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Old 06-12-2008, 09:03 AM   #1
TrueSteelerForLife
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Default Some More O-Line

Something i Just came across.....By JJ Cooper

As the Steelers go through the offseason, the biggest concern of every Steelers fan in the country is the offensive line. Short of Ben Roethlisberger riding helmet-less on a motorcycle again, there's nothing that worries Steelers fans more than the idea of the Steelers offensive line getting blown off the ball again in 2008.

To get a better understanding of what went wrong in 2007, when Roethlisberger was sacked 53 times in 17 games, I went back and rewatched each and every sack of the 2007 season. It wasn't particularly fun, but it was pretty informative. We'll end up breaking down the sacks in countless different ways, but to start out this series, it's worth just spelling out who gave up the sacks.

But before we get to who's to blame, it's worth mentioning how the blame was metered out. Determining the man at fault for a sack is somewhat of an art more than a science. For each sack, I rewatched the play several times to note the amount of pass rushers, the type of pass rush (straight four-man rush vs. a safety blitz for example), where the pressure came from, and how long it took before Roethlisberger was hit initially. If one man was beaten initially to come in and hit or pressure Roethlisberger but another defender finished off the sack, I generally tried to credit the sack to the first man beaten, unless the initial rush had nothing to do with the sack (for example if an outside blitzer forced Roethlisberger to step up in the pocket, but he did and the rusher flew on by, but the center was then beaten for a sack, blame the center). And if two rushers shared a sack, or if a rusher flew between two uncovered offensive linemen, 1/2 sacks were awarded. If you have more questions about how I credited sacks, feel free to comment and I'll give more details.

So without further delay, here's the chart of who gave up the Steelers 2007 sacks.
Player Sacks
Willie Colon 12
Kendall Simmons 10
Marvel Smith 7
Sean Mahan 6.5
Alan Faneca 5
Trai Essex 1.5
Heath Miller 1.5
Max Starks 1
Matt Spaeth .5
No One 8
As you'll note, Willie Colon wins the honors. Last year's right tackle Max Starks took the same crown in 2006, so it's safe to say that pass blocking at right tackle has been a problem for the Steelers in recent years. But Colon's cohort on the right side of the line, Kendall Simmons gave up nearly as many sacks. When you consider that guards usually give up significantly fewer sacks than offensive tackles, you could easily argue that Simmons performance was even worse.

Of Marvel Smith's seven sacks, three came in the regular season loss to the Jaguars, when a back injury forced him to leave the game. Take those away and Smith had a very solid year in pass blocking. Now the question is just whether his back injury is fixed by his recent surgery or if it will be a chronic problem throughout the rest of his career.

Considering how Sean Mahan is a giant punching bag for Steelers fans, I'm sure a lot of you are surprised he gave up only 6.5 sacks. Don't be. Mahan's biggest problems came in the running game. And as a center, 6.5 sacks is still what would appear to be a pretty high number. Against a standard four-man rush, the center is uncovered and only has to pick up a blitzer or help out in case of a twist or stunt. Against a three-man line, the center is lined up against a massive nose tackle who usually will be lucky to get a couple of sacks a year.

Ross Tucker, a former NFL offensive lineman who now writes for SI.com, explains it this way:

Most centers go through an entire season without giving up any sacks and are rarely credited with even being responsible for a pressure.

That's not Mahan. He gave up more sacks than Faneca and nearly as many as the team's left tackle. That's a pretty brutal performance, and pass blocking was his strength.

But what jumps out is that there's enough blame to go around. No one on the Steelers offensive line excelled in pass blocking consistently all year. Even Faneca, the Jets' new multi-millionaire, has been more and more susceptible to sacks in recent years.

If there is one group that may have gotten off lightly, it's the running backs. There were times on sacks where Steelers backs did not block well, but i didn't find one case where a running back's man was responsible for the initial hit. Considering the amount of plays where tight ends were kept in to block, Heath Miller and Matt Spaeth did pretty well, although Spaeth still has work to do in the running game.

And in case you're wondering, the no one category is for sacks on corner blitzes, overloads and all-out blitzes where no one could reasonably be asked to block the player credited with the sack. Those are cases where Roethlisberger and the receivers failed make a hot-read adjustment to get the ball away or in one case where Roethlisberger simply stepped out of bounds behind the line of scrimmage.

It is true that Ben Roethlisberger is sometimes worthy of blame as well because of his tendency to hold onto the ball. What we'll try to do in the next post is figure out how much of the problem lies with the line and how much is the fault of the Steelers QB.
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Old 06-12-2008, 09:06 AM   #2
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Default Re: Some More O-Line

At least our Tight ends can block, and i don't know what they can do about the right side of our line, Look for Marvel to be dominant his contract year, and hopefully with Hartwig, Kemo, and Mendenhall our running game improves
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Old 06-12-2008, 09:06 AM   #3
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Default Re: Some More O-Line

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Short of Ben Roethlisberger riding helmet-less on a motorcycle again....
Christ people, let it go already.
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Old 06-12-2008, 09:27 AM   #4
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Default Re: Some More O-Line

Wow, that was really interesting and a different take from the normal "The OL just sucks". Not surprised by any of that except maybe Simmons.
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Old 06-12-2008, 09:51 AM   #5
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Default Re: Some More O-Line

nothing really new. The steelers had a lot of sacks last year.....they had to be blamed on somebody, but the article pretty much spreads the blame all around. The only guy they give an out to is Smith, saying 3 of his 7 were a result of his injury.

I really dont know why nobody is placing blame on Zeirline or Arians.....its their job to teach blitz recognition and pickup.
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Old 06-12-2008, 09:58 AM   #6
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Default Re: Some More O-Line

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Originally Posted by El-Gonzo Jackson View Post

I really dont know why nobody is placing blame on Zeirline or Arians.....its their job to teach blitz recognition and pickup.
because ultimately Teflon Tomlin is responsible. i think after this year, the shit will start to stick and the grumblings will get louder. i wonder how loyal he will remain to his guys (mahan, zeirlien) if its 2 bad years in a row?
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Old 06-12-2008, 10:29 AM   #7
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Default Re: Some More O-Line

i wanted the steelers to grab dallas' ex-O-line coach. i can't recall his name at the moment.

hopefully another year under zeirlien is what is needed. with the exceptions of smith and simmons; are the steelers going to have a new set of starters to learn zeirlien's scheme again?

is it zeirlien's scheme, a poor set of players, learning curve or all three?

simmons has been a waste since he was drafted and hasn't improved at all. colon is not a tackle, IMO. i hope starks learns how to play RT this coming season.
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Old 06-12-2008, 10:56 AM   #8
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Default Re: Some More O-Line

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Originally Posted by tony hipchest View Post
because ultimately Teflon Tomlin is responsible. i think after this year, the shit will start to stick and the grumblings will get louder. i wonder how loyal he will remain to his guys (mahan, zeirlien) if its 2 bad years in a row?
Add Ligashesky to that list too. I saw some film on Ligs coaching and like his enthusiasm, but when you consider that special teams were poor in St. Louis while he was there and they were not good here last year .......you gotta ask, is it the coach, the talent he has, or the schemes?
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Old 06-12-2008, 11:00 AM   #9
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Default Re: Some More O-Line

so, someone did alot of research to tell me something obvious. The Oline sux!

Guess what! The sky is blue!
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Old 06-12-2008, 11:35 AM   #10
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Default Re: Some More O-Line

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Originally Posted by TrueSteelerForLife View Post
i don't know what they can do about the right side of our line
Simple...Run Left.
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