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Old 06-02-2008, 03:39 AM   #1
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Default Main objective: Defense needs to pressure the QB

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/08154/886694-66.stm

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Monday, June 02, 2008
By Ed Bouchette, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

It's bigger and, according to the plan, will pack more punch. The Steelers' defensive playbook always has been one of the more intricate and confusing in the NFL under coordinator Dick LeBeau, and it might be more so in 2008.

Some of the newer designs are meant for one reason: Get to the quarterback. The Steelers have been among the best at that, traditionally. But the past two seasons, it's not the quarterback who has dropped but Steelers' sack totals. They dipped from 47 during their run to the Super Bowl in 2005, to 39 in 2006 and to 36 last season.

They've gone from Blitzburgh to Zipsburgh when it comes to sacking the quarterback, especially in the second half of last season. Halfway through, the Steelers had 25 sacks and a 6-2 record. In the second half, they managed only 11 sacks and a 4-4 record.
"I do feel like maybe toward the end of the year we weren't getting to the quarterback as much as we should have," said defensive end Brett Keisel.

Little surprise then that LeBeau and head coach Mike Tomlin are trying to devise ways to put more pressure on the quarterback in 2008.

"We have to put guys in position to highlight their skills and let them go," Tomlin said.

Toward that end, there will be lineup changes and schematic ones, too.

LaMarr Woodley replaces Clark Haggans at left outside linebacker, and he has shown he knows his way to the quarterback. He had four sacks while playing in just 80 of the team's 933 defensive snaps as a rookie last regular season, then added two more in the playoff loss to Jacksonville. Haggans had four sacks as a starter. Those six sacks ranked third on the team behind James Harrison's 10 and James Farrior's 6.5.

His teammates predict big things for Woodley as a regular in 2008.

"He's very strong," Keisel said. "I think once he gets more comfortable in our scheme and what he's doing, he's just going to be that much better. I definitely expect double digits from him."

More pressure from Woodley on the left side should provide more opportunities for team MVP Harrison on the right.

"Hopefully, he'll take some of the pressure I had toward the later part of the year, where they started keeping running backs in to block me on the edge, give me a bump," Harrison said. "They're going to have to give him the same respect that they give me.

"I figure through the first half of the year, he'll come out and surprise a few people on opposing teams, and, after they realize it, they'll have to deal with both of us."

Harrison's role will increase, too. The plan is to move him around more in the defense, along with Keisel, to try to further confuse offenses. He'll do more of what Joey Porter did before him.

"It should be confusing," Harrison said. "You're going to get looks where we're inverted or we're both inside. We're both going to rush, both going to drop. One might rush and one might drop, depending on what the call is."

The drop they hope to avoid is another one in their sack total.

"I think our defense is definitely capable of a large playbook where we have all kinds of things that we can throw at an offense," Keisel said. "We don't have to come at one team with one game plan. We can say, well, this team, you can get after them on the right side and then have a whole thing of crazy blitzes, you know. We have a veteran defense and, hopefully, we will do that."

It might get a boost from a rookie, though.

One reason cited for the dropoff in sacks the second half of the season was weariness. Other than Woodley's few plays, Haggans and Harrison played every down. The coaches said they would like to use third-round pick Bruce Davis as a situational pass-rusher to spell Woodley and Harrison. Davis had 24 1/2 sacks the past two seasons at UCLA.

"It has to be a collective thing," Tomlin said, explaining the workings of a good pass rush. "If you have one guy who has standout skills, offenses can make adjustments and do what they need to do in terms of getting it blocked. If you have a collective group that's capable of getting after the quarterback, making the ball come out on time and eliminating escape lanes, then you have a good rush and you can apply consistent pressure."
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Old 06-02-2008, 04:01 AM   #2
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Default Re: Main objective: Defense needs to pressure the QB

Great read it is nice knowing they are working on more quarterback sacks this year its hard to belive that they didn't mention timmons in that article I am sure he will have his chances in there as well.
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Old 06-02-2008, 04:53 AM   #3
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Default Re: Main objective: Defense needs to pressure the QB

the sack totals have gone down because the steelers were content with mediocrity in the LB corps. they still need to replace foote and an aging farrior.

