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  1. #1
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    Post Give the Steelers their due: Adam Schein

    Give the Steelers their due

    Adam Schein / Special to FOXSports.com

    I know when you pen a "grades" column, you brace yourself for fascinating reader reaction. What I received from the Steelers fans, and non-Steeler faithful, I never saw coming.

    Mike Tomlin's outfit is 8-3, good enough for first place in the AFC North. They are currently the No. 3 seed in the AFC. I saw fit to give Pittsburgh an A-minus grade for the first half of the campaign. Frankly, it was one of my easier choices because 8-3 speaks for itself and I had thought Pittsburgh would win nine or 10 games this year.

    The consensus from Steeler Nation? It was way too high of a mark.

    Now, this is the same fan base that ripped me for being anti-Steeler when I boldly predicted in 2005 the Steelers wouldn't make the playoffs. They won the Super Bowl. This is same fan base that called me clueless when I said the Steelers wouldn't make the playoffs in 2006. I then became a genius.

    Now I am "soft" and a "homer" (really, one guy e-mailed me that — I don't even know what that means) for giving the Steelers an A-minus?

    The way the Steelers are built, they will absolutely hold off Cleveland for the division title. Remember that the Steelers, after beating the Browns twice this regular season, own the tie-breaker. Pittsburgh is still squarely in the hunt for the No. 2 seed and a coveted bye. And yes, the Steelers can absolutely challenge the big, bad Patriots when they play in two weeks.

    Let's examine:

    I know the last two games were eye sores. The Jets' loss was atrocious. The pass protection resembled a turnstile at a New York City subway station, allowing the defensively challenged Jets to sack Ben Roethlisberger seven times. The anemic Jets pass rush had nine sacks all year before the game. Willie Parker had one of his worst games of a great season against a porous run defense. You never run against the Steelers' vaunted defense. Thomas Jones carved them up, becoming the first back to register a 100-yard rushing game in over two years. Kellen Clemens looked like a cross between Steve Young and Randall Cunningham making plays with his arm, legs and brain in crunch time. The Jets won in overtime. It was inexplicable and awful.

    And you figured Pittsburgh, looking to take out its frustration, would pound poor John Beck and the winless Dolphins into the ground.

    Little did the Steelers know they had to beat Beck, the Dolphins, Mother Nature and the embarrassment that was Heinz Field.

    Rain fell. Mud was everywhere. The field was such a disaster you couldn't see the yard markers. The conditions weren't fit for your reunion game at the local school yard Thanksgiving weekend, let alone Monday Night Football. You couldn't plant. You couldn't run. You could barely play. The game was a total slopfest, offense was at a minimum and the Steelers survived the elements and the desperate Dolphins in the ugliest game of the year.

    It's simply paralysis by analysis if you take anything from that game other than the final score. You can't rip Pittsburgh for only scoring three points in the quagmire. That would be illogical.

    In his postgame comments, Roethlisberger seemed giddy to win, thankful the Steelers didn't fumble.

    Tyronne Carter led the Steelers in tackles during the game. In talking to the safety the day after the game, Carter was just thankful to be healthy.

    "I've never played in a situation like that before," Carter said. "The footing was bad already at our stadium but the rain made it worse. The field was thick with mud and had holes in it where you had to watch every step. When you think of professional ballplayers, you are supposed to not worry about field conditions. We are lucky there was no major injury. We can't see the holes in the ground, but you are sinking."

    I acknowledge the Steelers don't possess the same offensive line they had in years past. In the three losses, the Jets, Broncos and Cardinals all got highly aggressive in their defensive play calls. And there is a bit of a book on how to beat Pittsburgh. But all three of the losses were on the road. The Jets were coming off of their bye week. Denver is well-coached and a pretty solid squad despite the 5-6 record. Adrian Wilson told me after the win that the Cardinals, a very talented team, treated that game as a Super Bowl. And obviously the Arizona staff is very familiar with the Steelers' talent and ways.

    That adds up to one, just one, really bad game and one bad loss.

    The Eagles hung with the Patriots. Mike Tomlin's team should be able to do the same in two weeks.

    Dick LeBeau's defense remains a physical, feared difference-making unit. It's as good as or better than any defense in the NFL. You could easily make a case it's the most complete defense in the NFL. Roethlisberger is enjoying his most dominant year as a pro ball player, winning games (like Cleveland) by carrying the Steelers on his back. Until the Jets game, he was squarely in the top five for league MVP. Hines Ward epitomizes the Steelers way with his clutch, physical brand of ball on offense. Heath Miller and Santonio Holmes are clutch and have lived up to their draft status. Willie Parker is playing like a top five back.

    Great defense? Clutch, battle-tested offensive players? A strong coaching staff? That sounds like a recipe for success down the stretch of the season and in the tournament.

    The rest of the schedule isn't easy, including a visit from the hated Bengals and Carson Palmer this Sunday night. Cincy finally put it together last weekend. After the game against the Patriots, Pittsburgh welcomes the tough-minded Jags. It eases when the Steelers visit St. Louis and Baltimore to close the regular season.

    Pittsburgh will go 4-1 or 3-2 down the stretch. It could be good enough for the No. 2 seed -- 11 or 12 wins is nothing short of a stunning debut for rookie head coach Mike Tomlin, who has impressed with his intensity, preparation, flexibility and management.

