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Old 04-21-2008, 04:35 AM   #1
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Default Tomlin intent on improving Steelers' defensive line

Tomlin intent on improving Steelers' defensive line
By John Harris
TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Monday, April 21, 2008

Great pass rusher or great defensive back?
Steelers coach Mike Tomlin left no doubt what he wants.

"Great pass rusher -- because the ball never comes out," Tomlin told reporters at the recent NFL owners meetings in Florida.

The Steelers recorded 36 sacks in 2007. Tomlin wants and expects more sacks in 2008.

However, it's not as if the Steelers' defense struggled. The numbers prove that.
The team finished with the NFL's top-ranked defense last season -- No. 2 against the pass and No. 2 against the run.

Unfortunately, in the biggest games against the best teams, the Steelers couldn't overcome their lack of a consistent pass rush from their traditional 3-4 alignment.

Remember that as the Steelers prepare for the draft this weekend.

Potential Steelers first-round draft picks include North Carolina defensive tackle Kentwan Balmer, Clemson defensive end Phillip Merling and Miami defensive end Calais Campbell.

"If you want to apply pressure to the quarterback, I think it starts first and foremost with your ability to apply pressure with your rushmen, your people that are paid to do it," Tomlin said.

The Steelers plan to stick with the 3-4. So, they need their linebackers to become more active pass rushers, their interior line to generate more of a push upfield or, ideally, a better combination of the two.

Based on last year's sack total, the Steelers' top pass rushers were all linebackers.

Pro Bowl outside linebacker James Harrison led the team with 8 1/2 sacks, inside linebacker James Farrior had six, outside linebacker LaMarr Woodley had four in limited action and inside linebacker Larry Foote had three.

Up front, defensive ends Aaron Smith (2 1/2) and Brett Keisel (2) and nose tackle Casey Hampton (1) accounted for 5 1/2 sacks.

That may not be enough for Tomlin, who's a fan of the way the Super Bowl champion New York Giants generated a pass rush without blitzing.

New York led the NFL with 53 sacks -- six more than New England, which lost to the Giants in Super Bowl XLII.

Quick, name the 2007 Giants' starting secondary.

Give up?

Just know that the Steelers have a better secondary than the Giants, while the Giants have a better pass rush than the Steelers.

"I have a passion for those rushers, man. Those guys are unique animals," Tomlin said. "When you have them, you have a chance to play great defense, and when you have a chance to play great defense, you have a chance to win."


http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pitt.../s_563435.html
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Old 04-21-2008, 04:36 AM   #2
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Default Re: Tomlin intent on improving Steelers' defensive line

Quote:
Originally Posted by lamberts-lost-tooth View Post
Tomlin intent on improving Steelers' defensive line
By John Harris
TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Monday, April 21, 2008

Great pass rusher or great defensive back?
Steelers coach Mike Tomlin left no doubt what he wants.

"Great pass rusher -- because the ball never comes out," Tomlin told reporters at the recent NFL owners meetings in Florida.

The Steelers recorded 36 sacks in 2007. Tomlin wants and expects more sacks in 2008.

However, it's not as if the Steelers' defense struggled. The numbers prove that.
The team finished with the NFL's top-ranked defense last season -- No. 2 against the pass and No. 2 against the run.

Unfortunately, in the biggest games against the best teams, the Steelers couldn't overcome their lack of a consistent pass rush from their traditional 3-4 alignment.

Remember that as the Steelers prepare for the draft this weekend.

Potential Steelers first-round draft picks include North Carolina defensive tackle Kentwan Balmer, Clemson defensive end Phillip Merling and Miami defensive end Calais Campbell.

"If you want to apply pressure to the quarterback, I think it starts first and foremost with your ability to apply pressure with your rushmen, your people that are paid to do it," Tomlin said.

The Steelers plan to stick with the 3-4. So, they need their linebackers to become more active pass rushers, their interior line to generate more of a push upfield or, ideally, a better combination of the two.

Based on last year's sack total, the Steelers' top pass rushers were all linebackers.

Pro Bowl outside linebacker James Harrison led the team with 8 1/2 sacks, inside linebacker James Farrior had six, outside linebacker LaMarr Woodley had four in limited action and inside linebacker Larry Foote had three.

Up front, defensive ends Aaron Smith (2 1/2) and Brett Keisel (2) and nose tackle Casey Hampton (1) accounted for 5 1/2 sacks.

That may not be enough for Tomlin, who's a fan of the way the Super Bowl champion New York Giants generated a pass rush without blitzing.

New York led the NFL with 53 sacks -- six more than New England, which lost to the Giants in Super Bowl XLII.

Quick, name the 2007 Giants' starting secondary.

Give up?

Just know that the Steelers have a better secondary than the Giants, while the Giants have a better pass rush than the Steelers.

"I have a passion for those rushers, man. Those guys are unique animals," Tomlin said. "When you have them, you have a chance to play great defense, and when you have a chance to play great defense, you have a chance to win."


http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pitt.../s_563435.html
This is gonna shake up ALOT of draft boards and give some of us draft geeks some food for thought!!!
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Old 04-21-2008, 05:02 AM   #3
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Default Re: Tomlin intent on improving Steelers' defensive line

You know, I REALLY SHOULD GO THERE, but I won't. You know what I mean? Yeah, some of you know what I mean. Those of you who have in past threads, TRASHED the poor rating that I've given to our defensive linemen.

Yes I know, according to some of you, our defensive linemen are AWESOME and they totally do the task required of them in a 3-4 defensive scheme which is to "occupy blockers" thus clearing the way for the Linebackers. LMAO!

""""If you want to apply pressure to the quarterback, I think it starts first and foremost with your ability to apply pressure with your rushmen, your people that are paid to do it," Tomlin said.""""

