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Old 12-23-2007, 10:08 AM   #1
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Default Without Parker and Smith, Steelers aren't championship-caliber.

Without Parker and Smith, Steelers aren't championship-caliber
By Greg Cosell - SportingNews

Let's start on defense. In general terms, the philosophy of longtime defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau is this: Stop the run on early downs with physicality, put the opponent in long-yardage passing situations and then attack the quarterback with a wide array of blitz schemes and pressure packages. That has been the Steelers' defensive modus operandi for what seems like forever.
There's a progression to this approach, kind of like a mathematical equation. The basic theorem, the initial piece of the puzzle, is defending the run. That's where Smith comes in. In the Steelers' base 3-4 defense, Smith is the left defensive end. His job description is simple: Physically beat the offensive linemen in front of him and shut down the point of attack in the run game. It's grunt work, more grit than glitter, but the necessary foundation of all that the Steelers want to do.

Go back a couple of weeks to the Steelers' loss to Jacksonville at home, a week after Smith suffered his season-ending biceps injury. He was replaced by Travis Kirschke. The Jaguars ran 75 offensive plays in that game and controlled the ball for almost 38 minutes. I can't remember the last time an opposing team dominated like that in Pittsburgh. Jacksonville out-Steelered the Steelers. The game-winning drive in the fourth quarter was most telling: eight plays, six of which were runs. Three of Fred Taylor's runs on that drive, culminating with the 12-yard touchdown, went to the right, directly at Kirschke. He did not hold up.
That was a significant red flag for the Steelers' defense -- and it vividly revealed the value of Smith.

I know what you're thinking: The week before against the Patriots, the Steelers had Smith but did not have Polamalu, and they could not slow down Tom Brady and company. That's true, and just as troubling for Pittsburgh in a different way. The Patriots are unlike any other NFL team in terms of their offensive approach. They pass, not run. In fact, against the Steelers, they called 33 consecutive passes beginning in the second quarter. For a defense, the run-stopping element is largely irrelevant.

What must worry the Steelers is that they blitzed an excessively high percentage -- 37 out of 55 snaps, 67 percent -- and they did not sack Brady once. In fact, they did not force him to speed up his game or to misread a coverage. Overall, in the last four games, Pittsburgh has only two sacks.

Bottom line: The Steelers have significant defensive concerns, and the loss of Smith severely limits their core philosophy.

On the other side of the ball, it's my analysis of Roethlisberger that dictates my conclusion regarding Parker as the most critical piece of the offensive puzzle. I have studied Roethlisberger carefully over his four years in the league, and I am continually bothered by his maddening inconsistency.

That inconsistency results from his tendency to be impatient in the pocket, moving when it's not necessary. I can't tell you how many times I have seen Roethlisberger leave the pocket when there are no bodies around him. My sense is that he ultimately is not comfortable as a pocket quarterback. Talk to defensive coaches around the league and they will tell you that he struggles with coverage from the pocket.

Because of that, Roethlisberger has the playmaker mentality: Get outside the pocket, run around, make something happen. There's no question spectacular plays can be made that way, and Roethlisberger has authored many of those. He has great ability to maintain his focus downfield when he's on the move, and he throws the ball with excellent accuracy on the run. Those certainly are positive traits, ones that make him difficult to defend, but you can't be an elite NFL quarterback unless you are consistent week-in and week-out from the pocket. Roethlisberger is not.

The Steelers' offensive foundation must be the running game, and Parker gave them both the sustaining and explosive element. With him now out with a broken leg, the temptation will be to put the offense in Roethlisberger's hands. That would be a mistake.

Without Parker and Smith, the Steelers are not a championship team on either side of the ball.
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Even though his points are well grounded he neglets to state one of those out-of-the-pocket plays set up a TD in the SuperBowl and about 4 more helped get the Steelesr to the superbowl in the first place.

He also does not state the fact that the Steelers are a power running team first and have just adapted this style to compliment Willies style of running the ball. It will be nothing for the Steelers to go back to the way they ran their O when Bettis was there. As a matter of fact Rod Woodson said exactly the same thing. That the plus of having to use davenport more may end up helping the Steelers in the long run.
(i actually think they should have been using him like the Saints used Duce M).

As for the defense he does not mention the fact that Dick is one of the best minds in football and even if he has to go to four down linemen he will. The loss of Aron is a big one though I hope the other players can pick up the slack.
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Old 12-23-2007, 10:37 AM   #2
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Default Re: Without Parker and Smith, Steelers aren't championship-caliber.

Smith's loss is absolutely hurting us the most. He is one of the most unsung heroes in the entire NFL. My only question is Hoke. Hoke is a big run-stopper too and Hamp's backup....can he not be converted to a defensive end and let him knock some people around? It'd get him some valuable experience at end too, which obviously is thinner than we thought.

As far as the Parker - Davenport comparisons....Sure the offensive line likes a big back. There's nothing exotic. You just get off the ball and push straight forward and let the big back fall forward. I still think Willie is hitting the line before any holes have a chance at opening up.

You can do all the finger pointing you want at our supposed "flaws"....The measure of a championship calibur team is how they adapt and still find a way to win when the chips are stacked against them.

You can't just remove a few key players and immediately say that we're doomed.
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Old 12-23-2007, 11:00 AM   #3
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Default Re: Without Parker and Smith, Steelers aren't championship-caliber.

Really...the Steelers have not been championship caliber all year. My hope is that each week they get better, learn more, execute better and with one week to go and a good defense awaiting them, they can do a lot for confidence by winning that game. Another win in the first game of the playoffs and then the sky is the limit. They have two weeks to peak and this past game was a good indicator of where they are. The season isn't over.
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Old 12-23-2007, 11:33 AM   #4
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Default Re: Without Parker and Smith, Steelers aren't championship-caliber.

We are all looking for HOW CAN THE STEELERS GET IT DONE????? Just maybe and only maybe Davenport becomes the incredible sucess story of 2008 and the play offs. Davenport does have natural ability (size and speed) to shock the football world.

Other then then play of Ben and the difference a healthy Troy "MIGHT MAKE ' to a defense that appears to be getting weaker , not better. where do we place our hope going deep inot the play off. Bad weather or key injury(s) to a play off opponent it is hard to be overly optimistic. The play offs are great and we will probably be there so we do have a chance.
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Old 12-23-2007, 11:46 AM   #5
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Default Re: Without Parker and Smith, Steelers aren't championship-caliber.


This is Tomlins' first season as head coach folks. I didnt expect him to come in here and win a Super Bowl this year myself. I wanted to see Big Ben come back strong, and he definitely has. And to see if Willie Parker is gonna be able to handle the load of a workhorse and for the most part... he has. I was worried about our O Line... and now I know why. I was also concerned about Troy Polomalu's concussions reoccuring.. and so far so good, but the last 2 seasons he has not been as electric as in the past. He made the pro-bowl this year on his reputation only. And then there is our FS position. I thought we had the answer there, but now I dont think that we do at all. All this said... we are still 10-5 and control our own destiny of winning our Division this year. This has been a successful season no matter how far in the play-offs we go in my opinion.
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Old 12-23-2007, 01:24 PM   #6
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Default Re: Without Parker and Smith, Steelers aren't championship-caliber.

I really don't think losing Parker is going to hurt that much. Parker's forte is his speed. Bad field conditions are likely in the playoffs, and that would have negated Parker's speed. Davenport's style is better suited for the playoffs in cold weather venues IMO.

As for the defense, again, I'm not worried. We held our own against the pats in the 1st half when we played them. The pats made halftime adjustments, but LeBeau made NO adjustments. Nor did he make adjustments in the jags game. My guess is that LeBeau is taking note of what adjustments these other teams are making while holding out on making his own. LeBeau has always been good at making adjustments. Do you really think he's forgotten how in the past month?
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Old 12-23-2007, 06:17 PM   #7
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Default Re: Without Parker and Smith, Steelers aren't championship-caliber.

Well in 2005 not people thought we had a snowballs chance in hell of doing anything in the playoffs and we won it all. So we need our defense to step and play shutdown defense. Then we need our oline to protect Ben and run block then we will be okay.
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Old 12-23-2007, 06:27 PM   #8
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Default Re: Without Parker and Smith, Steelers aren't championship-caliber.

Quote:
Originally Posted by steel striker View Post
Well in 2005 not people thought we had a snowballs chance in hell of doing anything in the playoffs and we won it all. So we need our defense to step and play shutdown defense. Then we need our oline to protect Ben and run block then we will be okay.
You beat me to it...

But yeah...."No #6 seed has EVER won the Superbowl..."
Down goes Cincy
Down goes Indy
Down goes Denver
Down goes Seattle

BWAHAHAHAHA!!!!


It's funny to me....just like in 2005....if the Steelers did somehow manage to win it all....the broadcasters would say "The best team didn't go to the superbowl"

I remember broadcasters even saying how the superbowl wouldn't be a great show or a great "legendary" matchup because Indy wasn't in it.....They acted like we stole it. They talked as if they were 2 boxers and one got flashy at the end of a round to steal the round from the judges.....

We are looked down upon yet again.....and yet again, it is time to rise up and knock out the heavyweights!
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Old 12-23-2007, 07:02 PM   #9
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Default Re: Without Parker and Smith, Steelers aren't championship-caliber.

we just need other players to step up and take the place of smith and parker. if we can have that, then we have just as good as chance as anyone.. we all know the saying anything can happen on any given sunday
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Old 12-23-2007, 08:24 PM   #10
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Default Re: Without Parker and Smith, Steelers aren't championship-caliber.

with them we aren't championship caliber
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