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Sunday, December 27, 2009

Post-Baltimore thoughts II

I'm sure people in Baltimore will be complaining about 11 penalties for 113 yards the Ravens were assessed in their 23-20 loss to the Steelers Sunday, but honestly, there wasn't one that when reviewed wasn't an actual penalty.

The Ravens lost their composure quite a bit in this one.

There was no reason for Terrell Suggs to block anyone in the back on Domonique Foxworth's interception return for a touchdown. But he did it.

There was really no reason for Kelley "I celebrate every catch like a jackass because I've apparently never had one before" Washington to hold Deshea Townsend like a 12-year-old at a middle school dance during a Willis McGahee touchdown run. But he did it.

And there was no reason for ONiel Cousins to go all WWE on LaMarr Woodley right in front of an official five seconds after Joe Flacco had released the football to draw a penalty that moved the Ravens out of field goal range. But, again, he did it.

They were stupid penalties by what is apparently, a stupid team.

But they seem to be the norm for the Ravens, who have been penalized 110 times this season compared to just 83 for their opponents.

All you need to know about how those things are treated on that team is that when Haloti Ngata – who is a great player – was penalized 15 yards in the third quarter for a late hit on a punt that moved the Ravens back to their own 35 instead of getting the ball at the 50, he was all smiles and getting props from his teammates on the bench.

© That said, the Ravens are likely going to the playoffs and the Steelers aren't. That's what losing games to the likes of the Browns, Raiders and Chiefs will do.

The Ravens traditionally beat up on weak teams and lose to the better ones. That hasn't changed this season, which is why they'll probably beat up on the Raiders next week to clinch a spot in the postseason.

© Indianapolis head coach Jim Caldwell probably got himself taken off some Christmas card lists Sunday with his decision to bench his starters – most notably Peyton Manning – with just a 15-10 lead against the Jets.

I'm sure Steelers fans are ticked off by that decision, but I refer back to the aforementioned losses to Cleveland, Kansas City and Oakland.

© Rashard Mendenhall has great talent. What he does not seem to have is great vision. And that spin move is something this coaching staff has to spend the offseason getting him to take out of his bag of tricks.

That stuff might work in high school. It might work in college. But all it's going to do in the NFL is get you tackled - if you don't fumble.

© Willie Parker is showing he still has something left in the tank. He came very close to breaking free for long touchdown on one of his only two carries.

© Pittsburgh's run defense has now given up 171 yards rushing to the Browns and 175 to the Ravens in their past three games. The Steelers only gave up 60 yards rushing to Green Bay, but that was more because the Packers only ran the ball 12 times.

There's more to that than this team just missing Aaron Smith and Troy Polamalu.

The defense is so concerned about getting burned through the air that it is giving up yards on the ground in bunches.


Anonymous said...

I agree with just about everything in your blog Dale. I know there are problems with the D, but where is LeBeau and his incredible football brain thinking up how to fix this problem before we got this lousy??

Rashard has alot of work to do over the off season, and if he does, he will be a nice addition to some of the the Steeler greats.

So, let me get this straight, if Pitt beats Miami, if foe Cincy beats the Jets, & Houston loses to New England... Pitt is in?? Ya, I dont like the chances, but I have seen some crazy stuff happen over the years.....

Dale Lolley said...

You are correct in those scenarios. The problem is one created by the networks, which moved the Cinci-Jets game to Sunday night. If NE wins earlier in the day, Cinci is playing for nothing. If NE loses, the Texans are in with a Cinci loss. But the Bengals could move to the three seed with a win.
Either way, the Steelers are out.

As for the defense, you can't make chicken salad out of chicken scratch with some of these guys.

Patrick said...

Mendenhall's "moves" are preventing him from being an very good player. That is all coaching - it has gone on all season and no one has tried to fix it?

And I don't care if Ben saw 13 flags on that last throw - that was one of the dumbest decisions I've seen in awile on what was a terrible play call.

I'm going to be a self righteous prick for a min, but check out my post from the predictions thread a few days ago:

"I'll take the Steelers by 23-20."

adamg said...

Just as DL use spin moves to escape from OL blocks, Mendenhall also uses this move to get away from tacklers. There's nothing wrong with it and it doesn't need to be "coached" away. When he needs to go north and south, he does. In any event, Mendenhall's spin move is the least of this team's problems.

The Steelers made their own bed by losing to bad teams. However, they aren't the only team out there still trying to get into the playoffs. Indy hurt the entire NFL by treating the game vs NYJ as an exhibition game.

marc said...

i don't mendy's spin move, he just needs to be aware of when to use it and when not to. i think that will come with experience and coaching.

the play calling, once again, illustrated why the offense needs an overall starting with the offensive coordinator. i also think BR has regressed this season. 17 sacks in the last 3 games and half are his fault. poor play and poor coaching.

i'm not sure of the seedings, but if you had the choice would you rather play steelers in first round or any other wild card team? i can see teams throwing games to avoid playing the steelers next weekend.

finally, will someone please take tyrone carter's helmet away from him so he can't go out on the field.

