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Sunday, October 16, 2011

Post-Jaguars thoughts

That was about as ugly a win as you'll see.

The Steelers jumped on the Jaguars early and then went into turtle mode, throwing the ball five times in the second half.

OK, they actually dropped back to pass eight times in the second half, but three resulted in sacks.

And yes, that was Max Starks giving up one to some dude named John Chick – couldn't make that one up – and allowing Chick to get by him to push Ben Roethlisberger into another one.

Roethlisberger said following the game that the Jaguars were taking away the short passes and forcing the Steelers to throw the ball deep – which probably wasn't a bad game plan once the winds picked up at Heinz Field.

© That was probably the only good coaching move by Jacksonville.

Jack Del Rio's most crucial error? Lining up to convert a fourth-and-6, taking a timeout and then kicking a field goal with less than five minutes remaining and down 17-10.

What good does 17-13 do you when your quarterback still hadn't broken 100 yards at that point?

It goes back to a something one of the longtime reporters likes to say, "The other side has coaches too."

© OK, the Lawrence Timmons at outside linebacker thing has pretty much run its course.

Can you believe Timmons played an entire game today with the Jaguars running his way and had not a single tackle. That's right, zero.

He also was a non-factor as a pass rusher despite being lined up against Cameron Bradfield and guard Will Rackley, a pair of rookies from football powerhouses Lehigh and Grand Valley State.

Timmons is a run-and-chase linebacker who excels in coverage. If Jason Worilds is able to play next week at Arizona, the Steelers would be well served to put him at outside linebacker or move Timmons back inside.

If not, Beanie Wells could run wild.

© Brett Keisel, by the way, did what you're supposed to do lined up against a pair of rookies from Lehigh and Grand Valley State, picking up a pair of sacks and batting down a couple of passes at the line of scrimmage.

© I wonder if the Rashard Mendenhall haters – and they are many – will be as vocal this week or if they'll wait until the next time he has a tough game to come out of the woodwork again.

© Same goes for all the people saying LaMarr Woodley was overweight and lazy.

© That's 11 TDs in his last 11 games for Mendenhall and 11.5 sacks for Woodley in his last 13 games, including the postseason. But who's counting?

© Doug Legursky suffered a dislocated toe, while Troy Polamalu was suffering from concussion-like symptoms.

Both are expected to be OK. In fact, Polamalu is expected to play next week at Arizona.


Anonymous said...

I was definitely guilty of some Woodley hate. Big plays the last two weeks, yup. I still say he's easily put on 48 lbs. since last year though. :)

They "forced" Ben to throw deep. OK, Ben.

Oh well, I'm thinking of it as sort of like the 2009 Oakland game except we won.

Anonymous said...

Nice notes Dale. Couldn't agree more on Timmons. He had a nice day in coverage, but still didn't even log a PD on the stat board. It's hard to go o-fer on stats as a backside passrusher against inferior o-lineman, but Juan did it. Please let Worilds be healthy next week so the Steelers can see what they have behind Harrison at the position

Anonymous said...

Good point about Timmons. He was a total afterthought today because of the stellar play of the rest of the linebackers.
& at the risk of beating a dead horse, I could swear that Woodley looks 15-20 lbs lighter now than he did game 1 of the season. Jus' sayin'...

adamg said...

So Jax has 7 in the box to stop the run in the second half and were covering Wallace over the top, but nothing was open short? Sure, Ben, whatever you say.

Kiesel played an outstanding game, too. McLendon did a nice job filling in for Hoke.

datruth4life said...


What are you seeing as the primary problems for the run defense? I also think this was Ben and his normal hyperbole saying that the Jaguars were forcing him to go deep. Ben just need to say I am a gunslinger and I refuse to take check-downs, slants or any other pass patterns where it looks like I am getting rid of the ball quick to help my offensive line.

adamg said...

FTR, Wallace said the same thing on KDKA's post game show - that Jax was giving the deep pass. Wallace also said the wind got hold of the ball where he had to turn a couple of times.

However, I read somewhere else that BA's game plan was to go deep based on film study of Jax's defense.

Dale Lolley said...

They lost contain a couple of times, a few others they just missed or bounced off of Jones-Drew.

Anonymous said...

Yeah put Worilds to start

Timmons is too used to the middle by now. And by the pats and ravens games we'll need him there to cover the tight ends

though hopefully Harrison is back by then

bruinmann77 said...

Doug will be able to Play with that toe.
I glad Mendy ran hard today and think it had a lot to do Seeing Redman run last week. Woodley is starting to finally show the player he can be. He needs to beat these type of Tackles.It would be nice to see Worlids on the field not sure when we see that.

bruinmann77 said...

there seemed to be a fe missed tackles and it did hurt when Hoke went out also,

Tim said...

I don't think we played that badly. It was ugly due to missed opportunities:

-Bad play calling from 1st and goal at the 2 + a bad throw lead to 3 points instead of 7.
-Inability to connect on long balls. I'm no BA fan, but if my guys are going to get that wide open that easily and frequently, why not go for it? I don't see why that's being viewed as a bad thing. It's not like our guys were being covered. In the NFL, a pitch and catch is supposed to be doable. A little wind is not a hurricaine. That's on Ben. We should have had at least two more touchdowns on bombs.
-Turnovers not made by the defense. A couple of dropped INTs really would have changed the game if those plays had been made. The roughing the punter didn't help.

If those should-make plays are made, we win by three to five touchdowns. Like we should have. If we leave stuff on the field like that against a good team, we'll get thumped. We look like our screws aren't tight. Tighten it up and we'll be in the playoffs. That's all we need.

Steve-O said...

I was one of those that questioned Woodley's weight. He seems to have come on as of late and I certainly hope he can keep it up but you've got to admit his first few games looked less than Woodley-like.

As for Mendenhall, the guy is oozing with talent, and he certainly looked good today but I wish he ran with a little more consistent toughness. That tip toe dance he does at the line of scrimmage drives me nuts.

On another note, is there a blocked pass stat kept by the NFL? Brett Keisel has got to be somewhere near the top of the list.

And one more observation....I believe DE Vince Wilfork of the Patriots has more interceptions than the Steelers... but I may be wrong. If I am, I'm not far off.

Anonymous said...

What a difference a half makes. In the 2nd half, we had Sanders open twice, but couldnt connect. If that were Wallace, you wonder if they would have been 2 TDs??? But it is hard to believe the short passes werent there, will have to watch replay on that one.

Mendy is just fine, he really looked fresh, like that week off did him some good!!
The D played a good game, some good penetration all game for the most part.

adamg said...

It wasn't just "a little wind". Did you not see the flag starched out toward downtown(?)?

Anonymous said...

In fairness to Timmons, that's just one less tackle than Suisham made.

Wonder if Timmons can kick? Two birds.

joe said...

horrible playground football play calling. thanks ben and arians. i would say tomlin do something about it, but it has gone on so long it isn't going to change.
keisel looked darn good. hood and heyward, mendenhall had good games too.

we will be lucky to win one of the next three if this is how we play

marc said...

woodley has 1 all-pro type game and all of a sudden the criticism of his play the first few weeks means nothing? let's see him earn that contract consistently first.

nice excuse by #7. so what are they going to do when the weather turns cold, snowy, and windy? keep chucking it deep because the other team is smart enough to cover the short-mid stuff?

how about this thought - BA/BR couldn't figure out how to adjust to the jag's defense in the second half. plain and simple.

it's actually quite amazing. consider the steeler's offense has an all-pro QB (#7), an all-pro caliber WR (wallace), an all-pro caliber TE (miller), a talented RB (mendy) and an all-pro center (pouncey). yet, the other team focuses on the short-mid passes and they get shutout in the second half? very poor, imo.

adamg said...

Don't think anyone believes that Jax was "giving" the Steelers the deep ball. Much more likely BA/BR felt they could and were going to exploit the Jax secondary come he^^ or high winds.

That's typical of the stubborness with which the offense often operates.

Robert K said...

The Steelers offense has one more week to tune up and get its stuff together. After that we need to go 1-1 against the Pats/Ravens and we won't do that by playing one half of offense.

Anonymous said...


Hear me out on this one. Put Timmons back to his old spot and put in Heyward in the OLB next to Keisel. Heyward could set the edge, rush the QB, and be better at the point of attack than Timmons. Timmons is a run and chase LB who needs space.

