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83-Steelers-43
10-10-2007, 06:15 AM
Steelers' Hoke happy in backup role
By John Harris
TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Chris Hoke was the Steelers' starting nose tackle Sunday, but it was easy to mistake him for Casey Hampton based on performance.

Hampton outweighs Hoke by at least 20 pounds, according to the team's media guide. Hoke is lighter on his feet and uses his quickness the way Hampton utilizes his strength to his advantage.

Making his second start in 12 months as a replacement for the injured Hampton, Hoke's play was important to a defense that gift-wrapped the Steelers' 21-0 win against Seattle at Heinz Field.

"The sign of a great defense is when guys go down, guys step up," defensive end Brett Keisel said. "Hoke stepped up big-time."

Hoke had one assist against Seattle, but Steelers' nose tackles aren't paid to make tackles as much as they are expected to take on double-team blockers and free up linebackers to make tackles.

The Steelers limited Seattle running back Shaun Alexander to 25 yards on 11 carries and held the Seahawks to 144 total yards.

Inside linebacker James Farrior had a monster game, with five tackles and 2 1/2 sacks.

"He's not as big as (Hampton), but I tell Hokie all the time he's my guy," said Farrior, tied for the AFC lead with four sacks. "I had my best year when Hokie was in there playing when (Hampton) got hurt (in 2004). I love Hokie."

Hoke -- who started 10 games three years ago when Hampton was lost for the season with a knee injury -- appreciates the compliment but understands his role.

Hampton didn't play against Seattle because of a hamstring injury. He hopes to return to the starting lineup for the Steelers' next game Oct. 21 against Denver. If Hampton still can't go, Hoke will make his second start of 2007.

"I love starting. I love going in there and filling in for Casey," Hoke said. "Backing up Casey, I learn a lot. Casey's a very good player, so I like to see how he plays football. Granted, he's a lot bigger and a lot stronger than me, but I try to look at the things he does well and emulate them.

"Coach (Mike) Tomlin always says everybody on the team is a playmaker and when you get out there, you've got to show it. I feel like I can get the job done, but I also feel like when Casey goes down the rest of the starters pick it up. I've been fortunate to get in there and have some success, but you've really got to attribute it to those guys."

Against Seattle, Hoke did his part. He took on double teams and plugged the middle, making it diffcult for Alexander to locate running lanes. The Seahawks also struggled in the passing game.

"When Casey's taking on a double team, he can take a deep breath and kind of hold his own," Hoke said. "When I'm taking on a double team, I've really got to get underneath to get leverage. I'm a little lighter than Casey, so I've really got to use my quickness a little more, use my technique a little more."

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/s_531816.html

Tankus_Maximus
10-10-2007, 08:25 AM
Great post!

Hoke would be a starter on any other D! Possibly even a pro-bowler!

SteelFist
10-10-2007, 09:11 AM
Imagine Hoke and Hampton on the field in a 4-3. That would be interesting.

It's great to have a backup who can start on most other teams in this league.

tony hipchest
10-10-2007, 09:36 AM
Imagine Hoke and Hampton on the field in a 4-3. That would be interesting.

It's great to have a backup who can start on most other teams in this league.thats their strong (big?) dime package that they used a bit against cleveland and frisco i believe (quite effectively too)

smith, hampton, hoke, and keisel on the line. farrior as the lone backer and the option of 4 cb's and 2 safeties, or 3 cb's and 3 safeties.

personally i like the 3-3 cause it gets anthony smith and b. mcfadden on the field at the same time with the regular 4 starters. its a pretty formidable group to try and throw 4 or 5 wide at. if hoke and hampton can occupy 2 people apiece, that leaves deisel or farrior free to blitz or drop in zone coverage. plus it leaves deisel and polamalu free to line up just about anywhere.

its difficult to fathom such a strong defensive alaignment when you pull haggans, foote, and harrison off the field.

SteelFist
10-10-2007, 09:41 AM
thats their strong (big?) dime package that they used a bit against cleveland and frisco i believe (quite effectively too)

smith, hampton, hoke, and keisel on the line. farrior as the lone backer and the option of 4 cb's and 2 safeties, or 3 cb's and 3 safeties.

personally i like the 3-3 cause it gets anthony smith and b. mcfadden on the field at the same time with the regular 4 starters. its a pretty formidable group to try and throw 4 or 5 wide at. if hoke and hampton can occupy 2 people apiece, that leaves deisel or farrior free to blitz or drop in zone coverage. plus it leaves deisel and polamalu free to line up just about anywhere.

its difficult to fathom such a strong defensive alaignment when you pull haggans, foote, and harrison off the field.

Anthony Smith is a beast isn't he.....:tt02:

tony hipchest
10-10-2007, 10:13 AM
Anthony Smith is a beast isn't he.....:tt02:definitely. its nice to see players like him, hoke, and mcfadden getting reps early and be ready and energized to step in and step up when called upon. it seems all the steelers defenders are great about accepting their role. you dont even here the linebackers who are used to being 3 down players complaining. then again, how does 1 argue with lebeaus and tomlins expertice?

The Duke
10-10-2007, 03:38 PM
thats their strong (big?) dime package that they used a bit against cleveland and frisco i believe (quite effectively too)

smith, hampton, hoke, and keisel on the line. farrior as the lone backer and the option of 4 cb's and 2 safeties, or 3 cb's and 3 safeties.

personally i like the 3-3 cause it gets anthony smith and b. mcfadden on the field at the same time with the regular 4 starters. its a pretty formidable group to try and throw 4 or 5 wide at. if hoke and hampton can occupy 2 people apiece, that leaves deisel or farrior free to blitz or drop in zone coverage. plus it leaves deisel and polamalu free to line up just about anywhere.
.

that defensive scheme would be monster. dick lebeau's successor....tony hipchest!! lol

anyway....
with that scheme we see a great combination of the young guys and veterans on the team, and with troy and brett on the field anything can happen

I'm intrigued by this quote

"I had my best year when Hokie was in there playing when (Hampton) got hurt (in 2004). I love Hokie."

I also remeber last year against oakland that hoke started Farrior had a great game(bout 2 sacks I believe). granted, it was oakland, but still is nice to know we got such a great backup, and also a great backup in anthony, that dude's just amazing. maybe farrior and hoke have great chemistry together too and that's why james had good games