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hawaiiansteel
01-27-2011, 08:27 PM
Analyzing the Offensive Line: A Bravura Performance for the Steelers Tackles

Posted on January 27, 2011 by JJ


The Jets have one of the best defenses in the NFL, but there is something about Gang Green that seems to bring out the best in the Steelers offensive line.

The regular season game was probably the line’s best performance of the season. When it came to pass protection, the AFC Championship game was equally impressive. Rex Ryan’s defense really didn’t try to blitz much — the Jets rushed three players once and four defenders 17 times in 27 Steelers pass plays — and Pittsburgh’s tackles, backs and tight ends generally did a good job of figuring out where the disguised pressure was coming from.

By my count, the Jets only pressured Roethlisberger on eight of the 27 plays. And only one of those pressures came when New York sent five or more rushers. Even when Roethlisberger took off and ran for first downs, it was more because of the opportunity than being flushed from the pocket.

In the running game, the story wasn’t as simple as you may expect. Rashard Mendenhall rushed for 121 yards and the Steelers rushed for 166 as a team, but there still were plenty of problems in run blocking.

A lot of that can be blamed on predictability — in the second half Pittsburgh ran on 12 of 15 first and second-down plays (not counting the two botched snaps). New York knew the Steelers were trying to bleed the clock and brought everyone up to the line. As a result, Pittsburgh rushed for 23 yards on 11 designed running plays in the second half. A lot of the poor run blocking grades you see below came from that.

But even in the first half, Pittsburgh’s line was dominating as much as you may think. The tackles did an excellent job in the first half, especially Flozell Adams. Adams consistently sealed the inside edge or otherwise erased his man. Over on the other side, Jonathan Scott was as close to flawless as I’ve ever seen him. Scott gave up a sack, just like usual, but I had him blocking successfully on 34 of the first 35 plays. Most of Scott’s run blocks were on the backside as the Steelers ran predominantly to the right, but that’s a block that Scott has had plenty of trouble with in the past (remember the safety in the first Jets game).

The guards, Ramon Foster and Chris Kemoeatu, were hot and cold. They got some key blocks in the first half, but both struggled against defenses geared to stop the run in the second half.

If Maurkice Pouncey can’t go on Super Bowl Sunday, we got a sneak peek at the Doug Legursky experience. And to be frank, it wasn’t a pretty picture. Legursky shows good agility and he seems to have a very good knowledge of who he’s supposed to block. But he’s a poor matchup against a 3-4 defense as he seems to lack the functional strength to handle a strong nose tackle.

The best way to describe what happened to Legursky is he was “Mahan’d.” Maybe it wasn’t that bad, as I still wake up with nightmares of what Dewayne Robertson did to then-Steelers center Sean Mahan in the 2006 Steelers’ loss. But it sure wasn’t pretty.

Jets nose tackles generally either drove Legursky back a step or two (or more) or stalemated him in the hole. They then either flowed down the line toward the ball carrier (with Legursky still locked up but powerless to stop them) or they tossed him aside to either make the tackle or clog a hole. The Jets nose tackles always seemed to win the battle of hand position — they used their longer arms to grab Legursky before he could grab them.

Legursky seems to be a much better player when he plays in space; he has the quickness to get to the second level to block linebackers. Unfortunately for the Steelers, that won’t help him next week, as the Packers are a 3-4 team. If Pouncey can’t play, B.J. Raji would appear to be Legursky’s worst nightmare.

Enough talk, here’s a look at the numbers. I’ll go more in depth into the Super Bowl next week here and over at FanHouse.

Run Good Play Total Play PCT

Pouncey 7 7 100%
Miller 7 7 100%
Spaeth 2 2 100%
Mendenhall 1 1 100%
Moore 1 1 100%
Redman 3 3 100%
Adams 25 27 92.6%
Foster 25 27 92.6%
Scott 24 27 88.9%
Kemoeatu 23 27 85.2%
Legursky 14 19 73.7%
Johnson 0 0 0.0%
Essex 0 0 0.0%

Pass Good Play Total Play PCT

Scott 30 33 90.9%
Pouncey 7 8 87.5%
Miller 23 30 76.7%
Johnson 12 16 75.0%
Adams 23 33 69.7%
Spaeth 11 16 68.8%
Foster 22 33 66.7%
Kemoeatu 22 33 66.7%
Legursky 13 28 46.4%
Essex 0 1 0.0%
Mendenhall 0 0 0.0%
Moore 0 0 0.0%
Redman 0 0 0.0%

Total Good Play Total Play PCT Pressure Sacks

Mendenhall 1 1 100%
Moore 1 1 100%
Redman 3 3 100%
Pouncey 14 15 93.3%
Scott 54 60 90.0% 1
Miller 30 37 81.1%
Adams 48 60 80.0% 2
Foster 47 60 78.3% 1
Kemoeatu 45 60 75.0% 2 0.5
Johnson 12 16 75.0%
Spaeth 13 18 72.2%
Legursky 27 47 57.5% 1 0.5
Essex 0 1 0.0%

http://www.steelerslounge.com/2011/01/a ... advance-2/ (http://www.steelerslounge.com/2011/01/analyzing-offensive-line-survive-advance-2/)

Scarletfire1970
01-27-2011, 09:47 PM
This sucks. I am getting depressed again. I hope we don't get embarrassed in the SB.

feltdizz
01-27-2011, 10:08 PM
This sucks. I am getting depressed again. I hope we don't get embarrassed in the SB.

embarrassed by a GB team that put up 14 points on offense? Yeah right!

Don't believe the ESPN hype.

SanAntonioSteelerFan
01-28-2011, 01:18 AM
This will be Arien's final exam ... can he game plan to the game at hand, or just put together a game plan brilliant in isolation, but unsuited for the opponent of the moment.

Come on BA ... pulling for you!

hawaiiansteel
01-28-2011, 02:31 AM
Steelers' O-line battling through adversity

JAN 27
By James Walker


PITTSBURGH -- By the end of last Sunday's AFC Championship Game, the Steelers were attempting to punch a ticket to Super Bowl XLV with four offensive linemen who were backups at the beginning of the season.