    But the Steelers will be a difficult out come January. And with the right off-season moves (like paying Alan Faneca) you will be able to build off of Tomlin's highly successful debut.

    http://msn.foxsports.com/nfl/story/7502272?print=true



    Pretty good read.

    I'm A "Champion"

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    The one thing we need to start doing is showing up at gametime and playing 60 minutes of Steelers football. The OL needs to play above their heads from here on out, especially against NE, if we have any chance of beating them. Philly's OL did just that and held the Pats D to 2 sacks of Feely. From here on out, its time to make a statement, each and every game.


    If you don’t stand behind our troops.....Please feel free to stand in front of them!!!


    "Give me a 6 pack, half hour of rest and lets go play them again....We can beat them."
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    "They say that when you're the champs, everybody will try to beat you. Well, I'm glad we're the champs, so bring 'em on, bring 'em all on. If we die, we ain't gonna die running. It's gonna be a fight."
    --Joe Greene

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    BlitzburghRockCity's Avatar
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    I do think we need to reincarnate the 60 minute men theme that Ray Seals had for us all those years ago because this team needs to be physical and tough for 60 minutes like they were in the first 3 games of the season because the competition is getting tougher and the stakes are higher now.

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    We Steeler fans are tough on our guys because we KNOW what they are CAPable of, and they haven't been delivering up to that capability. So anything short of their absolute best, we're gonna be ticked. Not winning a game that was THEIRS to win or lose, and they lose it? We're gonna be ticked.

    Besides--when it appears that half the team's mailing it in, or on the wrong page, it's scary, because we KNOW that it takes an all out effort--an EVERY MAN effort to win the big ones or big ONE. And you see teams like that Pats and 'Boys giving it everything they got...I could go on, but you get my drift lol

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    Steelers 'D' provides a lesson in violence

    http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pitt.../s_540401.html

    By John Harris
    TRIBUNE-REVIEW
    Friday, November 30, 2007


    This is all Mike Tomlin's doing.
    Tomlin has put a new face on the Steelers' top-rated defense. By going out of his way on several occasions to describe his defense as "violent,'' Tomlin is sending a clear message to his players, not to mention the entire NFL.
    "The most violent and most physical teams usually win football games,'' Tomlin said. "Violent'' isn't a word that the media or football fans embrace easily

    In fact, not all of Tomlin's peers are comfortable with his use of that particular word.

    "I think most coaches in the league talk to their guys about being physical,'' Cleveland Browns coach Romeo Crennel said. "If violent and physical are the same thing, then Mike falls right in line with everybody else.''

    Yet, Tomlin is perfectly comfortable using the word that football coaches normally avoid when describing how they want their teams to play.
    And Tomlin's players are totally at ease following his lead.

    "That's part of our motto,'' free safety Anthony Smith said. "We go out there and hit hard and try to make the other team quit.''
    "As a secondary, you try to intimidate the receiver, look for the big hit,'' strong safety Tyrone Carter said. "Try to take a cat's head off.''
    Carter was asked to repeat what he said.
    "Take ... his ... head ... off,'' said a half-joking, half-serious Carter, who raised his voice and spoke slowly for emphasis.
    The Steelers were at their intimidating, violent best during Monday night's 3-0 win over Miami at Heinz Field.

    To wit:

    • Outside linebacker James Harrison crushed quarterback John Beck on a sack that resulted in Beck shaking his hand in discomfort following the play.

    • Rookie linebacker Lawrence Timmons accidentally (on purpose?) stepped on running back Ricky Williams while recovering Williams' fumble. Williams is out for the season after having surgery to repair a torn right pectoral muscle.

    • Smith KO'd running back Jesse Chatman with a brutal tackle that knocked Chatman to his knees and forced him from the game with a neck injury.
    "Sent him to the sideline. That's violent, man,'' said Carter, who replaced injured starter Troy Polamalu and recorded a career-high 12 tackles. "Not saying it was illegal. It was a legal hit. As long as you stay within the rules.''

    The Steelers held Miami to 159 total yards in recording their second shutout of the season. The last time the Steelers recorded two shutouts in a season was 2000.

    Fundamentally as well as physically, the Steelers have the best defense in the NFL.
    "We're hitting on all cylinders right now -- defensive line, linebackers and secondary,'' Smith said. "We're just out there hitting people, making our presence felt.'' The Steelers are No. 1 in total defense, No. 1 in scoring defense, No. 1 in passing defense, and No. 2 in run defense. They're playing with a controlled level of violence that Tomlin wouldn't have any other way.


    I was so upset over the whole debacle, that I'd failed to realize we'd recorded another shutout
    Last edited by SteelersWoman; 11-30-2007 at 10:15 AM.

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    There is really nothing wrong with the word violent, it all has to deal with how it's used. They aren't using any weapons, and they definitely aren't killing anyone... so what's wrong with the word violent?


    I'm sure when Tomlin refers to the D being violent he means they use "intense in force" We won't talk about the people that have been "knocked out" by the Steelers D though

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    BlitzburghRockCity's Avatar
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    I love how our defense is called violent and how Tomlin wants us to be the more violent and physical team. When we can play like that we can get into the head of the opposing offense and that's always a positive thing. The more we make them think about what going to happen when they touch the ball,the better.

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