot of people seem to forget how important Smith is. a lot of people also forget that we played a few games with our 3rd string DE on one side and our 2nd string DE on the other.
3rd start playing clark near the line of scrimmage and keep troy back in Centerfield. He'll stay healthy longer and he'll also force more turnovers. stop blitzing the man on every freaking play.
4th commit to the run. play better situational football. when you have the lead by 14 and it's the fourth quarter stop trying to throw it every down!
5th shore up the special teams. allowing 25+ yards a return (4th worst i believe) starts us off in the hole. kick the damn ball into the endzone every now and then and force a touchback. I scream every time I see a kickoff only get to the 12!

grotonsteel
01-06-2010, 02:48 PM
I would prefer Steelers going after Jamal Williams rather than signing Casey Hampton unless Casey is willing to sign for cheap.

Why would you prefer Williams to Hampton? Jamal is a year and a half older than Casey and has been in the league since 1998 (Casey arrived in 2001). Plus, Williams is coming off an injury that limited him to one game last season, while Hampton made the Pro Bowl. Plus, Williams still have one more year left on his contract, so he won't be a free agent unless the Chargers release him.

I was looking for Steelers to sign Jamal Williams for 1-2 yrs contract. I believe Jamal Williams is more destructive than Casey Hampton. Draft a NT (Cody/Williams) in this upcoming draft and make him a starter in 2011. I would not give Casey 3-4 yrs contract unless he is willing to take a paycut.If Steelers put a franchise tag on him i think Casey may hold out or show up in the camp at 400 lb.

I read somewhere Jamal Williams was a FA in 2010. But if he is not then will have to come up with another idea to improve NT position.

proudpittsburgher
01-07-2010, 10:09 AM
Seriously, I have a difficult time understanding why losing your best two players on defense (or at least Smtih could be considered the most underrated on defense) couldn't possibly be the problem with this years defense becoming so pourous. Sometimes the answer is really not that difficult. I'm not saying adjustments don't have to be made, but some are considering a total change n scheme and /or overhaul. Sheesh, this isn't Madden, people.