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Thread: Team Trajectory

  1. #1
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    Team Trajectory

    In the NFL, it's about how you're playing at the end of the season that matters. So my question is are the Steelers on the right trajectory?

    Offense: Yes

    Ben's not taking sacks. We're protecting the line with play calling. JD is running violently and the Oline is getting more violent as a result. We're converting 3rd downs. There's a lot moving in the right direction. Red Zone scoring is what we need to work on for the second half. DD returning could be a big boost to this offense if he comes back at the end of the season.

    Defense: ?

    This unit is the big question mark. 2 young guys are on the upswing - Keenan and Cortez. Some of the younger guys are getting reps - Hood, McClendon, Heyward, Worilds. And they seem to be playing sound and safe and are now ranked #2 as a unit. Crappy teams come into the playoffs and create turnovers that lead to points. The question is can we create turnovers? That's the key in the playoffs. The key might be the young DLine. These guys need to step up down the stretch.

    Special Teams: ?

    Sushi's kicking the best he ever has. Our Punter's one of the worst - although, he's punted fewer times than any other starting punter in the league and half of his punts are inside the 20. Our coverage on KOs is bottom of the barrel. And our Punt coverage is middle of the pack, which is bad given our bottom of the barrel punting which should help our coverage with shorter kicks. Our return game is hamstrung with yellow flags. But we've got potential. Our KO returns are good. Our punt returns are middle of the pack.



    So the net of it, we've got some work to do. We've seen similarities with the 70s Dynasty where Bradshaw had to carry this team to its 3rd and 4th SuperBowls. When I look at this team, it's all on Ben.

    If Troy comes back and plays as well as he's capable that would be a big boost. Those 2 are our hopes for this season. Can 2 guys carry a team to a SuperBowl? Can 1?

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    How do you think our punter is one of the worse when you then say half his punts are within the 20? That is the objective of a punter. You realy have me confused. I think Butler has done a decent job for a first year player.

    I agree that the defense remains a major question mark. Upcoming games against the Giants, Cowboys and ravens will tell us if they are for real or pretenders.

    I think the offense has been great and I don't think they are even playing their best yet. If we make a deep play off run it will be because of the offense.
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  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by Oviedo View Post
    How do you think our punter is one of the worse when you then say half his punts are within the 20? That is the objective of a punter.
    Agree here, and this is where stats can mislead. It is easier to lead the league when you are punting from your thirty than from midfield. The Steelers have not had many three and outs so the punter is often downfield and looking to place the ball as opposed to standing on his own 10 and trying to hoof it as far as he can.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by flippy View Post
    In the NFL, it's about how you're playing at the end of the season that matters. So my question is are the Steelers on the right trajectory?

    Offense: Yes

    Definitely. They are running a new offense which takes time to master. They have been moving OLinemen in and out and they seem to be settling in as a unit. They had their deep ball threat out of camp all summer. As much as we like to bag on the guy, eventually Wallace will play better and become a bigger threat in this offense.

    Defense: ?

    This unit has gone from blowing leads to holding them - both at home and on the road. That is upswing. This unit has a lot of young players playing decent roles. Young players improve. One of our top players has been out almost all year. If he can return to health that can only make us better. Another of our top players has been injured and, while he might not come back to 100%, should improve from where he is today.

    Special Teams: ?

    No reason to think that any of what we have seen from these units is likely to change one way or the other.
    Also, add in the intangible of having 5 home games through our last 8 and this team should be in the running.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Oviedo View Post
    How do you think our punter is one of the worse when you then say half his punts are within the 20? That is the objective of a punter. You realy have me confused. I think Butler has done a decent job for a first year player.
    He has one of the lowest averages in the league. Yet we give up more yards on returns than average, so that tells me he's not really getting hang time either. The shorter the punts, the shorter the returns typically.

    And then he has one of the shortest longest punts of any of the starters. So he must have been in a spot where he could have gotten off a big kick. Do you remember any big kicks?

    He has gotten a good percentage inside the 20 and 10 which is a positive and I was looking for a silver lining and that's all I found. But he doesn't have a big leg and really change field position or put our defense in good field position with his leg strength. The accuracy is ok.

    We must value accuracy over leg because we must have the pair of weakest legged kickers in the game.

  6. #6
    Pro Bowler D Rock's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by flippy View Post
    He has one of the lowest averages in the league. Yet we give up more yards on returns than average, so that tells me he's not really getting hang time either. The shorter the punts, the shorter the returns typically.

    And then he has one of the shortest longest punts of any of the starters. So he must have been in a spot where he could have gotten off a big kick. Do you remember any big kicks?

    He has gotten a good percentage inside the 20 and 10 which is a positive and I was looking for a silver lining and that's all I found. But he doesn't have a big leg and really change field position or put our defense in good field position with his leg strength. The accuracy is ok.

    We must value accuracy over leg because we must have the pair of weakest legged kickers in the game.

    I don't ever remember thinking...crap! If only they had a good punter!....that is a thought that has occurred with regularity over the past 10 years. That alone makes me think he is performing his job pretty well.

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    Quote Originally Posted by D Rock View Post
    I don't ever remember thinking...crap! If only they had a good punter!....that is a thought that has occurred with regularity over the past 10 years. That alone makes me think he is performing his job pretty well.
    The offense is moving the ball so well, we barely punt.

    But as the weather gets worse it gets harder to move the ball and we'll have to punt more. And all punters look great in Sept/Oct. Then the ball doesn't travel as far in the bad weather. And the punts are gonna be shorter with less hang time.

    Just saying, it's something that could come up down the stretch. And we're not covering well.

  8. #8
    Pro Bowler skyhawk's Avatar
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    Exactly Flippy!

    The punter hasn't been asked to do much this year so far. He's been solid IMO when he has punted.

    And I can't remember a player improving so much during the offseason than Shawn Suisham. Well done.

  9. #9
    Legend RuthlessBurgher's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by flippy View Post
    And then he has one of the shortest longest punts of any of the starters. So he must have been in a spot where he could have gotten off a big kick. Do you remember any big kicks?
    In the game this weekend, I remember Butler punting from deep in our territory, and the Skins punt returner had to run backwards nearly 15 yards in order to catch it (considering that Skins punter had a punt not even reach the first down marker when punting in the same direction, that was a boomer). Of course, they returned that punt past midfield, so it wasn't effective overall.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by RuthlessBurgher View Post
    In the game this weekend, I remember Butler punting from deep in our territory, and the Skins punt returner had to run backwards nearly 15 yards in order to catch it (considering that Skins punter had a punt not even reach the first down marker when punting in the same direction, that was a boomer). Of course, they returned that punt past midfield, so it wasn't effective overall.
    We have so many more players who are bigger issues and concerns compared to Butler. Butler's punting is the absolute least of our problems.

    As you said I remember the same punt. He nailed it and the first wave of punt coverage couldn't tackle the guy.
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