Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Steelers take some days off

The Steelers got their final practice of their bye week in today with one conspicuous absence - linebacker James Harrison.

After practicing Tuesday, Harrison left the team facility on Wednesday before the team completed its late morning session.

That doesn't bode well, but it's not crushing, either.

It might come down to pain management for Harrison, who has shown in the past that he has a high tolerance.

On the positive side, strong safety Troy Polamalu was out there again for the second consecutive day and appears to be on track to play when the team returns to the field Oct. 7 against Philadelphia.

@ Ryan Mundy got rung up to the tune of $21,000 for his hit on Darrius Heyward-Bey last weekend in Oakland.

Given the one-game suspension of Denver's Joe Mays this week for illegal hits in back-to-back games, Mundy could be looking at a similar penalty for another illegal hit this season.


50 comments:

ibygeorge said...

Is Deebo done?

Anonymous said...

Done? No. But this could be his last season in black and gold given his age, health issues, and his cap hit..... hope timmons follows him out the door as he's stealiing a check at this point.

Anonymous said...

Leaving in street clothes the day after practicing isn't a great sign at all.

His knee still ain't right, is what that says to me.

Anonymous said...

what happened to the linebacking corps? how did it decline so suddenly, with no contingency plan?

Anonymous said...

Seriously people the linebackers are fine and Timmons is a very good player, it's the DB's we should be worring about but with Polamalu coming back we should get back to what we're used to seeing from our defense in no time.

DD said...

Uhhhh, Timmons...fine? FOr what he is paid??!! You have got to be kidding me.

Anonymous said...

You're talking like he is a liability on defense which isn't the case. He's a good player and good players cost dough.

bruinmann77 said...

It looking like james is done and the steelers are lacking a replacement, Timmions for being a top 15 pick is very disappointing.

steelcan said...

Hey Dale, I would like your opinion on this thought: The defence has been getting ripped alot (and rightfully so) for its on field performance so far this season. I am not a knee-jerk guy, and we know the Steelers (rightfully so) are not either, but I think next year, its time to make a a move to a 4/3 cover 2 type defence. Here is my thinking on all 3 levels: DL: In Hood/Ta amu/McClendon you have 3 perfect 1 gap penetrating DTs, that can be very disruptive against both the run+pass, (exactly what you look for from your 2 DTs, 1 gap penetrating types). No one can tell me those 3 wouldnt be more effective in that role , than they are being used now. At DE: Woodley would man 1 spot, as a 43 end he has the stength to hold up in the run game, in fact most 43 ends arent much heavier or stronger than he is now. Plus, I would love to see what type of sack production he could give rushing the passer 30 times a game, with no more drops. Heyward would be my other end, and would give a strong seal the edge run presence, and some pass rush presence. At LB, you already have 2 PERFECT 4/3 LBs in Timmons and Spence (assuming hes healthy). Lets look at the main responsibility of 43 LBs: 1.Play the run in space. Re Timmons, his problem (at times) is his run recognition as a 34 inside guy. As a 43 outside guy, he s dealing less with oth OL, and more just get after the ball carrier, and play coverage, these are his stengths. in fact people say they dont have Harrisons replacement on the roster, but they do: That is Timmons (as a 43 OLB though). The same goes for Spence, except he is your guy in the middle/signal caller. DB: In this cover 2 scheme, you get a lot of 2 safety high, thats not Troys game, but he probably wont play more than a couple of more years anyways. For now, he can still excel in any defence, but it will be MUCH easier, to find a cover 2 type safety in the draft, than the "next TP". Finallty at CB, the 2 high safeties, allow the CBs to play more man/press, that is EXACTLY the stengths of Taylor/Lewis/Allen/Brown, so they are good there. In summary, the YOUNGER talent for the most part is MUCH BETTER built to play a 43 defennce next year moving forward, with a couple of additions via the draft. An added bonus: With the likes of Hampton/Kiesel/Harrison/Foote/Troy moving on, the D gets much younger, and saves tons of cap $$$. One last point: Tomlin is a 43 Tampa 2 guy, if Butler is not, I think Raheem Morris (a good friend of Tomlins) would be an excellent replacement for coach Lebeau. Soory for the long post. GO STEELERS!!!

marc said...

hood has shown you the ability to penetrate?

a 2nd year spence as the signal caller?

the strength of lewis/allen/brown is man/press coverage?

additionally, to those who think timmons is playing "up to his contract"...you are crazy and blinded by your love for the steelers.

steelcan said...

