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Old 01-31-2009, 12:10 PM   #1
mesaSteeler
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Default Saints coach Payton breaks down Cardinals-Steelers matchup

Saints coach Payton breaks down Cardinals-Steelers matchup

Story Highlights
Don't expect to see standard offensive sets from Cardinals
Steelers will need Big Ben to make big plays out of pocket
Pittsburgh's defense, which is playing with confidence, will be key

New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton, who was the Giants offensive coordinator the last time the Super Bowl was played in Tampa, eight years ago, shared his analysis of Sunday's Cardinals-Steelers matchup with SI.com's Don Banks

The Cardinals' chances in this game really do start with quarterback Kurt Warner. Their offense really runs through him and receivers Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin. I know there's been the emergence of balance with the running game this postseason, but by the nature of how they attack on offense, they're going to feel very comfortable saying we've got to throw the football to win this game.

I wouldn't be surprised at all to see Arizona come out early in an empty-set backfield, and go into a no-huddle offense to try and force a certain up-tempo tone to the game. The Cardinals will want to spread the field out on the Steelers' 3-4 defense. They know it's a real good, stout front defensively and I'd be surprised if they even try to run the ball all that much. I'd be willing to say -- and this is not a big, bold prediction -- that you're not going to see a lot of conventional two-back, one-tight end sets from Arizona, because that just plays to the strength of Pittsburgh's defense.

Teams that get in the spread formation against Pittsburgh can have some success because it opens up the game a little bit and it also reduces the amount of things the Steelers can do in terms of their blitz. Arizona might run some draws to slow down the pass rush, but really this is the type of game where more of the focus of your game plan shifts to your quarterback. Warner is going to have to play well, and they're going to count on him to really spread the field on that defense and make the Steelers play in space.

Fitzgerald is definitely going to make his share of plays. He goes up for the ball so well and no one is really able to cover him right now. But if you're Pittsburgh, you just have to be mindful of letting him get behind you. You just can't let him hurt you with those passes that are behind everyone.

On offense for the Steelers, they're going to ask Ben Roethlisberger to continue to make big plays coming off the play-action, or the bootleg. Where he really does well is when he's escaping the pressure and things start breaking down on a play. Arizona wants to keep him seven yards behind center, in that pocket. That's the goal. Because when he gets flushed outside the pocket and starts freelancing, that's when he always seems to make something happen.

Arizona's defense can give you some exotic looks, some less predicable looks. They make it harder for a quarterback to ID things, because while they're trying to bring a certain amount of pressure to stop the run, you'll see guys standing up in their third-down package, or moving around. The Cardinals pass rush has done a good job in the playoffs of getting to the quarterback and affecting his timing, disrupting things. And they'll take some chances to try and get you in third and long.

The Cardinals rookie cornerback, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, is really something. He's really gaining confidence and peaking at the right time, and as a quarterback you've got to be mindful of him at all times. He's got great ball skills and he can really break on the ball and turn an interception into a 70-yard return for a touchdown. When all is said and done, he's going to play in a lot of Pro Bowls in this league.

The Steelers pass rush will be a real challenge for the Cardinals offensive line. But Pittsburgh's approach might be less about creating pressure as it is about trying to disrupt the timing of the Cardinals receivers in their routes. The Steelers will probably stick with a four-man rush, because Warner is so good at getting rid of the ball and finding his hot read. Contesting those Cardinals receivers off the line of scrimmage and trying to get a re-route on them in that first five yards, that's going to be critical for the Steelers.

History has told us that in this type of game, where you've got a great defense and a great offense, defense usually wins in this situation. Pittsburgh is playing with so much confidence right now, and they're so solid defensively. It's going to be a good game, but the Steelers defense should be the key unit to watch in this one.


Find this article at:
http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/200...ton/index.html
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Old 01-31-2009, 12:19 PM   #2
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Default Re: Saints coach Payton breaks down Cardinals-Steelers matchup

He's correct in that when a championship is at stake, DEFENSE usually prevails. If the Cards cant or dont run, their chances to win are reduced significantly.

Turnovers or lack of and rushing success WILL be the determining factor in this game. No denying it.
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Old 01-31-2009, 12:32 PM   #3
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Default Re: Saints coach Payton breaks down Cardinals-Steelers matchup

Arizona has had a great playoff run-and to Whisenhunt's credit, he's changed the morale of that franchise and has them going in the right direction. To boot, they're some $40m under the cap this year.

However-I think their magical run will end tomorrow b/c 1) The Steelers D, especially their pass rush, will be too much for the Zona O. Yeah, Zona played very well against Jim Johnson's blitzing D 2 weeks ago, but playing against a 3-4 D is a whole new different entity, and 2) No Super Bowl team with the league's top ranked D has ever lost.

I think this will be a slug fest, with Pitt winning a 17-10 type of game.
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Old 01-31-2009, 12:49 PM   #4
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Default Re: Saints coach Payton breaks down Cardinals-Steelers matchup

At least he got the part right about the Steelers only rushing 4.

I can't stand hearing how the Steelers will get caught blitzing, leading to big plays.

I've heard it over and over all week. Totally false. These ain't your daddy's blitzburgh Steelers.

The Steelers 3-4 is unlike any others. They don't blitz hardly at all anymore - the two OLB's get all the pressure they need - from time to time they throw in another stealth attacker and still have 6 back in coverage.

Who was that other 3-4 team that put up 56 points on the Cards this year? Oh yeah - the J-E-T-S


I can see Big Ben laying a 50 burger on them too, but I might be a bit biased.
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Old 01-31-2009, 01:27 PM   #5
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Default Re: Saints coach Payton breaks down Cardinals-Steelers matchup

How nice another article saying how if you spread out the Steelers defense they can't win the battles presented in front of them. I really can't wait until tomorrow and we don't have to read or watch this garbage.
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Old 01-31-2009, 02:08 PM   #6
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Default Re: Saints coach Payton breaks down Cardinals-Steelers matchup

He should know since he had the #1 passer in the NFL this year and didn't even make the playoffs. Enough said.
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Old 01-31-2009, 02:36 PM   #7
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Default Re: Saints coach Payton breaks down Cardinals-Steelers matchup

Quote:
Originally Posted by markymarc View Post
How nice another article saying how if you spread out the Steelers defense they can't win the battles presented in front of them. I really can't wait until tomorrow and we don't have to read or watch this garbage.
I think maybe I am reading the article differently...having no real team in this game. What I read was him saying that it's about the only way they have a chance to have success against your D. A two-back +TE look plays to your defenses strengths.
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Old 01-31-2009, 02:39 PM   #8
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Default Re: Saints coach Payton breaks down Cardinals-Steelers matchup

Quote:
Originally Posted by TNewman41 View Post
Arizona has had a great playoff run-and to Whisenhunt's credit, he's changed the morale of that franchise and has them going in the right direction. To boot, they're some $40m under the cap this year.

However-I think their magical run will end tomorrow b/c 1) The Steelers D, especially their pass rush, will be too much for the Zona O. Yeah, Zona played very well against Jim Johnson's blitzing D 2 weeks ago, but playing against a 3-4 D is a whole new different entity, and 2) No Super Bowl team with the league's top ranked D has ever lost.

I think this will be a slug fest, with Pitt winning a 17-10 type of game.
The Chicago Bears' #1 D lost against the Colts a few years ago...but the #1 D has won seven times. The odds are still significantly in the Steelers' favor.
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