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hawaiiansteel
10-04-2011, 05:19 PM
Madden: Maybe 'over' is right word for Steelers

Posted: Sunday, October 2, 2011
By Mark Madden Special to The Times

http://bloximages.newyork1.vip.townnews.com/timesonline.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/c/fd/cfdebc2c-153a-51df-a03b-85206169d46b/4e88ecf749ae5.preview-300.jpg

Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger watches from the bench in the final minutes Sunday in Houston.

Warren Sapp said it: "The Steelers are old, slow and it's over."

Yesterday, for the first time, we all started to think it.

It's awful early in the 2011 campaign to wave white flags. Problems can be fixed.

Strategies can be adjusted.

But Sunday's 17-10 loss at Houston showed the Steelers at their worst. The Texans kept trying to lose, giving back two touchdowns via flag, committing nine penalties total, missing tackles and displaying their usual second-half stumbling.

But the Steelers would not oblige.

Troy Polamalu was brilliant. Ben Roethlisberger was courageous.

But mostly, the Steelers were comical. Their play was downright embarrassing.

Houston rushed for 180 yards, led by a gimpy Arian Foster with 155. The Steelers' once-legendary run defense now gets gashed almost weekly.

The defense let Houston drive 115 yards on its initial possession. That's right, 115 yards. Infractions forced the Texans to cover 20 yards twice. The march took 19 plays and chewed up 10:55.

The Texans' first drive was distressing. Since the first Steelers' dynasty dawned in the 70s, the defense has rarely looked feeble. But it sure got bullied at the get-go Sunday. Knocked back. Pushed around. The Steel Curtain looked like Saran Wrap.

Mike Wallace and Maurkice Pouncey took stupid, unnecessary penalties that reflect a lack of discipline often evident in the Mike Tomlin regime. Your best players can't dig the hole deeper.

The Steelers' offensive line was a mess. Management should be ashamed to put a unit like that on the field, and in front of the franchise's $100 million investment. Injuries duly noted, the O-line features several players that are borderline pros at best.

Roethlisberger was sacked five times -- knocked down three times on the first series alone -- and drilled in the knee again.

Many clamor for Roethlisberger to get rid of the ball quicker. But that would be counterproductive to Roethlisberger's stunning ability to extend plays. Roethlisberger shouldn't abandon a strength. The Steelers should assemble a better line.

Certain Steelers have had great careers, and deserve respect for their accomplishments.
But ... old, slow and it's over.

Hines Ward had just one catch for 19 yards. He had a critical fourth-quarter drop. Ward is on pace for 52 receptions. He's averaging just 10.4 yards per. Ward simply can't get open anymore.

LaMarr Woodley is struggling. Many believe it's because Aaron Smith, the defensive end in front of Woodley, is toast. Smith exited yesterday's loss via injury, as he too often does.

James Farrior got blocked into oblivion on Foster's game-winning 42-yard touchdown run. He got beat for 30 yards on the preceding pass play. Farrior is fading. He's playing less, and worse.

Management shouldn't be blamed for taking a chance on these guys. But there was always the possibility this could happen.

There's always the possibility things could right themselves, too. Lost youth could be recaptured. Young players could emerge. The coaches could milk improvement. The Steelers' schedule is so weak, it's hard to imagine them not making the playoffs.

But for now, the Steelers' mystique is gone. Houston sucked the Steelers back into Sunday's game, but the Texans were never intimidated. They beat the Steelers despite a plethora of errors and superstar receiver Andre Johnson's early exit because of injury. It should have been 31-10, maybe worse, no better.

New England at Heinz Field, Oct. 30. Baltimore at Heinz Field, Nov. 6.

Still looking forward to those games, Yinzer Nation?

http://www.timesonline.com/sports/local ... 0d4d4.html (http://www.timesonline.com/sports/local_sports/madden-maybe-over-is-right-word-for-steelers/article_889fd535-2834-57bd-92cf-2e9b5aa0d4d4.html)

Scarletfire1970
10-04-2011, 09:21 PM
Many clamor for Roethlisberger to get rid of the ball quicker. But that would be counterproductive to Roethlisberger's stunning ability to extend plays. Roethlisberger shouldn't abandon a strength. The Steelers should assemble a better line.

:Agree

Pahn711
10-04-2011, 10:47 PM
Many clamor for Roethlisberger to get rid of the ball quicker. But that would be counterproductive to Roethlisberger's stunning ability to extend plays. Roethlisberger shouldn't abandon a strength. The Steelers should assemble a better line.

:Agree

If they can't assemble a better line at this point, thats not an option. Roethlisberger has to adjust to survive.

feltdizz
10-05-2011, 08:15 AM
Many clamor for Roethlisberger to get rid of the ball quicker. But that would be counterproductive to Roethlisberger's stunning ability to extend plays. Roethlisberger shouldn't abandon a strength. The Steelers should assemble a better line.

:Agree
Not gonna happen this year so he has to get rid of the ball. That's like saying Wallace should never run slants or 10 yard outs because his strength is the go route.

Ghost
10-05-2011, 09:37 AM
He's right on a lot of points but to say Ben shouldn't adjust, "the Steelers should assemble a better line" is ludicrous at this point. They can't. And it will get ben killed (he's wearing a boot now and there's 12 games to play). Starks is certainly a step up but it's not as if an entire side of the line became a non-worry.

Ben, BA and Tomlin need to acknowledge they F'd up by thinking they could make this line work with a bunch of guys who wouldn't start for any other team. Stop pretending Ben is going to get 4 or 5 seconds for Wallace to get 60 yards down the field. YOI and double YOI!

Scarletfire1970
10-05-2011, 11:00 AM
He has been saying it for years. I am pretty sure he doesn't mean this could happen right away, but for crying out loud how many years do we have to keep saying this. The improv ability of Ben is amazing and right now it is our only offense. These guys can't block. Screens get blown up. What the heck are we supposed to do? 3 and out throw the ball away every damn down? The pressure is there in most cases, in less then 3 seconds and in too many cases right away. These guys suck.

Sonny
10-05-2011, 11:11 AM
I understand that is his strength, but that should only be used when necessary.

I don't see what is the big deal in wanting your franchise QB to be able to read a D and get rid of the ball quicker, like every other elite QB.

Believe it or not, Ben's drive to SB 40 wasn't because of his ability to extend plays, it was because he had protection and was picking the defenses apart.

Name me one 3 game stretch where Ben was on point as much as he was during our playoff run in 05.

I thought we were going to get to see years of Ben performing like that, but never knew the line would become such a weakness.

I've been on Ben, but I don't know who to blame anymore. Who here has seen a prime Ben with a decent OL? The only time he ever had a good OL, he was almost a rookie.

This is a joke how they have let the line fall apart like this. Maybe if they didn't focus so much on "run stuffers"(who needs that to win nowadays?), they could have invested in the OL.

Slapstick
10-05-2011, 11:33 AM
Injuries can hit any team...some more than others...

It just so happens that the Steelers got hit on the o-line two years in a row...

steelblood
10-05-2011, 11:38 AM
Mark Madden strikes me as the kind of guy who is very jealous of Ben's new bride.

feltdizz
10-05-2011, 11:45 AM
I understand that is his strength, but that should only be used when necessary.

I don't see what is the big deal in wanting your franchise QB to be able to read a D and get rid of the ball quicker, like every other elite QB.

Believe it or not, Ben's drive to SB 40 wasn't because of his ability to extend plays, it was because he had protection and was picking the defenses apart.

Name me one 3 game stretch where Ben was on point as much as he was during our playoff run in 05.

I thought we were going to get to see years of Ben performing like that, but never knew the line would become such a weakness.

I've been on Ben, but I don't know who to blame anymore. Who here has seen a prime Ben with a decent OL? The only time he ever had a good OL, he was almost a rookie.

This is a joke how they have let the line fall apart like this. Maybe if they didn't focus so much on "run stuffers"(who needs that to win nowadays?), they could have invested in the OL.

This right here... but also remember in 2005 we were a run heavy team so the play action was killing teams in the playoffs. Once we came out passing all over the place it was over... and our D was going 3 and out a lot in the Colts game.

