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View Full Version : Time to put Steelers among NFL's elite



NOVA STEELERS
10-06-2008, 01:30 PM
October 6, 2008 1:38 AM
Posted by ESPN.com's James Walker

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Overcoming a perennial nemesis is rarely an easy task, especially on the road. But a resilient Pittsburgh Steelers team found a way Sunday night with a hard-fought, 26-21 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars (http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/recap?gameId=281005030). Despite numerous injuries that stemmed from three consecutive physical contests, a shorthanded Pittsburgh team came into Jacksonville Municipal Stadium with no excuses and grinded out its biggest win this season. The Jaguars, winners of their four previous meetings with Pittsburgh, had the Steelers' number. Jacksonville swept Pittsburgh in two games last season, including a playoff win at Heinz Field. But on this night, the Steelers had just enough resolve and depth to get over the hump as they head into a much-needed bye week at 4-1.

Here are three things we learned about Pittsburgh in the process:



http://assets.espn.go.com/photo/2008/1005/nfl_u_bigben_200.jpg


Ben Roethlisberger threw for 309 yards and three touchdowns Sunday night.

1. The Steelers are deep
Backup running back Mewelde Moore (http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/players/profile?playerId=5644) led Pittsburgh in rushing with 99 yards.
Backup receiver Nate Washington (http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/players/profile?playerId=9307) led the Steelers with 94 receiving yards, including a 48-yard touchdown catch. Backup defensive linemen Chris Hoke (http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/players/profile?playerId=2899), Orpheus Roye (http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/players/profile?playerId=1079), Travis Kirschke (http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/players/profile?playerId=1325) played productive and significant snaps as replacements for Brett Keisel (http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/players/profile?playerId=3743) (calf), Casey Hampton (http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/players/profile?playerId=2567) (groin) and Nick Eason (http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/players/profile?playerId=4572) (groin).

Notice the trend?
"We have some guys that can definitely step up and play," Washington said of the reserves. "Coach always instills in us that our level of expectations is not going to change. No matter who's in there, he's going to play just the same as the guy that's played all season."

2. Big Ben ready to go no-huddle
Ben Roethlisberger (http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/players/profile?playerId=5536) came into the NFL five seasons ago as a "caretaking" rookie quarterback and gradually developed into one of the top signal-callers. Now it's time for Roethlisberger to take the next step of completely owning his offense, and that includes running the no-huddle during the course of the game. Only a handful of teams and quarterbacks can do it successfully. At times against the Jags, Roethlisberger excelled at calling his own plays and running the team at the line of scrimmage. The idea came to fruition by force last week against the Baltimore Ravens. Although Roethlisberger had clamored to go no-huddle before, it took numerous poor offensive performances this season before head coach Mike Tomlin and coordinator Bruce Arians finally gave their quarterback the keys to the unit. The no-huddle attack has given the Steelers an added dimension against opponents. After sputtering early, Pittsburgh has scored 46 points in the past seven quarters (including overtime) since experimenting with the no-huddle against the Ravens in the second half. Roethlisberger's eyes seem to light up with the opportunity when he has full control. "It was great," Roethlisberger said. "You have to give a lot of credit to those guys up front, the tight ends, receivers, everybody. We ran the no-huddle almost the whole time without even using the count and without me even talking -- really ... It's always fun."

3. It's time to consider Pittsburgh among the elite
Week 5 was a telling weekend in the NFL.
After several close victories against mostly mediocre teams, the Buffalo Bills (http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/clubhouse?team=buf) (4-1) showed their true colors Sunday with a blowout loss to the Arizona Cardinals (http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/clubhouse?team=ari). The San Diego Chargers (http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/clubhouse?team=sdg) (2-3) are proving that talent isn't everything. The Dallas Cowboys (http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/clubhouse?team=dal) (4-1) showed a lot of flaws in a Week 4 loss to the Washington Redskins (http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/clubhouse?team=was) and even in a victory Sunday over the Cincinnati Bengals (http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/clubhouse?team=cin). As other top-flight teams are falling down a rung or two, it's time to begin putting the Steelers in the conversation as one of the elite squads. Pittsburgh is not perfect, but the Steelers have been more consistent than many other teams this season. The Steelers are 2-0 at home and a solid 2-1 on the road this year. After playing and proving it can win shorthanded the past two weeks, Pittsburgh should come back healthy and near full strength when it plays the Cincinnati Bengals (0-5) on Oct. 19.

"I think with every experience that we share, we're learning about ourselves and each other," Tomlin said. "We don't have a preconceived notion about who we are or what we're going to be. We're just living [in the moment], and they just lived it tonight. Hopefully this experience will strengthen us and bring us closer together. I'm sure it will."

I agree with alot in this article and IMO we will only be getting better, which we need to do with the remaining schedule. I see alot of upside to this team, over what we have witnessed the first 5 weeks and other then break downs here and there we have watched a solid solid football TEAM.

:cope: GO STEELERS :cope:

AZ_Steeler
10-06-2008, 02:08 PM
Ben has proved the last two weeks that he can take over a game by calling the plays at the line and going to huddle... I want to see more of it!

JensK
10-06-2008, 02:11 PM
I'll wait a little more to call us an elite team. We have played some ok teams so far, but none great. We havnt faced a team yet, who's got .500+ in score yet. I'll wait to call is elite untill at least the NYG game.

TEEMONT
10-06-2008, 03:23 PM
If we can go 2-2 in our NFC East games, then we can call ourselves elite.

All 4 of those teams look like they could be the NFC team in the Super Bowl.

SteelfordWexler
10-06-2008, 03:24 PM
I'll wait a little more to call us an elite team. We have played some ok teams so far, but none great. We havnt faced a team yet, who's got .500+ in score yet. I'll wait to call is elite untill at least the NYG game.

:plus1:

A win is a win and we have improved for the second week in a row - but calling us elite is more from other teams declining than us looking super sharp.

Stairwayto7
10-06-2008, 04:07 PM
Yeah we look good at times, and not-so-good at times, so elite is premature.

ejsteeler
10-06-2008, 04:36 PM
This is exactly the kind of team I want!!!!!! :tt02:
The kind that will claw tooth and nail for a win!!!!!! :yesno:
The kind that refuse to give up!!!!!!! :clubbed:
The kind that legends are made of!!!!!!! :steelersflag3:

Watch and see, this will turn into something this year. What? Well, I guess we have to wait and see........ :herewego:


Too many spoiled fans want the big wins, the blow outs, the definate show of supremecy. Well, heck, I wouldn't mind that either, but it's this kind of play that will raise a team above the competition. :markit:

Go STEELERS!!!!!! :bounce2: :thewave: :jump1:

SteelerFan87
10-06-2008, 04:47 PM
Most encouraging signs for me are the way Woodley has developed and become a great complement to Silverback, giving us a great pass rush, Troy playing like the old Troy, and Ben making the adjustments in the no huddle that everyone could see we had to make in order to stop defenses from just pinning their ears back and bringing the house on every play.

I mean, we've seen some throwing to TEs, actually USING a 3rd down back for all the things a good 3rd down back can do, mixing things up and occasionally trying to spread out a blitzing defense with lots of recievers and short quick passes, adjusting the tempo to put the defense on it's heels, and all the things we'd have NEVER seen from the Steelers in the past, that really limited us whenever we'd run into a team with a good gameplan and good execution.

I'm still worried about our O-line, but so far Stapleton has played well, and with our new flexibility and willingness to make adjustments, we just MIGHT be able to overcome that weakness.

Black@Gold Forever32
10-06-2008, 05:01 PM
Is there really an elite teams in the NFL right now?....Ok maybe the Giants since they're the defending champs and have played really well so far this season....But really are the Titans even at 5-0 an elite team?....I don't think so and besides Chris Johnson there is nobody on that offense that I would fear the Steelers defense facing....

The Pats without Tom Brady are very beatable......The Bills are a good team but they had their asses handed to them by the Cardinals.....The Jets and Dolphins don't scare me.....

The rest of the teams in the AFC North are a joke....

The Colts have their issues.....But they're still among the AFC best.....They will win the AFC South since I think the Titans will stumble eventually....The Jags and Texans are not even worth talking about....

The Broncos are all offense and no defense....The Chargers lost to the Dolphins...lol Raider and Chiefs suck....

In the NFC the only team that has impressed on a consistent basis so far has been the Giants....

The NFL is as wide open as ever.....Parity is in full effect.....

BlacknGold Bleeder
10-06-2008, 05:21 PM
The NFL is as wide open as ever.....Parity is in full effect.....

I agree with most everything ya said. I think one of the best things the STEELERS could have done was give Ben the keys to the offense. Now we have to see where he can take us. :2cents:

BlitzburghRockCity
10-06-2008, 05:31 PM
Im not ready to call us elite yet either, wait until we get about half way through this coming stretch of big time games and we'll see how we are. Based on last night though it's definitely apparent that Ben can lead this team and run the offense when you take off the handcuffs and that is huge for us!

It's also good to have depth again in key areas, that's not something we've had for the last few years.

Black@Gold Forever32
10-06-2008, 05:38 PM
The good thing like I stated you don't have to be an elite team......I really don't consider any of the teams in the NFL is elite....Even the Giants have issues....But they would be the one team I would consider elite....

jpele
10-06-2008, 06:09 PM
The Steelers are elite even in an off year.:tt02:

The fact that Brady is out for the year is upsetting, I believe that this year we have the defense to pressure him and knock them down a peg,now we'll never know,and they have a built in excuse.

JB 67
10-06-2008, 06:37 PM
a Quality win I think we all feel much better about our team going into the bye week

Silverback 92
10-06-2008, 06:57 PM
heck Ive always thought of the Steelers as NFL elite , GREAT TEAM, FANS ,OWNERS AND 5 time SB champs.... come now ...what else can they be...

Troyisabeast_43
10-06-2008, 07:45 PM
We have been able to overcome our problems to a 4-1 start, while the other preseason favorites in the AFC: Indianapolis, San Diego and Jacksonville are all faltering at .500 or worse, two wins behind us. The Patriots, the last on that list of preseason favorites, will survive with Cassel under center but won't intimidate anyone.

The new powerhouse teams in the AFC are the Bills, the Broncos, the Titans and us. Each of those teams has serious question marks, more severe than ours. The Bills just had their starting QB knocked out of the game with a concussion, and then got torched by the Cards. The Broncos defense is questionable. The Titans can't pass.

I wouldn't be at all surprised to see a SB30 rematch: Steelers vs Cowboys. Its a long season, but we have to be pleased with a 4-1 start while sustaining the injuries we have. Once Parker, Hampton and Keisel return, this team will only get better. If the Steelers can go a little better job protecting Ben, this is a SB contender. The Steelers have problems, but when you take a step back and look at the other teams in the AFC that were expected to be contenders, we are faring the best of all of them.