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Thread: Our Defensive Line Could See a Tweak

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  1. #1
    Pro Bowler supersteeler's Avatar
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    Our Defensive Line Could See a Tweak

    http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/...d-line-672199/


    As this article suggested, the Steelers might be better off by moving Hood to NT and have Mclendon play end. I always believed Mclendon would be better at end, by making that move maybe we'll see more pressure on the QB.
    Hood is strong enough to play the Nose, they were thinking of him playing it last season before Hampton took a pay cut.
    As we enter the 2013 season it might not be a bad idea to at least attempt to try this option, let Hood compete for that position and see if its viable.

    Heyward has to step up as he will be the replacement for Keisel, he didn't play well enough to beat out Keisel but then again he's not on the field as much.

    If the Steelers are actually considering making the switch, they may be thinking Ta'amu might have too many legal matters to contend with and release him. Fangupo would be the backup to either Hood or Mclendon@ NT, so we'll see, any improvenment to get pressure on the QB will be welcomed.

  2. #2
    I like the idea. Hood seems to be a good fit for NT. He is big and strong enough to hold his ground there and that seems to be the basic job description. He has some ability to make plays on the QB or behind the line, but at end, he isn't going to be a high producer with sacks and pressures. They could then draft to Outside Linebacker or DE. People on the board keep saying how Heyward is so much better than Hood. As of yet I am not convinced of that. But next year may be the time to really see what Heyward is all about.

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    The article also identifies why the problems exist and it isn't on the players. The most telling is

    "Not if the Steelers are going to strip away the very physical tools that attracted them to Hood and Heyward in the first place and mold them into players whose primary job is to hold up at the point of attack"

    This is the problem of a Def Coord who isn't using the player's strengths because he is fixated on a system that worked for him years ago. Let these guys play so they maximize their abilities and we will get to the QB much more often.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Oviedo View Post
    The article also identifies why the problems exist and it isn't on the players. The most telling is

    "Not if the Steelers are going to strip away the very physical tools that attracted them to Hood and Heyward in the first place and mold them into players whose primary job is to hold up at the point of attack"

    This is the problem of a Def Coord who isn't using the player's strengths because he is fixated on a system that worked for him years ago. Let these guys play so they maximize their abilities and we will get to the QB much more often.
    That's preposterous. Hood/Heyward's "strength" is to control gaps (i.e. 3-4 scheme). That's not to say that they wouldn't prefer a gap-shooting scheme that would free them up. That's not the point though. In such a scheme (I'm presuming), DL playing more freely means LBs who run around less freely (due to taking on more blockers). It's a trade-off.

    Now... getting back to Hood/Heyward. Yes, they would make more plays that way. But they aren't suddenly going to turn into Warren Sapp/Chris Doleman because of such a switch. Hood/Heyward are limited players, which suits them to 3-4 schemes. It's not like DL's system is making "great" players subjegate themselves.

    The fact that neither has done much to distinguish themselves is more a commentary on their talent than it is the scheme. They're both ham & eggers.
    Last edited by Shoe; 01-27-2013 at 04:20 PM.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Shoe View Post
    That's preposterous. Hood/Heyward's "strength" is to control gaps (i.e. 3-4 scheme). That's not to say that they wouldn't prefer a gap-shooting scheme that would free them up. That's not the point though. In such a scheme (I'm presuming), DL playing more freely means LBs who run around less freely (due to taking on more blockers). It's a trade-off.

    Now... getting back to Hood/Heyward. Yes, they would make more plays that way. But they aren't suddenly going to turn into Warren Sapp/Chris Doleman because of such a switch. Hood/Heyward are limited players, which suits them to 3-4 schemes. It's not like DL's system is making "great" players subjegate themselves.

    The fact that neither has done much to distinguish themselves is more a commentary on their talent than it is the scheme. They're both ham & eggers.
    Very well said. I do think that Heyward has a bit more upside than Ziggy Hood, but ultimately, there is a reason that these guys were available where they were in the draft.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Oviedo View Post
    The article also identifies why the problems exist and it isn't on the players. The most telling is "Not if the Steelers are going to strip away the very physical tools that attracted them to Hood and Heyward in the first place and mold them into players whose primary job is to hold up at the point of attack" This is the problem of a Def Coord who isn't using the player's strengths because he is fixated on a system that worked for him years ago. Let these guys play so they maximize their abilities and we will get to the QB much more often.
    $$$$ One of my biggest beefs as well...too many times, we see this team try to force players to fit the system, rather than altering the system to fit the players we have....
    Last edited by BradshawsHairdresser; 01-27-2013 at 09:24 PM.

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    We might be overthinking the DL situation, to be honest.

    We've all identified many problems with the guys- Keisel's too old, Casey's finished, McLendon can't stop the run, Hood is a bust that can't hold the line, Heyward can't get on the field & makes no plays, Ta'amu is a nutcase & will go to jail...

    Yet this group never really struggled against the run. No team ran so successfully on the Steelers that you could say they were dominated.

    What they didn't do was get after the QB as well as in the past, and this made the job of the LB's harder.

