Steelers D... stupid?
Blueprint To Beat LeBeau Written In 2002
By Dagger, on December 11th, 2007
Brett Keisel was quoted after the Steeler game saying that the defense was “surprised that the Patriots threw the ball as much as they did” and that they expected them to mix run and pass. Huh??? Are you kidding me? Keisel also went on to say that “the gameplan we had coming into the game needs to be thrown into the trash” and that the Steelers weren’t prepared for what the Pats did on offense. uuuummm yeah. Understatement of the year. But how can this be? Those who forget history are doomed to repeat it. Your good buddy, Dagger is here to take you back in time with a quick history lesson. Let’s hope this look into the past doesn’t dig up any old ghosts or fall into the hands of any more Offensive Coordinators.
Alrighty….let’s start off with the basics. The Steelers have lost 6 of the last 7 to New England. Wondering why? Well, the Patriots do what many teams in the NFL are unwilling to do….when they face the Steelers they toss aside conventional wisdom, they often abandon the run, and the attack the Steelers greatest weakness (their pass D). Sure our DLs and LBs are fantastic in the run game. Yes our LBs can blitz and pressure the QB in this complicated defensive scheme, but NO….this defense was not built to stop the spread offense. The spread offense is the Dick LeBeau 3-4 defense’s Kryptonite.
When the Patriots come out in a 5WR formation at their own one yard line, I think that tells you that they have spotted a weakness in the Steelers defense and they’re hell bent on exploiting it. Screw the running game. Who cares how many times you run the ball? Who says you have to be balanced on offense? If your strength just so happens to be your opponent’s weakness, then you’d be silly not to attack it.
I hate the Patriots but I LOVE the way they spit in the face of the old-timer “run-run-pass” offensive logic. One week their opponents dictate that they must rely on a passing attack, the next week they give the ball to Maroney all game, the next week Maroney gets 2 carries, etc….I just admire their aggressive nature. (But I hate them) I hope you understand. I guess I respect the fact that they PLAY TO WIN THE GAME by any and all means necessary. There are so many coaches and teams in the NFL that are so ultra-conservative that they almost handicap their own offense. The Steelers sit nearly $10 Million dollars below the NFL salary cap. This past offseason, the Patriots acquired Moss, Welker, Gaffney, Adalius Thomas, Stallworth, and others. Again, being aggressive and “going for it.” You have to respect that. They build from within just like us, they draft well and all that good stuff, but they compliment their homegrown talent with good acquisitions. While the Pats are out acquiring Pro Bowl talent, the Steelers are playing it nice and conservative….picking up Sean Mahan and Cedric Wilson.
To quote myself and a widely-used NHL saying “Safe Is Death” and the Patriots never, ever, ever play safe.
The Patriots invented the offensive blueprint to beat the Steelers way back in week 1 of the 2002 season. Before we get into specifics, let me describe a defense and you tell me how you think you should/could attack it.
This defense is best known as a run-stuffing defense that plays with 4 LBs, gets 0 pressure from the DL. This team has had below average CBs for an entire decade, has “run stopping safeties…not coverage or speedy safeties” and loves to blitz.
OK….so you tell me. How do you attack this defense? Run, Run, Pass? A balanced offense? Play-action? Smashmouth? No. You spread them out and attack in the air.
Week 1 2002— New England opens up the season vs Pittsburgh and Brady goes 29/43 for 294 yards and 3 TDs. Steelers lose.
*very important note here is that in Week 2 of the 2002 season, the Oakland Raiders and Rich Gannon COPY the Patriots gameplan and come out throwing. Gannon goes 43/64 for 403 yards and 1 TD. Wow. Steelers lose.
2001: Brady/Bledsoe go 22/39 for 217 yards and 1TD. Steelers lose AFC Championship game.
2002: Brady goes 29/43 for 294 yards and 3TDs. Steelers lose.
2004: Brady goes 25/43 for 271 yards and 2TD. Steelers Win.
