PDA

View Full Version : Craig Wolfley Is a Big Sean Kugler Fan



hawaiiansteel
01-21-2011, 02:01 AM
Craig Wolfley Is a Big Sean Kugler Fan

Posted on January 19, 2011 by JJ


Craig Wolfley is one of the most visible Steelers’ experts out there. With his blog posts and podcasts at craigwolfley.com, his work with cohort Tunch Ilkin at ESPN 970, his writings at Steel City Insider and his duties as the Steelers’ sideline reporter, Wolfley is everywhere.

He’s also one of the most entertaining and insightful experts around. And he was nice enough to spend 20 minutes talking offensive line play with the Lounge on Tuesday. As you would expect, he has plenty of opinions about the Steelers’ line play. This isn’t going to be a story as much as an interview because there’s no reason to try to paraphrase someone as quotable and engaging as Wolfley.

When Wolfley saw Ramon Foster slide from guard to tackle as an emergency measure on Saturday, he knew exactly what Foster was going through. Wolfley was a guard for almost his entire career, but as an eight-year veteran he was moved to offensive tackle as an emergency measure. He found it wasn’t an easy transition.

“As a guard, you’re a phone-booth fighter. The angles are much more sheer. At tackle, it’s like being in a parking lot fight. There’s a lot of room to cover. To be playing guard and then switch to tackle in a game is very difficult,” Wolfley said.

As Wolfley saw it, while Saturday’s o-line performance wasn’t perfect he was impressed with how the Steelers’ line held together despite injuries and illness.

“I though the line play was pretty good, especially considering the fact that Flozell became Flu-Zell. That first 10-play, 80 yard drive when he came off the field, he was wobbling. I was thinking at the time he must have gotten donked in the head. Then he didn’t come out for the second half and Trai Essex went in for him.

“Then when Jonathan Scott went down, out of the locker room comes Flozell. He tried to immediately come on the field. Mike Tomlin and Sean Kugler had to hold him back. So he comes back to the sidelines. He was so wobbly that he had to lean on Antwaan Randle-El. Flozell’s 6-foot-8 and Randle-El’s like 5-foot-7, so he was at a perfect elbow rest height for him.”

Seeing Adams try to gut it up and play didn’t surprise Wolfley.

“I can’t say enough about what Flozell Adams has brought to this line all year. He was replacing Willie Colon. Colon was the edge guy. He was the guy who kept other nasty guys on the other side in check. Flozell’s brought that same leadership,” Wolfley said.

Adams had a couple of high-ankle sprains this year, although he missed very little time with the injuries. As Wolfley explained, those ankle injuries have forced Adams to become even more of a technician.

“There’s no question. When it comes to redirecting around the pocket it’s a matter of timing your hands with your feet,” Wolfley said. “It’s all about stepping while you punch. Redirecting the guy at tackle, it’s step and punch, time your hands and feet. He’s had a couple of high ankle sprains and he hasn’t missed any time. Because of that he has to play with his head. He can’t chase, he has to let the defensive end come to him.

“Brother, he is so strong. Around the Jets … I remember a play where they overloaded his side. One of two guys he’s going to pick up, the back’s going to pick up the other. His man rushed, and he locked on with right arm. He planted the guy. It was funny. His arm was locked on the guy and the guy is just stopped. When that other guy comes inside,. smacks the guy in the grill and the guy just buckles.”

Wolfley did agree that this hasn’t always been a flawless offensive line, but he likes what he’s seen in recent weeks. As he sees it, an excellent effort against the Jets was a key step toward this line playing together.

“(The Jets game) is where I think the offensive line found their momemtum,” he said. “Tunch likes to say that ‘Just because it is, doesn’t mean it’s so.’ Just because the offensive line wasn’t that good, doesn’t mean it’s so.”

Tunch and I both point to 1984. We didn’t have a good line at the start of the year. But starting about the last four or five games we had the lineup. We caught fire and played with tremendous tenacity. We believed in each other. We worked hard. That offensive line was pretty darn good by the time we got to the AFC Championship game. We were tearing ‘em up. The only problem was they had Dan Marino.

