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Thread: Why the Pittsburgh Steelers Will Make the Playoffs: Secondary

      
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    Default Why the Pittsburgh Steelers Will Make the Playoffs: Secondary

    Why the Pittsburgh Steelers Will Make the Playoffs: Secondary

    http://bleacherreport.com/articles/4...ry-part-2-of-4
    By Josh Wetmore (Correspondent) on July 10, 2010



    Pittsburgh sports personality Gene Collier has claimed the Pittsburgh Steelers will only win six games this upcoming season. He sites the absence of traded WR Santonio Holmes and injured guard Willie Colon as reasons but for everything that is lost, there is always something gained.

    For the 2010 Steelers that counterbalanced gain lies in the secondary.

    For all the problems Pittsburgh had last season their pass defense had to be the most abysmal part of the team. Ranked 16th in the NFL (seems like they should be much lower) the unit brought what is normally one of the NFL's top defenses down to a very average level.

    They allowed 215.4 passing yards per game, their interceptions leader was Troy Polamalu who only played in five games, and their cornerbacks combined for a grandiose total of two interceptions. Jeff Reed had more tackles last season than all of the Steelers cornerbacks combined had interceptions.

    Part of the poor play by the secondary as a whole was due to Polamalu's injury but the statistics from the cornerbacks are unacceptable regardless.

    If you have the means, go back and watch the fourth quarter of the Raider and Kansas City games, as well as the entire game against the Packers and notice that the only cornerback who can actually cover a WR is Ike Taylor and even he blew a lot of plays.

    The play of Gay in the Packers game alone should be enough to make head coach Mike Tomlin and defensive coordinator Dick Lebeau, both secondary coaches at the start of their careers, want to quite coaching all together.

    Enough of the ranting, time for why it should be better this year.
    __________________________________________________ _____________________________

    The first reason is obvious; Polamalu is back. It has become pretty clear that Pittsburgh's defense just isn't the same without the crazy Polynesian on the field. Based on the way he plays, it's pretty unlikely that Polamalu stays healthy for an entire season, but if he can avoid missing more than two or three games the defense should be top five just on his return alone.

    Just in case Polamalu's impact isn't as obvious as it should be here are a few numbers from the 2009 season to back up his importance:

    - With Polamalu Pittsburgh allowed 10 fewer points-per-game than they did without him.
    - They allowed 50 less yards-per-game when he was on the field.
    - In five games with Polamalu they forced 11 turnovers. In 11 games without him they also forced 11 turnovers.

    The Pro Bowl safety isn't the only player returning to the Steelers secondary, however. After a one-year stint in Arizona, cornerback Bryant McFadden was traded, in a steal might I add, back to Pittsburgh for a fifth round pick.

    McFadden has won two Super Bowls with the Steelers and was the starting cornerback opposite Ike Taylor when Pittsburgh won it all in 2008. His replacement last season, William Gay, was so bad that he was benched toward the end of the season for rookie Joe Burnett. Burnett played so poorly that Gay was given the starting spot back.

    Plain and simple, Steelers fans should be thanking God and Kevin Colbert that McFadden is back in the starting lineup. Is he a shut down corner? No, but he is a solid NFL starter who plays well in run support, doesn't make many mistakes in coverage, and is tall and physical enough to line up against some of the league's better No. 2 receivers.

    Neither Gay nor Burnett can say any of those things, excluding Gay's ability to play run support rather well.

    Some of the Steeler's problem's defending the pass last season can be attributed to an underachieving pass rush. While 47 sacks is a solid total, the front seven never seemed to be able to put on the pressure with the game on the line.

    There are certainly enough quality players on Lebeau's defense to regain their form and with Polamalu's presence allowing for more confusing defensive looks and more creative play calling from Lebeau expect the pass rush to regain its form.

    Also the personnel in the Steelers defense really hasn't changed since 2008 when you put McFadden and Polamalu back in the lineup and in 2008 the unit led the league in pass defense. Add in another year of improvement for second year corner's Joe Burnett and Keenan Lewis and Gay being back at the nickel-corner spot where he was great in 2008 and the pass defense might be a strength instead of a weakness.

    If the defense can lead the league in defense like it did two years ago the Steelers will win the AFC North even if Roethlisberger is suspended for the whole season.

    Remember defense wins championships, and the Steelers were making the playoffs with quarterbacks like Mike Tomczak, Neal O'Donnell, and Tommy Maddox thanks to a top defense.

    Last edited by Skeeter; Jul-11-2010 at 12:44 AM.

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    Default Re: Why the Pittsburgh Steelers Will Make the Playoffs: Secondary

    I don't think missing the playoffs will be because of Colon's absence. I wish I was more optimistic, too many questions seem to be lingering and I hate to say it, but Baltimore, who we were on pretty even keel with for the past two years, may have taken the lead in talent.

    With all that said, in 2008, I predicted a 7-9 season.......How'd that work out for me?
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    Default Re: Why the Pittsburgh Steelers Will Make the Playoffs: Secondary

    I see the Ravens being the new bully on the block this season. Let's face it, the Steelers have had their day in the sun and made the playoffs, won their Super Bowls when we had youth and talent . We are not the same team of teams of past and father time has had something to do with that. Can't always be youthful and at the peak of things.
    My opinion is we will need to do some rebuilding or plugging in at spots to get as back up to par. Can we make the needed corrections at the obvious areas soon before other positions are lost to age or players leaving for more money ?

    The deensive line is old but we did get Ziggy so that is just one hopefully step up. We have Woodley that is in his prime but, can we keep him ? Harrison probably has one or two more years of being the dominate player but then what about Farrior ?

    The rest of the defensive line needs some youth added and these players will need to step up fast. Everyone knows the o-line needs more than what we have but I think Kemo will prove to be a steady player along with Starks. Pouncey hasn't even played a game yet but we all seem to think he will be a beast and the next long term fixture for our line. I hope Pouncey is good but he needs to be good right now or by next season. Be it he is a guard, tackle or center who will filll the other positions ?
    Our secondary is a flop it seems without Troy but even at that, we need quality guys around him. Ike is good but not being able to make the interceptions is a hurting on our team. McFadden to me is good along with Clark so, these guys need to get their chemistry right. Gay was a freakin waste of a season and I can't believe he fooled Tomlin and Lebeau that he was anything better than spots situations.
    I'm glad Foote is back and I hope he has more influence on Timmons.

    Hines needs help out there on the field and he will always gives us the meat and potatoe type work ethic but what about the loss of Santonio he, was a weapon that teams a looking over their shoulder attitude for Smokey.
    We have a burner of a reciever in Wallace and that's great and maybe ARE can be the clutch guy the Smokey was.
    Heath Miller in my opinion needs more passes tossed his way and once again, put the fullback back into the mix.
    I'm not ready to write our team off because we did do good with some of our picks and FA and when it is all said in done, maybe only the absence of Ben will be the only problem we really face this season.

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    Default Re: Why the Pittsburgh Steelers Will Make the Playoffs: Secondary

    Quote Originally Posted by bdeff View Post
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    I don't think missing the playoffs will be because of Colon's absence. I wish I was more optimistic, too many questions seem to be lingering and I hate to say it, but Baltimore, who we were on pretty even keel with for the past two years, may have taken the lead in talent.

    With all that said, in 2008, I predicted a 7-9 season.......How'd that work out for me?
    Maybe.......

    Baltimore's D has been getting old but not showing it......this could be the year!

    I am not convinced that Flacco is the star people are making him out to be.

    Despite their talent, as usual, the Bengals have had their playoff year and should now retreat to the basement with the Browns.

    Should be an interesting year!

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    Default Re: Why the Pittsburgh Steelers Will Make the Playoffs: Secondary

    Quote Originally Posted by Stone View Post
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    Maybe.......

    Baltimore's D has been getting old but not showing it......this could be the year!

    I am not convinced that Flacco is the star people are making him out to be.

    Despite their talent, as usual, the Bengals have had their playoff year and should now retreat to the basement with the Browns.

    Should be an interesting year!
    I have to agree with all those points.

    I was saying to my wife last night that, while so many press and blog folk are predicting we finish third or fourth in the division this year, essentially the division is comprised of us and three Browns variants: The team set up to rival Modell's Mob, the team Modell stole and the team reborn to **** Modell off.

    That old bugger's got a lot to answer for!
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    Default Re: Why the Pittsburgh Steelers Will Make the Playoffs: Secondary

    Baltimore's secondary is vulnerable, to say the least. They're desperate there and it shows.

    Of course we brought in Flozell Adams.

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    Default Re: Why the Pittsburgh Steelers Will Make the Playoffs: Secondary

    Quote Originally Posted by The Sodfather View Post
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    Baltimore's secondary is vulnerable, to say the least. They're desperate there and it shows.

    [HIGH-LIGHT]Of course we brought in Flozell Adams.[/HIGH-LIGHT]
    At least that was just a tyre-kicking exercise. If he hadn't been up to it (ad it appear he wasn't) and we'd have signed him for stupid money, that would have reeked of desperation.
    'I want rustlers, cut throats, murderers, bounty hunters, desperados, mugs, pugs, thugs, nitwits, halfwits, dimwits, vipers, snipers, con men, Indian agents, Mexican bandits, muggers, buggerers, bushwhackers, hornswogglers, horse thieves, bull dykes, train robbers, bank robbers, ***-kickers, ****-kickers and Methodists.'

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    Default Re: Why the Pittsburgh Steelers Will Make the Playoffs: Secondary

    To say it mildly, our secondary last season was weak and pathetic without Troy... Ray Horton, our secondary coach, does not seem to coach-up some of the fundamentals with ball-hawking and tackling... This disturbs me immensly... We need to go after the ball a helluva lot more as well as be able to make the play if the ball holder makes his way into the zone (either via pass or run) and tackle the **** guy... We were woefully inept in this last season... Maybe it will change this year, but it all starts up front IMO... If we get a solid rush on the qb, the secondary will ALWAYS look better... If a player breaks past the line, the LBs and THEN the secondary needs to be able to get the job done... We were terrible last season with killing the opponent's drives... It's all combined IMO, but I still have zero faith in our secondary coach Ray Horton... His record with Detroit ('02-'03), Cincinnati ('97-'01), and Washington ('94-'96) speaks volumes as to the product he is able to produce.
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    Default Re: Why the Pittsburgh Steelers Will Make the Playoffs: Secondary

    Quote Originally Posted by NKySteeler View Post
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    To say it mildly, our secondary last season was weak and pathetic without Troy... Ray Horton, our secondary coach, does not seem to coach-up some of the fundamentals with ball-hawking and tackling... This disturbs me immensly... We need to go after the ball a helluva lot more as well as be able to make the play if the ball holder makes his way into the zone (either via pass or run) and tackle the **** guy... We were woefully inept in this last season... Maybe it will change this year, but it all starts up front IMO... If we get a solid rush on the qb, the secondary will ALWAYS look better... If a player breaks past the line, the LBs and THEN the secondary needs to be able to get the job done... We were terrible last season with killing the opponent's drives... It's all combined IMO, but I still have zero faith in our secondary coach Ray Horton... His record with Detroit ('02-'03), Cincinnati ('97-'01), and Washington ('94-'96) speaks volumes as to the product he is able to produce.
    Wow. those are some terrible stats, the Steelers will probably make him defensive cord after Lebeau retires. Just as they did with Arian and his failure history.

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