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hawaiiansteel
10-18-2010, 01:27 AM
if Colt McCoy can do this, what are Drew Brees, Tom Brady, etc. going to do against our secondary?



Ed: Not a Bad Way to Start

SUNDAY, 17 OCTOBER 2010
WRITTEN BY ED BOUCHETTE


Not bad, after all, for Ben Roethlisberger. He looked a tad anxious/rusty/out of sync – “you can characterize it the way you want to characterize it,’’ Mike Tomlin said – but Roethlisberger settled in and played a typical game for him. He had three touchdowns, one interception, completed some deep passes and had a 9.51-yards per attempt, a nice, fat number for a quarterback who has a career 8.0.

One area that was not normal for the quarterback – he had no sacks. The last time that happened for him came in the 2008 finale against . . . Cleveland. They got close to him a few times today but he had the wherewithal to throw the ball away or at a receiver.

Some other observations from today:

--- Lawrence Timmons had another monster game. Two sacks and an interception and a chew-out by Dick LeBeau and Mike Tomlin. He took a bad path to the quarterback and put himself in a bad position on one play.

“Lawrence is a bit-time talent,’’ Tomlin said, claiming he could not remember scolding him along the sideline. “He runs to the ball, he creates plays because of his range, because of how he hustles.”

--- Emmanuel Sanders returned two kickoffs for 38 yards but he made people aware of him on offense when he made two nice catches for 37 yards, one diving. He played as the fourth wide receiver.

--- The Steelers defense gave up too many pass completions longer than 20 yards to a rookie quarterback – six. Colt McCoy completed 23 of 33 for 281 yards. He looked good, poised, effective. The Browns may have found themselves a permanent starter even when their other two quarterbacks return to health. Of course, how many times have we said that over the past dozen seasons?

--- Rashard Mendenhall ran well and he ran often – 27 times, plus three receptions. They use him less on third downs because of the load he’s carrying on the other two.

--- Many people were outraged over James Harrison’s two hits to Josh Cribbs and Mohamed Massaquoi which knocked both players out of the game. Harrison’s helmet appeared to hit the Browns’ helmets on both. No penalty was called. We shall see what happens. Some are predicting big fines for Harrison. Once he took out Cribbs, the Browns lost a big piece to their offense.

--- Was that touchdown typical Hines Ward? I cannot tell you how many times I’ve seen him fight through a pack of defenders to land in the end zone after he seemingly was stopped at the five. It happened again and Ward talked about “smelling the end zone,’’ afterward.

--- Lot of No. 7 jerseys in the audience today.

--- Roethlisberger: “I don’t think that it really hit me until I was pulling up to the stadium. Being on the field before the game got a little emotional.” And on the ovation during introductions: “I got a little bit of tears in my eyes, to hear a cheer like that was truly something special.’’

http://plus.sites.post-gazette.com/index.php/sports-town/steelers/105737-ed-not-a-bad-way-to-start?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter

hawaiiansteel
10-18-2010, 01:37 AM
Sunday, October 17, 2010

QBs Roethlisberger, McCoy stand out

By James Walker

http://a.espncdn.com/photo/2010/1017/nfl_a_bencoltts_576.jpg

Browns rookie Colt McCoy and Pittsburgh's Ben Roethlisberger played well in their 2010 debuts.

PITTSBURGH -- Although their goals are much different, quarterbacks Ben Roethlisberger and Colt McCoy offered plenty of hope for their teams Sunday.

For the Pittsburgh Steelers (4-1), Roethlisberger showed why the Steelers -- who beat the Cleveland Browns 28-10 at Heinz Field -- are legit contenders for their second Super Bowl title in three years. For Cleveland (1-5), McCoy's performance in his NFL debut showed the Browns that they finally may have a longterm solution at quarterback.

Coming off a four-game suspension for violating the NFL's personal conduct policy, Roethlisberger threw for 257 yards, three touchdowns and an interception in his first game since January. His quarterback rating was 112.7. McCoy, a third-round draft choice from Texas, impressed by fending off Pittsburgh's aggressive defense and throwing for 281 yards and one touchdown. McCoy, picked off twice, made some rookie mistakes but played much better than expected.

Roethlisberger understood what the performances meant for both franchises and congratulated McCoy after the game.

"I was proud of him," said Roethlisberger, who improved to 11-1 all time against the Browns. "It was not an easy task that he had today, on the road against our defense. I told him I was proud. I thought he played well and to keep his head up. We will see him down the road. He's got a long, really good career (ahead), I believe."

Browns coach Eric Mangini wouldn't commit to McCoy afterward, but the rookie surely has earned another start next week, against the New Orleans Saints. Veterans Jake Delhomme and Seneca Wallace are recovering from ankle injuries, and chances are neither player will be 100 percent.

McCoy, whose passing total was a season-high for Cleveland, was sacked five times and took nine other hits but still made several good plays.

"I prepare every week like I'm the starter; I think because of that, it's helped me grow to where I am right now," McCoy said. "Obviously, you don't want to come here and lose. I go into each game expecting to win, expecting to play good. That's why I'm here, that's why they drafted me."

Roethlisberger, who received a loud pre-game ovation from fans Sunday, shook off some rust early to energize Pittsburgh offense. He threw an interception on the Steelers' opening drive, but settled down to throw for two touchdowns in the second half to put the game out of reach.


Hines Ward got on the same page quickly with Ben Roethlisberger, catching an 8-yard TD pass.
Pittsburgh entered the game ranked last on offense overall and last in passing under backup quarterbacks Charlie Batch and Dennis Dixon. But Roethlisberger connected on five plays of 20 yards or more. In one scoring drive in the third quarter, Roethlisberger completed a 50-yard pass to receiver Mike Wallace, a 36-yard pass to tight end Heath Miller and an 8-yard touchdown throw to Hines Ward. It was the first time this season that Pittsburgh made offense look easy and was able to gain yards in bunches.

Roethlisberger, who completed 16 of 27 passes, admitted he left "a lot of plays out there" and his accuracy isn't all the way back. He badly overthrew Wallace for a potentially huge gain down the right sideline in the second half, a completion Roethlisberger usually makes easily.

"The ball was coming out what we call 'hot,' coming out high and strong," Roethlisberger explained.

Once Roethlisberger eliminates the rust, Pittsburgh will be one of the NFL's more balanced and dangerous offenses. Running back Rashard Mendenhall rushed for 84 yards and a touchdown, and Pittsburgh put up 378 total yards without the offense playing its best for at least one half.

"I really didn't want [Roethlisberger] to be flawless coming back," Wallace said. "Then, we wouldn't really have anything to work on ... I think it's going to make for a better team because, come Wednesday, we go back to practice and we're going to work even harder."

But Sunday was a great starting point for Roethlisberger -- and McCoy.

http://espn.go.com/blog/afcnorth/print?id=19067

Crash
10-18-2010, 02:39 AM
That's what happens when you don't blitz.

Rush 4, drop 7, play zone and complete passes, while we sit back and hope for mistakes.

skyhawk
10-18-2010, 02:56 AM
That's what happens when you don't blitz.

Rush 4, drop 7, play zone and complete passes, while we sit back and hope for mistakes.

At times, they only rushed 3.

Snatch98
10-18-2010, 04:27 AM
He picked up a good bit of those yards when we were playing soft in the second half.

Scarletfire1970
10-18-2010, 05:24 AM
He picked up a good bit of those yards when we were playing soft in the second half.
They always tend to play soft at the end of games then. I just think teams are down and are willing to throw the ball more. Brady is going to have a field day against this secondary if something doesn't change.

stlrz d
10-18-2010, 07:54 AM
He picked up a good bit of those yards when we were playing soft in the second half.
They always tend to play soft at the end of games then. I just think teams are down and are willing to throw the ball more. Brady is going to have a field day against this secondary if something doesn't change.

It's all about scheme. They dropped tons of people into coverage to tighten up the passing lanes and McCoy played well.

You beat Brady with pressure. Especially up the middle. We don't play him the same way.

Players in the other uniforms are getting paid too. Kudos to McCoy...he took what we gave him but it didn't hurt us.

Lots of yards. 10 points. We're in first place.

feltdizz
10-18-2010, 09:32 AM
He picked up a good bit of those yards when we were playing soft in the second half.
They always tend to play soft at the end of games then. I just think teams are down and are willing to throw the ball more. Brady is going to have a field day against this secondary if something doesn't change.

I think our D is all about pressure... if we don't get it those 15 yards outs will be there most times.

McCoy made a few great throws under pressure early but for the most part we played great D. I think Brees and Brady will see something totally different.

Troy will be in coverage a lot more IMO.

chiken
10-18-2010, 09:58 AM
They only Scored 10.. forget the yards.

By Scoring Points we took away the run and forced them to perform against our pressure. Yes Plays will be made in front of us, but we are pressuring the Qb (brady hates this) and punishing offenses on short gains.

Its a passing league so you can expect big yards at times as long as we keep them out of the Endzone.

Troy should have plenty of opportunities to be All world.

papillon
10-18-2010, 10:00 AM
They only Scored 10.. forget the yards.

By Scoring Points we took away the run and forced them to perform against our pressure. Yes Plays will be made in front of us, but we are pressuring the Qb (brady hates this) and punishing offenses on short gains.

Its a passing league so you can expect big yards at times as long as we keep them out of the Endzone.

Troy should have plenty of opportunities to be All world.

Good points chiken. :Clap I feel better now.

Pappy

steelblood
10-18-2010, 10:08 AM
Yeah, the Saints and Pats will have good games against this secondary. Those games could be shoot outs.

feltdizz
10-18-2010, 10:11 AM
Yeah, the Saints and Pats will have good games against this secondary. Those games could be shoot outs.

I'm more worried about the Saints then the Pats...

I'm looking forward to James Harrison and Timmons cleaning Wes Welker's clock...
and without Faulk I don't see this Pats team making those 3rd and (insert number) conversions.

flippy
10-18-2010, 10:27 AM
Others have mentioned it, but we tried to confuse him by dropping 8 into coverage. Not a formula for success for us.

Play calling was vanilla on both sides of the ball. I don't think the coaches really respected the Browns and expected an easy win despite what they may have said.

hawaiiansteel
10-18-2010, 02:50 PM
we replaced our OL and ST coaches because they weren't getting the job done, so why is our DB coach Ray Horton getting a free pass?

in my opinion, he is the next Steelers coach that should be shown the door (besides Bruce Arians, of course) :stirpot

Oviedo
10-18-2010, 05:59 PM
This talk is all silly. There is nothing at all wrong with the defense. Troy and Aaron are healthy. That was the only problem last year so now everything is great :stirpot

SteelCzar76
10-18-2010, 08:07 PM
we replaced our OL and ST coaches because they weren't getting the job done, so why is our DB coach Ray Horton getting a free pass?

in my opinion, he is the next Steelers coach that should be shown the door (besides Bruce Arians, of course) :stirpot


IMO i don't see how a change in terms of coaching staff will suddenly make William Gay, Bryant Mcfadden, and Keenan Lewis exceptional corners. Any more than i think it would suddenly grant Ike 'soft hands' or grant Ryan ( i'm a Vet now and came out of college running a 4.7) Clark speed.

Perhaps it's time to really find out what the Butler Kid has got ?

JTP53609
10-18-2010, 08:14 PM
I know I am thought of as crazy for this but Ryan Clark is not one of my favorites, he goes for the big hit wayyyy to much and often times a ball goes zinging past his head with his head down because he looks to line someone up to take them out
Yesterday he put he tried to hit someone with his shoulder and they just broke the tackle easily.

ikestops85
10-18-2010, 08:59 PM
I know I am thought of as crazy for this but Ryan Clark is not one of my favorites, he goes for the big hit wayyyy to much and often times a ball goes zinging past his head with his head down because he looks to line someone up to take them out
Yesterday he put he tried to hit someone with his shoulder and they just broke the tackle easily.

Well Ryan Clark is one of my favorites but I have to agree with you JTP. He does go for the knockout hit and there are times when he should be looking for the ball. Of course there are other times when the receiver drops the ball because he hears the footsteps which get kinda loud due to Clark's reputation.

hawaiiansteel
10-20-2010, 05:38 PM
we have to improve on being the 24th ranked pass defense, Brandon Marshall and Davone Bess are gonna prove to be a tough test for our secondary this Sunday..



Hood or Eason will start at defensive end against Dolphins

By Scott Brown, PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Wednesday, October 20, 2010


» With defensive end Brett Keisel out for Sunday's game against the Dolphins, Nick Eason or Ziggy Hood will take his place in the starting lineup. Eason got the initial nod when Keisel left the Browns game with a hamstring injury. "Both are capable," Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said of Eason and Hood. "Both are going to play."

» Tomlin appears to be leaning against signing tackle Steve McLendon from the practice squad so the Steelers have six defensive linemen for the 1 p.m. game. McLendon played in two games earlier this season because of injuries to nose tackles Casey Hampton and Chris Hoke. "Six guys is probably more of a requirement in early September than it is in the latter part of October," Tomlin said. "Early on, you worry about conditioning."

» Tomlin said he is concerned about the heavy workload running back Rashard Mendenhall has shouldered through the first five games. Mendenhall, who is sixth in the NFL with 495 rushing yards, is tied with San Francisco's Frank Gore for the fourth-most carries (116) in the NFL. Mendenhall is on pace for 371 carries, which would be the third highest single-season total in Steelers history. "We had limited options here over the first month of the season," Tomlin said. "Hopefully, as we proceed, we'll find ways to lighten his load." Mendenhall will be limited in practice today, Tomlin said, because of a shoulder contusion.

» Starting right guard Trai Essex, who is still recovering from a high ankle sprain, is questionable for Sunday's game, Tomlin said. He is expected to practice on a limited basis today.

» Doug Legursky, who started the last three games at right guard, sustained a sprained knee against the Browns. Tomlin said the injury shouldn't limit him this week.

TOMLIN'S TAKE

Steelers coach Mike Tomlin's point of view on:

Outside linebacker James Harrison saying he likes to hurt though not injure opposing players:

"James says a lot of things he doesn't necessarily mean. He's a tough talker like a lot of guys that play the game at this level. If you want to get to know James, catch him on a Tuesday when he's walking through the building with his son. He's a big softie."

Whether Emmanuel Sanders or Antonio Brown will serve as the Steelers' No. 4 wide receiver and kickoff returner Sunday in Miami:

"We're going to continue to pit those two young men against each other so that we can get the desired results that we want, which is third down conversions like (Sanders) has provided for us, which is quality kick returns like Antonio Brown has provided for us. They're both still growing and developing."

On the Steelers' No. 24 NFL ranking in pass defense:

"We're not a finished product and we don't even pretend to be. We're a team that's getting better, and hopefully we can win games along the way. We're probably not going to be perfect in Miami, but we better be good enough to win."

Dolphins wide receiver Brandon Marshall, who had 11 catches for 112 yards while playing for the Broncos against the Steelers last season:

"There's a lot of big receivers. What makes him unique is his ability to run after the catch. He's got little man's quickness in terms of his ability to drop his weight and change direction. He's got great balance. He's a tough guy to tackle once he catches it."

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsbu ... 05158.html (http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/steelers/s_705158.html)

Oviedo
10-20-2010, 05:43 PM
We are fine. Troy and Aaron are back and healthy. Rankings mean nothing.

stlrz d
10-20-2010, 10:45 PM
we have to improve on being the 24th ranked pass defense, Brandon Marshall and Davone Bess are gonna prove to be a tough test for our secondary this Sunday..

That ranking is based on yards allowed.

How do we rank on points per game allowed?

Here's a hint:

http://www.idiomsbykids.com/taylor/mrtaylor/class20022003/idioms/idioms2003/idioms3/number%20one.jpg

The Steelers allow 12 points per game on average. The Ravens are 2nd at 15.8 points per game allowed.

I don't care about passing yards. I care about how many points we give up per game.

hawaiiansteel
10-20-2010, 11:01 PM
Joe Flacco went 4-4 for 40 yards at the end of the game to give us our only loss of the season so far. Our defensive secondary sure didn't look very good (BMac in particular) in that crucial situation that cost us a game against our division rival.

stlrz d
10-20-2010, 11:07 PM
Joe Flacco went 4-4 for 40 yards at the end of the game to give us our only loss of the season so far. Our defensive secondary sure didn't look very good (BMac in particular) in that crucial situation that cost us a game against our division rival.

BMac bit on a double move when he was in single coverage. The pressure didn't get there. It's not always going to get there.

Players in the other colored uniforms get paid to make plays too.

We are 4-1 and allowing only *12* points a game in a league that is geared towards offense.

hawaiiansteel
10-20-2010, 11:43 PM
BMac bit on a double move when he was in single coverage. The pressure didn't get there. It's not always going to get there.



yeah, after BMac got beat on a long down and out earlier in the drive. seriously, Flacco made that look way too easy. I had flashbacks of last year...

hawaiiansteel
10-22-2010, 01:24 AM
I would be REALLY worried about our secondary if we didn't have Troy back there...


Safety Troy Polamalu a danger to Pittsburgh's opponents

The Steelers game-changer — and USC product — is causing havoc anew after an injury-marred 2009. Experts weigh in on his special gifts.

October 20, 2010|By Sam Farmer

http://photos.triblive.com/photos/PITT/1098697/32179106E.jpg


One of the reasons the Steelers can get so creative with Polamalu, nudging him close to the line of scrimmage or deep in the defensive backfield, is his ability to cover ground so quickly.

"He's got feet like a running back," said NBC's Tony Dungy, a Super Bowl-winning coach and a former Pittsburgh defensive back. "He's not off balance very much, he can change directions quickly, and he's hard to knock off his feet when you're trying to block him.

"His feet allow him to stay in position and not miss many tackles."

Instincts

Harrison says the Steelers safety has such a good feel for what's about to happen, it's as if he has "football ESP." Hall of Fame safety Rod Woodson, also a former Pittsburgh star, said those instincts allow Polamalu to bend the rules a bit in defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau's system.

"I remember when I was with Coach LeBeau in Pittsburgh, and he would always tell us not to turn our back to the ball," said Woodson, an NFL Network analyst. "Well, heck, Troy always turns his back to the ball. I asked Coach, 'Why do you let him do it?' And Coach said, 'Because he can.'

"I think that's an indication of how good he is as an athlete, knowing where he wants to go, and over the years becoming a student of the game. When we first saw Troy come into the league, he was kind of just a kamikaze guy. He was all over the place but wasn't making a whole bunch of plays, he'd miss some tackles. But what he's done the last three years, he's taken his game to the next level."

Heart

As wild as he is on the field, Polamalu is remarkably humble and soft-spoken away from it.

"I don't think football comes naturally to me," he said. "I'm not like [Baltimore linebacker] Ray Lewis that can go out there and say, 'I'm the beast of the field. I own this field.' I'm more or less fighting out of fear."

That has inspired Polamalu to go to extremes when training in the off-season, including going on long runs in the middle of the night "to get my body used to things it doesn't want to do."

