View Full Version : Letters: Defense the biggest problem

12-26-2009, 12:44 AM
Bob Smizik Blog

Letters: Defense the biggest problem
Saturday, 1 a.m.

Q: Glad to see your attention properly focused on the Steelers weak link -- the defense. Even with lousy kick coverage, we would be talking about playoff seeding now if the defense hadn't folded in so many fourth quarters. During the off-season, the Steeler focus should be on how to fix this unit. Clearly, the cornerbacks need a revamping. I have no idea if the current roster contains potential answers, but you can't lay everything off on Troy Polamalu's injury. William Gay and Ike Taylor both have been awful and the safeties not much better. Why the linebackers have slid so far I have no idea, but that is another place that needs work. Of course, the line is getting awfully old. Take your pick, but if the secondary isn't fixed you won't go far next year

Fred Cohen

Bob Smizik: The Steelers downfall has been three-pronged: defense, offense and special teams. But to my way of thinking the defense should take the greatest blame. I am surprised at the number of people who insist the offense has been the No. 1 problem. Thatís kind of funny since Ben Roethlisberger, who plays on offense, is the obvious team MVP. But how can you blame Bruce Arians if you donít say the problem is with the offense.

Q: Am I missing something here? What qualifications merit giving the award of AP Athlete of the Year to someone who drives a car? What are the criteria for garnering such an award? What athletic ability does a cTiger and Elin in happier timesar driver possess more than players in the sport of football, basketball or hockey.

I mostly agreed with your reason for questioning Tiger Woods for Athlete of the Decade, but think he is more deserving than a race car driver. I recognize the love affair many in this country have for NASCAR but I'll ask again: Am I missing something here?

Michael Campsie

Bob Smizik: I think the Associated Press should re-name these award and that would end the discussion. If Jimmie Johnson were the Performer of the Year in Sports and Woods the Performer of the Decade in Sports, there would be less arguing. Those titles donít have quite the ring, though.

I agree with you that a auto racer and a golfer should not be the athlete of the year or the decade -- or the day, hour or minute.

Q: Glad you have a Hall of Fame vote and not me. In my opinion, it is utterly ridiculous to argue the merits of the players up for voting. First, baseball is the one sport where statistics should mean nothing. All the ball parks have different dimensions. Some have bigger gaps. The ball carries better in some. Some are ovens (Texas in July) while others are iceboxes (Boston, Milwaukee, etc. in April and September). Some players played with a higher mound, softer ball and with/without the designated hitter. How many Most Valuable Player awards did a player win? That is almost as subjective as the Heisman Trophy, as every voter has a different opinion on what the award really means.

Jamie Evans

Bob Smizik: Your point have some validity to them, although no one ever said the voting was objective. Thatís why it is placed in the hands of people who should have a good idea of all the variables to go into baseball performances. But, as you suggest, statistics can be misleading and none more so than wins for a pitcher.

On point you make, though, is incorrect. There is no arguing that takes place. Baseball Hall of Fame selection is done by secret ballot. I imagine some voters talk among themselves, but there is no specific place for discussion, as is the case witht the Pro Football Hall of Fame where a small group, around 40, meet, discuss and vote.

Q: You are dead on correct with your ballot. Thatís too bad because I also am a huge fan of (Dave) Parker and (Don) Mattingly. They were so great, so fun to watch.

Jesse Matta

Bob Smizik: Not voting for Parker is the toughest call every year for me.

Q: I really enjoyed your Hall of Fame blog entry. It's illuminating to see the thought process. I'm wondering if you would share with us a handful of players who are in that you think are not deserving and why.

Earl McDaniel

Bob Smizik: I have a different view of the Hall of Fame than some of the people who vote. For example, for years the Veterans Committee voted in players who had been overlooked in the original voting done by members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America. What kind of sense does that make? So I would list just about everyone voted in by the old Veterans Committee and that would included shortstops Pee Wee Reese and Phil Rizzutto, who played in New York where the greatest concentration of voters reside. The newest version of the Veterans Committee has much higher standards. The Pro Football Hall of Fame is filled with players I donít think belong. Bob Griese comes to mind. Joe Namath would be another.

Q: Why isn't Cleveland on the list of possible "reuniting points" for Bill Cowher and Kevin Colbert? Is the relationship between Bill Cowher and Mike Holmgren still frosty over Super Bowl XL?

Jeff Flynn

Bob Smizik: I think when Cowher decides to return to football, and it could well be for the 2010 season, heíll want to pick the best possible situation, and that would not be Cleveland. The Browns face a massive rebuilding. Nor is Cleveland in a position to pay a coach the kind of money that Dallas and Washington might. Besides, I don't think Cowher or any high-profile coach will be intersted in Cleveland where the power is concentrated with Holmgren. Coaches like more of a say than Holmgren, a successful former coach, is liable to give them.

