View Full Version : Steelers could be in trouble against New Orleans passing offense

10-27-2010, 07:38 AM
Steelers could be in trouble against New Orleans passing offense
Wednesday, October 27, 2010 12:30 AM
Written by Bob Smizik

The worst thing that happened to the Steelers last Sunday was the injury to Aaron Smith. The second worst thing was the Cleveland Browns trashing the Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints.

Teams donít normally need a refocusing when they play the Steelers. Theyíre always ready. But if the Saints needed additional motivation to play the team many consider the best in the NFL, they got it in the form of a pasting by the Browns, who came into the game with one win.

The Saints lost by 13, were down by 17 at halftime and quarterback Drew Brees was intercepted four times, with two of those being returned for touchdowns. It was a humiliation. And a wakeup.

Which means the Saints will be primed and ready for this primetime game Sunday night in the Superdome. Their season isnít on the line -- theyíre third in the NFC South but only a game out of first -- but their pride is.

If ever a team was well-equipped to handle the Steelers, itís the Saints. They live by the pass, an area where the Steelers have not excelled.

The Steelers are 24th in passing yards allowed this season, although those numbers are deceiving. For starters, since opponents cannot run against the Steelers, they have little choice but to pass. Then thereís the fact the Steelers, when well ahead, have given up a lot of late yardage to desperate teams, which did not hurt them.

Thatís the positive spin on the Steelers 24th ranking. Hereís the negative twist. Their secondary has been made to look ordinary or less by ordinary or less quarterbacks. Cleveland rookie Colt McCoy, in his first NFL start, had the look of an established veteran in completing 23 of 36 for 257 yards against the Steelers. Seven days later, McCoy played like the rookie he is, completing nine for 16 for 74 yards against the Saints. At the same time, Miamiís Chad Henne was completing 23 of 36 for 257 yards against the Steelers. And those yards were not accumulated with a desperation passing attack in the final minutes.

Neither McCoy nor Henne is on the same planet with Brees. Heís one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL, ranking right up there with Ben Roethlisberger. He threw for over 5,000 yards in 2008 and over 4,000 in 2009. He outplayed Peyton Manning in the Super Bowl, completing 32 of 39 passes for 288 yards and two touchdowns.

This season, the Saints are fifth in passing yards per game. To put that in some sort of perspective, Miami and Cleveland, teams that gave the Steelers trouble with the pass, are 13th and 22nd.

All of which means: The Steelers are in greater jeopardy of losing Sunday than any time this season with the possible exception of their game at home against Baltimore.

None of this is to suggest the Steelers donít have a chance. They do. They have a better defense than New Orleans and, based on play this season, a better quarterback.

But the Steelers have a potential weakness and the Saints have a quarterback who can exploit it to the fullest.

10-27-2010, 09:14 AM
Yep. This is what I've been pointing out now for a while. Brees can light this team up simply by throwing down the middle - and LeBeau will continue to let him as he's done so far this season - I'll never understand why. They might not get the huge throws downfield, but they can pick up 1st downs consistently simply by throwing down the middle. Unless LeBeau and Co. change their defensive strategy, this coul dbe a very long day for the Steelers and their fans. The Steelers are going to have to blitz - alot. They haven't been blitzing on 3rd and long and they've gotten burned quite a bit, and fortunately, rather lucky as some of the passes have been dropped or overthrown. Don't expect that to happen with Brees and Co. - they're super hungry for a win and after last week's embarrassment at the hands of the Browns, you can expect a charged-up Saints team to explode out of the gates - unless the D nips it in the bud early and cause (and score off of) turnovers. The best way to rattle Brees is to sack him and not give him any time to throw - in other words, PRESSURE: alot of it.

Fire Haley
10-27-2010, 10:13 AM
Ben will just have to score 65 pts every game.

all teams are dealing with their secondaries just letting receivers catch everything without hitting

It's the new, kinder, gentler NFL Arena ball.

