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lloydroid
09-24-2012, 07:08 PM
We've had this problem with the D for several years now. Actually, even though Cowher has this amazing stat about him always winning when he is ahead in the 2nd half, there were signs of it then, to some degree. Here is my theory.

The reason this team's D folds in the later part of the game is because teams have to just throw and throw. And, that is how you beat this D. When teams try to use downs rushing the ball, they mostly fail, leaving them with less downs of throwing the ball. Once teams just use most downs to pass, they get into a rhythm. When going a more traditional attack, they don't get into the rhythm and waste a lot of downs on rushes that don't usually work well vs. this D (or they didn't used to, we will see, McFadden jacked them up.)

Do you remember the 2001 season? (I think). Our first two opponents had potent passing games and BOTH didn't bother with the rush, pretty much all game (The Tom Brady Patriots and then the Rich Gannon Raiders). Both teams ripped the D to shreds and we couldn't stop them all game. I believe that teams behind in the 4th go into the same mode, of just passing it all over the field, and it works, as that is the way you beat our D. GB did it to us in the Super Bowl as well. As games enter that phase, QBs get rolling and our pass rush gets gassed and that's a bad combination. And, let's be fair, all this chat about how horrible Palmer is, well, that's not entirely true. He is a pro bowl QB and this is his first full year with his new team. Yes, at one point, he was overrated, but he isn't chopped liver either. He has a nice, strong arm and led the AFC in passing heading into this game. Plus, he is very familiar with Pgh's D.

Any how, that's my theory one why this D often crumbles down the stretch.

It's not like the players just don't care and quit trying. They want to win more than we want them to win.

Slapstick
09-24-2012, 07:15 PM
This D is too dependent upon having Troy and Harrison healthy...

There are other players who can do different things, but we don't emphasize those players schematically...

steelz09
09-24-2012, 07:19 PM
I disagree to a certain extend. In years past, we did not need to sell out to stop the run. We could play our base 3-4 and teams never had a chance of a running attack. Now, teams can run on us AND throw on us.

steelz09
09-24-2012, 07:21 PM
This D is too dependent upon having Troy and Harrison healthy...

There are other players who can do different things, but we don't emphasize those players schematically...


True....but being too dependent on a 31 and 34 y/o is just plain stupid and that has been the case for several years. What is our record without Troy in the lineup again?

lloydroid
09-24-2012, 07:27 PM
I disagree to a certain extend. In years past, we did not need to sell out to stop the run. We could play our base 3-4 and teams never had a chance of a running attack. Now, teams can run on us AND throw on us.

Yea, I was speaking in our history. Today could be a different deal, with us just sucking vs. the rush from age and missing former players. Our D really crumbled down the stretch of games in all of 2009. So, we weren't as old then and still could never defend a lead. There must be a reason.

NorthCoast
09-24-2012, 07:28 PM
I disagree to a certain extend. In years past, we did not need to sell out to stop the run. We could play our base 3-4 and teams never had a chance of a running attack. Now, teams can run on us AND throw on us.

agreed. the loss of A. Smith was the beginning of the end for the run D. Guy pretty much dominated everyone he faced. The Steelers have to bring safety help up to the line on a regular basis now to stop the run. Makes it easy for the offense to show one look, then change based on the safety position. Easy yards....

lloydroid
09-24-2012, 07:28 PM
True....but being too dependent on a 31 and 34 y/o is just plain stupid and that has been the case for several years. What is our record without Troy in the lineup again?

We are basically a .500 team without TP in the line up. Maybe below it now.

lloydroid
09-24-2012, 07:30 PM
agreed. the loss of A. Smith was the beginning of the end for the run D. Guy pretty much dominated everyone he faced. The Steelers have to bring safety help up to the line on a regular basis now to stop the run. Makes it easy for the offense to show one look, then change based on the safety position. Easy yards....

Also, there is no way Hampton can be as effective as he was in year's past. No way. That is a huge factor as well. It has got to be.

skyhawk
09-24-2012, 07:50 PM
I agree!

The year that Beady and Gannon torched the Steelers was 2002.

steelz09
09-24-2012, 07:57 PM
Also, there is no way Hampton can be as effective as he was in year's past. No way. That is a huge factor as well. It has got to be.


agreed. the loss of A. Smith was the beginning of the end for the run D. Guy pretty much dominated everyone he faced. The Steelers have to bring safety help up to the line on a regular basis now to stop the run. Makes it easy for the offense to show one look, then change based on the safety position. Easy yards....

