Sunday, October 17, 2010

Post-Cleveland thoughts

At 4-1, the Steelers find themselves in a pretty good spot.

But now, things start to get a little more difficult.

Heading out onto the road the next three weeks - at Miami, New Orleans and Cincinnati. It's usually difficult enough to play on the road, but three in a row is murder.

The only saving grace for the Steelers is that after playing Miami next weekend, they'll have plenty of reason to stay focused. The Saints are the defending Super Bowl champions, while the Bengals are an AFC North rival that beat them twice last season.

This will be the make-or-break portion of the schedule, followed by a return trip home against New England.

The Steelers have to go at least 2-2 in those four games if they hope to have a chance to win the division - though the Patriots helped them out by beating the Ravens Sunday.

© Were the Steelers flat Sunday against the Browns?

No. The reason they didn't blow the Browns out earlier was offensive coordinator Bruce Arians' (correct) decision to use plenty of running to allow Ben Roethlisberger to ease himself into things.

Roethlisberger missed some open receivers and threw a bad interception on the team's first drive.

And the Browns also pinned the Steelers deep in their own territory on several occasions as well.

It took Roethlisberger a little while to find his rhythm, but the Steelers really were never challenged in this one.

The outcome of the game was never really in question. It was just going to be a matter of whether or not the Steelers covered the spread.

© Given the fact Roethlisberger needed as many game snaps as possible, I have no problem with the Steelers throwing into the end zone with under two minutes to play and up 11 points.

The Browns hadn't stopped playing, so the Steelers shouldn't stop trying to score.

© One nice thing the NFL did for the Steelers was set them up to face wildcat teams in back-to-back weeks coming off the bye.

The Steelers can roll some of the same defenses they used against the Browns right into the game at Miami - though, in my opinion, Ronnie Brown isn't as dangerous as Josh Cribbs is in the wildcat.

© Colt McCoy has a chance to be Cleveland's best QB since the Browns' return to the NFL. And there have been quite a few.

Ditto Peyton Hills at running back - though Jamal Lewis wasn't bad in his short stay with the Browns.

Cleveland is much better than it has been - though the Browns still aren't ready to challenge for a playoff spot.

22 comments:

Anonymous said...

Great points dale

though miami has been using the wildcat way less every week

Brandon marshall is probably the best receiver we have faced since week 1. Should be a nice challege for the secondary. And davone bess has been catching everything underneath. I think he'll be the guy giving us trouble next sunday

Anonymous said...

I'm more convinced than ever it's not a matter of IF, but WHEN Mendenhall gets his wheels run off. It's almost as big of a shame as using Randle El to field punts.

Greg Mercer said...

i don't get the Peyton Hillis lovefest. he's a good receiver out of the backfield and will make the occasional highlight hurdle.

however, he appears to be a straight line runner with below average vision and feet. the key is not letting him get a head of steam. and even when he did get to the second level, our DBs were able to bring him down easily.

Anonymous said...

brandon marshall and whoever we faced in week 1 are better than anquan boldin???

Anonymous said...

I think White and Marshall are better than Boldin, yes.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, marshall and white are better than boldin

adamg said...

I was surprised Arians didn't put in more play action passes for BR. It looked like the Browns were loading up to stop Mendenhall at the line. Those were 80 hard earned yards. I'm concerned with the number of carries he got, too, but not the total number of run plays. Mendenhall was great on blitz pick up, too.

It was nice to see BR finally throwing the ball away instead of taking sacks. It did look like he had to remember to do it, though. BR didn't try to do it all himself. In the end that will help both him and the team.

Kugler and Pouncey. What a difference a coach and a center can make. All those blown assignments and pre-snap penalties have gone away. Credit to Flozell Adams, too. He's been very good.

Defense remains solid. I didn't think they did anything extra special to confuse McCoy. The tipped balls seem to be bouncing our way this year, too.

Anonymous said...

This next game worries me. Steelers are definitely the better team but Miami is a very well coached team. The Steelers are not a well coached team on offense. No creativity, no misdirection, grinding down Mendenhall in the first half of the season, Arians is an idiot.

Miami has that very fast DE, dumbass Arians better prepare for him

Steve-O said...

I swear, Arians can't do anything to suit you guys. If he passes too much you B*tch, if he runs it too much you B*tch. The owner, Art Rooney Jr. tells the coaches he wants more running and he gets exactly that. They are 4-1 and alone in first place.

Maybe, just maybe we ought to give them a little bit of credit.

Anonymous said...

SteveO
The fans hate Arians and will never give him credit. The guy won a Super Bowl. So he can design an offense that wins. The guy had 2 1,000 yard WRs, a 1,00 yard RB, and a 4,000 yard QB so he also knows how to design an offense that puts up points and yard.

Yet he never gets any credit. He called a bad game in Cleveland last year in terrible weather and a bad game vs Philly in 2008. He also makes the occasional bad 3rd down play call that everyone remembers.

Meanwhile Steelers fans love Cam Cameron (who is good, but I don't see how he is better than Arians) and he is currently getting raked over the coals by the Baltimore fans for his 4th quarter and overtime performance.

OCs just can't win over a local fan base. It's too easy to second guess them.

adamg said...

I'm not complaining about the more run plays at all. I believe Mendenhall is on pace for around 400 carries. That is too many. Stats have shown that RBs who get that many carries usually feel effects the following year and beyond. The workload needs to be spread around better with the same amount of runs.

It was obvious the Browns D was intent on stopping the Steelers from running. That's where play action is effective. I guess there were a couple play action passes, but that's why the running game is valuable, it can set up the passing game very well. Why not take more advantage of that?

Patrick said...

Tomlin has apparently not learned from the "wheels fall off" experiment with Parker during his first season.

