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Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Post-game Washington thoughts, Tomlin PC

The Steelers defense is playing the best football I've seen a unit play in the 16 seasons I've been covering the team.

Not only is this defense getting after the quarterback at a record pace, it's also stopping the run at a record pace as well.

That combination allows head coach Mike Tomlin to do silly things like try surprise onside kicks to open games.

After the Steelers turned the Giants away time after time two weeks ago, Tomlin knew there was no way the Redskins were getting the ball into the end zone.

It was a roll of the dice by Tomlin, but it didn't hurt him because the defense continues to bail this team out.

© Tomlin said today that quarterback Ben Roethlisberger hurt his shoulder on the quarterback sneak at the end of the first half, but it certainly looked like Roethlisberger's shoulder was bothering him throughout the game.

Roethlisberger is also wearing a brace on his left thumb after hyperextending it against the Giants. He's beat up and it might be a good idea to sit him down this week against the Colts, even if he's cleared to play.

They need a healthy Roethlisberger for the stretch run and playoffs. And Byron Leftwich showed that he can lead this team.

That will particularly be the case against an Indianapolis team that the Steelers figure to run the ball plenty against.

© Willie Parker was upset after the game because he didn't feel like he had a particularly good game.

Parker told me he's still not 100 percent, but he's very close. He added that the Steelers are going to run the ball and run it plenty soon and was very adamant about it.

© Mitch Berger's hamstring problem is becoming a big problem for the Steelers. The defense is playing outstanding, but this team can't continue to get 35 yards a punt.

© Heath Miller will definitely miss Sunday's game against Indianapolis. Ryan Clark could be back.

Tomlin was a bit evasive about Marvel Smith's status again. But at some point, they have to think about shutting him down for the season, particularly if they get another injury on their offensive line.

They're holding out hope with Smith, but unless his back responds to treatment soon, it's just that, hope.


Ben said...

We were all wondering why no one in the front office was rushing to re-sign Marvel this off-season. Now we know. It almost makes the Max Starks paycheck make a little sense -- almost.

I'd have to guess there's almost no chance Smith will be a Steeler after this season. A 31 year old with a bad back will not get a third contract from the Steelers. LT should get some serious consideration for our #1 overall pick in this year's draft.

That said, I hope they get moving on Kemoeatu and McFadden. I think they've shown that they can step up and be starter material in this league -- especially BMac.

Patrick said...

Once again I look like a complete idiot for arguing there wasn't a marginal difference between Brad Johnson and Leftwhich. I really thought Johnson would be a steady vet and Leftwhich was a struggling QB. I was proven wrong, very wrong and I eat my crow, with a smile at least.

Some other thoughts:
-The D is unreal and might be the best defense I have seen of any team. This is something special.
-Ike Taylor is starting to look like he did in 2005. He is having a year.
-I think Ben needs a game or two to get his body right, but also his head. He is not seeing the field right. I was obviously wrong about Leftwhich and change my mind that he can win a game or two, especially against Indy, as Dale said.
-The WR's didn't help Ben last night and Santonio looks like he's a step behind. He needs to step it up down the stretch.

Dale, I read on Bouchette's chat that he thought Anthony Smith had a good game. I didn't notice who got the majority of the plays, him or Ty Carter. If it was Smith, how do you think he did? I have hope for him. He's got all the physical tools to play safety. He also seems to be excelling on special teams, especially punt overage (minus the block in the back)

Steelers Blog said...

If you read between the lines during the Tuesday presser, you can tell Tomlin is leaning towards resting Ben. He always references the bumps and bruises are part of the season every time before a big name sits. He went out of his way to praise Leftwich heavily as well. Which he should as he played great. At 6-2, he has to start thinking a little ahead, going .500 over the next 8 weeks should guarantee the division and perhaps a first round bye. Ben must be healthy in December and January. Look for Ben to sit one maybe two games in an effort to get him heeled.

Alex said...

I hope we just rest Ben. Let him get healthy. We should be able to beat the Colts, even with leftwitch.

Pistol said...


1)Do u know how much flexibility the QB has in adjusting the protections?

2)Was the playcallng drasically different in the 2nd half?

Derek said...

Dale -- It is insane to me the filed position is continuously disregarded by this team. Is Berger really a concern to Tomlin?? If he was, why would he not mention his name in the injury report. I can't for the life of me understadn why special teams gets such little focus within this organization. They have to ahve a different punter next week.

Alex said...

Coaches like to say all the right things like "special teams is very important to us" yadda yadda, the truth is alot of coaches ignore special teams and hope to make up for poor ST's play by excelling elsewhere.

Some teams excel in every facet... they usually win championships because of it.

Dale Lolley said...

Carter played the first two series and then Smith played the third and fourth. I was busy writing after that and didn't pay as close attention to it as I had, but they were both in there plenty.
The punting situation is a concern.
The play calling was the same in the second half. Guys starting catching balls. There were at least four drops in the first half to go along with about the same number of bad passes by Ben.
The quarterback calls some of the adjustments. He helps identify blitzers.

ironcity1176 said...

It's time to give the young punter, Schmitt???, a chance. From what we hear he will hit'em farther than 35/punt, right?

Ben said...

Aside from his double-hamstring injury, I think Berger has done an admirable job of filling in for Sepulveda. If he's healthy, I have no problem with Berger punting.

ironcity1176 said...

Well, being that he is an "old" PUNTER with bilat hamstring strains, I highly doubt he will be healthy for at least 2-4 weeks.