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Old 10-11-2013, 04:22 AM   #1
Galax Steeler
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Default Steelers notebook: Struggles no shock given lack of sacks

By Ray Fittipaldo / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

It's not a prerequisite for a successful Steelers season, but it has been a pretty good indicator over the years. If the Steelers are getting to and sacking opposing quarterbacks, it usually means the team is in contention for the Super Bowl.

And when they're not, the record often plummets along with the sack totals.

In 1994, the year the Steelers lost to the Chargers in the AFC championship, they set a franchise record with 55 sacks. They matched that record in 2001 when they went 13-3 and again reached the AFC title game.

When the Steelers won the Super Bowl after the 2008 season, they led the NFL in sacks with 51. When they made a return trip two years later, they again led the league with 48.

Since then, it has been a rapid decline to rock-bottom. They fell to 17th in the league in 2011 and 15th last season. This season, they are last in the league with four sacks in the first four games.

"Early on in games, we're getting pressure," said defensive lineman Cameron Heyward. "Later on in games, because we've been down, we've been seeing a lot more runs and we're not getting the opportunities to get the sacks. That's predicated on us. We have to stop the run first and force them into some longer third downs.

"I think I was reading something where we're second-to-last [in the NFL] in having third-and-6 or longer. We have to force them into some tougher situations where they don't have as many opportunities and plays that put us in tough situations."

In 2003 and 2006, two of the four seasons the Steelers missed the playoffs in the past 12 years, they were 11th and 17th in the league in sacks. The only year the Steelers were near the top of the league in sacks and missed the playoffs in recent history is 2009 when they were second in the league.

Gay to see more time

Defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau said William Gay is in contention for the starting duties at cornerback against the Jets Sunday. Gay could take the place of Cortez Allen, who struggled against the Vikings in his first game back after missing two with an ankle injury.

If Gay takes Allen's place in the starting lineup, Allen would come in to play in the nickel package.

"They're all going to play," LeBeau said. "Cortez still has the ankle a little bit. [Gay] will play a lot."

Brown high on Geno

Receiver Antonio Brown might know Jets quarterback Geno Smith better than any of Smith's receivers in New York. Brown and Smith grew up in the same area in Florida and work out together in the offseason.

"He's hungry, always willing to work," Brown said. "He comes out two to three times a day [in the summer]. You can see his hard work is paying off."

Smith, a rookie second-round pick out of West Virginia, had his best game of his young career Monday night in Atlanta when he completed 16 of 20 passes for 199 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions in a 30-28 victory. That performance came after he threw eight interceptions in the first four games.

"He's a catch-and-throw kind of guy," Brown said. "The offensive line did great job of giving him time. Anytime he gets time and can make decisions, he'll make a good throw.

"I always believed in him, he believes in himself. The more and more he plays and learns and watches other guys, he'll continue to get better."

Quick hits

Offensive coordinator Todd Haley declined to name a starter at left tackle. Kelvin Beachum and Levi Brown have practiced with the first-team offense this week. ... Haley said he was encouraged by the debut of rookie running back Le'Veon Bell, who rushed for 57 yards and scored two touchdowns in his first NFL game against the Vikings. "It was all encouraging stuff," Haley said. "He came in and it wasn't too big for him. He had a good look in his eye. He handled everything well." ... Starting left guard Ramon Foster (pectoral injury) went through a full practice for a second consecutive day. ... Tight end Heath Miller was a limited participant at coach Mike Tomlin's discretion... Jets receiver and former Steeler Santonio Holmes (foot, hamstring) did not practice for a second consecutive day. ... Jets cornerback Dee Milliner (hamstring) and tight end Kellen Winslow (knee) also missed practice for the second day in a row.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/...#ixzz2hP5SaXJ2
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Old 10-11-2013, 05:21 AM   #2
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Default Re: Steelers notebook: Struggles no shock given lack of sacks

Hopefully making Heyward the starter at DE will help us get more pressure on opposing quarterbacks and hopefully some sacks to go along with the pressure.
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Old 10-11-2013, 06:15 AM   #3
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Default Re: Steelers notebook: Struggles no shock given lack of sacks

There are a lot of reasons why the Steelers have been losing. It's not all on the defense, and it's not all on the offense. It would be nice if the offense took the opening kickoff and gave them a lead to work with too. We sit here as fans and sometimes want to try to point to one thing to explain what's happening. Clearly, rushing the quarterback is a problem, but not the only one.

