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Monday, October 24, 2011

Post-Arizona thoughts

Check-down Ben was back today for the Steelers and, amazingly, the Steelers had another big offensive day.

Imagine that.

I thought Roethlisberger played outstanding football against the Cardinals, pretty much doing whatever he wanted.

He seemed to have the Cardinals guessing wrong all day – witness his fake in the backfield on former teammate Clark Haggans, getting Haggans to go airborne while Roethlisberger scrambled around him and made yet another short completion.

And the deep balls were still there.

© That said, Roethlisberger still took some unnecessary hits in this game. He got sacked twice - including once by Haggans – and hit six times.

And that was in a game in which the Steelers led 14-0 and never trailed.

One player who did not get a QB hit was Joey Porter. He's finished.

© Chris Kemoeatu was back and so were the stupid penalties and plays.

First was a grab of the facemask of a pass rusher running by him.

Then came an inexplicable dive into a pile of players lying on the ground after a short pass to Hines Ward that drew an unnecessary roughness penalty, about the 10th time in his career he's pulled that one off.

He finished things off by wasting about 10 seconds jawing with a defensive player behind the play while the Steelers were trying to run their two-minute offense late in the first half.

Head coach Mike Tomlin could be seen pointing to his head, reminding Kemoeatu to think after he was dragged back to the line of scrimmage following the third bozo play of the game.

And that was all in the first half.

Kemoeatu is only seven years into his career with the Steelers. There's still room for growth there.

By the time he spends his final years in the league with the Cardinals, maybe he'll finally get it.

© Steve McLendon played an outstanding game on the nose.

The Cardinals ran right at him on a number of occasions and McLendon was more than up to the challenge most of the time.

Beanie Wells, before he was knocked out of the game by Ryan Clark, didn't find much running room – save for one time when Larry Foote got trapped out of position.

© How do you leave LaMarr Woodley unblocked inside your own 5?

© The young receivers were on the same page as Roethlisberger throughout the game today. They had better be again next week against New England because the Steelers will need to score all the points they can.

© Tomlin said after the game that Aaron Smith had some neck pain, but thought it was due to the rigors of playing.

But when he sat out a couple of weeks and the pain persisted, they had it checked out.

That's when they found a problem that will require season-ending surgery. No conspiracy there.


adamg said...

It's truly amazing to see Mike Wallace just pull away from NFL DBs who are also fast and running at full speed.

Thought McLendon played a very good game. He's not the prototypical NT, but he showed quickness and agility the plays I was able to catch.

Very nice drive by Ben and the offense after AZ scored to make it 17-14.

I think that was the most PI and defensive holding flags I've ever seen in one game.

Robert K said...

Kemo is an idiot and think the Steelers should seriously consider giving his job to legursky when the guy is healthy again.

For every good play he makes there are two stupid ones.

Anonymous said...

I'd say the ratio is 5 stupid to 1 good, but all the same ... I really hope that job goes back to Legursky when he's healthy.

BoJangles said...

Arians gets a lot of heat but I've always been a critic of our execution as a whole. When Ben actually gets the ball off in a timing offense we can score some points.

Did Sanders need Hines to fall to finally find his game again? Wallace is unbelievable & the Ben/Brown preseason connection is back.

Kemo stinks, Doug is exponentially better simply because he isn't an idiot & can block a stunt.

McLendon reminds me A LOT of Jay Ratliff. Quick, slimmer penetrator that can also stop the run.

Anonymous said...

Checkdown Ben is my favorite Ben. Not because I want Checkdown Ben all the time, just, maybe, alot of the time.

"By the time of his final years in the league with the Cardinals..." -- har, har. It's ridiculous the way they pick up the ex-Steelers. 2011 Haggans & Porter, yuck.

Excellent overall performance on the road a big step, hopefully.

I have to say I'm glad Woodley was motivated by reading about all us (me, for instance) anonymous posters calling him fat. It really seems to have lit a fire under tubby. You're welcome, all.

Watching Farrior "chase" after that running back on that run-and-catch was not so fun given what he's going to have to do next week.

Anonymous said...

Grimm's Card line didn't look too bright either. Leaving Timmons unblocked which forced the INT, then ditto for Woodley on the safety sack. For whatever reason, the Steelers do not put any kind of premium on intelligence on the OL, and that includes but predates any of the current coaches. I don't know if they like em stupid, but they'll sure take em. Give us your morbidly obese, your immobile, your mentally challenged.

adamg said...

That's a ridiculous statement. The Steelers have had plenty of football smart offensive linemen going back to at least Noll. Or maybe you think guys like Kolb, Mullins, Davis, Brown, Jackson, Wolfley, Ilkin, Dawson, Faneca, Van Dyke, Hartings, Pouncey and so on are a bunch of dopes.

joe said...

apparently we had a power surge yesterday. dvr shut off 20 minutes into the game :(
saw kemo miss blocks on the first drive, then read about more of his late pile ons...idiot.
a big two weeks coming up, let's see if the coaches can coach better and players execute better than they have overall this season

Anonymous said...

How about Arians running a draw on 3rd and 1 with 10 seconds left before halftime on the 20 yard line?

No shot at a TD?

Arians stupidity never ceases to amaze me

Anonymous said...

lol @ joe

u not a real fan


joe said...

oh a former st louis resident...whiz, how are you liking the bidwel's now ??

Pistol said...

I get what your saying but i hope your just talking about the Tomlin regime. they are pretty dim group i dont think anyone can argue that. In the cowher and noll era Admag pointed out several guys that were exceptionally bright.

Pistol said...

On a side note "Check Down Ben" would be considered close to Brady in my opinion.

Only taking the deep ball when its there and controlling the offense like he did against the Cards. It doesn't get much better than how he played yesterday.

Anonymous said...

NE has always given the Steelers match up problems. Farrior, while many years of great service, just isn't up to the task of covering. I'm hoping that LeBeau comes up with something imaginative like what Cleveland did to NE last year. Maybe a 3-2-6? Otherwise, we're going to be in for another long game.

adamg said...

Rob Ryan ran that muddle huddle defense against Brady when Clev beat them. He did the same thing this year with Dallas, but Brady went to a fast no huddle to try and catch them moving around.

No doubt there will be a chess match going on between LeBeau and Brady calling audibles.
The thing that will help the Steelers is that the home crowd noise won't make it easy for Brady to change the play and have everyone on the same page.

Anonymous said...

I'd like to see them move Kemo to a situational player and give the big L the starting role at left guard.

I say "situational" rather than "backup" because I'd sub him in often on the right or left as the play call or match up dictates. He can create great match up problems, but as an every down player he is trouble and can be exploited.

Tim said...


I think he was talking about nowadays. Only one of the guys you mentioned is on the team right now. Kemoeatu is stupid, he always has been, and the Steelers liked it enough to pay him about 5 times what he's worth. Colon picked things up in 2009, but before that he was worse than Kemo, and we won't know which one we'll get until 2012. Foster's proven to be what I'd call "not smart" on the field too, as has Jonathan Scott.

That's 4 of our starters right there! Legursky seems smart. So does Starks, but both of those guys have other problems and have been inconsistent throughout their careers. Gilbert seems plenty smart so far in his limited action (by the way, awesome game yesterday!), so we got that going for us.

Legursky might be our best option at the moment, but I'm still not convinced he should be starting at guard for this team long-term. I want him as the interior backup. I am 100% sold on Gilbert, and I'm thrilled they put him back into the lineup yesterday.


Okay, we got 3/5ths figured out. That's more than we've had recently. We can't come out of the next draft without a top guard. Plug in a new guy and let Legs, Foster, and Kemo (if he takes a pay cut) fight over the other spot. Or draft two guards and give them both a fair chance, but that seems like something another team would do.

Anonymous said...

Here's what I'd like to see happen, but I don't think will happen against the Pats.

Leave Farrior and Foote on the sidelines and put a couple extra DBs on the field. I never thought I'd say this at the beginning of the year, but the Steelers have the DBs to play the Pats, just need to use them.

Anonymous said...

Actually, I might put Heyward on the left side of the line as well and just have him go after Brady every down.

Anonymous said...

Again, check down Ben was back because he had check down OPTIONS in the passing game.

They waste RBs and Miller too much as blockers, thus they are not options as check downs.

Watch the games people.

Anonymous said...

Seems like our last few meetings with the Patriots has consisted of Brady going right after William Gay or Bryant McFadden. Now that Gay has improved, & McFadden booted from the lineup I am very interested in seeing just how good our pass defense is. However one thing that has always killed our Defense is a TE who can stretch the field. I expect Brady to use and abuse his TE's (Gronkowski and Hernandez) and that worries me greatly. Farrior can't cover either one of them, and even Troy has looked shotty at covering the TE this season. New England has never been a good matchup for us, So although I fully expect a loss this week, I'll leave it to the Jets to beat them in the playoffs for us, once again.

adamg said...

A few years ago during a Penn State radio broadcast Jack Ham talked about the way to stop a TE that was catching a lot of passes that game. He said all you need to do is line a DE/LB over the TE and make him be a full time blocker.

Anonymous said...

One of the Anoymouses is being too literal about the name CheckDown Ben.

Dale Lolley said...

"They waste RBs and Miller too much as blockers, thus they are not options as check downs."

How many of the checkdowns were after the blocker leaked out. I can think of at least three times that happened.

Anonymous said...

"How many of the checkdowns were after the blocker leaked out. I can think of at least three times that happened."


Yep...these guys are always there and open, Ben just doesn't always come back to them. Especially, Mendenhall, not sure if that's Ben or Reshard's fault.

marc said...

i don't think it is that easy. especially if they put the TE in motion or split him out slightly like most pass catching TE's tend to do these days. maybe ham was referring to back in the day when everyone lined up on the line.

to beat the pats you must have a strong day from the d-line. plain and simple. blitzing doesn't work, brady is too good and burns the defense too often.

you must have at least 1 extra DB (if not 2 or more) every play. man underneath and zone over the top. make them check down on pass plays and audible to the run as much as possible. hope the d-line plays well and the defense tackles well. you don't have to sack brady, hurry him often and hit him often, if possible.

on obvious pass plays (3rd and 10+) i would come out with 2DL, 2LB, and 7DB's.

