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Old 09-18-2006, 09:22 AM   #1
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Default Head to Head: Faneca/Simmons;Stroud/Henderson

Head to Head: Steelers' Gs Alan Faneca/Kendall Simmons vs. Jaguars' DTs Marcus Stroud/John Henderson
Monday, September 18, 2006

By Gerry Dulac, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Marcus Stroud and John Henderson might not only be two of the biggest defensive tackles in the National Football League. They also might be the best tandem.

Each is a former No. 1 pick. Each has been to the Pro Bowl. And each is tougher to move than a piano.

"That's the tough thing about it, they're so daggone big," said guard Kendall Simmons. "They want to occupy at least three to four guys at one time, and they do a good job of it."

Stroud (6-6, 312), a No. 1 pick in 2001, has been named to each of the past three Pro Bowls. Henderson (6-7, 325), a No. 1 pick in 2002, was named to the Pro Bowl in 2004. Together, they have not missed a game since joining the Jacksonville Jaguars and form the foundation of a defense that is one of the toughest to run against in the NFL, even if the statistics do not always support the notion.

To be sure, the Steelers would not disagree.

They managed only 73 yards rushing on 30 attempts in an overtime loss to the Jaguars last year at Heinz Field, their second-lowest total of the season. What's more, they managed just 2.4 yards per rush against the Jaguars in that game, their lowest average of the season.

"They're good players, they're All-Pro guys," said guard Alan Faneca. "Very rarely do you come up against a team that has two of them. That makes it tough. They clog up the middle, and it makes our jobs harder."

Indeed, Faneca and Simmons will have two of the biggest assignments -- literally and figuratively -- when the Steelers play the Jaguars tonight in Alltel Stadium in Jacksonville, Fla. Their ability to handle Stroud and Henderson -- maybe just contain them -- will determine how much success the Steelers will have with their running game.

The Steelers are coming off a game in which Willie Parker had his third consecutive 100-yard performance -- 115 yards on 29 carries -- in the season-opening victory against the Miami Dolphins. But the Dolphins do not build their defense around their tackles, not like the Jaguars do.

"They're loads," coach Bill Cowher said. "You're going to have to be patient. You're going to have to accept you're going to get 2 or 3 yards at a time. Hopefully, we can break a big one for 8 or 9 yards."

Indeed, the Jaguars are stingy against the run. They allowed a league-low four rushing touchdowns in 2005 and have yielded just 23 in the past three years, tied for the fewest in the NFL. During that same period, the Jaguars have allowed 107 runs of 10 yards or longer, tied for third fewest in the league.

Stroud and Henderson are the reason.

"You just have two big ol' guys who are going to sit in there and clog up space, man," Simmons said. "You look at their defense, they don't do much blitzing just because they depend on their front four to get pressure and clog up the middle."

The Jaguars, though, are hurting on the defensive line. End Reggie Heyward, their leading pass-rusher, injured his Achilles tendon against Dallas and is out for the season. Their other end, Paul Spicer (groin), is questionable, though he is expected to play.

What's more, Stroud has been playing on a sprained right ankle, which was injured last week in practice. The injury limited his performance against the Cowboys and could force the Jaguars to use more of a 3-4 defense against the Steelers.

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/06261/722818-66.stm
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Old 09-18-2006, 12:17 PM   #2
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Default Re: Head to Head: Faneca/Simmons;Stroud/Henderson

Maybe tonight we will run more screen with Parker and let him get some space... I am sure we will still run it up the middle as we normally do ... but i think tonight would be a great night for some screen to free up Parker and let him get some open space... get em a lil worn out before we send in the Dookster
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Old 09-18-2006, 01:44 PM   #3
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Default Re: Head to Head: Faneca/Simmons;Stroud/Henderson

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Maybe tonight we will run more screen with Parker and let him get some space... I am sure we will still run it up the middle as we normally do ... but i think tonight would be a great night for some screen to free up Parker and let him get some open space... get em a lil worn out before we send in the Dookster
I'm curious about that too. Something tells me that we are going to shake it up early tonight rather than come out and just play Steeler ball in the first quarter. It's Monday night on the road so shutting down the crowd early seems like a pretty good idea.

What does Whiz have up his sleeve??
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Old 09-18-2006, 01:46 PM   #4
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Default Re: Head to Head: Faneca/Simmons;Stroud/Henderson

I agree with both HD and MW07. Smack them in the jaw early, settle down the crowd. Take out their running game and move in on Leftwich.
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Old 09-18-2006, 02:07 PM   #5
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Default Re: Head to Head: Faneca/Simmons;Stroud/Henderson

i thought stroud was out with an ankle injury. o well i think we have the best line in football and i think everyone can handle the 1500pounds their line has.
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Old 09-18-2006, 02:09 PM   #6
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Default Re: Head to Head: Faneca/Simmons;Stroud/Henderson

Yeah I hope we come out with a bang
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Old 09-18-2006, 02:09 PM   #7
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Default Re: Head to Head: Faneca/Simmons;Stroud/Henderson

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i thought stroud was out with an ankle injury.
No. He's listed as questionable. He will play tonight with a bum ankle.
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