Now granted, Mendenhall may be a little more equipped to handle the load. The problem is you are ruining a young back for not only future performance this season (think playoffs) but also future seasons.

They also have next to no depth behind Mendenhall, unless you think Jonathan Dwyer is ready (I don't). I hope they start giving Redman a few series here and there.

As for the game, not much to say. It shouldn't of been as close as it was for most of the game, but the Steelers seemed in control. Thats all well and good until a mistake happens and all the sudden the score is 10-7 Browns. I wish they would just put poor teams away and rest guys. But I realize that is the ideal and not always the reality of situations.

joe said...

i kept hearing how horrible colt was, he looked decent in his first start.
james, get your checkbook out, fines are-a-coming. then those suits will put your huge hits on nfl films and make more money off them. pffft
randle el on punt returns makes me want to throw a brick at my tv. dale, is no one else showing they can catch punts in practice ? or is tomlin just going with the vet for safety ? el has done nothing on punts.
a win over the stains is always good, now for a real test on the road.

Anonymous said...

lol at saying Arians won the Super Bowl

are you saying he is such a genious that he designed the offensive line to get blown up and for Big Ben to scramble around like an idiot in a playground throwing it to Holmes just before Ben gets nailed then Holmes makes a bunch of nice open field moves to gain big chunks of yardage?

LMAO. you Arians nut-huggers are dilusional

Anonymous said...

arians is by no means perfect. But his haters are way more delusional than those who like him

anyway. About mendenhall, runningbacks are a dime a dozen. When he breaks down you can just draft another one. BUT, problem is if he breaks down before the season ends and we only have redman dwyer and moore. Neither is proven. Moore is the past but he seems to be losing it. That's why I'd like to see dwyer active for a game to see what he can do. And the obvious giving redman more carries, or like someone said a whole series

adamg said...

RBs may be a dime a dozen, but good RBs aren't. That's why you don't run the wheels off them.

datruth4life said...

Dale,

I know it is early, but one of the special things that I see with this football is that the Steelers have good depth and several young talented players in the pipeline who are learning every day in practice how to play Steelers football and could be starters in a few years. How valuable is it for T. Gibson, J. Worilds and Sly Sylvester to see firsthand how Timmons, Woodley, & J. Harrison practice each week and then play on Sundays? (If Farrior retires after this season, I think Sly could possibly step in and play next year. Gibson and Worilds are both good players, too). The same thing with E. Sanders and A. Brown with Hines Ward and Mike Wallace. Legursky, Pouncey and Flozell have made this OL tougher, more physical and definitely a lot more intelligent. We now have a line that can move the line of scrimmage as well as pick up the blitz and give Ben time to throw.

And if all hasn't realized it yet, Isaac Redman has surpassed M. Moore on the running back depth chart, mainly because he is much better at blitz pick up these days than M. Moore is. I think the Steelers could use A. Brown's explosiveness on kickoff and punt returns, but who will take a seat for him to get a hat on game days? It's certainly not going to be Emmanuel Sanders, as he looked like another nice toy for Ben in the multiple WR sets yesterday. And I still don't think Tomlin wants too many rookies out there on the field right now, particularly with the hardest stretch upcoming. Something special is going on with this team. I just hope that injuries doesn't derail it.

Also, I expect Batch to be released this week and picked back up on Monday if the Steelers need to activate NT/DT McClendon because of Keisel's hamstring. With the most difficult part of the schedule being the next 4 games (with 3 of them on the road), I think the team should make sure Keisel is fully healed before putting him back out there. You don't want to rush him back and see him pop that hammy and be lost for the season.

Dale Lolley said...

The worst thing is that the Arians haters force those who don't hate everything he does to defend him as if they love everything he does. That's not the case. But the constant trashing gets old.
What's their record with Arians as the OC? Isn't that the bottom line?
He had a game plan in place Sunday to allow Roethlisberger to ease his way back into action. If they score a TD on the opening drive instead of Roethlisberger throwing a bad interception, that game is a 42-0 rout.
As for Mendenhall, I think you'll start seeing them ease Redman in a little more often as the season wears on. Remember, Redman had no NFL experience coming into this. He's had to earn Tomlin's trust. That's happening each week.

If Harrison gets fined, it will be for the Massaquoi hit. And it will be BS. Look at the post I put up today and tell me that Harrison is doing anything illegal. The receiver juggles the ball and lowers his head trying to make the catch when he bends his knees. He brought his head into the path of Harrison's shoulder.

Anonymous said...

Peter King wrote, "Several shots in Pittsburgh, two vicious ones by James Harrison of the Steelers; his helmet-to-helmet shot against Browns receiver Mohamed Massaquoi will certainly draw a heavy fine, and it's incredible to me no official flagged what could be the textbook definition of hitting a defenseless receiver."
How can you call him a defenseless receiver if he had the ball and only dropped it because he saw Harrison coming. Is Harrison suppose to let him catch the ball? Writers like King and Clark Judge of CBS are calling for suspensions, which would be absurd. I don't think Harrison intentionally wanted to hit him helmet to helmet, (ie: Merriweather on Heap) he is just bigger, stronger, and faster than the players he hits. Fine him maybe, but no flag and no suspension for the hit.

Anonymous said...

"Also, I expect Batch to be released this week and picked back up on Monday if the Steelers need to activate NT/DT McClendon because of Keisel's hamstring."

hmm, didn't realiz that but yeah, it's likely

Anonymous said...

I'd love for someone to ask Tomlin about giving Mendy too many carries, Randle El fielding punts, and Mewelde seeing the field at all, but the Pittsburgh media doesn't like asking tough questions.

Anonymous said...

Question:

The game wasn't on in Virginia...Why all the big pass plays for the Browns especially the tight ends?