    But- instead of blaming a lack of talent on the DL for a second, what if the reason the Steelers got so few sacks was because:
    1. The OLB's could never stay healthy, and therefore never played up to their ability.
    2. Steve McLendon, who is universally thought of as a pass rushing NT on this board, wasn't on the field enough.
    3. Cam Heyward, who is the prototype 3-4 DE & has a college career supporting the idea he is a good pass rusher, couldn't get on the field.
    4. The CB's still gave up too many short yardage completions, not allowing the DL & LB's to get to the QB.

    What if those 4 reasons combined were partly to blame for the pass rushing woes? And what if Woodley stays fit in 2013, McLendon starts at NT, Heyward gets more playing time, the CB's shorten up the field on WR's..

    If those things happen, could it be that the Steelers are not in as bad a position as we make them out to be?

    In Chadman's opinion, the Steelers could use another DL- probably a NT type. But as far as run-plugging NT's go, it could be a case of Ta'amu & Fangupo holding that role, while McLendon is used as a pocket collapser across the line, Hood & Heyward play as DE's with Keisel..

    To Chadman, what is needed on the DL, is one guy that can be rotated in that has impact- be it against the run or the pass- a guy that demands double teams. Does he need to start? It'd be nice, but no, not really. In fact, there could be an argument made that the whole DL should be rotating to get the best mix of players for any 1 situation. Why not have a DL of Keisel, Hood & Heyward on passing situations, with Fangupo, McLendon & Ta'amu on obvious running downs? Or mixing & matching to suit?

    The one guy in the draft Chadman likes is Purdue's Kawaan Short- he's big enough to be of use against the run, but he spends a lot of time in the backfield too. He's an on-field presence that needs to be accounted for.
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  8. #8
    Pro Bowler supersteeler's Avatar
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    The following numbers indicate who is getting the most pressure on the opposing QB's. As you can see Keisel is the best of the group and beside pressures he had 4.5 sacks in 2012 which is pretty good considering our scheme.

    Posted: 1/26/2013 7:45 AM

    Steelers 2012 QB Pressures

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Compiled by coaches off game tape:

    brett keisel 40 lawrence timmons 19

    ziggy hood 17

    james harrison 15

    lamarr woodley 15

    larry foote 11

    casey hampton 9

    jason worilds 8

    steve mclendon 6

    cam heyward 4

    chris carter 2

    troy polamalu 1

    al woods 1


    Even at his age Keisel is playing at a high level, I hope we keep him until someone can prove they are better.
    For a D-lineman to get those kind of numbers that keisel has especially in our defense is damn good. I'm wondering how these numbers would look with Mclendon playing the opposite of Keisel.

    We can debate whether Hood can play NT or Mclendon is better suited to play DE, but until they try it we won't really know. My position is they should try it, anything they can do to make our D-line better will benefit the defense.


    Btw, Keisel was a 7th. rd. draft pick, we should be seeing more from Hood as he was a #1 pick. The jury is out on Heyward because Keisel plays so well Heyward can't see the field.
    Last edited by supersteeler; 01-28-2013 at 06:08 AM. Reason: K

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by supersteeler View Post
    The following numbers indicate who is getting the most pressure on the opposing QB's. As you can see Keisel is the best of the group and beside pressures he had 4.5 sacks in 2012 which is pretty good considering our scheme.

    Posted: 1/26/2013 7:45 AM

    Steelers 2012 QB Pressures

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Compiled by coaches off game tape:

    brett keisel 40 lawrence timmons 19

    ziggy hood 17

    james harrison 15

    lamarr woodley 15

    larry foote 11

    casey hampton 9

    jason worilds 8

    steve mclendon 6

    cam heyward 4

    chris carter 2

    troy polamalu 1

    al woods 1


    Even at his age Keisel is playing at a high level, I hope we keep him until someone can prove they are better.
    For a D-lineman to get those kind of numbers that keisel has especially in our defense is damn good. I'm wondering how these numbers would look with Mclendon playing the opposite of Keisel.

    We can debate whether Hood can play NT or Mclendon is better suited to play DE, but until they try it we won't really know. My position is they should try it, anything they can do to make our D-line better will benefit the defense.


    Btw, Keisel was a 7th. rd. draft pick, we should be seeing more from Hood as he was a #1 pick. The jury is out on Heyward because Keisel plays so well Heyward can't see the field.
    Don't forget, Keisel is sammiched between Casey and Harrison. Casey's still the only guy that must be doubled and Harrison is the only guy besides Timmons that you must block when he's coming after your QB. It frees up Keisel a lot.

    Not to take away anything from Keisel. I predicted he'd be the first 3-4 DE to get 10+ sacks a year when he became a starter. That never materialized, but he's gotten more QB pressure than anyone regularly and by a large margin.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Chadman View Post
    We might be overthinking the DL situation, to be honest...this group never really struggled against the run. No team ran so successfully on the Steelers that you could say they were dominated.
    This. While there were times that teams started out a game running successfully on Ziggy's side of the line, they never finished the game that way...

    Ziggy didn't come out of the game. The Steelers didn't overload that side with run support. So, what happened?

    Ziggy will be fine. I think that putting him in the proverbial "phone booth" could be an even better use of his functional strength...limit the amount of space in which he is required to work...as previously mentioned, that was working well for Willie Colon when Willie was healthy...both Dwyer and Redman produced 100+ yard rushing efforts running between the tackles and behind Colon...

    Colon had never played guard...before this year, he was always a tackle...

    Ziggy, OTOH, played inside during his entire college career...

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