Scarletfire1970
10-05-2011, 12:01 PM
Injuries can hit any team...some more than others...

It just so happens that the Steelers got hit on the o-line two years in a row...
You can't blame it on injuries. Even the injured guys suck.

Sonny
10-05-2011, 01:30 PM
I understand that is his strength, but that should only be used when necessary.

I don't see what is the big deal in wanting your franchise QB to be able to read a D and get rid of the ball quicker, like every other elite QB.

Believe it or not, Ben's drive to SB 40 wasn't because of his ability to extend plays, it was because he had protection and was picking the defenses apart.

Name me one 3 game stretch where Ben was on point as much as he was during our playoff run in 05.

I thought we were going to get to see years of Ben performing like that, but never knew the line would become such a weakness.

I've been on Ben, but I don't know who to blame anymore. Who here has seen a prime Ben with a decent OL? The only time he ever had a good OL, he was almost a rookie.

This is a joke how they have let the line fall apart like this. Maybe if they didn't focus so much on "run stuffers"(who needs that to win nowadays?), they could have invested in the OL.

This right here... but also remember in 2005 we were a run heavy team so the play action was killing teams in the playoffs. Once we came out passing all over the place it was over... and our D was going 3 and out a lot in the Colts game. The 3 games leading up to XL, and especially the Colts and Broncos game, was "Steeler Football" at its best. Play action passing with pinpoint accuracy and a suffocating defense forcing mistakes.

Jooser
10-06-2011, 12:50 AM
Ok, I understand the logic in saying that Ben needs to adjust and get rid of the ball sooner. But, stop and think about this for a second. Defenses are OWNING our OL and getting to Ben in seconds. You don't think that the opposing team's defenses know this? Look at the coverage, it's right up on the LOS jamming our WR's trying to take away the hot read. Teams are blitzing us non-stop, they know Ben has to get rid of the ball in a scant 2 or 3 seconds and they're waiting to jump those routes or they're jamming the WR's long enough for the sack to come. It's not as simple as saying throw the damn ball quicker, there's no one to throw to! If Ben forces those passes and gets picked then we'd be screaming about that too. It starts up front, it's basic fundamental football. Just like tackling, throwing, running or catching, you have to be able to block. This OL not only lacks in fundamentals, but they are slow and WEAK as well. The lockout hurt some teams more than others. Our team looks out of shape and weak, the OL is a prime example of that.

Scarletfire1970
10-06-2011, 05:40 AM
Ok, I understand the logic in saying that Ben needs to adjust and get rid of the ball sooner. But, stop and think about this for a second. Defenses are OWNING our OL and getting to Ben in seconds. You don't think that the opposing team's defenses know this? Look at the coverage, it's right up on the LOS jamming our WR's trying to take away the hot read. Teams are blitzing us non-stop, they know Ben has to get rid of the ball in a scant 2 or 3 seconds and they're waiting to jump those routes or they're jamming the WR's long enough for the sack to come. It's not as simple as saying throw the damn ball quicker, there's no one to throw to! If Ben forces those passes and gets picked then we'd be screaming about that too. It starts up front, it's basic fundamental football. Just like tackling, throwing, running or catching, you have to be able to block. This OL not only lacks in fundamentals, but they are slow and WEAK as well. The lockout hurt some teams more than others. Our team looks out of shape and weak, the OL is a prime example of that.
:Agree

I think if Ben could get rid of the ball sooner, he would. Fix the line and our problems on offense go away. Obviously it isn't happening this year.

Pahn711
10-06-2011, 06:22 AM
I understand that is his strength, but that should only be used when necessary.

I don't see what is the big deal in wanting your franchise QB to be able to read a D and get rid of the ball quicker, like every other elite QB.

Its not just the strength of Roethlisberger, its the strength of our receivers. We got some fast guys who still need to grow as route runners, so long passes out in the open are still the best bet to keep moving the chains.



Believe it or not, Ben's drive to SB 40 wasn't because of his ability to extend plays, it was because he had protection and was picking the defenses apart.


It was also because of the team's ability to run the football, which is oddly absent in this discussion, and goes a long way to explain what has changed and why Ben has no time.