Visit NFL from the sidelines on the new Observer-Reporter site:

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Steelers mid-week news, thoughts

Much of the focus in Pittsburgh has centered on how the Steelers are going to possibly deal with Atlanta's explosive offense.

The question should be the other way around. How are the Falcons going to deal with the Steelers?

Pittsburgh's offense is actually better than Atlanta's. And the Steelers' defense is better as well.

Steelers fans might not want to believe either of those things but they are the reality.

The only areas where the Falcons are better than the Steelers are in the return game, where Devin Hester is as scary as anyone in the NFL, and in turnovers, where the Falcons have forced 24.

But the Steelers are much more dynamic on offense. As good as Julio Jones has been this season, he's got six touchdowns. Martavis Bryant has seven in seven games.

And the Falcons don't run the ball well.

In fact, the Steelers could play a lot of nickel in this game, daring the Falcons to run the ball.

@ The Steelers are going to have a tough decision to make at outside linebacker, assuming James Harrison comes back this week.

Harrison worked out on the field before last Sunday's game at Cincinnati and actually looked OK moving around, but did not practice Wednesday.

The Steelers have dressed three outside linebackers in every game this season, but if Harrison is healthy, they would suddenly have four.

They have had a similar issue at inside linebacker a couple of times this season when everyone has been healthy. And they've dressed four, including against the Bengals.

But that forced them to sit Dri Archer.

To dress four outside linebackers, they really don't have any other expendable guys on the roster - unless they decide to sit Daniel McCullers, who is limited to playing nose tackle.

If the Steelers play a lot of nickel, McCullers would be on the field for just a few snaps.

@ I spoke with Mike Mitchell today and he explained what he saw on the 81-yard TD last week to A.J. Green, which he admitted was partly his fault.

I saw Mitchell drift to his right at the snap to where the Bengals had two receivers. Mitchell explained that his responsibilities on that play as the single deep safety is any pattern 19 yards or beyond.

The Bengals ran their slot receiver into that intermediate range and Mitchell slid up on it. That's when Green ran the deep post on the other side.

Mitchell admitted he should have realized that Green was where the Bengals wanted to go with the ball and that the Steelers would rather give up the 20-yard gain underneath than the 80-yard TD.


Hombre de Acero said...

Excellent write up Dale. In terms of having too many outside linebackers to dress, do the Steelers really need to dress 5 safeties? (Polamalu, Mitchell, Allen, Thomas and Ventrone?)

I know the later two play on special teams, but just curious.

Adam Krupczynski said...

Dear Dale,

Could you please contact me via e-mail? It's about new Android app for NFL bloggers.

Best regards,
Adam K.

Dale Lolley said...

Thomas and Ventrone are their two best gunners

Anonymous said...

mitchell kind of stinks

Anonymous said...

So much for Dangerfield.... It's getting Foggy in PA..

Anonymous Brian said...

Archer should sit no matter who's healthy. Waste of a spot for the time being - consider it a redshirt year, I guess?

Dale Lolley said...

Considering they aren't taking Bell off the field at this point, there's not much use for Archer.

Though if they were going to use him, this would be the week - indoor on turf.