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mesaSteeler
11-20-2010, 11:26 PM
Five Questions: Week 11

By: Mike Bires
Beaver County Times
http://www.timesonline.com/sports/sports_details/article/1501/2010/november/21/five-questions-week-11.html
Sunday November 21, 2010 12:04 AM

What’s the Steelers’ No. 1 priority today?

Stopping Raiders running back Darren McFadden. The fourth overall pick of the 2008 draft, McFadden is shedding the bust label and finally living up to expectations. Even though he missed two games earlier this year with injuries, he’s tied for seventh in the league with 757 rushing yards. He leads the NFL with 108.1 rushing yards per game. Along with 24 catches for 242 yards, he leads all running backs with 999 total yards from scrimmage. Even though the Steelers rank first in rushing defense (63.2 yards per game), it’s hard to imagine the Raiders abandoning the run. In McFadden’s first two seasons as a pro, he rushed for 499 and 357 yards, respectively. But now, he’s the centerpiece of an offense that ranks second in the NFL in rushing (162.2 ypg) and seventh in scoring (26.1 points pg).

After last week’s loss to the Patriots, where do the Steelers rank defensively?

After giving up 39 points and 453 yards of offense to Tom Brady & Company, the Steelers’ defense dropped down a few pegs in most statistical categories. The Steelers remain first in rushing defense but overall, they’re ninth. Against the pass, they’re 26th. They also dropped from first to fifth in scoring defense at 18.0 ppg.

How many McFaddens will be on the field today?

Three. Oakland has running back Darren McFadden and backup cornerback Walter McFadden. For the Steelers, there’s starting cornerback Bryant McFadden. Darren isn’t related to Walter or Bryant. There is confusion about the exact relationship between the two McFadden cornerbacks. Several media outlets say they’re brothers. But Bryant claims Walter is his cousin.
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Who’s the highest-paid punter in NFL history?

Oakland’s Shane Lechler. Last year, Lechler signed a four-year contract worth $16 million including $9 million in guaranteed money. While it’s hard to imagine a team paying that much for a punter, at least Lechler has been the best in the business in his 11 pro seasons. He’s been to five Pro Bowls (2001. ’04, ’07, ’08 and ’09). He’s the NFL’s all-time leader with an average of 47.4 yards per punt. He leads the NFL this year with a 49.1 average. This year, he has 18 kicks longer than 50 yards and six of those were longer than 60.

When was the last time the Raiders made the playoffs?

The team with the “Commitment to Excellence” motto hasn’t played a postseason game since the 2002 season when it lost to Tampa Bay in Super Bowl XXXVII. Since then, the Raiders have gone 4-12, 5-11, 2-14, 4-12, 5-11 and 5-11. Since the start of the ’02 season, they’ve had five coaches: Bill Callahan, Norv Turner, Art Shell, Lane Kiffin and now Tom Cable. The Raiders have also started 12 different quarterbacks during that span: Rich Gannon, Rick Mirer, Marques Tuiasosopo, Kerry Collins, Andrew Walter, Aaron Brooks, Josh McCown, Daunte Culpepper, JaMarcus Russell, Charlie Frye, Bruce Gradkowski and Jason Campbell. That crew hardly resembles a commitment to excellence.