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Old 11-09-2005, 07:32 PM   #1
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Default steelers horrible on 3rd down defense

seems to be a hot topic especially after reading cowhers weekly press conference. sure teams have put together long drives. but steelers are 5th in scoring defense and probably lead the league in allowing the fewest "big plays" and probably top 5 in creating turnovers in the redzone. steelers could improve their 3rd down numbers but what is the cost? big plays burning us? id rather see a 12 play drive go for 3 points than a 3 play drive go for 7.

it is impossible to play a goal line defense to stop the run and a dime to stop the pass at the same time. theres gotta be a balance. it seems like the coaching staffs philosophy is to gamble a little less to stop the big play. the cost of this philosophy is giving up longer drives. what weve seen at alot of these long drives is offenses making mistakes and our defense capitalizing. do you think a team wans to be smacked around by the steelers defense for 12-15 plays straight? this will tire out an opposing offense real quick.

so far it has worked relatively well and other than injuries the players are fine. i think it is a slightly different approach by the coaching staff and if its not really broke at this point why try to mess with it? the solution could mean giving up 2-3 more points a game. id rather not give up those points.

sure last year the steelers were #1 in scoring and rushing defense but does anyone really wanna see polamalu getting burned again in the afc champ. game? small changes that these stats represent show cowhers ability to be flexible and adapt as a coach, contrary to popular belief. him addressing the situation at his press conference shows he is always weighing the pros and cons of the philosophy they are using. we could see the steelers gamble a little more this week to cut down the 3rd down conversions against the browns, but remember the cost and risk could be a 40-50 yd td play.
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Old 11-09-2005, 08:55 PM   #2
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Default Re: steelers horrible on 3rd down defense

What I would like to see is a little bit more creativity, I know most of you guys are like, "what"? What I mean is this, maybe a 4 down lineman set Kirschke, Hampton, Hoke and Smith see what kind of push you can get with this set. What do the steelers have to lose, this can open up alot of different dime and quarter blitzes.
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Old 11-09-2005, 09:57 PM   #3
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Default Re: steelers horrible on 3rd down defense

I am hoping with experience and more McFadden plays the secondary will get better during the second half of the season, although Ike Taylor has regressed since the Cincy game.

One key to getting off the field on 3rd and long is pass rush pressure and that has not happened consistently since the Houston game (which does not count as any indication of having a good pass rush). My guess is that flaw is due to unsatisfactory pressure from the OLBs. I am hoping that will change as Haggans recovers from his surgery (Haggans was a non-factor Sunday) and we get Harrison and Haggans on the field together more. Porter has been listed as having knee problems all season and since it now is November it is hard to anticipate he will be getting better anytime soon (maybe they should sit Porter for a week).

Another problem is that, starting with the Patriot game, Farrior (now out) and Foote have been required to cover (unsuccessfully) crossing patterns out of the backfield.

For whatever reason, it is obvious this year's D has dropped off from the level of the 2004 D - I attribute it primarily to Haggans' absence together with a dropoff by Porter and (while still very good down from from his All Pro level of last season) Farrior.
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Old 11-09-2005, 10:18 PM   #4
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Default Re: steelers horrible on 3rd down defense

A 3-4 defense with a lot of blitzes leaves you open to big plays. If someone misses an assignment or can't get off a block, that happens. The opposite is when it works you are looking at 3 yards or less, and often a loss.
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Old 11-10-2005, 07:48 AM   #5
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Default Re: steelers horrible on 3rd down defense

Quote:
Originally Posted by SteelersWyo
A 3-4 defense with a lot of blitzes leaves you open to big plays. If someone misses an assignment or can't get off a block, that happens. The opposite is when it works you are looking at 3 yards or less, and often a loss.
Nice point, but it still comes down to, if we blitz, it has to be effective. If you dont get to the qb, then you will expose your dbs
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Old 11-10-2005, 08:14 AM   #6
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Default Re: steelers horrible on 3rd down defense