Yup.

I understand guys can't play forever and their play declines as they age.

The bad news is that our defensive players are continuing to age and we are trying to replace them with inferior players. It's not like we haven't spent high picks on defense. It's that these high picks are not developing and performing at the level their expected. That might work when it's 1 player. You can disguise it. Right now, we are weak at multiple positions.

lloydroid
09-24-2012, 08:17 PM
Yup.

I understand guys can't play forever and their play declines as they age.

The bad news is that our defensive players are continuing to age and we are trying to replace them with inferior players. It's not like we haven't spent high picks on defense. It's that these high picks are not developing and performing at the level their expected. That might work when it's 1 player. You can disguise it. Right now, we are weak at multiple positions.

Weak at S sans Troy.
Weak at CB. Ike is only solid one and he is getting old.
Weak at OLB with 92 out.
Weak at DL? Maybe.
IDK, I think we are even weak at ILB; Timmons misses tackles all day long.

Are things really this bleak? They might be.

papillon
09-25-2012, 07:18 AM
We are basically a .500 team without TP in the line up. Maybe below it now.

James Harrison is the heart and soul of the defense; Troy is the play maker of the defense (by and large) without one the defense can get by, but will typically need a good effort from the offense to win, without both the offense has no room for error almost every possession needs to turn into points and that's untenable.

The defense needs both and they need them for 2 or 3 more years to be competitive and hopefully draft or develop some talent on defense. The other players seem to be playing as if Troy and James are in the game and waiting for them to make a play or cause the quarterback make a bad decision.

Pappy

DukieBoy
09-25-2012, 07:39 AM
According to Trib articles on-line this morning, our D schemes are very predictable, apparently. After running the same defense for so many years, it has become easy to read and know what the defense is doing. Palmer recognized what the defense would do, audibled to the play for the long TD run, for one example. Apparently, same with blitz packages, very easy to recognize and anticipate.

Oviedo
09-25-2012, 07:57 AM
According to Trib articles on-line this morning, our D schemes are very predictable, apparently. After running the same defense for so many years, it has become easy to read and know what the defense is doing. Palmer recognized what the defense would do, audibled to the play for the long TD run, for one example. Apparently, same with blitz packages, very easy to recognize and anticipate.

I read that too, however for any of us who watch every game that shouldn't be a surprise. Even sitting in our living rooms we can typically predict who is going to blitz with at least a 80% accuracy for pretty much any game. I'm sure the professionals who study film can do much better.

Palmer's statement about the predictability of our blitzes goes a long way to explain why last season we had the lowest sack total in 21 years.

phillyesq
09-25-2012, 02:20 PM
Palmer called 11 audibles on 57 plays -- calling an audible on less than 20% of plays does not indicate that the entire defensive scheme is predictable.

lloydroid
09-25-2012, 02:32 PM
According to Trib articles on-line this morning, our D schemes are very predictable, apparently. After running the same defense for so many years, it has become easy to read and know what the defense is doing. Palmer recognized what the defense would do, audibled to the play for the long TD run, for one example. Apparently, same with blitz packages, very easy to recognize and anticipate.

Yea, and the other columnist said it has nothing to do with predictable play calling. Who is right? I don't know. I am leaning towards buying that their system and calls are predictable. Palmer did seem to know everything that was coming. I thought DL's system was so ingenious that there were always new wrinkles that threw offenses off. It doesn't appear to be so now.

lloydroid
09-25-2012, 02:38 PM
Palmer called 11 audibles on 57 plays -- calling an audible on less than 20% of plays does not indicate that the entire defensive scheme is predictable.

It also doesn't prove that it isn't predictable. What if Palmer walks up to the line and realizes that the play he called is already the right call for what he sees the D doing? Then he would just run the play as called, not needing an audible. There is nothing to indicate that he didn't know what the D was going to do. Judging by how he tore them apart in the 2nd half, I'd say he knew what was going on with the D. He looked very comfortable out there.

Slapstick
09-25-2012, 02:50 PM
My brother thought that the Raiders were possibly pulling a Patriots with a camera focused on our sidelines...Carson looked too comfortable...

ikestops85
09-25-2012, 04:40 PM
I'm not sure what you guys are getting at here. Palmer is an NFL quarterback. He will generally know what is coming. Do you think teams that play a 4-3 Tampa two defense "surprise" anyone? Hell no. Granted LeBeau's defense is supposed to confuse but their are only so many combinations and things you can do. A veteran quarterback like Palmer who has played the Steelers a lot has seen this defense many times and it's hard to confuse him.

The key thing here, and we all know it, is getting pressure on the QB. That's what LeBeau has to figure out. It's just not easy when your players aren't winning any one on one battles.

lloydroid
09-25-2012, 05:01 PM
IDK, is the days of an effective 3-4 coming to an end? With the rules as they are now, and as they are now enforced, is it possible that the 3-4 just isn't the cat's meow any longer? It probably can still be great, but ours isn't, right now. There is something about putting pressure on a QB with the front 4 that seems so effective. If you can get pressure with a dominant front 4 in a 4-3, that seems like the best of all worlds. When we end up with our OLBs having to face a legit NFL OT, it just doesn't work. A 320 lb OT laughs at a 250 lb LB trying to get by him. The only time it seems effective is when a play calls for a RB or TE to block our OLBs. But how can you create that match up if the offense doesn't give it to you?

hawaiiansteel
09-25-2012, 08:55 PM
2012 Pittsburgh Steelers defense conjuring memories of the defensive collapse of 2009

Submitted by Syndicated sources on September 25, 2012

As the fallout from Sunday’s horrible loss continues to build, the memory of one play should continue to standout as a potentially unwanted harbinger for Pittsburgh Steelers fans. No, it is not the 64-yard Darren McFadden touchdown run, or the borderline hit that Ryan Mundy delivered to Darius Heyward-Bey, Not even close. The play was a fourth down call by head coach Mike Tomlin in their own territory where the Steelers went for it on a fourth-and-one.With that call to the offense, Tomlin delivered a clear message that he had little to no faith in the defense to stop the Oakland Raiders offense. The Steelers converted that play, but could not finish the drive, something that overshadowed the call, and allowed the Raiders to pull out the victory.

While it is not a shock that the defense has struggled at times without stars James Harrison and Troy Polamalu, but these issues seem to run a lot deeper than those two injured players. During their two losses, the Steelers defense seemed to be outplayed in the second half, unable to either stop the run or pass in either game. In the first loss, Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning shredded the defense in the no-huddle with short passes and a balance of run and pass. Sunday, quarterback Carson Palmer did not use the no-huddle, but the balanced attack was there.

Again, some will point to the injured players, but that should be viewed as s a falsity, as this same defense was in place in week two against the New York Jets and they stood up and delivered a physical performance. However, the Jets offense lacks the playmakers in the backfield that the Raiders boast and Mark Sanchez is nowhere near the quarterback that Palmer is.

Sure, the players are at fault as they are the ones that have to make plays, but schematically, the Steelers do not match-up well with a short controlled passing attack. For some this is no surprise, as memories of the 2009 season begin to creep into mind. It is hard to forget that season or this offensive game plan, one that has killed the Pittsburgh defense on-and-off for the past few seasons, especially that season.

With the bye week on tap, the coaching staff and defensive players must stand-up and face a tough reality. If they do not fix this fundamental flaw, it will be a long season in Pittsburgh.

http://network.yardbarker.com/nfl/article_external/2012_pittsburgh_steelers_defense_conjuring_memorie s_of_the_defensive_collapse_of_2009/11803183

Chadman
09-25-2012, 09:50 PM
Really not convinced that the Steelers have drafted 'bad players' over the last few years. What it would seem is that what used to work for the Steelers, no longer works for the Steelers. It used to be that teams would try & beat you on the ground first, then resort to the passing game once momentum was reached. The Steelers excelled at stopping a dominant run philosophy. Now teams spread the Steelers out, pass quickly. This takes the ILB's off the line of scrimmage, and reduces the time an OLB has to get to the QB. It effectively reduces the abilities & advantages of what the Steelers used to, and probably can still do. Running against the Steelers isn't easy, even today. But when you've spread the defenders out, it becomes easier. No surprise that since 2002 when Brady spread us out & showed the NFL how to beat the Steelers, that the dominant run defense has been... less dominant. We now see LB's that used to sell out against the run being pushed 5 yards off the line to cover a TE that used to run block. It's all cumulitive.