Trai Essex, Ramon Foster, Jonathan Scott and Doug Legursky all entered training camp without much fanfare or high expectations. But as offensive linemen continued to go down at different points of the season, this foursome was key to leading Pittsburgh to a 24-19 victory over the New York Jets.

On Sunday, the backups joined starting guard Chris Kemoeatu, who stayed healthy virtually from start to finish and started in 17 of Pittsburgh's 18 games, including the postseason. This patchwork group will be key against the Green Bay Packers' tough defense, which ranked No. 5 in the NFL this season.

http://a.espncdn.com/photo/2011/0127/nfl_u_dlegursky_jh_200.jpg

Matthew Emmons/US Presswire
If Maurkice Pouncey is unable to play, Doug Legursky (64) will start at center for Pittsburgh.

Blocking Packers defenders such as Clay Matthews and B.J. Raji will not be an easy task. But despite various injuries, the Steelers feel they are up for the challenge.

"I have all the faith in the world in those guys," said Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who has always been supportive of his offensive line. "The last time we were in Tampa [for Super Bowl XLIII] we had a 'makeshift line' and guys filled in. The standard, as coach [Mike Tomlin] says, doesn’t change. Guys know that."

Pittsburgh's MASH unit has battled through injuries well this season. Here is a breakdown:
The Steelers suffered their first big loss on the offensive line in the spring when starting right tackle Willie Colon went down with a season-ending Achilles injury while working out. That led to the team signing 13-year veteran Flozell Adams, who will be playing in his first Super Bowl in the home stadium of his former team: the Dallas Cowboys.

Pittsburgh starting left tackle Max Starks suffered a season-ending neck injury in Week 9 against the Cincinnati Bengals and was put on injured reserve. He was replaced by Scott at left tackle for the past nine games.

And the most recent injury was to Pro Bowl center Maurkice Pouncey, who suffered a high ankle sprain on the opening drive against the Jets. Legursky did a solid job filling in for almost the entire game and helped pave the way for tailback Rashard Mendenhall to rush for 121 yards and a touchdown against New York. Pouncey’s status for the Super Bowl is in question, as players who suffer high ankle sprains typically sit out four to six weeks.

Legursky could play a key role for the Steelers in Super Bowl XLV. Despite being a rookie, Pouncey is Pittsburgh's best offensive lineman. If he cannot play, it would be a big loss in the middle of the offensive line.

Legursky would have the tough assignment blocking Raji, who is becoming one of the NFL's fastest rising stars and is having a breakout run through the playoffs.

"He's a playmaker. You've seen that through the playoffs alone," Legursky said of Raji. “He's a big, old guy, stout there in the middle and we’re going to have our hands full."

If Legursky doesn't start, he will remain one of the first subs off the bench. As Pittsburgh's most versatile lineman, Legursky has the ability to play center, guard, tackle and has played tight end this season in goal-line situations.

Legursky's blue-collar work ethic earned him a spot with the Steelers. Already cut once by Pittsburgh, Legursky entered training camp as a long shot behind Pouncey, a first-round draft pick, and last year's starter, Justin Hartwig.

But Pouncey's rapid development made Hartwig expendable and he was released, while Pittsburgh preferred Legursky's ability to play various positions. The AFC North blog asked Legursky this week if someone told him a few months ago he could start in a Super Bowl, what would be his reaction?

"I would have said you were crazy," Legursky responded.

Legursky isn't the only versatile player. Both Essex and Foster have the capability of playing both guard and tackle positions. Pouncey, when healthy, is a Pro Bowl center but also is a very good guard, as well. There have been times this season, due to injury, where players have been shifted around during games and it's hard to keep up with who's playing where.

"Looking at this group, to see what they've done with the multitude of positions and guys' versatility, I think it's one of the deepest in the NFL," said Starks, who will watch his teammates from the sideline this year.

Offensive skill players such as Roethlisberger, Mendenhall and receivers Mike Wallace and Hines Ward will get most of the acclaim leading up to the game. But the play of a versatile and battle-tested offensive line helped get Pittsburgh this far, and the Steelers need another solid effort for this group in Arlington, Texas, to win an NFL-best seventh Super Bowl title.

http://espn.go.com/blog/afcnorth/post/_ ... -adversity (http://espn.go.com/blog/afcnorth/post/_/id/23980/page/espntexas/steelers-o-line-battling-through-adversity)

http://i260.photobucket.com/albums/ii39/deadscotty/tumblr.jpg

Mister Pittsburgh
01-28-2011, 10:32 AM
Legursky is gonna kick Raji's azz!!!! Let's go Doug!!!!!

NC Steeler Fan
01-28-2011, 11:17 AM
KEEP THE FAITH PEOPLE!!

We were a #6 seed on the road in '06 and have been lamenting
our O line for YEARS...do not give up hope...ever! :tt1

Shoe
01-28-2011, 12:48 PM
Legursky is gonna kick Raji's azz!!!! Let's go Doug!!!!!

Pull your head out of your "azz"... you're like one of these soccer moms, who "roots" for a team but has no idea about what is actually going on on the field. Something extremely creative has to be done, for Legursky to survive. If you expect Raji NOT to forklift Legursky into Ben's lap everytime they are man up, you are a moron.

NC Steeler Fan
01-28-2011, 12:54 PM
Legursky is gonna kick Raji's azz!!!! Let's go Doug!!!!!

Pull your head out of your "azz"... you're like one of these soccer moms, who "roots" for a team but has no idea about what is actually going on on the field. Something extremely creative has to be done, for Legursky to survive. If you expect Raji NOT to forklift Legursky into Ben's lap everytime they are man up, you are a moron.

Aw, c'mon, man. You could have made your point without being an insulting d*ck
about it...

hawaiiansteel
01-28-2011, 02:34 PM
Essex is line's Mr. Versatile

By: Mike Bires Beaver County Times
Thursday January 27, 2011


PITTSBURGH — Trai Essex is the poster child for what Steelers’ coach Mike Tomlin calls “position flexibility.”

“I’m the backup everything on the O-line,” Essex said.

Essex has started 25 games during his six-year career with the Steelers. He started four games at left tackle in 2004 in place of Marvel Smith. Last year, Essex started all 16 games at right guard, and he started five games there earlier this season.

Essex lost his starting job at right guard at midseason to Ramon Foster. But Essex still has been getting his share of snaps at both guard and tackle due to injuries on the offensive line.

And now that rookie center Maurkice Pouncey is doubtful for the Super Bowl with a high ankle sprain, Essex’s versatility is expanding.

With Pouncey doubtful, it’s looking more like Doug Legursky will start against the Packers at center. That means Essex is now also Legursky’s backup.

It also means if any of the five starters on the O-line are injured in the Super Bowl, Essex will be his replacement.

“I’ve taken some snaps at center the past few days, so I’ll be ready if I have to go in,” Essex said.

http://www.timesonline.com/sports/sport ... atile.html (http://www.timesonline.com/sports/sports_details/article/1501/2011/january/27/essex-is-lines-mr-versatile.html)

hawaiiansteel
01-28-2011, 03:20 PM
Scouts Inc. on Pouncey's potential loss

JAN 28
By James Walker

It looks more and more like the Pittsburgh Steelers will be without Maurkice Pouncey in Super Bowl XLV.


Pouncey
The Pro Bowl center suffered a high ankle sprain in last Sunday's AFC title game and, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Pouncey also has a broken bone in the ankle, making it "highly doubtful" he will play against the Green Bay Packers.

How will this impact the Steelers? ESPN.com's AFC North blog checked in with Matt Williamson of Scouts Inc. to get his thoughts what Pittsburgh has to do to be successful without Pouncey on offense.

Matt, give us your scouting report on Pittsburgh backup center Doug Legursky. What does he bring to the table, and how does he compare to Pouncey?

Williamson: He's nowhere near the physical specimen that Pouncey is. If you look at Legursky, he's very undersized, he has short arms, but he's tough and he's gritty. The Steelers will actually use him once in a while as a fullback in short yardage. So he can run and he can move pretty well. But Pouncey still plays lower, is always in tremendous balance and football position, and he's fluid. Pouncey is the total specimen in terms of pulling and doing all the athletic things a center can do. Legursky is not as strong and doesn't do anything as well. It's not even close.

The Steelers lost Pouncey on the first drive and still had success running against the Jets. What led to their success?


Legursky
Williamson: I went back and watched the game, and I really didn't think Legursky played that well. It was masked early on. When he came in there, they were running the ball and the Steelers had a lot of momentum. Legursky didn't play poorly initially when he went into the game. But if you look at his performance from when he stepped into the game to the final whistle, he played a bad game. I don't think it was an accident that the Steelers' running game fell apart in the second half and got all of their yards early. I also tend to the blame the Jets, because they came in and looked like a tired defense. They played really high and they didn't tackle well. Don't get me wrong, I think the Steelers did a good job. But overall grading that strong running day, I blame the Jets as much as I blame the Steelers.

For those in the AFC North who don't get to see Packers defensive tackle B.J. Raji on a weekly basis, what kind of player is he?


Raji
Williamson: He's a lot more like Haloti Ngata than he is Casey Hampton. Hampton right now is a pure nose tackle, one-dimensional run stuffer who needs double teams to move. Where Ngata can line up at defensive end, the Ravens can drop him into coverage, and he can play the nose. That's where Raji is now. Raji moves very, very well. He's very explosive. What's amazing about Raji is he plays every snap and doesn't get tired even though he's 40 pounds overweight or whatever it is. He can shoot gaps and eat up space. He really has it all. The difference between Raji and Ngata to me is Ngata is a bigger looking human being and he's not nearly as fat. I think Ngata also knows the game better. But Raji isn't far off. He's a really disruptive player.

Pouncey had to make all the calls for Pittsburgh, and now the responsibility could be Legursky's. How will that impact the Steelers with pass protection, blitz recognition, etc.?

Williamson: That's one thing we don't know. But by all accounts, especially for a rookie, Pouncey was tremendous at making all of those line calls and protection adjustments. I don't know how much it's going to change from a mental standpoint with Legursky, but it probably is a drop-off just from experience. You would think interior pressure, particularly with Raji, is going to be more of a problem now for sure. The three people Pittsburgh really have to worry about from a pass-rushing standpoint are Clay Matthews, Cullen Jenkins and Raji, who's going to be right in the middle. So in a way, it's not like the Steelers where you're going to get two really good edge rushers. You're going to get one guy on the outside and two coming from the interior. But there is an advantage there for the Packers.

http://espn.go.com/blog/afcnorth/post/_/id/24039/page/espntexas/scouts-inc-on-pounceys-potential-loss

papillon
01-28-2011, 03:47 PM
The offensive line has been plagued by injuries all season and at this point if Pouncey can't go the Steelers will have 4 out of 5 players starting in the Super Bowl that were backups to begin the year. Kugler and Arians have put together game plans and schemes to minimize the exposure to the offensive line's weaknesses all year. This game will be no different.

As long as Ben Roethlisberger is the quarterback of this football team the offensive line doesn't have to be great. He is able to minimize many of the weaknesses of the offensive line with his ability to make plays.

Pappy

Mister Pittsburgh
01-28-2011, 03:53 PM
Legursky is gonna kick Raji's azz!!!! Let's go Doug!!!!!

Pull your head out of your "azz"... you're like one of these soccer moms, who "roots" for a team but has no idea about what is actually going on on the field. Something extremely creative has to be done, for Legursky to survive. If you expect Raji NOT to forklift Legursky into Ben's lap everytime they are man up, you are a moron.

Wow. You think from one comment on here you think you know what I am all about? What a total piece of crap you are. Soccer mom. Good one man. Pouncey went out first drive of the game last week and we continued to run with Legursky and Ben got sacked a total of 2 times by a team that had plenty of sacks through the year. I am thinking you are the moron there buddy.

Trying to be positive in a bad situation D!ck.

SidSmythe
01-28-2011, 05:57 PM
I think everyone that goes to the game in Dallas should buy a Legursky Jersey!!!

