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SteelMember
10-23-2009, 02:18 PM
From the Steelers:

Steelers-Vikings Matchups (http://www.steelers.com/article/112581/)
Friday, October 23, 2009
By BOB LABRIOLA

STEELERS WRs HINES WARD, SANTONIO HOLMES AND MIKE WALLACE VS. VIKINGS CBs CEDRIC GRIFFIN, KARL PAYMAH, BENNIE SAPP AND ASHER ALLEN: The name missing from the above is Antoine Winfield, Minnesota’s Pro Bowl cornerback who signed with the team as an unrestricted free agent in 2004 and “gave the Vikings an immediate boost in the secondary by leading the team in interceptions and raising the energy of the entire defensive unit with an aggressive style of play,” according to the team’s 2009 Media Guide. Winfield sustained a sprained foot in the win over the Ravens last week, and he isn’t expected to play this Sunday. In the second half, going against a secondary without Winfield, Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco passed for 244 yards and two touchdowns and almost brought Baltimore back for a victory, were it not for a missed field goal in the final seconds. The Vikings were said to have looked around for some cornerback help this week, but finding capable players at that position in late October is the ultimate scavenger hunt.

STEELERS COACH MIKE TOMLIN VS. VIKINGS COACH BRAD CHILDRESS: It’s not like one is the mentor and one is the protégé, as was the case with Marty Schottenheimer and Bill Cowher, but there is a professional attachment between the men that will endure the length of both of their careers. When Childress was hired by the Vikings and got his first head coaching gig in the NFL, one of the first people he hired was Tomlin, who then got his first coordinator gig in the NFL. “You like to compete against guys you know, somebody’s got to win, somebody’s got to lose. For me it’s been Steve Spagnuolo who we worked with in Philadelphia and John Harbaugh this past week and now Mike [Tomlin] who was our defensive coordinator here. Those are the kind of things you like. You like to bang heads.” From Tomlin’s perspective, “It hit me that I’ve been gone from there for quite some time here just watching tape preparing for this week. A lot of faces are unfamiliar, a lot of the schemes and things that they’re doing are unfamiliar to me and that’s not surprising to me. It’s been three years since I’ve worked there.” Both men claim there is plenty of mutual respect, and there may be, but that doesn’t mean each guy doesn’t want to beat the pants off the other.

STEELERS DEFENSIVE FRONT SEVEN VS. VIKINGS RB ADRIAN PETERSON: The whole concept of gap-integrity might seem either trivial or amusing, or both, to fans, but that topic has been getting a lot of time in the Steelers meeting rooms this week. That’s because Adrian Peterson is not only a bundle of physical ability, but he’s also a back who has the vision, knowledge and patience to make a defense pay if anybody is out of position. “He’s got a great deal of God-given ability,” said Tomlin. “He’s big, strong, fast. He also has the things that you can’t measure. The tape says he’s ridiculously competitive. He doesn’t turn down challenges, he does a lot of things well even when the ball isn’t in his hands, he’s an aggressive and functional blitz pick-up man. He runs good routes out of the backfield. He’s just a complete football player and arguably the best player playing the game right now.” Peterson also is the kind of back who may spend several series picking up a couple of yards per carry before bursting free for a big gain. He had a 58-yard run against the Ravens last week, and that says it all.

STEELERS ROLB JAMES HARRISON VS. VIKINGS LT BRYANT McKINNIE: On the occasions when the Vikings choose to throw the ball, it’s going to be important to get pressure on Brett Favre without having to blitz too many or too often. Harrison’s six sacks lead the team, and the Vikings have allowed 14 sacks through their six games. Tall offensive tackles who haven’t faced Harrison can have a lot of trouble dealing with the combination of his speed and relentless power, and McKinnie is 6-foot-8, 335 and never has played vs. Harrison in a regular season game. Depending on which officiating crew is assigned to work the game, and depending upon how many times the referee is going to allow Harrison to be held, this could end up being a favorable matchup for the Steelers, especially with the advantage the defense always has because of the crowd noise.

