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Aussie_steeler
06-02-2008, 03:39 AM
http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/08154/886694-66.stm

Monday, June 02, 2008
By Ed Bouchette, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

It's bigger and, according to the plan, will pack more punch. The Steelers' defensive playbook always has been one of the more intricate and confusing in the NFL under coordinator Dick LeBeau, and it might be more so in 2008.

Some of the newer designs are meant for one reason: Get to the quarterback. The Steelers have been among the best at that, traditionally. But the past two seasons, it's not the quarterback who has dropped but Steelers' sack totals. They dipped from 47 during their run to the Super Bowl in 2005, to 39 in 2006 and to 36 last season.

They've gone from Blitzburgh to Zipsburgh when it comes to sacking the quarterback, especially in the second half of last season. Halfway through, the Steelers had 25 sacks and a 6-2 record. In the second half, they managed only 11 sacks and a 4-4 record.
"I do feel like maybe toward the end of the year we weren't getting to the quarterback as much as we should have," said defensive end Brett Keisel.

Little surprise then that LeBeau and head coach Mike Tomlin are trying to devise ways to put more pressure on the quarterback in 2008.

"We have to put guys in position to highlight their skills and let them go," Tomlin said.

Toward that end, there will be lineup changes and schematic ones, too.

LaMarr Woodley replaces Clark Haggans at left outside linebacker, and he has shown he knows his way to the quarterback. He had four sacks while playing in just 80 of the team's 933 defensive snaps as a rookie last regular season, then added two more in the playoff loss to Jacksonville. Haggans had four sacks as a starter. Those six sacks ranked third on the team behind James Harrison's 10 and James Farrior's 6.5.

His teammates predict big things for Woodley as a regular in 2008.

"He's very strong," Keisel said. "I think once he gets more comfortable in our scheme and what he's doing, he's just going to be that much better. I definitely expect double digits from him."

More pressure from Woodley on the left side should provide more opportunities for team MVP Harrison on the right.

"Hopefully, he'll take some of the pressure I had toward the later part of the year, where they started keeping running backs in to block me on the edge, give me a bump," Harrison said. "They're going to have to give him the same respect that they give me.

"I figure through the first half of the year, he'll come out and surprise a few people on opposing teams, and, after they realize it, they'll have to deal with both of us."

Harrison's role will increase, too. The plan is to move him around more in the defense, along with Keisel, to try to further confuse offenses. He'll do more of what Joey Porter did before him.

"It should be confusing," Harrison said. "You're going to get looks where we're inverted or we're both inside. We're both going to rush, both going to drop. One might rush and one might drop, depending on what the call is."

The drop they hope to avoid is another one in their sack total.

"I think our defense is definitely capable of a large playbook where we have all kinds of things that we can throw at an offense," Keisel said. "We don't have to come at one team with one game plan. We can say, well, this team, you can get after them on the right side and then have a whole thing of crazy blitzes, you know. We have a veteran defense and, hopefully, we will do that."

It might get a boost from a rookie, though.

One reason cited for the dropoff in sacks the second half of the season was weariness. Other than Woodley's few plays, Haggans and Harrison played every down. The coaches said they would like to use third-round pick Bruce Davis as a situational pass-rusher to spell Woodley and Harrison. Davis had 24 1/2 sacks the past two seasons at UCLA.

"It has to be a collective thing," Tomlin said, explaining the workings of a good pass rush. "If you have one guy who has standout skills, offenses can make adjustments and do what they need to do in terms of getting it blocked. If you have a collective group that's capable of getting after the quarterback, making the ball come out on time and eliminating escape lanes, then you have a good rush and you can apply consistent pressure."

Galax Steeler
06-02-2008, 04:01 AM
Great read it is nice knowing they are working on more quarterback sacks this year its hard to belive that they didn't mention timmons in that article I am sure he will have his chances in there as well.

Steeldude
06-02-2008, 04:53 AM
the sack totals have gone down because the steelers were content with mediocrity in the LB corps. they still need to replace foote and an aging farrior.

the LBers need help from the D-line. they are supposed to absorb the O-line. keisel is a huge liability in that area. hampton needs to lost weight. sure the offenseive linemen can't move him, but hampton can't move himself either :smile: hopefully aa. smith recovers. i think they should use hoke more often this season.

every season the steelers say they have new defensive looks, but it's always the same. i will onyl believe the steelers' pass rush is better when i see it with my own eyes.