Atlanta Dan
10-27-2010, 10:30 AM
At the start of the season I saw this as the 1 of the 2 most likely losses (road game in Baltimore was and continues to be the other)

Shocking insight by Bob Smizik that playing the defending champs at home on a Sunday night might be a tough game - OTOH the Saints have only lit up the scoreboard so far in Tampa so i guess I will watch and hope the Steelers do not lose by 40 points

10-27-2010, 11:02 AM
Wow the love fest with mccoy still goes on? He had mop up yardage and the td. They make it seen like he shredded the def, lol

Troy needs to stay in control and not take risks with the saints, if he stays back they should be plenty fine. Let the LB's handle the blitz

10-27-2010, 11:48 AM
Wow. I'm surprised to read that from Smizik. He's bang on about the pass defense of late. The O is going to have to get it done.

(Also, Steelers made McCoy look like a vet. The kid played good.)

10-27-2010, 11:57 AM
Let's look at the other side of the coin here. You think the Saints secondary isn't going to have trouble with OUR passing offense? Not to mention the Saints Run D with Mendy. Why are people forgetting that we have an Elite QB as well?

This whole secondary thing is overrated. I remember a few years ago the Packers had the league's best secondary and everyone was picking them to win for that reason when they visited NO. Then Brees absolutely lit them up for 45-50 points.

Have faith in your team.

10-27-2010, 02:46 PM
This is where Farrior and Foote will hurt us....slow!

10-27-2010, 07:01 PM
Am I the only one who is feeling good about this game??? I think since we are obviously unfami:tt04:liar with each other that they will have more problems with us than we have with them....I think mendy could have a HUGE game!!!

10-28-2010, 10:20 AM
This game is gonna be HARD. I think we can win it. But of all the teams we've played this year this is by far the toughest. Especially, since the Saints got the shit slapped out of them last week by the Clowns.

Even if we lose, this will be a great game. I actually look for this to be a low scoring game. Hopefully, we can inch a win out with something like 17-10, etc...

10-28-2010, 10:52 AM
Brees couldn't figure out the Browns zone blitz, what makes anyone think he'll figure out the Steelers? Though Rob Ryan is an excelent defensive coordinator when it comes to defending the pass. He has his off days, but then he has his days where teams will be lucky to pass for over 150 yards.

You will probably see the Steelers playing more of the "Bend but don't break" type defense again against the Saints. It worked well against the Dolphins, until both Gay and Clark missed open field tackles and let up a touchdown, other than that, it was field goals all day, which a team with Ben who has the ability to score touchdowns doesn't have a problem with.

For anyone who doesn't understand why the middle is open all the time, Zone defenses can only work 2 ways, they can cover the middle or they can cover the sidelines. Teams usually get good gains against the Steelers by passing on out routes near the sidelines or in the middle of the field, this is because quarterbacks noticing what the defense is doing and where to throw it. Zones could protect both the middle and sidelines, but then running backs could get a lot of passes out of the backfield, and screens would kill the defense and defending against the run would be tough unless you have a 4-3 line thats dominant like the Vikings
There has never been a perfect defense, its all about not letting the quarterback having enough time to find the open points in the defense and disguising the defense before the snap, thats how the 3-4 zone blitz works, but Steelers can't get a pass rush, so it might be a long season.

10-28-2010, 03:59 PM
The Saints offense is yet to have an outburst of sorts. The Saints offense other than last week hasnt really been the problem. The defense is giving up lots of plays for the Saints. Now I know that Brees threw 4 int's last week, but he is still a great QB and the Steelers secondary hasn't been all that great against QB's such as Chad Henne, in the 2nd half especially vs our secondary and Colt McCoy for laughing out loud.
The Saints Offense is converting 48% of their 3rd downs so far this year, Steelers 34.5%. This must pick up now that Ben is back and I expect it too. I think this will be a Very High Scoring Game Sunday Night vs the Saints

10-28-2010, 04:31 PM
For a bunch of supposed die hard steeler fans I'm surprised how few under stand Dick Lebeau's defense. Our philosophy against the pass has always been to keep everything in front of our secondary. Don't get beat deep with big plays. We force opponents to sit down and catch balls in front of our DB's. We ask our db's to tackle them as soon as they make the catch. We limit their YAC. Eventually our front 7 will make plays on the QB and force them into mistakes. Against most offenses this system works. Against good QB's who don't make mistakes it can be a long day.