View Full Version : Steelers-Falcons game rekindles debate over cut blocking

10-20-2006, 06:04 PM

PITTSBURGH - Don't expect the Pittsburgh Steelers' defensive linemen to look downfield very often when they face the Atlanta Falcons, even if Michael Vick or Warrick Dunn takes off on a long run.

They'll be too busy protecting themselves from one of the league's most aggressive blocking teams - a Falcons offensive line that has been criticized by at least three teams in the last year for its cut blocking techniques.

"You have to be ready for it," Steelers defensive end Brett Keisel said. "You have to understand that's what they're going to do. If you're not, you're going to get cut and you're not going to make the play."

The Steelers (2-3) also occasionally employ the technique, in which an offensive lineman blocks below the waist - normally, at knee level - to force a defender to drop his hands and, at times, sweep him off his feet.

The Falcons lead the NFL in rushing by a wide margin and are renowned for mastering the scheme. Titans coach Jeff Fisher complained to the NFL about the Falcons' blocking last year, and the Carolina Panthers were upset when two defensive linemen were hurt after being cut block by the Falcons. Tampa Bay also was unhappy with how the Falcons blocked.

"Yeah, it works," Keisel said. "They're the top rushing team in the league."

The Denver Broncos were among the first teams to popularize cut blocking, when Alex Gibbs was their offensive line coach. Gibbs has been a consultant to Falcons coach Jim Mora for two seasons after installing the blocking scheme as Atlanta's offensive line coach in 2004.

That same season, Steelers coach Bill Cowher criticized the Broncos for going over the line with their blocking after Denver offensive lineman George Foster broke Cincinnati defensive lineman Tony Williams' ankle by driving at him below the knees.

"It's a very competitive game that we play, but within that there are certain lines you don't go over," Cowher said.

Cowher's criticism surprised Denver coach Mike Shanahan, since the Steelers and Broncos did not play that season. Shanahan subsequently staged a film room session for Denver reporters, showing how the Steelers - All-Pro-guard Alan Faneca in particular - also employed the technique.

The Falcons (3-2) have used it while rushing for 1,160 yards in five games. No other team has rushed for more than 791 yards.

This kinda stuff just pisses me off..both the Falcons and Denver make their living of walking the fine of line of dirty play on the offensive line..yet the league continually allows it to go on !

10-20-2006, 06:15 PM
Well we know how Denver did against us the last time we played so let's see how the Falcons do. I'd tell our o-line to do it right back at them!

10-20-2006, 06:34 PM
Well we know how Denver did against us the last time we played so let's see how the Falcons do. I'd tell our o-line to do it right back at them!

couldn't agree more!

10-20-2006, 07:06 PM
Hell yeah, give them a taste of their own medicine, then we can sit back and watch them cry about it !

10-20-2006, 07:12 PM
Well we know how Denver did against us the last time we played so let's see how the Falcons do. I'd tell our o-line to do it right back at them!I hate to disagree with you...yikes...especially the board owner! (lol) But if it's dirty play, then I don't want our boys going down to their level. Good old Steeler smash-mouth football should put us where we need to be. :tt02:

10-20-2006, 07:21 PM
Some think of it as dirty but for some reason it is still legal. Sometimes you just have to give the other team a taste of their own medicine!

K Train
10-20-2006, 07:30 PM
I think the bottom line is

House of Steel
10-20-2006, 07:30 PM
I be doing this most of the time, Hey Pussies :bigfinger: :bigfinger: :bigfinger: to the Atlanta D, I wouldn't give a **** what they said, we will dominate their asses.

House of Steel
10-20-2006, 07:31 PM
Love that photo, K-train. Baked Falcons. EWWWWWWWWW.

10-20-2006, 07:32 PM
That's making me hungry k-train!.....lol

10-20-2006, 08:22 PM
Nice "math" K-train, but you gotta leave food off the board because you make us all hungry! :lol:

Cut blocking is down right dirty and needs to be addressed sometime soon. I know there are rules in place for blocking low already but nothing in regards to cutting. It's a cheap shot and it puts players careers on the line.

10-20-2006, 08:24 PM
I'm sure the NFL will address it esp. with so many complaints from teams and players...they will probably dub it the "Atlanta Falcons Rule" lol

10-20-2006, 08:40 PM
Maybe it's just me but I don't see it as dirty as long as it is one on one. I know there are rules against having 2 players (one blocking low and one high) but this is different. If player 1 tries to block player 2 it shouldn't matter where he blocks as long as it is clean and isn't holding.

10-20-2006, 08:46 PM
It can't really be dirty now because there aren't any rules in place for it :) My point is, going low on someones knees is very borderline and shouldn't be allowed. The quarterbacks all wear skirts now, so why not protect the knees of these guys in the trenches a little better so they can stick around in the league for awhile.

I can see both sides though where one would think it's not dirty. I just hate seeing someone lose a knee because of how they were blocked.

10-21-2006, 11:33 AM
Dam you K-Train :lol:

10-22-2006, 02:52 AM
If there were a penalty imposed every time it was used, I think it would definitely make it a much less used option.

They do whatever else they can to try to protect players--like (for example) the "horse-collar" and face masking aren't allowed...so the refs KNOW there are certain tackles/blocks that are rife with risks.

This "cut blocking" sounds like one of them.

But if the head ref won't do anything about it, let's just hope Faneca and the rest of our line does it better than Atlanta :bigthumb: