Therein lies my fundamental issue with the 3-4. Too much speculation and projection that you will be able to convert players in the front 7 versus bringing them in and letting them grow and improve in the positions they have naturally played and you watched and scouted them playing in college. The result is after 3 years you get the real picture as to whether your experiment has worked.
Originally Posted by papillon
MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 24, 2012
posted by Dale Lolley
This game reminded me of on in Chicago in 1995 when the Steelers got into a shootout with the Bears. The last team to have the ball was going to win it.
Only that Steelers team had a great defense to go along with an emerging offense.
This team has established stars all over on offense and Ben Roethlisberger is playing the best football of his life.
As for a great defense, not so much - at least on the road.
As Brett Keisel said after this one, this team needs to find a way to win on the road if it is going to get to where it wants to go.
That being said, Denver and Oakland are two tough places to open. There are easier road games coming, and the Steelers had to be pleased that they put up 31 points in a very hostile environment.
But the defense allowed scores on five consecutive possessions. Can't somebody, anybody, make a play?
While the Steelers have spent some big money on offensive players in recent years, they've also dropped some heavy coin on a couple of defensive players - LaMarr Woodley and Lawrence Timmons - as well.
They're not getting their money's worth right now.
Sure, Woodley had the team's lone sack Sunday and also had a tackle for a loss. But he finished with four tackles.
That was still better than Timmons, who had three tackles. In fact, after recording seven sacks and four forced fumbles in 2009, Timmons has five sacks and two forced fumbles - in the past two-plus seasons.
At this point, he's not even as impactful on a game as Larry Foote, who doesn't have nearly the athleticism of Timmons.
Often times, tackles are a matter of opportunity. But there's something to be said about players who make their own opportunities as well.
@ If you had any question about Mike Tomlin's faith in his defense to stop the Raiders in the second half, you only needed to see him go for a fourth-and-1 at his own 29.
At that point, it was the right call. As we saw, the Steelers couldn't stop Oakland's offense.
With that in mind, I'd have given serious thought to going for it on fourth-and-9 from the 36 as well.
@ Ben Roethlisberger played an outstanding game, leading the team to 31 points while continuing his hot play on third downs, where the Steelers converted 8 of 14 for the game.
But he once again had a chance to lead a fourth quarter, game-winning drive and failed.
In the past two seasons, Roethlisberger has led exactly one game-winner, and that came against lowly Indianapolis last season.
In his first seven seasons, Roethlisberger led 26 such drives, many of which came when he was, you know, just a game manager.
@ This is still a pretty good team with a chance to get much better coming out of the bye when it gets Rashard Mendenhall, Troy Polamalu and James Harrison back.
Mendenhall has looked good in practice and has to be able to give the team something better than the 2.6 yards per carry it's currently averaging.
Polamalu is still Polamalu, while even a one-legged Harrison would give this team some kind of pass rush outside of Woodley.
The Steelers are on pace to allow more touchdown passes (32) than they have sacks (27).
You want to know what's wrong with this defense? That's it in a nutshell. The lack of pressure is killing it.
@ That was a bad fumble for Jonathan Dwyer. With Mendenhall coming back and Barron Batch showing a little something as a third-down back Sunday, Dwyer could find his opportunities dwindling quickly.
@ On the positive side, with the return of Mendenhall, this offense has a chance to be one of the more dynamic ones in the NFL. If the defense can play average football the rest of the way and the offense continues to click, the Steelers still have the look of a 10 or 11-win team.
But unless they figure out how to win a big game on the road, any hopes of another Super Bowl run are just that, hopes.
As I've pointed out many times in the past, drafting defensive lineman even in the 4-3 is a very risky proposition. Look back at the DEs picked in the first round in the past few drafts. A lot of busts or guys who have failed to contribute much, if anything, during their first few years. DTs are also very risky picks.
Originally Posted by Oviedo
Originally Posted by papillon
I wouldn't think the odds of failure as equal. However, if you draft them into the 4-3 you can at least get them on the field in Year 1 to get a sense of where they are.
Originally Posted by phillyesq
yep.. and I think this goes for the whole defense... we have guys who are good at certain things and then we tinker with them and ask them to learn defense in French and Spanish before they can see the field.
Originally Posted by Oviedo
It's football... let them do what they do...
Maybe it's a Pittsburgh thing... I know the Pirates stink but it seems like every year or 2 they get a pitcher who is unhittable his first year... then they tinker with his motion, add this, take that out and the guy ends up being trash.
I feel like we did this with Timmons and a few DB's. They showed promise... then we asked them to bulk up, slim down, learn 4 positions and they are 2 steps slow for the next 2 years.
Originally Posted by feltdizz
And I don't think anybody told Timmons to bulk up as much as he did. Adding 5-10 pounds should not completely sap his speed. Plus, he doesn't seem to have added any functional strength despite getting larger and slower.
If you've paid attention to my posts, you'd know I've been tough on Woodley. But NONE of this can be blamed on him IMO. Last game, all OAK did was run away from his side of the field all game, and just pay attention to him. It's obvious just by watching the game, he jumps out as the ONLY guy with any playmaking ability. Foote is 2nd (sadly). Timmons is an average LB at best. Carter is a complete non-factor... very disappointing to me. As for DL, Keisel & Hampton are old (can't really be expected to do anything other than be solid, which I presume they still are). Hood? I've called him a flat BUM, and it looks like I'm right. I called him a Big Daddy Wilkinson type, blessed with "athletic" numbers, but can't do **** when the rubber meets the road. You could put a trash can or a tree stump or any inanimate large object there at DE, and you could reasonably replicate his production.
Originally Posted by hawaiiansteel
Steelers: Woodley, Timmons Must Step Up
Lawrence Timmons and LaMarr Woodley were given big money deals with the intent that they would become big time playmakers at the linebacker position. In the absence of James Harrison and Troy Polamalu the Steelers have needed someone to step up and the hope was it would be Woodley and Timmons, but it hasn’t happened. When the Steelers gave these two linebackers their big money deals they were hoping for consistent repeat performances of their 2009 and 2010 seasons, but 2011 was a down year for both players and neither has been very impressive so far in 2012.
Against the Raiders LaMarr Woodley was up against a right tackle that had only been on Oakland’s roster for a few weeks, but he was held in check for most of the game recording 4 tackles and a sack. Although Woodley recorded the one sack he struggled to get much pressure on Carson Palmer all day. With James Harrison’s injury issues the past two seasons we have seen Woodley play a lot as the premier pass rushing threat and he has struggled. Palmer was not pressured much at all on Sunday and it is Woodley’s job to push that pocket. Another reason for Woodley’s slow start could be the play calling. He is being asked to do a lot of things on defense and is not rushing the quarterback as much as in recent years. It will be interesting to see how the defense, and Woodley, plays when Harrison and Troy Polamalu return.
Timmons also sturggled in 2011 when you look at his stat sheet. However, I will still give him a pass for his play in 2011 as he was moving around to multiple positions which is hard on any player. Timmons in 2012, however, is expected to remain at inside linebacker for the entire season. The Steelers need him to step up in that position and make plays.
On Sunday the Raiders scored on five straight possessions against the Steelers defense. That is completely unacceptable and everyone on that defensive unit knows it. Woodley and Timmons need to step up now and be the guys who make plays on those series by creating a turnover or making a big play on third down to get the defense off the field; especially in the absence of two former Defensive Players of the Year in Harrison and Polamalu.
The biggest difference for Timmons and Woodley in comparison to their two best seasons in 2009 and 2010 is the turnovers, In 2009 and 2010 they created 14 turnover opportunities for the defense with interceptions and forced fumbles. Including 2008 they had averaged about 6.5 turnover opportunities a season, however, in 2011 they created only 3. So far in 2012, through the first three games, they have created none.
Polamalu and Harrison should be back soon and should help the defense get better, but there are some concerns for the future. I’m not the only person who expects Casey Hampton and James Harrison to leave after this season and Polamalu and Ryan Clark likely have around 2-3 years left a piece which leaves a big question: Are Timmons and Woodley ready to take over as the leaders and play-makers of the defense when they are gone? And if not who will?
Here are the first round DEs from the past few drafts:
Originally Posted by Oviedo
3 - Tyson Jackson
11 - Cameron Maybin
13 - Brian Orakpo
16 - Larry English
18 - Robert Ayers
32 - Ziggy Hood
Orakpo, the 3-4 conversion product, is the only clear success out of that group.
15 - Jason Pierre Paul
16 - Derrick Morgan
31 - Jerry Hughes
One hit, 1 bust in Hughes, and I have no idea what Morgan has done, if anything.
Here is 2011:
3 - Marcellus Dareus (DE/DT)
11 - JJ Watt
14 - Robert Quinn
16 - Ryan Kerrigan (converted to LB)
20 - Adrian Clayborn
24 - Cameron Jordan
30 - Muhammed Wilkerson
31 - Heyward
Watt is a stud, Wilkerson has started since he was a rookie, and then a whole lot of question marks.
Looking back on the past few drafts, I see no empirical data supporting your speculation that it is easier to find players for a 4-3. If you can respond with something other than conjecture, I'd love to see it.