the LBers need help from the D-line. they are supposed to absorb the O-line. keisel is a huge liability in that area. hampton needs to lost weight. sure the offenseive linemen can't move him, but hampton can't move himself either hopefully aa. smith recovers. i think they should use hoke more often this season.

every season the steelers say they have new defensive looks, but it's always the same. i will onyl believe the steelers' pass rush is better when i see it with my own eyes.
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Old 06-02-2008, 05:07 AM   #4
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Default Re: Main objective: Defense needs to pressure the QB

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the sack totals have gone down because the steelers were content with mediocrity in the LB corps. they still need to replace foote and an aging farrior.

the LBers need help from the D-line. they are supposed to absorb the O-line. keisel is a huge liability in that area. hampton needs to lost weight. sure the offenseive linemen can't move him, but hampton can't move himself either hopefully aa. smith recovers. i think they should use hoke more often this season.

every season the steelers say they have new defensive looks, but it's always the same. i will onyl believe the steelers' pass rush is better when i see it with my own eyes.
That's what I was going to say Dude, the Steelers claimed that they were going to have a new scheme "exotic defense" last season. They boasted that they were going to use Keisel similar to the way the Ravens used Adalias Thomas in 2006. How did that work out for the Steelers last season? Ummm, not real good.
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Old 06-02-2008, 06:18 AM   #5
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Default Re: Main objective: Defense needs to pressure the QB

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That's what I was going to say Dude, the Steelers claimed that they were going to have a new scheme "exotic defense" last season. They boasted that they were going to use Keisel similar to the way the Ravens used Adalias Thomas in 2006. How did that work out for the Steelers last season? Ummm, not real good.
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Old 06-02-2008, 06:25 AM   #6
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Default Re: Main objective: Defense needs to pressure the QB

I was excited last season hearing pretty much the same thing, involving Keisel. I don't think that worked out all that great. Keisel is limited in coverage, and dropping his weight to try and do those things limits him as a 3-4 DE. Looking at the OTA photos, Keisel looks big and strong. Let him keep his weight at 290lbs, so that he can be strong at 3-4 DE, that's where we need him to play his best.
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Old 06-02-2008, 06:28 AM   #7
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Default Re: Main objective: Defense needs to pressure the QB

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I was excited last season hearing pretty much the same thing, involving Keisel. I don't think that worked out all that great. Keisel is limited in coverage, and dropping his weight to try and do those things limits him as a 3-4 DE. Looking at the OTA photos, Keisel looks big and strong. Let him keep his weight at 290lbs, so that he can be strong at 3-4 DE, that's where we need him to play his best.
Agreed...... Keisel is a DL not a "rover".
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Old 06-02-2008, 08:43 AM   #8
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Default Re: Main objective: Defense needs to pressure the QB

sigh....

Main objectives.

get to the QB, better coverage, stuff the run. Tackle on all Special Teams plays better, have the o-line run and pass block better, use more run up the gut runs in short yardage situation instead of being cute and out score the other team in every single game regardless of how you do it.

its simple really, Just EFFING Execute Better in every single phase of the game.

thank you, have a great day.
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Old 06-02-2008, 09:00 AM   #9
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Default Re: Main objective: Defense needs to pressure the QB

"I do feel like maybe toward the end of the year we weren't getting to the quarterback as much as we should have," said defensive end Brett Keisel.


Gee...ya think, Deisel!?
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Old 06-02-2008, 09:05 AM   #10
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Default Re: Main objective: Defense needs to pressure the QB

whoa whoa whoa....statistically, the Stees were the best defense in the NFL and one of the best of all time right up until Clark and A. Smith got hurt. Aarron might be the best down lineman in the league. Keisel was used like Thomas was on the Ravens and it was effective. He fits that roll perfectly. BUT, you need a guy like Smith to stay healthy to make it work. You also need a safety that doesn't run his mouth and blow coverages.

Oh, and btw, there were plenty of 'exotic' looks. Notice how at times they only had 1 lineman down in a stance??

No worries, guys/girls, the defense won't have any issues if they stay healthy. (now the o-line however......ugh)
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