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Thread: Protecting the QB vital

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    Palmetto Steel's Avatar
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    Default Protecting the QB vital

    Protecting the QB vital for Steelers
    By F. Dale Lolley, Staff writer

    PITTSBURGH - Since the Cleveland Browns rejoined the NFL in 1999, the Steelers have beaten them an astounding 19 times in 23 meetings, including four shutout victories.

    But one of those four Cleveland victories came last December, when the Browns handed the Steelers a 13-6 defeat on a cold, windy night at Cleveland Browns Stadium.

    It was the final defeat in a five-game losing streak for the Steelers, and even though they ended up winning their final three games, a 9-7 Pittsburgh team missed the playoffs by one game.

    The loss also ended Pittsburgh's 12-game winning streak against the Browns.

    "It was kind of a hard loss to take. Being here seven years and playing against Cleveland twice every year, that was the first time I had lost to them; it kind of hurt," Steelers offensive tackle Max Starks said. "And then to be in Cleveland, the weather conditions what they were and for it to be a low-scoring game and to lose in that type of fashion and then to miss out on making the playoffs by one game, that could have been one of those games. That kind of sticks in your system."

    Starks and the rest of the offense were disheartened by the fact that the Browns sacked quarterback Ben Roethlisberger eight times as well.

    By contrast, the Steelers (3-1) have given up nine sacks in their first four games.

    "They kind of confused us with some of the things that they went to, what we call a dime or quarter front, taking all of their defensive linemen off the field and going with nothing but defensive backs and linebackers," said Starks. "It forced us to make a decision on which guys would be rushing and, of course, I guess we don't have good deductive logic skills, because we picked wrong more often than not."

    What made that so effective was that the Steelers hadn't seen the Browns do it before.

    "After that game, we analyzed and broke down to make sure we could always keep the quarterback safe when those kind of situations arise," Starks said. "It was a great blitz scheme, something we hadn't seen all year. Then to see it that late in the year, kind of got us off guard."

    Though coach Mike Tomlin never specifically pointed to that game as a reason why offensive line coach Larry Zierlein was fired at the end of the season, it was likely a key factor.

    Sean Kugler was hired to replace Zierlein, and three-fifths of the Steelers offensive line are new starters. Rookie center Maurkice Pouncey, right guard Doug Legursky and right tackle Flozell Adams play in place of Justin Hartwig, Trai Essex and Willie Colon.

    No matter who is in the starting lineup, Tomlin expects the Browns to try something different again to attempt to slow Pittsburgh's offense.

    "They have a nice sub-package, pressure package, that we didn't contend with very well a year ago," Tomlin said. "And guys made plays at opportune times. There's really no secret to playing good defense, whether you're talking about the Cleveland defense or our defense or anyone's. When guys are where they're supposed to be, guys make timely plays, and they play together and hustle, you've got a chance to play good football."

    [HIGH-LIGHT]Odds and end zones[/HIGH-LIGHT]

    Essex (ankle) was limited in practice for the second consecutive day. ... The Steelers have issued a warning to fans regarding counterfeit tickets for Sunday's game.
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    sjdrewk's Avatar
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    Default Re: Protecting the QB vital

    -yes, the line must protect Ben from getting Sackec!

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    Quote Originally Posted by sjdrewk View Post
    This quote is hidden because you are ignoring this member. Show Quote
    -yes, the line must protect Ben from getting Sackec!
    One thing I don't understand! What does Joe Sackec have to do with Ben anyway? A retired hockey player can't hurt Ben! Silly stains fan!

    Sent from my T-Mobile G1 using Tapatalk

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    Default Re: Protecting the QB vital

    Quote Originally Posted by sjdrewk View Post
    This quote is hidden because you are ignoring this member. Show Quote
    -yes, the line must protect Ben from getting Sackec!

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