If this team's defense is not capable, the offense is going to have to score a lot of points. If the offense isn't getting it done, the defense has to come through. The team just needs to win a game any way possible. I don't care if they win 3-0 or 48-47. It makes no difference. The only thing that matters is a win, period. Whatever it takes.

This team needs to rally around something, and a victory could be that rallying point. Just put one good game together, and who knows what can happen. If it's a close game, they need somebody to make a play at a big moment of the game. Something that is a game changer or winner at the end of the game. It doesn't matter who it is, or which side of the ball it comes from. Somebody.....Anybody.....make a play and win this game.
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Old 10-11-2013, 07:28 AM   #4
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Default Re: Steelers notebook: Struggles no shock given lack of sacks

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Originally Posted by pczach View Post
There are a lot of reasons why the Steelers have been losing. It's not all on the defense, and it's not all on the offense. It would be nice if the offense took the opening kickoff and gave them a lead to work with too. We sit here as fans and sometimes want to try to point to one thing to explain what's happening. Clearly, rushing the quarterback is a problem, but not the only one.

If this team's defense is not capable, the offense is going to have to score a lot of points. If the offense isn't getting it done, the defense has to come through. The team just needs to win a game any way possible. I don't care if they win 3-0 or 48-47. It makes no difference. The only thing that matters is a win, period. Whatever it takes.

This team needs to rally around something, and a victory could be that rallying point. Just put one good game together, and who knows what can happen. If it's a close game, they need somebody to make a play at a big moment of the game. Something that is a game changer or winner at the end of the game. It doesn't matter who it is, or which side of the ball it comes from. Somebody.....Anybody.....make a play and win this game.
Great point . And this article rings true , however , it is not just the defense.

The offensive struggles boil down to the same two things . Giving up Sacks and Turnovers.

In Summation. Our whole season boils down to turnovers and sacks. Both sides of the ball have to improve these numbers respectively for the season to be saved.
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Old 10-12-2013, 12:25 AM   #5
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Default Re: Steelers notebook: Struggles no shock given lack of sacks

This has been the biggest issue. It effects everything they do in their defense. Factor in the lack of turnovers and Ben's live of turning it over, and that's it.
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Old 10-12-2013, 02:55 AM   #6
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Default Re: Steelers notebook: Struggles no shock given lack of sacks

I'm sure taking away ping pong will fix the problem.
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Old 10-15-2013, 02:10 PM   #7
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Default Re: Steelers notebook: Struggles no shock given lack of sacks

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Originally Posted by IowaSteeler927 View Post
Hopefully making Heyward the starter at DE will help us get more pressure on opposing quarterbacks and hopefully some sacks to go along with the pressure.
Mark Kaboly @MarkKaboly_Trib:

Cam Heyward had 6 QB hurries/pressures against Jets. Now leads Steelers with 15

https://twitter.com/intent/user?orig...67619680440320
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Old 10-15-2013, 02:13 PM   #8
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Default Re: Steelers notebook: Struggles no shock given lack of sacks

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Mark Kaboly @MarkKaboly_Trib:

Cam Heyward had 6 QB hurries/pressures against Jets. Now leads Steelers with 15

https://twitter.com/intent/user?orig...67619680440320
Fire Heyward!!!
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Old 10-16-2013, 01:08 AM   #9
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Default Re: Steelers notebook: Struggles no shock given lack of sacks

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Mark Kaboly @MarkKaboly_Trib:

Cam Heyward had 6 QB hurries/pressures against Jets. Now leads Steelers with 15

https://twitter.com/intent/user?orig...67619680440320
Makes you wonder why this move wasn't made awhile back. Ziggy Hood has always been so-so IMO.
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