“Just because it is doesn’t mean it’s so. Starting since that Jets game they have played pretty well.”

The credit for that goes to offensive line coach Sean Kugler, according to Wolfley. Since Kugler arrived in Pittsburgh, Wolfley has liked what he’s seen from the new line coach.

“Number one, he’s played the position. He brings an attitude. He celebrates the physical style of play. When their coach becomes someone that they want to be one of his guys, then you want to be that guy. If you see highlights on film of guys throwing guys down, you want to be the guy throwing guys down. He engenders a great sense of guys busting their humps for him,” he said.

“And number two, he’s a great teacher. Whether it’s pass pro or run blocking, it’s not enough to say, you’ve got him. He demonstrates the footwork and the body position and the hand position. What they got now, you have tremendous communication between Ben Roethlisberger and the line. And Maurkice does such a great job of directing traffic. I said right from get go, let the guy play center. That’s who he is. I’m glad they did. From him to start from get go on working and learning has been great.

“[Maurkice] had the game brains, Kugler said. It’s not just book knowledge. Each play becomes a living breathing entity. I played with guys with tremendous knowledge, but they lacked the common sense. Things like never passsing up another jersey. And there are other guys whose book knowledge you question, but they knew what to do at the right crucial moment.”

Pouncey’s play against the Ravens was particularly fun to see.

“It was apparent Maurkice could handle (the job),” Wolfley said. “I was telling Tunch during the broadcast, whenever he gets a free release it’s like watching someone beat up on a senior citizen. Ray Lewis has to hide behind his big boys. Whenever Maurkice got a free shot, he did it.

“It’s not Ray Lewis. McClain isn’t as good as Bart Scott. I think (Scott) is who made the defense. As a running mate you had to eyeball him. It’s like with the Steelers. Timmons brings such a bang that you can lose your focus on Potsie Farrior.”

To get a little more technical, I asked Wolfley what he thought about Kugler’s techniques. The Steelers are taking a different approach to zone blocking, and it’s right in line with Wolfley’s line of thinking.

“The difference is they take a power base step. They don’t back step (with their first step). What I find hideous is to take a bucket step because it puts you at such a disadvantage. I’m an aggressive sort of person, that’s bothersome. He’s eliminated the bucket step. It’s a power-based zone. You can come with power. You can come off with strength. When you play a soft zone, you have the mentaility of a counter puncher. You’re weight is centered backwards. You’re not rolling forward with your power. And it’s not an aggressive move. You can’t put yourself in a demeanor of whacking the daylights out of a guy. That’s why I have problems with a traditional zone-blocking scheme.”

To explain that a little more, the first step of a traditional zone-blocking scheme is backwards. The Steelers zone blocking begins with a step forward, which may create a slightly larger gap, but also enables the Steelers lineman to try to drive their man off the line of scrimmage.

http://www.steelerslounge.com/2011/01/c ... ugler-fan/ (http://www.steelerslounge.com/2011/01/craig-wolfley-big-sean-kugler-fan/)

steeler_george
01-21-2011, 08:18 AM
Thanks alot for the links to Wolf man.... I love his mojo and with Tunch input. They defintly are very knowledgable and know what Steeler ball means to us.

SanAntonioSteelerFan
01-21-2011, 09:01 AM
Thanks for posting, AlohaSteeler!

This is the first year I've started paying attention to the Pittsburgh media, and have really enjoyed it. Wolf does a great post-game with Tunch every game on Steelers.com. And I listen to the games on internet radio, Wolf and Bill Hargrove, that way I don't have to get all p*ssed off about the Dierdohrfs or Fouts of the world. Steelers.com has that Chalk Talk with Tunch and Labriola, that's pretty awesome too!

Here we go, Steelers!

Oviedo
01-21-2011, 09:03 AM
Listening to Tunch and Wolfley on the internet has become a daily requirement for me. They are full of so much information from being a player plus they have great insights into the current team. They are definitely in the know and have access other traditional media types can't get.

I think Flo Adams has been a temendous pick up. The guy is still a beast and I want him back next year even if it means Colon goes to Guard. I think Adams and Colon on the right side would make that a dominant pairing

Ghost
01-21-2011, 10:34 AM
“As a guard, you’re a phone-booth fighter. The angles are much more sheer. At tackle, it’s like being in a parking lot fight. There’s a lot of room to cover. To be playing guard and then switch to tackle in a game is very difficult,” Wolfley said.

Such a fantastic description!

hawaiiansteel
01-21-2011, 11:23 PM
Analyzing the Offensive Line: Ravens, Week 19

Posted on January 19, 2011 by JJ


The Steelers’ win over the Ravens was a mixed bag of offensive line play. That was to be expected considering the injuries and illnesses that once again required the team to play all seven active offensive lineman.

When the Steelers were rolling and Bruce Arians was calling plenty of quick passes, there were few problems. But in the fourth quarter, Pittsburgh generally lost the battle of the line of scrimmage and managed to win anyway. The analysis is going to be a little brief on the front end today, but here are the numbers and then I’ll post some thoughts on the game.


Total Good Play Total Plays Percentage

Heath Miller 29 32 90.6%
Doug Legursky 8 9 88.9%
Chris Kemoeatu 61 69 88.4%
Maurkice Pouncey 57 69 82.6%
Jonathan Scott 52 64 81.3%
Ramon Foster 55 69 79.7%
Trai Essex 31 39 79.5%
Flozell Adams 23 31 74.2%
Matt Spaeth 10 14 71.4%
David Johnson 6 10 60.0%

Run Good Play Total Plays Percentage

Heath Miller 22 24 91.7%
Chris Kemoeatu 24 27 88.9%
Doug Legursky 5 6 83.3%
Jonathan Scott 19 25 76.0%
Matt Spaeth 10 14 71.4%
Ramon Foster 19 27 70.4%
Maurkice Pouncey19 27 70.4%
Flozell Adams 8 13 61.5%
Trai Essex 9 15 60.0%
David Johnson 6 10 60.0%

Pass Good Play Total Plays Percentage Pressures Sacks

Doug Legursky 3 3 100%
Trai Essex 22 24 91.7% 1 1
Maurkice Pouncey38 42 90.5% 1
Chris Kemoeatu 37 42 88.1% 3 0.5
Heath Miller 7 8 87.5% 2
Ramon Foster 36 42 85.7% 3 1
Jonathan Scott 33 39 84.6% 4 0.5
Flozell Adams 15 18 83.3% 2
Matt Spaeth 0 0 0.0%
David Johnson 0 0 0.0%
Rashard Mendenhall1 2 50.0% 1
Isaac Redman 1 1 100%
Mewelde Moore 5 5 100%

And now here are some quick thoughts:

• Ben Roethlisberger did hold the ball too long on the Suggs’ sack/fumble that led to Baltimore’s second touchdown, but it’s not as egregious as you may believe. Roethlisberger had the ball for 3.4 seconds and against a four-man rush (with no one in his line of sight getting any penetration). He needs to get rid of the ball, but 3.4 seconds is not the same as holding onto the ball for four seconds or more. It was just a great play by Suggs, one of many for him in this game.

• The Steelers threw in some new wrinkles on Saturday. When Pittsburgh found itself deep in its own end early in the second quarter, the Steelers rolled out an unbalanced line with Jonathan Scott flipped over to Flozell Adams’ outside shoulder. The play only gained a piddling one yard, but it was a nice idea.

• The Steelers’ running backs made some nice saves in pass protection. One example that stood out: With Ben Roethlisberger standing in the end zone for his dropback on third and seven, Terrell Suggs beat Ramon Foster to the inside. It was a rush right up the middle, which is tough for even Ben Roethlisberger to shake off, but just before he got to Roethlisberger, Isaac Redman shoved Suggs outside, giving Big Ben a chance to step into his throw.

• Pittsburgh wanted to make sure that Roethlisberger had time to throw. So Heath Miller spent much of the night serving as a blocking back in pass situations, and the Steelers even had a rollout where Hines Ward was asked to make a key pass block on the edge.

