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lamberts-lost-tooth
10-20-2006, 10:17 AM
By John Harris

TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Friday, October 20, 2006


Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick missed Wednesday's practice to rest a sore right (non-throwing) shoulder, courtesy of a brutal late hit delivered by New York Giants linebacker Antonio Pierce that resulted in a personal foul.
Vick was sent sprawling out of bounds in front of the Falcons bench, setting off a chain reaction of hot tempers and a near melee.

Pierce told reporters he waylaid Vick as retribution for the controversial cut-blocking tactics of the Falcons offensive line.

Which brings us to the Steelers, who play the Falcons on Sunday afternoon at the Georgia Dome.


The Steelers fully understand Atlanta's questionable offensive line play gives new meaning to the, ahem, Dirty South.

"I don't agree with (the Falcons' cut blocking)," Steelers defensive end Aaron Smith said. "They don't let us hit at the quarterback and chop his knees, so why would they let them chop at our knees?"

Why ask why?

Cut blocking, though somewhat medieval, is perfectly legal according to the NFL rulebook.

"Just because it's legal don't make it right," Steelers outside linebacker Chad Brown said.

The cut block is a variation of the drive block. Atlanta's offensive linemen have been taught to cut block, or block low, to make defensive linemen and linebackers drop their hands to ward off blocks.

The beauty of the cut block is that it slows the pursuit of back-side tacklers. It also clears the running back's vision if the front side of the play is congested, and it helps create a running lane.

Atlanta leads the NFL in rushing after topping the league in that category a season ago. The Falcons currently average 232.0 rushing yards per game and could eclipse the

modern-era record of 220.6 rushing yards set by O.J. Simpson and the Buffalo Bills in 1973.

Falcons consultant Alex Gibbs, who was part of the Denver Broncos' back-to-back Super Bowl championship teams prior to joining the Falcons in 2004, is the architect of the cut block, considered the dirtiest legal play in football.

"I don't like it. It's part of football, but it doesn't have a place in the game," Steelers inside linebacker Larry Foote said. "It's a chicken way of blocking."

The danger of the cut block is the inherent potential for injury.

Last season, Carolina Panthers defensive ends Julius Peppers and Mike Rucker each suffered sprained ankles after being cut by Falcons' blockers.

Two years ago, Cincinnati Bengals defensive tackle Tony Williams suffered a broken ankle after being cut blocked by Broncos tackle George Foster.

"Coach Gibbs, who brought that blocking scheme from the Broncos to the Falcons, was in Denver when I was in the AFC West with Seattle. I played them twice a year," Brown said. "The first couple of times playing those guys can be a little unsettling. People flying around your legs. Our legs are how we make our living.

"Sometimes, if it's a choice between giving this guy one more yard or choosing personal safety, it's a tough choice to make. Once you understand the scheme, you can protect yourself better."

Atlanta's ground attack presents the biggest challenge this season for the Steelers seventh-ranked rushing defense.

The Steelers figure to bring at least eight players in the box and dare Vick, who's completing a mere 50.4 percent of his passes, to beat them with his arm.

"I think it's more mental than physical," Smith said. "They want to get you to play tentative. You can't let it change your gameplan."

Steelers nose tackle Casey Hampton said cut blocking doesn't bother him.

"If they cut you, you have to keep them off your legs. Don't let them cut you," Hampton said. "You've got to stay low and use your hands."

Well, there you have it. Like it or not, dirty or not, if the Falcons linemen continue their cut blocking ways Sunday, the Steelers defenders must cut them down to size.

Atlanta Dan
10-20-2006, 10:51 AM
If a Steeler is injured on a cut block look for some brutal payback on Sunday (all within the rules of course:smile: )

Jeremy
10-20-2006, 11:16 AM
This really shouldn't surprise anyone. Jim Mora Jr is there head coach and he's one of the shiftiest coaches in all of the NFL.

