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DanRooney
11-18-2009, 05:25 AM
This is an article written by one of my favorite Steeler writers on any fan board.


Out-Cowhered by Palmer Sucks
Tuesday, Nov 17, 2009

Out-Cowhered



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The Bengals’ “Contain Box”

Above is an illustration of the Bengals’ defensive strategy to handle Roethlisberger’s scrambling. Note the position of the DE’s as they rush, being careful to remain below Big Ben: contain, then collapse. Often the Bengals’ D worked off overloads, something I witnessed firsthand in Philadelphia vs. the Eagles last year (trust me, it was painful to watch). The Bengals’ ends are more interested in ringing Ben than rushing him, slowly squeezing the pocket, which buys the QB time but makes moving around more difficult. It’s a tactic that both limits Ben’s “jailbreak” plays, and takes advantage of his tendency to hold on to the ball. Expect the Stillers to see a lot more of this look from opposing defenses.


This time there were no dropped Stiller TDs (well OK, one), no cheap Bengals’ pick-sixes off blown routes. No, unlike last time, the Cincy Bengals (not Bungals) strapped it on and shoved 60 minutes of Billy Cowher football down our throats.

This time there were no fluke wins, but rather a party like it was 1999, a foul festival of field goals and field position that only a Billy Ball fan could love. The Bengals came in and slugged it out, and somehow left Pittsburgh with a W in their pockets.

Not that the Stiller D didn’t do its best to keep that from happening – the Bengals’ offense notched a whole 9 points on its own, never threatening to score a TD even when they were set up inside the Stillers’ 15 by a pick return. The Stillers stopped the vaunted Cincy run game cold, holding Benson to 22 on 7 carries, and doing an even better job on his replacement. Even so, the game never came down to what I’d hoped: the pressure was never on Carson Palmer, the Choker, the Gagger, the Throat Roadblock, the Heimlich Pirate, to win the game with his arm.

Even with the Stillers’ D stacked to stop the run, Palmer could only manage a measly 76.8 QB rating, with a putrid 5.9 YPA (like Bengals fans say, the team is really rolling with a healthy Carson Palmer, huh?). But it would be the Stillers who would have to play catch-up, thanks to yet another kick-return TD.

Not that the Choker didn’t try to gag the game away: I counted at least 3 big softballs he served up, the last one a painful drop with the Stiller defender having an acre of empty space in front of him (I’m looking at you, Ryan Clark). Like I said in the pre-game, the Bengals needed to win the turnover battle to win the game, and once again they did.

So hats off to the Bengals, whose Cowheresque scheme resulted not only in a win, but a stranglehold on the North. Clearly they were the more physical team on the day.

But beware, Bengals fans – Billy Ball is a fickle mistress. She can make you pretty happy during the regular season, but come playoff time, she’ll provide you with plenty of misery. If this is what the Bengals are really about – defense, run game and QBing that’s along for the ride – then I for one would love to see the Stillers get another crack at these guys.

Considering the Bengals’ D-line strategy diagrammed above, I found the Stillers’ play calling pretty puzzling. Where were the screens, the waggles, the boots, the roll-outs? You know, plays designed to give the QB some space to roam and buy some time – and break the Bengals contain box.

The one screen the Stillers ran, a blooper to Moore, went for a nice gain. Instead of sticking with it and forcing an adjustment from the Bengals, the team went back to the same mid- and deep-range passes that left Ben standing there like a tree stump.

Forget complaining about Ben holding the ball too long, by the way; this is just how he rolls. It’s up to the play caller to deal with this. And sometimes the way to deal with it is to take the ball out of the QB’s hands – where was the commitment to the run against the Bengals, a team Stiller RBs have made careers out of facing? 13 carries by Mendenhall in a drag-out like this doesn’t cut it. Worse, the Stillers only went to him 6 times in the first half. If ever there was a day for jumbo TE sets, this was it.

Is there anyone on the team who can kick off besides Jeff Reed? Why not try Sepulveda – I doubt he can do worse than land kicks at the 5 with the return man catching in full stride. At least we won’t have to watch the kicker not even bother to try and tackle the returner as he blows on by.

I have a feeling we’ll see some roster moves this week, as the kick coverage has moved beyond mere joke to serious threat to the season. Otherwise the team can give serious consideration to kicking off out of bounds from now on.

3 weeks into the season I began to think of the Stillers as a wild-card team, a prediction that looked foolish once the team began its win streak. Now that Cincy has a stranglehold on the division, I’m beginning to second-guess myself again. I’m wondering if the race for the division really is as over as some suggest.

I’m not ready to throw in the Terrible Towel just yet, mainly because I believe the Bengals have an upset left in them. No, I don’t think it will be vs. the Raiders as some believe, but rather another unlikely opponent: the Cleve Brownies. The Bengals still must face the Minny Vikes, and I believe their D has a post-Thanksgiving carving coming at the hands of Philip Rivers and the Chargers

Of course, even a number-one seed would be eliminated with an overall lackadaisical effort as the one shown Sunday. Who knows, maybe the underdog route is once again the path to take for the Stillers.

