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Monday, September 22, 2014

Post-Carolina thoughts

I don't want to say I told you so, but I will. I told you so.

I told you the Panthers wouldn't come out and spread the field against the Steelers and then run the ball. I told you they could be run on.

I told you their offensive line wasn't very good and was banged up.

It all came to fruition.

Now, that certainly doesn't mean I'm right all the time. But in this case, Carolina was a perfect elixir for what was ailing the Steelers.

Now, can the Steelers keep this up? Well, they certainly should be able to against their next two opponents, Tampa Bay and Jacksonville.

But this victory came at a cost, as well. Ike Taylor could be done for the season - and his career - after suffering a broken forearm.

And linebackers Ryan Shazier (knee) and Jarvis Jones (wrist) also could have suffered significant injuries, though we won't know the extent for a couple of days.

Taylor and Jones were two popular guy for fans to rip on. We'll find out at some point just how important those guys are.

@ The Steelers offensive line has been getting ripped for a long time for not being very good. This game should have been a coming out party on national TV.

After a slow start, they wore the Panthers down. And regardless of what you saw in this game, that's a really good defensive front.

@ For all those people who were quick to point out Eddie Lacy's stats versus Le'Veon Bell last season, here's where they currently stand. Bell has 315 yards rushing and another 146 receiving in three games this season. Lacy has 113 rushing and 38 receiving.

Now, there's still a lot of season left, but would anyone trade Bell for Lacy right now?

@ Lance Moore played one snap in this one. He was healthy, but Justin Brown lined up in the slot throughout the night.

It appears the Steelers like Brown's downfield blocking better than than of Moore at this point. But both guys will have roles moving forward.

@ Speaking of Bell, he won the chess match with Carolina middle linebacker Luke Kuechly throughout the night in this one.

The Panthers are sure tacklers, Kuechly especially, but  Bell said the Steelers used their patience against them.

Carolina will give you four and five yards at a time, but doesn't give up big plays.

The Steelers chipped away and chipped away, until finally getting the Panthers to start gambling a little bit.

On his 81-yard run in the third quarter, Bell, who might be among the most patient runners in the NFL, made Kuechly think he was going outside. And when the reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year vacated the middle of the field, Bell burst back inside.

"When he guessed wrong, it was 81 yards," Bell said.

@ The Steelers' offensive line did an outstanding job in this one. Marcus Gilbert was trashed by just about everyone, but was a big part of an effort in which the Steelers rushed for over 200 yards and Ben Roethlisberger was sacked just once.

"You guys were down on Marcus," head coach Mike Tomlin said. "We like Marcus."

@ With games against Tampa Bay and Jacksonville coming up next, there is no reason to believe the Steelers won't be 4-1 heading into a rematch at Cleveland.

We'll see how much this team has grown in the rematch with the Browns. Boy, that seems weird to write.


Anonymous said...

tampa, cleveland and jacksonville- all winnable against middling teams. I'm sure we'll lost one of these, we always do. But still, 4-2 to start the season is still great!!

Dale, do you think there's any possibility Cody Wallace remains in the starting lineup? Like you said, it looked like the oline's coming out party, and after that performance (especially the running game) why mess with it??

Anonymous said...

Did you see the post game interview with the killer B’s and that hot sideline reporter?

Reporter: What was the difference tonight?

B1: I was fired up!

B2: I was flying! Did you see me leap over that guy? I thought I was going to fly out of the stadium, they ought to give me a role in the next superman movie.

Reporter: And what about those holes?

B1: It was like everything was moving in slow motion for me.

B2: I was seeing sh*t that wasn’t even there.

Reporter: And you guys were making tacklers miss!

B1: I thought they was the police.

B2: Me too. Cheech and Chong have nothing on us.

But seriously, wasn’t that good? This was what we were hoping for before the season started, but to see it after the Baltimore disaster, on national TV, awesome. The offensive line looks like it’s coming together and the more they play together, the better they should get. Let’s hope the injuries aren’t too serious. It’s funny, everyone knocks Ike “hands of stone” Taylor, but he looks like the he might be the best we’ve got and he might be missed. Remember, the Panther’s receivers were rookies. Hopefully the injuries to Jones and Shazier aren’t too serious as they need to have playing time in order to develop. Otherwise, I’m as overjoyed now as I was down after Baltimore.

