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hawaiiansteel
07-15-2010, 02:29 AM
The AFC North: What Pittsburgh needs to take the Division

July 13, 2010

http://www.cranfordschools.org/chs/SA/08_09/images/steelers.jpg


Pittsburgh has a tradition of winning, and they have won this division four times since its inception. In 2009 they were in third place after a disappointing season.

Here are the keys to Pittsburgh once again ruling the AFC North in 2010.

Trends

If there could be significance placed on a trend, it may just be finishing third in an NFL division, especially the AFC North. Since 2002, the team in third place won the division the following year six out of seven times. Finishing in the number 3 spot has shown that AFC North teams regroup in the offseason. Also, the third place schedule comes into play. That means that Pittsburgh will see Tennessee and Oakland during the regular season; which may prove to be a trend that the Steelers like very much.


Playing the Cleveland Browns

Pittsburgh will face Cleveland twice in the regular season this year. The Steelers have won 18 of the past 21 meetings (before an embarrasing game that cost Pittsburgh dearly in 2009.) No one in Pittsburgh wants to see a repeat. Because the Browns have a new leader in Mike Holmgren, the decision-making on the sidelines will change. It remains to see if he'll bring the same play-style he had in Seattle, which was only successful the year the Seahawks were able to make it to the Superbowl (for the first time in franchise history where they lost to the Steelers). Does Holmgren still have the Packers' winning playbook in his back pocket? No one knows for sure. However, their starting quarterback may be the overused and aging Jake Delhomme. Anticipate that the Browns, who have no real options at breakout games or plays, will place last.

Holding the surge in Baltimore

The Ravens want to win, period. They aren't settling on a division championship. Their eyes are on the big prize. It's the reason that Baltimore went after Anquan Bolding and Donte Stallworth (receivers). They are counting on Ray Rice riding the tide all the way to the end zone. Their depth at defensive positions is good.

The Steelers must take advantage of maintaining the game; controlling it. Ray Lewis may not be the monster he once was, but he seems to ramp it up a notch every time Pittsburgh games roll around. Possibly the weakest position on the whole Ravens team is at corner, and the Steelers QB that throws the ball is going to exploit it. The Steelers must contain Rice with their tough run-stuffing defense and make Joe Flacco hold it a little longer or scramble out of the pocket. Flacco hasn't proven in the past that he can handle a lot of inside pressure. Look for the Steelers linebacking corp to switch up their pass-rush options as well as blitz packages while Dick LeBeau roots them on from the sidelines.

Keeping Cincinnatti on their heels

Marvin Lewis is a great coach, and he's made the Bengals a much better team. Unfortunately, regardless of his coaching abilities, he cannot get his players to put up seasons of winning consecutively. They won the division last year, but history shows us that means that the Bengals will slide this year.

The Bengals have issues on both sides of the ball. While their defensive line and linebacking corp is a strong point, their defensive backs are once again vulnerable. Pittsburgh picked up some receivers this year who just might be able to out-play and score against their corners and safeties. The Bengals biggest problem is offense. Chad Ochocinco (can we even remember his real name?) is the drama in the game. Cedric Benson, who had a breakout year that caught everyone by surprise, is looking at a possible suspension for off-the-field conduct during the offseason (talk to Roethlisberger, he understands.) Carson Palmer may be nearly finished in the NFL due to legs that can barely hold him up anymore.

The Steelers will have a huge advantage in the fact that Cincinatti has to face a first-place schedule that may grind them into the turf. Pittsburgh has put a lot of energy into both the offensive and defensive lines, and only time will tell if they hold up to expectation. The fact that Pittsburgh has two Pro Bowl players in Troy Polamalu and Aaron Smith back on the field in 2010 mave prove pivotal in showing Cincy that last year's win was a fluke. Bryant McFadden (cornerback) will be looking for lame ducks thrown up by Palmer in desperation, and Larry Foote may not start the game but he will finish the job.


A return to Steel Curtain-type defense

Jason Worilds and Thaddeus Gibson are rookie outside linebackers that will flavor the defensive line with youth and veterans. Pittsburgh fans are ready to see Dick LeBeau, who is to be enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2010), ramp things up. Not just get the defense excited, but ready to maul. They were embarrassed last year, especially in the fourth quarter. There were times in 2009 when it looked as if LeBeau may have to call an injury timeout for the whole defensive corp, pull them off the field, give them oxygen, the pat them hard on the butt to get back out there.
To get to the top of the division and the NFL in defense this year, the Steelers have to focus on maintaining aggressive play. Not only that, they need to last the entire game.

Mike Tomlin must deliver as head coach

It's a contract year. Everyone in the NFL knows that a contract year can make you a hero or a zero. As of yet the Steelers have not extended Tomlin's contract. The front office is calling, and their telling Tomlin that his running game needs to run out of the gate right away. Tomlin hated missing the playoffs last year. A winning season wasn't enough.

He's under a lot of pressure, but isn't that what being a head coach in the NFL is all about? He needs to refocus on making the quarterback lead and put Roethlisberger out of his mind until the suspension is over. He needs to find a replacement at right tackle. Tomlin needs to play on the fact that the Steelers may be a sleeper team this season. Teams that played them last year may have underestimated their resolve to win.

Tomlin has to step up and lead, even if it means moving players around until the units are all cohesive. It isn't just offense and defense he needs to work on. Special teams were abysmal last year, and if he doesn't have players who can deliver in clinch situations like the kicking, punting, returning, and tackling ... he might as well kiss his contract goodbye as the Steelers get another black eye.

Roethlisberger had better keep his hands to himself, at least off the field

Tired of the same story circulating and re-circulating like a fan in a bar where you just keep choking on recycled smoke, Ben Roethlisberger needs to step outside and get a breath of fresh air and a better perspective. He could sit 6 games, or 4. What he needs to do is get off the bench and prepare. He's going to play. That is almost 100% guaranteed in Pittsburgh. Not only that, he needs to play.

If Big Ben is going to stand tall once again, he is going to have to prove it on the field and off. He has to lead by example, and if he's showing nothing but man-handling women in bars to his team, no one is going to respect him or follow him when he's in the huddle calling plays. Not only that, but the Rooney family is watching with eyes like eagles for any misstep.

http://www.examiner.com/x-50140-Pittsbu ... e-division (http://www.examiner.com/x-50140-Pittsburgh-Steelers-Examiner~y2010m7d13-The-AFC-North-What-Pittsburgh-needs-to-take-on-the-division)

LordVile
07-15-2010, 03:14 AM
man-handling women in bars... LOL
there has to be a better term than that

Notleadpoisoned
07-15-2010, 08:01 AM
"Marvin Lewis is a great coach, and he's made the Bengals a much better team."

That statement is a bit of stretch.

Oviedo
07-15-2010, 08:50 AM
Obviously not up on current events. Tomlin isn't in a contract year and the only pressure he feels is that which he puts on himself to win.

The defense will be healthier and if they can stay that way they should be dominant.

I really expect that our Special Teams will take a major improvement this season. We have brought in alot of very good athletes the past couple of drafts who have the skill to eventually push for time as NFL starters.

It never ceases to amaze me how the media falls all over themselves praising the Ravens and pretending like nothing will ever go wrong for them. There Defensive Line is the tops in the NFL IMO but at LB and DB they are behind us but yet they are portrayed as "special."

proudpittsburgher
07-15-2010, 09:36 AM
"Marvin Lewis is a great coach, and he's made the Bengals a much better team."

That statement is a bit of stretch.

. . . of Gumby proportions. Seriously, what is it about some guys who nothing bad seems to stick to. Lewis has run a team of criminal intent for years, since he got there, and has finished at or under .500 in 5 of 7 seasons at the helm, and in the two winning seasons, got bounced in the first round of the playoffs both years. Consider that many in this fanbase still aren't sure of Mike Tomlin, who has guided the Steelers to two playoff berths in three seasons, with a super bowl title and only missing a third straight playoff berth by a single game . . . I just don't get how Marvin Lewis still has a job, let alone what this nutjob said about him.

Oviedo
07-15-2010, 09:49 AM
"Marvin Lewis is a great coach, and he's made the Bengals a much better team."

That statement is a bit of stretch.

. . . of Gumby proportions. Seriously, what is it about some guys who nothing bad seems to stick to. Lewis has run a team of criminal intent for years, since he got there, and has finished at or under .500 in 5 of 7 seasons at the helm, and in the two winning seasons, got bounced in the first round of the playoffs both years. Consider that many in this fanbase still aren't sure of Mike Tomlin, who has guided the Steelers to two playoff berths in three seasons, with a super bowl title and only missing a third straight playoff berth by a single game . . . I just don't get how Marvin Lewis still has a job, let alone what this nutjob said about him.

The difference is expectations. Tomlin will never be good enough for a voacl minority of fans even though he achieved the ultimate goal faster than Cowher and Noll faster. For whatever reason, Tomlin will always have moving goalposts for reaching the standard some fans are setting for him. Fortunately the Rooney's are smarter than fans.