Sign seen at the Brownies-Ravens Monday Nighter: “if one Ohio team can beat Pittsburgh, why can’t we?” Good to see we’re still so heavy on their minds. I wonder what would get Browns fans off more: winning a Super Bowl, or seeing the Stillers lose one?

Speaking of the Ravens, they looked less than impressive in beating Cleveland. This is a team that’s taken a big step backwards this year. Stillers’ must-win: the Sunday Nighter in Baltimore, which should be known as the “Boo Hoo Bowl” considering how the Ravens cried to the league to get it played in Crabtown.

franchise3
11-18-2009, 08:24 AM
Still Mill talking about Arians and Harrison among many things...

Loose Slag from The Still Mill

- Not sure which Cinci loss was worse…..this latest debacle, or the come-from-ahead loss in 1997 when Jeff Blake threw a deep ball up an elevator shaft and Carl Pickens just toyed with DeWayne Washington to haul in the TD and then the 2-pointer.

- Said The Idiot Arians on the late 2M drill that produced exactly zero yards:
"We were just trying to get the ball down the field deeper because we needed chunks," offensive imbecile Bruce Arians said. "We didn't protect very well. We had to go a long way. We couldn't nickel-and-dime our way down there with that amount of time."

Damn. This guy is more clueless than even I thought he was. The Stillers still had one timeout. The drive started at the Stiller 33. There was 1:49 remaining on the clock. We know Arians is a complete imbecile, so let me explain things for him. Ya don’t need to throw 53-yard bombs to move 67 yards in 1:49. The defense is SITTING BACK in a PREVENT defense, giving you plenty of open room on short & medium routes. We have excellent RAC runners in Tonio, Ward, Wally, and Moore. Three (3) medium range completions, with RAC, of, say, 14 yards a piece would put the ball at the Cinci 25. Now, you’re in striking range, as opposed to flailing about like a beached whale on your own 33 on 4th down and 10. Bruce Arians -- the NFL’s Offensive Dum**** of the Year.

- More Arians stupidity. On a key 3d & 5 at 9:40 3Q, Hines Ward was kept in the backfield to PASS BLOCK. No kidding. Go watch it for yourself. The play, by the way, failed to move the sticks and the Stillers punted.

- James Harrison had the entirely boneheaded personal foul flag late in the game to help sustain Cinci’s long, clock chewing, yardage-eating drive. Here’s what Harrison said after the game, per the Post Gazette:

Whitworth pushed Harrison in the back after a 2-yard gain by RB Bernard Scott, prompting Harrison to retaliate with a punch. "He pushed me in the back so I turned around and hit him in his head," Harrison said. Asked if he knew that would result in a 15-yard penalty, Harrison said, "I didn't care nothing about that at the time."

Wow. Great display of an unselfish, team-first attitude, eh? Any opposing coach worth his salt is going to run out a backup TE to give Harrison a baby-shove after the whistle, just to goad the hothead into another foolish, no-brained penalty. Tomlin, who selectively punishes players, ought to do something to send a message for this selfish, outrageous lack of professionalism and teamwork. But, don’t count on it.

- For sick comedy, you really have to watch Hartwig and Essex on the last 4th down play at the end of game. 1:31 left in the game, one last play, 4th down, game on the line, and THIS IS WHAT YOU GET??? From Hartpig and Gay Essex??? Really sorry. Toss in the wretched game by Chirs Kemo and Max Starks, and you have a good chunk of the O-line that failed to provide even a modicum of adequate performance. I'm tellin' ya, Larry Zierlein must have been downloading porn all week...

- Tomlin was asked about Reed and his puss-like tackling attemps on KO returns during the Tuesday presser. Said Tomlin: "Man, I am not going to go down to evaluating Jeff Reed as a tackler," Tomlin said. "When it comes down to that, we have failed as a coverage unit. I don't lose any sleep on the quality of Jeff Reed's tackles -- or tackle attempts. People have misread Jeff. Just because he punched out a towel dispenser, people think he is a badass. I can assure you that he is the biggest pussy on this team. Next year, we'll obtain a kicker who is a real man."

- The simplest, quickest, easiest answer to the Stillers KO coverage woes: start using the squib kick. I’m not sure what Tomlin is waiting for on this. It’s simple; requires no new personnel; and minimal training. Reed has show he’s incapable of booming his kickoffs deep into the EZ, like some NFL kickers. Our coverage teams suck well-water. Squibbing is the key. Every team in the NFL should do it...at least the ones with good defenses. There is no downside to squibbing, and a good kicker could practice this into an "art", like they have with the rugby pooch punt. If you could get that squib bouncing erratically (not difficult with a regulation NFL football), you've opened a whole new part of the ST game. Fumbles by “up men” are bound to happen, and even if the opposing team advanced the ball to the 35-yard line, is that really so terrible?? I’d take that over watching another long KO return for six. At this point, Reed should be practicing his squib kicks and should be squibbing it on every KO.