He and his wife are devout Eastern Orthodox Christians, and he weaves his spirituality into every facet of his life. That includes what he calls "spiritual workouts," or pushing himself to the point of total fatigue — then beyond.

For example, he has tested himself at a gym near his La Jolla home by turning a treadmill up to maximum speed, then sprinting on it as long as he possibly can until collapsing off it in a heap.

"You're pushing yourself beyond a limit where it stops working on you physically, and it starts working on your spirit," he said.

"As an athlete, if you're able to push yourself to those limits, it can give you a certain confidence. That doesn't come out of pride or ego, it comes out of humility.

"I know this guy's pushing himself hard. I know he works out eight hours a day. So I have to do something more than him in order to compete."

sam.farmer@latimes.com

twitter.com/LATimesfarmer

http://articles.latimes.com/2010/oct/20 ... 20101021/2 (http://articles.latimes.com/2010/oct/20/sports/la-sp-troy-polamalu-20101021/2)

RuthlessBurgher
10-22-2010, 10:18 AM
"You're pushing yourself beyond a limit where it stops working on you physically, and it starts working on your spirit," he said.

"As an athlete, if you're able to push yourself to those limits, it can give you a certain confidence. That doesn't come out of pride or ego, it comes out of humility."

That's Troy in a nutshell.

hawaiiansteel
10-23-2010, 02:43 AM
did you know that Miami's Chad Henne has four 300-yard passing games in his last five at home? of course, Miami is 0-3 in home games so far this season...

hawaiiansteel
10-24-2010, 02:36 PM
Head-to-head: Steelers CB Bryant McFadden vs. Dolphins WR Brandon Marshall

Sunday, October 24, 2010
By Gerry Dulac, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette


Cornerback Bryant McFadden has the somewhat dubious distinction of being the only player other than inside linebacker Lawrence Timmons to lead the team in tackles in a game this season.

That came in the season-opening victory against the Atlanta Falcons when McFadden had 12 unassisted tackles trying to cover Pro Bowl wide receiver Roddy White, who had 13 catches. White was such a favorite of quarterback Matt Ryan that 23 of Ryan's 44 pass attempts were intended for him.

McFadden might have the same kind of workload today when the Steelers play in Miami.

That's because quarterback Chad Henne likes to throw with the same frequency to wide receiver Brandon Marshall, who was acquired in an offseason trade with the Denver Broncos.

Marshall leads the Dolphins with 37 catches and 467 yards after catching 10 passes for 127 yards in last week's victory in Green Bay. In that game, 17 of Henne's 39 pass attempts were intended for Marshall.

"He's a physical matchup problem for anyone in your secondary," coach Mike Tomlin said. "What makes him unique -- there are a lot of big receivers -- is his ability to run after the catch. He's got short-man quickness in terms of his ability to drop his weight and change direction. He's a tough guy to tackle once he catches it."

Catching a lot of passes is nothing new for Marshall. He holds the NFL record of 21 catches set last season in a game against the Indianapolis Colts. He also had 18 catches in a 2008 game against San Diego, tied for third most in league history.

Whether by design or circumstance, McFadden has been getting a lot of action since returning to the Steelers. Because the Steelers no longer use cornerback Ike Taylor to follow the opponents' top receiver, McFadden has found himself in more matchups against receivers such as White and Baltimore's Anquan Boldin.

It is one of the reasons he has more solo tackles (29) than anyone on the team other than Timmons (45) and is tied for third in total tackles with outside linebacker James Harrison (37).

Also, opposing teams have been more inclined to throw away from Taylor, forcing the action to McFadden.

"Let's face it, if you want to take any corner who ever played and you want to isolate a game or a couple games, you can find someone playing pretty tough hard-to-win-with football because that's the nature of the position," said defensive coordinator D!ck LeBeau, a Hall of Fame cornerback. "He's a quality NFL corner."

With the exception of getting beat on a double-move by receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh for the winning touchdown against the Ravens, McFadden has done a good job of keeping the ball in front of him and getting the receiver on the ground.

White, for example, didn't have a gain longer than 18 yards against the Steelers.

"If they're committed to getting [Marshall] the ball they will," Tomlin said. "I think it's important that we try to minimize the amount of damage he does to us, similar to Roddy White when we played Atlanta. When they are committed to getting the ball to Pro Bowl-caliber guys, they're going to get it. You just try to minimize the amount of damage that they do to you when they do get it."

Gerry Dulac: gdulac@post-gazette.com.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10297/10 ... z13IpEMNdb (http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10297/1097634-66.stm#ixzz13IpEMNdb)

hawaiiansteel
10-27-2010, 04:36 PM
Steelers could be in trouble against New Orleans passing offense

WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 27, 2010 12:30 AM WRITTEN BY BOB SMIZIK


The worst thing that happened to the Steelers last Sunday was the injury to Aaron Smith. The second worst thing was the Cleveland Browns trashing the Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints.

Teams don’t normally need a refocusing when they play the Steelers. They’re always ready. But if the Saints needed additional motivation to play the team many consider the best in the NFL, they got it in the form of a pasting by the Browns, who came into the game with one win.

The Saints lost by 13, were down by 17 at halftime and quarterback Drew Brees was intercepted four times, with two of those being returned for touchdowns. It was a humiliation. And a wakeup.

Which means the Saints will be primed and ready for this primetime game Sunday night in the Superdome. Their season isn’t on the line -- they’re third in the NFC South but only a game out of first -- but their pride is.

If ever a team was well-equipped to handle the Steelers, it’s the Saints. They live by the pass, an area where the Steelers have not excelled.

The Steelers are 24th in passing yards allowed this season, although those numbers are deceiving. For starters, since opponents cannot run against the Steelers, they have little choice but to pass. Then there’s the fact the Steelers, when well ahead, have given up a lot of late yardage to desperate teams, which did not hurt them.

That’s the positive spin on the Steelers 24th ranking. Here’s the negative twist. Their secondary has been made to look ordinary or less by ordinary or less quarterbacks. Cleveland rookie Colt McCoy, in his first NFL start, had the look of an established veteran in completing 23 of 36 for 257 yards against the Steelers. Seven days later, McCoy played like the rookie he is, completing nine for 16 for 74 yards against the Saints. At the same time, Miami’s Chad Henne was completing 23 of 36 for 257 yards against the Steelers. And those yards were not accumulated with a desperation passing attack in the final minutes.

Neither McCoy nor Henne is on the same planet with Brees. He’s one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL, ranking right up there with Ben Roethlisberger. He threw for over 5,000 yards in 2008 and over 4,000 in 2009. He outplayed Peyton Manning in the Super Bowl, completing 32 of 39 passes for 288 yards and two touchdowns.

This season, the Saints are fifth in passing yards per game. To put that in some sort of perspective, Miami and Cleveland, teams that gave the Steelers trouble with the pass, are 13th and 22nd.

All of which means: The Steelers are in greater jeopardy of losing Sunday than any time this season with the possible exception of their game at home against Baltimore.

None of this is to suggest the Steelers don’t have a chance. They do. They have a better defense than New Orleans and, based on play this season, a better quarterback.

But the Steelers have a potential weakness and the Saints have a quarterback who can exploit it to the fullest.

http://communityvoices.sites.post-gazet ... ing-attack (http://communityvoices.sites.post-gazette.com/index.php/sports/bob-smiziks-blog/25820-steelers-could-be-in-trouble-against-saints-passing-attack)

Dee Dub
10-27-2010, 07:02 PM
Joe Flacco went 4-4 for 40 yards at the end of the game to give us our only loss of the season so far. Our defensive secondary sure didn't look very good (BMac in particular) in that crucial situation that cost us a game against our division rival.

But be fair...LeBeau was only bringing 3 and 4 after Flacco. Even if you have 7 or 8 in coverage at this level, if you give a QB too much time someone will eventually get open.

Go to the tape. It is embarrassing.

pepsyman1
10-27-2010, 07:32 PM
Joe Flacco went 4-4 for 40 yards at the end of the game to give us our only loss of the season so far. Our defensive secondary sure didn't look very good (BMac in particular) in that crucial situation that cost us a game against our division rival.

But be fair...LeBeau was only bringing 3 and 4 after Flacco. Even if you have 7 or 8 in coverage at this level, if you give a QB too much time someone will eventually get open.

Go to the tape. It is embarrassing.

EXACTLY! The question is WHY? With the game on the line I hate the idea of sitting back and to see IF the opposing QB can drive the ball down the field for the win. I'd rather see us attempt to put him on his a*@ and take the opportunity away from him. The drive was discouraging to watch. We never looked aggressive, there was no attempt to disguise our pass rush (or lack of). We were just content to sit back and let the play come to us. Turn em' loose Coach D!!! BLITZBURGH is when we are at our best.

hawaiiansteel
10-28-2010, 02:43 PM
Defense Still Curtains for opponents

Mike Bires Beaver County Times
Wednesday October 27, 2010 11:59 PM

http://media.timesonline.com/thumb/368x276/28taylor721354.jpg

Steelers beat Browns 28-10 at Heinz Field Sunday afternoon. Ike Taylor waves to fans before a kickoff.


PITTSBURGH — D!ck LeBeau couldn't believe his ears. He was almost shocked that a reporter would question the Steelers’ pass defense.

Specifically, LeBeau was asked about opposing quarterbacks completing 66.2 percent of their passes against the Steelers.

“I think if you’d check, we lead the National Football League in fewest points allowed,” the Steelers’ defensive coordinator said succinctly.

That is all LeBeau needed to say.

The Steelers rank 24th in passing defense (235.7 ypg), and they have allowed two-thirds of the passes thrown against to be completed. But they also rank No. 1 in fewest points per game (13.7) and fewest touchdowns allowed (six).

So those pass defense statistics don’t come close to telling the whole story about the Steelers’ defense which ranks fourth in total yards allowed.

“All that means is that the Steelers have been ahead in most of their games and that teams can’t run against them,” said New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees, who’ll face the Steelers at 8:20 p.m. Sunday in the Louisiana Superdome. “In reality, they’re good all the way around on defense.”

The Steelers agree.

They take great pride in leading the NFL in fewest rushing yards per game (63.7). And they take exception that their pass defense has been considered sub-par.

“The only thing you can read into (those stats) is that it’s almost impossible to run the ball against us,” cornerback Bryant McFadden said. “We pride ourselves in stopping the run first and foremost with all 11 guys. So of course we’re seeing more passes. You can’t run against us. You don’t want to try run against us. So you try to throw the ball against us.

“We can’t get caught up in the numbers as some people do. We just have to play football. At the end of the day, the best stat I’d want is fewest points allowed. That’s the most important statistic, and right now we’re doing a good job keeping teams off the scoreboard.”

On Sunday night, it figures to be more of the same for the Steelers’ defense. Brees leads the NFL in passing attempts (287) and completion percentage (.697). He’s tied for first in touchdown passes (14). As a team, the Saints rank 26th in rushing (94.8) and fifth in passing (279.3).

So Brees will be winging it against the Steelers.

“It will be big challenge for our defense, especially us guys in the secondary,” cornerback Ike Taylor said.

But it’s a challenge that doesn’t scare Taylor and his fellow defensive backs.

“It’s a 5-1 thing,” strong safety Troy Polamlau said. “It’s always been about stopping the run and not giving up big plays in the secondary. That strategy isn’t going to change in any defense we call. That’s been our philosophy since I’ve been here. It works.”

“I’m not overly concerned with stats,” coach Mike Tomlin said. “When people are behind and they can’t run the football, they are going to throw the football on you, and they’re probably going to pick up yards.

“The thing that’s most exciting is that we don’t allow people to score touchdowns. We lead the league in scoring defense. Even in the red areas we make people kick field goals. To me that’s a formula for winning defense. I’m less concerned about what stats may potentially tell us. We all know in many instances they lie.”

In other words, it’s too early to be bashing the Steelers’ pass defense.

http://www.timesonline.com/sports/sport ... nents.html (http://www.timesonline.com/sports/sports_details/article/1501/2010/october/27/steelers-defense-is-still-curtains-for-opponents.html)

hawaiiansteel
10-29-2010, 12:25 AM
Saints' Brees may find a vulnerable secondary

By Scott Brown, PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Friday, October 29, 2010


The contention by the Steelers players and coaches that the team's No. 24 ranking in passing defense is just a meaningless number will be tested Sunday night in New Orleans.

Drew Brees figures to fill the electric Superdome air with passes, and he is at a different level than any quarterback the Steelers have played against to this point.

What will go a long way toward determining which team wins the contest between last two Super Bowl champions is how several numbers games play out in the Big Easy.

Will Brees, who has completed just over 70 percent of his passes dating back to last season, riddle a defense that has allowing opposing quarterbacks to complete just over 66 percent of their throws?

Or will a defense that has allowed just four touchdown passes and is tied for seventh in the NFL with nine interceptions get the better of the quarterback that has already thrown 10 interceptions, one less than he did all of last season?

"Teams that are really patient do pretty well against us," Steelers strong safety Troy Polamalu said. "But no offense is really patient. I think the most patient offense we've played against since I've been here is the Dolphins."

That patience did not translate into a victory for Miami in part because they had to settle for four field goals in the Steelers' 23-22 win last Sunday.

Of Chad Henne's 23 completions, 12 went for 10 yards or less and only three covered more than 20 yards.

The Steelers players have generally shrugged off the fact they have given up 235.7 passing yards per game, which puts them in the bottom third of the NFL in that category.

So, too, did Brees, whose 18,298 passing yards from 2006-09 are the most in NFL history during a four-year span.

"All that means is they've been ahead in most of their games, and their run defense is No. 1 in the league," Brees said, "so teams are forced to pass against them."

Said Steelers defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau: "There are so many statistics in football that it's so hard to be real good in all of them. I've seen it around here when we've done that, but that was a rare, rare year."

Translation: the Steelers probably had a once-in-a-generation season in 2008, when they came within 55 rushing yards of leading the NFL in rushing, passing and total defense.

"The bottom line," LeBeau said, "is how's the team doing?"

The 5-1 Steelers have done just fine, but they have yet to face a quarterback the caliber of Brees, the MVP of last season's Super Bowl.

The six quarterbacks that have started against the Steelers this season have one Pro Bowl appearance among them.

Brees, meanwhile, has been selected to the annual all-star game four times and was the NFL's Offensive Player of the Year in 2008.

The Steelers are expected to blitz Brees often to keep him from getting in a rhythm.

"We tried to rush him up the middle a lot because he would always step up in the pocket," said cornerback Bryant McFadden, who played against the Saints in the playoffs while with the Cardinals last season. "With him not being as tall (6-feet-0) as a lot of other quarterbacks, we tried to come at him from the front."

The Steelers have a reptuation of coming from anywhere and everywhere with LeBeau running their defense.

That has not changed, even though Polamalu is not moving around as much before the snap this season — perhaps because of the emergence of Lawrence Timmons at inside linebacker.

"Every week, we have new plays, we have new blitzes that we put in," Steelers free safety Ryan Clark said. "Some weeks, we scrap some of the old things and bring them back later. I don't know how (LeBeau) keeps a rolodex in his brain, but he has it. We've got some new things we put in specifically (for the Saints). Hopefully, it will work."

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsbu ... 06639.html (http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/steelers/s_706639.html)

hawaiiansteel
10-31-2010, 11:26 PM
like I said, our defensive secondary worries me...

Drew Brees went 20/22 in the second half and was 34/44 for 305 yds and 2 TDs overall.

anyone else worried that this is our weak link that could keep us from winning Lombardi Trophy #7?

Eich
10-31-2010, 11:58 PM
like I said, our defensive secondary worries me...

Drew Brees went 20/22 in the second half and was 34/44 for 305 yds and 2 TDs overall.

anyone else worried that this is our weak link that could keep us from winning Lombardi Trophy #7?

Yes. However, it was also our weak link in 2008 when we won Lombardi #6.

hawaiiansteel
11-01-2010, 12:19 AM
like I said, our defensive secondary worries me...

Drew Brees went 20/22 in the second half and was 34/44 for 305 yds and 2 TDs overall.

anyone else worried that this is our weak link that could keep us from winning Lombardi Trophy #7?

Yes. However, it was also our weak link in 2008 when we won Lombardi #6.


and we had the same starting 4 DBs in 2008 as we do now. that was our weak link then and is also now, what a coincidence.

pepsyman1
11-01-2010, 02:48 AM
like I said, our defensive secondary worries me...

Drew Brees went 20/22 in the second half and was 34/44 for 305 yds and 2 TDs overall.

anyone else worried that this is our weak link that could keep us from winning Lombardi Trophy #7?

Yes. However, it was also our weak link in 2008 when we won Lombardi #6.


and we had the same starting 4 DBs in 2008 as we do now. that was our weak link then and is also now, what a coincidence.

In 2008 we were the #1 pass defense in the league and we were blitzing a lot more than we have this or last season. Teams have adjusted to what our normal base defense is and are willing to take what our coverage scheme allows. If Coach D doesn't start turning the guys loose a little more we are going to continue to struggle against the pass.

hawaiiansteel
11-01-2010, 02:45 PM
so how is it that we only rush 3 guys and drop 8 into pass coverage and still can't cover the other team's receivers?

that 3rd and 9 the Saints converted near the end of the game was a perfect example... :wft

NorthCoast
11-01-2010, 07:58 PM
like I said, our defensive secondary worries me...

Drew Brees went 20/22 in the second half and was 34/44 for 305 yds and 2 TDs overall.

anyone else worried that this is our weak link that could keep us from winning Lombardi Trophy #7?

Yes. However, it was also our weak link in 2008 when we won Lombardi #6.


and we had the same starting 4 DBs in 2008 as we do now. that was our weak link then and is also now, what a coincidence.

In 2008 we were the #1 pass defense in the league and we were blitzing a lot more than we have this or last season. Teams have adjusted to what our normal base defense is and are willing to take what our coverage scheme allows. If Coach D doesn't start turning the guys loose a little more we are going to continue to struggle against the pass.

Well, yes and no. The league has changed the rules to the point that it is nearly impossible to get a holding call against an OL. Remember how much Starks struggled before the rule changes? Did he magically get better or is he allowed much more leeway in how he is able to handle the rusher? Nearly half the QBs in the league passed for more than 3000 yds last season. This was unheard of 10 yrs ago.

Advantage...offense.

chiken
11-02-2010, 12:19 PM
if struggling means holding a Great offense to 13 points going into the 4th and losing because we
a) fumble,
b) cant punch it in from the 3inch line and
C) have a few timing issues w/ our Qb who had only played in 2 Games before that (Against familiar teams)

Then sign me up... We really didnt play that bad against the pass Despite his numbers.
oh and that roughing the Passer penalty killed us on their scoring drive.

Teams are going to move around between the 20's on every defense from now on... We made plays, had picks, had Sacks, had fumble recoveries.. our offense let us down against the Saints.

Oviedo
11-02-2010, 12:29 PM
like I said, our defensive secondary worries me...

Drew Brees went 20/22 in the second half and was 34/44 for 305 yds and 2 TDs overall.

anyone else worried that this is our weak link that could keep us from winning Lombardi Trophy #7?

Scares me to death because the performance of the secondary in our defense is directly tied to the perfoamnce of the pass rush. It is a direct relationship and what we have seen is we have no answer for teams that have the ability to max protect thereby nullifying the pass rushh

It is the exact same problem we had during the losing streak last year. We could not get to the QB and QBs were able to complete a high proportion of passes and convert a high proportion of 3rd downs against our defense. You have to find some way, any way to get to the QB. You don't do that rushing 3 men like we did Sunday night.

We haven't really changed anything because we totally "trust" the system. It's analogous to your car. You get in every morning and have a 100% trust that when you turn the key the engine starts. However, every once and awhile it doesn't start and it screws up your whole day and things start to happen beyond your control. In this situation you go to the garage and they hook up a computer to analyze the systems and find out what is wrong.

My concern has always been is that we trust the system soooo much that we never hook up the computer and do an analysis. Our defense just keeps turning the key over and over.

chiken
11-02-2010, 02:05 PM
If our offense had scored the points they should have - this would not be an issue today.
Brees would not have had the ball long enough to throw for 300..
We are keeping teams out of the endzone.
Our OFFense working keeps the other teams OFFense off the field. - that helps the Defense.
We are making too much out of yards, ignoring the Score. 13-10 with 6 minutes to go before our offense gave them the ball back.

feltdizz
11-02-2010, 02:15 PM
If our offense had scored the points they should have - this would not be an issue today.
Brees would not have had the ball long enough to throw for 300..
We are keeping teams out of the endzone.
Our OFFense working keeps the other teams OFFense off the field. - that helps the Defense.
We are making too much out of yards, ignoring the Score. 13-10 with 6 minutes to go before our offense gave them the ball back.

:Agree

Brees had a 59 passer rating at half time... we left a ton of plays out there and just as many points.

Most people had us giving up 38,35 or 31 points and losing... I don't understand why so many are mad we lost a game most predicted we would lose.

I, on the other hand, should be furious because I never expect or predict us to lose. 8)

chiken
11-02-2010, 02:55 PM
If our offense had scored the points they should have - this would not be an issue today.
Brees would not have had the ball long enough to throw for 300..
We are keeping teams out of the endzone.
Our OFFense working keeps the other teams OFFense off the field. - that helps the Defense.
We are making too much out of yards, ignoring the Score. 13-10 with 6 minutes to go before our offense gave them the ball back.

:Agree

Brees had a 59 passer rating at half time... we left a ton of plays out there and just as many points.

Most people had us giving up 38,35 or 31 points and losing... I don't understand why so many are mad we lost a game most predicted we would lose.

I, on the other hand, should be furious because I never expect or predict us to lose. 8)


i'm with you :Beer

we are going to lose some games, We are nowhere near a finished product and its easy to see that we havent topped out on offense.. We are getting by with solid play but Ben has not hit that stretch that we all know he can hit. Our OFFense under him is not what we saw Sunday night. We ALL KNOW we are better than that... we are not going to be playing our best football offensively with him only playing 2 darn games.

hawaiiansteel
11-02-2010, 05:32 PM
Polamalu's disappointment could mean trouble for Bengals

By Scott Brown, PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Tuesday, November 2, 2010

http://files.pittsburghlive.com/photos/2010-11-01/pola-a.jpg

Own worst critic
Chaz Palla/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review


Just as Drew Brees throwing four interceptions prior to his dissection of one of the NFL's worst statistical pass defenses didn't bode well for the Steelers, the same may be said of the Bengals when it comes to Troy Polamalu.

The All-Pro strong safety was unusually hard on himself after the Steelers' 20-10 loss to the Saints on Sunday.

And that probably won't make things any easier Monday night for the Bengals in Cincinnati.

Such logic is the same that applied to the Saints quarterback a week ago: Polamalu is simply too good a player to expect another subpar game from him.

And after the Steelers' second loss of the season, it didn't sound like the five-time Pro Bowler simply will shrug off his performance as a rare bad day at the office.

"If I did my job in the second half (against the Saints), we would have won the game," Polamalu said.

He blew an assignment that led to a 50-yard reception by Saints wide receiver Robert Meachem in the fourth quarter. When pointed out that the biggest play of the game at that point did not cost the Steelers because they recovered a fumble three plays later, Polamalu would hear none of it.

"I didn't hold up my end of the job the two safeties have to do," said Polamalu, who had six tackles against the Saints. "I felt like I was one step away on every play. There's a lot for me, personally, to learn from this game."

The game did nothing to discourage questions about a pass defense that now ranks 25th in the NFL (243.1 yards per game).

Even more disconcerting is the Steelers allowing opposing quarterbacks to complete 68 percent of passes. For comparison's sake, the Steelers yielded a completion rate of 56.5 percent in 2008.

If the Steelers want to achieve what they did two seasons ago when they won a sixth Super Bowl, they have to tighten up their pass defense.

And it may start with Polamalu in Cincinnati.

QUOTABLES

Left tackle Max Starks, on the Steelers getting stopped three times from inside the Saints' 1-yard line Sunday:

"I think we've been running the ball very well this year, minus the last week, and I think when we get in those situations where we need half a yard, you usually think that's going to get in. But they just outflanked us and outsmarted us on those three plays."

Strong safety Troy Polamalu, on the Steelers without injured defensive end Aaron Smith:

"We're going to miss Aaron, but when we've played teams like Baltimore and Miami, teams that have run-first offenses, that's when we'll see whether or not we miss him. Obviously, Aaron is a huge asset to our team and, of course, we miss him, but we'll see how we react when we play a really solid run team."

Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, on the direction of the team despite Sunday's loss:

"We got knocked down a little bit, and now, it will be interesting to see how we will bounce back. We'll just have to evaluate things, but I don't think there's any reason to panic."

3 QUESTIONS WITH DE BRETT KEISEL

You may be the best basketball player on the Steelers. Who is your starting five from this locker room?

"At the '5' would be Max (Starks). I would be the '4' because I like to bang down low. At the '3' we would put Ben (Roethlisberger). The '2' would be Ike (Taylor) and at the point, we'd have Antwaan (Randle El)."

If you were NFL commissioner for a day, what is one thing you would do?

"If I was commissioner for a day, the one thing I would do is make sure the CBA (Collective Bargaining Agreement) got done that day so we know we're going to play football for a long time and it's over and done with and we can move forward."

What is on your bucket list?

"I want to skydive. I want to get in a cage with Great Whites (sharks), and I want to go to Australia."

DIGITS

3: Bengals turnovers in their last four wins against the Steelers dating back to 2005

-8: The Steelers' turnover differential in their last four losses to AFC North rival Cincinnati

11:08: Steelers edge in time of possession in two games against the Bengals in 2009

82.5: Rushing yards the Steelers averaged in the four games that Roethlisberger missed while suspended

95.7: Rushing yards the Steelers have averaged in the three games since Roethlisberger's return

3 PLAYERS TO WATCH

Terrell Owens/Chad Ochocinco, Bengals WRs

It's hard to differentiate between the two entertainers/football players now that they are in the Queen City, but they have combined for 1,087 receiving yards and seven touchdowns in seven games.

Carson Palmer, Bengals QB

He has been riding a hot streak, as he has averaged 272 passing yards and thrown for nine touchdowns in Cincinnati's last four games.

Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers QB

Will be looking for some redemption after having an off game (20 of 40, 174 yards, interception) the last time the Steelers played the Bengals.

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsbu ... 07159.html (http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/steelers/s_707159.html)

chiken
11-02-2010, 09:03 PM
chargers we're ranked #1 going into last week.

RuthlessBurgher
11-03-2010, 01:17 PM
3 QUESTIONS WITH DE BRETT KEISEL

You may be the best basketball player on the Steelers. Who is your starting five from this locker room?

"At the '5' would be Max (Starks). I would be the '4' because I like to bang down low. At the '3' we would put Ben (Roethlisberger). The '2' would be Ike (Taylor) and at the point, we'd have Antwaan (Randle El)."

If you were NFL commissioner for a day, what is one thing you would do?

"If I was commissioner for a day, the one thing I would do is make sure the CBA (Collective Bargaining Agreement) got done that day so we know we're going to play football for a long time and it's over and done with and we can move forward."

What is on your bucket list?

"I want to skydive. I want to get in a cage with Great Whites (sharks), and I want to go to Australia."

Is Keisel one of Chadman's Facebook friends? :stirpot

fordfixer
11-03-2010, 07:52 PM
3 QUESTIONS WITH DE BRETT KEISEL

You may be the best basketball player on the Steelers. Who is your starting five from this locker room?

"At the '5' would be Max (Starks). I would be the '4' because I like to bang down low. At the '3' we would put Ben (Roethlisberger). The '2' would be Ike (Taylor) and at the point, we'd have Antwaan (Randle El)."

If you were NFL commissioner for a day, what is one thing you would do?

"If I was commissioner for a day, the one thing I would do is make sure the CBA (Collective Bargaining Agreement) got done that day so we know we're going to play football for a long time and it's over and done with and we can move forward."

What is on your bucket list?

"I want to skydive. I want to get in a cage with Great Whites (sharks), and I want to go to Australia."

Is Keisel one of Chadman's Facebook friends? :stirpot
Chadman has friends?????

hawaiiansteel
11-03-2010, 08:56 PM
Steelers' pass defense giving more ground

By F. Dale Lolley,

http://www1.pictures.zimbio.com/gi/Cincinnati+Bengals+v+Pittsburgh+Steelers+QOes6C-EUaDl.jpg


PITTSBURGH - It's been 10 years since the Cincinnati Bengals devised a plan to beat the Steelers' zone-blitzing 3-4 defense by spreading them out with four- and five-receiver sets.
As Drew Brees showed last Sunday, it's something that still can be effective.

Brees and the Saints managed just 30 rushing yards in their 20-10 victory. They iknstead relied on the passing of Brees, who completed 34 of 44 passes for 304 yards and two touchdowns.

"When you play a team like ours, you can't always go for the deep ball. They were patient and took what they could get," safety Ryan Clark said.

Up next for the Steelers (5-2) are the Bengals, who showed the NFL the way to negate Pittsburgh's zone blitz in a 26-23 overtime win late in the 2001 season. The Bengals passed on almost every down in that game.

The thinking was, if you can't run the ball, why try? Instead, use short passes, which the Steelers freely allow, and patiently work your way down the field.

It worked for Brees and the Saints, particularly in the second half, when he completed 20 of 22 passes for 190 yards and two touchdowns.

Steelers coach Mike Tomlin admits to having concerns about his team's pass defense, which is allowing opposing quarterbacks to complete 68 percent of their passes - well above the team record of 62.4 percent set in 1991.

"I do, but for the sole purpose of winning," Tomlin said. "We recognize that Drew Brees is a talented quarterback. He has a variety of weapons. ... He made some great plays in that football game, particularly in the second half. I liked what we were able to do against him in the first half, but he settled down and he got going."

The Steelers could face a similar challenge Monday night at Cincinnati. Bengals offensive coordinator Bob Bratkowski showed the NFL how to handle the zone blitz in 2001. Prior to joining the Bengals, Bratkowski spent two seasons in Pittsburgh as the Steelers' wide receivers coach. Those two seasons gave Bratkowski a first-hand look at the Steelers' defense.

In that 2001 game in Cincinnati, Bratkowski had quarterback Jon Kitna attempt 68 passes. The following season, the Steelers' first two opponents, New England and Oakland, did the same, throwing on nearly every down.

Tomlin, however, doesn't expect to see that plan of attack out of the Bengals (2-5), despite Cincinnati boasting a receiving corps of Chad Ochocinco and Terrell Owens. Tomlin expects the Bengals to attempt to establish a running game with Cedric Benson, though the Steelers are giving up only 58.9 rushing yards per game and 2.6 yards per carry.

"I think it's their personality, and their playing to it," Tomlin said. "I think they feed you a lot of Cedric Benson. They're 2-5, and I think that dictates some of the things that occur. When you're winning, you're going to feed Cedric Benson. When you're losing there are probably going to be more passes thrown. That's just football."

Odds and end zones

Tomlin expects defensive end Brett Keisel to return this week after missing two games with a hamstring injury. ... Linebacker Thaddeus Gibson, a fourth-round draft pick, was claimed off waivers by the San Francisco 49ers. Gibson was released Saturday to make room on the roster for defensive lineman Steve McLendon. ... None of the Steelers' coaches saw a replay of Rashard Mendenhall's second-down run in the second quarter against New Orleans. Mendenhall appeared to break the plane of the goal line. Mendenhall was stuffed for no gain on the next play and the Steelers kicked a field goal.

http://www.observer-reporter.com/or/loc ... the-spread (http://www.observer-reporter.com/or/localsports/11-03-2010-Steelers-against-the-spread)