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Old 11-05-2006, 12:15 AM   #1
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Default Ed Bouchette on the Steelers: Team, Issues, Questions

Ed Bouchette on the Steelers: A weekly look inside the team, issues and questions
The no-huddle fad came and went so quickly here in Pittsburgh

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Whatever happened to the no-huddle offense?

The Steelers sprung it on teams in preseason games this summer. They talked about using it more this season because quarterback Ben Roethlisberger liked running it and ran it well at Miami University.

Roethlisberger also pushed for it. He wanted the challenge of going to the line of scrimmage and having a choice of plays to call once he saw the defensive alignment.

So far, though, the no-huddle offense has been used by the Steelers almost exclusively when they are in their two-minute drill. They used it successfully in Oakland that way, but it was too little too late at the end of the game.

Roethlisberger favors the no-huddle, they played it up in the preseason, and it has worked well in the two-minute drill. Players say circumstances in various games likely prevented them from going to it. Perhaps the best circumstance today would be to go to it right out of the box.

Sometimes numbers just don't add up

Not to pour salt on the Steelers' old wounds, but by holding the Raiders to 98 yards Sunday, they became only the second team since 1991 to lose a game despite allowing fewer than 100 total yards, according to STATS, Inc.

The only other team to pull off that dubious stunt was another Steelers outfit Dec. 8, 2002, when they outgained the expansion Houston Texans, 422-47, yet lost, 24-6. The Texans that day scored all of their points off five turnovers.

The Steelers also wasted the best defensive performance in the NFL this season. Those 98 yards by Oakland were the fewest in a game this season, as were the Raiders' 2.0 average yards per gain, their 17 passing yards and their five pass completions.

The Steelers' defense has not allowed a touchdown in the past 79 offensive plays against them, stretching to their game in Atlanta.

Jack Lambert: Who needs a Rolex?

There are 34 chapters covering 35 former Steelers in the new book, "Men of Steel" by local author Jim Wexell. It's worth the $19.95 price for the chapter on Jack Lambert alone.

Lambert retired in 1985 and, through good investments and occasional autograph appearances, has not had to work a full-time job. But that doesn't mean he is as flush as the athletes of today, and he makes that point to Wexell.

"My daughter's going to college next year, and I've got to pay for it," Lambert told him. "My name's not Roethlisberger; my name's not Ward; my name's not Bettis. I don't lose $35,000 watches up in Detroit. I don't even know what a $35,000 watch looks like. When I lose one, I go back up to Wal-Mart and buy one that says Timex on it. It runs pretty good."

The book is for those Steelers fans who want to read not just about the '70s Steelers or those of 2005, but about players and characters from teams that did not win championships, from Bill Dudley and Elbie Nickel to Roy Jefferson, Bubby Brister and Levon Kirkland.

Maybe he isn't, but he probably is

Bill Belichick may not be a genius, or he may well be a genius. Whatever the intellect, he is proving to be one of the game's best coaches of all time. That he has the New England Patriots at 6-1 entering their game against unbeaten Indianapolis is astonishing.

Belichick over the past two years has lost both coordinators and his offensive line coach to head-coaching jobs, and they took other coaches with them. They've lost most of their wide receivers, including David Givens -- and they gave away Deion Branch.

Junior Seau retired because he thought he couldn't cut it anymore, then turned around, signed with the Patriots and is starting. The Patriots also start Chad Scott at cornerback, the same player dumped on the garbage heap by the Steelers. Artrell Hawkins starts for them at safety, and you thought he was out of the league the past three years.

That wall sure can hurt if you don't know it's there

Duce Staley may have played his last game in the National Football League.

Not only did Staley fail to win the Jerome Bettis role this summer, he has been beaten out by a kid who's never played a down from Shippensburg University.

John Kuhn, fresh off the practice squad, will dress today, and Staley will not. That's because Kuhn is more versatile -- he can play fullback, halfback and third-down back -- and he can play on special teams, something Staley does not do.

Staley, who turns 32 in March, had a good start with the Steelers when he rushed for 707 yards in his first seven games in 2004. Since then, it has been a long line of injuries and a long time of inactivity for him.

The Steelers asked Staley in March to take a $1 million pay cut, and he did, down to $1.5 million. Perhaps before they did that, they should have asked him to stop by and go through some agility drills to make sure his legs were still good.

The best way to describe what happened to him is that he hit the wall. That's not a knock on Staley because that's how most players' careers end. Whoever decided to bring him back and pay him good money even after a pay cut goofed.

It is November, so on the subject of elections ...

The Pro Football Hall of Fame continues to ignore former Steelers defensive back Jack Butler and former Detroit Lions safety Dick LeBeau. Even though they would be two attractive nominees for the seniors committee, that committee overlooked them this year in favor of Cleveland guard Gene Hickerson and Detroit tight end Charlie Sanders.

Not to disparage anyone's candidacy, but Sanders caught 336 passes for 4,817 yards and 31 touchdowns. Heck, former Steelers tight end Elbie Nickel caught 329 passes for 5,133 yards and 37 touchdowns, was considered a great blocker and is not in the Hall of Fame.

Butler is one of only two players from the NFL's official All-Decade team of the 1950s not in the Hall of Fame. LeBeau is tied for seventh in NFL history with 62 career interceptions, one fewer than Hall of Famer Ronnie Lott.

It's time both gentlemen become serious candidates when the Hall of Fame seniors committee next meets.

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Old 11-05-2006, 09:27 AM   #2
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Default Re: Ed Bouchette on the Steelers: Team, Issues, Questions

I thought Kuhn was on IR??????
He had no teeth, and he was slobbering all over himself. I'm thinking, 'You can have your money back, just get me out of here. Let me go be an accountant." I can't tell you how badly I wanted out of there." Denver rookie QB John Elway, on Jack Lambert, after Lambert and the Steelers knocked Elway out of his first game as a pro (1983)
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Old 11-05-2006, 09:30 AM   #3
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Default Re: Ed Bouchette on the Steelers: Team, Issues, Questions

Originally Posted by Lambertfan View Post
I thought Kuhn was on IR??????

Booker, Brooks, Colclough, A. Harrison and Haynes are on the IR.
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