Steel Pit
06-02-2008, 05:07 AM
the sack totals have gone down because the steelers were content with mediocrity in the LB corps. they still need to replace foote and an aging farrior.

the LBers need help from the D-line. they are supposed to absorb the O-line. keisel is a huge liability in that area. hampton needs to lost weight. sure the offenseive linemen can't move him, but hampton can't move himself either :smile: hopefully aa. smith recovers. i think they should use hoke more often this season.

every season the steelers say they have new defensive looks, but it's always the same. i will onyl believe the steelers' pass rush is better when i see it with my own eyes.

That's what I was going to say Dude, the Steelers claimed that they were going to have a new scheme "exotic defense" last season. They boasted that they were going to use Keisel similar to the way the Ravens used Adalias Thomas in 2006. How did that work out for the Steelers last season? Ummm, not real good.

steelwall
06-02-2008, 06:18 AM
That's what I was going to say Dude, the Steelers claimed that they were going to have a new scheme "exotic defense" last season. They boasted that they were going to use Keisel similar to the way the Ravens used Adalias Thomas in 2006. How did that work out for the Steelers last season? Ummm, not real good.

Woodley

DACEB
06-02-2008, 06:25 AM
I was excited last season hearing pretty much the same thing, involving Keisel. I don't think that worked out all that great. Keisel is limited in coverage, and dropping his weight to try and do those things limits him as a 3-4 DE. Looking at the OTA photos, Keisel looks big and strong. Let him keep his weight at 290lbs, so that he can be strong at 3-4 DE, that's where we need him to play his best.

steelwall
06-02-2008, 06:28 AM
I was excited last season hearing pretty much the same thing, involving Keisel. I don't think that worked out all that great. Keisel is limited in coverage, and dropping his weight to try and do those things limits him as a 3-4 DE. Looking at the OTA photos, Keisel looks big and strong. Let him keep his weight at 290lbs, so that he can be strong at 3-4 DE, that's where we need him to play his best.

Agreed...... Keisel is a DL not a "rover".

Dino 6 Rings
06-02-2008, 08:43 AM
sigh....

Main objectives.

get to the QB, better coverage, stuff the run. Tackle on all Special Teams plays better, have the o-line run and pass block better, use more run up the gut runs in short yardage situation instead of being cute and out score the other team in every single game regardless of how you do it.

its simple really, Just EFFING Execute Better in every single phase of the game.

thank you, have a great day.

memphissteelergirl
06-02-2008, 09:00 AM
"I do feel like maybe toward the end of the year we weren't getting to the quarterback as much as we should have," said defensive end Brett Keisel.


Gee...ya think, Deisel!? :doh:

jblovein
06-02-2008, 09:05 AM
whoa whoa whoa....statistically, the Stees were the best defense in the NFL and one of the best of all time right up until Clark and A. Smith got hurt. Aarron might be the best down lineman in the league. Keisel was used like Thomas was on the Ravens and it was effective. He fits that roll perfectly. BUT, you need a guy like Smith to stay healthy to make it work. You also need a safety that doesn't run his mouth and blow coverages.

Oh, and btw, there were plenty of 'exotic' looks. Notice how at times they only had 1 lineman down in a stance??

No worries, guys/girls, the defense won't have any issues if they stay healthy. (now the o-line however......ugh)

El-Gonzo Jackson
06-02-2008, 10:10 AM
the LBers need help from the D-line. they are supposed to absorb the O-line. keisel is a huge liability in that area. .

Exactly what I have been noticing for the past 2 seasons. He never gets the push upfield that Kimo did and it doesnt create the rush lanes or disrupt the pocket.

I really wish we would have been able to pickup a 3-4DE in the draft or Free Agency.

KeiselPower99
06-02-2008, 10:34 AM
I honestly think if our D line plays better and stays healthy a rover postion for Keisel will work out. Gettin to the qb is the goal but pressuring is key too and if Im remembering right he had the most pressures on the team. We all know a traditional 3-4 end is a undersized tackle. If he was 2 inches shorter he would be an OLB in our system.

slashsteel
06-02-2008, 10:50 AM
the sack totals have gone down because the steelers were content with mediocrity in the LB corps. they still need to replace foote and an aging farrior.

the LBers need help from the D-line. they are supposed to absorb the O-line. keisel is a huge liability in that area. hampton needs to lost weight. sure the offenseive linemen can't move him, but hampton can't move himself either hopefully aa. smith recovers. i think they should use hoke more often this season.

every season the steelers say they have new defensive looks, but it's always the same. i will onyl believe the steelers' pass rush is better when i see it with my own eyes.