The Steelers would be well advised this off season to look at what they have on the roster for future years. Not 'how do they fit the Steelers 3-4', but 'what skills do they bring to the table'. Case in point- LaMarr Woodley is an excellent pass rusher & tackler. He's an average at best pass defender. So why is he in a position where he drops in coverage so often? Would he be better served rushing the passer & collapsing the pocket on every play? Would Worilds be the same? Carter? Is Timmons a better 'in space' LB or a better 'in the muck' LB? If he's better running around, being athletic- why stump him in the middle of the pile? That he felt the need to bulk up, reducing his mobility (his strength as a player) shows the point Chadman is making. Many on here have never liked Timmons. Chadman suggests we've never seen him play as he should. Would a 4 man DL of Keisel/Worilds, Heyward/Ta'Amu, Hood/McLendon, Woodley be better at getting to the QB if they didn't have to worry so much about 'clogging lanes' the way Hampton & Aaron Smith excelled at for so long. Would this allow Timmons, Sylvester & Spence to play a more athletic, diverse, LB system in behind them?

What is better, in todays NFL, than putting athletes in a position to do what their skills say they should do best? Right now, the Steelers have athletes that fit a 4-3 & are stuffing them into a system that worked throughout the 80's & 90's & early 2000's. Chadman loves the 3-4. But Chadman doesn't see too many 3-4 teams play like the Steelers play it. Time to use our players to their best advantage- in Chadman's opinion, they are a potentially dominant Defensive group- if used properly.

Shoe
09-25-2012, 10:03 PM
James Harrison is the heart and soul of the defense; Troy is the play maker of the defense (by and large) without one the defense can get by, but will typically need a good effort from the offense to win, without both the offense has no room for error almost every possession needs to turn into points and that's untenable.

The defense needs both and they need them for 2 or 3 more years to be competitive and hopefully draft or develop some talent on defense. The other players seem to be playing as if Troy and James are in the game and waiting for them to make a play or cause the quarterback make a bad decision.

Pappy

If you look at it that way, one can make a parallel to 1995-97 ish. Back then, we had a crazy, mean heart & soul (Harrison '12, Lloyd '96), and a playmaking future HOF DB (Polamalu '12, Woodson '96). Not coincidentally, our D took a dip from that previous era of STRONG defensive football... hopefully not a portend of the future this time.

lloydroid
09-26-2012, 01:04 AM
Really not convinced that the Steelers have drafted 'bad players' over the last few years. What it would seem is that what used to work for the Steelers, no longer works for the Steelers. It used to be that teams would try & beat you on the ground first, then resort to the passing game once momentum was reached. The Steelers excelled at stopping a dominant run philosophy. Now teams spread the Steelers out, pass quickly. This takes the ILB's off the line of scrimmage, and reduces the time an OLB has to get to the QB. It effectively reduces the abilities & advantages of what the Steelers used to, and probably can still do. Running against the Steelers isn't easy, even today. But when you've spread the defenders out, it becomes easier. No surprise that since 2002 when Brady spread us out & showed the NFL how to beat the Steelers, that the dominant run defense has been... less dominant. We now see LB's that used to sell out against the run being pushed 5 yards off the line to cover a TE that used to run block. It's all cumulitive.

The Steelers would be well advised this off season to look at what they have on the roster for future years. Not 'how do they fit the Steelers 3-4', but 'what skills do they bring to the table'. Case in point- LaMarr Woodley is an excellent pass rusher & tackler. He's an average at best pass defender. So why is he in a position where he drops in coverage so often? Would he be better served rushing the passer & collapsing the pocket on every play? Would Worilds be the same? Carter? Is Timmons a better 'in space' LB or a better 'in the muck' LB? If he's better running around, being athletic- why stump him in the middle of the pile? That he felt the need to bulk up, reducing his mobility (his strength as a player) shows the point Chadman is making. Many on here have never liked Timmons. Chadman suggests we've never seen him play as he should. Would a 4 man DL of Keisel/Worilds, Heyward/Ta'Amu, Hood/McLendon, Woodley be better at getting to the QB if they didn't have to worry so much about 'clogging lanes' the way Hampton & Aaron Smith excelled at for so long. Would this allow Timmons, Sylvester & Spence to play a more athletic, diverse, LB system in behind them?