2004: Brady goes 14/21 for 207 yards and 2TD. Steelers lose AFC Championship game.
2005: Brady goes 31/41 for 372 yards 0TD. Steelers lose.
2007: Brady goes 32/46 for 399 yards and 4TD. Steelers lose.
The Patriots have completed 66% of their passes against the Steelers since 2001. The Pats have only had a “ton” of offensive weapons at WR for one of those games. It’s not the personnel, it’s the scheme and gameplan that kills the Steelers. This 3-4 scheme CANNOT and WILL NOT beat the Patriots as currently constructed. The Arizona Cardinals beat the Steelers this year using 4WR and 5WR sets. The Raiders used the blueprint in 2002 and attempted 64 passes in one game against our D! Let’s thank the football gods that so many teams “play not to lose” and play so tight offensively. Let’s also be thankful that some teams can’t find 5 bodies skilled enough to split all of them out wide and use these formations against us.
The Steelers have had 6 or 7 years to come up with a gameplan to beat the Patriots and their 5WR spread offense and they simply can’t do it. If we see this team again (this year, next year, the year after), then we must come up with a completely different scheme. I don’t care if you drop 10 guys into coverage. I don’t care if you only have one DL on the field, I don’t care if you have 1 LB on the field. Make the Patriots run the ball. They WANT to pass on you, take away the thing they want to do and make them play to your strength. We’d have a better chance stopping their offense if you put the ball in Maroney’s hands and take it away from Brady.
Sound familiar? It still bothers me 3 days after the game that Lebeau won’t change his defense for this one opponent. If the Pats and Steelers meet in the postseason, and Lebeau has the team play a 3-4, the Steelers will lose. Guaranteed. I don’t understand why for this ONE GAME ONLY…for this ONE OPPONENT ONLY Lebeau can’t think outside the box and run a 1-5-5 or a 4-3 (with LBs as DL) or a 3-3-5. Something, anything other than sitting there and looking helpless and confused. The 3-4 defense is such a bad matchup for a quick passing spread offense that no amount of preparation, gameplanning, or personnel adjustments would help a bit. It requires a complete and total overhaul of the Steelers traditional defensive scheme. Is it drastic? Sure, but desperate times call for desperate measures. If the Pats are capable of changing their whole gameplan when they play us by going all-pass all the time, then why can’t we do the same with our gameplan?
If that's true, then it's a very poor job by the Steeler coaching staff. Even the announcers on TV for the game said that while the Pats are usually a 45/55 run/pass split, when they play the Steelers, they are 75/25.
The Steelers have no excuses to make for themselves. They should have remembered how the Patriots played them back in 07. They came in to Pittsburgh and did the same damn thing. What can they really say?
The problem isnt in the scheme, our ILB's should be able to cover any TE in the league. Timmons is great in coverage. Our nickel package is a 2-4-5, which we were in a lot. The problem is that our corners cannot cover for long periods of time (see McFadden in Arizona), so we have to get pressure. Three things hindered that, no Smith, no Keisel and Harrison doesnt blitz nearly as much after his fines. Even if you have six of our DB's, they are going to get beat by Brady because he is too good and our DB's cannot cover forever.
The problem I think is that we do go into nickel and dime Defenses against them. Look what everyone does to us when Ben goes into 5 WR's. They blitz. I think we put too many men back in coverage and allow Brady the time to beat us. Lets blitz him from 4 WR sets and give him no time to throw.
The scheme was not the main problem here. If you watched the game, you would see that both Harrison and Wood were dropping into coverage a lot more than usual. That coupled with no Keisel or Smith on the DL was the main reason we had no pass rush on Brady. You would also see that Timmons was back there a lot. They were doing their best to crowd the short passing game that the Patriots do. They were just weren't successful at it. Dick Lebeau's defense is not the issue here, do you really think he's that dumb to say "well hey, lets just play a base defense and let Brady shred us all day"! Of course not, give the man some credit. The issue was, our guys were not just up to the challenge. The Pats have our number for some reason; every team has that achillees heel in the league and the Pats are ours.
Perhaps we should just give Brady some credit too, I mean the dude is a 3 time SB champion and he's not one of the best in the business for nothing. We took one on the chin, it's time to move on and learn from it. Maybe we will see them again, maybe not. You can bet though the players don't like getting smoked in their own stadium so they will remember it. You can't win them all every year, and getting beat by the Pats is just one of those things that sucks, but it happens, and u move on.
Originally Posted by cmerrifield
No pressure on the QB.
5 O Lineman can block 3-4 Rushers any day (except our OL).
It dont matter how many guys in coverage, WRs can still get open after 5-6 seconds.
Excellent breakdown by DanRooney.:clap:
Let's look at what HAS been successful (or somewhat succesful anyway) against the Pats' offense.
Giants in SB XLII
Ravens in '09 Playoffs
Jets under R. Ryan
Browns 2 weeks ago under B. Ryan
Colts last season (gave up a lot of points though) and a couple of other times in recent history.
Common denominator is pressure. The pressure was either coming from the interior-linemen in the middle or off the edges with DE's. In the cases of the Browns and Jets, it was also very undetecable pressure meaning their schemes were not nearly as easy to read as ours and make no mistake guys our defense is not difficult to read. Lastly, those teams also have guys on the corners that do not give 10-12 yard cushions ALL THE TIME!
The injuries to Keisel and smith were one of the biggest problems. You can't get pressure in a 3-4 when your scrub ends can't do their job. 3-4 depends in them and hood and Eason are just aweful...
Blueprint To Beat LeBeau Written In 2002
By Dagger, on December 11th, 2007 This was the key...
Common denominator is pressure. The pressure was either coming from the interior-linemen in the middle or off the edges with DE's. In the cases of the Browns and Jets, it was also very undetecable pressure meaning their schemes were not nearly as easy to read as ours and make no mistake guys our defense is not difficult to read. Lastly, those teams also have guys on the corners that do not give 10-12 yard cushions ALL THE TIME! :clap::clap::clap: well said...
We might not wanna hear this but the truth is... that it is the SCHEMES!! on Offense and Defense If the Cheaters are using Film errrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr the Schemes from 2002 and Greg Williams Blitz us the same way he did 5 years ago with a different team and had the same success it is the SCHEMES fellas, I bet u if u put Rob Ryan as our D-coordinator even with all the injuries we have i bet u we would dominate because his schemes are different and simple meaning young talented guys can make contributions earlier and they change constantly, hell it took Ben a minute to figure it out when he came back against the Clowns week 6, How can u give Brady credit when the Clowns and Rats CONFUSED HIM? and we are a better Defense then both of them? The thing is untill we change our outdated schemes we are gonna continue to lose to teams that understand the Schemes are the same that we use, i would not be surprise if the Raiders came in and spread us out also, u don't need a Brees and that girl named Brady when a team runs the same schemes since the 90's SMDH...:cursin:
As I have said before, as long as the Steelers are willing to give up the 4-6 yard pass, teams will not run on them. Also, by going 4 wide, etc. it puts harrison and Woody in coverage, which means your QB will likely remain upright.
Funny, vs Cincy, they played mopre press coverage against Ocho and TO and I thought the secondary handled them no problem. Take away the 4-6 yard pass, force the QB to hold onto the ball for a second longer and there will be more forced passes and more sacks.
As long as McFadden continues playing 10 yards off the WR, the WR will continue running 8 yard curl, stop, and out routes against him and convert most of them. Ike got burnt once vs the pats (thanks Troy), otherwise he was shutdown. IMo, the safeties are too deep and it creates a soft spot in the sceondary just behind the LB's and in front of the safeties. Middle of the field is wide open about 12 yards off the LOS. I don't get it.