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Old 11-16-2010, 06:04 AM   #1
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Default Which of their several deficiencies ranks as the Steelers greatest?

Which of their several deficiencies ranks as the Steelers greatest?
Tuesday, November 16, 2010 12:45 AM
Written by Bob Smizik

Advice for Steelers fans everywhere: Donít get too high with the highs and donít get too low with the lows.

But that wouldnít be much fun, would it?

Half the pleasure of being a fanatic is basking in the glory of the victories and raising holy stink in the defeats.

The attitude around Pittsburgh this week concerning the Steelers, following a thrashing by the New England Patriots, is probably pretty much the same it was in Boston last week when the very same Patriots were bashed by the lowly Cleveland Browns.

Things change fast in the NFL, and thatís a good thing to remember when evaluating the Steelers.

A week ago, the Patriots looked like pale impostors of the great teams Bill Belichick has produced this century. Now the Patriots look like the class of the AFC with their dismantling of the Steelers.

And the Steelers, they of that supposedly wondrous defense, look like a team ripe for the taking with their inability to defend the pass and other notable shortcomings.

In fact, you could start a good argument over which one of three aspects of the Steelers is the teamís greatest weakness.

* Is it the offensive line, not all that good to begin with and now ravaged by injuries?

* Is it the three-man defensive line, which is playing without two starters?

* Is it the thought-to-be revamped secondary, which is instead looking a lot like the 2009 group that was the teamís undoing?

The line lost right tackle Willie Colon before the season started. More recently, it lost left tackle Max Starks for the season. Guard Chris Kemoeatu also missed the last game. Ben Roethlisberger was sacked four times by the Patriots and the running game never was dominant, although that was more from a lack of trying.

Jonathan Scott started at left tackle Sunday and was found wanting. Heís a journeyman, at best, and there remains doubt as to whether he can handle the job. An outstanding offensive line might be able to mask Scott's weaknesses. The Steelers have no such line.

On the defensive line, end Aaron Smith is lost for the season and end Brett Keisel has been in and out -- mostly out -- of the lineup. Ziggy Hood is filling in for Smith and has shown little sign he once was a No. 1 draft choice. Journeyman Tony Eason is trying to replace Keisel.

The great Tom Brady made the secondary look awful Sunday night but itís not like other quarterbacks have not met with success in throwing against the Steelers. Drew Brees, Colt McCoy and Chad Henne have been impressive against the Steelers.

Troy Polamalu has not been the dominant defender he has been in the past. Ike Taylor is an above-average cornerback but the rest are average or less. Cornerback Bryant McFadden is showing why Arizona was willing to give up on him after one season.

It hard to imagine a Super Bowl contender can be so thick with deficiencies. In the salary cap era, no team can be strong everywhere, but to have so many weaknesses -- to go along with a lack of depth at wide receiver -- is not encouraging.

Oakland, the Steelers opponent Sunday at Heinz Field, is 25th in the NFL in passing, a figure that has something to do with its reliance on the run but also due to journeymen quarterbacks. But as the Steelers discovered last season, even bad passing teams are capable of dominating them.

Itís never a good sign when itís hard to determine which of several weaknesses is the teamís greatest.

But in the NFL things change in a hurry and there's no better example of that than the team that made the Steelers look so awful Sunday night.
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Old 11-16-2010, 07:27 AM   #2
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Default Re: Which of their several deficiencies ranks as the Steelers greatest?

there's so many holes its hard to know even exactly where to start.
I think the consensus is pretty much agreed upon by most everyone though.

1. O-Line (below average to begin with, letalone all the injuries)
2. Secondary (besides Ike, these guys should just legally change their names to "toast")
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Old 11-16-2010, 11:24 AM   #3
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Default Re: Which of their several deficiencies ranks as the Steelers greatest?

We now are old or just plain average at many positions.
Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence." - Vince Lombardi
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Old 11-16-2010, 11:43 AM   #4
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Default Re: Which of their several deficiencies ranks as the Steelers greatest?

Pass defense is the biggest problem

Interesting article in today's New York Times on how the Jets 7-2 record is much better than their on the field performance.

The article focuses on this metric for NFL success

If the Jets want to achieve their ultimate goals, both the passing offense and the passing defense will have to improve.

The Jets’ offense is averaging 6.1 net yards per pass attempt, and the defense is allowing 5.8 NY/A to opposing passers. That difference of 0.3 is one of the reasons the Jets are involved in so many close games. Dominant teams tend to pass much more efficiently than their opponents; even last year, the Jets averaged a full net yard per attempt more than they allowed. Of the 44 Super Bowl winners, 37 of them averaged at least 1 NY/A more than they allowed.


I checked out how recent Steelers teams were ranked for this stat

2005 Steelers gained 7.1 yards per pass attempt and gave up 5.3 per attempt (+1.8) and ranked third in net yards allowed per pass attempt

2008 Steelers gained 5.9 yards per pass attempt and gave up 4.3 per attempt (+1.6) and ranked first in net yards allowed per pass attempt

2010 Steelers gain 6.9 yards per attempt and give up 6.3 per attempt (+0.6) and currently rank 17th in net yards allowed by the defense per pass attempt

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