AlexJ said...

about steve mclendon, he's not a prototypical...Steelers...NT, but he's very much a Jay-Ratliff type imo...

adamg said...

I don't think all that many TEs split out wide. Most line up and are released by the defensive players off the line after a cursory block. If either TE lines up next to the OT or even a bit off, I'd certainly have the LB engage on the rush.

If, as you suggest, only 2 DL, the Pats will run just as they did successfully against Dallas last game.

The key to stopping Brady is to pressure up the middle as well as hitting him as often as possible.

Tim said...

I hardly consider a blocking RB in the backfield to be a waste. If there isn't one there, Ben will be killed and we'll all want BA strung up on manslaughter charges. Ben can still hit them after they release, and does all the time when he's got his wits about him. If you want them to go on their routes right away, why not use receivers? They're better and we've got plenty of them.

Phil said...

Mendenhall did not have a great game yesterday. Hopefully the Steelers can continue passing well.

Anonymous said...

Do you think Essex or Scott would be any better than Kemo at LG? Move Gilbert to LG and put Scott back at RT?

Anonymous said...

"That's a ridiculous statement. The Steelers have had plenty of football smart offensive linemen going back to at least Noll."

I'm obviously not going back that far. Just farther than LZ and Kugler. Grimm groomed his share of dumbasses too. Nkwenti was his chosen one. He rubbed out an 8 on his wonderlic iirc. Pretty sure Okobi was around there too. Marvel Smith, low teens. Simmons scored a 13 or 14 too. Awareness was never eithers strong suit. Colon and Kemo, low teens too. Pouncey and Gilbert, mid teens iirc. Starks and Essex scored in the 30s, above average. Legursky scored well too, iirc, but wasn't a combine invite. They've drafted a ton of not so bright. This is all off the top of my head. It cannot be argued that the number one problem any iteration of PS Oline has had over the past several years was/is above the neck. Even allowing for football intelligence in guys like Pouncey or Gilbert, that only gets you to about 50/50. Meaning, no matter what they may say, intelligence isn't/hasn't been a premium trait on draft day. It's more random than actively sought.

Dale Lolley said...

The wonderlic is overrated in terms of measuring football smarts - which is what really matters.

I'm sure Ike Taylor didn't score well on the Wonderlic, but he can play football.

Guys can prepare for the Wonderlic and do well on it - if they so choose.

Anonymous said...

Ike doesn't exactly help your argument there. Ike is not football smart. He can play man. Man corner doesn't take a whole lot, mentally. He's very good at what he does, but he's very limited. And he isn't bright. Same goes on the other side with Keenan Lewis. Who was academic All-Pac10 btw, with some pud degree. He scored just in double digits on his wonderlic, iirc. There's always going to be exceptions to anything. Pouncey for example. But the wonderlic is still useful. And more useful than anything else available. Pouncey's play is probably the only example on this line that belies their wonderlic score. Maybe Colon, but he had some serious awareness issues his first couple years starting. Discredit it if you want, but you can't deny that this OL has been replete with dumbasses for a number of years now. And that has been their main problem.

Anonymous said...

And yeah guys can prepare for the wonderlic. And they do get a second chance to better their score. And often do. But what does that say of the guy who still pulls a 14. Come on.

Patrick said...

I don't think a lot of these guys care about the Wonderlic, rather than it being incompetence its more like disregard

marc said...

i didn't watch the cowboys game, but they did hold the pats to 20 points, which most defenses would consider a success.

as for the TE's, i know i have seen winslow split out with the bucs and i have seen the pats split their guys out sometimes as well. even so, taking a LB to engage the TE on his rush negates them both. i don't know...who does that benefit the most?

more than anything, i think if you want to beat the pats, you have to try and show them something they haven't seen before. but i do agree, you need good pressure by the d-line.

KT said...

I thought Ben played a great game too, although he needs to deliver on those long balls a little better.

Neal Coolong of Behind the Steel Curtain has suggested that perhaps his foot is hurting worse then he lets on.

McLendon also played well.

Dale Lolley said...

His foot is fine. He's not even limping in his bare feet.

adamg said...

marc, I've seen Balt split Heap way out with the regular receivers, for ex, so it's not unheard of. I think I'd take the trade of locking up a TE like Gronkowski for a LB as a win for the defense.

I actually expect them to use Troy bouncing around to confuse Brady.

Anonymous said...

Does Dalew or anyone know if Troy batting the ball back is a penalty or not? I thought it was if the offense "fumbled forward," even by accident, to prevent them doing it on purpose.

On defense I assumed it was not a penalty because how do you judge intent? What if it had just bounced off his arm or head into the end zone? Is that a penalty?

Not that it mattered in this beatdown of the Pats, just curious...