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mesaSteeler
12-25-2011, 10:10 AM
NFL from the sidelines

After hobnobbing around the NFL in the press boxes and sidelines, sports reporter Dale Lolley will let you know the insider scoop. Dale can also be heard as a sometime host on ESPN 970-AM. Follow him on Twitter at dlolleyor.
Saturday, December 24, 2011
Post-Rams thoughts
http://nflfromthesidelines.blogspot.com/
Not a lot to say about this one. The Rams flat-out stink other than Steven Jackson.

As much as Maurice Jones-Drew is Jacksonville's entire offense, Jackson is the same for St. Louis.

It is somewhat troubling that, knowing that, the Steelers still permitted Jackson to rush for 100 yards and the Rams to go for 164 as a team.

The defense had been trending toward better showings against the run after some horrendous efforts early in the year.

It took a step back in that regard Saturday.

Rashard Mendenhall takes a lot of flak from Steelers fans, who apparently prefer their runners to be 250-pound plodders.

But he made some outstanding runs in this one.

Yes, it was against St. Louis, which is awful against the run.

But coupled with Mendenhall's recent efforts - including a strong game last week at San Francisco and you have a unit that has to at least keep opponents on edge heading into the playoffs.

Mendenhall's yards and carries are way down this season - 890 on 220 heading into Week 17 but he's been kept fresh from having just one 20-plus carry game all season.

Chris Kemoeatu played an entire game without a penalty

There's your early Christmas gift.

Charlie Batch played OK in this one. Not great, but not bad.

But he didn't enough to show me that he would have led the Steelers to a win at San Francisco last week.

I'll stick with my original feeling that starting Roethlisberger in that game gave the Steelers the best chance to win. It didn't work out that way, but it's the truth.

Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin send a message to rookie offensive tackle Marcus Gilbert, benching him because he wasn't happy with his preparation.

I've got a feeling, however, that if Baltimore would have been the opponent, Gilbert would have been out there.

Kudos to Antonio Brown for breaking the team record for all-purpose yards in a season.

Merry Christmas everyone. Enjoy your friends and family if you have the opportunity.

Pa Yankee
12-25-2011, 10:38 AM
I disagree with your statement about Batch.

TAmes
12-25-2011, 02:02 PM
The win and the shutout are the only stats that matter. Not rushing yards given up. Even with Steven Jackson going for 100+ yards, the Rams were only in a position to score 6 pts during the game.

Bayz101
12-25-2011, 02:42 PM
I agree with everything. And Batch wasn't perfect, but he got the job done. Good backup. Good post!

TRH
12-26-2011, 10:12 AM
no, he's right on the money about Batch. Charlie played fair, but that was a REALLY pathetic team he played against. He would have got slaughtered against SF.

FanSince72
12-26-2011, 12:38 PM
I think the Rams game pointed out what I've believed all along in that we have talent that we may not have thought we had and that we have a lot of it.

What I see is:

Batch may never be a hall of famer, but he's way more than just a backup. He has a skill set around which we can build an actual game plan rather than simply sending him in to manage a game or to "not lose" a game.
John Clay showed that he can run and that he has the size and power to be a future consideration (or even a present day answer) to Mendenhall
Trai Essex proved to be an excellent center and maybe he can now be seen as more than just a left-tackle
The team as a whole plays like a team and does not "need" any particular player in order to win
That our receivers - given the chance to work with him - can adjust to Batch and his particular style and are not only effective when Ben is out there
Our Defense showed some weakness against a power runner but is able to adapt and "bend" rather than allow that to become a major problem


We still have some issues, but overall I think that we're in far better shape than many other teams in terms of depth, coaching and we have a bench that can step up and play without having to radically alter a game plan.

We may not be a pretty team to watch and we may not be able to run plays with the precision that other teams seem to.
But we don't quit, we don't fall apart if a key player goes down and we play more in the true sense of what a team is than any other club out there and win or lose, whoever plays us knows they played a football game against a solid opponent.

I like our chances a lot! :applaudit:

TRH
12-26-2011, 04:18 PM
I think the Rams game pointed out what I've believed all along in that we have talent that we may not have thought we had and that we have a lot of it.

What I see is:

Batch may never be a hall of famer, but he's way more than just a backup. He has a skill set around which we can build an actual game plan rather than simply sending him in to manage a game or to "not lose" a game.
John Clay showed that he can run and that he has the size and power to be a future consideration (or even a present day answer) to Mendenhall
Trai Essex proved to be an excellent center and maybe he can now be seen as more than just a left-tackle
The team as a whole plays like a team and does not "need" any particular player in order to win
That our receivers - given the chance to work with him - can adjust to Batch and his particular style and are not only effective when Ben is out there
Our Defense showed some weakness against a power runner but is able to adapt and "bend" rather than allow that to become a major problem


We still have some issues, but overall I think that we're in far better shape than many other teams in terms of depth, coaching and we have a bench that can step up and play without having to radically alter a game plan.

We may not be a pretty team to watch and we may not be able to run plays with the precision that other teams seem to.
But we don't quit, we don't fall apart if a key player goes down and we play more in the true sense of what a team is than any other club out there and win or lose, whoever plays us knows they played a football game against a solid opponent.

