View Full Version : Steelers defense going out on their own terms

01-06-2012, 07:57 AM
The Post Gazette (http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/12006/1201672-66-0.stm#ixzz1igKTCPh7) wrote an article today talking about the Steelers defense, and going out on their own terms. It talks mainly about how the Steelers defense has overcome so much this year with losing so many players for multiple games during the stretch of 2011.

However, this could also very well be the last stretch of games where we see guys like James Farrior put on a Steeler uniform. The last time we see Aaron Smith being a part of the team. If it is, win or lose, enjoy every chance you get to see these guys. They've been with the team for so long you just expect them to be there year in and year out.

The season barely had opened when the Steelers experienced their nadir for 2011. It does not get lower than losing the opener, 35-7, in Baltimore, trampled by their archrivals.

If the Steelers did not implode from that debacle, they had nowhere to go but up, especially on defense, where they were ridiculed nationally for being old, slow and done. That day looked like the end for a proud, veteran defense that perhaps allowed a few too many of those veterans to hang around too long.

"We didn't panic like all you guys in the world panicked, even our fans," linebacker Larry Foote said. "We knew what happened; they hit us in the mouth. We knew we had to respond, and that's what we did. We didn't like it, some of the stuff we were hearing form the outside, it ticked us off. We were going to respond with it or without it, that's just the makeup of this locker room."

The Steelers responded by again playing dominant defense, so dominant that they finished No. 1 in the NFL in fewest yards allowed and points allowed. It was the fifth time in the past 11 years they have finished No. 1 on defense and eighth time since the NFL merger in 1970.

That is an incredible run, especially this season because of all their injuries.
They lost 30 starts by their regulars, some of their best players and all former Pro Bowlers -- Aaron Smith (12), LaMarr Woodley (6), James Harrison (5), Casey Hampton (3), Brett Keisel (2) and James Farrior (2).

In addition, longtime backup nose tackle Chris Hoke lost 10 games and No. 3 outside linebacker Jason Worilds four. They will take more body blows this week against the Denver Broncos when they sit safety Ryan Clark for health concerns and rookie Cortez Allen, part of their dime defense.

"It's been like that around here for a long time," Farrior said. "We always say the standard is the standard, the next guy up is somebody to come in and do the same job. Nobody can replace Aaron Smith, nobody can replace James Harrison or LaMarr Woodley, but we had guys come in there and do their part. I think we play good, sound, fundamental defense. That's what it's all about."

Coordinator Dick LeBeau, long one of the league's great assistant coaches, credited linebacker Lawrence Timmons for helping the defense maintain its level of play through injuries, especially the ones to Harrison and Woodley. Timmons started four games for Harrison on the outside and never leaves the field, playing in their nickel defenses in the middle and in their dime as a rush end when subbing for Harrison.

"He played about four different positions for us this year, and that's hard to do," LeBeau said. "Sometimes two or three of them in the same game, and that's really hard to do. He's kind of been the guy we wheeled around as we lost some of our players.
"I think the other factor is, they've all been in the same system and they play it well. Each new guy as he came in, I'm very proud of them."

There has been a culture of great defense for the Steelers over the past 40 years, and with an injured quarterback and an offense not performing at high levels lately, the defense may have to carry them if they want to reach their ninth Super Bowl.
"I'm very confident in our defense," Keisel said. "We need to get more turnovers, we need to make those big splash plays, but that's what the playoffs are for. The playoffs make a great defense. We'll be tested; that question will be answered this week and going on in the playoffs."

01-06-2012, 08:51 AM
The next couple years will be interesting... Are the young guys ready to start taking over?

01-06-2012, 10:12 AM
Guys like Potsie & Casey Hampton will be amped up for this game. They know their time is limited and there may not be another chance at a super bowl run so now that you have it you better seize it.

01-06-2012, 09:45 PM
This post season for the Steelers has got me on edge more than others from the past. I wish them the best and hope to see them continue to play their hearts and guts out. This has been a special group and it could very well be coming to an end in defeat or in sweet victory in February. Good luck and God bless boys.

01-06-2012, 09:51 PM
This might be the last 3 games for a couple of players. Sure would be cool to see them win out, set a record for playoff turnovers and shut the mouthes of the early season critics.