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Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Tuesday thoughts

I was just re-watching the 2009 Steelers-Packers meeting and was struck by how easily the Steelers moved the ball against the Packers.

Every receiver seemed like he was running wide open.

The Steelers also utilized a lot of passes to the tight ends and running backs, while also hitting a lot of the wide receiver screens they like to run.

They had trouble blocking Clay Matthews in the game, but pretty much every time they needed a score, they got one.

Conversely, the Packers moved the ball well on the Steelers, but remember, Tyrone Carter was playing in place of Troy Polamalu.

The Steelers did not do a great job of tackling in that game, either.

Hines Ward had a huge game working against Green Bay's zone blitz scheme. He's obviously not playing at the same level he was in 2009, but he's still able to find openings in the zone.

Aaron Rogers is probably a little better QB than he was in 2009, but so is Ben Roethlisberger.

The Steelers had a heck of a time dealing with Jermichael Finley. Couldn't cover him. They won't have to worry about that this time around.

It really got my juices flowing to see this matchup in Dallas.


kelly said...

Yeah, I’m looking forward to re-watching that game as well; it was a crazy match up. If we have a Super Bowl like that it would go down as one of the best. Of course, I would have a heart attack, but hey, if we win, it’s all good.

On a totally different note - Do you know anything about how Limas Sweed is doing with his Achilles? Is he ever around the facilities?

Greg Mercer said...

Tramon Williams is also playing at a different level now than he was last year. He is a pick six waiting to happen.

Ben can deal with pressure from the outside. but if Raji can consistently push our guards and centers into Ben's face, we will be in trouble.

i would like to see Arians utilize the rollout more.

Anonymous said...

One thing though, the packers don't have jarret bush on the field anymore. He was awful!

Dean Keaton said...

I love the optimism, but the Packers' secondary is much better now too. Plus, we don't have Holmes. Yes, we have a couple of young WRs to replace him, but the Steelers WR corps is still a slight notch below last year's trio of Holmes, Ward (better last year as you noted), and Wallace.

This is going to be a very tough matchup for the Steelers. Green Bay doesn't have much of a running game for our defense to take away... Hoping LeBeau has some more magic blitzes to pull out of the hat.

Greg Mercer said...

do any of the Packers other than Woodson have Superbowl experience?

i'm hoping the moment gets to Rodgers and McCarthey and causes them to make some uncharacteristic mistakes.

Anonymous said...

"...but the Steelers WR corps is still a slight notch below last year's trio of Holmes, Ward (better last year as you noted), and Wallace."

The Top 3 might have been better last year...but IMO the WRs are better overall this year. Ward may have been better last year, but Wallace has improved this year. Brown also seems to make the clutch plays Holmes used to. Plus Sanders doesn't seem to be afraid to try to make the tough catch. Certainly Sanders + Brown > Sweed + Grisham.

"do any of the Packers other than Woodson have Superbowl experience?"

John Kuhn got a ring with the Steelers in 05.

Dale Lolley said...

The Packers have trouble stopping the run, allowing 4.7 yards per carry this season.

One X factor in the passing game is the fact that Ben has been better - by in large - than last season. He's not holding the ball as much.

Vaflyer said...

I think another factor about the passing game is, we basically have faced the same type of defenses the last 2 weeks. The Jets and Ravens get after the QB at least as well as Green Bay does. Green Bay may be a little better against the pass only because they have gotten more sacks and have a better 3rd corner, but they are worse against the run. Mendy may just be the key to the game.

Darren said...

Trouble against the run you say?

I think they are very similar to the Jets defense in that they are strong in the secondary but they can be run on.

The best way to stop the high powered Packer offense will be to make long drives like the Steelers did in the first half of the AFCCG.

4.7 yards? Mendy could be a super-bowl MVP if they can't change that.

Sure, the Steelers haven't faced a QB as good as Rodgers but he hasn't faced a defense as good as the Steelers.

That last game doesn't mean much to me as a predictor of what the Superbowl will be like. The stage is different, the stakes are higher, the players are different (either physically or developmentally), there are some great rookies on both teams that will have impact on the game.

If you can run and stop the run you still win games in the NFL. (see: AFCCG) The Steelers are much better at running and much much better at stopping the run.

The Packers have the edge in passing and defending the pass but it's not as heavily weighted in their favor. The Steelers gave up less yards per pass on average for instance. Statistically, the Jets were better against the pass.

But these are the top two scoring defenses in the league this year.

Experience in dealing with the hype machine is heavily in favor of the Steelers.

Two good teams and nothing will be easy but I have to go with the experience and the team that can control the clock with the running game.

adamg said...

Ironically, imo, teams trying to contain BR from rolling outside have contributed to making him a better qb. He's been staying in the pocket, going through his checks and taking off up the middle when the chance comes up. He's taking fewer sacks because the OL knows where he is, too. Oh, and he can still make the sandlot plays.

marc said...

a couple observations.

the ravens defense really doesn't get after the QB. they were 27th in the league in sacks this year.

many would argue that chicago's defense is comparable to the steelers. not quite as good, but comparable.

green bay's rushing defense may give up a high average per attempt, but they have only given up 6 rushing TD's all year. one more than the steelers.

also, their defense's 4th down conversion rate is 4th best in the league which may suggest they are very good at short yardage. i would like to see the average yard per carry on 3rd or 4th and short to go. that would be a good indicator of their run defense, imo.

i believe these are two very evenly matched teams and whichever QB plays better will win.

Johnny Cat said...

Heard Pouncey is in a hard cast....Is the injury worse than predicated/thought. Anyone know more? I figure the steelers are keeping a tight lid on the injury.

So were going to the superbowl without our starting tackles and starting center.

Anonymous said...

Without pouncey I am doubting a win. Someone convince me otherwise. please.

Dale Lolley said...

Limas Sweed has been around the facility. Saw him showing off his vertical jump last week. He looks fine. Trouble is, so do the two rookies.

Anonymous said...

jumping already? wow. He must be healing fast

good for him. Maybe he'll net us a 6th round pick

Jim said...

Prior to the season, Ward hinted that he may retire if we win the Super Bowl. If that happens, it would be nice if Sweed was showing enough that we could take a year off drafting receivers and take... oh I don't know, some offensive linemen, cornerbacks, defensive linemen...

Of course, Sweed has had a couple years to show something and hasn't so maybe that's too wishful thinking. Brown's two big catches the past two games made me think back to the epic drop he had in the Baltimore AFC championship game. What a striking difference. Goes to show that speed, height, vertical jump, and all the stuff they measure at the combine aren't as important as catching the damn ball!