View Full Version : No longer Blitzburgh, but "Zipsburgh" ?

12-01-2011, 08:04 AM
They run the same scheme. They have the same coach. They again rank highly among NFL defenses.

But no one calls them Blitzburgh anymore, not even close. That was a term used to describe the mid-1990s defenses that included an architect named Dick LeBeau, defenses that rang up a team-record 55 sacks in '94 and 51 in '96.
When it comes to sacks, Zipsburgh might be a more appropriate way to describe them this season.

LeBeau's current defense -- ranked No. 2 in the NFL -- has only 24 sacks, just one in the past two games. That puts them on a pace for 35 for the full season, which would be their fewest since they had 35 in 2003, when they had a 6-10 record. They haven't had fewer sacks since 1990, when they managed 34.

Where has the sack gone in the Steelers' repertoire and could that be a reason the defense also has produced such few turnovers?

Help is on the way. Linebacker LaMarr Woodley went through his first full practice Wednesday for the first time since his hamstring was severely injured late in the game Oct. 30 against New England. At the time, he was leading the AFC with nine sacks, on pace to break the team record. He's still tied for second, just 1.5 behind rookie Von Miller of Denver even though he missed the past three games.

"I was out there practicing again today," Woodley said. "I felt pretty good."
His replacement, Jason Worilds, had the team's only sack the past two games but there is little doubt that a healthy Woodley and James Harrison give the Steelers perhaps the best combination of pass-rushers in the league.

They combined for 27.5 sacks in 2008, more than any two players in club history. They combined for 23.5 in '09 and 20.5 last season.

Harrison has five this season to give him 54 for his career, fourth most in franchise history since the sack became an official stat in 1982. He missed four games this season with a broken orbital bone.

"I missed time, Wood missed some time," Harrison noted. "Between the two of us, that's 7, 8 games? That could be part of it too."

Part of the reason the sack totals are so low. There may be other reasons as well. Harrison and safety Ryan Clark say offenses are throwing the ball quicker against the Steelers than they have in the past. And players say they are not blitzing as often. Clark said teams obviously saw how the Saints, Patriots and Packers successfully attacked with quick passes last season and have copied it.

"People are trying to adopt that mode of operation against us -- 'Let's just get it out, hit the quick passes, take what they give us.' When they can't or when they don't, I think we generate good pressure."

Because of the increase in quick pass releases, Harrison said there's not as much need for sending five or more defenders after the quarterback.

"Some of the times we're getting there without sending pressure," Harrison said. "Some of the times they're getting rid of the ball so fast there's no need to send it."
Occasionally, pressuring a quarterback to throw earlier than he planned by bringing the heat can be better than sacking him, such as when it forces an interception as Harrison did against the Chiefs' Tyler Palko.

"The one sack I missed in Kansas City, he ended up throwing a pick. If I get that sack, we don't get the pick. Sometimes it's better to get pressure."

The Steelers did not sack rookie quarterback Andy Dalton Nov. 13 in Cincinnati. That has become more the norm on the road this season, where they have only five sacks in six games.

From the PG (http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/11335/1193737-66-0.stm#ixzz1fHtTGIuk)

12-01-2011, 08:41 AM

Our defense is no longer scary, the current pass rush is lousy! Will Wood be the answer? Or is Dick calling less blitzes?

12-01-2011, 08:59 AM
PART OF THIS is the new grounding rules and more teams are runnnnig a 3-4 so they have a better understanding the o-line can essentially hold now compared to the 90's rules so it's not the personel it's the compition commitee and their paralyze the defense mentality
thinkabout it
1 the "Mel Blount rules"
2 the Hines WARD rule
3 the defenseless reciever aka the ryan clark rule
4 the helmet to leading with the helmet or Steeler rules
anyone see a pattern?

12-01-2011, 09:08 AM
I think this is probably the trend across the league. I don't have the numbers, but I have to believe with the things Connecticut said above that this is the direction. You'll see some individual guys who are racking up numbers, but team totals will be down.

Raleigh Steel
12-01-2011, 10:05 AM
zipsburgh could mean our scoring production in the 4th quarter this season. we've been shut out in the 4th this season 6 times...SIX!!! out of 11? come on. all together we average a little over 4 points in the 4th quarter.

which means we can't close teams out...our defense has to play picture perfect for this team to win. that puts a ton of pressure on them.

if the league is geared towards the offense...if the league is set up for offenses to put up big numbers ON THE SCOREBOARD...why can't this offense, with all of it's weapons, not put up any numbers in the 4th quarter, even against bad teams? don't worry, you don't have to answer that...we know all why...BRUCE F**KING ARIANS!

12-01-2011, 10:07 AM
I think this is probably the trend across the league. I don't have the numbers, but I have to believe with the things Connecticut said above that this is the direction. You'll see some individual guys who are racking up numbers, but team totals will be down.

Harrison has a bad back and is slower this year.... Needs relief with Worilds..

Holding calls are for sure an issue. we 64-68-77 get called on alot, but very few calls are made on OL's playing and holding 92, 93 and 56.

one play.. i think the bengals game.. 93 was held trying to get to the Rb, then was held trying to get back to the same rb as he went by him.. a double hold on 93 with no call.. that was really bad..

goodell wants a passing league.. the mass audience likes that.. they have no idea what the game is really about..

go steelers :cope::cope:

12-01-2011, 10:52 AM
We havent had a whole lot of games where we are at full strength! Woodley and Harrison!

12-01-2011, 02:12 PM
It's a valid point that Harrison makes. Sacks aren't always the most important stat. Getting pressure and causing an errant throw that results in an INT or atleast an incomplete is just as good.

You like to see the pass rush being able to beat the offensive line atleast some of the time and get some sacks but the trend of the NFL is definitely leading away pure pocket passers who hold onto the ball.

The Steelers have been behind the 8 ball since the beginning of the season when they lost to the Ravens and for the next 6 weeks were losing players left and right to injury on the defense. Had this unit been healthy all year logic would tell you they'd have more sacks. Possibly not as many as years past, but still more than they have now.

K Train
12-01-2011, 02:57 PM
sounds like nonsensical horseshit to me

12-01-2011, 07:37 PM
zipsburgh? this aint arkon

12-02-2011, 09:54 AM
It sounds somewhat like an excuse to me. We can't get to the Quarterback so we'll just rationalize it as well at least we can get some pressure?

Pressure is all well and good, and if you can't get to the QB then at least make him hurry his decision. I get that part but still with a pass rush like the Steelers defense uses, you should be able to get there a good percentage of time. Injuries certainly have helped the situation but sooner or later you need to get those highly paid pass rushers to get to the QB more.