Q: Loved the call, as it gave Green Bay a short field and took less time to score. If you know your defense is good enough to make them take time but not good enough to make a play, might as well walk off field with two minutes to go than 13 seconds like Raider's game. Its a dangerous game to play, but give me the ball last if I am playing in a shootout and I like my chances.

Trent Niederberger

Bob Smizik: I wonder what people would be saying about Mike Tomlin's decision to try an onside kick while leading late in the game against Green Bay if the Steelers had lost. I thought the call was terrible and there was no justification for it. The Packers scored in six plays. If they had scored in seven, the Steelers would have lost. I donít care how awful a defense is -- and the Steelersí is middle-of-the-pack -- it is not going to give up a touchdown on every possession.

Q: I, too, was perplexed by the onside kick, but Mike Tomlin's reason shows a genius-like thinking outside the box. How many times have we watched various NFL games and said near the end: The reality is the other team is going to score. Let them do so and save yourself some time to make the final score. I know fumbles/interceptions occur, etc., but this wretched fourth-quarter defense has shown its ineptitude all year.

Plus, it worked.

Greg Giannuzzi

Bob Smizik: This is a common misconception about this play. It did not work. The only way for it to have worked would have been if the Steelers got the ball. They didnít. Green Bay got the ball and scored a touchdown in six plays.


Q: Has any team ever used all of its picks to draft for one position? The Steelers could use seven new defensive backs -- especially to tackle, not just to defend passes. I have to go back to pre-Chuck Noll to remember a weaker group of tacklers!

Tom Trageser

Bob Smizik: If there Steelers did not have so many other needs, that might be a good strategy.

Posted: Bob Smizik | with 1 comment(s)
Filed under: Ben Roethlisberger, Bill Cowher, Kevin Colbert, Troy Polamalu, William Gay, Bruce Arians, Dave Parker, Ike Taylor, Tiger Woods, Mike Holmgren, Joe Namath, MikeTomlin, Bob Griese, Jimmie Johnson

12-26-2009, 01:15 AM
Our defense is embarrassing, anyone not saying it is over 40 and too ashamed to admit the truth.

12-26-2009, 01:29 AM
The whole thing goes together like a jigsaw puzzle. It's certainly not "the defense" as a unit that's sucking, it's the secondary.

And they're not fully at fault. Any secondary is gonna look like butt when they're exposed this badly. That exposure is due to a number of problems all over the team:
1) Our defensive front isn't getting the same pressure we're accustomed to, giving opposing QBs more time to find the open guy. This is due to 1a) injuries/ rookie mistakes, 2a) causing the playcalling to go more conservative (more cover/ less blitz), and 3a) forcing players to overcompensate for the holes at critical moments.
2) Our offense isn't playing keep-away ball. This gives plenty of time of time for the opposition to keep the game close and our defense to get tired.

Not even mentioning the field position problem from STs.

This is a team-wide systemic problem IMO.

12-26-2009, 09:59 AM
Our defense is embarrassing, anyone not saying it is over 40 and too ashamed to admit the truth.

What the hell does over 40 have to do with it? The over 40 crowd watched defenses better than you.

12-26-2009, 10:35 AM
What the hell does over 40 have to do with it? The over 40 crowd watched defenses better than you.
Not even worth discussing IMO. :noidea:

12-26-2009, 11:03 AM
IMO this is a system issue with our defense. When A. Smith went down that hurt our pressure and took away a potential double team for our linebackers hence; they can't make as many plays and James Farrior is now "OLD".

Then Troy goes down, they have to play less man on man so they alot more play zone hence; Ike Taylor looks terrible. Don't get me wrong their tackling is inexcusable but their are some other issues at play here bacuse of our scheme. The players make the scheme what it was and not having 2 critical players hurts.

That's my reasoning and my excuse anyways!

12-26-2009, 03:34 PM
Our defense is embarrassing, anyone not saying it is over 40 and too ashamed to admit the truth.I'm over 40 dill weed and yes our "D" is bad, I just wish they would prove us wrong already. They have 2 more games to right the ship.

12-26-2009, 03:55 PM
Ya cant blame Harrison for being an unpopular defensive member, he was #1 on the NFL Net plays of the decade.:thumbsup:

12-26-2009, 05:50 PM
haha over 40 argument is funny, old ppl get pissed wen u talk about their age, but i cant say anything im only 21 and have only seen 21 yrs of steelers football during my life they got to see the 70s teams live, thats awesome

12-26-2009, 07:32 PM
Our defense is embarrassing, anyone not saying it is over 40 and too ashamed to admit the truth.

I think you have your ideas crossed. I am over 40 and have been saying around here until I'm blue in the face that the D is the Steelers achilles heel this season, NOT the Steelers O. :banging: The "new agers" (19-25 agre group) as I call 'em have been the most blind to the facts staring them right in the face (and proof in the puddin') that our D is the major problem with this team this season. :banging: