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View Full Version : Week 1: Breaking the Box - Key matchups for week 1



Dan*Rooney
09-10-2010, 01:50 PM
The Steelers will likely be 're-committing' to the run in their season opener against the Atlanta Falcons. With featured runningback Rashard Mendenhall coming off a 1,100 yard campaign and an offseason emergence of a pro-bowl caliber center, Maurkice Pouncey, it seems as if the Steelers are moving in the right direction. The problem? With Ben Roethlisberger out due to his 4 game suspension, the Falcons will likely force 3rd year quarterback Dennis Dixon to beat them. Their gameplan will probably be simple: overloading the box and forcing 1-on-1 matchups against our WRs.

It's hard to say whether Dixon is ready to start in the NFL. In his lone start last season, Dixon did a good job of avoiding pressure taking no sacks but had a shabby stat-line at the end of the night; completing only 42 percent of his passes for 145 yards with 1 TD and 1 INT. Regardless of whether or not he was 'handcuffed' by OC Bruce Arians, he will need to perform better in this outing. The good new is Dixon will be facing an Atlanta defense that was rather generous a year ago, surrendering an average of 242.1 passing yards per game (28th overall) and 25 touchdowns through the air.

Key matchups:
WR Mike Wallace vs. CB Dunta Robinson and FS Thomas DeCoud - Mike Wallace will likely have Atlanta's no. 1 cornerback lined up against him in his first game as a starter with free safety Thomas DeCoud providing help over the top. It was obvious that Wallace could beat any no. 3 corner in the league last season. Is he capable of doing this against no. 2's and no. 1's?
WR Roddy White vs. CB Ike Taylor - There's no question that the Steelers secondary was painful to watch last season. Hoping to rebound from a down year, Ike will have his hands full with the former first round pick. In 2009, White was targeted 10 or more times in 11 games.
TE Tony Gonzalez vs. SS Troy Polamalu and ILB Lawrence Timmons - Gonzalez remains the #2 target for Ryan. I expect LeBeau to utilize a combination of Polamalu and Timmons in coverage when Gonzalez is lined up wide.
RB Rashard Mendenhall vs. the Falcon's DL - DT Jonathan Babineaux will miss week 1 for violating the NFL's personal conduct policy. Rookie Corey Peters, a third-round pick out of Kentucky, is expected to fill in. This will likely leave an inside gap in Falcons run support. Look for Kemoeatu to pull and for Rashard to attack towards the right side. This should be a favorable matchup against the run with Flozell anchored at RT.
QB Matt Ryan vs. DC Dick LeBeau - Hard match for any quarterback, eh? Imagine if you've never faced the mastermind before; let alone any defense from the AFC North. The Falcons have struggled against 3-4 teams in the past and they're about the face arguably the best one. If Harrison, Woodley, Timmons, and Ziggy are able to get consistent pressure, I believe Ryan is in for a long night.

LatrobePA
09-10-2010, 01:57 PM
Dude, your avatar is killing me!

Steel Trap86
09-10-2010, 02:01 PM
forgot gonzalez was a falcon

LatrobePA
09-10-2010, 02:12 PM
This is KEY!

QB Matt Ryan vs. DC Dick LeBeau - Hard match for any quarterback, eh? Imagine if you've never faced the mastermind before; let alone any defense from the AFC North. The Falcons have struggled against 3-4 teams in the past and they're about the face arguably the best one. If Harrison, Woodley, Timmons, and Ziggy are able to get consistent pressure, I believe Ryan is in for a long night.

BlitzburghRockCity
09-10-2010, 02:12 PM
Im anxious to see how Wallace will do against the starting DB's in this league. He will be an absolute key to our offense. Hines will still take some of the double coverage but Mike will have to be on his game with crisp routes and sure hands to break away from press coverage.

LatrobePA
09-10-2010, 02:23 PM
I have a feeling we're going to come out throwing...Makes sense for BA, they're expecting run, lets throw....I agree MW is a key to that success!

SnakeEyes43
09-10-2010, 03:17 PM
forgot gonzalez was a falcon

In my mind, stopping Gonzalez and the run are key to winning this game. In the redzone and 3rd and short, Gonzalez is one of Ryan's favorite targets. Shutting Gonzalez down, limits Ryan substantially. Plus I believe their #2 WR is out. The D should be fine for this game. If Dixon avoids turnovers, and we establish the run, game over sucka.