Atlanta Dan
10-20-2006, 11:22 AM
I am no fan of Mora but blame for the cut block scheme goes to Alex Gibbs. Further evidence that Mora is over his head and in addition to not controlling his QB cannot ven control his offensive line play.

BigDuke6
10-20-2006, 11:23 AM
I am an O-Line coach for High School and minor football. I refuse to teach the cut or chop block. I hate it. But if taught properly, it is effective. I can understand using it at the NFL level but I hate minor or high school coaches who teach it, and there are plenty of them. Just not me.

klick81
10-20-2006, 12:54 PM
Seems like a pu$$y way of playing IMHO.

19ward86
10-20-2006, 01:33 PM
they can try to injure us but we are made of steel, i dont see them breaking steel....

ATL
10-20-2006, 01:40 PM
Everyteams oline cut blocks some just do it more than others.

sumo
10-20-2006, 01:43 PM
Seems like a pu$$y way of playing IMHO.

It is - but all teams do it -- especially when they have a short quarterback -- If the Falcons didn't do this Vick would have a lot more of his passes knocked down...

Jeremy
10-20-2006, 05:30 PM
I am no fan of Mora but blame for the cut block scheme goes to Alex Gibbs. Further evidence that Mora is over his head and in addition to not controlling his QB cannot ven control his offensive line play.

The final responsibility lies with the head coach. These methods are taught with his knowledge and implied consent.

Stlrs4Life
10-20-2006, 06:31 PM
I believe we had the same situation last year before the AFC Championship game with Denver. We seemed to do alright then.

Elvis
10-20-2006, 06:37 PM
I just sit down before each and every game and say a prayer for all the NFL players and familiies every sunday morning or right before the game.. I pray that all plays to the best of their abilities and have no major injuries...I think that it is dirty but if the NFL says it is legal what are ya gonna do about it, other than retaliate?:tt02:

pittsburgh$teelersfan
10-20-2006, 07:51 PM
ugh excuse me but in your sig you only have 9 of the ten commendments is there a reason why

4n2t0
10-21-2006, 12:37 PM
ugh excuse me but in your sig you only have 9 of the ten commendments is there a reason why

I looks like covet your neighbour's wife and covet your neighbour's house have been combined (That's the Jewish/Protestant version). Also, no other gods before me and to not make any graven images/idols have been combined (That's the Catholic/Lutheran/New Church version). So uncombine and select your faith wedosesteelers2006 lol.

It won't help the Steelers beat the Falcons though, so it really doesn't matter I guess.

ATL
10-21-2006, 02:13 PM
I believe we had the same situation last year before the AFC Championship game with Denver. We seemed to do alright then.

I thought Denver ran pretty well on you guys last year but they just got away from it.

4n2t0
10-21-2006, 04:16 PM
I thought Denver ran pretty well on you guys last year but they just got away from it.

There's a reason why the got away from it, 24 to 3 at halftime. I think the overall point is that the Steelers are one of the hardest teams to run against. Vick doesn't win games with his arm, so good luck to the Atlanta Falcons this Sunday.

Jeremy
10-21-2006, 09:23 PM
Losing by three touchdowns has a way of getting a team out of their gameplan. Unless you're an SEC college team, in which case you are totally oblivious to everything going on around you and you keep doing whatever you want anyway.

Preacher
10-21-2006, 09:24 PM
The final responsibility lies with the head coach. These methods are taught with his knowledge and implied consent.

I disagree. I think the final responsibility lies with the league. As long as the league says it is legal, then it is legal to do. If it is wrong, then the league is responsible to make it illegal.

And yes... I think the league should make it illegal.

4n2t0
10-22-2006, 09:26 AM
I disagree. I think the final responsibility lies with the league. As long as the league says it is legal, then it is legal to do. If it is wrong, then the league is responsible to make it illegal.

And yes... I think the league should make it illegal.

Totally agree, except for the make it illegal part, I think it should stay as part of the game.