Quote:
Originally Posted by tony hipchest
seems to be a hot topic especially after reading cowhers weekly press conference. sure teams have put together long drives. but steelers are 5th in scoring defense and probably lead the league in allowing the fewest "big plays" and probably top 5 in creating turnovers in the redzone. steelers could improve their 3rd down numbers but what is the cost? big plays burning us? id rather see a 12 play drive go for 3 points than a 3 play drive go for 7.

it is impossible to play a goal line defense to stop the run and a dime to stop the pass at the same time. theres gotta be a balance. it seems like the coaching staffs philosophy is to gamble a little less to stop the big play. the cost of this philosophy is giving up longer drives. what weve seen at alot of these long drives is offenses making mistakes and our defense capitalizing. do you think a team wans to be smacked around by the steelers defense for 12-15 plays straight? this will tire out an opposing offense real quick.

so far it has worked relatively well and other than injuries the players are fine. i think it is a slightly different approach by the coaching staff and if its not really broke at this point why try to mess with it? the solution could mean giving up 2-3 more points a game. id rather not give up those points.

sure last year the steelers were #1 in scoring and rushing defense but does anyone really wanna see polamalu getting burned again in the afc champ. game? small changes that these stats represent show cowhers ability to be flexible and adapt as a coach, contrary to popular belief. him addressing the situation at his press conference shows he is always weighing the pros and cons of the philosophy they are using. we could see the steelers gamble a little more this week to cut down the 3rd down conversions against the browns, but remember the cost and risk could be a 40-50 yd td play.
Personally I think there is no real excuse for giving up 3rd and 10+ conversions on a regular basis - it is something I have seen time and again with the Patriots this year, but I think the DB injuries there are the main cause.

Also I think you have your logic back to front as regards opposition drives - you seriously think that opposition offenses dont want long 15 play drives because that might tire out THEIR OFFENSE? Are you kidding me?

It is conventional wisdom that long drives tire out a D well before an offense - this is because the Offense is trying execute a play it knows is going to happen - a D has to diagnose, react..THEN make a play.

Lets face it, if long drives are a bad thing - then the Steelers have been getting it wrong since day one.

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Old 11-10-2005, 10:11 AM   #7
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Default Re: steelers horrible on 3rd down defense

how many long drives have led to success against the steelers this year? not many. quite a few have led to turn overs. the longer the offense is on the field the more likely they are to make a mistake, especially if they are not running the ball.

the 3-4 zone blitz has been around for a while and teams know what is the most effective way to beat it. ball controll and running it down the steelers throat is not the most effective. quick strike and big plays are. sure conventional wisdom says all teams wanna put together 13 play drives and controll the ball for 35 minutes. its easier said than done. this really isnt the formula for success against the steelers. steelers defense is usually more disciplined than other teams offense and the steelers have always had great back ups to rotate in and out to keep the defense fresh regardless of the length of the drive. polamalu didnt look too tired before or after he ran back a fumble 77 yds for a td.

there is no excuse to constantly give up 3rd and 10's to the opposition, especially when a team is next to last in total defense and giving up more than 20 points a game. this is not the case of the steelers though. theres also no ecuse to throw only 68 yds in a game or have only 11 passing attempts either (unless the team is winning)

remember, steelers defense only got beat once this year. by the patriots. thats not even counting the clock or randel el debaucle. in their other loss the defense was off the field.
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Old 11-10-2005, 10:33 AM   #8
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Default Re: steelers horrible on 3rd down defense

Quote:
Originally Posted by tony hipchest
how many long drives have led to success against the steelers this year? not many. quite a few have led to turn overs. the longer the offense is on the field the more likely they are to make a mistake, especially if they are not running the ball.

the 3-4 zone blitz has been around for a while and teams know what is the most effective way to beat it. ball controll and running it down the steelers throat is not the most effective. quick strike and big plays are. sure conventional wisdom says all teams wanna put together 13 play drives and controll the ball for 35 minutes. its easier said than done. this really isnt the formula for success against the steelers. steelers defense is usually more disciplined than other teams offense and the steelers have always had great back ups to rotate in and out to keep the defense fresh regardless of the length of the drive. polamalu didnt look too tired before or after he ran back a fumble 77 yds for a td.

there is no excuse to constantly give up 3rd and 10's to the opposition, especially when a team is next to last in total defense and giving up more than 20 points a game. this is not the case of the steelers though. theres also no ecuse to throw only 68 yds in a game or have only 11 passing attempts either (unless the team is winning)

remember, steelers defense only got beat once this year. by the patriots. thats not even counting the clock or randel el debaucle. in their other loss the defense was off the field.
I take your point - but then how many good Offenses have the Steelers played this year?

I would say 3 - NE, SD and Cincy - and only one of these has shown good Offense against decent opposition on a consistent basis.

The Steelers do have an excellent D unit - and there is alot to be said for saving your peak until the post season - but you wont ever convince me that it is ever preferable to have short drives as opposed to long ones.

This point was demonstrated on Monday night - the Colts and Pats both scored a point for every minute of possession they had - but the Colts were able to beat the Patriots by a ratio of 2:1 in TOP.

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Old 11-10-2005, 11:07 AM   #9
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Default Re: steelers horrible on 3rd down defense

Quote:
Originally Posted by Livinginthe past
I take your point - but then how many good Offenses have the Steelers played this year?

I would say 3 - NE, SD and Cincy - and only one of these has shown good Offense against decent opposition on a consistent basis.

The Steelers do have an excellent D unit - and there is alot to be said for saving your peak until the post season - but you wont ever convince me that it is ever preferable to have short drives as opposed to long ones.

This point was demonstrated on Monday night - the Colts and Pats both scored a point for every minute of possession they had - but the Colts were able to beat the Patriots by a ratio of 2:1 in TOP.

NM
ball controll is the formula for winning. thats a given. recent history shows its just not a winning formula against the steelers especially when year in and year out they are top 5 in rushing defense. and its not just about the offenses they faced this year. last year against the patriots and eagles i think the opposition had the ball for 17 and 23 minutes. this defense has pretty much been set for the whole cowher era and typically they are with the leaders in time of possesion. (this has dropped off this year)

does that mean theres a problem? i think its more of a philosophy change. rather than a problem. im not saying the philosophy change is the correct change. but i would rather give up a few more 3rd down conversions than an average of a few more points. its that whole risk/reward deal that the coaches have been tinkering with. i really think the coaches could easilly switch back to a more gambling style that would cut down the 3rd down conversions at the cost of leaving themselves vulnerable in certain areas and times. of course injuries and youth has been a factor too, which may also explain a slightly more conservative approach. theres a reason that the steelers d has come up big in some of the most critical times in games this year. the coaches really know when to unleash them vs. harness them. the players know the coaches will usually put them in the best situation for success.

the defense wants more sacks and blitzes
the corners would probably like more safety help and interceptions
the wr's would like more catches
the qb would like more throws
and the rb's would like more carries

the thing with the steelers is that you wont hear any of them say these things. they have bought into the coaches formula for success. ultimately buying into the formula in place is the best chance of getting to the sb, regardless of what has happened in the past. keep in mind to that the defense is compensating for some offensive injuries which also could explain a more conservative approach. we dont wanna have to play catch up (like in the afc champ. game with c. batch, 2 out of 4 rb's injured or with a banged up wr core.
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Old 11-12-2005, 03:44 PM   #10
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Default Re: steelers horrible on 3rd down defense

i thought this was a pretty good article in todays postgazette addressing whats going on with the steelers defense. it pretty much sums up my views in this thread.

Steelers' defense limiting big plays
Saturday, November 12, 2005


http://postgazette.com/pg/05316/605302.stm
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