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hawaiiansteel
10-04-2011, 01:18 AM
Steelers attempting to find their place again

By Scott Brown, PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Tuesday, October 4, 2011

http://photos.triblive.com/photos/PITT/1334024/38072207E.jpg

The Steelers entered an alternate universe Sunday, after Arian Foster became the first running back to rush for at least 150 yards and a touchdown against them since 2001.

And the only way out of it is to start stopping the run, something the Steelers did historically well last season when they allowed 62.8 rushing yards a game — the franchise's fewest dating to 1969.

Strange and heretical as it is, the way to attack the 2011 Steelers is as follows: pound them with the run and use the ground game to set up the pass, for tight ends in particular.

The Ravens demonstrated that in a 35-7 pasting of the Steelers on Sept. 11. The Houston Texans followed that blueprint Sunday. They may have also blown out the Steelers had they not sabotaged themselves with penalties.

What happened to the good old days when progress by opposing running backs was measured in inches, not chunks of yardage?

Four games into the season, the Steelers (2-2) are 23rd in the NFL in rushing defense (157.5 yards per game) — they are No. 1 against the pass (119.5 yards) — and there are a number of ways to put that dubious ranking into perspective.

Last year in nine games against backs who finished among the NFL's top 13 in rushing, the Steelers allowed a total of 269 yards.

Foster, Ray Rice of the Ravens and the Indianapolis Colts' Joseph Addai have already combined for 348 rushing yards against the Steelers.

"You know how the league goes. It's a copycat league," Steelers free safety Ryan Clark said. "Once you put things on film teams are going to continue to attack you that way, so until we put a stop to it, people running the football on us, I think we're going to see that week in and week out."

The Tennessee Titans, who are a surprising 3-1, visit Heinz Field on Sunday, and the 1 p.m. game will offer one of the NFL's more intriguing matchups of the week: Chris Johnson against the Steelers' run defense.

The Steelers limited Johnson to 34 yards on 16 carries when they beat the Titans last season. The three-time Pro Bowler is averaging just 2.9 yards per run this year, lowest among NFL backs with at least 50 carries, after missing most of the preseason because of a contract dispute.

"That is the effect of a guy (not) having an offseason, missing all of training camp," former NFL general manager Charlie Casserly said of Johnson, who did go over 100 yards last Sunday against the Browns. "I don't think he's any less of a player."

The Steelers need to make him seem like less of one, something they have done regularly to premier running backs.

That would go a long way toward restoring some semblance of order to a world in which the Detroit Lions can't lose, even when they fall behind by 20 points in successive weeks.

Alternative universe or not, the Steelers aren't going to get much sympathy as they try to work through their problems.

As outside linebacker LaMarr Woodley said, "Everybody likes to see the Pittsburgh Steelers go down."

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsbu ... z1ZmNmkNaj (http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/steelers/s_760073.html#ixzz1ZmNmkNaj)

fordfixer
10-04-2011, 01:34 AM
Fans Concerned After Steelers’ Loss To Texans
October 3, 2011 12:48 PM
http://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2011/10/ ... -to-texans (http://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2011/10/03/fans-concerned-after-steelers-loss-to-texans)

Reporting Heather Abraham


PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – The already bruised and battered Pittsburgh Steelers left Houston a little more banged up than when they arrived.

Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger left the stadium on crutches with a walking boot on his left foot.

According to ESPN, He underwent an MRI on Monday, which showed a sprain.

That has many Steelers fans concerned about what lies ahead for the team.

With their 17-10 loss on Sunday, the Steelers are now 2-2.

It was a hard game to watch. The Steelers trailed 10-0 at the half, Roethlisberger scrambled to make plays and of course, the final pass of the game landed in the arms of Houston’s Jason Allen.

“It was very disappointing. You would think if they only gave up 17 points, they’re going to win, but neither the offense or the defense seemed to have it together,” Fred Ehrhart said.

“I thought they couldn’t block and they couldn’t tackle. And Chuck Noll used to say it’s a simple game. You can block and you can tackle, and you can win. If you can’t, you lose. It’s very simple,” Bill Egan said.

Fans are in disbelief over another loss, but realize there is a big problem out on the field.

Rashard Mendenhall was the only one to score a touchdown and linebacker James Harrison admitted to a lot of mistakes at Reliant Stadium.

“We’re just getting beat, people getting beat. You [have to] come out there and whoop the man that’s in front of you and we’re not doing that right now. I’m not happy with any of it. I’m not trying to look for a silver lining in any of it. We played like garbage. Period. We stink right now,” Harrison said.

Fans also had to sit through the pain of watching Roethlisberger being sacked five times. By comparison, the Steelers’ defense failed to register a single sack.

“Before it’s all over, I think they’re [going to] get Roethlisberger killed. Because he’s got no protection at all. Nothing,” Egan said. “I hope he’s not hurt real bad, but if he is, [Charlie Batch] can step in, and I think he can win for us.”

Just like after the big upset against the Baltimore Ravens in Week 1, fans are really hoping the Steelers can pull it together when they host the Tennessee Titans back at home next weekend.

Pahn711
10-04-2011, 02:31 AM
I dunno if this was discussed somewhere else, but did anyone see Harrison's locker room interview after the game? Without specifically calling someone out, he alluded to several players who he felt have not been performing up to par and basically getting whooped in their matchups. I wonder who in particular he is referring to? First person I thought of was Woodley, who interestingly enough you could see changing right behind Harrison while he was talking about this and was hoping he would mention.

I guess Smith and maybe Foote are the other two guys?

hawaiiansteel
10-04-2011, 03:06 AM
Zone-blocking new nemesis

Tuesday, October 04, 2011
By Ed Bouchette, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette


The tape from the loss in Houston, no doubt, already found its way into the hands of halfback Chris Johnson and the Tennessee Titans, a team trying to figure out why it has been unable to run the ball effectively.

The Steelers, who ranked third best in the NFL since 1970 in stopping the run last season by allowing just 62.8 rushing yards per game, are allowing nearly twice that much this season (119.5 per game), 23rd in the league.

"You know how the league goes, it's a copy-cat league," safety Ryan Clark said. "Once you put certain things on film, teams will attack you that way. So, until we put a stop to teams running the football on us, I think you're going to see that week in and week out."

The Steelers suddenly, shockingly, cannot stop the run, and the two teams that have had the most success, the Baltimore Ravens (170 yards) and Houston Texans (180 yards) have run similar blocking schemes and used similar game plans with their backs. They zone block, chop block and their backs cut back against the flow.

"That zone scheme, we've been having a little trouble stopping," nose tackle Casey Hampton said. "Can't make no bones about it, that's what it is. We just have to figure out a way to get guys on the ground and make plays."

Hampton expects the Titans and most future opponents to follow that formula until the Steelers stop it.

"You know, it's a copy-cat league. Whenever something works, that's what everybody's doing -- cut the backside guy and let the linemen run and the back pick and choose. It's not a physical thing, it's just a thing where you make guys make plays and we're just not doing a good job of making plays.

"It's a great scheme if you have a patient back who hits it up in there, and, the two times we had trouble with it, you had two patient backs. That's the scheme, man, that's just the way they're doing it."

Baltimore's Ray Rice ran 19 times for 107 yards against the Steelers in the opener and Arian Foster added 155 yards on 30 carries Sunday in Houston, the most yards by a back against them in the past eight years.

Linebacker James Farrior, the captain of the defense, also cited the zone-blocking schemes as causing the Steelers problems.

"Yeah, it has been. It's been giving us some problems, obviously, so we got to get it right."

The solution, he said, is for players to perform better fundamentally.

"We just have to tackle better, communicate better. I mean, there's not really a whole lot of rocket science to it -- everybody staying up, [defend] the backend cut, everybody playing their gap. Foster was very patient in the running game. He waited and waited and waited and let his blocks set up and went to the hole he saw."

Farrior also believes opponents will try to copy what the Ravens and Texans did, even if they do not usually use a zone-blocking scheme.

"I expect to see it now. I think they're going to try."

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/11277/11 ... z1ZmqCpvcq (http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/11277/1179589-66-0.stm?cmpid=steelers.xml#ixzz1ZmqCpvcq)

Eich
10-04-2011, 08:18 AM
"You know, it's a copy-cat league. Whenever something works, that's what everybody's doing -- cut the backside guy and let the linemen run and the back pick and choose. It's not a physical thing, it's just a thing where you make guys make plays and we're just not doing a good job of making plays.

"It's a great scheme if you have a patient back who hits it up in there, and, the two times we had trouble with it, you had two patient backs. That's the scheme, man, that's just the way they're doing it."



The real scary thing about this is.... For the past few years, the blueprint to beat the Steelers was to spread them out and throw the rock all over the place.

NOW Ryan Clark is saying the blueprint is to run the ball.

Well, we never fixed the "Spread them out" issue. So, is there ANYTHING this defense can stop now?

Until we show otherwise, the blueprint this year seems to be "Bring at least an above average team and just show up and play".

Oviedo
10-04-2011, 09:21 AM
I dunno if this was discussed somewhere else, but did anyone see Harrison's locker room interview after the game? Without specifically calling someone out, he alluded to several players who he felt have not been performing up to par and basically getting whooped in their matchups. I wonder who in particular he is referring to? First person I thought of was Woodley, who interestingly enough you could see changing right behind Harrison while he was talking about this and was hoping he would mention.

I guess Smith and maybe Foote are the other two guys?

Except for Ike Taylor the entire defense has underperfomed. Aaron Smith is washed up and should never have been brought back but he is the type of veteran that Lebeau loves because "he knows the defense." We should have made tough decisions and got rid of Farrior, Foote and McFadden.

Bottomline is not playing young players and developing them early in their careers in coming home to roost now. We are stuck with veteran underperforming players because they know the intricacies of the defense that IMO is overly complex.

I said before the season started that we were on the verge of a generational change on this team. Unfortunately we may have kept players and coordinators, on both sides of the ball, one season too long.

feltdizz
10-04-2011, 09:28 AM
I dunno if this was discussed somewhere else, but did anyone see Harrison's locker room interview after the game? Without specifically calling someone out, he alluded to several players who he felt have not been performing up to par and basically getting whooped in their matchups. I wonder who in particular he is referring to? First person I thought of was Woodley, who interestingly enough you could see changing right behind Harrison while he was talking about this and was hoping he would mention.

I guess Smith and maybe Foote are the other two guys?

Except for Ike Taylor the entire defense has underperfomed. Aaron Smith is washed up and should never have been brought back but he is the type of veteran that Lebeau loves because "he knows the defense." We should have made tough decisions and got rid of Farrior, Foote and McFadden.

Bottomline is not playing young players and developing them early in their careers in coming home to roost now. We are stuck with veteran underperforming players because they know the intricacies of the defense that IMO is overly complex.

I said before the season started that we were on the verge of a generational change on this team. Unfortunately we may have kept players and coordinators, on both sides of the ball, one season too long.

Troy is playing good football. Sure he had a missed tackle on the TD but he is playing great football after a slow start.

Oviedo
10-04-2011, 09:31 AM
I dunno if this was discussed somewhere else, but did anyone see Harrison's locker room interview after the game? Without specifically calling someone out, he alluded to several players who he felt have not been performing up to par and basically getting whooped in their matchups. I wonder who in particular he is referring to? First person I thought of was Woodley, who interestingly enough you could see changing right behind Harrison while he was talking about this and was hoping he would mention.

I guess Smith and maybe Foote are the other two guys?

Except for Ike Taylor the entire defense has underperfomed. Aaron Smith is washed up and should never have been brought back but he is the type of veteran that Lebeau loves because "he knows the defense." We should have made tough decisions and got rid of Farrior, Foote and McFadden.

Bottomline is not playing young players and developing them early in their careers in coming home to roost now. We are stuck with veteran underperforming players because they know the intricacies of the defense that IMO is overly complex.

I said before the season started that we were on the verge of a generational change on this team. Unfortunately we may have kept players and coordinators, on both sides of the ball, one season too long.

Troy is playing good football. Sure he had a missed tackle on the TD but he is playing great football after a slow start.

I would agree, but Troy sometimes is a feast or famine player not because of ability but because he is moved around so much on the defense he is just as often out of position as he is in position.

hawaiiansteel
10-05-2011, 04:14 AM
Day After: Statistical look at Run D woes

Mon, Oct 3rd, 2011 by DePaoli

RUN D WOES

The Steelers inability to stop the run and dramatic drop off from their defensive line is among the top storylines in the NFL after four weeks.

The Steelers are giving up 4.78 yards per attempt and it's the front seven getting gashed for runs of 10+ yards that have really plagued this team defensively.

Pittsburgh has given up 19 rushing first downs, (by comparison the Steelers have rushed for 21 first downs on the offensive side of the ball) which is not a bad number but they have surrendered 9 rushes of 10+ yards and 3 rushes of 25+ yards (Arian Foster 42 yards, Ray Rice 36 yards & Ricky Williams 26 yards) highlighted by Arian Foster's 42 yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter of yesterday's game.

Foster who rushed for 155 yards, became the first running back since Curtis Martin (174 Yards) in 2003 to rush for over 150 yards against the Steelers.

Houston averaged 5.14 yards per attempt in Sunday's 17-10 win and that mark might have been even better if Ben Tate didn't go down in the first half.

Running backs Success Against Steelers

Key numbers here is 5.0 + Yards per Attempt:

Week 1: BAL - Ray Rice (19 Car - 107 Yards - 5.6 YPA) | Ricky Williams (12 CAR - 63 Yards - 5.3 YPA)

Week 3: IND - Joseph Addai (17 CAR - 86 Yards - 5.1 YPA)

Week 4: HOU - Arian Foster (30 CAR - 155 Yards - 5.2 YPA) | Ben Tate (2 CAR - 20 Yards - 10.0 YPA)

The Steelers have been gashed for 20 rushes of 7 yards or more through four games. The breakdown goes: Week 1 (7), Week 2 (2), Week 3 (6), Week 4 (5)

In week 1, Ray Rice and Ricky Williams combined for two runs of 25+ yards and seven rushes of 7 yards or more.

In week 3, Joseph Addai had 6 rushes of 7 yards or more.

In week 4, Arian Foster and Ben Tate combined for 5 rushes of 7 yards or more and two rushes of 20 yards or more.

http://insidepittsburghsports.com/story ... oes/43447/ (http://insidepittsburghsports.com/story/day-after-steelers-injury-buzz-statistical-look-at-run-d-woes/43447/)