as a 34 end for the most part, Hood is NOT asked to penetate, but his skill set is such. And YES, absolutely the stength of the corners is man/press, if you cant see that, then I cant help you. And one of Spences stengths is intellegence. Even coach Butler talked about his ability to pick up their complicated 34 system. And I hope you are not insuating that I think that Timmons is playing up to his contract, because obviosly he is not (as a34 inside backer). Again, like many of the other players I mentionde, his best place is in a 43 defence, as an O\lb. And reallty isnt the most important job of any coach to put the players he has in the best possible spot to succeed? Moving forward, with the YOUNGER talent on the roster, I feel the 43 is the way to go in 2013 and beyond.

marc said...

first, the timmons comment was not directed towards you. actually, i too agree timmons is best suited for the 4-3 and wasn't particularly pleased when they selected him in the draft.

i believe hood is expected to penetrate on passing downs and try to sack the QB the majority of the time. yet, he has zero QB pressures this year, i believe.

and, watching lewis getting beat consistently in man coverage tells me that is not his strength. and isn't he supposed to be better than allen/brown?

kyle said...

Hood was actually a very good one gap 4/3 DT on a very bad Mizzou team. If you watch him on the field it seems like he's been coached out of his strengths. Picking him made sense because he had the build and the strength but most of the time he's doing exactly what the Steelers want him to do just not well and he doesn't seem to be playing his instincts.

Watch him on passing downs. He'll disengage and hold position and everything you want...except collapse the pocket or knock the pass down.

I've never been on board the "Tomlin wants a Cover 2" bandwagon but everything Steelcan said makes sense.

And, marc, yes our current corners can play Press/Man. The man coverage you see them have trouble with involves having little to no pass rush and giving up dink and dunks. If they were playing press coverage in a 4/3 with linebackers in zones and safety help I think you would see the advantage of bigger corners like Lewis and Allen.

But who knows what the team will decide?

steelcan said...

I agree with you Kyle, that no matter what coverage they are in, without pressure, its going to be tough all year. This brings me back to my scheme/talent point. In a 34 defence, for the most part the DL are not asked to beat blockers, but rather tie them up, and just worry about gap control. Thats fine if you have at least 2 premier pass rushing OLBs, outside of Woodley, who can be counted on beyond this year. (Assuming Harrison comes back soon and is the old Harrison, not an old Harrison).Remember YOUR SCHEME SHOULD FIT YOUR TALENT!

marc said...

kyle,
you're trying to translate what hood did in college to 4 years later in the pro game?

and, of course pressure helps the DB's. but, i guess i just expect more from an nfl defensive back. they should be able to cover better, even without pressure, than they have shown me so far this year. i watch other teams do it just fine.

adamg said...

Excellent posts, steelclan. Could not agree more the Steelers younger personnel on defense are much more suited to a 4-3 than the 3-4. The 3-4 is a legacy from Cowher and now that the players who made it work are at or near the end of their careers, it's the perfect time to change.

Anonymous said...

It's not the scheme guys, it's the talent. All the newbies that need broken in isn't helping either.

kyle said...

marc,

No. I'm trying to translate what he did as a one gap DT in a 4-3 to what he might do as a one gap DT in a 4-3. As Dale has pointed out numerous times, the Steelers had the top pass defense last year. The DBs might have had something to do with that and they played a fair mix of zone and man game to game.

Pressure makes it work regardless of scheme, almost regardless of talent. The Steelers aren't getting pressure so they aren't getting stops.

What steelcan suggested makes sense. A lot of the young talent on the team has the typical make up of 4-3 personnel. I would be very surprised if the Steelers went to a 4-3 base defense next year but for the sake of argument, it makes sense.

Dale Lolley said...

Every time the defense has a bad game or two, everyone wants to rip it all up and go to a 4-3.

Let's wait and see what happens the rest of this season.

HACK said...

Not me...I am a 3-4 guy....but I do wonder why everyone thinks that Woodley, Worilds, Carter....all will be beating OT's from the DE spot when the are not doing it from the OLB spot

Patrick said...

I think I said 3 seasons ago Timmons is much better suited for a 4-3 and he wasn't a great pick for that reason.

Everyone had stupid comments back then.

Regardless, I still doubt they will switch to a 4-3 and I don't think they should. But they started to sprinkle in that big set in a 4-2-5....

steelcan said...

Dale, this isnt "ripping up the 34 & going to the 43 because of a few bad games". This about a TRUE evaluation of the surrent talent on the roster. When you break it down as old vs new, clearly you see old 34 "types" ie Hampton, Harrison,Foote vs younger 43 "types" ie Hood, Timmons, Spence. And honestly, I think it would be easier to go to a 43, than find "the next Smith/Hampton/Harrison", guys who were great 34 players. And to HACK, if you read my first post I stated the only current LB that should transition to DE is Woodley. Whose been beating OT (for the most part) since hes been in the league.

Anonymous said...

Woodley was beating OTs in college, too, as a 4-3 DE.

Anonymous said...

Switching from a 34 to a 43 isn't going to make bad players good all of the sudden. Not to mention we'd have to replace most of the defensive coaching staff and essentially rebuild.

We just need to hit on some draft picks and maybe a FA pickup. We need to find a guy like we found Farrior or Clark.

marc said...

if you truly believe they had the best pass defense last year then you are a lost cause. the strength of QB's they faced, overall, was horrible.

i believe the remainder of this season will continue to illustrate that their pass defense is not good and their DB's are not that good either, other than taylor.

kyle said...

It's not a matter of belief. It's a matter of facts. You tried to run down the Quarterback thing a few days ago and you nicely neglected to mention that Dalton had a very good rookie year and that AJ Green was a top 10 receiver. I seem to remember them playing very good coverage against that Brady guy, he's usually pretty good right?

If you don't understand that big, physical corners work well in press coverage...like you said, lost cause.

kyle said...

It's not a matter of belief. It's a matter of facts. You tried to run down the Quarterback thing a few days ago and you nicely neglected to mention that Dalton had a very good rookie year and that AJ Green was a top 10 receiver. I seem to remember them playing very good coverage against that Brady guy, he's usually pretty good right?

If you don't understand that big, physical corners work well in press coverage...like you said, lost cause.

Anonymous said...

Losing gay hurt out cb depth more than we thought. He wasn't great but he was ok and didn't command alot of money. Since we didn't sign Wallace anyways I wish we had kept him.

steelcan said...

Its not "a rebuild" if most of your younger players ie Hood/Taamu/Timmons/Spence are better suited to play a 43 instead of a 34 in the first place. IT IS a rebuild if the younger players continue to play at the level they are player in the current system, and you have to start replacing them, to fit the current system. Besides EVERY YEAR there are at least a couple of teams that go 34 to 43 or vice versa. Heck if Chuck Noll can go from the greatest 43 defence EVER, to the 34, I think Tomlin (whose originally a 43 guy) can too.

Anonymous said...

Tomlin has been coaching a 34 defense for 5 years. At this point he knows as much or more about the 34 than the 43. He sees and approves Lebeau's plans every game. He better understand the 34.

Hood, Timmons, etc aren't going to magically turn into the 70's steelers because we switch schemes.

2 mediocre/bad games and the fanbase wants to change our entire defensive philosophy, overreact much?

steelcan said...

Let me re read my last post, did I say a switch to the 43 meant a 70s caliber defence? no. And Ill say it again (for the 3rd time) this isnt an overreaction to a couple of games. This is a TRUE evaluation of the YOUNGER talent better suited for a 43 defence. And Im talking about 2013 not this year, where hopefully they can at least be half decent. (Especially on the road).

HACK said...

If you feel the talent on the roster is better for a 4-3 than a 3-4 you need to blame Colbert first and foremost.

I don't think the Steelers have any plans to switch to a 4-3 anytime soon....if they did then we would see some 4-3 packages now...and we really don't.

And I do not think they have been "drafting 4-3" type players with the idea of switching soon....since many of these guys will be entering contract situations before the switch even occurs.

kyle said...

what you're saying is true, Hack. Unlike steelcan, I don't think they should or even will switch to a 4-3. Although they have shown a couple looks of that 4-2-5. I think steelcan is correct though in stating that many of the younger players have the attributes you typically associate with the 4-3. I don't think there's any blame or long view associated with that. I just think that many of the top college players come out of the 4-3. It sucks that we can't seem to have a simple discussion about something like this without people running in to say "you're wrong! you're an idiot!" Thanks for being reasonable, Hack.

Patrick said...

I never jumped in and called you an "idiot" kyle, if that is what you were referring to.

I apologize for our last spat anyway, because I don't come here to fight or namecall.

I don't really want to weigh in on whether they should switch to a 4-3 because I highly doubt they do.

I also don't really want to comment on the secondary last year, because its blatantly obvious they aren't playing well this year. A lot of that has to do with a lack of pressure, but QB's are taking 2-3 step drops and firing the ball and the DB's aren't winning on those plays.

Dale do you have any opinion of Lake as the DB's coach? The DB's seem to have poor technique this year and whether you think last year's secondary was great or not, the team has not been intercepting the ball this year or last.

kyle said...

I wasn't referring to you, Patrick. Your comment in this post was fair, except I hope you weren't ragging on Timmons in 2009 because that was pretty much his best season as a pro.

Anonymous said...

good point patrick, the new db coach has killed our interception ability. i'm not even seeing dropped interceptions anymore, the db's are just never in position to make a play it seems like

steelcan said...