Anonymous said...

Great team win. Awesome to see a steelers beatdown of someone.

Sucks about taylor tough. We'll miss him.

marc said...

kudos to d-line. that's what this defense needs and they delivered. best game I have ever seen mclendon play. heyward was disruptive and keisel got in some good bull rushes too.

run defense was much more disciplined. everyone was hitting hard. steeler's out toughed panthers.

too bad for taylor. while he was on his way down, he could still do an adequate job. i'm a bit concerned about how this will affect the pass coverage.

i'm thinking jones broke his hand/wrist. he looked to be in quite a bit of pain. shazier's knee did not look good either. on the replay I thought it wobbled a bit. three bad injuries for the defense. I guess we'll see how deep this team really is.

btw, is bell awesome or what. collinsworth compared him to marcus allen last night. for those who remember, great comparison.

Anonymous said...

I will be very interested to see how the Cody Wallace looks upon review. I've always thought that, although R. Foster is solid, his lack of athleticism holds the o-line and play calling back a bit. The stat last night that was telling is the Steelers run between the tackles at the highest rate in the NFL. We keep hearing about outside zone, but never see it. Maybe a more athletic guard will be the key.

qwikdoc said...

The defensive line played great. It's been a helluva long time since a Steeler defensive line had that kind of consistent penetration. Now for a dose of reality. Cortez Allen does not look like a pro CB. The only hope for him is that he develops in time like Willie Gay has. What has happened to Troy? He misses more tackles than I have ever seen him miss and no big plays from him, not even close to a big play.

Anonymous said...

Qwikdoc, agree, the DL played better than I can recall in a long time. Allen doesn't look like a CB right now which makes the Ike injury that more ominous. And Troy has disappeared. My guess is that this is the last year for both Ike and Troy.

BlackNGold said...

Unfortunately, it looks like both Shazier and Jones are likely to miss some time. Jones possibly a lot.

Anonymous said...

The killer B's strike again, from Peter King:

Offensive Player of the Week

Le’Veon Bell and LeGarrette Blount, running backs, Pittsburgh. With the Steelers’ season at a crucial early-season point because of an awful loss at Baltimore last week, Bell and Blount absolutely smoked the Panthers on Sunday night. Bell (21 carries, 147 yards, including an 81-yard run) and Blount (10 carries, 118 yards, including a 50-yarder) steamrolled what was formerly a good Carolina defense for a combined 265 yards. Pittsburgh is alive in the AFC North, a game in back of the formidable Bengals and tied with the Ravens, because they played like the Steelers of the Franco days.

Whether they smoked or lit up the Panther defense, the jokes are a little easier to take after a performance like that.

Dale, I've read that if Bell takes care of his legal problems by November 1, it will make a difference in his NFL sentencing (aka Gordon of Cleveland). Can you shed a little light on that?

Easley said...

I too thought the comparison of Bell to Marcus Allen was spot on. And watching Blount bang reminded me of Barry Foster running downhill. Great to see the return of a power running game.

Is Champ Bailey still unemployed? Granted, a cornerback pushing 40 is not a very good option, but it's gotta be better than watching tiny Antwon Blake out there.

It was a great win, but the thing that sticks in my mind more than anything is what a beast Kelvin Benjamin is going to be. The Steelers will be one of many teams kicking themselves for the next decade for passing on that guy.

Anonymous said...

whats the status of CB McCain?

i never heard of the guy that replaced Ike last night

Bell is something special.

Im surprised Gilbert didnt play LT

Haley still blows

Randy Steele said...

"We'll see how much this team has grown in the rematch with the Browns. Boy, that seems weird to write."

Indeed. It's weird to read, too.

Anonymous said...

Moats and Spence need to step up and they should be able to do the job, but CB is a concern. Anyone know what Charles Woodson is doing? Maybe Rod Woodson for that matter.

Anonymous said...

Dale you definitely deserve to say you told them so.

As far as the defense goes. I'm pretty nervous for them without Ike. They need to find someone or even consider trading Adams or whoever has value that isn't being used or a pick for another corner. There has to be someone out there. They can get by at linebacker even if the injuries are bad. Cornerback is another story though. They need to do something IMO. They only got away with it because the game was already out of hand and they had already beat the crap out of Newton.

Anonymous said...

I really don't care who ends up the starter but Moats is an upgrade over J. Jones. If the coaches ignore his first round draft grade then Moats will most likely stay the starter.

Shazier can use this time to learn the defense better.

Steve McLendon has always been good. Welcome to what people who actually watch him have known for a while.

Those of you wondering how Cody Wallace did... he's a career back up for a reason and didn't have the best night. Ramon Foster is a perennial pro bowler and he'll be back in the starting line up asap.

Mike Munchak is the best thing to happen for the Steelers since Bill Cowher.

qwikdoc said...

@anonymous 1:53 Ramone Foster is a perennial pro bowler? I must be missing something

Anonymous said...

Sure, Foster is a perennial Pro Bowler...if you can ignore the fact that he's never sniffed the Pro Bowl.

Annoymous 1:53 PM said...

He's a top 10 left guard in the NFL. Look around the league

marc said...

mclendon deserves the praise for last game. possibly the best game of his career.

but please, always been good? he has always been a very good backup. as a starter, he has been "ehh", and that's it.

great game against the panthers and I hope he keeps it up. the defense needs it.

Anoymous 1:53 PM said...

Specifically one of the best left guard's in the AFC

Anoymous 1:53 PM said...

Nah Mark, He doesn't get to play that much since he's not on the field because of the Steelers nickle defense. He's always played above the level and if he got to play as much as the other guys He'd get way more love than he does.

Anonymous said...

A good win, a much needed win.
Adversity was a key, I thought all the yellow laundry would hurt the moral. I'm an Ike fan, love his work ethic and his leadership but I don't see his injury killing us. It's time to see who on this roster can step in and play his spot, it had to happen sooner or later with him being in his last year.


qwikdoc said...

Agreed Zeke. Now we will see what the Steelers have at CB and how aggressive they will have to be in free agency and the draft next year. This young defense needs to gel more this year anyway.

adamg said...

I think McLendon needs to find his own style as a NT. He's somewhere between Hampton and Hoke, but imho, closer to Hoke. He should be using his quickness more than brute strength ala Hoke. I saw a glimpse of it when he used a swim move, got between the C/G and blew up the play. If he can show he can get by the G/C that way, he'll draw a double team.

The funniest moment of the evening was Heyward knocking Peezy over with an enthusiastic chest bump.

marc said...

regarding mclendon, you don't subscribe to the theory if he was a better player he would play more DL when they are in the nickel?

Anoymous 1:53 PM said...

He probably should be in the nickel. These are the same coaches that used Ziggy Hood over Cameron Heyward for way too long.

Theosa said...

Dale it was tough to pick Steelers after their debacle in Baltimore but you and some other fans here nailed this pick. I’ll admit, I did not see this performance coming at all against a stingy Panthers defense. And how about the Steelers defense, what a response!!! I did not watch the game last night but I’m looking at the clock at work waiting for the quitting time to watch it on NFL Game Rewind.
I do not think they’ll be looking to re-sign carter as an OLB but they must address the corner back situation after Taylor went down with possibly career ending injury. Either they do a trade or get a decent corner for future picks. Ike Taylor will be remembered as a solid corner that should have made pro-bowl in 2008/2009, and for his great work ethics and sieve hands.
Everyone is saying here McLendon and Gilbert had good performances. McLendon was alright in previous games but I will hold my breath for next few games before I’m sold on Gilbert, after all this has to be his first good game in a while.
Bell must be the most complete RB in NFL and Blount compliments him well. People here were ripping Haley for too many running plays called but how else would you establish running game if you are not patient and persistent with it? Big Ben must have a solid game too; zero turnovers by Steelers is a breath of fresh air.
Lastly, all due praises to Munchak for getting the most out of the Steelers OL and how about Special Teams and coach Danny Smith? I did not put much faith in Suisham in the beginning of the season but he has been perfect and his touch back after touch back is a welcome sight. Brad Wing has been solid as well. I hope Shazier and Jones can play sooner but Jones might get on IR.

Anonymous said...

Dude you didnt even watch the game, nobody cares what you think

Theosa said...

If someone cares or not is not my concern, I looked at the stats, watched highlights, and I put my thoughts here and that’s what this blog is for.

