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mesaSteeler
02-04-2011, 07:32 AM
Steelers report: Inside slant
The Sports Xchange
Feb. 4, 2011
http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/teams/report/PIT/14641433/steelers-report-inside-slant

DALLAS -- Pittsburgh may not be as prolific throwing the ball as the Green Bay Packers, but the Steelers believe they have more balance between the run and the pass and can match anything their opponents can do on offense.

Such as score. That was the case on Dec. 10, 2009 when the Steelers beat the Packers at Heinz Field, 37-36, and they believe they can do it again if necessary - score a bunch.

"A lot of our people overlook us and are saying this and saying that," said the Steelers' leading receiver, Mike Wallace. "But I think the rest of my team gets more offended than (the receivers) do. We know what we can do and we know we're just as good as anybody else in the league."

Pittsburgh coaches have always preached balance as their goal on offense and they reached that in 2010. Steelers quarterbacks passed for 3,890 yards and 22 touchdowns. The team ran for 1,924 yards and 15 touchdowns.

As a team, the Steelers scored nearly twice as many touchdowns as they allowed, 41-22.

They also have a quarterback who has shown he can play under the greatest pressure in the biggest game after he drove nearly the length of the field to throw the winning touchdown pass in Super Bowl XLII with 39 seconds left.

"You may not see Ben up there statistically with all the other quarterbacks in the league, but you can't knock what he's done," Hines Ward said. "To win his third Super Bowl (at 28), that's a remarkable feat."

Offensive coordinator Bruce Arians believes the noise indoors on Sunday will hurt both offenses, but has a more conservative message for his own.

"We have to play solid, be balanced and not turn the ball over." We cannot give them anything cheap."

--Pittsburgh knows it needs to pressure Aaron Rodgers on Sunday if it has a chance to win Super Bowl XLV. And the Steelers will have to do a better job of it than they did the last time they played Green Bay in the 14th game of 2009.

Rodgers rifled through them that December day at Heinz Field as if he were playing pitch and catch. He completed 26 of 48 passes for 383 yards and three touchdowns. He was not intercepted and the Steelers sacked him just once in a wild 37-36 Pittsburgh victory.

"We'll have to get back there at Aaron Rodgers and put some pressure on him," linebacker Lawrence Timmons said, "because you can't let him sit around in the pocket and nickel-and-dime us all day."

The Steelers traditionally have trouble with such passers. They lost to both Tom Brady and Drew Brees in 2010 when the offenses of New England and New Orleans spread them out. They do not have a deep secondary, turning to little Anthony Madison as their sixth defensive back in severe passing situations. Madison was signed to play special teams, not necessarily cornerback.

Coach Mike Tomlin, though, said the Packers are different from those two teams.

"They have their own personality from a schematic and a talent standpoint," Tomlin said.

The Packers like to throw deep, unlike New England, which did nickel-and-dime the Steelers with shorter passes by Brady in a 39-26 Patriots victory that wasn't that close. Green Bay has better receivers than the Patriots, and if Rodgers is given enough time, the Packers could make New England's score look low.

The Steelers had the best rush defense in their history and in the NFL this season and the Packers do not run well, so the passing game will be the key for Green Bay Sunday.

It will be up to the pass rush to rattle Rodgers, something it did to Joe Flacco and Mark Sanchez in their first postseason games.

"He's been really playing tremendously lately," said safety Troy Polamalu, the NFL defensive player of the year who was hurt and did not play against Green Bay in 2010. "He's got a really, really awesome feel with him and his receivers. They do a lot of amazing things as far as timing, as far as when plays break down. We've played against a lot of great quarterbacks throughout this season and he's in line with that."

No one had more than Pittsburgh's 48 sacks in 2010, and James Harrison and LaMarr Woodley will be the keys on separate edges to get that pressure. They combined for 20.5 sacks with Harrison's team high 10.5. Harrison had three in the AFC Championship Game and Woodley has a NFL-record 10 sacks in six postseason games.

Polamalu, though, is the key to Dick LeBeau's scheme when it comes to disguising what they play to do in the zone blitz.

"You just get Troy Polamalu in your backfield and he'll move around and disguise anything you want to do," LeBeau said. "Usually it works when he's doing it. The players make it come to life. We give them parameters and let them create and we've got some pretty good creators."

SERIES HISTORY
36th meeting, first in the postseason of a series that began in 1933, when Pittsburgh joined the NFL. Packers lead the regular-season series 21-14, but the Steelers have won three in a row and seven of the past nine, starting in 1975. That includes one of the best games in Heinz Field's 10-year history in 2009 when the Steelers beat the Packers, 37-36, on Ben Roethlisberger's 19-yard touchdown pass to Mike Wallace on the game's final play from scrimmage.

Copyright (C) 2011 The Sports Xchange. All Rights Reserved.


Steelers report: Notes, quotes
The Sports Xchange
Feb. 4, 2011

-- The Steelers practiced indoors at TCU for the second consecutive day Thursday, working for two hours and focusing on nickel packages defensively and their red-zone offense.

The TCU campus has been closed for the past three days due to severe winter weather that has blanketed North Texas during Super Bowl week.

The Steelers will practice again Friday, with a short walk-through scheduled for Saturday. Coach Mike Tomlin expects both to be indoors.

The team will move from its downtown Fort Worth hotel after the Saturday workout to a secret hotel. That is a common move the night before the Super Bowl, and Tomlin had the Steelers move hotels the night before their victory over Arizona two years ago.

-- Amid reports that he might go elsewhere, defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau said he plans to stay put.

"I'm going to coach in Pittsburgh as long as they'll have me."

--A total of 36 Steelers have at least one Super Bowl ring, including those on injured reserve or those on IR when they won in 2008. That includes Antwaan Randle El, who has one from 2005 but was with the Redskins during the Steelers' past Super Bowl.

-- A total of 18 Steelers have two Super Bowl rings from 2005 and 2008, including those on IR then or now (such as Max Starks, who is on IR now, and Charlie Batch, who was on IR in 2008). They include Larry Foote and Bryant McFadden, who were on the team for both Super Bowls, played on other teams in 2009 and returned for the 2010 season.

-- Dan Rooney arrived in North Texas after a meeting of Ambassadors in Washington, D.C. Rooney has made all three playoff games, plus the final two games of the regular season.

-- SS Troy Polamalu was named the AP Defensive Player of the Year on Monday, edging out Packers OLB Clay Matthews by two votes. He is the sixth Steeler to win the award. Teammate James Harrison, who won the award two years ago, finished third in the voting.

-- The Steelers offensive linemen continued a tradition of wearing a throwback uniform to honor a player in the postseason. When they arrived at the Dallas/Fort Worth Airport, they wore Michigan State replicas of tackle Flozell Adams' No. 76.

"I had no idea," Adams said. "When I got through security at the airport, I saw a bunch of them and I'm like, 'Whoa!' I don't know where they got them from but it was quite surprising."

-- Ben Roethlisberger says having gone to two previous Super Bowls helps the Steelers prepare for all the hoopla.

"You get off the plane and you've got helicopters, you've got police and media and then this (interviews). If you're not used to it, it can be overwhelming."

--Wide receiver Hines Ward said Tuesday that he doesn't "foresee this being my last game" if the Steelers win Sunday.

Former teammate Jerome Bettis retired after the Steelers won Super Bowl XL, and the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported that Ward told a group of high school students last April that he would retire if he won a third ring.

Ward owns the franchise records for career catches (954), receiving yards (11,702) and touchdowns (84), although his 59 receptions in 2010 were his fewest since 2000.

The 13-year veteran would be 35 if he plays in 2001, and signed a four-year, $22 million contract extension in April 2009.

BY THE NUMBERS
9 - Lombardi Trophies represented between the two teams, the most in any one of the 44 previous Super Bowls. The Steelers have six, more than any NFL team, and the Packers three.

QUOTE TO NOTE
"Are you serious? You don't see Clay on any Head & Shoulders commercials." - Mike Wallace, on why Troy Polamalu's hair is better than Clay Matthews'

Copyright (C) 2011 The Sports Xchange. All Rights Reserved.

Steelers report: Strategy and personnel
The Sports Xchange
Feb. 4, 2011

PLAYER NOTES

Maurkice Pouncey has yet to practice, but the Pittsburgh Steelers' rookie Pro Bowl center did get the boot off his injured left ankle and was walking around Thursday.

"I can walk around, so I feel pretty good about that," he said. "I'm wearing a regular tennis shoe and only wearing the boot at night for safety."

Pouncey said rehab on his high ankle sprain has been going well, and still gave himself a 75 percent chance of playing in Super Bowl XLV on Sunday. However, he also maintains that he must be able to practice by Friday in order to play.

Pouncey said he has been doing some work on the exercise bike, but won't be able to do much more until the swelling in the ankle subsides further.

"If I am out there, I will play and if I'm not, I won't play," Pouncey said. "Walking around on it feels really good and hopefully it does tomorrow. It's been getting better each day."

Coach Mike Tomlin said Pouncey "is on a running clock" with only three days before the Super Bowl.

"Snaps are needed from a preparation standpoint, in order to be able to play from a standard," Tomlin said. "We'll see where it takes us. Of course, he may or may not practice today. Hopefully he does. We'll see. I know that he's been aggressive in terms of attacking his rehab."

-- DE Aaron Smith has done little more than calisthenics before practices this week and though the Steelers officially list him as having participated in a limited way, he will not suit up for the game.

-- NT Casey Hampton, who normally comes off the field when the Steelers use their nickel and dime defenses in favor of an extra defensive back, said on Thursday that he will play more in those schemes on Sunday.

-- QB Ben Roethlisberger had his best day of practice in two weeks, throwing touchdown pass on four consecutive plays in the red zone Thursday. "I'm glad we were sharp, but I'm not sure it really means anything for the game," coach Mike Tomlin said.

-- LB Larry Foote, re-signed by the Steelers as their security blanket at the position, did not start a game for them in 2010 but is a key component of their defense. If ILB Lawrence Timmons or James Farrior were hurt, the veteran Foote would replace them. If an outside LB is hurt, Timmons would move outside and Foote would play on the inside.

-- RB Mewelde Moore has done little as a receiver after a mid-season surge of 12 catches in three games. Since then, he has four catches in six games, including the postseason.

-- WR Emmanuel Sanders could become a surprise Super Bowl star. He has settled into the No. 3 man and of his 33 catches through the postseason, more than half, 17, have come in the past five games.

-- OL Trai Essex will be the ultimate swing man for the Super Bowl. He has played guard and tackle and is the No. 3 center. With Doug Legursky starting at center, Essex would be the first man in if any of the five starters have to leave the game.

-- WR Antwaan Randle El has thrown two passes this season, both for touchdowns. In his final game with the Steelers before he left as a free agent in 2006, Randle El threw a touchdown pass to Hines Ward in Super Bowl XL.

GAME PLAN
Pittsburgh would prefer to run on Green Bay's 24th-ranked run defense. It would keep those pass-rushers at bay and allow a rather weak offensive line to go to its strength. When the Steelers do pass, they will try to make it quick. On defense, the Steelers are prepared to play a lot of coverage and could go away from their standard sub package using five defensive backs to six with two more corners and taking linebacker Lawrence Timmons and nose tackle Casey Hampton off the field.

MATCHUPS TO WATCH

--Steelers ROLB James Harrison vs. Packers LT Chad Clifton. Pro Bowler vs. Pro Bowler. Harrison had three sacks in the AFC Championship Game.

--Steelers C Doug Legursky vs. Packers NT B.J. Raji. Legursky likely makes his first NFL start at center against one of the game's best nose tackles.

--Steelers LOLB LaMarr Woodley vs. Packers rookie RT Bryan Bulaga. Woodley has 10 sacks in six postseason games and the Steelers need to get to Aaron Rodgers.

Copyright (C) 2011 The Sports Xchange. All Rights Reserved.

TRH
02-04-2011, 08:42 AM
Think these writers aren't putting a "spin" on everything?

OK...this Packers/Steelers game was the one where Ben passed for 503 yards. 10th most in NFL history.
The same article pretty much says that Ben "doesn't really put up stats".
Yet, in the exact same article the writer is quick to point out that Aaron Rogers threw for 383 yards in the same game. Actually the quote is that "Rogers rifled through them as if he were playing pitch and catch..."

If thats the case, what did Ben do? No mention of that. Hypocrisy.
Sheez........

Merchant
02-04-2011, 10:13 AM
Since when is Raji one of the game's best nose tackles? Because he picked off Caleb Hanie? He's not THAT good. It's only his second year.

dsr
02-04-2011, 10:44 AM
Raji led the league in sacks by a nose tackle this season - seven and a half, I think from memory. Third among all linemen. He genuinely is one of the game's best nose tackles.

Interceptions and touchdowns are just a bonus - not really part of the nose tackle's job description.

kirklandrules
02-04-2011, 10:53 AM
Steelers report: Inside slant
The Sports Xchange
Feb. 4, 2011

--Steelers C Doug Legursky vs. Packers NT B.J. Raji. Legursky likely makes his first NFL start at center against one of the game's best nose tackles.

When did this guy become "one of the game's best nose tackles"? A 3-4 nose tackle is largely responsible for run stopping. Given Green Bay is 18th against the run, I question this statement. I've said this several times in other posts, the Steelers have faced the game's best 3-4 nose tackles this year (because those players reside in the AFC). Additionally, Legursky has made a living the last two years playing center on the scout team where he faced Hampton ... the game's best nose tackle.

dsr
02-04-2011, 11:27 AM
Don't rely too much on this "18th against ther run" stuff. 70+% of Green Bay's defensive plays this year have been with only 2 linemen on the field - sometimes only 1. When the D's in base defense, which they will be more often on Sunday, they're a bit more resilient.

austinfrench76
02-04-2011, 11:50 AM
Well, he completely lost me with this statement:

"The Packers like to throw deep, unlike New England, which did nickel-and-dime the Steelers with shorter passes by Brady in a 39-26 Patriots victory that wasn't that close. Green Bay has better receivers than the Patriots, and if Rodgers is given enough time, the Packers could make New England's score look low."

Would never, and i mean never happen. I don't care what anyone says. They could make 39 points look low??! C'mon man!

kirklandrules
02-04-2011, 11:58 AM
Don't rely too much on this "18th against ther run" stuff. 70+% of Green Bay's defensive plays this year have been with only 2 linemen on the field - sometimes only 1. When the D's in base defense, which they will be more often on Sunday, they're a bit more resilient.

Their base defense is a weakness ... hence they only run it 25% of the time. The strength of their defense is by providing small, faster defenders. As stated in an article in the post-gazette:
"The Packers, though, use their base 3-4 defense only 25 percent of the time. Most times, they morph into some type of nickel defense that allows Woodson, 34, to play near the line of scrimmage, in much the same manner Capers used Carnell Lake and LeBeau employs Troy Polamalu."
http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/11035/1122808-66.stm

But if they play more base, as you stated, I would think that opens the passing game for the Steelers.