View Full Version : Tomlin spreads blame for letdown in pass defense

11-20-2010, 10:23 AM
Tomlin spreads blame for letdown in pass defense
Saturday, November 20, 2010
http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsbu ... 10251.html (http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/steelers/s_710251.html)

The words should be chilling to Steelers fans.

Asked about the play of his secondary after New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady threw for 350 yards and three touchdowns in a 13-point Steelers loss, coach Mike Tomlin passed the buck to his front seven.

"Our pass defense is a combination of a lot of people. Not only corners but safties and linebackers and (pass) rush,'' Tomlin said. "A lot of the things that went on in that game, many of them were underneath throws that aren't directly involving cornerback play.''

Brady wasn't sacked in 43 attempts. With no consistent pass rush to force him to hurry his throws, Brady had plenty of time to target nine different receivers. Brady averaged 8.1 yards per completion, the highest average permitted by the Steelers this season.

"We weren't able to get consistent pressure,'' said Tomlin after the game.

Two days later, when he had a chance to view game tape, Tomlin added, "We all accept responsibility for our inability to consistently stop the New England Patriots. Coaches, players everyone. Not only the cornerback position.''

Added inside linebacker and defensive captain James Farrior: "We can't put those guys (cornerbacks) on an island and expect them to cover for a long time. We have to get a better pass rush. We definitely have to take it upon the front seven and the guys that are rushing the quarterback to have those guys' backs. They've got the hardest job on the field.''

Steelers cornerbacks have been a lightning rod for criticism following losses to Baltimore, New Orleans and New England. However, Tomlin's comments offered a different perspective about what went wrong defensively in those games.

The lack of a pass rush, for one.

In their three losses, the Steelers allowed six touchdown passes against only three sacks in 124 pass attempts.

"There were times when we could have done things better. And there were times there was nothing you could do about it,'' said outside linebacker James Harrison, who leads the Steelers with seven sacks this season. "We could have had more pressure when Brady held the ball long enough to where we could have got there.''

Former New England safety Rodney Harrison offered another perspective that could help explain Brady's success against the Steelers.

Appearing on NBC, Harrison predicted before last week's game that Steelers cornerbacks would play man-to-man against New England's receivers because "the teams that have beaten the Patriots (Cleveland Browns and the New York Jets) played tight man-to-man coverage. The Patriots love those short, intermediate routes. If you're playing zone coverage like the Pittsburgh Steelers do all the time, there's some openings. But I think they're going to play man coverage.''

The Steelers played mostly zone against New England as Brady had a field day.

"In pass coverage, it's all on us because we're the guys covering the people who catch the ball,'' free safety Ryan Clark said. "We know it all works together. We know that when James (Harrison) and LaMarr (Woodley) are getting to the quarterback, we're a better team. But we also need to give them time to get back there. You can't let Tom Brady throw on his third step or his fifth step, or have a guy wide open if you expect the rush to get there.''

11-20-2010, 10:33 AM
couldn't disagree more. it's not leaving your CB's on an island when they have a 10 yard cushion. If brady was waiting 6-7 seconds on each pass before he threw that would be one thing, but for the most part the underneath stuff was soooo wide open so quickly he was simply taking what we gave. In tomlins world apparently you must be able to sack the QB in 3 seconds or your DB's can't be held responsible.

Mister Pittsburgh
11-20-2010, 10:46 AM
Browns beat Pats with tight man to man.

Steelers get killed playing soft zone.

Lebeau should have realized what needed to be done.

11-20-2010, 10:52 AM
Browns beat Pats with tight man to man.

Steelers get killed playing soft zone.

Lebeau should have realized what needed to be done.

Yeah he should have realized it 8 flippin' years ago!!!

11-20-2010, 10:57 AM
The Pats don't have a great group of WRs (outside of Welker they are below average at best). We have enough personnel to cover them in man. Troy could have taken welker and we could have left gay or Lewis back at safety. But, this team is simply too stubborn to think outside the box.

11-20-2010, 11:40 AM
Hearing from Mike T, Ray Horton and Bruce A this team is doomed. They really believe this ****!

11-20-2010, 11:49 AM
Hearing from Mike T, Ray Horton and Bruce A this team is doomed. They really believe this bad word!

I notice we haven't heard a word from Bad word. :wft does he think about his squad's performance? I wonder if he think the game plan was great, but the players couldn't execute ... Or??

11-20-2010, 01:31 PM
Hearing from Mike T, Ray Horton and Bruce A this team is doomed. They really believe this bad word!

QFT. Between this year and last, The coaches have never blamed scheme. Apparently the Steelers dont have good enough players. So if its not the game plan but the players, who's fault is that? No matter what it seems to come down to coaching.

Game plans, and players to execute the game plans, all comes from the coaches. So If they want to keep blaming the lack of execution maybe they need to admit they dont know how to draft players to execute their schemes.

I'm actually getting tired of hearing about lack of execution. Its bad enough thinking our game plans are weak, now I have to worry about the lack of talent this team has. BS. I don't believe it. Set the players up you have to succeed, square pegs don't fit in round holes.

11-20-2010, 01:49 PM
On the Steelers: Defense looks to rebound

Saturday, November 20, 2010
By Gerry Dulac, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette


Peter Diana/Post-Gazette
Steelers safety Ryan Clark tackles Patriots running back Danny Woodhead in the second quarter of last Sunday's game at Heinz Field.

It might be a stretch to say the Steelers were humbled by the New England Patriots. To be sure, it is not a word being used in their locker room to describe what happened Sunday night at Heinz Field.

Outside their locker room is a different matter.

"There's nothing to really be humble about because I don't think I was that high on us or that high on myself," said outside linebacker James Harrison. "I never look at us as a team that can't be beat on any given Sunday."

The Patriots proved that last week in a 39-26 victory, a game in which Tom Brady methodically cut through their EZ Pass defense and dictated the pace with 350 yards passing and three touchdowns, all to rookie tight end Rob Gronkowski.

While the Steelers (6-3) are desperately trying to forget what happened against the Patriots, they also are hoping those failures will serve as a reminder what can happen when they don't pay attention to detail and don't execute -- the prevailing sentiment of what ailed them against New England.

They get their first chance at repentance Sunday against the Oakland Raiders (5-4), a team that should remind them of that very basic tenet, especially after what happened last season at Heinz Field.

"You can't let things linger," said safety Ryan Clark. "It's one game. That's been the mentality around here so long, that, if someone moves the ball on the Pittsburgh Steelers or somebody plays a better game than the Pittsburgh Steelers, it's the end of the world. Well, it's not."

It just seems like Armageddon in the secondary, where the Steelers have allowed an average of 288 yards passing in the past five games and seven touchdowns in the past three. Nickel back William Gay has been a frequent target, allowing three touchdowns in the past two games, including two to Gronkowski.

But even the NFL's No. 1 rush defense showed a small sign of cracking against the Patriots. Running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis gained 17 yards the first time the Patriots ran the ball, the longest run against the Steelers this season. He finished with 87 yards on 18 carries, easily the most yards by an opposing running back this season.

Granted, some of that was because the Steelers were using a lot of nickel defense to protect against Brady, who completed 30 of 43 passes. But, as even inside linebacker James Farrior noted, "Not all of them were against the nickel."

Brady sliced the Steelers' defense so well that everything the Patriots tried, even running the ball, worked.

"I feel like our defense is way better than what we played," Farrior said. "You got to give those guys credit. They just outplayed us. We definitely don't want to have those kind of performances."

They can start against the Raiders, a team that usually likes to take the opposite approach of using the run to set up the pass. The Raiders are averaging 38.6 points per game during their three-game winning streak, tied for the longest in the NFL.

Running back Darren McFadden leads the league's No. 2 rushing offense with an NFL-best average of 108.6 yards per game and is tied for second behind Ahmad Bradshaw of the New York Giants with eight runs of 20 yards or longer.

But the Raiders used the pass to beat the Steelers, 27-24, last season at Heinz Field, a game in which former Seton-LaSalle High School quarterback Bruce Gradkowski passed for 188 yards and three touchdowns in the fourth quarter.

And history will note that, in 2002, Raiders quarterback Rich Gannon attempted 64 passes and threw for 401 yards in a 30-17 victory at Heinz Field.

"We know we have things to fix," Clark said. "[The Patriots] executed a great game plan. Tom Brady is arguably one the top two quarterbacks in the league. He had a great game, he was poised, and we didn't get lot of pressure on him. We let guys run open, and he hit them. That's what we're doing right now, we're fixing those things."

NOTES -- Defensive end Brett Keisel (hamstring) worked lightly in team drills for the first time this week, but he is not expected to play against the Raiders. He will be replaced by Nick Eason. .... Offensive guard Chris Kemoeatu (ankle), who did not play against the Patriots, practiced for the second day in a row and is expected to start.

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