DanRooney
09-10-2010, 03:23 PM
In my mind, stopping Gonzalez and the run are key to winning this game. In the redzone and 3rd and short, Gonzalez is one of Ryan's favorite targets. Shutting Gonzalez down, limits Ryan substantially. Plus I believe their #2 WR is out. The D should be fine for this game. If Dixon avoids turnovers, and we establish the run, game over sucka.

I wouldn't say game over. I'm still wondering if our offense is able to score any points. To win this game, our D is going to have to force turnovers and we're going to have to play very stout on special teams coverage. Oh and Brown/Sanders returning one to the house would be nice :grin1:

Big T
09-10-2010, 03:47 PM
first play should be heavy set with 1 WR (Mike Wallace), play-action, throw deep. they wouldn't be expecting that ****...

steelcitysfinestXL
09-10-2010, 03:55 PM
first play should be heavy set with 1 WR (Mike Wallace), play-action, throw deep. they wouldn't be expecting that ****...

I agree: run formation sell the run to the right, naked boot leg with a 2-route run pass option. Send Mike and give DD a TE dragging short as a safety valve. If you throw it deep put it out of reach for anybody but Wallace!

LarryNJ
09-10-2010, 04:01 PM
forgot gonzalez was a falcon

Yes and I think they said he will get his 100th catch in the game so he must be a catch or 2 away. I see him making his 1000th catch Clark blasting him causing a fumble, Worilds recovers runs it in for a TD and keeps the ball. Than he'll have his 1st TD ball and Tony's 1000th catch ball!

steelcitysfinestXL
09-10-2010, 04:27 PM
Falcon Defense: I honestly think we can have our way with this defense if we dont make mistakes early and we're patient. The front four they will start on sunday combined for less sacks than Harrison last season. They arent the Eagles or even Titans front four. This team was 27th in the league in sacks last year! Combine that with DD's mobilty and i think he should stay relatively clean this week. One key to success will be to consistantly block the 4 man rush. Force them to use LB's like Spoon and Peterson to get pressure.

Beirmann is one of their best DL IMO. ATL fans say he isnt a speed rusher but dude has a motor and is all out every snap. At 260 lbs he gives up about 100 lbs to FLO. I see FLO burrying him a few times if he gets two hands on him. Starks against Abraham is the match-up to watch there. Abraham was a shell of his former self last season. He is a 15 sack/year capable DE with speed. Max is gonna have his hands full regardless. Their interior line minus Babineaux is very mediocre if you ask me. I can see Pouncey opening some big wholes and getting to the second level blocks easily.

The secondary is hoping the addition of Duanta Robinson will add to what was a suspect secondary last season. (yes steelers fans, even worse than ours) I dont see how this team can cover our receiving corps. Dixon should have time and pretty good targets to throw to. Robinson has been pretty avg to say the least for the past few seasons in HOU. He hasnt played a snap in the preseason due to a bad hammy and he expects to step on the field Sunday and fit right in. I'll be interested to see how that pans out. Ben Grimes is at the other corner and plays well challenging for the ball in the air. He led the team with 6 int's last season. I really think their safties (McCoud/Coleman) are depending on Robinson to sure up their pass defense. Neither of these guys are the "ball hawking" types.

The strength of this defense is at the LB position. Everyone on this site should know Mike Peterson well with his past as a Jaguar. He is a player, a big hitting run stopper who makes plays all game against the run. Sean Weatherspoon is a guy alot of us were high on early in the draft. He asserted him self early on this team and so far has been worthy or his first round status. Lofton is a run stopping machine in the middle. He has been a hell of a LB since he came to the league. If we expect to run on this team we are gonna have to get good blocks on the second level cause all of these backers plus Biermann can stuff the run WELL!

I think overall we are going to have to test this team running the ball and find some space doing it. IF that can happen this secodary can be taken advantage of. The Falcons are going to try to be stout up front and force DD to beat them with his arm. If we can run and force them to bring there safties closer to support the run this secondary will yeild big plays! I like this match-up, if mistakes are limited and drives can be sustained, i think its a matter of time before even Dixon starts puttng up points!

LatrobePA
09-10-2010, 04:30 PM
first play should be heavy set with 1 WR (Mike Wallace), play-action, throw deep. they wouldn't be expecting that ****...

Now they will, come on man! ****! lol

Big T
09-10-2010, 08:00 PM
Now they will, come on man! ****! lol

:duh: