was sitting in traffic for two hours following the Steelers loss trying to figure out what went wrong; this is what I came up with: The Steelers coaching failed them. Arians was actually decent; I didn’t have many complaints about the offensive play selection. Dick LeBeau failed miserably; 12 yard cushions on that field was a disgrace. Hey Dick you think the Jags may run a 3rd down draw against that retarded “ranger package”? The Steelers won the toss, they should have kicked the ball…You always let your defense set the tone in bad weather games. The Steelers receivers dropped balls, the offensive line missed blocks, the defensive front seven was owned, the Steelers could not have played much worse…They were in the game until the final minute.
Rams with the Ball
The St Louis Rams offense scares the **** out of me; Mark Bugler hasn’t played a quality game this season, Steven Jackson looked like John Riggins last week against the Packers, The Rams have a great trio of wide receivers…The Rams Achilles heel is the offensive line. I have a scary feeling Brian Leonard and Randy McMichael could make some plays this week against the Steelers linebackers and undersized safeties (height).
Alex Barron and Brett Kiesel in the run game…Barron is an athletic offensive tackle who looks to wall defensive players away from the ball carrier…I believe Kiesel’s length and explosiveness should give Barron fits. Kiesel’s problem this season is simple...At times he gets too far up field and running backs cut back underneath him…The Jets and Jags really exploited this…Kiesel must control the point and find the ball carrier. This is a must win matchup for the Steelers.
Alex Barron and James Harrison in pass pro…The Rams will help Barron with a back or a TE on any 5-7 step drop…Harrison is too quick and explosive for Barron to block without help. Harrison needs to add another counter move…His Rip is off the charts…He is quick enough to speed rush and close the deal off the edge...Harrison is a playmaker who is always around the ball…He plays with one speed… non stop…He earned that pro bowl recognition. Barron has played very well this year in pass pro… He has allowed 4 sacks…If the Rams don’t have to help Barron with Harrison…The Steelers could struggle to cover all the talented skill position options for the Rams.
Milford Brown in the run game…Brown is a big boy with limited movement skills. He will win most matchups in a phone booth…He struggles to block on the move. Brown will struggle this week facing a 34 defense. Brown will double team Casey Hampton on every run play to the left…I doubt the double team moves Casey Hampton. I will be very surprised if Brown makes many blocks against the Steelers inside backers at the second level.
Milford Brown in Pass Pro…The Packers had a field day blitzing linebackers inside against the Rams offense last week. Brett Kiesel must be a force this week…He needs to finish…He needs to cause havoc in the Rams back field. Brown is awful in pass pro…The Steelers must expose the interior of the Rams offensive line.
Brett Romberg and Casey Hampton…Hampton needs to be dominant in this game. McCollum is a fat slow weak midget …Hampton should spend a majority of the game in the Rams backfield. Hampton will force double teams…The players around him must make plays. The Steelers get zero pass rush from Hampton and Hoke…They need to show up rushing the passer...Hoke is a piece of **** who must be replaced…His effort against the Jags was absolutely pathetic.
Todd Steussie in the run game…People have been writing off Steussie for three years…All he does is continue to play and play pretty well…He is not the biggest or strongest guard…He is technically sound and rarely makes mental mistakes…He cheats like an All Pro and manages to get his man blocked. I doubt Steussie will be very effective with down blocks on Hampton.
Steussie in Pass Pro…The Steelers have nothing to offer at this position. Eason will play most run downs…Ryan McBean and Chris Hoke could wave in and rush the passer…Eason can only play 45-50 plays a game tops…The Steelers must force a lot of 3 and outs.
Brandon Gorin and Nick Eason in the run game…Both players stink…Eason is just useless against the run…I hope McBean has developed…This matchup could be key…If Eason gets caved this week…Steven Jackson could light up this defense.
Gorin and Woodley in Pass Pro…Woodley is a great pass rusher…He has a big bag of tricks…He sets up every rush…He explodes off the ball and wins hand position…I expect Haggans to sit this week…I expect Woodley to make at least 2 huge plays in this game.
Skill position battles….The condition of Ike Taylor will be huge this week. If Ike can go and if he can play effectively he can shut down Tory Holt who has lost a step. Deshea Townsend and Isaac Bruce should be a great matchup of savvy vets, Bryant McFadden and Drew Bennett should be another intriguing battle…Bennett wins most matchups with his size and strength…Bennett is taller than McFadden he is nowhere near as strong. At some point the Steelers must decide they have the talent to play the corners up…If they don’t teams will continue to run ball control routes negating the Steelers blitz packages. Larry Foote has improved a great deal in coverage…He needs to learn to form tackle…He continues to miss tackles or backs take him for a ride 6 yards downfield. James Farrior has played like Casper the Ghost the past 4 games…He needs to make plays…He needs to make game changing plays. The Rams will look to exploit the Steelers backers in coverage with Steven Jackson, Brian Leonard and Randy McMichael. The Steelers must rally to the ball…They must punish every Rams ball carrier. Steven Jackson when healthy is a top 3 NFL running back…The Rams running backs struggle with blitz pick up. Troy Polamula was all over the field against the Jags…Troy needs to show he is the best safety in the NFL the rest of the season. I have mixed feelings about Tyrone Carter at Free Safety, Lil Evil is reliable and he will attempt to kill the opposition but his lack of height scares me down the road …Anthony Smith will still see time in the quarter defense…Hopefully the Interception helped his confidence. The Steelers must take their chances if they want to be an attacking defense.
Steelers with the ball
The Steelers offense won’t have the excuse this week of “poor playing conditions”. The offensive line needs to show up…All games are won or lost in the trenches. The Receivers must make plays for Ben…Ben must be willing to check down to secondary receivers if the vertical routes are covered…Parker Davenport Miller and Davis are dangerous after the catch…If the secondary receivers are making plays that forces the defense to adjust and other routes open up. The Steelers offense must avoid turnovers and stupid penalties.
Max Starks and James Hall…Max Starks has played very well this season in limited action at left tackle. James Hall wins most matchups with his strength and relentless pursuit of the ball. I expect Starks to dominate Hall in the run game…Starks is a fantastic run blocker…He lands his punch, buckles the defender and then he finishes. Hall is a nice sized 43 defense end at 280 pounds…Starks is just too big for Hall. Starks has done a nice job of moving his feet and finding the Blitzer in pass pro…Starks has played with a ton of confidence…He must concentrate on not lunging, landing his initial punch and moving his feet in pass pro…When Starks is on his game he has the ability to be a top 10 tackle in this league.
Alan Faneca Kendoll Simmons and Sean Mahan against Adam Carricker and Laroi Glover…I expect the Rams to move Carricker and Glover around a bit. I believe the Rams will look to exploit Simmons and Faneca in pass pro and Mahan in the run game. The Steelers will look to run counters to the weak side of formations against the Rams. The Steelers could go straight power running game and jam the ball down the Rams throats The Rams front 7 is very quick…They’re not very stout… I know Alan Faneca will plant either Carricker or Glover in the run game. If the Steelers get lucky and trick the Rams with formations they will catch the Rams with Carricker cocked to the play side of the formation…Carricker is quick off the ball…He can’t hold the point. Simmons can even block Carricker with an angle. Glover is still a dangerous pass rusher…He never played the run well. My biggest fear is the Steelers interior offensive line play in pass pro…I believe the Steelers will be fine in the run game.
Willie Colon and Trevor Johnson…This is a very favorable matchup for Colon. Colon has improved a great deal in the run game over the past few weeks. Colon should be able to handle anything Johnson brings rushing the passer…Colon needs to dominate this match up in the run game. Colon has the bad habit of stopping his feet…When your feet stop the block stops. If Colon brings his “A” game Willie Parker could rush for 175 yards+.
Skill Position Battles…The Steelers must hold onto the ball and run better routes. The Rams have 3 very talented corners. I believe the Steelers will force the Rams out of Cover 2 and Cover 4 by the start of the second quarter with the run game. I expect Hines Ward to draw Ronald Bartell. Ward should be able to set up Bartell with quality route running…Bartell is a big physical corner…I believe Hines Ward is a little bit too crafty and strong for Bartell to handle on ball control routes. Ward must catch the ball. Fakhir Brown will draw Santonio Holmes…Brown may have the best jam of any corner in the NFL…Holmes must run quality routes, beat the jam and attack the football in the air…The Rams lack speed in the secondary…Holmes must make some plays in the vertical passing game. Both Steelers starting Wr’s must win matchups in the running game. Cedric Wilson will be the 3rd Wr this week…Jonathan Wade is a decent nickel corner…Wilson needs to continue to make plays…It seems like every time the Steelers ask Wilson to make a play in 07 he does. Heath Miller and Matt Spaeth must dominate the Rams undersized outside linebackers in the run game. Heath Miller should make some plays down the middle of the field against the Rams safeties. Rams Middle linebacker Will Witherspoon struggles to beat blocks…He is a quality player rushing the passer and dropping into coverage…The Steelers must abuse Witherspoon in the running game. The Rams safeties Corey Chavous and Oshi Atogwe are classic cover 2 players…Both can hit…Neither can really run…Atogwe makes a lot of plays off tipped and under thrown balls(7ints on the season). Ben must make his reads…If nothing is there he must hit the check downs…Indoors Ben can get away with his Houdini act…Come playoff time outdoors…He won’t get away with it…The field conditions take away his mobility. Ben needs to protect the ball at all times…He just needs to play his game and relax…When things start going down hill…He wants the big play…He locks onto the big play. Willie Parker needs to attack the hole and protect the ball. I expect a huge game from Willie this week. Davenport is a quality change of pace back…He needs to be involved in the passing game. Willie Reid should be in the lineup this week…The Steelers need some plays from unexpected players…Reid Spaeth Davis.
Special Teams….Both Teams Struggle