Matchup to watch
Matchup to watch: Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger vs. Jets S LaRon LandryBy Gerry Dulac / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
How much time did the Steelers spend in their no-huddle offense in Denver?
Enough to use three wide receivers on 54 of their 71 plays against the Broncos, the second most by a National Football League team on opening weekend. The Steelers always use three wide receivers in their no-huddle offense, but that doesn't mean all the plays are passes. In fact, the Steelers attempted 45 passes against the Broncos and ran the ball 26 times.
Compare that to the pass-happy New Orleans Saints, who had just 10 running plays -- and 28 incompletions -- in their upset loss at home against the Washington Redskins.
"Even though we were in the no-huddle at the end of the first half and most of the second half, I was calling a lot of those runs," said quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. "I think people need to realize that just because we're in the no-huddle and we're calling the plays doesn't mean I'm calling all passes."
Roethlisberger will hope to keep the New York Jets (1-0) off-balance when they come to Heinz Field today to face the Steelers (0-1). The Jets have had communication problems with no-huddle attacks, a concern heightened because of two new safeties in the secondary -- Yeremiah Bell and LaRon Landry.
Conversely, the Jets will try to do against Roethlisberger what they do best -- confuse him with simulated pressure and get him to force throws against a secondary that often drops seven players in coverage. Two of those players are Darrelle Revis (Aliquippa High School, Pitt) and Antonio Cromartie, maybe the best tandem of cornerbacks in the league.
"I think Revis gets a lot of the talk and deservedly so -- he's one of the best," Roethlisberger said. "But, I think it's unfair to the rest of that secondary, especially Antonio Cromartie. He's a great, long defensive back and ball-hawker that makes plays. I don't know if he gets the credit that he is due."
Roethlisberger was sacked five times against the Broncos, but the numbers are misleading. Three of the sacks came on the final series when the Broncos "were pinning their ears," Roethlisberger said, and attacked the pocket. For the most part, the protection in Denver was pretty good. And, when it wasn't, Roethlisberger extended the play and turned several breakdowns into long gainers, including a 27-yarder to Antonio Brown.
Still, since 2007, no quarterback in the NFL has been sacked as many times as Roethlisberger (220).
And, in Denver, Roethlisberger completed just 6 of 14 passes for 60 yards when the Broncos brought five or more rushers. Conversely, the Jets brought only four rushers on nine of the first 13 pass plays by the Buffalo Bills last week.
But they also forced three turnovers on the first 23 plays, in part because they confused the Bills by simulating pressure with five or six players and then dropping seven into coverage.
But the Jets know this about Roethlisberger, too: His numbers are better at home than on the road
Steelers’ defense seeing Greene
By Ralph N. Paulk
Published: Sunday, September 16, 2012, 12:01 a.m.
Updated 2 hours ago
Ike Taylor isn’t buying what the media is selling about the Jets’ supposedly vaunted wildcat offense.
The veteran cornerback conceded the Steelers are prepared for the Mark Sanchez-Tim Tebow packages.
Yet, Taylor vehemently insisted the defense isn’t obsessed or distracted by the wildcat, in part, because running back Shonn Greene still ignites an offense that tallied 48 points –– a franchise record for a season opener — after struggling mightily during the preseason.
With the spotlight on Sanchez and Tebow, Greene pounded the Buffalo defense with 27 carries for 94 yards. Greene’s stat sheet wasn’t overly impressive, but he effectively kept Dave Wannstedt’s defense off balance.
Again, that will be the key when the Jets face the Steelers Sunday at Heinz Field in what could be a pivotal AFC game. The Steelers haven’t started 0-2 since 2002.
“The game’s evolving, so players have to become more intelligent,” safety Will Allen said. “The game isn’t nearly as vanilla as it used to be. You have to understand how teams want to attack you. ...They will try to dink and dunk us with short passes to see where our defense is flowing.”
If the Steelers are to defuse the Jets’ offense, they must first unplug Greene. They accomplished that in the 2010 AFC Championship Game, partly because they sprinted to a 24-0 lead to force the Jets to abandon their power ground game.
Greene managed only 52 yards on nine carries in the title game, as the Steelers held on to win, 24-19.
“You have to be realistic,” Taylor said. “We can’t get caught up with everything people are talking about with Jets’ wildcat offense. ...(Greene) is moving the chains and he’s running the clock out. They’re not giving him 27 carries just to be giving it to him. They’re giving it to him to make a point, to make a statement.”