Sounds crazy? I betcha Heyward's speed is about the same as Woodley's. At least try it out in certain running situations

Anonymous said...

The Ben & Arians marriage needs to be dissolved.

This "Tommy Gun" offense that Ben and Arians are facinated with kills this team.

Ben...for the last aren't a gunslinger. You may think you are, but you are not.

Take what the defense gives you.

This may be one of the most unfocused, arrogant teams in the entire league when things begin to go good for them.

They only time they play well is when their backs are to the wall.

Anonymous said...

...and another thing.

The play of Lawrence Timmons makes me long for the days of Carlos Emmons. Atleast Emmons made a tackle or two.

The Timmons signing was a terrible one.

Anonymous said...

Signing Timmons was bad because he's not a good OLB? Fortunately they signed him to play ILB.

Anonymous said...

He was invisible on the inside too. Bad signing.

Anonymous said...

This is Ben's eighth season and the fifth year of his partnership with Arians. Nothing's going to change.

But the winning blueprint during this period has not included a good, consistent offense. It's been to have a consistently top 3 defense keep the Steelers in games while the mediocre offense makes a handful of heroic playground plays to win the game.

Ben is such a weird talent that this actually works. Heck, if we get in the playoffs we have as good a chance as anyone (assuming the Packers start to look human, eventually).

But I doubt they're ever going to have a consistently high-scoring offense that can pick up the slack for a possibly declining defense.

Dale, do you think there is anything tangible you can put your finger on for the lack of forced turnovers? Is it just that Harrison has been injured / not as dominant and Troy has had a bunch of almost-interceptions? Bad luck? I mean, over six games you're bound to have a fumble or two just drop into your lap. Weird.

marc said...

out of curiousity, now that they are 6 weeks into the season, do the players like the new practice rules or are they wishing they had more contact to prepare for the games? i pose the same question for the coaches as well. thanks.

Dale Lolley said...

For the Steelers, the new practice rules didn't matter. It was basically what they were already doing - with some minor adjustments in training camp.

Nice point-out on the Wilfork thing, I may use that.

Timmons' value as a cover backer can't be overlooked. He had great coverage on Lewis the one time he was thrown at. A lot of times, that doesn't show up in the stat sheets.

As for a DE playing outside linebacker, it would be Keisel bumping outside. He's been their emergency guy there on more than one occasion - including yesterday.

Pistol said...


Regardless of the defense you can still have a short passing game and everyone knows that. You just have to be a little more creative with combo and option routes.It looked like they played right into Jax plan no?

I know you see the game tape and would have a much better vantage.

adamg said...

I understand the angst over not getting turnovers, but sometimes the ball just doesn't bounce the right way. Take that ball that was thrown behind a Jax receiver and nearly picked by Troy. Maybe last year, that ball deflects to him instead of away. It could be just one of those years.

Kirk said...

Did anyone mention the horrible call to rush the punter when you are up 14 points with no threat of a Jacksonville offense yet? That seemed like a horrible call. I notice how we sat back on our heels on punts after that blunder. I thought Starks played great the first half but completely disappeared during the 2nd half.

Anonymous said...

Here's why the game got close.

16 combined 1st and second down plays in the second half.

13 runs, 3 passes.

Here's another mind-boggeling stat:

Six games in? The Steelers have had 19 first down plays in the red zone.

18 runs 1 pass, and the one pass was when they were down HUGE in Baltimore which means they haven't thrown on 1st down in the RZ in 5 WEEKS!

Which is downright laughable.

Anonymous said...

If you know this, and I know this, then you can be sure every team the Steelers play knows this.

I'm not sure Arians and Tomlin know this, though.

marc said...

that redzone stat is pretty amazing. i wonder how that would compare to the rest of the league.

i also wonder how ike will fare against fitzgerald. that will fun to watch.

btw, i tuned into MNF last night to watch our boy revis play. he's tough, but he holds a TON.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, Revis is a great player, but I wish all cornerbacks were allowed to be as hands-on as he is. Would help with all these ridiculous 400 yard passers. Even on his own team, Cromartie gets whistles for stuff Revis does almost every snap.

That red zone stat is crazy if true.