Anonymous said...

"finally, will someone please take tyrone carter's helmet away from him so he can't go out on the field."

while you are at it, also take Willie Gay's helmet from him. He is an embarassment to the Steelers uniform

marc said...

completely agree about gay too.

i can see lebeau's problem. our "normal" defense will attack the run, pressure the QB from varoious angles, rely on #43 to freelance and rely on clark to play centerfield. aaron smith can rush the passer and plug the run.

however, injuries have really hurt. carter (or anyone else) can't be the x factor the #43 is. our backup DE can't do both pass rush and run stop. clark has to help carter and gay and townsend 'cause they're all playing poorly. if we attack the run our pass defense is exposed. if we secure our pass defense then we leave the running lanes open. at this time, we do not have the personnel to do both.

that is one of the reasons i feel arian's play calling has hurt this team so much. his high risk, high reward type offense leaves the defense in tough spots way too often. arians does not know how to manage the game and i believe tomlin is at fault there too.

Anonymous said...

FWP has something left in the tank? wow, so we are shelling out $4 million to get something left in the tank. This is exactly the mentality that is going to keep the Steelers at 8 - 8 for a another year.

The scenarios for Steelers are horrible next week end, we are the only team in the hunt facing a talented and motivated opponent. The other four either have weak opponents or will face second string lineups.

Farmer Fran

adamg said...

Agree with most of what you posted, marc. Mendy probably does a bit too much spinning, but as you point out, he's still learning and will find different styles of running for different occasions. I didn't notice too many fans complaining when RM used the spin to bounce off would be tacklers for a TD vs GB. And, yesterday, when he scored that 4 yd TD, it was straight power running up the gut.

As for Ty Carter, I forget who said it, maybe Fouts, but the comment was that the Steelers really have two run supporters (Clark, Carter) at S/FS rather than a pass coverage/run support combination that they do when TP plays. I don't think it's fair to blame Carter for being put in a position that he's not ideally suited for.

I couldn't agree more with your assesment of the offense and both Arians and Tomlin's hand in it.

Dale Lolley said...

That's why they used Mundy at times out there as well. He's better than Carter in pass coverage - I'm better in pass coverage than Carter.
They've subbed situationally. Problem is, other teams see that and adjust accordingly.
The problem with the spin in the NFL is that when you spin, the ball naturally moves away from your body. If you're hit while that's happening, fumbles occur.
As for my Parker comment, people were saying he's done. That's not the case.

Anonymous said...

"As for my Parker comment, people were saying he's done. That's not the case."

good to know, look forward to seeing him in Oakland next year. We are better off with Mendenhall as the starter, Moore as a 3rd down guy and draft a rookie (mid-rounds) to spell Mendenhall

Joe said...

Ziggy showed up yesterday. Thoughts on his play Dale? Has he been improving as hoped?

Dale Lolley said...

Ziggy's getting there. He'll be a factor in 2010.

As for Parker, I like him more than Moore, who hasn't looked as good in 2009 as he did in 2008. His blocking on third downs has been suspect.

That said, I also expect them to draft a young guy.

Patrick said...

adamg - I disagree, but its just a matter of degrees. My problem with Mendenhall's spins is when he loses yardage with it. There has been many a times where he spins and is stopped right away instead of trying to push his momentum forward and gain a valuable yard or two. I think his average yesterday would have looked a little prettier without the spin.

But you are a right, it has worked nicely on a few plays. I just think overall it hasn't helped him. We can all agree it is overused.

adamg said...

I think Mendenhall spins at the line when he has no hole. When he has a place to run, he usually goes straight for it. I agree that spinning does leave the ball more vulnerable because the carry arem swings out a bit. But, as I said, it's far from the biggest issue the Steelers have.

Parker is now the role he always should have had, a chang-of-pace RB who is not asked to slam into the line like a 250+lb bruiser. He, RM and Moore would be fine next year along with Summers, Davis and/or McHugh. I can't see Colbert spending a draft choice on an RB since they already have a good many younger ones including Summers, Redman and Vincent.

marc said...

i agree, they should not waste a draft pick on a RB next year. much more pressing needs at this time.

marc said...

regarding parker, his blitz pickup isn't all that great either. i know i saw him whiff on a guy coming right up the gut on sunday.

but, he is running better and i believe he can play for most teams in the nfl. say all you want about willie, but as far as fans can tell his attitude and work ethic are great.

the team will miss him when he's gone next year.

Anonymous said...

I hope they don't draft any RB earlier than Rd 3, I'm interested in seeing more Redman next year, but with that being said, what position takes priority (Rd 1-2)in the draft next year?

Safety to Replace Clark,
A true cover corner,
Casey Replacement,

I'd love to see the Steelers get aggressive in the 1st Rd, take the tennesse safety and then makes some trades for the top corner, and draft the biggest DT available in Rd 2.

marc said...

not interested in addressing the OL?

Anonymous said...

Been interested in doing that for a few years now, but apparently the Steelers Aren't!

So, hopefully a new line coach with the help of some of their roster players will improve.

Anonymous said...

This game has the hallmarks of being fixed, whether by referees or the players.
I never saw a team disintegrate like that (generously helped by the officials of course)

Dale Lolley said...

So the Ravens didn't commit those penalties? Hogwash!
That was also a fumble by Derrick Mason on the play on which he was injured, but the officials told Tomlin they would just rule it an incompletion if he challenged it.
So, in fact, you could argue the Ravens got the biggest break in the game.

Anonymous said...

"""They were stupid penalties by what is apparently, a stupid team."""

And childish name calling is any better? Sad how folks like yourself have to resort to petty insults in what was an otherwise interesting read. Stupid?? Seriously?? Third grade called, they'd like their mentality back.

Anonymous said...

Definition of Stupid:

"Regarded as unintelligent: regarded as showing a lack of intelligence, perception, or common sense".

I think Dale hit the nail right on the head, if you disagree, look at that late hit on Woodley or the late/out of bounds hit on the kickoff return and tell me that's not stupid.

On occasion the Steelers are guilty of stupid penalties as well but on this day the Ravens took the grand prize.

Dale Lolley said...

110 penalties this season. The Cousins penalty was stupid. The Ngata penalty and his reaction and that of his teammates afterward were stupid. I'll give you that Washington's was at least an effort penalty, but his ridiculous theatrics after every catch he makes are stupid.
Dude, you were a No. 1 draft pick. You're supposed to catch the ball.

As for the Summers, Redman posters, neither one of those guys is currently on the roster or practice squad.
Summers, in fact, didn't make it out of training camp.

kyle said...

I think you mean Redman didn't make it out of camp. Summers started the first couple of games.

Dale Lolley said...

You're right. And actually, Summers is on the reserve/injured list. I forgot about him because he hasn't been around since the injury.

Anonymous said...


What do you feel are the biggest priorities going into the draft?

Imo i think its gotta be DB,DL,MLB then Ol i think Foster and Grisham can be guys that stick. Thoughts?

Dale Lolley said...

I would agree with those.

I don't know if Grisham is a guy that sticks, though. Sweed will be a factor.

Pistol said...


Thanks for the quick feedback. Im actually glad to hear you say Sweed will be a factor because you see them up close. I just was wishing for the next Welker lol

Dale Lolley said...

Think about some of the guys in this league who are now stars who had trouble early in their career catching the ball.
Sydney Rice comes to mind, as does Roddy White. At some point, something clicks.
Sweed has shown the ability to not just get open, but wide open. If he can start catching those balls, they'll have something. He's a big dude, every bit as big as Burress. That's something they just don't have in any of their other receivers.

Anonymous said...

"""110 penalties this season. The Cousins penalty was stupid. The Ngata penalty and his reaction and that of his teammates afterward were stupid. I'll give you that Washington's was at least an effort penalty, but his ridiculous theatrics after every catch he makes are stupid.
Dude, you were a No. 1 draft pick. You're supposed to catch the ball."""

One might argue that everytime Ward catches a ball and celebrates it's stupid just the same, or the retarded Head & Shoulders commercials with Troy are REALLY stupid, or Big Ben running around like Big BIRD and making really stupid throws when he's under pressure at times. Give me a break. This blog is written by a homer for homers.. might as well just be a forum post, zero reporting credibility.

Dale Lolley said...

Thanks for your input. I guess the fact the Ravens are third in the NFL in penalties means nothing to you.

Pistol said...


No doubt about Sweed getting wide open thats usuallly the hardest part for big dudes. I read somewhere that he has or had eye issues but they were corrected? The reason he has me wondering is he made tons of tough catches at Texas and you know that thsts something you dont just forget. My guess is its just a confidence thing what do you think personally? Sorry for the book lol.

Dale Lolley said...

There is a mental thing he has to get through at this point. He has the skill.

Anonymous said...

We've got sooooo many Squealer trolls in B'more, I thought it time for a little payback!

God, you people are arrogant!
You really think NE and Cinci will "throw their games to avoid playing the Squealers"???

Yea, they might throw their games, but you go ahead and convince yourselves its to avoid the Squealers. Maybe it'll make you feel better about not being able to watch your team in the playoffs.

Personally, I hope the Squealers make it into the playoffs, just so the Ravens have a shot at redemption. The Ravens outplayed the Squealers to the point where it shouldn't have even been a close game. Unfortunately, they outplayed themselves with the penalties...the Squealers were very lucky to squeak by with the win!