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SteelDogFan 10-11-2007 03:39 PM

Best Steelers Defense Ever!
 
This article is from Oct. 11, 2007 The Sports Xchange posted on CBSSportsline

The best Steelers defense ever?

Pittsburgh has fielded some great defenses through the years, including the Steel Curtain of the 1970s and Blitzburgh of the mid-1990s. But none of those was able to accomplish what the 2007 version has done through five games.

The Steelers have yielded only 47 points, the fewest any Pittsburgh team has allowed in the first five games in the past 70 years. They have to go all the way back to 1937, when scoring did not occur nearly as often, to find a Steelers team that allowed fewer -- 38 in the first five games that season.

In addition, a punt was returned for a touchdown that's included in those 47 points.

No one's ready to compare them to the Steel Curtain defense that produced four Pro Football Hall of Famers, but the current Steelers defense is strong in every area. It even recorded its first shutout in Heinz Field last Sunday without its two Pro Bowl players, injured nose tackle Casey Hampton and strong safety Troy Polamalu.

Seattle came in with what was considered a good, balanced offense and left with a 21-0 loss, coach Mike Holmgren's second shutout in his 16 years as a head coach in the NFL.

Dick LeBeau remained the coordinator under new coach Mike Tomlin, even though they've run different systems in the past. LeBeau likes the 3-4 blitzing defense and fathered the zone blitz. Tomlin grew up with the Tampa Cover 2 in a 4-3 defense.

Tomlin lets LeBeau run the show, although he's had plenty of input and some of it showed against Seattle, when the Steelers stayed with a three-man rush for most of the game with a Cover-2 scheme in the secondary.

They've also introduced a four-man line in passing schemes, removing their outside linebackers and going with four true down linemen, with end Brett Keisel normally standing up. They go to that in passing situations when they think the offense might run. That was the case last week with Shaun Alexander in Seattle's backfield.

Neither do they find it surprising that they would record their first home shutout since Heinz Field opened in 2001 with Polamalu and Hampton out of the lineup with injuries. Veteran Chris Hoke has performed well for Hampton in the past, including 2004 when the Steelers went 15-1 with Hampton out for half the season.

To replace Polamalu, they shifted Ryan Clark to strong safety, a position he played for the Washington Redskins before he signed with the Steelers as an unrestricted free agent last year. Second-year man Anthony Smith started at free safety.

"Coach Tomlin always says everybody's a playmaker out there on the field; you just have to do your job," said linebacker Clark Haggans, who has thrived in the defense this season. "We just try to do it as a team -- if Casey or Troy isn't playing, try to play team defense."

No one's doing it better. The Steelers rank first in the NFL in fewest yards allowed (235.6 per game), fewest points (9.4), fewest yards per play (4.2), and tied for most sacks (17).

Copyright (C) 2007 The Sports Xchange. All Rights Reserved.

Crushzilla 10-11-2007 04:05 PM

Re: Best Steelers Defense Ever!
 
Quite simply... No.

It is far too early to tell and I don't think when the 2007 season closes they will be. This defense has been solid, but didn't we expect this from the Steelers in weeks 1-5?

So far, they have been very good, but I don't think we've had the real test, yet. They will be great, but not the greatest.

MACH1 10-11-2007 04:07 PM

Re: Best Steelers Defense Ever!
 
uhhhh after 5 games....nooo

GBMelBlount 10-11-2007 04:17 PM

Re: Best Steelers Defense Ever!
 
I think I saw somewhere that '76 Steelers had 4 or 5 shutouts in their last 9 games.

fansince'76 10-11-2007 04:19 PM

Re: Best Steelers Defense Ever!
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by GBMelBlount (Post 307192)
I think I saw somewhere that '76 Steelers had 4 or 5 shutouts in their last 9 games.

5 shutouts and 28 total points allowed in their last 9 games. This year's unit is really good, but not that good.

Atlanta Dan 10-11-2007 04:23 PM

Re: Best Steelers Defense Ever!
 
They can susbstitute that article for the old image of the egg frying to describe "this is your brain on drugs"

Here is what the 1976 Steelers did in their last 9 games of the 1976 regular season

Cincinnati Bengals 23- 6
at New York Giants 27- 0
San Diego Chargers 23- 0
at Kansas City Chiefs 45- 0
Miami Dolphins 14- 3
Houston Oilers 32-16
at Cincinnati Bengals 7- 3
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 42- 0
at Houston Oilers 21- 0

For those keeping score at home, that is 5 shutouts (3 consecutive) and 3 other games in which the other team did not score a TD.

I know there is a tendency to idealize the past, but this team may have 4 Pro Bowl defenders (Hampton, Smith, Troy & (maybe) Taylor). The 1976 Steelers had 8, including the entire defensive backfield.

Comparing the 2007 defense to the 1974-76 defense is laughable.

Steel Pit 10-11-2007 05:00 PM

Re: Best Steelers Defense Ever!
 
Certainly not the best Steelers defense ever, I don't care what the numbers indicate. There were a couple of 1970's defenses that will always be on top in my mind.
I would also take a couple of the mid-90's defensive units over this years unit.

In comparing the 07 unit to the 70's and 90's units, the numbers may be close BUT, the personnel in the 70's and 90's was far and away more talented.

BurghZ0n3 10-11-2007 05:18 PM

Re: Best Steelers Defense Ever!
 
Woodson, Lloyd, Kirkland, Gildon, Steed, Olzalsky, Williams, Brown, Buckner, Greene, Henry, and...oh, I forget the others. That's what I thought the best (that's why I fell in love with B&G back then :hug:). The 70's ....I don't know anything about :tt02::banana:

Lord Stiller 10-11-2007 05:34 PM

Re: Best Steelers Defense Ever!
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by BurghZ0n3 (Post 307206)
Woodson, Lloyd, Kirkland, Gildon, Steed, Olzalsky, Williams, Brown, Buckner, Greene, Henry, and...oh, I forget the others. That's what I thought the best (that's why I fell in love with B&G back then :hug:). The 70's ....I don't know anything about :tt02::banana:

Carnell LAKE....how could you forget him!!!!!!

Darren Perry was also pretty decent

jjpro11 10-11-2007 08:10 PM

Re: Best Steelers Defense Ever!
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by BurghZ0n3 (Post 307206)
Woodson, Lloyd, Kirkland, Gildon, Steed, Olzalsky, Williams, Brown, Buckner, Greene, Henry, and...oh, I forget the others. That's what I thought the best (that's why I fell in love with B&G back then :hug:). The 70's ....I don't know anything about :tt02::banana:

that linebacker core was just sick.. our super bowl winning linebackers - porter, foote, farrior, haggans, and harrison - were pretty damn fine as well. maybe not as good as the 90s, but probably the best in the league in 04-05. especially with the way farrior played in 2004. im not knocking harrison, but having a prime porter starting and a fresh harrison coming off the bench was better than right now.


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