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dcsteel5804 12-09-2012 08:41 PM

Three Areas of Concern, and the X-Factor!
After the Steelers performance today, its hard to image that they are a championship calibure team, let alone a play-off team. As far as I can tell, from a fan's standpoint, they are seriously lacking in 3 areas. The offensive line, running backs, and pass rush.The reason that I say pass rush and not defensive line is because they are pretty darn good at stopping the run.

The offensive line play is slightly better than in previous years, but that's not really saying much. From the eye test, it seems like they are able to protect the passer better than in the past, but the run blocking is still lacking. When I watch other teams run the ball, it seems like the runners have to room past the line of scrimmage to make moves and cuts. This is definitely not the case with the Steelers. Its usually 0 yards and a cloud of dust. Admittedly, Johnathan Dwyer and Isaac Redman are not the most talented backs, but I'm not sure Adrian Peterson could run behind this line. There are simply no holes to run through. Many times its the sheer will of Dwyer or Redman and not giving up on the plays that they are able to break through, but this line gets no initial push. We don't have an elite back that can make things happen despite poor blocking. Unfortunately, I see no immediate solution, other than the linemen manning up and playing better on an individual level.

However, the running backs aren't completely absolved of the blame. I've seen more than a few times that there actually were some holes and the backs would rather plunge into a crowd of humanity and hope for the best. In my opinion, Mendenhall has to go if he won't come back for a minimal salary. If he thinks he's worth more, let him go. Regarding the other backs, keep wich ever ones are cheapest, there's really not a difference in terms of production. I would say that we should draft a player in a similar mold of Ray Rice, who I think is a top 2 or 3 back in the league. We need a guy with good small area quickness and elusiveness, who can make the first guy (or two) miss and break out the pile. This hypothetical back doesn't need elite top end speed or to be a huge bruiser. Anybody know a back like this coming up in the draft?

Finally, I have to talk about this pass rush. It's pathetic. The line we went up against today was simply decimated by injuries, and Philip Rivers could have sat back there and have some tea, made some silly faces, made some little kids laugh, and then throw the ball. It was just absolutely ridiculous. And thats really been the story this year. I mean, Jason Worilds is leading the team in sacks (I think). Harrison just seems to be rounding into shape, and Woodley can't keep his fat butt on the field. Ziggy Hood and Hampton are about worthless at generating any push, and Kiesel is just so-so. And when we blitz, IT GETS PICKED UP!! WFT!! The pressure hardly ever gets home, which leaves our secondary exposed. They didn't play particularly well today, but you can't cover every receiver for 10 seconds on every passing down.

Given all of this, many of us Steeler fans think we don't deserve the play-offs, and we should just implode and get a better draft pick, but I think we may be forgetting about the X-factor, and that is..... Big Ben Roethlisberger!! I mean, I just can't count this team out as long as he's our QB. If he's walking, and throwing, we have a shot, period. If we get into the playoffs and he's healthy, we have just as good a shot as anyone else. I would love to just throw in the terrible towel and give up hope on the season. With this team, it would just be easier on my heart. But then I would be that guy who jumped off the wagon before the wheels actually feel off. I won't be that guy. I won't be that fan. I'm thinking play-off's and Superbowl until we're eliminated and its because we have Big Ben. So until next week, lets just relax, and try to keep thins in perspective. We lost no ground on the 6th seed, and if we get into the play-offs, anything is possible.

Fire Arians 12-09-2012 08:53 PM

Re: Three Areas of Concern, and the X-Factor!
i thought the pass rush was fine, rivers was being smart and not making the mistakes he usually does. norv game planned perfectly for what they had. gotta give credit where it's due.

mike adams out really affects our running game, beachum doesn't do as well with the run blocking. colon probably wasn't 100%. o-line didn't open any running lanes, and ben had no time to throw. when that happens, well, offense doesn't look so great.

Brett Cottrell 12-09-2012 08:56 PM

Re: Three Areas of Concern, and the X-Factor!
Three areas of concern, the short version: Offense. Defense. Special teams.

dcsteel5804 12-09-2012 08:57 PM

Re: Three Areas of Concern, and the X-Factor!
All good points regarding the line. I wonder if Colon knew his knee wasn't good to go. I mean, its not like he was in jeopardy of losing his job. He could have sat out for a couple more weeks if needed. Now he's done for the year.

harrison'samonster 12-09-2012 08:58 PM

Re: Three Areas of Concern, and the X-Factor!
I think the special teams is as big a problem as anything else, especially with penalties.

I thought our pass rush wasn't too bad, just not very successful. Rivers was making quick throws today.

dcsteel5804 12-09-2012 08:59 PM

Re: Three Areas of Concern, and the X-Factor!

Originally Posted by Brett Cottrell (Post 1061315)
Three areas of concern, the short version: Offense. Defense. Special teams.

Your right, I forgot about the special teams... or not-so-special-teams. I mean, is it me, or does our punt unit continually allow pressure up the middle. Not to mention the constant penalties and bad kick / punt coverage.

Steel_Bus_24 12-09-2012 09:02 PM

Re: Three Areas of Concern, and the X-Factor!
Ben is going to get injured again if that OL can't protect better

Cincinnati especially will eat them up

This game felt like one of those old Patriot Beatings from when they were cheating

By the time the ball got in Ben's/RB hands their D were far too much in our backfield

The use of the snap count was horrible...

And on the flipside as you say, Our Pass Rush Sucked something awful. They picked up virtually every blitz we threw at them

This has to improve if we want to do any damage in the Playoffs where we will face Elite QBs.....Not only our blitzes getting home but we have to generate more pressure with just 4

Ricco Suavez 12-09-2012 09:14 PM

Re: Three Areas of Concern, and the X-Factor!
I thought the OP did a fine job of pointing out what he feels are some points that need to be addressed. I also feel the OL is not what it needs to be but better than the last three years,( only because we added a prospect like Pouncey). Injuries have hurt the chemistry of the line not to mention we lost #1 pick DeCastro. I think we have some good "change of pace" RB, but if Mendy is not going to be the man then we need to look at adding a quality back next year. DL is something I questioned last year, but as you point out it is not just DL but pass rush all together. The pass rush was not horrible today, but I felt considering the Chargers had mostly replacements on the line we should of done a much better job of harassing Rivers. On another note I did not see separation of our WR and defensive secondary, most times Ben had to either hold the ball or try to thread very tight openings. A pretty dismal showing today.

btaylor179 12-09-2012 09:40 PM

Re: Three Areas of Concern, and the X-Factor!

austinfrench76 12-09-2012 10:28 PM

Re: Three Areas of Concern, and the X-Factor!
I agree that their are 3 issues but I think mone are a little different. Mine are, in no particular order: Herat, discipline and focus. Most of the team. And all of those things seem to be lacking at different times. In weeks where they show heart, ie the Baltimore game, they win. In other games they just don't come to play. ANYTIME this season against a sub 500 ball club, they don't look focused or disciplined. Not sure how you fix that except leadership and al of teh "vocal" leaders are gone. Hines/Farrior. Troy and James are GREAT players but not vocal and when neither are playing like Super stars, teh whole team follows suit. Just my opinion but something major is lacking and it's not just talent unfortunately. So damned dissappointed today!

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