SidSmythe
01-28-2011, 06:00 PM
[quote="Mister Pittsburgh":300xhfel]Legursky is gonna kick Raji's azz!!!! Let's go Doug!!!!!

Pull your head out of your "azz"... you're like one of these soccer moms, who "roots" for a team but has no idea about what is actually going on on the field. Something extremely creative has to be done, for Legursky to survive. If you expect Raji NOT to forklift Legursky into Ben's lap everytime they are man up, you are a moron.

Wow. You think from one comment on here you think you know what I am all about? What a total piece of crap you are. Soccer mom. Good one man. Pouncey went out first drive of the game last week and we continued to run with Legursky and Ben got sacked a total of 2 times by a team that had plenty of sacks through the year. I am thinking you are the moron there buddy.

Trying to be positive in a bad situation D!ck.[/quote:300xhfel]

Shoe! You sound like a fantasy guru to me.
Legursky has his hands full, but he's not handicapped. We will see ... he's not sexy, but he's a professional.
If it's that bad of a matchup, why bother watching ya Nerd!

feltdizz
01-28-2011, 06:25 PM
Legursky is gonna kick Raji's azz!!!! Let's go Doug!!!!!

Pull your head out of your "azz"... you're like one of these soccer moms, who "roots" for a team but has no idea about what is actually going on on the field. Something extremely creative has to be done, for Legursky to survive. If you expect Raji NOT to forklift Legursky into Ben's lap everytime they are man up, you are a moron.

biyotch!!! :Hater

hawaiiansteel
01-29-2011, 04:55 PM
Kugler clan has Super season

By Dan Stefano, PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Saturday, January 29, 2011

http://files.pittsburghlive.com/photos/2011-01-28/kugler-a.jpg

Sean Kugler
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review

It was a thrill for Rob and Patrick Kugler to win a PIAA football title in their first season with North Allegheny. And it was made even better because their father, Sean, the Steelers' first-year offensive line coach, was there for every game.

Now, the whole Kugler clan is taking the ultimate road trip to Dallas for Super Bowl XLV.

"We've never gone to an away game in our life," said Patrick, a sophomore right tackle, "so it's going to be great to be at the new Cowboys Stadium."

The trek to Texas is just another part of what has been an outstanding football season for the Kuglers. Rob, a senior tight end/defensive end, and Patrick were key pieces in North Allegheny's 15-1 season, which yielded the second WPIAL and PIAA championships in school history. It was the second state title in as many seasons for the brothers, who started for Orchard Park when it won the New York Class AA state title in 2009, when their father was with the Buffalo Bills.

As exciting as high school success is for the Kuglers, it doesn't compare to the Super Bowl.

"Coming off of that state championship win was great," said Rob, a Purdue recruit. "But this is something my dad has been building to his whole career."

Before landing in Pittsburgh, Kugler made NFL stops in Buffalo and Detroit — franchises that haven't sniffed the playoffs in years. This season posed challenges, too: Major injuries to starters Max Starks, Willie Colon and now Maurkice Pouncey have been among the biggest issues the Steelers have faced.

Still, the line has held long enough to get the Steelers to the cusp of their seventh Super Bowl title.

"He's a little stressed," Rob said, "but he's excited, too."

Kugler relieved some of that by taking in his sons' championship season. He even was present for North Allegheny's WPIAL and PIAA championship games — both played the night before Steelers games.

For the WPIAL final, Kugler was given permission to stay behind while the Steelers traveled to Buffalo. He drove up immediately after North Allegheny's 21-14 victory over Woodland Hills.

After the Tigers' 21-0 win over La Salle College on Dec. 18 in the state final, he made the late-night drive from Hershey to Pittsburgh — but not before imparting some words of wisdom.

"He was really proud of us," Patrick said, "And he said it's one of the greatest feelings you'll get, but you can always win more. I've got a chance to win two more state titles, and my brother can win a Big Ten championship."

And for the first time in the pros, their father has a shot at a title, too.

Read more: Kugler clan has Super season - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsbu ... z1CSK24wqP (http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/steelers/s_720381.html#ixzz1CSK24wqP)

ScoreKeeper
01-29-2011, 05:00 PM
Legursky is gonna kick Raji's azz!!!! Let's go Doug!!!!!

Pull your head out of your "azz"... you're like one of these soccer moms, who "roots" for a team but has no idea about what is actually going on on the field. Something extremely creative has to be done, for Legursky to survive. If you expect Raji NOT to forklift Legursky into Ben's lap everytime they are man up, you are a moron.
Guess this post made you feel like a tough guy.

I guess if it turned your day from rain to rain bows, more power to you. :roll:

hawaiiansteel
01-30-2011, 02:45 PM
Pouncey's absence huge setback

SUNDAY, JANUARY 30, 2011 10:30 AM WRITTEN BY BOB SMIZIK


The injury to center Maurkice Pouncey, the Steelers best offensive lineman, has put some fans in an advanced state of denial. They act like nothing has changed.

Plenty has changed. An outstanding lineman, Pro Bowl as a rookie, figures to be replaced by a backup with an undistinguished resume. It’s not certain that Doug Legursky will start at center against Green Bay in the Super Bowl, but Pouncey suffered a high ankle sprain and a broken bone in the AFC title game against the New York Jets and his chances of playing are not good.

That doesn’t mean the Steelers can’t beat the Packers next Sunday but it does mean their chances of doing so have diminished.

The Steelers have overcome injuries in the past. Most recently, of course, they have barely missed a beat when starting left tackle Max Starks went down for the season and was replaced by Jonathan Scott, a player who wasn’t good enough to start for the Buffalo Bills.

Historically, and I’m relying strictly on memory here, the Steelers played Super Bowl XIV without linebacker Jack Ham, a Hall of Fame player, and safety Mike Wagner but defeated the Los Angeles Rams.

So the precedent is there.

But that doesn’t change the fact the Steelers are a lesser team with Legursky replacing Pouncey.

NFL expert Matt Williamson of Scouts Inc. has significant concerns about Legursky. He wrote, ``The Steelers like his [Legursky’s] movement skills enough to sometimes line him up in the backfield in short-yardage situations. Still, they should be praying for Pouncey to play.’’

