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Thread: Steelers have found spare dime

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    Default Steelers have found spare dime

    Steelers have found spare dime
    By F. Dale Lolley, Staff writer

    PITTSBURGH - The Steelers apparently figure that in this tough economy, if they can't stop opposing offenses with a nickel, a dime might spend a little better.

    Primarily a team that has used a nickel defense over the past several seasons on obvious passing downs, the Steelers used plenty of dime defense in those situations in last Sunday's 19-16 overtime victory at Buffalo.

    Depending on matchups, it could be something they continue to do in the future in an effort to get better matchups.

    [IMGL][/IMGL]"We don't always match them personnel-wise," said coach Mike Tomlin. "Oftentimes ... when people go three wides, if we chose to, we still stay in our base defense of personnel. The offensive personnel doesn't always dictate what we do from a personnel standpoint. It is the complete picture. It is offensive personnel, field position, down and distance. All of those things dictate to us which people we chose to employ."

    Sunday against Baltimore (8-3) at M&T Bank Stadium, the Steelers (8-3) may be forced to go to the dime once again if the Ravens attempt to spread the field with talented receivers Anquan Boldin, Derrick Mason, T.J. Houshmandzadeh and Donte Stallworth.

    "They can spread you out," said Steelers cornerback Anthony Madison, who replaces linebacker Lawrence Timmons in the dime. "They can run the ball. They can do a lot of good things. We just have to continue to do a solid job of pass rushing, mixed with some good coverage and just play to win."

    In Pittsburgh's nickel, all four linebackers stay on the field and a defensive lineman - usually nose tackle Casey Hampton - is replaced by a cornerback.

    In the dime, Timmons and Hampton were replaced by Madison and another cornerback.

    The Steelers ran the dime almost exclusively at Buffalo, shutting the Bills out in the first half. But cornerback Bryant McFadden suffered a hamstring injury at the end of the half and did not return, forcing the Steelers to play little-used second-year corner Keenan Lewis.

    Some might think it strange the Steelers would take a Pro Bowl defensive lineman and their leading tackler off the field, but it becomes a matchup situation.

    "That's a better matchup," said Timmons. "They're going five wides and all the receivers run 4.3s, 4.4s. We just prefer to have defensive backs out there instead."

    There's also the problem of a hip pointer Timmons suffered a few weeks ago that limited his mobility.

    Timmons, the Steelers' fastest linebacker, is usually very good in coverage, but the hip pointer left him without his trademark burst.

    " It was like I had a baseball mound on my side," Timmons said. "It was sore, black and blue. I was in a lot of pain.

    "Moving around was real stiff. Any time I took a stride, I would feel a sharp pain. It was really tough, but I'm feeling better now."

    That doesn't mean the Steelers will automatically scrap the dime, even if it does cause some shock for fans to see Timmons and Hampton coming off the field.

    "I'm sure people were saying, 'What are they doing?'" admitted Madison, a little-used special teams standout. "You want to match up a corner on a wide receiver. Lawrence Timmons has been doing a good job of that all year, it just so happened that they wanted to do something different. Either one of us could have gotten the job done. It just do happened, they employed me to do it and we did a pretty good job of it."

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

    Tight end Matt Spaeth will not play against the Ravens due to lingering effects of a concussion he suffered two weeks ago. ... Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger practiced again on Friday, but is questionable to play at Baltimore. The Steelers list offensive tackle Flozell Adams (back), defensive ends Nick Eason (knee) and Brett Keisel (calf), cornerbacks McFadden (hamstring) and Lewis (illness), and safety Troy Polamalu (ankle) as probable.
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    Default Re: Steelers have found spare dime

    Quote Originally Posted by NKySteeler View Post
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    Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger practiced again on Friday, but is questionable to play at Baltimore
    Say what??????


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