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83-Steelers-43
11-29-2006, 06:52 AM
Steelers having protection problems
Wednesday, November 29, 2006

By Ed Bouchette, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Add another goal for the Steelers as they play out the string of five games: Do not let the quarterback get maimed.

How to keep Ben Roethlisberger healthy, happy and upright the rest of the season is a job that will fall on many people, including the quarterback.

NFL defenses sacked Roethlisberger 36 times in the 10 games he played. That's six more times than he was sacked last season and 13 times more than he was decked as a rookie.

Only one Steelers quarterback was sacked more in a season in the previous dozen years and that was Tommy Maddox, who was sacked 41 times in 2003 (Neil O'Donnell also was sacked 41 times in 1993). Only two Steelers quarterbacks have been sacked more often since the 1970 NFL merger -- Bubby Brister 45 times in 1989 and Cliff Stoudt 51 times in 1983.

At Roethlisberger's rate of 3.6 sacks per game played, he would hit the team's modern-day record in the next five games -- if he can last that long. He's listed as probable this week with an injury that came when halfback Willie Parker blew a blocking assignment and linebacker Bart Scott blew into Roethlisberger, bruising his chest. Roethlisberger left for one play but returned to finish the game.

"Ben wanted to be out there," Steelers coach Bill Cowher said. "It's one of those situations where you don't want to not be out there with the rest of your teammates who are out there fighting and battling. There's a lot to be said about that. ... I wasn't going to put him out there if there were risks medically. He fought through it like everybody else fought through it."

Scott's was the most brutal of Baltimore's nine sacks of Roethlisberger. That tied a Steelers record since the sack became an official stat in 1982 (12 is the team's unofficial record).

"The big hit he took, we actually repped that in practice," Cowher said. "Willie stepped up instead of stepping out. He should have taken the guy coming off the corner. Willie should have had it protected."

Roethlisberger took the blame for many of Sunday's sacks and Cowher tended to agree with him. He said he missed some "hot" routes, where a receiver will recognize a blitz and break off his route so the quarterback can get off a quick pass and avoid the sack.

"We didn't take advantage of that," Cowher said. "It's a risk-reward kind of thing. They took the risk but they got all of the reward. We really didn't hit the opportunities we had to make some big plays when we did that.

"There are other times where he should have thrown the ball away before he took the hit. There was a combination of all of those things."

The best way to protect the quarterback, though, is with a good running game and the Steelers have not had that consistently this season. Parker ranks third in the AFC with 915 yards and has a 4.4-yard average but the Steelers are only 17th in the NFL with 107.6 yards per game. They have run just 39.7 percent of the time, down from 57.2 percent last season.

"There's no question we've got to do that more effectively," Cowher said. "We've been playing a lot of catch-up and getting behind early. You want to stay with the running game and we probably abandoned it a little too soon the other day. I think the biggest thing is trying to put ourselves in the situation where we're not playing from behind the entire day."

A look at what transpired on offense in the first quarter in Baltimore shows the problems the Steelers had: Two passes on the first series around a 2-yard loss by Parker; a 12-yard run by Parker to start their second series, followed by two Parker runs for no gain and an incomplete pass; two runs by Parker for a total of 5 yards on the third series along with four passes and a sack for minus-11 yards.

The lack of production on first downs often left the Steelers with third-and-long and the Ravens blitzing.

"When you look at the third downs in the first half, we were 0 of 5," Cowher said. "But we didn't have one third down that was less than 10 yards. We had sacks. We had no-yard gains on first and second downs. Then we had three consecutive sacks on second down that led to third-and-longs.

"There's no question that you need just to get positive yards, just to get it back to manageable situations. Otherwise you're getting third downs and you're seeing us complete a 14-yard pass on third-and-19 because you just can't hold the ball against that type of team in that situation long enough to be able to get that many yards.

"There's no question, first and second down has a lot to do with that."

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/06333/741982-66.stm

19ward86
11-29-2006, 07:46 AM
marvil smith is having a bad season, jeff hartings is injured,kendall simmons sucks,max starx is young and unexperienced(at least he plays like it) no wonder we have protection problems.

lamberts-lost-tooth
11-29-2006, 08:29 AM
They have run just 39.7 percent of the time, down from 57.2 percent last season.