I like our chances a lot! :applaudit:


I agree with most of what you just said to a point......i do, except for maybe building a game plan w/Batch. Most other times he's been in he's been awful, so i'd have to see alot more to make that call. The only problem is that those points came on a win to the really, really, bad Rams team.....they were actually worse than i even thought/expected. We would have to duplicate that against a real team of some sort to actually buy into any of that.

Whodis
12-26-2011, 04:23 PM
I'm with the majority on this one... Not much thought is being put into this one.

FanSince72
12-26-2011, 05:08 PM
I agree with most of what you just said to a point......i do, except for maybe building a game plan w/Batch. Most other times he's been in he's been awful, so i'd have to see alot more to make that call. The only problem is that those points came on a win to the really, really, bad Rams team.....they were actually worse than i even thought/expected. We would have to duplicate that against a real team of some sort to actually buy into any of that.

I understand what you're saying and to a certain extent you may be right.

What I mean in terms of Batch is that unlike many backups, he has a deep understanding of what we do and is capable of running a full-fledged game plan as opposed to some "dumbed-down" version.

He is certainly no replacement for Ben, but he also doesn't need a trail of bread crumbs to follow in order to find his way and he has enough talent to operate the offense without significantly affecting the team's ability to use the entire playbook.

In other words, as backups go, we could do a lot worse than Charlie Batch.

NoFieldFive
12-26-2011, 06:33 PM
the play by Brown on the fake punt was very nice. He covered a lot of ground in little time. they make that first down and who knows what happens next. the game was still close at that point.

I'd like to see more of Clay. maybe he's the guy to go to when it's third and one at the goal line.

VaDave
12-27-2011, 01:04 PM
There has been NOBODY in the history of the NFL that has made more plays out of sh*t than Big Ben. Charlie is OK, but in this system that depends on quick creativity when things go wrong, which often is most of the time, he's just a good second fiddle. Nothing more.

What has always puzzled me about Ben is, as fast as he can make decisions when the play goes south, how come he struggles to make fast decisions as the play starts?

Dino 6 Rings
12-27-2011, 02:15 PM
What has always puzzled me about Ben is, as fast as he can make decisions when the play goes south, how come he struggles to make fast decisions as the play starts?

Because at times Ben is his own worse enemy, always wanting the big play over the "what is given" play.

steelerjim58
12-27-2011, 03:51 PM
I am not one to keep up with stats as the season goes along, but I would not have guessed that Mendenhall was averaging 4 yards a carry.

FanSince72
12-27-2011, 05:06 PM
Because at times Ben is his own worse enemy, always wanting the big play over the "what is given" play.

Maybe so.

A lot of people accused Bradshaw of the same thing and that turned out OK.
In fact, that was the thing that I liked most about Bradshaw - his desire for the big play and his fearlessness in going for it - and that's the same reason why I like Ben.

I've often said that if Ben were 3-inches shorter and wore a #12, it would be hard to tell him apart from Bradshaw and that "big play" mentality is the biggest reason why I believe that.

Football is entertainment (or at least it should be) and I find nothing entertaining about watching teams running the ball, not taking any chances and generally playing some ultra-conservative game.
I can't think of a faster way to put me to sleep (besides watching mid-season baseball) than watching a conservative football game plan.

Ben likes to throw the ball and he has plenty of good receivers, so why not let him throw and let him try to make the big play?
Bradshaw didn't become famous for the way he handed-off the ball, he became famous for throwing bombs to Swann and Stallworth and if Ben wants to follow in his footsteps, that's fine with me.

theplatypus
12-27-2011, 05:22 PM
What has always puzzled me about Ben is, as fast as he can make decisions when the play goes south, how come he struggles to make fast decisions as the play starts?

I would say the reason for that is two fold. He doesn't read defenses very well(compared to a Manning,Rogers,Brees,Brady) and he's always trying to go for the big play. Unfortunately the 2nd part is the primary reason we're the #5 seed right now. If he had gone with the check down receiver instead of forcing the ball on those first two drives we more than likely would have won that Monday night game.

FanSince72
12-27-2011, 10:36 PM
I would say the reason for that is two fold. He doesn't read defenses very well(compared to a Manning,Rogers,Brees,Brady) and he's always trying to go for the big play. Unfortunately the 2nd part is the primary reason we're the #5 seed right now. If he had gone with the check down receiver instead of forcing the ball on those first two drives we more than likely would have won that Monday night game.

First of all, the reason we didn't beat SF wasn't because of Ben's reading ability, it was because he couldn't move and moving around is Ben's stock-in-trade and it's when he does his best work.

This of course addresses the original question ("...how come he struggles to make fast decisions as the play starts?") and the answer is that I think he PREFERS to move around and actually thinks that that's when the play really starts.
Ben's strong point is also his weak point in that he's basically a sandlot player and doesn't really buy into the whole "reading" thing.
I think he looks at the game like street football where he just tells someone to run out to the red Chevy and cut left (which was Bradshaw to a "T" by the way).

It's what makes him so good at keeping a play alive, but it's also the reason why he often HAS to.