The Jets have an offensive line anchored by three Pro Bowlers –– tackle D’Brickashaw Ferguson, center Nick Mangold and guard Brandon Moore ––that relishes the chance to engage with perhaps the most physical defense in the NFL.
“We are going to get back to the running game, and we can’t wait to show it,” Greene said. “When they (coaches) said, ‘Just be prepared to be in the best shape of your life,’ I knew what that meant.”
A year ago, the Jets reluctantly leaned on three-wide receiver sets. At times, they abandoned the power run game in favor of a passing game that often faltered under pressure during a disappointing 8-8 campaign.
The Steelers, though, are expecting the Jets to revert to form — or their perceived strength. While the wildcat is an attention getter, New York’s offense doesn’t evolve around it.
“Their foundation is Shonn Greene,” Taylor said. “We all know what he can do. He is a one-cutter who is going to bring the wood. There won’t be any shaking. He’s looking to hand out some punishment and putting people on their back.”
Taylor added that Greene is driven this season, mostly because he doesn’t have to share the football with the retired LaDainian Tomlinson. In the previous meetings with the Steelers, Greene had a combined 21 carries for 92 yards, including a 40-yard effort in the 2010 regular season, as the Jets won for the first time in Pittsburgh, 22-17,
“We have to make sure we stop the run,” defensive end Ziggy Hood said. “The wildcat is a distraction. They try to get you to focus on different things, but what they want to do is run downhill.”
Still, the Steelers aren’t ignoring the wildcat.
“They didn’t want to show everything against Buffalo,” cornerback Keenan Lewis said. “I’m sure they will come out with some different packages. I think Tebow will throw. We can’t forget while he’s good with his feet, he’s still a quarterback.”
The same quarterback, of course, who tossed an 80-yard, game-winning touchdown pass that propelled Denver to a 29-23 victory over the Steelers in the AFC wild-card playoff game in January.
“We just have to play football regardless to who’s at quarterback,” Taylor said. “When you’re playing a Hall of Famer like Peyton Manning, there are no slip-ups. He’s seen it all
“Sanchez is still up-and-coming. It’s not a fluke they put 48 points on the board.”
Ralph N. Paulk is staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or
Reading between the lines, it seems more and more the offense is Roethlisberger's to run. So if they struggle, or have a bad game the blame needs to be directed toward Ben as much as Haley. Love the idea of running out of 3 WR sets. It never seemed to dawn on BA that spreading a defense and then running the ball is just as effective as trying to beat your head against the wall with 3 TEs.
This offense is designed for Mendy imho. He's made to run in space. He's built to catch passes out of the backfield.
Originally Posted by NorthCoast
I think he could be the key to getting this whole offense humming.
And spreading teams out means they can send less guys after Ben. Spreading the field protects the OLine which in turn protects Ben.
I'd be cool with a mediocre record, sneaking into the playoffs, and having a healthy Ben for the playoff run. Heck maybe we can somehow stash away Harrison and Polamalu to keep them healthy too.
I completely agree. I think that Haley can't wait to get Mendy back and healthy. His offense seems tailor-made for Mendy's skillset. Fortunately in the short term Dwyer is a very similar back than Mendy. He is an excellent receiver and may actually be a more instictive runner who is better at setting up his blocks and exploding through the gaps that are created. IMO Dwyer just lacks experience.
Originally Posted by flippy
I think we see a helathy dose of both Dwyer and Redman today. The Jets gave up 195 yards on the ground to the Bills last week and that was with Fred jackson going out with an injury. CJ Spiller had a great 50+ yard run...maybe a repeat with Dwyer or Rainey.
All that said about the running game, I think Heath Miller could have a huge game today.
Flippy, you have had some real good posts lately...and this is one of em. You are right on...Haley made this O not only to get our best players on the field but to give Mendenhall lanes...where he truly excels.
Originally Posted by flippy
Dewey and Red could both have huge games today. When Mendy was @ Illinois, he was a solid hybrid RB and was a multi-faceted threat. Haley's scheme needs a player like Mendy to round out his O. In the meantime, it's no surprise that Dewey outworked and outperformed Red last week. Red can be very good. But he runs too much up and down and doesn't run as forcefully as he should. If he lowers his level a bit, I think everyone would see a huge difference in his impact on this team.
Originally Posted by Oviedo
I am having a hard time imagining the Steelers not putting up a lot of points on the Jets today. While Cromartie has amazing ability, a lot of that is due to having Revis on the opposite sideline from him. And both of them cover up for the lack of a rush from their line. With one of them out, that makes Cromartie's job that much tougher.