That stat is so revealing....If Ben is passing 20% more this year.. than it stands to show that he would get sacked more... NOT to the extent that we are seeing but it is definatley a factor!!!

I thought Chris Kemoeatu looked stronger than Simmons when he was given the chance to start, but other than that..I am concerned about our line depth. Are Chukky Okobi, Trasi Essex and Willie Colon legitimate future considerations?

A second consideration is our recievers...Hines and Miller produce...Holmes has shown that he may be special next year...but Wilson and Washington are the definition of inconsistant...What I wouldnt give for someone taller that Bilbo Baggins that could stretch the field.

skidboot
11-29-2006, 08:47 AM
I like Okobi and think he should take over the C position NOW.
I'm in for seeing what Kemoeatu can do on a regular basis. Starks should be looking over his shoulder.

Verron Haynes.....anyone think he's not missed on 3rd down? The guy knew how to read the blitz.

How bout getting a blocking TE. Miller is not bad, but how about getting a pure blocking TE. Actually I wouldn't mind seeing Daniel Graham in Pittsburgh.

tony hipchest
11-29-2006, 08:57 AM
What I wouldnt give for someone taller that Bilbo Baggins that could stretch the field. is there really a tall speedy wr out there that you would want? plex, t.o., moss, and keyshawn are all primadonnas. matt jones and reggie williams cant live up to their potential. all of atlantas tall wr's suck, especially lelie. roy williams is perfect but the lions had to spend 3 #1 high draft picks just to land 1 decent wr. steelerfans didnt like the way j. walker opened his mouth and wanted a trade. any rookie will take several years to develop (although i wouldnt mind having zamardjia or taking a late round flier on a m. coulston type project). l. fitzgerald & a. boldin would break the bank. have i missed anyone? when is a. johnson a free agent?

cant we just put that neon green beenie back on bens helmet?

lamberts-lost-tooth
11-29-2006, 09:09 AM
is there really a tall speedy wr out there that you would want? plex, t.o., moss, and keyshawn are all primadonnas. matt jones and reggie williams cant live up to their potential. all of atlantas tall wr's suck, especially lelie. roy williams is perfect but the lions had to spend 3 #1 high draft picks just to land 1 decent wr. steelerfans didnt like the way j. walker opened his mouth and wanted a trade. any rookie will take several years to develop (although i wouldnt mind having zamardjia or taking a late round flier on a m. coulston type project). l. fitzgerald & a. boldin would break the bank. have i missed anyone? when is a. johnson a free agent?

cant we just put that neon green beenie back on bens helmet?

There were a couple of undrafted Wr's last year that I wish we would have given a look at ... Hank Baskett out of New Mexico is 6'3... even though he ran a 4.5 40...plays faster than his time and has looked good at Philly. But woulda coulda shoulda....How would you have liked to have landed Stallworth?!!

skidboot
11-29-2006, 09:14 AM
I thought E.Moulds would of been a GREAT fit opposite Ward but money (of course) would never make that happen.

BigDuke6
11-29-2006, 10:12 AM
There's no question that you need just to get positive yards, just to get it back to manageable situations. Otherwise you're getting third downs and you're seeing us complete a 14-yard pass on third-and-19 because you just can't hold the ball against that type of team in that situation long enough to be able to get that many yards.

"There's no question, first and second down has a lot to do with that."

So essentially we were having problems gaining positive yards on 1st, 2ns, and 3rd down. OUCH !!!

tony hipchest
11-29-2006, 10:32 AM
There were a couple of undrafted Wr's last year that I wish we would have given a look at ... Hank Baskett out of New Mexico is 6'3... even though he ran a 4.5 40...plays faster than his time and has looked good at Philly. But woulda coulda shoulda....How would you have liked to have landed Stallworth?!!baskett is the greatest (and only) wr to come out of UNM since terrence mathis, and i wouldve loved to continue the tradition of having a lobo on the squad. stallworth was probably the offseason trade of the year when you compare his price and production to that of d. branch but neither are really tall. stallworth is built like a shorter version of t.o. though and i think he wouldve been a good pick up here (i think hes looking to break the bank though with his upcoming contract).

i was all for e. moulds in the offseason. i thought he and hines wouldve made one hell of a tandem but his asking price was a bit too much. i wouldve taken meshawn in a heartbeat but hes not too speedy.

lamberts-lost-tooth
11-29-2006, 12:39 PM
baskett is the greatest (and only) wr to come out of UNM since terrence mathis, and i wouldve loved to continue the tradition of having a lobo on the squad. stallworth was probably the offseason trade of the year when you compare his price and production to that of d. branch but neither are really tall. stallworth is built like a shorter version of t.o. though and i think he wouldve been a good pick up here (i think hes looking to break the bank though with his upcoming contract).

i was all for e. moulds in the offseason. i thought he and hines wouldve made one hell of a tandem but his asking price was a bit too much. i wouldve taken meshawn in a heartbeat but hes not too speedy.

