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    Default Steelers Advantage

    Starkey: Steelers' great advantage

    By Joe Starkey, PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW
    Sunday, August 28, 2011

    In Cleveland, new head coach/offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur is busy teaching his offense to second-year quarterback Colt McCoy.

    In Cincinnati, new offensive coordinator Jay Gruden started from scratch about a month ago with rookie quarterback Andy Dalton.

    Similar scenes unfold all over the post-lockout NFL, where the work stoppage killed formalized offseason workouts. Half the league is on training wheels.

    It's different here.

    Here, all the lockout did was give a predominantly veteran team some much-needed rest.

    Here, the Steelers' starters looked downright dangerous at times Saturday night, rolling up a 24-16 halftime lead on a very good Atlanta Falcons team.

    Here, veteran offensive coordinator Bruce Arians has reached the point where he believes eighth-year quarterback Ben Roethlisberger who connected with Antonio Brown on touchdowns of 77 and 44 yards in the second quarter could run the offense without him.

    "I would feel comfortable with him going out and calling the plays in all phases, not just the spread offense," Arians said. "The only question is how he would substitute players without signals.

    "Yeah, he could take a game plan and execute it perfectly right now."

    Do you see the Steelers' gargantuan advantage, not just over Cleveland and Cincinnati but much of NFL?

    The stability that has defined this franchise for some 40 years has always provided an edge. It's almost an unfair one this year. With much of the rest of the league in scramble mode, the Steelers simply stay the course.

    You might have heard Green Bay Packers coaches and former Steelers' stalwarts Kevin Greene and Darren Perry talking before last year's Super Bowl. They said they could probably step into Dick LeBeau's defense and execute it that day because the Steelers' scheme hadn't changed that much since their playing careers (not to mention Perry's coaching days here).

    Think about that compared to what's happening in, say, Cleveland, where the Browns are shifting to a 4-3 defense after years in the 3-4.

    Steelers defensive end Aaron Smith thrives on the constancy.

    "We always joke that you can come back 20 years from now and they'll still doing the same thing, on the same day, in the same place," Smith said. "It has some comfort to it. You just kind of come back each year and get right back into the groove."

    That's a huge benefit any year. But I asked veteran nose tackle Casey Hampton if he believes the Steelers' "program" could be particularly beneficial this season.

    "That's definitely the case," he said. "You have a lot of veteran guys who've been in same system for years. We've run pretty much the same defense since I've been here. Eleven years. Really nothing different. Yeah, you don't really need the offseason like some other teams would."

    Look at the Steelers' schedule. A full 25 percent of it features teams with new head coaches (Cleveland twice, Tennessee, San Francisco), and 13 of the 16 opponents have at least one new coordinator.

    So while Gruden is tutoring Dalton through football kindergarten, Roethlisberger is working on his Ph.D. -- and even picking Professor LeBeau's brain on how opponents might attack him this season.

    "We draw on each other's experience," LeBeau said. "I don't coach him. I'm not in the meeting rooms with him. But we're probably as close as I've been with any quarterback since I've been here."

    There you have it. Other teams' offensive coordinators are still getting to know their players on a first-name basis, and this team's defensive coordinator trades ideas with the quarterback in a relationship that goes back to 2004.

    Stability is a wonderful thing.

    Especially this year.

    Read more: Starkey: Steelers' great advantage - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pitt...#ixzz1WKM6eTCY
    I thought about this during the lock-out, how we're such a veteran group that the time off doesn't hurt so much. Only downside was maybe not getting enough looks at the younger players.

    But one thing I question. Not trying to create a controversy or anything, I wonder if running the same defensive packages year in and year out hurts us to some extent. I notice we don't seem to put as much pressure on the QB as we did a few years ago. Is that because we are getting older or is it because the offenses have seen enough of what we do now that they've adjusted to it. Yes we still play pretty good defense. I do believe that some of the defensive statistics are skewed by the fact that our offense usually dominates time-of-posession. For example, the Steelers' entire first-team defense except for James Farrior played one series into the second half and was on the field for 60 snaps. The first-team offense did not play in the second half, finishing at 25 snaps.

    Or am I over-reaching?
    Last edited by exNCite; Aug-28-2011 at 09:01 AM. Reason: This duplicated somehow. Mods please delete it

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    Default Re: Steelers Advantage

    I like your point exNCite!
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    Default Re: Steelers Advantage

    Quote Originally Posted by exNCite View Post
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    I thought about this during the lock-out, how we're such a veteran group that the time off doesn't hurt so much. Only downside was maybe not getting enough looks at the younger players.

    But one thing I question. Not trying to create a controversy or anything, I wonder if running the same defensive packages year in and year out hurts us to some extent. I notice we don't seem to put as much pressure on the QB as we did a few years ago. Is that because we are getting older or is it because the offenses have seen enough of what we do now that they've adjusted to it. Yes we still play pretty good defense. I do believe that some of the defensive statistics are skewed by the fact that our offense usually dominates time-of-posession. For example, the Steelers' entire first-team defense — except for James Farrior — played one series into the second half and was on the field for 60 snaps. The first-team offense did not play in the second half, finishing at 25 snaps.

    Or am I over-reaching?
    well several things.

    1. 3rd down plays to keep offense on the field are huge and normally who wins these during 1st and even 2nd Q wins the game cause the defense that have to stay in the field tends to get tired and then they can't pass rush as well.
    2. we need to keep winning the TOPossession battle. in 04 when duce was running well we dominated TOP and had several games where we ended the game within FG range but we just sat on the ball the last 2 min of the game.
    3. so you're saying our 1st d played 60 snaps. and our o played 25 snaps. so i'm not sure i see your point matching up with your evidence. or am i missing something? mostly cause of the long pass plays...