What is better, in todays NFL, than putting athletes in a position to do what their skills say they should do best? Right now, the Steelers have athletes that fit a 4-3 & are stuffing them into a system that worked throughout the 80's & 90's & early 2000's. Chadman loves the 3-4. But Chadman doesn't see too many 3-4 teams play like the Steelers play it. Time to use our players to their best advantage- in Chadman's opinion, they are a potentially dominant Defensive group- if used properly.

Your points seem valid on the surface, but, in the same time span you say it was discovered how to beat the D (and I agree NE did expose us in terms of how to shred the D and so did the Raiders 1 week later), in 2002, we have won two Super Bowls since and have had a top D pretty much every season since. So, I am torn. Maybe it just been a progressive thing since and we are now at the tipping point. Maybe what you say has been coming and prior to this year enough teams still tried to establish the run, which falls into our hands. Or, maybe our same system would be fine if our stars were not aging and/or out of the line up from injury. I guess we just don't know as of right now.

I do know this: If we can't pressure the QB, then we are in big trouble. Look at what Seattle did to GB last night, in terms of 8 sacks in the 1st half. That is some serious pressure. Right now, as things are, we lose to the Ravens big, we lose to Cinci and we are in a dog fight trying to beat Cleveland. That could all change if 43 and 92 come back and are whole. But that is a big "if."

Oviedo
09-26-2012, 08:13 AM
Really not convinced that the Steelers have drafted 'bad players' over the last few years. What it would seem is that what used to work for the Steelers, no longer works for the Steelers. It used to be that teams would try & beat you on the ground first, then resort to the passing game once momentum was reached. The Steelers excelled at stopping a dominant run philosophy. Now teams spread the Steelers out, pass quickly. This takes the ILB's off the line of scrimmage, and reduces the time an OLB has to get to the QB. It effectively reduces the abilities & advantages of what the Steelers used to, and probably can still do. Running against the Steelers isn't easy, even today. But when you've spread the defenders out, it becomes easier. No surprise that since 2002 when Brady spread us out & showed the NFL how to beat the Steelers, that the dominant run defense has been... less dominant. We now see LB's that used to sell out against the run being pushed 5 yards off the line to cover a TE that used to run block. It's all cumulitive.

The Steelers would be well advised this off season to look at what they have on the roster for future years. Not 'how do they fit the Steelers 3-4', but 'what skills do they bring to the table'. Case in point- LaMarr Woodley is an excellent pass rusher & tackler. He's an average at best pass defender. So why is he in a position where he drops in coverage so often? Would he be better served rushing the passer & collapsing the pocket on every play? Would Worilds be the same? Carter? Is Timmons a better 'in space' LB or a better 'in the muck' LB? If he's better running around, being athletic- why stump him in the middle of the pile? That he felt the need to bulk up, reducing his mobility (his strength as a player) shows the point Chadman is making. Many on here have never liked Timmons. Chadman suggests we've never seen him play as he should. Would a 4 man DL of Keisel/Worilds, Heyward/Ta'Amu, Hood/McLendon, Woodley be better at getting to the QB if they didn't have to worry so much about 'clogging lanes' the way Hampton & Aaron Smith excelled at for so long. Would this allow Timmons, Sylvester & Spence to play a more athletic, diverse, LB system in behind them?

What is better, in todays NFL, than putting athletes in a position to do what their skills say they should do best? Right now, the Steelers have athletes that fit a 4-3 & are stuffing them into a system that worked throughout the 80's & 90's & early 2000's. Chadman loves the 3-4. But Chadman doesn't see too many 3-4 teams play like the Steelers play it. Time to use our players to their best advantage- in Chadman's opinion, they are a potentially dominant Defensive group- if used properly.

Excellent post. All this nonsense about all of sudden we have bad players is nothing but making excuses for the real problem.

The following quote hits the nail on the head

Right now, the Steelers have athletes that fit a 4-3 & are stuffing them into a system that worked throughout the 80's & 90's & early 2000's

We are tying ourselves to a system because of who the DC is and not what our players can do best. It is like I have said, there is a template and hell or highwater we are going to squeeze people into that template. This is exactly what I have been saying for the past two season. Every year we "project" that a player can "maybe" convert to a 3-4 DE or a 3-4 OLB and then after 3 years whn it doesn't work we try to say we have bad players or the front office is all screwed up. What is screwed up is the whole conversion notion. Why not bring the players in to play the position you just spent a couple of years watching and scouting them playing in college? I bet we would see much earlier contributions and a faster learning curve in their adjustment to the NFL.