STEELERS KICKOFF COVERAGE VS. VIKINGS KOR PERCY HARVIN: Toward the end of a week before a big game, the daily practice report can offer important information. For example on the Wednesday and Thursday reports, Andre Frazier again was listed as not having practiced. If you think that’s no big deal, think again. Frazier is one of the most important guys on kickoff coverage, and the fact he didn’t play last week definitely was a factor in Cleveland’s Joshua Cribbs bringing one back 98 yards for a touchdown. The fact that Frazier missed the game against the Browns and still was trying to get back onto the field with a thigh injury when Friday arrived should make fans nervous, because the Vikings have Percy Harvin, the rookie from Florida who already has brought one kickoff back 101 yards for a touchdown. Usually, there’s no need to worry whether a backup linebacker will play, but when it comes to Andre Frazier and the Steelers kickoff coverage, it’s time to worry.

SteelMember
10-23-2009, 02:19 PM
From the Vikings:

Vikings-Steelers Key Matchups (http://www.vikings.com/news/article-1/Vikings-Steelers-Key-Matchups/06ca7737-4471-4dca-8cbd-e1c1a2f39717)
Mike Wobschall, vikings.com
Posted Oct 23, 2009


QB Brett Favre vs. S Troy Polamalu

Polamalu is again dealing with a knee injury he suffered in Week 1 and aggravated last week against Cleveland, but assuming he plays, the Vikings offense, and specifically Favre, will have to account for Polamalu on a play-by-play basis.

Polamalu is one of the league’s best defenders, and his strengths include versatility and a nose for the football. In the 2 games he’s played this season, the 5-10, 207-pound safety has grabbed 2 INTs and has made a countless number of impressive defensive plays. He is aggressive in the run game, often times sneaking up near the line of scrimmage just before the snap and knifing into the backfield after the snap, and he possesses tremendous cover skills and ball skills.

Favre’s responsibility will be to identify Polamalu before every snap and discern what exactly Polamalu’s responsibilities will be on a given play. Once the QB has figured this out, he must make the appropriate adjustments (or not make any adjustment) so that the offense can overcome any tactic Polamalu might choose to execute.


T Bryant McKinnie vs. OLB James Harrison

All the talk surrounding Pittsburgh’s defense this week has centered on Polamalu, but the Steelers also have an All-Pro caliber LB in Harrison, who was named the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year in 2008 after breaking the franchise’s single-season sack record with 16.0. He was also named to his 2nd straight Pro Bowl after last season and signed a 5-year contract extension this past offseason.

Harrison is another versatile defender who is adept at stopping the run and also at rushing the passer. At 6-0, 242 pounds, he might be a little undersized, but his production is anything but small. He was named the team’s MVP last year and he also returned an INT 100 yards in last year’s Super Bowl victory over the Arizona Cardinals.

It’s hard to believe, but Harrison originally joined the Steelers as a rookie free agent. He’s blossomed into one of the best defenders in the league. He’s a tricky player to block because of his size, but also because of his blend of pass-rushing moves and his mix of strength and quickness. He has the feet to dance around offensive lineman but also the strength and will power to bull through the offensive line and support the run defense.

McKinnie’s challenge will be to block Harrison, who most often lines up on the offense’s left side. On many plays, Harrison will be rushing the passer, and McKinnie is charged with protecting Favre’s blind side. On almost a play-by-play basis, McKinnie will have to determine what Harrison is doing, and how he’s going to do it. Is he dropping into coverage? Is he rushing the passer? And if he’s rushing the passer, will he utilize an inside move or an outside move?


Leslie Frazier vs. QB Ben Roethlisberger

Roethlisberger is clearly Pittsburgh’s #1 offensive option, and assistant head coach/defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier is charged with finding a way to slow him down. Big Ben has a passer rating of 104.5, 4th best in the league, and he is affective because of his ability to move around and out of the pocket to buy time and find his receivers. This puts heavy pressure on the secondary because they are forced to cover a talented group of receivers for extended periods of time.

Frazier’s challenge manifests itself in that he must find a way to shrink the amount of time Roethlisberger has to make plays by increasing the intensity of the pass rush. Pittsburgh does allow a lot of sacks (16 in 6 games), but more important than bringing Big Ben down might be trying to take the ball away from him. Because of his size and strength, Roethlisberger is hard to tackle/sack, but if the Vikings can be aware of where they are in relation to the QB on a given pass rush, perhaps they can extend their arms/hands and try to knock the ball out of the QBs hands.

This is all easier said than done, however. Roethlisberger has just 1 lost fumble on the season.

Another element to this matchup is a tactic the Steelers may very well employ against the Vikings – the no huddle offense. Pittsburgh has used the no huddle extensively this season and it’s something Roethlisberger embraces. Though he’s limited by the personnel grouping in the game, Roethlisberger told reporters this week that he has complete control over the play calls when his team is in the no huddle. Additionally, the no huddle can be an advantage to the Steelers this week because it will force the Vikings to stick with their personnel grouping and won’t allow them to sub defensive linemen and members of the secondary to keep them fresh on a play-by-play basis.

Angus Burgher
10-23-2009, 05:04 PM
I'd love to see Ben go no-huddle the entire game if it's working.

LukesDad88
10-23-2009, 05:27 PM
They completely missed the matchup that will decide this game: Woodley vs A banged up rookie tackle named Loadholt.

It's going to be a long day for that young man.

xbroughneck
10-23-2009, 05:36 PM
They completely missed the matchup that will decide this game: Woodley vs A banged up rookie tackle named Loadholt.

It's going to be a long day for that young man.

Uhm....they also didn't mention Jared Allen vs. our Offensive Tackles.

He's just a good a pass rusher as James Harrison. The Steelers better have two hats on him.

LukesDad88
10-23-2009, 05:38 PM
Watching a few replays from the last couple of weeks, Mendenhall has looked pretty good blocking in the backfield.

solardave
10-23-2009, 06:21 PM
Advantage Steelers. Especially if Troy can play at a decent level.
I hope he didn't make his knee any worse. We really need him this week.He'll be able to rest next week and hopefully be full strength for Denver.

SCSTILLER
10-23-2009, 06:43 PM
Just a gut feeling, but I forsee a big day from Mike Wallace. He has been good, and I think he will have several big catches for us.

Now Jarred Allen scares me. He is a beast and we better be paying attention to him. I don't think that Ben will have the same amount of time Sunday as he did against the Brownies.

Nadroj 20
10-23-2009, 06:55 PM
Just a gut feeling, but I forsee a big day from Mike Wallace. He has been good, and I think he will have several big catches for us.

Now Jarred Allen scares me. He is a beast and we better be paying attention to him. I don't think that Ben will have the same amount of time Sunday as he did against the Brownies.

I agree with you about wallace...the vikings pass D is ranked 23rd or something like that and there best d back is injuried

Somebody for us is going to come up big and with wallace's speed i see it being him with D more then likely keying on ward and holmes

Either way, whoever comes up big Ben is going to throw for over 400 yards

:tt04::tt04:

LukesDad88
10-23-2009, 07:44 PM
Just a gut feeling, but I forsee a big day from Mike Wallace. He has been good, and I think he will have several big catches for us.

Now Jarred Allen scares me. He is a beast and we better be paying attention to him. I don't think that Ben will have the same amount of time Sunday as he did against the Brownies.


You can neutralize Allen with some screens. I can see us going with some double tight end sets, and utilizing Spaeth in some of those Tight End screens we've been running with Heath.

As far as Wallace, and the rest of the WR corps, I think you're going to see alot of safety help over top. It's what I would do. That being the case, then it will either open up the middle of the field, or the Vikings will keep things pretty conventional and not rush more than four most of the time.

Kaeg
10-23-2009, 09:38 PM
Depending on which officiating crew is assigned to work the game, and depending upon how many times the referee is going to allow Harrison to be held, this could end up being a favorable matchup for the Steelers
It's kind of odd seeing that acknowledged in print that way. At least people are seeing it.
:doh:

HometownGal
10-23-2009, 09:42 PM
Uhm....they also didn't mention Jared Allen vs. our Offensive Tackles.

He's just a good a pass rusher as James Harrison. The Steelers better have two hats on him.

I noticed that, as well. That's one guy the Steelers don't want to take for granted.

Nice read and pretty accurate assessment of the upcoming matchups imho. :thumbsup:

This puts heavy pressure on the secondary because they are forced to cover a talented group of receivers for extended periods of time.


Doesn't it feel damned good to read this? :banana: :tt03: Haven't read anything like this about our corps of WR's since the Swann/Stallworth days. :applaudit:

Steelboy84
10-23-2009, 11:06 PM
I noticed that, as well. That's one guy the Steelers don't want to take for granted.

Nice read and pretty accurate assessment of the upcoming matchups imho. :thumbsup:



Doesn't it feel damned good to read this? :banana: :tt03: Haven't read anything like this about our corps of WR's since the Swann/Stallworth days. :applaudit:

And all of that even WITHOUT Sweed!

Just think how much more dangerous we would be with another weapon. Wow!!!!!!!!!