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Old 11-28-2008, 08:34 AM   #1
mesaSteeler
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Default Secrets of Steelers’ defensive success revealed

Secrets of Steelers’ defensive success revealed
By Mark Gaughan
NEWS SPORTS REPORTER
http://www.buffalonews.com/sports/story/507108.html

Question: What is the secret to Pittsburgh’s defensive success? It seems like they have been good for 20 years on defense. Obviously they have great coaches. Do they draft more for defense than other teams? — Roger Harrison, Philadelphia.

Answer: Pittsburgh does not draft more for defense than other teams. In fact, they probably draft for defense less. Since 2000, Pittsburgh has drafted for defense on just 30 out of 69 picks — or 43 percent. If you take the top three rounds, the Steelers have drafted for defense 50 percent — 13 of 26 — since 2000. They draft well, so they don’t have to keep re-tracing their steps on defense.

This will be the eighth straight season and the 14th time in 16 years in which the Steelers have ranked among the top 10 on defense. They haven’t ranked in the bottom half of the league on defense since 1991.

So here are four basic reasons:

1. Success with a limited number of high-round picks.

2. Coaching.

3. Continuity.

4. The ability of scouts and coaches to find rush linebackers for the 3-4 scheme.

If an assistant coach ever was going to be elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Steelers defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau probably should be the first one in. (LeBeau belongs anyway based on his playing career, but that’s another story.) LeBeau has been in Pittsburgh 10 of the past 17 years. Since 1992, the Steelers have drafted 25 defensive players among the top three rounds, and 15 have been pretty good to great. That’s a superb ratio. They include Joey Porter, Levon Kirkland, Chad Brown, Jason Gildon, Casey Hampton and Troy Polamalu. Pittsburgh also finds players in later rounds. Six of their current 11 defensive starters were acquired in the fourth round or later, including James Harrison, an undrafted free agent who has 12 sacks this year.

The Steelers’ continuity, their stability in the football department, and the fact they have played the same scheme contributes to their success. The scouts know exactly what the coaches want and they look for the same kinds of players every year. The fact the ownership hires good people doesn’t hurt, either.

Q: What happens if the Giants and Jets have home-field advantage for their respective championship games if they make it that far? Since both play at Giants Stadium, there is no way the games could run back to back like they do now. — Mark A. Scott, Buffalo.

A: The league would not try to hold both games on the same day. It would be too difficult a turnaround for the stadium workers, even if they started the games at 12:30 and 8 p. m. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said this week one game would be moved to Monday evening, Jan. 19. The NFL would like a prime-time title game. It probably would be the NFC game, because FOX, which televises the NFC, has a weaker Monday night TV schedule than CBS.

Q: Just in pure numbers, how many first-day draft picks has New England made on offensive and defensive linemen this decade? And how many for the Bills? — Evan Rush, Toronto.

A: We’ll call first-day picks any in the top three (even though the first day is only two rounds now). New England has taken eight linemen — four on offense, four on defense. Four have been first-rounders (Richard Seymour, Vince Wilfork, Ty Warren and Logan Mankins). The Bills have taken 10 — two on offense and eight on defense. Three have been first-rounders (Erik Flowers, Mike Williams and John McCargo).

Bills beat reporter Mark Gaughan answers your football questions every Friday. Send your e-mails to mgaughan@-buffnews.com or mail to Question Mark, The Buffalo News Sports Department, One News Plaza, P. O. Box 100, Buffalo, NY 14240. Please include name and hometown.

(I would add another more reason. Ownership. The Rooney's know how to run a football team. I live out here in Arizona and watched last night when the Arizona Cardinals turned into Turkeys. Defense wins championships and the Rooney's know it.

The Cardinals are built completely wrong with overpriced wide receivers, an aging QB who five weeks ago was making noises that he wanted to retire, and grossly overpriced free agent running backs. They can't run the ball or stop the run. If they were not in the worst division in the history of the NFL they would be 3 and 7.

The Steelers are built correctly particularity with the use of undrafted free agents and the willing, no matter how much it hurts, to let veteran players go when they become to expensive. - mesa)
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Old 11-28-2008, 09:29 AM   #2
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Default Re: Secrets of Steelers’ defensive success revealed

Quote:
Originally Posted by mesaSteeler View Post
Secrets of Steelers’ defensive success revealed
By Mark Gaughan
NEWS SPORTS REPORTER
http://www.buffalonews.com/sports/story/507108.html

Question: What is the secret to Pittsburgh’s defensive success? It seems like they have been good for 20 years on defense. Obviously they have great coaches. Do they draft more for defense than other teams? — Roger Harrison, Philadelphia.

Answer: Pittsburgh does not draft more for defense than other teams. In fact, they probably draft for defense less. Since 2000, Pittsburgh has drafted for defense on just 30 out of 69 picks — or 43 percent. If you take the top three rounds, the Steelers have drafted for defense 50 percent — 13 of 26 — since 2000. They draft well, so they don’t have to keep re-tracing their steps on defense.

This will be the eighth straight season and the 14th time in 16 years in which the Steelers have ranked among the top 10 on defense. They haven’t ranked in the bottom half of the league on defense since 1991.

So here are four basic reasons:

1. Success with a limited number of high-round picks.

2. Coaching.

3. Continuity.

4. The ability of scouts and coaches to find rush linebackers for the 3-4 scheme.

If an assistant coach ever was going to be elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Steelers defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau probably should be the first one in. (LeBeau belongs anyway based on his playing career, but that’s another story.) LeBeau has been in Pittsburgh 10 of the past 17 years. Since 1992, the Steelers have drafted 25 defensive players among the top three rounds, and 15 have been pretty good to great. That’s a superb ratio. They include Joey Porter, Levon Kirkland, Chad Brown, Jason Gildon, Casey Hampton and Troy Polamalu. Pittsburgh also finds players in later rounds. Six of their current 11 defensive starters were acquired in the fourth round or later, including James Harrison, an undrafted free agent who has 12 sacks this year.

The Steelers’ continuity, their stability in the football department, and the fact they have played the same scheme contributes to their success. The scouts know exactly what the coaches want and they look for the same kinds of players every year. The fact the ownership hires good people doesn’t hurt, either.

Q: What happens if the Giants and Jets have home-field advantage for their respective championship games if they make it that far? Since both play at Giants Stadium, there is no way the games could run back to back like they do now. — Mark A. Scott, Buffalo.

A: The league would not try to hold both games on the same day. It would be too difficult a turnaround for the stadium workers, even if they started the games at 12:30 and 8 p. m. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said this week one game would be moved to Monday evening, Jan. 19. The NFL would like a prime-time title game. It probably would be the NFC game, because FOX, which televises the NFC, has a weaker Monday night TV schedule than CBS.

Q: Just in pure numbers, how many first-day draft picks has New England made on offensive and defensive linemen this decade? And how many for the Bills? — Evan Rush, Toronto.

A: We’ll call first-day picks any in the top three (even though the first day is only two rounds now). New England has taken eight linemen — four on offense, four on defense. Four have been first-rounders (Richard Seymour, Vince Wilfork, Ty Warren and Logan Mankins). The Bills have taken 10 — two on offense and eight on defense. Three have been first-rounders (Erik Flowers, Mike Williams and John McCargo).

Bills beat reporter Mark Gaughan answers your football questions every Friday. Send your e-mails to mgaughan@-buffnews.com or mail to Question Mark, The Buffalo News Sports Department, One News Plaza, P. O. Box 100, Buffalo, NY 14240. Please include name and hometown.

(I would add another more reason. Ownership. The Rooney's know how to run a football team. I live out here in Arizona and watched last night when the Arizona Cardinals turned into Turkeys. Defense wins championships and the Rooney's know it.

The Cardinals are built completely wrong with overpriced wide receivers, an aging QB who five weeks ago was making noises that he wanted to retire, and grossly overpriced free agent running backs. They can't run the ball or stop the run. If they were not in the worst division in the history of the NFL they would be 3 and 7.

The Steelers are built correctly particularity with the use of undrafted free agents and the willing, no matter how much it hurts, to let veteran players go when they become to expensive. - mesa)


Which usually keeps us under the salary cap with enought ot sign franchise players (Big Ben) and still enough left over to pay the quality players that don't get too big of heads and enough to sign good players every year. Usually if we wanted to we could always have enough left over to take over free agency but thats not our style. We have a great team full of players who love the game and love the team even more. That is Steelers Football!
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Old 11-28-2008, 09:38 AM   #3
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Default Re: Secrets of Steelers’ defensive success revealed

Nice read mesa - thanks!

The Steelers' FO, scouts and staff seem to have a nose for talent. Sure there has been a bust here and there, but all in all, we've drafted very well overall. Add a couple of FA's who have turned out to be instrumental to the ebb and tide of the team and we have consistency and continuity. Top it off with superb coaching staffs over the years, most notably Papa LeBeau, and it is a recipe for success!
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Old 11-28-2008, 12:56 PM   #4
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Default Re: Secrets of Steelers’ defensive success revealed

Can never get enough articles about the Steelers defense. Thanks for posting Mesa.
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Old 11-28-2008, 01:35 PM   #5
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Default Re: Secrets of Steelers’ defensive success revealed

Quote:
Originally Posted by HometownGal View Post
Nice read mesa - thanks!

The Steelers' FO, scouts and staff seem to have a nose for talent. Sure there has been a bust here and there, but all in all, we've drafted very well overall. Add a couple of FA's who have turned out to be instrumental to the ebb and tide of the team and we have consistency and continuity. Top it off with superb coaching staffs over the years, most notably Papa LeBeau, and it is a recipe for success!
You are most welcome. Glad you enjoyed it.
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Old 11-28-2008, 07:23 PM   #6
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Default Re: Secrets of Steelers’ defensive success revealed

Dick LeBeau must have the keys to Pitsburgh by now!
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Old 11-28-2008, 08:48 PM   #7
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Default Re: Secrets of Steelers’ defensive success revealed

That is probably why the draft is so exciting for me. The steelers seem to always come up big.
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Old 11-28-2008, 11:18 PM   #8
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Default Re: Secrets of Steelers’ defensive success revealed

And our defensive success will continue on Sunday.
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