Dale Lolley said...

No, Cody Wallace isn't going to stay in the starting lineup. The running game has been solid all season, not just last night.

Antwon Blake has been with them since last season. They like him.

Charles Woodson is playing for the Raiders.

adamg said...

marc, I think if McLendon can be Steve McLendon and not the next Hampton or Hoke, he'll be ok. I think he's tried too hard to be the space eater that Hampton was and hasn't maximized his own athletic attributes. I certainly think he could be in the regular nickel rotation.

As for CBs, would the Steelers have any interest in bringing in Crezdon Butler for a looksee? He was playing pretty well in LeBeau's defense when he left for AZ.
What about Curtis Brown?

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

I was joking when I mentioned Charles Woodson as a potential replacement. I can't believe that he's still playing but in a couple of weeks he turns 38, incredible. Deebo's 36, but I'd expect a part time, rotational situation with him.

Easley said...

Nobody loves James Harrison more than me. But I think if he had anything left in the tank, he wouldn't have been sitting at home. Hope I'm wrong. And I do have to admit that the equally ancient Keisel seemed to give the D a big jolt Sunday night.

marc said...

what you say regarding mclendon may very well be correct. but his past performances, in the aggregate, simply are not good enough, in my opinion.

I was pumped to see how well he played against the panthers and yelled his name when he knifed through the line on the play you mentioned earlier. I hope, as much as any fan, that he continues to perform that way the rest of this season.

when it's all said and done, this defensive scheme needs a NT that demands a double team. whether it's a "space eater" like Hampton or not, I don't think really matters. if mclendon can demand the double teams, then he will be doing his job and giving the LB's more room to make plays.

Annoymous 1:53 PM said...

See this is so wrong.

"when it's all said and done, this defensive scheme needs a NT that demands a double team. whether it's a "space eater" like Hampton or not, I don't think really matters."

That's the extremely popular opinion of Steelers fans but in reality that's unrealistic. Just because you're a big player doesn't mean you're going to "demand a double team" A dominate player commands a double team period. So unless we find some gem in the draft Steve McLendon is going to be the best we have for the next few years.

Saying we need a NT that demands a double team is like saying we need a shutdown corner or an all pro outside linebacker. You have to actually have one and their size/shape isn't going to determine whether they're commanding double teams or not.

Annoymous 1:53 PM said...

"when it's all said and done, this defensive scheme needs a NT that demands a double team. whether it's a "space eater" like Hampton or not, I don't think really matters."

I see now that you're saying size doesn't matter. That's good I wish most people realized this. example. 6'5 350 lbs doesn't mean this man will command a double team. Steelers fans go nuts like this player is an all pro just being wasted away on the bench.

Annoymous 1:53 PM said...

Of course size does matter but what I mean is of what we have on the roster. Just because there's someone bigger than McLendon doesn't mean they'll command a double team. Mclendon is no Hood or Cam Thomas, he's not a liability when he's in the game.

marc said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Annoymous 1:53 PM said...

Speaking of Cam Thomas. He needs to be out of the lineup when the Steelers travel to the browns in week 6. It's Stephon Tuitt time.

Annoymous 1:53 PM said...

"my point being it just needs to be a player that other teams feel they need to double team. as you said, a dominant player, which mclendon has not been."

Of course he hasn't been, Who on our defense has been? Answer absolutely none of them. A few of our guys have had a good game but were completely destroyed in at least one game of the other games so far. Now things are gonna get way easier because Cleveland and Baltimore have a couple of the best offensive lines around and that will make life extremely tough for any defense but in order to be dominant you have to be consistent. Saying we need a NT that commands a double team makes no sense to me. Is one just going to fall off a tree? They are diamonds in the rough. It'd also be nice to have a shutdown corner an upgrade to all of our positions for that matter.

marc said...

the "anonymous" people need to start getting names so I can tell who I am talking to.

Theosa said...

I’m with “marc”. For those of you that are having erections over one standout game from McLendon, we need to see more from him in upcoming games. Remember he played all season last year too, he is not the long term answer at the NT position be he could make a heck of a DE. I’d like to see McCullers in the near future taking some snaps at NT to find out what he is capable of.

Anonymous said...

I wouldn't mind it if this Theosa chick would become anonymous.