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Old 11-19-2009, 05:31 AM   #1
Galax Steeler
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Default On the Steelers: Look for improved running game

Thursday, November 19, 2009
By Ed Bouchette, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette


Guard Chris Kemoeatu likes nothing better than to block for the run. It remains his forte, a big reason Sports Illustrated chose him to its midseason All-Pro team.

"Love it," professed Kemoeatu, who goes 6 feet 3, 344 pounds.

He and others who love the Steelers' running game did not have much to like in their 18-12 loss against Cincinnati Sunday at Heinz Field. They ran 18 times, and one of those was a quarterback scramble. It is the fewest times they have run this season and their second-fewest yards at 80, 15 of those on Ben Roethlisberger's scramble.

That no longer comes as much of a surprise on an offense where balance seems to equate to 60-40 (percentage of pass plays to runs). But it could change when they pull into Kansas City for their game Sunday against the Chiefs, who rank 27th in the NFL against the run.

"I would like to hope so," Kemoeatu said. "That's what our big emphasis is this week, to get some run plays in there. Hopefully, they call it, but we just do as we're told."

The 18 runs were the fewest since they ran 17 times in a 29-22 loss at Jacksonville Dec. 16, 2007.

"I think we could have done some more things," said Rashard Mendenhall, who had 13 carries for 13 yards against the Bengals. "But they're a tough defense. I feel we'll get it going this week."

The Steelers' running plays account for only 41.3 percent of their offense, but they are about average when it comes to the entire NFL. The NFL averages 43.3 percent runs. Defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau remembers when those numbers were flip-flopped.

"It used to be the opposite of that," LeBeau said. "It used to be 65 percent run."

Those days are gone even in Pittsburgh, but that running game might resurface Sunday.

"We definitely have to get better, but, for whatever reason, it just didn't happen," Ward said of the team's running game against Cincinnati. "We're going to stay the course and not hit the panic button. There's still a lot of football left.

"But we need to be a balanced team. As I always preach, balanced teams -- it really makes us hard to beat when we're balanced."
Reed answers critics

Kicker Jeff Reed took issue with all those fans critical of his attempt to tackle Cincinnati rookie Bernard Scott on his way to a 96-yard kickoff return for a touchdown Sunday.

"I just look at those people like they don't know what they're talking about," said Reed. "I'm coached to do certain things, and the No. 1 reason I'm here is to kick kickoffs the best I can and make field goals. When it comes to making a tackle, people like [punter] Dan [Sepulveda] kind of ruin it for me because he's so athletic."

Sepulveda was a YouTube star for a jarring tackle he made on a punt return in college. He has one tackle on a punt this season. Reed has gotten near the returnman on two of the three kickoff returns for touchdowns in the past four games without making a tackle.

He said he has made about eight tackles through the years and missed four, but he also said he actually did his job Sunday on that kickoff return.

"That was about a 50-yard sprint for me, and my job is to make him cut back inside and he went inside of me," Reed said. "Looking back at the play, if I'd have slowed down a little bit I maybe could have dove in his path a little better. For me, that was fast, and I was cutting him off. I thought we had a chance to get him, and we didn't get him down."
Something was missing

Santonio Holmes is off to his best start with 678 yards receiving, on pace for 1,205, yet he has just one touchdown catch.

After a dreadful passing performance against Cincinnati Sunday, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was at a loss to explain what happened.

"There was something missing all day; I don't know what it was," Roethlisberger said. "I don't know if it was the weather in November or what it was. Seemed like even the crowd at the beginning, everyone was just kind of different."

Roethlisberger's view of the offense from Sunday was mentioned to Holmes, who said, "I mean, he's the quarterback. He has control over everything, you know -- who touches the ball, he dictates where the ball goes. And, if he felt that way, that's probably why we didn't win the ballgame."
Kick-coverage update

The Steelers inserted Donovan Woods into their kick-coverage game to replace Arnold Harrison, but they have made no other noticeable change in personnel. The only two starters on offense or defense on the kickoff team are cornerbacks William Gay and Ike Taylor.

