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Old 09-23-2008, 05:41 AM   #1
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Default Steelers seek answers to offensive meltdown

Steelers seek answers to offensive meltdown
By Scott Brown
TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Tuesday, September 23, 2008


Flushed out of a pocket that consistently collapsed Sunday, Ben Roethlisberger threw a pass after he had crossed the line of scrimmage. Fittingly, the pass that would not have counted even had Santonio Holmes caught it sailed behind the third-year wide receiver.

A Steelers offense that couldn't manage a touchdown in a 15-6 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles instead produced a comedy of errors. Nothing better illustrated how out of sync and outclassed the Steelers were than the third-quarter play in which they were twice penalized -- left guard Chris Kemoeatu was flagged for holding -- and still couldn't complete the pass.

About the only time the offensive players appeared to be together in Philadelphia was after the game when it came time to assign blame for their dismal performance.

"We all had our hand in the cookie jar," wide receiver Hines Ward said after the offense failed to score a touchdown against a defense that yielded 41 points in its previous game. "We're never going to single anybody out. We have to find a way to rectify it and get better."

And fast.

Roethlisberger is on pace to get sacked a whopping 64 times. Chances are the $100 million quarterback won't make it through the season in one piece if the Steelers don't do a better job of protecting him.

The Eagles blitzed Roethlisberger mercilessly -- he didn't finish the game after getting his hand stepped on in the fourth quarter -- and the Steelers weren't able to counter what Philadelphia did even though coach Mike Tomlin said they made adjustments.

"The only way you get people out of that mentality is you handle it, you get the ball out quickly, you get the ball in the hands of people in open spaces," Tomlin said. "We weren't able to do that consistently. Just did not have rhythm at all."

There was some disagreement over why the Steelers' offense had less rhythm than a dancer with two left feet.

Ward said the Steelers were "very confused" by what the Eagles did defensively.

"We had guys coming scot-free when they should have been blocked," he said.

Right guard Kendall Simmons said simple arithmetic told the story of the Eagles' dominating defensive effort.

"You've got five, maybe six guys (blocking). They're bringing eight," Simmons said. "There's nothing you can do, maybe double up, put two hands on another guy if you can. They weren't doing anything spectacular, but why stop it if it works?"

It worked so well that upcoming opponents figure to borrow heavily from the Eagles' philosophy of how to defend the Steelers. Next up for the Steelers are the Ravens, who don't exactly employ a bend-but-don't-break defense and sacked Roethlisberger nine times in a game two seasons ago.

"When you put a display like that out there," Tomlin said of the Eagles game, "you're going to see it again and again and again until you make the problem disappear."

The struggles the Steelers had in blocking the Eagles seemed to have a snowball effect on the offense.

Roethlisberger did not force the Eagles to abandon or at least alter their approach by finding the receivers left open when Philadelphia came with all-out blitzes. The indecision he showed at times was not helped by a receiving corps that dropped several passes.

Also, the Steelers did not make the kind of commitment to the running game -- Willie Parker carried the ball 13 times for 20 yards -- that might have slowed down the Eagles' pass rush.

When asked if the mistakes they made in Philadelphia can be corrected, Simmons said, "Ain't no ifs, ands or buts about that. If not, then we're in trouble."


http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pitt.../s_589579.html
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Old 09-23-2008, 09:04 AM   #2
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Default Re: Steelers seek answers to offensive meltdown

Just when I was willing to forget it, this article comes along.

Ben has to do a better job of making a decision and throwing the ball quickly. He did it so well against Houston. This O-Line will get him killed, but he isn't doing himself any favors. On the rare occasions he had time he had to pass, he looked indecisive with those pump fakes. I can count many times he just sat there watching the blitz and not the recievers and running into a brick wall of defenders.

Let's just say the Offense just did not have a good day. And now teams will come after Ben with blitzes now more than ever until he starts making them pay.
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Old 09-23-2008, 09:53 AM   #3
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Default Re: Steelers seek answers to offensive meltdown

Funny that Trent Cole of the Eagles thought the Steelers would run more.

"I was surprised they didn't run it more," Eagles defensive end Trent Cole said. "I thought they'd try to smash it down our throats."

http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/column...t&lid=tab2pos2
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Old 09-23-2008, 10:06 AM   #4
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Default Re: Steelers seek answers to offensive meltdown

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Funny that Trent Cole of the Eagles thought the Steelers would run more.

"I was surprised they didn't run it more," Eagles defensive end Trent Cole said. "I thought they'd try to smash it down our throats."

http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/column...t&lid=tab2pos2
well he wasnt the only one who thought so, the run could have helped get the pressure of Ben a little
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Old 09-23-2008, 10:07 AM   #5
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Default Re: Steelers seek answers to offensive meltdown

Im not sure how much the steelers can do other than watch alot of film on the ravens D and do there best to pick up the blitz during game time.

Tomlin said he is going to keep the line the same and hopefully Ben will be able to dump the ball off quicker.
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Old 09-23-2008, 10:25 AM   #6
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Default Re: Steelers seek answers to offensive meltdown

They have almost 700lbs of road grading blockers on the left side of the line. They should have run at least 35 times in that game. That would set-up the play action, freeze the LB's, neutralize the blitz, etc, etc...

I rarely second guess the coaches, but this one was a no-brainer...
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Old 09-23-2008, 10:55 AM   #7
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Default Re: Steelers seek answers to offensive meltdown

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Originally Posted by lamberts-lost-tooth View Post
[B]
"You've got five, maybe six guys (blocking). They're bringing eight," Simmons said. "There's nothing you can do, maybe double up, put two hands on another guy if you can. They weren't doing anything spectacular, but why stop it if it works?"
Yeah right.
When they rushed four, two would go unblocked. Whats the excuse for that?
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Old 09-23-2008, 11:21 AM   #8
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Default Re: Steelers seek answers to offensive meltdown

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Yeah right.
When they rushed four, two would go unblocked. Whats the excuse for that?
When they rushed 4, the Steelers handled it. I rewatched the game and saw a lot of 6 and 7 man blitzes, but I think only 1 time they sent 8.
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Old 09-23-2008, 11:49 AM   #9
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Default Re: Steelers seek answers to offensive meltdown

You can blame the line all you want but if you have more guys blitzing than you have blocking, what do you want them to do? The guys on the defense are getting paid as well to get to the quarterback, they're not scrubs.

Having said that, the 2nd highest paid quarterback cannot make the right hot route to save his life. Offcourse they were going to blitz the house damn near every play, why did we get sacked?

How many times did you see Dawkins in Romo's face but the ball was out of his hands? They could not get to Romo because of the short passes that were going for 10 yards every play.

Cowboys- 41.
Steelers- 6.

What's the difference? The quarterback and the play calls.

May I remind you that our O coordinator got fired from the Browns. Were we running streak routes when they were blitzing 8? That ball should be out of Big Bens hands way sooner.

The line is the least of my worries.
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Old 09-23-2008, 11:55 AM   #10
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Default Re: Steelers seek answers to offensive meltdown

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You can blame the line all you want but if you have more guys blitzing than you have blocking, what do you want them to do? The guys on the defense are getting paid as well to get to the quarterback, they're not scrubs.

Having said that, the 2nd highest paid quarterback cannot make the right hot route to save his life. Offcourse they were going to blitz the house damn near every play, why did we get sacked?

How many times did you see Dawkins in Romo's face but the ball was out of his hands? They could not get to Romo because of the short passes that were going for 10 yards every play.

Cowboys- 41.
Steelers- 6.

What's the difference? The quarterback and the play calls.

May I remind you that our O coordinator got fired from the Browns. Were we running streak routes when they were blitzing 8? That ball should be out of Big Bens hands way sooner.

The line is the least of my worries.
I agree with most of what you say. The O line is a point of concern, but not as much as the average, overreacting fan thinks. The ball does need to get out faster, the running game does need to be established and the O line needs to step its game up. The coaching needs to improve.

All pretty simple stuff that can get better. The real concern as always is health and with Hampton, Keisel, Parker out and Ben banged up the week isnt looking that great.
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