- Farrior once again gets tooled badly on 3d & 5 by a back-up RB running a simple out-pattern. I ask again: Why is Farrior even on the field on 3rd down & obvious passing situations??

- One man who I’d like to see on the KO team -- Ziggy Hood, as a wedge buster. Orpheus Roye did these chores as a young player. Hood could easily do the same. And since Dick is terrified at using this guy on defense, we ought to try to get our money’s worth from the millions we’re paying this guy this season.

- I wrote this after the Cinci loss in Week 3, and I believe it holds even truer today: What really disturbs me beyond the loss itself is the fact they are losing to mediocre teams. Further, you beat divisional rivals like the Browns & Bungals and you send them into a tailspin of second-guessing, finger-pointing, coach-firings and rebuilding. I have a feeling that if the Steelers had beaten Cinci, Lewis would be gone by season's end and the housecleaning would begin, setting them back by another 5 years. The truth is that every team in the league has real talent -- even Detroit! -- but learning to win is difficult and some teams never figure it out. By letting Cinci win the Stillers are letting the Bengals learn how to be men and progress as a team.

- The 2-TE offense -- which is essentially the base offense of Airhead Arians -- is built upon the premise that the 2nd TE will created matchup problems in both the passing and running games. And therein lies the problem. Spaeth is a wretched, horrific, weak-kneed, pile o’ **** blocker at the POA (point of attack). Slow as he is, he has some redeeming value as a pass catcher, but Arians, in a paradox only he could create, rarely ever involves Spaeth in the passing game unless Heath Miller is out due to injury. Big Matthew has 4 grabs in 9 games this season; 17 in 16 games last season; and 5 in 14 games in ’07. In essence, then, he’s good for, at most, 1 catch per game. In this latest debacle, he caught 1 ball for 1 yard. So alas, you have a 2nd TE who can’t block and is rarely ever used in the passing game.

- Dick’s vaunted defense once again failed to produce a turnover. In all three losses, the defense has failed to produce a single turnover. Sure, Pola was out. I just checked….there are 10 other starters, plus NFL rules allow us to insert an NFL player when Pola cannot play. It’s no excuse to use Troy as a crutch. Defensive coordinators around the league would literally amputate an arm to have the other 10 starters, plus the depth, from our defense. It’s high time Dick show some urgency; turn up the volume; and start emphasizing gang-tackling and reckless abandon.

- If Troy Brown was able to play both ways as a WR/DB, then yes, Hines, James Harrison, Keisel, and others can play on the KO coverage team. With Arians’ feeble-**** offense, it’s not like we have a lot of kickoffs to cover down on…

- Any truth to the rumor that Hooker Reed’s agent -- after watching Reed do another “olay” on a kickoff returner -- is reaching out to Colbert, begging him to re-extend the contract offer that Reed’s camp summarily rejected just before the season began….?

- Any word on if Colbert has offered Farrior yet another contract extension??

--- Added 11/18/2009 at 07:24 AM ---

What does everyone here think of Spaeth and his role on this team? He is obviously not being used other than one TD pass this year. His blocking is bad, especially considering his size. Why are we keeping this guy on the team year in and year out?

Also, I was really pissed off at Harrison for that penalty. Anyone remembers when he was literally punching the guy on the ground but never got called for? That could have cost us a ring. Tomlin needs to show the authority and address this to him. And then Harrison's reply to that just pisses me off. He is the beast on the field, no question our best defensive player along with Troy but his attitude SUCKS.

LatrobePA
11-18-2009, 08:41 AM
Shouldn't of lost either game but we did, water under the bridge! Fix our ST woes and offense rebound and we'll be fine....

75Steeler
11-18-2009, 10:43 AM
Shouldn't of lost either game but we did, water under the bridge! Fix our ST woes and offense rebound and we'll be fine....

I totally agree! Let Tomlin do his job and correct the issues! :plus1:

igor0190
11-18-2009, 11:25 AM
Considering the Bengals’ D-line strategy diagrammed above, I found the Stillers’ play calling pretty puzzling. Where were the screens, the waggles, the boots, the roll-outs? You know, plays designed to give the QB some space to roam and buy some time – and break the Bengals contain box.

The one screen the Stillers ran, a blooper to Moore, went for a nice gain. Instead of sticking with it and forcing an adjustment from the Bengals, the team went back to the same mid- and deep-range passes that left Ben standing there like a tree stump.

Forget complaining about Ben holding the ball too long, by the way; this is just how he rolls. It’s up to the play caller to deal with this. And sometimes the way to deal with it is to take the ball out of the QB’s hands – where was the commitment to the run against the Bengals, a team Stiller RBs have made careers out of facing? 13 carries by Mendenhall in a drag-out like this doesn’t cut it. Worse, the Stillers only went to him 6 times in the first half. If ever there was a day for jumbo TE sets, this was it.



BRUCE ARIANS called a horrendous game