Slapstick
09-26-2012, 08:58 AM
If the defense had a history of failure, I could see your point...

However, I will allow the coaches to do their jobs over the next 13 games before I acknowledge a total failure on their part...

ikestops85
09-26-2012, 04:06 PM
Excellent post. All this nonsense about all of sudden we have bad players is nothing but making excuses for the real problem.

The following quote hits the nail on the head


We are tying ourselves to a system because of who the DC is and not what our players can do best. It is like I have said, there is a template and hell or highwater we are going to squeeze people into that template. This is exactly what I have been saying for the past two season. Every year we "project" that a player can "maybe" convert to a 3-4 DE or a 3-4 OLB and then after 3 years whn it doesn't work we try to say we have bad players or the front office is all screwed up. What is screwed up is the whole conversion notion. Why not bring the players in to play the position you just spent a couple of years watching and scouting them playing in college? I bet we would see much earlier contributions and a faster learning curve in their adjustment to the NFL.


So what you are saying is that we shouldn't draft players who played in a spread offense ... or any offense other than a pro set. Or are you saying our offense ought to switch to the spread or wishbone if that is the system we draft players from? You are starting to confuse me. :confused:

Oviedo
09-26-2012, 05:24 PM
So what you are saying is that we shouldn't draft players who played in a spread offense ... or any offense other than a pro set. Or are you saying our offense ought to switch to the spread or wishbone if that is the system we draft players from? You are starting to confuse me. :confused:

Our Offensive Coord, even Arians, seem to have had little trouble getting those guys up to standard and on the field playing. It is our Defensive Coord who seems to take as long as it takes to get an Associates Degree to make it happen.

BTW playing in the spread in college actually is becoming an asset in today's NFL especially for skill position players. Does that help with the confusion?

hawaiiansteel
10-04-2012, 05:26 AM
Late letdowns on defense hurting Steelers

By Alan Robinson
Published: Wednesday, October 3, 2012

http://triblive.com/csp/mediapool/sites/dt.common.streams.StreamServer.cls?STREAMOID=v5q4j MpiO7NgPDf7PnmfRM$daE2N3K4ZzOUsqbU5sYvX3LODc3DZlIS ZvF4vSnoBWCsjLu883Ygn4B49Lvm9bPe2QeMKQdVeZmXF$9l$4 uCZ8QDXhaHEp3rvzXRJFdy0KqPHLoMevcTLo3h8xh70Y6N_U_C ryOsw6FTOdKL_jpQ-&CONTENTTYPE=image/jpeg

Steelers saftey Ryan Clark returns an interception against the Raiders in a loss earlier this season

A look at how quarterbacks have fared against the Steelers this season in the first and second half:

• First half: 20 of 34, 215 yards, 2 TD, 1 INT

• Second half: 33 of 53, 385 yards, 4 TD, 0 INT

They can blame the absence of all-world safety Troy Polamalu for two games. They can blame not getting the reliable push from their defensive line that would have helped prevent wide receivers from constantly gaining downfield separation.

To safety Ryan Clark, it’s time to stop finding reasons why the Steelers secondary’s statistics look great but their execution can look awful, especially in the second half.

To illustrate how numbers can lie, the Steelers (1-2) are No. 5 in total defense and No. 3 in passing yardage, yet they made an aging Peyton Manning look like an in-his-prime Manning, and Carson Palmer look like the Palmer of 2004. If Mark Sanchez hadn’t looked like Mark Sanchez, the Steelers’ numbers wouldn’t look like they do.

Big plays allowed, drives extended, upsets not prevented, games lost in the second half. No matter what the statistics say, that’s not the Steelers’ way.

“It’s like I said, on the first play (Sunday) there’s no more excuses,” Clark said Wednesday. “We can’t run in here and say, ‘We don’t have Troy, we don’t have James (Harrison).’ We have everybody we’re supposed to have now, so we’ve got to go out and make plays. You get a lift when those guys are out there, running to the ball and doing what they’ve done for years.”

What’s contradictory to their high rankings is that opponents are converting nearly half of their third-down attempts (16 of 33), thus keeping an aging defense on the field too long. That’s showing up in the second half, when the Steelers are giving up nearly twice as many yards passing (385) as they are in the first half (215).

“It hasn’t been terrible; honestly, it hasn’t been,” Clark said of the secondary’s play. “I think the spot we come up on the wrong end of the grade is third down. If you look at anything we need to improve on, it’s getting off the field in those clutch downs and getting the offense the ball back. People haven’t really beaten us over the top.”

Palmer, for example, was 6 of 10 for 37 yards, one touchdown and one interception in the first half; in the second half, he was 18 of 24 for 172 yards and two touchdowns as the Raiders rallied from a 10-point deficit to win, 34-31.

“Any defense, if you’re not going 100 percent on third down, you’re not satisfied,” defensive end Cam Heyward said. “We have to pick it up. I think we’re going to come out with a better effort this week.”

They might need one against ultra-mobile quarterback Michael Vick, whose ability to extend drives with his running and throwing helped the Eagles (3-1) rally in the fourth quarter of all three of their wins. Philadelphia visits Heinz Field on Sunday.

“He’s taken a pounding this year, guys are getting to him, making him fumble and give the ball up,” Clark said, referring to Vick’s five fumbles. “Even though he takes a lot of hits and he’s a tough guy, you can get the ball out from him. You’ve got to continue to pound on him so it adds up as the game goes along.”

Last week, defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau suggested the defense’s problems resulted in part from players abandoning their responsibilities and trying to make a play on their own. Trust each other and do your job.

That message was reinforced as the Steelers returned to practice Wednesday, when the defense was healthy and operating at full strength for the first time since training camp started.

“If we get no push or if we get push, we have to be solid on our coverage,” cornerback Cortez Allen said. “We’ve got to plaster their receivers, and that’s going to be a big thing against Michael Vick, who does a good job as far as extending plays. Regardless of what happens up front, we have to be solid in our coverage.”

And not just on the stats sheet.

http://triblive.com/sports/steelers/2710897-85/half-steelers-defense-clark-getting-yards-ball-defensive-field-third#ixzz28JSej2mP

Eich
10-04-2012, 08:28 AM
Against the Raiders, I would've gone for it on the 2nd 4th down. I think think it was an awful 4th-and-9 but I still would've gone for it. You knew that as soon as we gave the ball to the Raiders, that game was over.

I'm not sure I buy that the major problem with the defense is primarily players not trusting each other and trying to make an individual play outside of the system. But I guess we'll see as time goes on. I'd like to see a stat of how many plays our corners played tight man coverage, jamming the receivers at the line. And how many plays we sent an agressive blitz. IF we're going down, I want to go down guns-a-blazin'. PLAY AGRESSIVE ! Take chances. We're getting burned anyway.

JUST-PLAIN-NASTY
10-04-2012, 10:18 AM
Throughout DL coaching career he would take his foot off the gas when the Steelers had the lead. In todays NFL, no lead is unsurmountable but DL still believes this is the old NFL. Struggles in the running game & the pass rush being off at the start of the season only makes it worst. I am now confident knowing DL is still here to go out on top. I am also confident that his lack of acknowledgment in the evolution of the passing game is contributing to the defensive struggles. Coaching surfaces in the 2nd half of ball games. Predictability plays a huge part of the demise of a team on top going into the 2nd half. The late DL defenses can easily be summed up like this. DL's gameplan going into a game "MAKES" a QB beat his defense. In the 2nd half, DL "ALLOWS" a QB to beat his defense. Can't call a game in the 2nd half to sit on a lead...You have to call it from behind.

lloydroid
10-04-2012, 09:58 PM
Excellent post. All this nonsense about all of sudden we have bad players is nothing but making excuses for the real problem.

The following quote hits the nail on the head


We are tying ourselves to a system because of who the DC is and not what our players can do best. It is like I have said, there is a template and hell or highwater we are going to squeeze people into that template. This is exactly what I have been saying for the past two season. Every year we "project" that a player can "maybe" convert to a 3-4 DE or a 3-4 OLB and then after 3 years whn it doesn't work we try to say we have bad players or the front office is all screwed up. What is screwed up is the whole conversion notion. Why not bring the players in to play the position you just spent a couple of years watching and scouting them playing in college? I bet we would see much earlier contributions and a faster learning curve in their adjustment to the NFL.

This. 1,000 points