Is it too late to take back Cedric Wilson and tell the 49rs..."Our bad...here ya go"?

Preacher
11-29-2006, 12:57 PM
With Stallworth's speed, I would have loved to have him. I keep saying I want a lot of speed to run deep and stretch out the defense so that running lanes will open. Heck, line willie up at wideout once in a while... Run four guys REAL deep, then dump it off to the TE.

sumo
11-29-2006, 03:17 PM
Has anybody else noticed that Ben is moving less this year? - I'm used to him using his feet and even throwing accurately while he has guys hanging on him - he seems a little more statuesque this year -

tony hipchest
11-29-2006, 03:56 PM
Has anybody else noticed that Ben is moving less this year? - I'm used to him using his feet and even throwing accurately while he has guys hanging on him - he seems a little more statuesque this year -i dont know if hes chosing not to scramble or being instructed not to do so.

but you notice how we havent tried more than 1 trick play ALL SEASON? (maybe i missed 1)

HometownGal
11-29-2006, 04:15 PM
I sure wouldn't mind snaring Andre Johnson from the Texans but they'd never give him up - he's about their only above-average consistent wideout.

I love Cowher dearly, but c'mon Bill - tell us something we didn't already know - the running game has been abandoned far too early in most of our matchups this season. :dang: Controlling the LOS is where it's at. Ben is not a 60% of the time passer - he's at his best when there is the balance of the running attack coupled with the passing game.

Stlrs4Life
11-29-2006, 07:49 PM
Boy is that the understatement of the year!

fansince'76
11-30-2006, 10:38 PM
That stat is so revealing....If Ben is passing 20% more this year.. than it stands to show that he would get sacked more... NOT to the extent that we are seeing but it is definatley a factor!!!

I think going down 2-3 scores right off the bat with muffed kickoffs/punts has had something to do with our abandonment of the running game so early in so many games.

Preacher
11-30-2006, 10:47 PM
There's yer problem. Fast Willie is a fantastic athelete, but he's not a power runner.
The Steelers offense has always been geared to the philosophy of ball control, and we lose that with a big-play runner.
Willie's runs look like this: +1, -3, -2, +2, -4, +27, -3.... It makes for a good average, but you can't sustain drives this way.
There's no consistency. It's not Willie's fault personally, it's just that he can't sustain the run without more help from the O-line.
You re-establish a power running game and suddenly the blitz becomes a liability instead of a game killer. You take the pressure off the secondary and Ben, and suddenly you have a passing game again. Once you have both phases clicking you have a force multiplier: the element of surprise. Then your offense is unstoppable.

This season is a write-off, but next season the staff has to make a decision about Willie: Either give him more help or cut him loose.

No disrespect intended to Fast Willie. I'm in awe of his talent and drive.

The problem is, you establish the power-run, and lose the ability to come from behind, thus, start losing playoffs again. It is very difficult to name a power running team that won the superbowl in the last number of years. Sure, the Ravens did, but they actually won it on Defense.

The fact is, DL and LBs have gotten big, strong, and fast enough that big backs just have to be ENORMOUS, WITH SPEED. That combination doesn't come around that often. And with the pounding that they take, they can't stay healthy anymore.

Sure, someone will point out one back here, or a team there, but they are the exceptions that prove the rule.

The Steelers need to STAY at a balanced offense. It is actually what we had last year. Go look up the first half stats of the games. The reason that last years stats look unbalanced to the run is that we shut down the pass in the second half.

augustashark
11-30-2006, 11:46 PM
Protection problems?

Hell ya!

Our O-Line has more protection problems than Shawn Kemp!

tony hipchest
12-01-2006, 10:00 AM
Protection problems?

Hell ya!

Our O-Line has more protection problems than Shawn Kemp!

:chuckle: word!