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View Full Version : Offensive strategy to help out Doug Legursky at center



RuthlessBurgher
01-30-2011, 11:27 AM
When starting a backup center, the last thing you want to face is a 3-4 defense with a massive NT lined up right on top of him all game long. Unfortunately, Green Bay is a 3-4 team (coached by ex-Steeler D.C. Dom Capers) and has gigantic NT's like B.J. Raji and Ryan Pickett.

Last week, we beat the Jets by pounding them into submission. We ran the ball up the gut a lot, even using a sort of reverse-wishbone type of formation on numerous occassions in which Arians employed...gasp...two fullbacks at a time! I don't think that is the way to attack the Pack, though (I don't have a problem with it in short yardage or goalline situations, however).

I think, to ease up pressure on Legursky, we should use a lot of 11 personnel (single RB, single TE). Spread 'em out. If we used 21 personnel (2 RB, 1 TE) or 12 personnel (1 RB, 2 TE), then the Packers would remain in their standard 3-4 with a big ol' NT right on top of Legursky as he snaps the ball.

However, if we go 3-wide as I mentioned earlier, the Pack likes to switch to an 2-4-5 defense. In this formation, the DT's line up opposite Kemoeatu and Foster, with no one right on top of Legursky. In this situation, Legursky simply has to surmise if any of the linebackers are coming on an inside blitz (he should be able to handle that), or if not, he could provide double team assistance to Kemo or Foster as they try to fend off those big ol' DT's. Keep the TE (Miller) to Clay Matthews' side in order to offer assistance via a chip block on his way out into his pattern.

Ward, Wallace, and Sanders will be covered by 3 accomplished corners in Woodson, Williams, and Shields, but that's nothing more than they had to face recently with the likes of Revis, Cromartie, and Coleman. I'm not saying that we should necessarily go pass-happy when we are 3 wide either...I think we should be able to run on them out of 11 personnel as well. Just a thought...

pick6
01-30-2011, 12:03 PM
This makes alot of sense. Keeping the fat boys out of Legursky's face is a good thing. I have great confidence in our coaching staff to come up with schemes that will put our guys in the best positions against the packers, specifically. We have gone against some really good defenses these playoffs and BA has shown some ability to change things up based on the opponent. A wishbone formation ? On def. we see our CBs playing much tighter. We've been getting called for some illegal contacts downfield, but in a way this is a good thing because it shows that our guys are challenging WR.

I do know that the outside linebacker position opposite Matthews will be a point of weakness for them. Walden and an already suspect Zomba are both hurt. Maybe we should run away from Matthews side and not even block their slow fat boys, let some of our olineman get to the 2nd level against there middle LBs. Seal off walden/zomba which should not be too difficult. And try to get their worst tackling CB against Mendy in space. Get the fat boys running from sideline to sideline early, wear their fat butts out. Don't attack your enemies strength. (unless you know something ie. Jets run defense)

Oviedo
01-30-2011, 12:05 PM
I kinda like the formation they have been using with 3 in the backfield behind Ben.

pepsyman1
01-30-2011, 12:21 PM
I'm a big fan of the idea of using 11 personnel and spreading the field out. I think some of the issues we've had with our running game beyond the struggles of the O line, is that we always run out of formations that scream "this is a running play" and usually those formations are very tight to the center of the field, which in turn makes all of the defense line up the same way....and we end up running for 2 yards. If you use a more spread out formation we've got a little more disguise because we can easily pass or run out of it and it should give Mendi more space to do his thing.

SteelCrazy
01-30-2011, 01:12 PM
I think that's a good idea, but the Packers know we are hurting at the C position, so they'll probably stay in their base D regardless of what we do.....however, that may work to our advantage. It's going to be intense and I cant wait.

frankthetank1
01-30-2011, 01:21 PM
I think that's a good idea, but the Packers know we are hurting at the C position, so they'll probably stay in their base D regardless of what we do.....however, that may work to our advantage. It's going to be intense and I cant wait.

you are probably right and that would work in our favor. if we spread them out and throw quick passes for the most part they will have a lot of success against their defense. up the middle against legursky worries me and raji is a very good player, but i think im even more concerned about clay matthews on the outside. with wallace, sanders, brown and miller i want to see a lot of quick short passes. i would also love to see the no huddle first series with the ball

Flasteel
01-30-2011, 01:41 PM
When starting a backup center, the last thing you want to face is a 3-4 defense with a massive NT lined up right on top of him all game long. Unfortunately, Green Bay is a 3-4 team (coached by ex-Steeler D.C. Dom Capers) and has gigantic NT's like B.J. Raji and Ryan Pickett.

Last week, we beat the Jets by pounding them into submission. We ran the ball up the gut a lot, even using a sort of reverse-wishbone type of formation on numerous occassions in which Arians employed...gasp...two fullbacks at a time! I don't think that is the way to attack the Pack, though (I don't have a problem with it in short yardage or goalline situations, however).

I think, to ease up pressure on Legursky, we should use a lot of 11 personnel (single RB, single TE). Spread 'em out. If we used 21 personnel (2 RB, 1 TE) or 12 personnel (1 RB, 2 TE), then the Packers would remain in their standard 3-4 with a big ol' NT right on top of Legursky as he snaps the ball.

However, if we go 3-wide as I mentioned earlier, the Pack likes to switch to an 2-4-5 defense. In this formation, the DT's line up opposite Kemoeatu and Foster, with no one right on top of Legursky. In this situation, Legursky simply has to surmise if any of the linebackers are coming on an inside blitz (he should be able to handle that), or if not, he could provide double team assistance to Kemo or Foster as they try to fend off those big ol' DT's. Keep the TE (Miller) to Clay Matthews' side in order to offer assistance via a chip block on his way out into his pattern.

Ward, Wallace, and Sanders will be covered by 3 accomplished corners in Woodson, Williams, and Shields, but that's nothing more than they had to face recently with the likes of Revis, Cromartie, and Coleman. I'm not saying that we should necessarily go pass-happy when we are 3 wide either...I think we should be able to run on them out of 11 personnel as well. Just a thought...

Great point Ruthless! That's great insight into how Green Bay would most likely adjust to our formations. I was just watching Sunday NFL Countdown and Shefter said that Pouncey is definitely out. It really started making me think about how we could neutralize the situation as much as possible. They are going to attack Legursky, not just with Raji, but with continual stunts and blitzes up the middle.

I was thinking that we not only go 3-wide, but that we keep them in that defensive set by going no-huddle. I know I pimp the no-huddle all the time, but this is a way to keep Raji off the field as much as possible. I think we need to keep Mendenhall (Redman, or Moore) back in protection, as well as let him chip the linebacker coming up the middle and toss a couple of screens his way. I think we also need to be ready with a lot of those quick outs, to avoid the pressure and quick slants, to attack where the linebackers vacated, or maybe roll the pocket on a regular basis.

I'm real curious to see whether we actually do any of this stuff to adjust, or if we go with the old "the standard is the standard" approach. I hope it's not the latter. :D

Mister Pittsburgh
01-30-2011, 01:42 PM
I agree we need to spread them out. We have the WR for it, Heath could sneak out to catch some screen like passes, and Mendenhall could be key catching the ball out of the backfield. We could go with some pitches to him too and have Heath chip so he can gain the edge.

This game is going to require our OL to be crisp in their assignments, not do stupid sh*t like false starts and apparent holds (or dive into piles head first Kemo you moron), and it is going to require our QB to show why he makes the big bucks. Nimble feet, quick reads, and scrambling will be huge for him this week. Hope he breaks out that pump fake once or twice.

This isn't a game, or at least I don't think this will be the type of game, where we will be able to establish any sort of consistent running game to fully make play action really scary.

If we can catch them with fat boys on the field, might be a good time to go no huddle too. Mix up when we snap the ball too...don't always wait till one second on the play clock.

RuthlessBurgher
01-30-2011, 02:25 PM
This isn't a game, or at least I don't think this will be the type of game, where we will be able to establish any sort of consistent running game to fully make play action really scary.

Last time we played them though (37-36 victory in Dec 2009), we ate them alive with play action.


Play-action could be key for Roethlisberger

By James Walker
January, 27, 2011

PITTSBURGH -- There are not a lot of holes in the defenses of the Pittsburgh Steelers and Green Bay Packers. They were ranked No. 2 and No. 5 in the NFL, respectively, this season.

But ESPN Stats & Information examined the previous meeting between these two teams in 2009 and may have uncovered one of the keys for Pittsburgh and starting quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. The Packers’ defense struggled mightily against the play-action pass during the Steelers’ 37-36 shootout victory.

Roethlisberger was a near-perfect 6-of-7 (85.7 percent) for 137 yards and a touchdown when using play-action against Green Bay last season. The Steelers averaged 22.8 yards per completion off play-action, which froze defenders and allowed Pittsburgh’s receivers to get open deep.

In total, Roethlisberger carved up Green Bay's defense for a career-high 503 yards and three touchdowns, while Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers threw for 383 yards and three touchdowns. Both teams racked up 973 yards of total offense.

"From the words of a great philosopher, Bartholomew Scott, neither one of us could stop a nosebleed," Steelers safety Ryan Clark said this week.

Both defenses are better this year, so don't expect another Packers-Steelers shootout in Super Bowl XLV. But there are still some things, such as Roethlisberger's success with play-action, that may be taken from the previous meeting and potentially implemented into the game plan on Feb. 6.

http://espn.go.com/blog/afcnorth/post/_/id/23939/play-action-could-be-key-for-roethlisberger

papillon
01-30-2011, 02:39 PM
Put the ball in Ben's hands, give Legursky help to keep pressure out of Ben's face. Ben can handle the outside rushers if they happen to beat their man. The inside pressure is the pressure that is difficult to avoid, because there really isn't anyplace for Ben to escape.

This would be a game they should pass early and often and then run late with the lead.

Use your best weapon (Ben).

Pappy

Northern_Blitz
01-30-2011, 02:45 PM
I'd also like to see a healthy dose of no huddle to see if we can tire Raji out.

SteelCrazy
01-30-2011, 03:06 PM
I think that's a good idea, but the Packers know we are hurting at the C position, so they'll probably stay in their base D regardless of what we do.....however, that may work to our advantage. It's going to be intense and I cant wait.

you are probably right and that would work in our favor. if we spread them out and throw quick passes for the most part they will have a lot of success against their defense. up the middle against legursky worries me and raji is a very good player, but i think im even more concerned about clay matthews on the outside. with wallace, sanders, brown and miller i want to see a lot of quick short passes. i would also love to see the no huddle first series with the ball

I'd love to see some no huddle in the 1st series. It may catch them off guard and more importantly it'll give them 1 more thing to think about, even if we dont go back to it. Up the middle with Legursky doesnt bother me as much as the exchange with him and Ben does, but they should have that worked out, I hope.

Mister Pittsburgh
01-30-2011, 03:29 PM
Strange play action was so deadly against them when we only ran 19 times for 65 yards with Mendenhall leading with 11 carries for 38. We hadn't really established a running game at that point in the season so seems odd they would load up to stuff the run the way they did.

There were 840+ passing yards in that game with zero turnovers. They had 5 sacks on Ben and we only had one sack on Rodgers. Troy didn't play that game, but our 4 linebackers combined for 13 tackles with Harrison only having one tackle.

I agree with the poster above, put the ball in Ben's hands.

Stewie
01-30-2011, 05:00 PM
Raji is a good NT, no doubt, but did anyone notice the game that Hamp had against the Jets. Mangold did something to fire him up early, and he was a BEAST the whole game. the goalline stand...fugghetaboutit!!! Hamp can give Legursky some practice.

Sonny
01-30-2011, 07:24 PM
Come out with the same gameplan that we did against Indy in 05. Pounding the rock isn't going to win us the SB. We need quick leads against these pass-happy teams.

steeler_fan_in_t.o.
01-30-2011, 07:41 PM
I'd like to see them roll Ben out to keep Raji on the run. The good thing about Ben is that he throws well whether he is going left or right so we won't have to worry so much if they move Matthews around - just roll away from him. The bad thing is that we will have to count on stellar tackle play in order for them to hold the outside.

flippy
01-31-2011, 09:24 AM
We have the personnel to f with them big time.

Go 2 TEs to start the game. Then spread everyone out and go no huddle and force them to keep Raji in the game when they typically wouldn't want.

Then next series go 3 wides. And run it. Again no huddle. And try to keep Raji off the field while we run it.

Then next series start using a pony package with Mendy and Moore/Redman in the backfield and take whatever the confused GB defense gives you. Again pressing it with the no huddle.

Keep GB off balance and score early. They've never been down more than 7 this season. So let's be overly aggressive and take it to them early.

JUST-PLAIN-NASTY
01-31-2011, 09:26 AM
Good thought Ruth. A big key will be running out of 11. Because they need to show it and then run alot of PA out of that personnel group. Running PA (anytime) freezes the DL as well as everyone else. If they are in a stunt, you can catch them reading mid stunt and see the stunt coming. You can also get them to stop getting upfield until they identify PA and that helps the OL recover. On top of that, get a S or LB flat footed from PA, could be a big play downfield for Wallace or Sanders, or a trailing/out of position LB on Miller. I really think a HEAVY dose of PA will need to be put in the gameplan to help out Legursky along with a heavy does of counter in the run game. The Steelers were very productive the first time against the Jets in the counter game and also running out of shotgun, minus the safety of course. Get BJ cocked or gap power and run the counter away (weak). That will give a deeper handoff and give the RB the room because BJ will get some push. Running straight power will see some handoffs and Mendy running up the back of Bronco. 2 weeks boys & girls. Coaching could help negate some of the battles Bronco will lose...Let's see where our "coaching" is.

Another point should be attacking Mathews. Use his motor against him. Slow the man down...He's a baller. It really is a simple play design. 10 personnel, Shotgun, RB side car ....Mathews is identified at the LOS. Can actually go 0 personnel and motion Ward side car. Gives BB & OL the chance to find man-up guy on Ward so the OL can find him to block. The outside WRs stretch the field while the inside push between the seams to get the LBs turned. The play is a screen playside Mathews. Identified at the line. Now the OT on Mathews lets him get the corner but doesn't release. He mirrors Mathews because Mathews will chase it down from behind. G playside has the man covering Ward or RB identified from motion so pass can be completed. Bronco releases but backside holds. A play often run by good screen teams.

RuthlessBurgher
01-31-2011, 10:01 AM
Another good point, JPN. Since Clay Matthews' strength involves his ability to pursue relentlessly all over the field, we should not run away from him and allow him to chase the back down when Mendenhall inevitably dances a bit before hitting the hole...we should run right at him (which is not hard for us, since we pretty much run to our right almost exclusively anyway). Clay would not take kindly to a pulling Kemoeatu coming at him with a head of steam behind him.

snarky
01-31-2011, 10:45 AM
I'm not sure I want to go all pass crazy simply because we have Legursky at center. Part of the offensive game plan, IMO, has to be winning the time of possession battle. Keep Rodgers off the field.

I thought Arians did a great job in the AFCCG running out of some different formations. If we can find room to run the ball and stay in 3rd and short, I would rather go that way than change our offensive character simply to wear down Raji.

pfelix73
01-31-2011, 11:11 AM
They can just double down on the NG with one of the Guards. Chip the NG then the OG will zone block and peel to the LB's. They pull to the right alot with Kemo leading the way as well. Even though Raji is a great player, I don't think he is as good a player as Ngata. Their DL don't scare me as much as say the Ravens or the Jets did.

Legursky will have a good game.

:tt1

flippy
01-31-2011, 11:18 AM
If we run at Clay Matthews, he's probably gonna get hit by the hotel a couple of times. That would slow anyone down.

grotonsteel
01-31-2011, 11:21 AM
[quote="RuthlessBurgher"Since Clay Matthews' strength involves his ability to pursue relentlessly all over the field, we should not run away from him and allow him to chase the back down when Mendenhall inevitably dances a bit before hitting the hole...we should run right at him (which is not hard for us, since we pretty much run to our right almost exclusively anyway). Clay would not take kindly to a pulling Kemoeatu coming at him with a head of steam behind him.[/quote]


:Clap :Agree

flippy
01-31-2011, 11:23 AM
Its also a shame we're not that good at executing screens.

JUST-PLAIN-NASTY
01-31-2011, 01:18 PM
Its also a shame we're not that good at executing screens.

Unfortunately for us...That isn't something that just get better over night either.

BA needs to use the "less is more" line on thinking against a disciplined D. Don't get greedy and try to get 3 or 4 guys out in front. Good defenders read that right away when the beat their guy and see 2 or 3 same color jerseys coming free out of the corner of their eye. The peel off and find the eligible guy. If you have the entire OL backside play stay home and block...Harder to read & also can help the QB with the play. You can design a successful screen with two OL out in front. Designate them people to block presnap. Leave Scott, Kemo, & Adams home to give BB a side to fade to (left) and create time & space for the RB. Adams pushes Mathews by and holds in backfield to cut him off when he reads it & tries to run it down. Use motion to find the RG target. If you start with Mendy, Miller, or Ward in the slot...Motion him side car to BB. RG finds the man to man defender and on release finds him. If they are in zone, he has first inside guy clear. Bronco would have 2nd man free. You want first guy out to find the guy covering the guy cathing the ball or get first man free because the defenders job is to force it back inside. Less guys disciplined in their assignment could net a bigger play than all five OL releasing. We always see the Steelers trying to set up the screen and all defenders coming free. They read it and the OL is looking downfield and the RB is surrounded by defenders flowing to him. Even if BB gets the ball out, 3 OL go down field like they are looking to run for a TD themselves a one defender splits them all and makes the play. The conversation on the way back to the huddle is, "I thought you were getting him." Block backside to give BB a place to drop away and onside corner to cut off read...Let the defenders in the middle of the field read and react. Ravens and Giants do this alot and they are very good screening teams.