People that are paid to apply pressure, yup,yup,yup. Right on Mike, they're paid to apply pressure, NOT OCCUPY BLOCKERS!

Sorry nay sayers, I'll take the coaches word on this topic. Coach says we need better defensive linemen, I've said it for a few years running. YAHTZEE baby!
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Old 04-21-2008, 06:44 AM   #4
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Default Re: Tomlin intent on improving Steelers' defensive line

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Sorry nay sayers, I'll take the coaches word on this topic
Rule # 1 NEVER take a coach's word before a draft. Coaches are known to blow smokescreens to hide their true intentions before a draft.

The Steelers just signed Starks to a 6.9 million dollar contract for 1 year. This wasn't because they think Starks is worth that much, but because there was no other choice. Do you really believe they'll allow themselves to be put in a similar position next year? I still look for an O lineman in round 1
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Old 04-21-2008, 06:49 AM   #5
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Default Re: Tomlin intent on improving Steelers' defensive line

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Originally Posted by Steel Pit View Post
You know, I REALLY SHOULD GO THERE, but I won't. You know what I mean? Yeah, some of you know what I mean. Those of you who have in past threads, TRASHED the poor rating that I've given to our defensive linemen.

Yes I know, according to some of you, our defensive linemen are AWESOME and they totally do the task required of them in a 3-4 defensive scheme which is to "occupy blockers" thus clearing the way for the Linebackers. LMAO!

""""If you want to apply pressure to the quarterback, I think it starts first and foremost with your ability to apply pressure with your rushmen, your people that are paid to do it," Tomlin said.""""

People that are paid to apply pressure, yup,yup,yup. Right on Mike, they're paid to apply pressure, NOT OCCUPY BLOCKERS!

Sorry nay sayers, I'll take the coaches word on this topic. Coach says we need better defensive linemen, I've said it for a few years running. YAHTZEE baby!
The 3-4 DE is still required to occupy blockers. In passing situations though, it would be nice to have better pass rushers on the field than whom we have now (e.g. Ray Seals - 1995).

Sorry, but the same rules still apply for DE's in the 3-4.
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Last edited by SteelFist; 04-21-2008 at 08:22 AM.
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Old 04-21-2008, 07:22 AM   #6
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Default Re: Tomlin intent on improving Steelers' defensive line

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steel Pit View Post
You know, I REALLY SHOULD GO THERE, but I won't. You know what I mean? Yeah, some of you know what I mean. Those of you who have in past threads, TRASHED the poor rating that I've given to our defensive linemen.

Yes I know, according to some of you, our defensive linemen are AWESOME and they totally do the task required of them in a 3-4 defensive scheme which is to "occupy blockers" thus clearing the way for the Linebackers. LMAO!

""""If you want to apply pressure to the quarterback, I think it starts first and foremost with your ability to apply pressure with your rushmen, your people that are paid to do it," Tomlin said.""""

People that are paid to apply pressure, yup,yup,yup. Right on Mike, they're paid to apply pressure, NOT OCCUPY BLOCKERS!

Sorry nay sayers, I'll take the coaches word on this topic. Coach says we need better defensive linemen, I've said it for a few years running. YAHTZEE baby!
Maybe they didnt explain themselves properly...the role of the 3-4 DE is in fact to rush the QB...however the 3-4 DE's are traditionally bigger and stronger than 4-3 DE's for the express purpose of taking up blockers as they bull their way into the backfield...this in turn should open up lanes and helps the LB's to rush the QB.
You are right in saying that they are to get to the QB...but the "naysayers" are also correct in saying that they are to take up blockers.
Hope this helps and I hope those who were giving you crap realize that they were only half right.
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Old 04-21-2008, 10:32 AM   #7
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Default Re: Tomlin intent on improving Steelers' defensive line

A 3-4 DE that creates pressure on the QB in passing situations makes the QB move his feet, stop looking downfield and look to escape the rush. That is when a quicker LB ususally gets their sacks. A productive DE doesnt actually need to get sacks (although nice) as much as disrupt the pocket and get upfield.

I have posted here that Keisel does nothing in the pass game but attempt to bull rush the OT and normally gets stalled at the Line of Scrimmage, only occupying one blocker and not collapsing the pocket. After Keisel, there is a huge drop in talent to Eason and Kirshke.

DE is a huge need for this team, but most like to focus on the high profile positions and thinking we need to draft a RB, WR, CB or S.

Winning football starts UP FRONT........where the REAL MEN play!
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Old 04-21-2008, 11:29 AM   #8
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Default Re: Tomlin intent on improving Steelers' defensive line

So what this article is telling me, is bottom line, we are drafting an Olineman in the first round.
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Old 04-21-2008, 11:33 AM   #9
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Default Re: Tomlin intent on improving Steelers' defensive line

He's falling for what happens after every superbowl:

The champion that win's greatest strength always becomes the fad of the league... and Tomlin is doing just this.
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Old 04-21-2008, 11:55 AM   #10
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Default Re: Tomlin intent on improving Steelers' defensive line

I just think that the Steelers will select the best available player at 23 this year. I have thought they would take an O lineman all along, but the last couple weeks have me looking at different things.

DE- We all seen how our line performed after Aaron Smith went down. We need help there and I think that Tomlin will take care of that early in the draft.

LB- Quintin Groves may just be TOO Good to pass up at 23 if he is still around and he would definitely add passrusher to our list of LB's and OLB James Harrison isnt very young either.

DB- Justin King would be a nice pickup at 23 as well in my opinion, but do you draft him that high in reality?

This all comes back to in my opinion, if one of the Big 4 OT's are still on the board at 23 I think that the Steelers must take'em.
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