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Thread: Stopping Peterson is an all-day job for Steelers’ ‘D’

      
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    Default Stopping Peterson is an all-day job for Steelers’ ‘D’

    October 22, 2009
    Stopping Peterson is an all-day job for Steelers’ ‘D’
    By ALAN ROBINSON
    Associated Press

    PITTSBURGH — They’ve met with their coaches, watched tape, talked among themselves.

    The Pittsburgh Steelers still aren’t certain how they’re going to do it.

    Shut down Brett Favre, who remains one of the NFL’s prolific passers? For certain, that’s a worry.

    To beat the unbeaten Minnesota Vikings (6-0) on Sunday, the Steelers (4-2) understand their top priority must be finding a way to slow down Adrian Peterson, something no opposing game plan or defensive scheme has accomplished this season.

    Peterson’s 624 yards rushing lead the NFL, and his 5.16 yards per carry average through

    36 career games is the highest in NFL history at that stage of a career. Barry Sanders had a

    5.12 average and Jim Brown had a 5.07 average, according to Stats LLC.

    In Minnesota’s other two games against AFC North opponents, Peterson gained

    180 yards against Cleveland and 143 yards against Baltimore. He gained 85 yards or more in four of Minnesota’s first six games.

    “It’s double trouble,” Steelers linebacker James Farrior said Wednesday. “It’s probably going to be the toughest matchup that we face. They’ve got a Hall of Fame quarterback, the best running back in the league, one of the best offensive lines. They’ve got the total package.”

    Calling Peterson the NFL’s best running back is insufficient, according to Steelers coach Mike Tomlin.

    “Arguably the best football player in the world right now is Adrian Peterson,” Tomlin said.

    The Steelers aren’t backing away from the challenge. They are No. 2 against the run, and limited No. 2 rusher Chris Johnson of Tennessee to 57 yards and No. 3 Cedric Benson of Cincinnati to 76 yards – the most by any opposing back against them this season.

    The Steelers haven’t allowed a 100-yard game in their past 24 regular season games, or since Fred Taylor ran for

    147 yards during the Jaguars’ 29-22 victory on Dec. 16, 2007.

    The Steelers were No. 1 in defense the past two seasons and were No. 2 against the run last season.

    This will be the Steelers defense’s first big test against an elite runner without defensive end Aaron Smith, one of the NFL’s top run stoppers. He is out for the season with a right shoulder injury.

    “I just think we’ve got to do a good job wrapping (Peterson) up, tackling as a team, not expecting one guy on this team to tackle him by themselves,” linebacker LaMarr Woodley said. “I feel like if we hit him as a unit, he will go down.”

    It normally takes more than one tackler to slow him, Woodley said, because the 6-foot-1, 217-pound Peterson is so adept at running through arm tackles.

    Then again, he excels at running through entire teams.

    Peterson has 3,725 yards rushing since 2007, or 529 yards more than any other player. He also has 1,216 yards, a 135.1 yards per game average and 11 touchdowns in nine games against AFC teams.

    “He hits the holes with speed,” Woodley said. “Once he sees it, he hits it. It doesn’t take him long to get it started. He’s got great footwork. He’s powerful and he’s just a combination of everything. It’s hard to tackle a guy like that.”

    Tomlin sees something else, too.

    “The (video) tape says he’s ridiculously competitive,” Tomlin said. “He doesn’t turn down challenges. He does a lot of things well, even when the ball’s not in his hands.”

    Because Peterson creates so many problems, it proves distracting to defenses that already must worry about Favre’s long-proven ability to complete passes under pressure and to improvise when a play breaks down.

    Sidney Rice had a career-high 176 yards receiving as the Vikings rallied to beat the Ravens 33-31 on Sunday.

    “You can’t focus on one thing,” Woodley said. “If you focus on the run, Brett Favre will beat you downfield with guys like Sidney Rice. If you focus on the pass, Adrian Peterson can run the ball. You have to balance it out and maybe try to stop both.”

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    Default Re: Stopping Peterson is an all-day job for Steelers’ ‘D’

    Stopping Peterson a priority
    Thursday, October 22, 2009
    By Teresa Varley
    Steelers.com

    The Steelers defense will face a tough test this week, trying to stop the Vikings explosive running back Adrian Peterson.

    Peterson leads the NFL in rushing with 121 carries for 624 yards, a 5.2-yard average. He has scored seven rushing touchdowns, including taking one 64 yards for a score.

    “You just check his numbers; everything he has been doing is on paper,” said linebacker LaMarr Woodley. “I think he does a good job of seeing the hole, hitting the hole and getting away from guys. You can’t arm tackle a guy like that. You have to hit him as a team or he will break free and put six on the board.”

    Woodley compared Peterson to New York Giants running back Brandon Jacobs, 6-4, 264 pounds, but just a smaller version as Peterson is 6-1, 217 pounds.

    “He is a guy who is going to constantly come at you, a guy who is going to hit the hole and try to run you over, a guy who is not going to try and get out of bounds, just trying to gain yards each time he carries the ball,” said Woodley. “He has the ability to hit the hole and has speed. Once he sees it, he hits it. It doesn’t take him long to get it started. He has great foot work.”

    While the Steelers will zone in on Peterson, they can’t lose track of another weapon the Vikings have on offense, quarterback Brett Favre. Favre has led them to a 6-0 record to date, throwing for 12 touchdowns with only two interceptions.

    “You can’t focus on one thing,” said Woodley. “You focus on the run and then Brett Favre will beat you. If you focus on the pass, you have Adrian Peterson who can run the ball. You have to balance it out and try to stop both.”
    "You only have one life, and you will not get out alive. Make the most of your time and have no regrets." - Me.

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