Asked specifically to compare the two players, Williamson said,
``[Legursky is] nowhere near the physical specimen that Pouncey is. If you look at Legursky, he's very undersized, he has short arms, but he's tough and he's gritty. But Pouncey still plays lower, is always in tremendous balance and football position, and he's fluid. Pouncey is the total specimen in terms of pulling and doing all the athletic things a center can do. Legursky is not as strong and doesn't do anything as well. It's not even close.’’

Although the Steelers scored all their points against the Jets with Legursky on the field, Williamson was not impressed.

``I went back and watched the game, and I really didn't think Legursky played that well. It was masked early on. When he came in there, they were running the ball and the Steelers had a lot of momentum. Legursky didn't play poorly initially when he went into the game. But if you look at his performance from when he stepped into the game to the final whistle, he played a bad game.

``I don't think it was an accident that the Steelers' running game fell apart in the second half and got all of their yards early.’’

Legursky will be up against one of the best nose tackles in the NFL in the Packers B. J. Raji.

Concerning Raji, Williamson said, ``He's a lot more like Haloti Ngata [of the Baltimore Ravens] than he is Casey Hampton. Raji moves very, very well. He's very explosive. What's amazing about Raji is he plays every snap and doesn't get tired even though he's 40 pounds overweight or whatever it is. He can shoot gaps and eat up space. He really has it all. The difference between Raji and Ngata to me is Ngata is a bigger looking human being and he's not nearly as fat. I think Ngata also knows the game better. But Raji isn't far off. He's a really disruptive player.''

Legursky will be a man on the spot if he starts in place of Pouncey in the Super Bowl. He faces an overwhelming but not insurrmountable challenge.

http://communityvoices.sites.post-gazette.com/index.php/sports/bob-smiziks-blog/27266-pounceys-absence-huge-setback

Mister Pittsburgh
01-30-2011, 03:41 PM
That scout says we ran the ball worse because of Legursky.....no mention of the Jets adjusting and loading up to stuff the run. I agree Legursky is not near on Pouncey's level, but we won a Superbowl with what, Justin Hartwig starting.

hawaiiansteel
01-31-2011, 12:01 AM
Steelers' line laughing all the way to Super Bowl

The Associated Press
Sunday, January 30, 2011


PITTSBURGH -- Some of Ben Roethlisberger's first words after winning his most recent Super Bowl with the Pittsburgh Steelers were to pay tribute to his offensive line.

"Who's laughing now, O-line?" Roethlisberger proudly exclaimed two years ago.

Big Ben has kept a tight relationship with his linemen over the years, even though the unit was maligned during the 2008 season. There have been similar whispers throughout this season, but here Pittsburgh is again, preparing to play the Green Bay Packers on Sunday.

Only one starter will be the same from that win over Arizona two years ago. Both starting tackles have gone down this season and guys with a combined three starts have locked down center and right guard. Still, the Steelers' linemen are laughing all the way to Cowboys Stadium.

"Just the way this group's all come together and bought into our philosophy since the beginning of training camp, it's nice to now see all that hard work pay off," said Max Starks, who began the season at left tackle but sustained a season-ending neck injury Nov. 8.

Starks joined right tackle Willie Colon on injured reserve. Colon injured his right Achilles' tendon while working out in June and missed the season.

Maurkice Pouncey entered the season with credentials as a first-round pick out of Florida, but was only a rookie. At right guard, Ramon Foster took over at midseason after being an undrafted free agent in 2009 with only three previous starts as an injury replacement.

Inactive for four of the season's first eight games, Foster beat out Trai Essex on the depth chart after Essex - an off-and-on starter at guard and tackle over his six years with the Steelers - was benched.

Signed as a free agent over the offseason from Buffalo, Jonathan Scott started the final eight games at left tackle. Veteran Flozell Adams was signed on the eve of training camp, and the 13-year veteran has been one of the few constants after having been plugged in at right tackle.

Left guard Chris Kemoeatu is the only leftover from the '08 team. He started 15 games this season, missing one with a knee injury.

Throw in a new offensive line coach this season in Sean Kugler after Larry Zierlein was let go, only added to the constant state of change.

"It seems like we've had significant change on the offensive line every time we've been to the Super Bowl," Starks said. "I wouldn't say that this season was the wildest ride of them all, but I'd say it's been the most exciting."

Maybe that's because the group overcame so much to help Pittsburgh get this far. The Steelers ranked 12th in the NFL in total offense - in the top half of both rushing and passing offense - and 11th in the league in yards per play (5.6).

This despite the fact that only one player made it through the season as the starter who also started the prior season. Three players started at times at right guard and two each at left guard and left tackle. Essex, Foster and Doug Legursky have seen action at multiple positions - sometimes over the course of the same game.

"All of us have the same principles and the same philosophy," Starks said. "The biggest thing is no matter who you plug in, as long as your guys are consistent to the philosophy of our offense, any running back can be successful."

Luckily for the Steelers, they also have Roethlisberger.

He's one of the top quarterbacks in the league at eluding pass rushers, breaking out of potential sacks and extending plays.

That can help hide the ills of sub-par line play.

"He's a fighter, and that type of tenacity from an offensive line standpoint, he kind of embodies that as well as a quarterback," Scott said. "You'll definitely go out there and lay your body out for him."

The Steelers might face their biggest challenge in terms of offensive line continuity at the Super Bowl, with the status of the unit's lone Pro Bowler in doubt. Pouncey left the AFC championship game during the opening drive with a sprained left ankle.

Pouncey did not practice all last week and was spotted at the team's practice facility with a cast on. Although he is listed as questionable, there is a possibility that he'll miss the game.

If he doesn't, Legursky - undrafted in 2008 - will make his first career start at center during the Super Bowl. Legursky has played elsewhere on the line during his brief career, plus stints at tight end and at fullback. But his lone experience as a starter is a four-game stint early this season at right guard.

"We have a lot of confidence in Doug Legursky," Foster said. "He's one of those guys who's very smart. He prepares just like Maurkice does during the week, so there was no nervousness going on as far as when he came in there."

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn...003484_pf.html

The Sodfather
01-31-2011, 11:52 AM
Legursky is gonna kick Raji's azz!!!! Let's go Doug!!!!!

Pull your head out of your "azz"... you're like one of these soccer moms, who "roots" for a team but has no idea about what is actually going on on the field. Something extremely creative has to be done, for Legursky to survive. If you expect Raji NOT to forklift Legursky into Ben's lap everytime they are man up, you are a moron.
Guess this post made you feel like a tough guy.

I guess if it turned your day from rain to rain bows, more power to you. :roll:


He's tougher than a $2 steak.

hawaiiansteel
01-31-2011, 03:19 PM
Legursky is Steelers' new man in the middle

http://www.cantonrep.com/archive/x1145632834/g12c00000000000000072d6eea646c40a10a2f502de83632c3 78777409b.jpg

AP photo / Keith Srakocic

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger lines up behind center Doug Legursky during a game this season against Oakland. Legursky, who went undrafted out of Marshall in 2008, will make his first start at center Sunday as a result of an injury to Pro Bowler Maurkice Pouncey.


The Steelers are a rock, changing coaches and players roughly as frequently as the men on Mount Rushmore change expressions.

A crack in the middle, though, could weigh heavily on Pittsburgh’s chances against Green Bay in Super Bowl XLV.

One play after Maurkice Pouncey left the AFC title game with a nasty ankle injury, Doug Legursky replaced him at center, and Rashard Mendenhall scored on a one-yard run.

Running an offense for an entire Super Bowl behind Legursky might be complicated.

Pouncey came through big-time as a rookie No. 18 overall pick. He started all 16 games and played so well, that he was named to the Pro Bowl, ahead of Cleveland’s Alex Mack.

The replacement, Legursky, was undrafted out of Marshall in 2008.

As the probable starting Super Bowl center, Legursky will get his 15 minutes of fame.

He will be asked a hundred times to go over how it was that he was born in Frankfurt, Germany, and why John Steinbeck’s “Of Mice and Men” is his favorite book.

But can he read a Green Bay defense coordinated by old fox Dom Capers? He has started just four NFL games, all at right guard as an injury replacement early in the 2010 season — one start was in a 28-10 win over Cleveland.

Browns President Mike Holmgren wasn’t talking about Legursky in particular but alluded to replacement linemen in general this week.

“It’s hard,” Holmgren said. “I don’t care who you are ... Favre, Joe Montana ... Tom Brady ... whoever. They can tell you until they’re blue in the face that they’re not even aware of who’s playing. That’s baloney. They know who’s playing up front.”

Legursky spent two years not doing much of anything. He didn’t play at all as a 2008 rookie. He was active for eight games in 2009, with no starts.

Legursky’s first NFL start at center will be in Super Bowl XLV. What does Ben Roethlisberger tell him? Just act normal, kid?

Legursky will have to fend off massive Green Bay nose tackle B.J. Raji. Kent State fans remember Raji from a game in Browns Stadium when he played for Boston College and spent the night chasing — sometimes comically — quick little quarterback Julian Edelman.

The Steelers spent a No. 18 overall draft pick on Pouncey to solve problems such as Raji, a No. 9 overall pick in ’09. The Browns applied the same thinking twice to acquiring centers.

In 2006, then-general manager Phil Savage paid a ransom to center LeCharles Bentley, hoping he would be an answer to Steelers nose man Casey Hampton. In 2009, Eric Mangini spent a No. 21 pick on Mack, with Hampton and Baltimore tackle Haloti Ngata in mind.

Pittsburgh has a history of impeccable play at center. Hall of Famer Mike Webster played the position during the Steelers’ dynasty decade of the 1970s.

During a 1990s resurgence under head coach Bill Cowher, Dermontti Dawson — a finalist in the Hall of Fame election set for Saturday — handled the snaps.

Legursky would be the third starting center within the last three Steelers Super Bowls. Jeff Hartings started for the 2005-06 Super Bowl team. Justin Hartwig was the man in the 2008-09 Super Bowl.

Hartings and Hartwig were veterans. Like almost every NFL backup, Legursky enjoyed big success at other levels.

As a high school kid, he was a West Virginia lineman of the year. At Marshall, he started at center for three years and was a Conference USA all-star.

He owns a few West Virginia age-group state power-lifting records. The heavy lifting he must do against Raji, however, could be a whole new ballgame.


OSU-MICHIGAN BOWL

Three former Ohio State players from Green Bay hope for a super-sad Sunday for three former Michigan players on the Steelers’ roster in Super Bowl XLV.

The Buckeyes-turned-Packers are linebackers A.J. Hawk and Matt Wilhelm and defensive lineman Ryan Pickett. The Wolverines-turned-Steelers are linebackers LaMarr Woodley and Larry Foote and Ryan Mundy, a safety who is on injured reserve.

Hawk has been an iron man for the Packers, never missing a game since arriving as a No. 5 overall draft pick in 2006. He made five solo tackles against the Bears the Sunday’s NFC title game.

Wilhelm, who will turn 30 Wednesday, was a senior on Ohio State’s 2002 national title team. He was cut by the 49ers on Sept. 3 but caught a nice break when the Packers signed him Oct. 26. He has appeared in all three postseason games as a backup.

Pickett, 31, has been one of the more productive off-the-radar Ohio State alums. He is one of the last vestiges of the John Cooper era at Ohio State, in terms of guys still playing.

The 6-foot-2, 340-pounder plugs the run and has started all three postseason games. He has played in 160 games in 10 years, including 12 in the postseason.

Meanwhile, the Packers also have one Michigan guy, cornerback Charles Woodson. The Steelers carry one Ohio State guy, safety Will Allen.

D!ck LeBeau, Pittsburgh’s defensive coordinator, played on Ohio State’s 1957 national championship team.


WALLACE IN WAITING

Before the Browns faced the Steelers on Jan. 2, Eric Mangini called wideout Mike Wallace “a home run waiting to happen on any play.”

The 24-year-old speedster then caught three passes for 105 yards at Browns Stadium. One went for a 56-yard touchdown.

