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Sunday, September 19, 2010

Post-Tennessee thoughts

Wow. In previous years, it was the Tennessee Titans who delivered the butt kickings to the Steelers in Nashville.

But it was the Steelers, both offensively and defensively, who were the aggressors in this one.

The video board at LP Field continually showed pro wrestler Ric Flair imploring the crowd to get loud, finished with his trademark, "Woo."

That was ironic since the Titans looked like they were in a studio wrestling match against and MMA fighter. The Steelers kept punching them in the mouth and hitting them over the head with chairs throughout this game, while the Titans landed the fake blows.

That may be a little harsh. Actually, Tennessee's defense was as physical as ever.

But the Titans' offense got manhandled.

© I've never seen anything like the offensive line rotation the Steelers used in the second half.

Guys were coming and going - other than Maurkice Pouncey - and playing different positions.

© The Steelers won a game in which they threw for 21 yards. Think about that for a moment.

© I know there are those of you out there who are angry with me for picking against the Steelers in each of the first two weeks.

Mike Tomlin is obviously paying attention to those who doubt this team.

But let's be honest. Quarterback is a pretty important position and the Steelers are playing with, essentially, their third choice at the position.

But Tomlin knows the Steelers will be favored to win next week in Tampa Bay. He could be heard in the locker room as the team entered telling them that they'll have to get it up again next week to face an unbeaten team.

Tomlin's looking for any edge he can get.

© Lawrence Timmons should be the early favorite for Defensive Player of the Year. That's two games and 26 tackles. He's also played a huge part in shutting down both Michael Turner and Milli Vanilli wannabe Chris Johnson.

By the same token, if James Harrison doesn't win AFC Defensive Player of the Week honors after making 11 tackles, two sacks, forcing two fumbles and recovering another, they should stop giving the award.

Harrison totally took the game over in the third quarter. Tennessee had one yard in the third quarter, with Harrison making five tackles, two sacks and forcing two fumbles - in 12 plays.


Anonymous said...

While you're giving out kudos, let's not forget Troy Polamalu's spectacular play today. this defense is winning despite the quarterbacks, not because of them which has totally leveled the playing field. It's a pretty good formula. Special teams puts the opposing team at roughly their 20 yard line, the defense causes a turnover, the offense sputters but they are already on the opposing teams side so they kick a field goal. I think they can sustain it for one more week but they will need Lefty back if they wanna beat the the Ravens.

Anonymous said...

I thought picking against the Steelers last week was stupid, but I didn't blame you for picking against them this week. I also won't blame you if you pick against them next week, as it's a HUGE trap game.

Vaflyer said...

First, as far as I'm concerned if the D continues to play this way all year, I don't care if you pick against them the rest of the year.

Second, this D is amazing! So many playmakers today including guys who are depth. They all contributed in some way.

Third, let me put some kuddos out there to the 2 NTs we ran out there today. They did their jobs in order to let the LBs do theirs.

Fourth, I don't see any reason at this point that this team cannot be 4-0. The D is just that good. Baltimore has scored a total of 20 points on the year. Granted they have played 2 good teams, but this D is better than any they have faced.

Fifth, Can you give us any injury updates Dale?

Lastly, that D was gassed by the end of the game. The Offense didn't give them enough rest in the 2nd half.

Greg Mercer said...

are reporters allowed to interview Ben? anyone know how his workouts are going? is he keeping the weight off?

Anonymous said...

Anyone still think Batch is an upgrade over Dixon in any way besides age? I sure don't. Hopefully Lefty plays well next week.

Anonymous said...

Totally agree about harrison

some may point out to clay matthews (impressive start to his career so far) had 3 sacks, but he didn't do what james does. Which is everything! the man is possessed out there!

datruth4life said...

Dale, I think it might be time for the Dennis Dixon experiment to end. With the way this D is playing now, just give me a caretaker at the position who won't make mistakes and will take some shots at the endzone when the chance presents itself.

I've seen where a couple of posters were down on Batch's performance today, but they'd be singing a different tune if the OL wouldn't have been holding on that TD pass to Mike Wallace.

I know we need that extra roster spot to resign Leftwich, but Scott McClendon played pretty well to me at NT. With young NT's so hard to come by, Dale, what would you think about keeping McClendon on the roster. There are a lot of teams out there looking for young NTs and I wouldn't want this one to get away. I might cut Arnaz Battle and use his roster spot. Plus, I doubt if Big Hamp will be back for the Bucs game, another game where temps should be extremely hot. Got to get Leftwich resigned though.

