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Old 11-25-2007, 10:28 AM   #1
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Default Key Steelers matchup

Key Steelers matchup
By Mike Prisuta
TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Sunday, November 25, 2007


STEELERS QB BEN ROETHLISBERGER vs. THE MIAMI SECONDARY

STEELERS QB BEN ROETHLISBERGER: The Steelers' rushing attack went from inconsistent to ineffective last Sunday against the New York Jets. And the offensive line seemingly had as many protection issues as it's had all season. Unless the Steelers can clean that stuff up in a hurry, there will be even more pressure on Roethlisberger to protect the football and to try to find a way to make plays when things break down and he's forced to improvise on the run.

Roethlisberger is often at his best in such instances, but he absorbed a season-high seven sacks against the Jets, in part because he admittedly held the ball on occasion because no one was open and in part because the Jets adjusted and better accounted for Roethlisberger's out-of-pocket experiences than previous Steelers opponents.

The one-dimensional nature of the Steelers' attack and the consistent pressure conspired to help limit the Steelers to a season-low 263 total net yards and 16 first downs (they had a season-low 14 against Baltimore on Nov. 5, but that was due in part to a preponderance of big plays). Their five third-down conversions in 16 attempts matched the season low established on Sept. 30 in Arizona (five in 15 tries).

If those trends continue, Miami might find a way to hang around for a while.

THE MIAMI SECONDARY: The Dolphins are on their sixth and seventh safeties due to injuries, and they're playing 2006 No. 1 pick Jason Allen more out of desperation than according to some grand plan.

Allen, remarkably, has played well the last three weeks, and intercepted a pair of passes last Sunday against Philadelphia. Prior to that he had a hard time getting on the field as a rookie and had been moved to cornerback at the outset of this season, only to be moved back to safety when the injuries hit at that position. Miami's other starting safety, Cameron Worrell, was a backup in Chicago last season and has started five games this season.

CB Will Allen is a veteran NFL starter who came over from the Giants as an unrestricted free agent at the outset of the 2006 season.

CB Michael Lehan also signed with Miami in 2006 after being waived by Cleveland. Lehan has started nine games this season after making six starts in four seasons with the Browns.

THE MATCHUP: Miami defensive coordinator Dom Capers turned up the heat last Sunday at Philadelphia, bringing more cornerback and safety blitzes and calling a more aggressive game than had previously been his norm this season. Should that trend continue, it will be incumbent upon Roethlisberger and the Steelers receivers to recognize where the blitzes are coming from and respond accordingly (hot reads against blitzes were an issue last week against the Jets). TE Heath Miller could become an inviting option in such situations, assuming Miller isn't needed at the line of scrimmage to shore up the Steelers' protection.

Miami ranks 20th in total defense, 32nd against the run and fourth against the pass. Given the Steelers' reluctance to run against Denver's then 32nd-ranked defense in October and their inability to consistently dent the Jets' then 32nd-ranked defense last Sunday, any offensive success the Steelers can muster might well come down to Roethlisberger and what he can do on third downs and in the red zone, as it seemingly invariably does. EDGE: STEELERS

LAST WEEK: Steelers CB Ike Taylor was burned early and resolute late against the Jets' passing game, but the issue wound up being decided more by the Steelers' inability to stop RB Thomas Jones, who snapped the Steelers streak of consecutive games without allowing an opposing back to rush for 100 yards at 34 in a 19-16 overtime victory for New York. EDGE: JETS
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Old 11-26-2007, 04:50 AM   #2
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Default Re: Key Steelers matchup

I see no reason why we can't come out and just pound the football with willie and davenport and take some preasure off of ben.
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Old 11-26-2007, 07:15 AM   #3
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Default Re: Key Steelers matchup

wow.. and i thought we were thin at safety going into this game.
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Old 11-26-2007, 09:30 AM   #4
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Default Re: Key Steelers matchup

On paper, it appears that the Fins' secondary should be overmatched by the Steelers O, but after last week, I take nothing for granted. I think Capers will stick with his defensive strategies from the Eagles game, so the OL needs to bring it's A game to give Ben the time he needs to find his receivers and not end up on his hiney. We also need to establish the LOS early and ram the ball down the Fins throats as often as possible.
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Old 11-26-2007, 03:55 PM   #5
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Default Re: Key Steelers matchup

We tried to pound the rock vs the Jets and looked were that got us...We did run the ball more then we passed in that game....Yes the Oline sucks big time....But when you come out and run, run and pass....It leaves you very predictable in 3rd down situations especially if its 3rd and long.....That doesn't help the Oline especially when they're struggling to pass block......

Arians needs to come out with guns a blazin...........Ben running the no huddle with 4 wide.....Get a two TD or more lead and then pound the rock....since the Dolphins really can't score...lol
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