Lewis on the other hand has no expectations so every success is magnified. It's like winning an award for being the tallest person at a midget convention.

proudpittsburgher
07-15-2010, 12:45 PM
Lewis on the other hand has no expectations so every success is magnified. It's like winning an award for being the tallest person at a midget convention.

:D

RuthlessBurgher
07-15-2010, 01:52 PM
Lewis on the other hand has no expectations so every success is magnified. It's like winning an award for being the tallest person at a midget convention.

So you are saying that my award for "coolest guy posting on a message board full of dorks" is not worth that much? :lol:

Oviedo
07-15-2010, 01:56 PM
Lewis on the other hand has no expectations so every success is magnified. It's like winning an award for being the tallest person at a midget convention.

So you are saying that my award for "coolest guy posting on a message board full of dorks" is not worth that much? :lol:

You said it not me :wink:

fordfixer
07-15-2010, 11:49 PM
Lewis on the other hand has no expectations so every success is magnified. It's like winning an award for being the tallest person at a midget convention.

So you are saying that my award for "coolest guy posting on a message board full of dorks" is not worth that much? :lol:



So does that mean your the head dork?

hawaiiansteel
07-16-2010, 12:12 AM
Lewis on the other hand has no expectations so every success is magnified. It's like winning an award for being the tallest person at a midget convention.

So you are saying that my award for "coolest guy posting on a message board full of dorks" is not worth that much? :lol:



So does that mean your the head dork?


I would call it a 3-way tie... :lol:


http://shechive.files.wordpress.com/2010/01/dork-is-cool-0.jpg?w=500&h=724http://shechive.files.wordpress.com/2010/01/dork-is-cool-16.jpg?w=500&h=600http://shechive.files.wordpress.com/2010/01/dork-is-cool-9.jpg?w=500&h=789

Jom112
07-16-2010, 10:06 AM
While their defensive line and linebacking corp is a strong point, their defensive backs are once again vulnerable. Pittsburgh picked up some receivers this year who just might be able to out-play and score against their corners and safeties.

Our DB's are our problem now? Really?

RuthlessBurgher
07-16-2010, 11:26 AM
http://shechive.files.wordpress.com/2010/01/dork-is-cool-9.jpg?w=500&h=789

That Super Mario sweater vest in the shiznit!!!
:lol:

RuthlessBurgher
07-16-2010, 11:32 AM
While their defensive line and linebacking corp is a strong point, their defensive backs are once again vulnerable. Pittsburgh picked up some receivers this year who just might be able to out-play and score against their corners and safeties.

Our DB's are our problem now? Really?

Adding Brandon Ghee (I was hoping we'd draft that kid in my pre-draft mocks) to Johnathan Joseph and Leon Hall could potentially be sick. I'd personally start Chinedum Ndukwe over Roy Williams (I'm not a fan of Williams at all, since he likely couldn't cover me at this point, but he does have a history with Zimmer from back in their Dallas days). Outside of Polamalu, though, your secondary is substantially better than ours.

flippy
07-16-2010, 12:11 PM
http://shechive.files.wordpress.com/2010/01/dork-is-cool-9.jpg?w=500&h=789

That Super Mario sweater vest in the shiznit!!!
:lol:

I would be even cooler if it was upside down for that guys enjoyment.

When I was a kid, I wore my shirts and sweatshirts inside out. I figured why put the best material on the outside to see rather than inside for my body to feel? I mean, I don't have to look at myself. That's other people's problem.

RuthlessBurgher
07-16-2010, 01:44 PM
When I was a kid, I wore my shirts and sweatshirts inside out. I figured why put the best material on the outside to see rather than inside for my body to feel? I mean, I don't have to look at myself. That's other people's problem.

That seems to sum up where Flippy came from quite well. :lol:

flippy
07-16-2010, 02:13 PM
When I was a kid, I wore my shirts and sweatshirts inside out. I figured why put the best material on the outside to see rather than inside for my body to feel? I mean, I don't have to look at myself. That's other people's problem.

That seems to sum up where Flippy came from quite well. :lol:

Unfortunately, grown up Flippy follows social norms.

I figured out that no matter how hard I try, I can't get everyone else to accept me as the norm.

And before you go posting a pic of George Wentz...

http://www.buddytv.com/articles/Image/Cheers/George-Wendt-profile.jpg

RuthlessBurgher
07-16-2010, 03:25 PM
http://www.ottawacomedy.com/fusionbb/images/nmacdonald.jpghttp://cdn.bleacherreport.net/images_root/slideshows/829/slideshow_82951/display_image.jpg

http://tvrecappersanonymous.files.wordpress.com/2010/06/psycho_norman_bates.gifhttp://www.robbloom.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2009/10/stanley-roper.jpg