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Friday, September 18, 2015

Friday notes and who I like vs. San Francisco

The Steelers list Brandon Boykin as probable to play this week despite sitting out practice Wednesday and Thursday with a groin injury. Cortez Allen is questionable with his knee issue, which has been an ongoing problem.

Despite Boykin being probable, look for second-year player Ross Crockrell to get the nod as the team's nickel cornerback Sunday against the 49ers.

Cockrell played just a handful of defensive snaps for the Buffalo Bills last season and was released at the end of training camp and quickly scooped up by the Steelers. He's a lanky corner who appears to have good hands.

All of that said, the 49ers are more of a double tight end team than they are one that will go three wide and spread the field. Last week against Minnesota, their No. 3 receiver saw 17 snaps in 60 plus plays from scrimmage.

* If I'm calling the plays for the Steelers in this one, I take a page out of the book teams used against the Steelers in early 2002.

The Steelers were coming off a 13-3 season with Kordell Stewart at quarterback. But they relied heavily on their defense and running game to control game, much like this 49ers team appears with Colin Kaepernick and its 3-4 defense.

I would spread the 49ers out and throw nearly every down as New England and Oakland did to start that season, something that led to Stewart's eventual benching.

I think Kaepernick is a more refined passer than Stewart, but Stewart, with a young Hines Ward and Plaxico Burress had better receivers.

The plan should be to score and keep scoring to force the 49ers' limited offense to throw the ball to keep up.

If the game stays close, the 49ers will be content to continue hurling Carlos Hyde into the line. The Steelers allowed just 80 rushing yards last week against New England, but they did get hurt on a couple of runs by Dion Lewis.

Hyde isn't as shifty as Lewis, but he's more shifty than you might think.

I would want to put the game on Kaepernick's shoulder's and force him to win it. In 40 career starts, he has 14 games with fewer than 200 passing yards and three with more than 300.

He also was sacked 52 times last season on 478 pass attempts.

Get the lead, make him throw and go after him.

I think the Steelers will do that, break the game open in the second half and come away with a 26-20 victory with San Francisco getting a late window dressing score.

* Here's my podcast on this week's game http://www.observer-reporter.com/article/20150918/SPORTS0403/150919416#.VfxmB01WgYo.twitter

15 comments:

Marc said...

i think dale is right on. steelers should air it out and keep the foot on the gas pedal as long as possible. if the game is close in the second half, i don't like the steeler's chances. i just don't see how they will stop hyde for an entire game. make kaepernick throw the ball, if you can.

the niners defense played well, but bridgewater played poorly too. they basically stopped the run and forced 3rd and longs. only 3rd down conversion they could must was with 1 yard to go. same old formula steelers used to use. how ironic.

really going to be watching the dline on this one. will they bounce back from last week or not?

Steve Goff said...

scratching my head on Boykin. Rumor was Steelers were after him for a while and that he was pretty good in Philly. Now he can't get on the field. Is it talent or is he struggling to fit in (scheme/personality/etc)? Starting to look like a wasted rental.

Shamarko seems to be failing to impress as well. Throw in the 2 pick on IR and it is just hard to believe the state of the db corp right now. I sure hope they can gel.

On the flip side, I do like the front seven - a lot. Shazier and Timmons may well own Hyde and Kap as long as outside contain doesn't break down.

Agree with you on the offense staying on the gas. That needs to be this team's MO all year while the defense works through its growing pains.

PapaJuJu said...

Yes!

All hail the beginning of the Ross Cockrell era!

Dale Lolley said...

Boykin is hurt or he would be playing this week. There also was something physically bothering him in the preseason as well, which would explain why he didn't play last week. He just wasn't ready.

ibygeorge said...

There's no one as good on the offense as AB, perhaps in the whole NFL. Maybe Rothlisberger can challenge that. Those two should be the dominant players in the play calls all season long. That's a scoring solution. AB can prove he deserves a big payday.

ibygeorge said...

There's no one as good on the offense as AB, perhaps in the whole NFL. Maybe Rothlisberger can challenge that. Those two should be the dominant players in the play calls all season long. That's a scoring solution. AB can prove he deserves a big payday.

Steve Goff said...

thanks dale - sounds like a deeper injury than the team letting on. Along with Golson injury, that is just some dirty rotten luck.

Anonymous said...

Will obviously take a win in any fashion but would love the offense to get off to a fast start. This is not something they do very often, even during their three or four scoring explosions last year. Getting a lead would be huge.

I thought SF's linebackers looked really good vs. the Vikings. If I were SF I would go a little out of character early on and try to go after the Steelers' secondary, looking for blown coverages, PI calls, etc.

Homegrown Misanthropist said...

Would love to see a 2014 vs Indy kind of opening, I think they can as long as they get TD's and not FG's on the red zone. My guess is they'll be there a plenty.

ibygeorge said...

It will be interesting to see if nickel back Cockrell can make a splash.. what an opportunity .

Patrick said...

if SF can run and control the ball, they are going to make this one interesting.

26-20 steelers is a pretty prediction because I see a lot of FGs. So as not to repeat Dale I'll go 26-23 in OT to make us all have a small heart attack at the thought of going 0-2.

Anonymous said...

Stop Kaepernick and Hyde from running and don't let Davis pull a Gronk and the Steelers win. Tall order for this young defense, but if they make that their game plan, then Steelers 30-16.

Homegrown Misanthropist said...

Now that is a badass offense, it will be hard as hell to stop them, and once they're complete (Bryant, Bell) it will be flat out impossible.

Homegrown Misanthropist said...

Now that is a badass offense, it will be hard as hell to stop them, and once they're complete (Bryant, Bell) it will be flat out impossible.

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