Wow, this is a talented roster that Kevin Colbert has put together for this season. Should be fun when Big Ben gets back.

Dale Lolley said...

I actually thought Batch made a couple of very good throws to Wallace that ended up with a Wallace drop - that's a pass Dixon's not capable of throwing - and the one in the end zone that was negated by a penalty. I don't know that Dixon makes that one, either, because Batch went through his progressions to find Wallace.

McLendon played well, but he's still a 280-pound nose tackle. He might have earned himself a roster spot, though.

Not a lot to update on the injuries. Dixon thinks he'll be fine. But the rest of the stuff was pretty much heat related. Essex, surprisingly, came back into the game, as did Kemoeatu.

Yes, we can interview Roethlisberger now. But you have to find him first. And no, going to his house and waiting for him is not an option. That's something that will get your credentials pulled. WPXI did it a few years back and very nearly lost its credentials.

Greg Mercer said...

isn't Ben working out at some high school? any reporters been by to check him out?

as great as today's game was, it was missing one thing: the obligatory clip of Cowher breaking Fisher's leg.

Anonymous said...

I liked the extra effort "redzone" gave in a couple of his runs today. Tomlin seemed to notice too, as I saw him giving props to his young running back on the sidelines. There were not a lot of holes but given the quarterbacks only managed 20 yards, there was no reason for anybody to cover the pass.
Given the defensive focus on the run, both he and Mendy deserve props for their clock killing efforts. They only left the Titans under a minute to try to win the game after the onside kick.
I was impressed with the passes Batch attempted and I think one more week as the starter with the reps with the first team and he makes some of those. He may not get the start though.
"Redzone" didn't want to show up Mendy by parting the red sea and running for 400 yards. He will save that trick for later this season.

Mrs. Isaac Redman

adamg said...

Just a Steel Curtain like performance by the defense. 'Nuff said.

Colin Dunlap reported seeing BR working out at Hampton HS. I was hoping he'd go down to Tom Shaw's conditioning camp in FL and really come back in top shape.

marc said...

well, that's the last time i say vince young is an underrated passer.

the steeler's offense struggled, which was expected. but i was very surprised at how the titans imploded. this steeler's defense is something special right now. we should enjoy every second of it, because this doesn't come around every year.

however, their not going to get 7 turnovers each week, and this offense needs to sustain some drives to give the defense a break.

nice play by clark to breakup the TD pass at the end.

Anonymous said...

Agreed about how good this defense is playing. The level of talent across the board means we should be in every game this year. Ah, more 4th quarter close-game madness - can't get enough after 15of those games last year.

One other comment - at one point in the game, it seemed like Chris Johnson was playing quarterback, running back and all 11 spots on the defense given how much his name came up in the announcer's booth (oh, and the Steelers had the ball). I know that those guys are asked to play up the big-name players, but come on.

Patrick said...

The announcers were terrible yesterday. The one guy acted shocked that TN was going for 2 at the end and he could never quite grasp the concept that you can't take 2 timeouts back to back.

He also thought Tomlin was talking to the offense before the onsides kick about running plays, when clearly if the Steelers had recovered they would of kneeled it.

I was actually wondering if that guy was drunk during the game.

Anonymous said...

I haven't seen the games live, but can the defense keep up this level of intensity for the whole season (including the playoffs)? That's one reason why (last season) I wish the Steelers would keep the offense aggressive, until there is a large enough lead that the starters on both sides of the ball can be rotated out to get more rest. These first four games are different, but at some point the offense has to make something happen, rather than settle for 3-and-outs.

j said...

i'm an older fan who doesn't like the constant rule changes to benefit the offense. (i know i'm not the only one) watching the d the last two weeks has been so much fan.
thanks for the blog dale.

Staff said...

What a great game last night! The NFL is rocking this year already.

Anonymous said...

This is not so much as complaint as an observation. Obviously thrilled to be 2-0 with zero offense.

Why can't we ever just blow someone out?

Why did it come down to Tennessee down a TD with the ball after we destroyed them?

(I know, the onsides kick, we had no offense, O-line scramble, etc., etc.)

But still, when's the last time we just blew someone out and it was over midway through the 3rd quarter or something like that? Opening week 2008?

Not that I'm expecting it very often. Once in a while would be nice.

Dale Lolley said...

That's the nature of the NFL, particularly on the road. And when you have 120 yards of offense, you're not blowing anyone out.
That said, in my eyes, this game was never in doubt, despite the late score and onside kick recovery.
There was no way Tennessee was scoring another TD and getting a second two-point conversion against this defense.

As for going to Hampton to see Ben, A. That may have been a one-time thing. B. Even if it wasn't, nobody's going to camp out up there and wait for Ben to show up. He'll be back in two weeks.

datruth4life said...


Accodring to Bob Labriola of, McClendon is 6'4'', 310 lbs., not the 280 lbs. that he was first listed at as an undrafted free agent two years ago. I haven't seen the guy in person, but I know that you probably have. Regardless, the standard didn't change when he was in the game and Hokie was getting a blow. If this D still plays like that when he is in the game at NT (& Hampton & Hokie aren't) then I'm thinking seriously about keeping him on the regular roster. Just don't know who I would cut to open up that roster spot.

I found your no rookie rule returning punts until Big Ben gets back kind of interesting. Most people know that M. Moore and Randle-El especially offers little in the return game. I guess A. Brown will have to earn Tomlin's trust before he will be able to do both. But anyone with eyes can see that A. Brown is a threat on returns and in some WR pkgs everytime he touches the ball. A very nice find for a 6th round pick.

Dale Lolley said...

Players have to earn Tomlin's trust that they're not going to do something stupid - such as field a punt inside the 5 as Brown did in the preseason.

He helped his cause with the kickoff and hasn't fumbled a punt yet. But Tomlin trusts the decision making of ARE and Moore - though he's a little more lenient in kickoff returns than he is punt returns. It's a much more difficult thing because you don't have as much time to think about things on a punt return.

That's why Brown was back there when the punt was from the Tennesse end zone. ARE was originally out there and Tomlin called him back off and put Brown out there. He knew that even if the rookie made a mistake and put the ball on the ground, it would likely still be in Tennessee territory.

Cajunyankee said...

Dale, don't you think its about time you get behind the steelers and support them with your game picks. You are now 0-2.

Okay, I had to say that because I'm so loving this 2-0 start. I really thought we'd go 1-1 to start the season but with our first victory I was feeling really good about the titans. I mean think about it. CJ has never hit 100 yds with us and the Titans are weak when he isn't effective giving VJ the play action Pass/roll out run.We have the Best DLman in Smith back in the game. Troy is back and timmons is beasting. James H.---nuff said!!
I get the ideas we may lose with our QB situation coupled with our Oline makeup with a rookie center and missing our 2 starting OTs but that line is still built to run the ball and Mendy and Redman can get it done. Redman showed me something with his FB blocking. Props to the titans "D" for hindering our run game but really they just helped us get stronger there too. When Ben returns we should be SUPERBOWL BOUND BABY!!!

Love your Blog Dale....keep it up.

Dale Lolley said...

I just wasn't sold on Dixon as the starter in the opener and Tennessee has been a wasteland for them over the years.
Obviously, you have to like them in TB this week. They'll tear young Josh Freeman apart.

Anonymous said...

I'm a huge believer in karma, you really don't have to take TB this week. lol
I disagree about Dixon and Batch. IMO they've put handcuffs on Dixon and he's not and never will be a pocket passer and he seemed hesitant to me even when he did run. But I guess all of that is a mute point now.
ARE imo needs to be on the sidelines, he's slow and can't catch. As does Mewelde. That is just something I don't understand, Mendenhall catches better, blocks better and runs better. Redman is much better on getting short yards, so I just don't see a purpose for Moore anymore.
All the Steelers fans who have spent so much time calling Timmons a bust should now realize they don't have the credentials to evaluate talent. It's amazing how well a bust can do with two healthy ankles. lol

Anonymous said...

Ok, its MOOT. Not mute. MOOT.

Anonymous said...

is Leftwich gonna start on Sunday?

cajunyankee said...

I too am not sold on Dixon. When he runs he gains yds and 1st downs which is good.The issue hear is he either runs too early missing better passing opportunities down field or is late deciding to run and gets nailed and fumbles. He has a decent arm at times but is hampered mentally---He either is too slow going thru his progressions or hesitates pulling the trigger when its time.--- I get they are holding him back so he'll learn to be a better all round QB but sometimes they need to take off the restraints and say just get us 1st downs.
Now I hear he's hurt his meniscus(??) and is out appx 2 wks. How is Lefty looking? Will he be starting or backing up Batch?