"They don't let me play special teams any more," cracked safety Ryan Clark. "There's a rule, you have to have a spleen and a gall bladder, at least one, to be a part of special teams."
Gatewood on practice squad

Curtis Gatewood, a linebacker from Vanderbilt, was signed to take Woods' vacated spot on the practice squad


http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/09323/1014661-66.stm
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Old 11-19-2009, 05:38 AM   #2
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Default Re: On the Steelers: Look for improved running game

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They don't let me play special teams any more," cracked safety Ryan Clark. "There's a rule, you have to have a spleen and a gall bladder, at least one, to be a part of special teams."
Ryan Clark always cracks me up!
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"We're not going to turn our backs on him," Ward said. "We're going to treat him like our brother. We're going to accept him back and be very supportive of him and help him get through this. In this locker room, he's still our quarterback."
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Old 11-19-2009, 10:02 AM   #3
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Default Re: On the Steelers: Look for improved running game

Its a pretty cliche article. All O linemen like to run block better than pass block. its because when run blocking you get to hit the defender, while in pass protection the defender hits you while you retreat to protect the QB.

Still, the Bengals ran it something like 29 times and that can wear on a defensive lineman. While the Steelers only ran 18 times and pass around 40...getting hit 40 times can wear on an offensive lineman. Hopefully we pound the Chefs in the run game.
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Old 11-19-2009, 11:14 AM   #4
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Default Re: On the Steelers: Look for improved running game

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Ryan Clark always cracks me up!
Man I hope they sign him to an extension after the season.
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Old 11-19-2009, 02:10 PM   #5
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Default Re: On the Steelers: Look for improved running game

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Man I hope they sign him to an extension after the season.
Yeah, probably try to sign Clark, let Carter go and draft a backup S in the 3rd or 4th round. Mundy can play FS, but not really a SS.
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Old 11-19-2009, 02:16 PM   #6
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Default Re: On the Steelers: Look for improved running game

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They ran 18 times, and one of those was a quarterback scramble. It is the fewest times they have run this season and their second-fewest yards at 80
i call
tenn - 18
detroit - 17
minn - 12
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Old 11-19-2009, 02:26 PM   #7
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Default Re: On the Steelers: Look for improved running game

Still can't figure why the running game was so scattered in the Bengals game. Considering we ran all over Denver why they didn't come out and try it against Cincy was mind boggling.
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Old 11-19-2009, 03:27 PM   #8
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Default Re: On the Steelers: Look for improved running game

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Originally Posted by El-Gonzo Jackson View Post
Yeah, probably try to sign Clark, let Carter go and draft a backup S in the 3rd or 4th round. Mundy can play FS, but not really a SS.
With all respect El-Gonzo (you know a lot of football) why would you let Carter go ? Hes doing and adequate job IMHO. Is it because he would become expensive ?
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Old 11-19-2009, 05:20 PM   #9
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Default Re: On the Steelers: Look for improved running game

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Originally Posted by El-Gonzo Jackson View Post
Its a pretty cliche article. All O linemen like to run block better than pass block. its because when run blocking you get to hit the defender, while in pass protection the defender hits you while you retreat to protect the QB.

Still, the Bengals ran it something like 29 times and that can wear on a defensive lineman. While the Steelers only ran 18 times and pass around 40...getting hit 40 times can wear on an offensive lineman. Hopefully we pound the Chefs in the run game.
I like to see 60-run/40 pass. That would be a winning combo I think.
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Old 11-19-2009, 06:06 PM   #10
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Default Re: On the Steelers: Look for improved running game

I'm not looking for an "improved" run game, I'm looking for a run game that we don't abandon ten minutes into the game then start bombing downfield even when it's not working. See Bengals II.

Was our run game that bad against the Bengals to abandon it?
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