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    Default Re: Steelers Advantage

    Quote Originally Posted by steel0710 View Post
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    well several things.

    1. 3rd down plays to keep offense on the field are huge and normally who wins these during 1st and even 2nd Q wins the game cause the defense that have to stay in the field tends to get tired and then they can't pass rush as well.
    2. we need to keep winning the TOPossession battle. in 04 when duce was running well we dominated TOP and had several games where we ended the game within FG range but we just sat on the ball the last 2 min of the game.
    3. so you're saying our 1st d played 60 snaps. and our o played 25 snaps. so i'm not sure i see your point matching up with your evidence. or am i missing something? mostly cause of the long pass plays...
    Well guess I didn't explain that well did I. Most times the brain works faster than the fingers. Guess what I was trying to say is the offense being on the field keeps the defensive stats down. Some times the O gets off the field quickly because A. They score (yesterday's game for example) or B. They flame out. Can't really say there is a correlation between the D being on the field a lot and the opponents figuring us out. It just seems that way and that was basically my comment about not getting as much pressure on the QBs. TOP is such an important part of the game IMO. Yea it's fun watching the 75 yd bombs to Brown and all, but the game is really played in the trenches and our BEST defense is one that gets to cheer from the sidelines.

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    Default Re: Steelers Advantage

    Quote Originally Posted by exNCite View Post
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    I thought about this during the lock-out, how we're such a veteran group that the time off doesn't hurt so much. Only downside was maybe not getting enough looks at the younger players.

    But one thing I question. Not trying to create a controversy or anything, I wonder if running the same defensive packages year in and year out hurts us to some extent. I notice we don't seem to put as much pressure on the QB as we did a few years ago. Is that because we are getting older or is it because the offenses have seen enough of what we do now that they've adjusted to it. Yes we still play pretty good defense. I do believe that some of the defensive statistics are skewed by the fact that our offense usually dominates time-of-posession. For example, the Steelers' entire first-team defense — except for James Farrior — played one series into the second half and was on the field for 60 snaps. The first-team offense did not play in the second half, finishing at 25 snaps.

    Or am I over-reaching?
    The fact that the D was out there twice as long as the O in the first half is a little troublesome. Especially where it regarded 3rd down conversions. Once the season starts, that can't keep happening. Once in a while, conceding a 3rd down conversion just happens. But teams who expect to win will nip those opportunities in the bud, dashing the hopes of the opposing drive.
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    Default Re: Steelers Advantage

    Quote Originally Posted by buckeyehoppy View Post
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    The fact that the D was out there twice as long as the O in the first half is a little troublesome. Especially where it regarded 3rd down conversions. Once the season starts, that can't keep happening. Once in a while, conceding a 3rd down conversion just happens. But teams who expect to win will nip those opportunities in the bud, dashing the hopes of the opposing drive.
    I think you gotta keep all things in perspective. One, we had our starting corners out. Two, this is when DL backs off some of his blitzes, doesn't want everyone to see his playbook, especially anything new.

    All teams have to adapt both on the O and the D each year, and each game. Game film is where you really gain advantages, if you see something your opponent is doing that you can capitialize on. The rest is done during game adjustments, recognizing what the opponents game plan was.

    I'm not worried about every team knowing DL's schemes. We know most of the other teams stuff too, if the coaches have been there a while....which equals experience. Sure there may be new young coaches in positions, but they lack experience. DL and BA have seen it all. It is all about recognition and game adjustments.

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    Default Re: Steelers Advantage

    Quote Originally Posted by bleedBnG58 View Post
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    I think you gotta keep all things in perspective. One, we had our starting corners out. Two, this is when DL backs off some of his blitzes, doesn't want everyone to see his playbook, especially anything new.

    All teams have to adapt both on the O and the D each year, and each game. Game film is where you really gain advantages, if you see something your opponent is doing that you can capitialize on. The rest is done during game adjustments, recognizing what the opponents game plan was.

    I'm not worried about every team knowing DL's schemes. We know most of the other teams stuff too, if the coaches have been there a while....which equals experience. Sure there may be new young coaches in positions, but they lack experience. DL and BA have seen it all. It is all about recognition and game adjustments.
    That's fair enough, BnG. Seeing that we've played with only half the starting corners for most of the pre-season, that can work to advantage while giving some PT to guys who need to tighten up their game. Experience is the best teacher. Just hope our guys are good students. Also true about not leading on too much of the game plan before the season. Granted, we do better than most at making adjustments. But that doesn't necessarily mean we want to make things easy on the other guys by giving them a tell in the pre-season.
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    Default Re: Steelers Advantage

    Buckeye its time for William Gay to take off his little girl pants! THats my opinion...so far he has shown no indication to me (and that is my unexpert opinion) that he can cover at all.
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    Default Re: Steelers Advantage

    Quote Originally Posted by bdeff View Post
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    Buckeye its time for William Gay to take off his little girl pants! THats my opinion...so far he has shown no indication to me (and that is my unexpert opinion) that he can cover at all.
    bdeff, I'd ask you to tell us how you really felt. Problem is, we all feel the same way, so you aren't alone with that opinion. Maybe he's afraid he'll sprain his vagina if he actually tries to keep up in coverage.

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