I don't think drafting four linebackers in two years translates to the FO being content with a mediocre LB crew. Timmons was too raw to help last year I don't think thats the case this year as he will rush the QB from the ILB position. Regardless if he starts or not he will get a lot of 3rd down looks. Woodley is a upgrade over Haggans as a pass rusher. Throw Davis into the mix which he should be a decent 3rd down part time option. You can't discount what a Aaron Smith not being in the lineup means. I am sure if you study the sack output you will see the sack production dipping after he went out of the lineup. Teams concentrating on him opens up lanes for others. On Diesel I think he should stay put as well. I am also holding out hope that McFarland gets healthy and signs for depth. This could be a temporary fix depth wise until we draft a DT/DE high in next years draft. Which I believe we will. Hopefully McBean will show something in training camp. But coming off a injury the jury is still out as if he will even make the final cuts..........

And finally Hampton just needs to lose a few pounds I think. Hopefully the coaches are pushing him along.


Touching on what is said every year the wait and see approach. I think as a fan you have to take that approach every year. Hope for the best and see what happens. But I think if this team stays healthy we will see great things.

Dino 6 Rings
06-02-2008, 11:23 AM
If the Steelers have had a "mediocre" linebacker corp, then I'm curious, what team in the NFL has a "stellar" linebacker corp? Not just one guy, or two, but a talent ridden depth chart that makes them so superior to what we've had over the years.

Just wondering what team I should be in awe of when it comes to linebackers.

Elvis
06-02-2008, 12:09 PM
Well, I think that we will agree that the Steelers have gotten alot younger the last couple years at LB, but have did nothing to help out our aging Defensiveline. When Aaron Smith went down, we had nothing from that Dline. I honestly think that the Steelers need to starting finding a replacement for Casey Hampton and Aaron Smith alot Sooner than Later!
:tt02:

paw-n-maul-u
06-02-2008, 03:40 PM
I agree with the post above. Steelers definitely need to find a replacement for Hampton and Farrior. It's so hard to find good NT's and DE's for a 3-4.

Next year Tyson Jackson would be a huge addition to our team in the first round if he's available. I honestly feel our problems at D-line are far superior to our offensive line woes.

On the offensive line we have depth but not much talent. However, we are still young in a few areas. However, on the defensive line, we have talent, but no depth.

Hoke, Hampton, Kiesel, Smith, our top four D-lineman ... although playing well still, are all over or around 30 years old.

Getting back to the article ... I really like using bruce davis on pass rushing downs. He's a great athletic talent and he's got the smarts too. He should be able to make an impact just as good as woodley did, esp. if he can stay healthier than LaMarr.

This gets me excited, but not as much as the timmons article. I knew he was going to be a beast just extremely raw.

Hapa
06-02-2008, 04:14 PM
Great read it is nice knowing they are working on more quarterback sacks this year its hard to belive that they didn't mention timmons in that article I am sure he will have his chances in there as well.

Timmons is more known for his pass coverage capabilities.

Steeldude
06-02-2008, 04:16 PM
I don't think drafting four linebackers in two years translates to the FO being content with a mediocre LB crew.

i said were content... :smile:

Steeldude
06-02-2008, 04:18 PM
off topic, but what the hell

1 19 Jeff Otah T Pittsburgh
1 23 Rashard Mendenhall RB Illinois
2 53 Limas Sweed WR Texas
3 88 Bruce Davis DE UCLA
4 130 Tony Hills T Texas
5 156 Dennis Dixon QB Oregon
6 188 Mike Humpal OLB Iowa
6 194 Ryan Mundy FS West Virginia

nfl.com has the steelers listed as drafting jeff otah in the 1st round

http://www.nfl.com/draft/history/fulldraft?teamId=3900&type=team

lilyoder6
06-02-2008, 04:20 PM
lol that is funny.. but yeah we are going to need to start finding players to replace hampton and smith and also hopefully mcbeam will turn out to be a good player

slashsteel
06-02-2008, 07:39 PM
I emailed NFL.com and let them know about the error. lol

SteelersJW
06-03-2008, 05:59 AM
I think Woodley will definately produce some sacks at outside linebacker, but what about our D-Line? All I hear about is us needing a new DE, and we keep bringing in all these linebackers. It's a never-ending cycle.

steelwall
06-03-2008, 06:12 AM
I honestly think if our D line plays better and stays healthy a rover postion for Keisel will work out. Gettin to the qb is the goal but pressuring is key too and if Im remembering right he had the most pressures on the team. We all know a traditional 3-4 end is a undersized tackle. If he was 2 inches shorter he would be an OLB in our system.


I like Keisel alot, but again IMO he's not the answer at the rover position....why you may ask?? Even thoug he is an athletic marvel, he lacks the speed... period.