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Sunday, November 24, 2013

Post-Cleveland thoughts

I took a good amount of heat here for much of this season for sticking with my original assessment that the Steelers weren't a bad football team.

I continue to stick by that assessment.

Are they a great team? Nope. But there also aren't many of those around in today's NFL.

Are they a good team? They might be as close to what passes for good in today's NFL, where there are about four or five very good teams and then everybody else.

The Steelers have now won five of their past seven heading to Baltimore Thursday night.

If they can make that six out of eight, they will make the playoffs. In fact, with three home games remaining after playing Baltimore, the Steelers might just push Cincinnati hard for the division title.

@ The NFL schedule makers didn't do the Steelers any favors. With the league adding Thursday night games every week this season - except in Weeks 16 and 17 - there are 17 Thursday night games this season, including three this week.

The Steelers are the only team among the 17 visiting teams in those games who will be playing back-to-back road games.

@ I wonder if people still think Jason Worilds is a bust?

That word is thrown around way too much in today's NFL.

Limas Sweed was a bust. Worilds, even if he signs somewhere else after this season, is most certainly not.

He can play some football.

I am continually asked if I think the Steelers will re-sign Worilds after this season. Will they re-sign him? That I don't know given their cap situation.

Should they re-sign him? Given LaMarr Woodley's recent injury history and the fact that you always need three solid outside linebackers, absolutely.

The Steelers didn't want to simply hand Jarvis Jones a starting job this season. And I just can't see them wanting to hand him a job with no competition next year either.

Sunday's game marked the 17th start of Worilds' career. He has 14 career sacks.

He didn't have a sack Sunday, but might have had one of the biggest impacts of any Steelers defender getting six hurries.

@ William Gay's touchdown on an interception return was the first return for a score of any kind for the Steelers this season.

Yet Pittsburgh is averaging 25.25 points per game since Week 4. That is the week Le'Veon Bell returned to the lineup.

Somehow, though, people still want to complain about offensive coordinator Todd Haley, or at least want to downplay his contributions.

Foolishness.

@ The Steelers have now allowed just one sack in their past two games. Against Detroit, which only had 15 sacks entering last week's game, at home, that wasn't a big deal. But at Cleveland, which had 31 sacks entering Sunday's game, not giving up a sack was huge.

So was Bell rushing for 43 yards on 10 carries in the first half. The Steelers had to establish some kind of running game on this cold, windy day.

@ Every time I see something written about the possibility of the Steelers cutting Troy Polamalu after this season, I just laugh.

He finds a way to make an impact in nearly every game.

Polamalu has had one bad game this season - at New England. But as I sit here watching Denver blow a 24-0 halftime lead at New England, I can't help but come to the realization that the Patriots do that to a lot of future Hall of Famers.

Doesn't mean they are done. Just means they had a bad game.


25 comments:

Patrick said...

the Worilds situation has to keep Colbert & Co. up at night.

You just cannot let another draft pick walk out the door like that. But whats a Colbert to do?

I think they need to start playing Jarvis Jones at ILB sooner than later (assuming a healthy Woodley). I like Williams but he does not have the playmaking ability like Jones does. Jones also looks more like an ILB than an OLB. He has one pass rushing move, which is a big loop around the LT. It doesn't work often.

The worst that happens is Jones doesn't work out there next year and you play him as a pass rushing/3rd down specialist. Best case scenario? You have a hell of a LB core

Anonymous said...

I don't see why they'd be kept up at night. It seems open and shut to me. If they can afford him, they'll keep him, and figure out who plays where next year. If they can't afford him, off he goes, like so many others.

Anonymous said...

Two Words: Kelvin Beachem

He is the difference this season not just Bell. Our offense actually started to work when he became the left tackle. Pretty good for the final pick in the draft.

It is a shame the Steelers let promising youth go in favor of older vets. I hope they don't make the same mistake with Worilds they made with Keenan Lewis. He seems to be having a fine season with the Saints.

Mrs. Isaac Redman

adamg said...

Ziggy Hood and Cam Heyward should get some good words, too. Heyward has looked every bit and more of a #1 draft choice the past few weeks. He was just shoving Mack around when he was put at NT after McLendon went out. Hood has been much better as well.

Young OL need time to develop and playing is really the only way to get the needed experience. Although I'm not sold on Beachum at OT, it's no surprise the OL has improved as the season goes on.

Credit to Haley for recognizing BR is more comfortable in the no huddle and using it more. Even Ben's best bud, BA, didn't allow it that much. Credit to BR for playing smart, disciplined football in it, too.

There are going to be a lot more vets gone after this season which should free up cap space to re-sign a few second-contract guys.

Anonymous said...

Let's not get too excited. We just beat a Browns team starting some awful quarterbacks and Worlids had a good (but sackless) game against a bad RT.

I'm glad we won but Detroit is still the only good team we have beaten this year.

marc said...

really liked the balance they showed offensively. #7 made good decisions and the line blocked well. overall, I think they did a nice job against a very good defense.

defensively, they made plays when they needed to and obviously got pressure to the QB. but, anon is right, the browns aren't any good at QB and they have literally no rushing attack.

one thing that I feel is much more noticeable the past few games is the defense being opportunistic. they are very actively trying to strip the ball on tackles and clearly jumping routes throughout the game. I'm not sure they were doing those things as often in the beginning of the season.

should be a great game Thursday with the winner taking the inside track to the final wild card spot.

Easley said...

The team that wins Thursday night will also be in great position to potentially win the division if they win out. Both teams still have games left against Cincy, and Cincy also has to play the Chargers and Colts.

Greg Mercer said...

Dale,

Do you think the Steelers will have enough $ to re-sign Will Allen? I think he is best option to replace Clark.

I view Thomas as more of a SS.

kyle said...

Will Allen is only a year younger than Troy.

Anonymous said...

Defense has looked much improved when Allen gets in there, this year AND last year.

pennstump said...

I'm pretty confident that here's the formula this year:

Positive Turnover Diff == Steelers Win

It's that simple.

Anonymous said...

I'm not worried about who they are going to sign, I'm worried about the guys getting healthy and comming back onto the field. I know Woodley is the starter when he comes back, but I don't see him being any better than what we have on the field.

How about sliding woodley over to the middle, the team has him listed at 265 but I would have to debunk that.

We always pick the best player in the draft, how about having the best players on the field..

Thanks for all your hard work Dale, sorry if I tend to think outside the box at times..

Zeke

Dale Lolley said...

Makes no sense to move one of your best pass rushers inside, Zeke.

As for beating who they've beaten, who's any good in the league? Denver's meltdown in New England Sunday night was every bit as bad as the Steelers' meltdown there. They blew a 24-0 lead.

You can only beat who is on your schedule. If the Steelers go 4-1 down the stretch, they'll make the playoffs, quite possibly as the AFC North champs.

Anonymous said...

Woodley
Comb 33
Ast 6
Sack 5.0

I think he would have the same results if he was inside. I'm not here to argue, just putting out a couple "what if's" The push he would get inside would free up another guy and allow our inside guys to move more freely. Would it be considered a demotion?

Ivan said...

Thanks Dale. Reading your take on things reassures me that if I'm crazy I'm not the only one. This is a group that, given some time, could be very, very good

adamg said...

I think the defense collectively took the criticism of Lebeau personally. They really appear to have kicked their play up a few notches since then.

Dale Lolley said...

Woodley was a defensive end in college. Jones was a linebacker. Part of the inside linebacker's responsibility - a big part of it - is coverage. The Steelers, of course, use a lot of zone coverage, which Jones is very suited to.

Woodley is suited to get after the passer. He's also their best linebacker setting the edge.

Anonymous said...

Dale, I was taking some heat for some of the things I said when the Ben trade rumors took off. I was glad somebody else had the same thoughts of trading away a ProBowl QB for some picks and a lot of prayers. Now that that ship has sunk, I like where this team is going. What I like most is the guys who were hearing the "bust" word actually making a difference. Cap issues aside, the FO has to find a way to keep Heyward, and JW period. As for Troy, he has said it many times before, in that he is not leaving the NFL as a vegetable, so I think he plays out next year and retires as a Steeler. As for Jones being an ILB, I'm not so sure a out, but Woodley, JW, Jones, and Timmons would be nice.

Anonymous said...

Excellent points as usual Dale. Your commentary is the best of all the writers who cover the Steelers.

Dave Corbett

Dale Lolley said...

I think Troy plays out his contract and calls it a career as well. After that, you'll probably never hear from him again. He doesn't enjoy the limelight.

And thanks Dave

marc said...

we'll hear from him as a first ballot hall of famer, when they build a statue for him in pittsburgh and whenever he does charity work.

Patrick said...

if troy doesn't enjoy the limelight, he sure has a funny way of showing it. He has been in like 4 commercials.

Anonymous said...

Much of Troy's charity work is done without any fanfare whatsoever. And I'd bet good money that Troy's commercial spots were never sought by him, and he needed to be persuaded to do them.

Anonymous said...

Patrick,

I agree with your first comment regarding Woirlds/Colbert. Same thing happened with Keenan Lewis and as Dale pointed out, it’s a battle between the front office trying to make a determination of the players’ value by playing him versus the coaching staff trying to win games. If I’m not mistaken, the FO can’t offer a new contract until after the player’s third year. The thing to keep in mind is that the rookie contracts are no longer as lucrative as they once were, so if you offer some decent money, but maybe not market money, some of them may accept the security that it offers. They need to be thinking about that now with Pouncey. I would still offer a new contract to Woirlds today, mid season, in spite of the fact that it is not the Steelers policy. The alternative is that you lose Woirlds at the end of the season.

Regarding Troy, he is probably one of the most liked NFL players, very soft spoken and humble. His value/name recognition is high, so he might as well make some commercial money now while he still can.

Anonymous said...

Troy is a first ballot hall of famer and the best to ever play the position... but he is was trying to cover too many holes (weaknesses) earlier this season. If the rest of the defense can play marginally well, he is a monster.