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Old 08-15-2008, 07:18 AM   #1
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Default First Team "D" Borderline vs. Bills

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First-team 'D' borderline vs. Bills

TORONTO -- They can open and close the roof at Rogers Centre, slap a little paint and a few logos on the turf and call it a National Football League game.

But detractors aren't easily fooled.

In a city where the Canadian maple leaf is proudly displayed and the only thing more plentiful than the traffic is the number of hockey fans, the Steelers' defense looked as though it were slipping and sliding on ice against the Buffalo Bills last night.

And it wasn't the backups and players who won't be around in September who were looking awkward and clumsy. It was the first-unit defense, the one that had trouble protecting leads last season.

OK, so it's still summer and the real games don't begin for a couple of more weeks. And, not to worry, Lawrence Timmons will play more than he did in the first quarter -- one play -- once Sept. 7 rolls around.

Nonetheless, in two preseason outings, the first-team defense has allowed a field goal and two touchdowns on four possessions, the latest act of forgiveness coming in the 24-21 loss to the Bills.

"We weren't at our peak," said nose tackle Casey Hampton, appearing in his first game since coming off the physically unable to perform list. "They ran the plays we knew were coming. They just were dropping the ball on us."

If it were hockey, they would have pulled the goalie.

After the Philadelphia Eagles marched right down the field and kicked a field goal in their only appearance last week, the first-team defense hardly stiffened against the Bills, who scored the third-fewest points (252) in the league last season.

Buffalo scored on its first two possessions -- quarterback Trent Edwards threw touchdown passes of 7 and 13 yards to tight end Robert Royal -- before the Steelers finally forced a three-and-out, the only one of the preseason for the first-teamers.

Granted, the defense showed almost none of its sub packages against the Bills, using cornerback William Gay as a replacement for nose tackle Casey Hampton on just five occasions, and rarely blitzing. On the Bills' 10-play scoring drive that gave them a 7-0 lead, the base defense was on the field for nine plays -- a rarity in these days of ever-rotating personnel packages.

Still, there are too many holes in the defense, and it has been this way since the second half of last season, even though the defense ranked No. 1 overall in the NFL. And the lapses have been noticeable because too many came in the fourth quarter.

On five occasions in 2007, the defense failed to protect a lead in the final minutes after the offense rallied from deficits, some double-digit shortages. The only time it didn't result in defeat was when Cleveland's Phil Dawson missed a 52-yard field goal as time expired in Week 9.

The most severe collapse came in the playoff loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars, when the offense rallied from a 28-10 deficit with three touchdowns in the fourth quarter and the defense let the Jaguars go 44 yards in eight plays and kick the winning field goal with 37 seconds remaining.

Does anyone forget the sight of quarterback David Garrard scrambling 32 yards on fourth-and-2, a play on which safety Tyrone Carter badly missed an open-field tackle?

The tackling wasn't much better against the Bills.

On three consecutive plays on the Bills' second touchdown drive, Gay missed a tackle on wide receiver Roscoe Parrish, resulting in a first down; cornerback Ike Taylor missed a tackle on wide receiver Lee Evans, resulting in a 17-yard gain, and safety Ryan Clark missed a tackle on a swing pass to running back Fred Jackson, turning a loss into a 5-yard gain.

For good measure, there was even a long run by the quarterback on third-and-13 -- Edwards stepping up in the pocket from his own 7 and gaining 22 yards to keep a scoring drive alive.

The good news: Once he got on the field with the second-team defense, Timmons was a one-man terror, sacking J.P. Losman on third down in the second quarter and hammering third-string quarterback Matt Baker as he released the ball in the fourth.
Friday, August 15, 2008
By Gerry Dulac, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/08228/904538-66.stm
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Old 08-15-2008, 07:26 AM   #2
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Default Re: First Team "D" Borderline vs. Bills

On a positive note, Timmons looks like he's coming along very well.
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Old 08-15-2008, 08:21 AM   #3
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Default Re: First Team "D" Borderline vs. Bills

That was a pathetic display of football from the Steelers, especially from the first string offense and defense. The special teams are still horrible.

By the middle of the third quarter the Bills had 110 yards rushing to the Steelers 27.

The first team defense didn't generate a pass rush against a vanilla offense. They allowed Edwards all the time he needed to pick them apart. On top of that Buffalo was without their best OL, LT, Jason Peters. They couldn't stop the run either and that's their forte'. They were allowing no-name running backs to shine.

The Steelers DB's couldn't tackle my grandmother with a walker and in a four by six room. They were that bad.



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Old 08-15-2008, 08:25 AM   #4
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Default Re: First Team "D" Borderline vs. Bills

Where's the pass rush? Edwards had all day to pick them apart. What makes matters worse is they were playing against a vanilla offense without their best offensive lineman LT, Jason Peters.

The Steelers defense was getting run on all game and by no name backs trying to make the Bill's roster. By contrast the Steelers couldn't run effectively.

I don't believe Troy would have made that much of a difference. Bad is bad and the Steelers were just plain bad.

Where's the tackling? The Steelers DB's were embarrassing themselves. They couldn't tackle to save their lives.
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Old 08-15-2008, 08:37 AM   #5
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Default Re: First Team "D" Borderline vs. Bills

Wow...the sky is falling in Pittsburgh.

There's a reason you guys are known as Blitzburgh in many fan circles in the NFL. Your team has neither proven nor disproven anything in the preseason because you're not playing a zone-blitz scheme in games that don't count.

My hopes have not risen on iota concerning your play in the preseason. I'm pretty confident that, when W2 roles around, we'll be facing a much different defense than what has been displayed in the first two preseason games.
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Old 08-15-2008, 08:37 AM   #6
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Default Re: First Team "D" Borderline vs. Bills

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Originally Posted by Alva Lord View Post
That was a pathetic display of football from the Steelers, especially from the first string offense and defense. The special teams are still horrible.
What he said

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Wow...the sky is falling in Pittsburgh.

There's a reason you guys are known as Blitzburgh in many fan circles in the NFL. Your team has neither proven nor disproven anything in the preseason because you're not playing a zone-blitz scheme in games that don't count.
.
X you are actually being too nice. It sucked and we know it. We also know its only pre-season, the defense was "vanilla" and there's time to get better. After all, part of the purpose of the board is to gripe.
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Old 08-15-2008, 08:46 AM   #7
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Default Re: First Team "D" Borderline vs. Bills

When I see more of the Zone Blitzing scheme that you guys use next week...and see it fail...then I'll get my hopes up. However, I almost wonder if this isn't some ploy to lull opposing teams into complacency.
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Old 08-15-2008, 09:08 AM   #8
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Default Re: First Team "D" Borderline vs. Bills

defensive line is getting pushed around

Tyrone Carter is really bad, i can't believe Tomlin starts him over Anthony Smith. Guess he didn't learn from the playoff loss.

Clark doesn't seem like the same player he was prior to his illness. I hope he improves, he was really good prior to that freak sickness
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Old 08-15-2008, 09:19 AM   #9
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Default Re: First Team "D" Borderline vs. Bills

I'm willing to give Clark a pass considering what he went through. He's still trying to get his feet under him.

Now, Tyrone Carter has no excuse to look as bad as he does. I wonder if Anthony Smith has a learning disability along with being immature. It would explain his lack of development. It looks like the coaching staff's giving up on him as a free safety.
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Old 08-15-2008, 09:22 AM   #10
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Default Re: First Team "D" Borderline vs. Bills

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I'm willing to give Clark a pass considering what he went through. He's still trying to get his feet under him.
Me too. I'm a big fan of Clark. Considering how much weigth and strength he lost, i find it pretty amazing he is out there now. This might be one of those things where he isn't back to normal untill next year though.

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Now, Tyrone Carter has no excuse to look as bad as he does. I wonder if Anthony Smith has a learning disability along with being immature. It would explain his lack of development. It looks like the coaching staff's giving up on him as a free safety.
I have no idea but it really ticks me off seeing Carter out there continuing his crappy play
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