Coach Lake didnt "kill our interception ability", the combination of very little pash rush and caach Lebeau"s off coverage/ "tackle the catch" has. (Not to mention no #43 for the last 2 games).

Anonymous said...

steelcan that's the same thing as before lake when we were making interceptions the difference now is has to be lake

Anonymous said...

lake was db coach all last year also btw

Anonymous said...

look at what ray horton is doing with arizona, they are a seriously good defense right now maybe losing him and gaining lake is a bigger impact than we realize

kyle said...

I just looked up the Steelers interception totals for the last five years and I think you would have trouble blaming Carnell Lake for anything. The Steelers straight up alternated being good to awful each year. 2007 they were tied for last, 08 they were top 10, 09 near the bottom again, 10 back near the top, last year near the bottom.

I think we're forgetting how fluky interceptions can be. Remember that kid Byrd with the Bills? His rookie year he had a bunch of interceptions. Was it because he's an outstanding corner or was it that one game where he had three?

Interceptions, far less than fumbles, happen by chance and opportunity. The Steelers scheme creates fewer opportunities I'd say but not by a huge amount.

alexrkirby said...

The Steelers scheme to create pressure while maintaining safe coverage. That is the essence of the zone blitz. If the db's start to jump routes and go for picks then the safe coverage part of the equation is thrown out and teams get huge gains. Forcing teams to go down the field in small bits allows the pressure more chances to get home or other mistakes to be made.

Limiting the big play is more important than chasing after picks.

alexrkirby said...

So leave off Lake, his coaching isn't the problem.

marc said...

like i said, overall, the quality of QB was horrible. the game against brady was excellent. they played very well and i believe i commended them for that as well.

dalton was a rookie who made all kinds of mistakes and the steeler's more complicated schemes typically rip rookies apart. did he have a lot of yards? sure did. is a.j. green good? sure is. i also remember a TD pass green caught with #43 standing right next to him and everyone wandering why #43 didn't knock it down.

i agree, big physical corners work well in press coverage. but the guys we have, other than taylor, have yet to show they are capable.

time will tell.

kyle said...

I don't know, marc. The losses came against Flacco, Schaub, and Alex Smith. Not exactly murderer's row of quarterbacks right there. Schaub is the only one who seems to be consistently good.

Like you said, they played great coverage against the Patriots, so it's not a matter of not being able to play press or man. It's consistency. And I haven't seen them play that style of coverage enough to know if they can do it consistently. I'm with you if that's what you're saying.

Oh, and I always thought on that the deep TD pass to Green that Polamalu didn't try to jump up for it because Clark was right there, not to mention there's no chance Troy could get as high in the air as Green. Plus, since it was two safeties covering the Bengals clear number 1 receiver, I have a suspicion that the Steelers were not in man coverage on that play.

adamg said...

Regarding the 3-4 when drafting, the Steelers generally are projecting defensive picks from 4-3 college defenses into a 3-4. Sometimes it works out great with guys like Woodley, Smith and Hampton, but sometimes guys like Worilds, Carter, Ta'amu, Hood, etc don't make the transition well.

As others have said, an HONEST evaluation of the younger talent indicates the 3-4 scheme might not be best suited for them.

I'm sure Dick LeBeau can coach any scheme. He played in a 4-3 and, iirc, when he came to Pgh the 3-4 was already here so that's what he coached.
Tomlin came via Dungy who played and coached in the great Steeler 4-3 defenses of the '70s.

steelcan said...

Hey Anonymous, how about that "seriously good defence" of Ray Hortons yesterday? 400 plus yards against a rookie QB with average weapons. And remember one other thing, since coach Lake joined the coaching staff, (begining of last year), the Steelers have really had a tough time rushing the passer. NO secondary today in the pass happy NFL will do well with a medicore pass rush.

marc said...

on a side note, i was looking forward to watching asomugha play last night considering our debate about DB's. he's a good size and typically plays press coverage.

i tried to just watch him, but obviously the camera didn't follow him all around the field. nonetheless, i was shocked at what the refs let him get away with. he was mauling WR's all over the field. it's like the 5-yard rule applies anywhere for him.

he did end up with 1 or 2 pass interference calls, but there should have been more and much more defensive holding. i lost a ton of respect for him as a top cover DB.

if anyone thinks taylor is grabbing a lot, watch asomugha for a while.

kelly said...

Marc,

Same thing goes for Revis. The 'top' corners seem to get away with a lot more.

Noel said...

I think both lines simply have to play better. If the O-line starts run-blocking better the RBs will magically look better. When the D-line takes care of the gaps the rest of the defense will magically look better too.

Ziggy's not cutting it and he isn't going to. That's the only big change I would make; give Heyward a shot.