Wallace caught 10 touchdown passes in the regular season but has struck out so far in the postseason. He made three catches for just 20 yards against Baltimore and caught one ball for six yards against the Jets.

http://www.cantonrep.com/browns/x1145632830/Legursky-is-Steelers-new-man-in-the-middle

RuthlessBurgher
01-31-2011, 04:27 PM
The Buckeyes-turned-Packers are linebackers A.J. Hawk and Matt Wilhelm and defensive lineman Ryan Pickett. The Wolverines-turned-Steelers are linebackers LaMarr Woodley and Larry Foote and Ryan Mundy, a safety who is on injured reserve.

:wft

hawaiiansteel
01-31-2011, 05:04 PM
Updated: January 31, 2011, 3:35 PM ET

Maurkice Pouncey not ruled out yet

ESPN.com news services


FORT WORTH, Texas -- Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin is not ruling out Pro Bowl center Maurkice Pouncey for Super Bowl XLV despite the rookie walking on crutches because of a high ankle sprain.

A league source has told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter that Pouncey will not play against the Green Bay Packers.

Pouncey injured his left ankle in the Steelers' victory over the New York Jets in the AFC Championship Game last Sunday. He did not practice last week, and Tomlin said Monday the team is being "very aggressive" with Pouncey's rehabilitation. He adds that Pouncey is "not on a running clock" until Wednesday -- the team's first practice before the Super Bowl on Sunday.

According to media reports, Pouncey also has a broken bone in the ankle -- with Tomlin saying he's "sure it could be characterized as that."

Backup Doug Legursky would fill in for Pouncey if necessary.

If Pouncey cannot play, Legursky will be asked to help defend, among others, Green Bay's 337-pound nose tackle B.J. Raji, who in the NFC Championship Game became the heaviest player in postseason history to score a touchdown when he intercepted a pass from Bears quarterback Caleb Hanie and returned it for a score.

http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/playoffs/ ... id=6077337 (http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/playoffs/2010/news/story?id=6077337)

hawaiiansteel
02-01-2011, 03:31 PM
Monday January 31, 2011

Steelers: Battered line bands together

By: Mike Bires
Beaver County Times

http://media.timesonline.com/thumb/368x276/01legursky797663.jpg


DALLAS — As Maurkice Pouncey arrived in North Texas with the rest of his teammates, he symbolized the state of the Steelers’ offensive line.

There was the rookie center, hobbling down the stairs from the team charter that just landed at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport.

He slowly and carefully descended toward the tarmac, step by step with the aid of crutches, his injured left foot encased in a cast.

Pouncey represents the latest adversity to strike the line.

It’s going to take a miracle for him to play Sunday in Super Bowl XLV. But as Pouncey gripped on to his crutches, he also embodied the unity that exists between those mammoths on the Steelers’ front line.

Like his other line mates, Pouncey wore a green No. 76 Michigan State jersey to pay tribute to tackle Flozell Adams, a veteran who’s 14 years older than Pouncey.

Pouncey, 21, may miss a Super Bowl in first season. But in his 13th year, Adams will play in his first.

And his teammates are so excited that he’s doing it with them.

“The greatest service you can do for a teammate is to honor him properly,” said Max Starks, the Steelers’ injured left tackle. “And bringing him back to Dallas for the Super Bowl, his first and only Super Bowl, it’s pretty special.”

“I had no idea this was going to happen,” said Adams, who spent the past 12 years playing for the Cowboys. “When I got through security at the airport (in Pittsburgh), I saw a bunch of them wearing my throwback jerseys and I’m like ‘Whoa!’

“They were probably planning this for a couple of weeks. Like I said, I had no idea. But I’m grateful. It was special of them to bring out the throwbacks.”

It’s been special for all the Steelers to make it to the Super Bowl this season. But it’s been really special for the offensive line.

The Steelers overcame much adversity, including the four-game suspension of quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, the trade of wide receiver Santionio Holmes, the fines levied against linebacker James Harrison and the release of kicker Jeff Reed.

But the position that’s been hit the hardest has been the offensive line. Right tackle Willie Colon tore his Achilles’ tendon in July and was lost for the season. Right guard Trai Essex sprained his ankle in the second game of the season and missed four games. Left guard Chris Kemoeatu missed a game with an ankle sprain. Starks was placed on injured reserve in early November with a disc problem in his neck.

And now Pouncey, who had an amazing rookie season, is hurt.

If Pouncey can’t play against the Packers, and it’s hard to believe he will, Adams will be the only starter on the line to start every game this year. And he wasn’t signed until July 30th as the Steelers reported to training camp.

“I know it sounds like a broken record, but we have shown a lot of resiliency on the offensive line,” sad Jonathan Scott, who’s started the last 10 games at left tackle in place of Starks. “Guys have gone down numerous times during the season. I had to step in at guard a few times and I’ve never played guard before.

“I guess adversity is part if our culture on the O-line. But we’ve fought through it. There’s definitely a mentality we have. It’s something that’s embedded in us. We’re always going to find a way to get the job done.”

That’s why the Steelers remain confident they can beat the Packers with Doug Legursky at center, and not Pouncey.

To be sure, there’s a drop-off in talent. Legursky made the Steelers’ practice squad two years ago as an undrafted free agent out of Marshall. Pouncey is a stud who helped Florida win a national championship two years ago. He was the Steelers’ first-round pick in this year’s draft. He’s only 21, yet he already made the Pro Bowl.

The Steelers wish Pouncey can play, but barring a miraculous cure for his wounded ankle, it will be Legursky.

“It’s been a wild ride for the O-line,” Starks said. “It’s been one of the wildest and most exciting rides (for the O-line) since I’ve been here.

“Look at the way the offensive line has evolved over the years. We’ve had some significant change on the offensive line in each of our last three trips to the Super Bowl. But this year, it’s been crazy.”

It has been a wild and crazy year for the Steelers’ patch-work offensive line. But the bottom line is that those brutes up front have been good enough to make it to Dallas.

“When someone goes down, the next guy steps in,” Legursky said. “That’s the way it is around here. The standard is the standard. Hopefully, I showed in that last game when Maurkice went down. Hopefully, I’ll be able to put my hand in the pile and make some plays for the team in the Super Bowl.”

http://www.timesonline.com/sports/sport ... 4c79b973eb (http://www.timesonline.com/sports/sports_details/article/1501/2011/january/31/steelers-battered-line-bands-together/print.html?type=98&cHash=20cf888a6e03b1ff8a2fbc4c79b973eb)

The Sodfather
02-01-2011, 03:34 PM
I didn't actually see it but I read on another board Pouncey said there was a 75% chance he's going to play.

He's optimistic if nothing else.

hawaiiansteel
02-02-2011, 03:29 PM
I didn't actually see it but I read on another board Pouncey said there was a 75% chance he's going to play.

He's optimistic if nothing else.

Steelers' Pouncey sheds boot, says he must practice by Friday

NFL.com
Published: Feb. 2, 2011


Pittsburgh Steelers rookie center Maurkice Pouncey didn't wear a walking boot on his sprained left ankle, nor did he use crutches before the team left its Fort Worth hotel and he told NFL Network reporter Albert Breer that if he doesn't go Friday, he won't play in Sunday's Super Bowl against the Green Bay Packers.

"If I'm not on the field Friday, most likely I'm not playing," Pouncey said, adding that it's his thought, not something he has been told by the Steelers' coaching staff. "I'm not going to put the team in a bad position."

Pouncey, who wore regular athletic shoes Wednesday morning, said the walking boot will go back on in the evening. Also, he hasn't resumed running yet.

"I feel positive," Pouncey said. "I'm working to get my range of motion back, but it's going good."

Pouncey, who on Tuesday told NFL Network analyst Deion Sanders that his chances of playing in the Super Bowl were 75 percent, stood by that assertion Wednesday.

Pouncey, who was selected to the Pro Bowl in his rookie season, sustained a high ankle sprain early in the Steelers' AFC Championship Game victory over the New York Jets on Jan. 23. He didn't practice at all last week, but he said Tuesday he hoped to take the field Thursday or Friday.

Backup center Doug Legursky said Wednesday he's preparing as if he will start against the Packers.

"I prepare every week as if I'm going to start even if all the guys are healthy," Legursky said.

http://www.nfl.com/superbowl/story/0900 ... ice-friday (http://www.nfl.com/superbowl/story/09000d5d81e11875/article/steelers-pouncey-sheds-boot-says-he-must-practice-friday)

hawaiiansteel
02-05-2011, 02:52 PM
Pay No Attention to BJ Raji-Doug Legursky Matchup Hype

By J.J. Cooper

http://www.blogcdn.com/nfl.fanhouse.com/media/2011/02/bj-raji-200-200.jpg

At his best, B.J. Raji is a rocket-powered bowling ball, bouncing off offensive linemen and running over quarterbacks and running backs with remarkable agility for a 340-plus pounder.

At his best, Doug Legursky is a solid backup offensive lineman with the versatility to play center and guard. Unfortunately for Legursky, he doesn't have Raji's size or strength or long arms. More importantly, he doesn't have Steelers' starting center Maurkice Pouncey's size, strength or arm length.

So with Pouncey questionable for Sunday's Super Bowl (despite his protestations), this would appear to be a prescription for Steelers disaster -- one of the NFL's best nose tackles facing a center who will be in over his head. It's become one of the main themes of this week's Super Bowl coverage.

It's a logical storyline, one that makes sense to everyone. But here's the thing: it's not really accurate.

The Steelers may have all kind of trouble blocking Raji -- he is a very disruptive force. But it's more likely that he'll be causing guards Ramon Foster and Chris Kemoeatu, and even tackles Flozell Adams and Jonathan Scott, more problems than Legursky. Raji may be listed as a nose tackle, but unless the Packers change things up, he won't spend much time lining up heads-up on the Steelers' center.

In charting every snap of the Packers-Bears NFC championship game, as well as significant amounts of Green Bay's playoff games against the Falcons and Eagles, what was apparent is that Raji moves around a lot, but he's very rarely lined up as a traditional nose tackle.

Raji has amazing stamina for a big man. In the Bears' game, Raji was on the field for 61 of 65 snaps. But on only 11 of those was he lined up heads-up on the center. Even that doesn't tell the full story. Because of how the Bears blocked and how Raji fired off, Chicago center Olin Kreutz was only responsible for blocking Raji on seven plays.

The story was somewhat similar in the Eagles and Falcons games. Philadelphia had to make do with backup Mike McGlynn at center, but Green Bay didn't change things up to try to take advantage of him. Raji still lined up predominantly in the A-gap. Against the Falcons, the Packers did sometimes line up with a jumbo defensive line (consisting of three 330-plus pounders) lined up over the two guards and the center, but that was more of a gimmick defense when the Falcons went to two tight ends than a standard approach.

Raji's game is built more around a quick first step than controlling a lineman with strength. Steelers nose tackle Casey Hampton generally lines up heads-up on the center or slanted in the A-gap (between the center and guard) at times. But at the snap, he's looking to use his strength to drive the center (or sometimes the guard) backwards. Another of his major jobs is to occupy blockers to let the Steelers' inside linebackers remain unblocked.

In the Packers' 3-4, Raji is generally looking to shoot the gap between the center and the guard. So when he is playing nose tackle, Raji usually lines up with his head in the A-gap instead of directly opposite the center. Against the Bears, that led to him most often being blocked by guards Roberto Garza and Chris Williams. Raji dominated Williams all game, but he very rarely ended up against Kreutz.

That's very good news for the Steelers, as Legursky's mobility serves him well in getting angle blocks and blocking linebackers downfield. Because of his short arms, he's in much more trouble when he's asked to block a nose tackle in a confined space -- something that gave him repeated problems against the Jets. Green Bay could change things up on Sunday to take advantage of Legursky's weaknesses, but it would also be asking Raji to go away from what has made him so successful throughout the playoffs.

http://nfl.fanhouse.com/2011/02/04/pay- ... rsky-hype/ (http://nfl.fanhouse.com/2011/02/04/pay-no-attention-to-the-bj-raji-vs-doug-legursky-hype/)