• Credit to Pro Football Talk for noticing this first, but Maurkice Pouncey earned the Steelers a key first down with a little subterfuge. Early in the fourth quarter, the Steelers got to the 14 on third and 11 when they needed to get to the 13. Pittsburgh then rushed to the line to try to sneak for the first down before the Ravens were ready. Ravens coach John Harbaugh pulled a fast one of his own by a bogus challenge (which was waived when he “learned” that it wasn’t a first down). That gave Baltimore a chance to get set.

However, the ball had originally been spotted just on the far side of the 14-yard line hash mark (closer to the 15). When Pouncey initially ran up to snap the ball, he slid the ball forward about a foot to the other side of the 14-yard line. The referees didn’t notice it during Harbaugh’s challenge discussion, so when the two teams lined up again, the ball was now on the other side of the hash mark, closer to the 13. The Steelers again tried to rush the snap, and Pouncey again slid the ball forward a foot, but the officials stepped in to cover up the ball to give the Ravens more time to prepare. By now, the ball is roughly at the 13 1/2 yard line, a full two to two and a half feet further than it initially was spotted. When Pouncey lined up to snap again, he moved the ball up a further foot, putting the ball just inches from the 13-yard line. When Roethlisberger sneaked, he only needed about three inches to get the first down instead of a full yard.

• It’s hard to call it a miracle, but Rashard Mendenhall’s game-winning touchdown was both a thing of beauty and an indescribable screw-up. On that play, it’s hard to find one lineman who made an effective block. Jonathan Scott didn’t really block anyone. Chris Kemoeatu was driven into the backfield when trying to pull, then flagged for unnecessary roughness. Maurkice Pouncey and Ramon Foster both attempted ineffective cut blocks that left their men standing unblocked at the line of scrimmage. Trai Essex didn’t really block anyone either. But David Johnson got just enough of Jarret Johnson and Mendenhall executed a nice cutback that left two unblocked defensive lineman flat-footed.

Overall, Flozell Adams struggles can be explained away — he was barely able to stand because of the flu. Pouncey was dominant when he was asked to block Ray Lewis. He had much more trouble in goal line situations blocking 350-pound defensive tackles. Ramon Foster gets a medal for sliding out to tackle, but his overall play was the same so-so blocking you would expect. Chris Kemoeatu made some dumb post-play blocks that he needs to eliminate. Jonathan Scott had a better game against Suggs this week — most of Suggs damage came against other linemen — but he still gives up four or five pressures and a sack a game. I’d be surprised to learn anything else from Scott’s stats this Sunday against the Jets.

http://www.steelerslounge.com/2011/01/a ... vens-week/ (http://www.steelerslounge.com/2011/01/analyzing-offensive-line-ravens-week/)

RuthlessBurgher
01-22-2011, 12:31 AM
Credit to Pro Football Talk for noticing this first, but Maurkice Pouncey earned the Steelers a key first down with a little subterfuge. Early in the fourth quarter, the Steelers got to the 14 on third and 11 when they needed to get to the 13. Pittsburgh then rushed to the line to try to sneak for the first down before the Ravens were ready. Ravens coach John Harbaugh pulled a fast one of his own by a bogus challenge (which was waived when he “learned” that it wasn’t a first down). That gave Baltimore a chance to get set.

However, the ball had originally been spotted just on the far side of the 14-yard line hash mark (closer to the 15). When Pouncey initially ran up to snap the ball, he slid the ball forward about a foot to the other side of the 14-yard line. The referees didn’t notice it during Harbaugh’s challenge discussion, so when the two teams lined up again, the ball was now on the other side of the hash mark, closer to the 13. The Steelers again tried to rush the snap, and Pouncey again slid the ball forward a foot, but the officials stepped in to cover up the ball to give the Ravens more time to prepare. By now, the ball is roughly at the 13 1/2 yard line, a full two to two and a half feet further than it initially was spotted. When Pouncey lined up to snap again, he moved the ball up a further foot, putting the ball just inches from the 13-yard line. When Roethlisberger sneaked, he only needed about three inches to get the first down instead of a full yard.

That's awesome! Harbaugh tried to bend the rules to get his guys more time by throwing a bogus challenge flag, and our wily rookie center takes advantage of that with better field position. You screwed yourself, Harbaugh! :lol: