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steelnavy
08-08-2011, 11:06 PM
The Ravens signed Vontah Leach and now Ricky Williams. Does that indicate a lack of faith in Flacco's ability to take his team to the next level? And if you are specifically building a team to beat the Steelers, do you do that by concentrating on an area that attacks the Steelers where they are the best in the league?

AkronSteel
08-09-2011, 12:39 AM
For some reason, I have the feeling that the Ratbirds are going to have a down year. Last year was their year to get over the Steelers Hump and they blew it. They are short on WR's and aging on D. I could see them losing a couple of guys on D and it making them scarily thin. They will not be able to attack teams with their passing O because they will be short on WR's and TE's. They will try to rely on their running game, and if I recall correctly they are hurting in the OL as well. Can't wait for Week 1.....

D Rock
08-09-2011, 07:21 AM
They also lost quite a few free agents. While these may not have been their star players, they were guys who you heard their names throughout games. It'll be an interesting year for them.

rpmpit
08-09-2011, 07:34 AM
I'll admit that I'm pretty psyched that they lost Mason and Heap. Those guys (especially Heap) seemed to be their biggest playmakers against us.

Starlifter
08-09-2011, 11:11 AM
the rats brought in a lot of guys last year to get them to the SB - it didn't work out. I agree with the above. they are thin in several spots. I think the comments about their aging D are accurate - just don't forget the age of ours as well. Ultimately however, the key to the rats success will be Flacco. so far, I'm THRILLED he's their QB.

hawaiiansteel
08-10-2011, 02:18 PM
Shutting down the run is priority for Steelers

By Mark Kaboly, PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Wednesday, August 10, 2011

http://files.pittsburghlive.com/photos/2011-08-09/0810LeBeausteelCAP-b.jpg

There are plenty of teams that run the 3-4 defense nowadays 16 to be exact.

There are teams that have better athletes on defense than the Steelers and teams that have a veteran defensive coordinator just as accomplished and passionate about stopping the run as D!ck LeBeau.

But no team has made opponents as one-dimensional.

"They all say they want to stop the run like D!ck LeBeau, but nobody can do what he does," linebacker James Farrior said. "A lot of teams say they want to and think they can but they can't."

In his nine years and two stints as defensive coordinator with the Steelers, LeBeau's run defense has finished in the top three each year, with last year the pinnacle.

The Steelers flirted with becoming the best single-season run defense ever before missing out by a mere 34 yards. The 2000 Baltimore Ravens hold the record of 60.6 yards a game over a 16-game season.

The Steelers allowed 62.8 last year and permitted only two teams to eclipse 100 yards; both times the Steelers lose. They have allowed only one running back the Ravens' Ray Rice to gain more than 100 yards during their past 57 games, including the playoffs.

How do the Steelers accomplish what other teams strive to do?

"It's all understanding the defense," linebacker coach Keith Butler said. "That's why (defensive line coach John Mitchell) and I aren't big fans of rookies. They have to learn what we are trying to do and learn what to do inside the framework of the defense."

"Anybody can line up and run the 3-4," defensive end Aaron Smith said. "You have to sacrifice for the greater good of the team. Everybody has to know their job, and everybody has to be responsible and accountable for their job and nothing else."

Job responsibilities are basic:

>> Defensive linemen: Eat up blocks to keep offensive linemen off the linebackers.

>> Linebackers: Run to the ball and be sound tacklers.

>> Secondary: Make sure a 6-yard run doesn't turn into a 60-yard run.

"Our run statistics are pretty good, and it might have something to do with the system," LeBeau said. "But no matter what your defensive scheme is, you have to have good players. I don't think the scheme hurts any. It is put together to stop the run."

LeBeau has the right players in the right spots. Six of the front seven have made at least one Pro Bowl. All-Pro safety Troy Polamalu also helps stuff the run, at times.

"We have some talent," Butler said. "Try to knock Casey Hampton out of there with one guy. Try to knock LaMarr Woodley off the ball or James Harrison off the ball. It's hard to do."

But 60-yards-per-game good? Nearly 20 yards a game less than the 2008 Super Bowl-winning defense good?

"It wasn't the best ever, but it is pretty close," Butler said. "We would like to be the best ever."

Free safety Ryan Clark can be considered another reason for the Steelers' staunch run defense last season.

The Steelers allowed only three runs of 15 yards or longer, one of which was a quarterback scramble by Joe Flacco. In contrast, the Steelers offense had 28 runs of 15 yards and longer.

"(Clark) is probably one of the best open-field tacklers that we've had," Butler said. "If they get to him, then he limits the run to six yards."

Clark said: "We get guys on the ground even when they do get through. You don't see any 40 or 50-yard runs on us."

The Steelers were so successful at stopping the run that teams gave up trying at times. Five teams attempted fewer than 20 carries. Cincinnati had only 14 rushes in a late-season game second fewest against the Steelers since the 1970 merger.

"I learned a long time ago that if all a quarterback has to do is turn around and hand the ball off to be successful, you aren't going to win too many games," LeBeau said. "I think a steady diet of running against the Steelers isn't the way to go."

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsbu ... z1UdxOzh6G (http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/steelers/s_750826.html#ixzz1UdxOzh6G)

Steelgal
08-10-2011, 06:28 PM
they're as thin at OL as the Steelers are, if not worse. Birk has been out with an injury and they guy they wanted to replace him with (Rabach) failed his physical. Foxworth also got injured to an extent and they let Wilson go, so they're thin at CB.

The Ravens always play us tough, but I also think they're going to have a down year. Heap and Mason were Flacco's security blanket and now they're gone. Other than bolden, they don't really have anyone else. They have rookies or second yr players they hope that step up, but WR is one of the hardest positions to transition from college. Add that to the fact that the off-season was non-existant and it won't help.