Steelers with the Ball
The Steelers offensive linemen can make whatever excuses they want…They’re not winning matchups. The Steelers running game must be a major factor in this game, running the ball is an attitude…The Steelers offensive line must move the Line Of Scrimmage. Willie Parker needs to protect the ball. Parker has lost faith in his offensive line …Parker needs to run behind his eyes…Then he must attack the hole. Santonio Holmes return will be huge. Hines Ward is a stud. Cedrick Wilson continues to make plays. The Steelers Te’s must run block their asses off…They need to win matchups with the Patriots outside linebackers in the run game. I would look to attack the Patriots safeties down the middle of the field with the inside receivers or Te’s. If Willie Parker can run a route this is the week to show it. The Steelers offense must score touchdowns. The Steelers offense must protect the ball.
Matchups (The Pats showed a 43 defense last week…I will break down matchups based on a 34 look and 43 looks)
Marvel Smith in the run game…I am going to assume Marvel Smith is close to 100%. The Seymour Smith matchup should be a war. Smith is a physical left tackle; Seymour is a physical defensive end. Seymour has zero finesse to his game, Seymour wins matchups in the run game with leverage and hand placement…Smith must get off the ball…I expect a ton of stalemates with Seymour…Hopefully Smith can get some movement in the run game and reestablish the line of scrimmage.
Marvel Smith in Pass Pro… Marvel Smith needs to get out of his stance and land his punch…He can not bend at the waist…Jarvis Green is a quality pass rusher…Adalius Thomas can beat a tackle to the edge or rip hard back inside…Smith must keep his balance…Smith must keep his feet moving.
Alan Faneca in the run game…If the Patriots move Seymour inside Faneca must kick his ass…Jason Brown and Jonathan Ogden of the Ravens kicked Seymour’s ass in the run game…Faneca has no excuse. Faneca has his chance to get paid…He must dominate the line of scrimmage and take bodies…His performance so far this year has been disappointing. At the second level Faneca must eliminate Bruschi or Seau. Faneca will have a chance to help his buddy Sean Mahan in the run game…He must down block Vince Wilfok into the left inside linebacker. I believe Faneca has his best game of the year this week against the Patriots.
Alan Faneca in Pass Pro…Same deal as Marvel Smith…Balance is the key…Faneca needs to keep his weight back, move his feet and rely on his natural size and strength. No defensive lineman is running up Faneca’s chest if he is properly positioned. The Patriots can not pressure Ben up in the middle…It just can not happen if the Steelers expect to win this game
Sean Mahan and Wilfok….Vince Wilfok is licking his chops…Mahan needs to be technically perfect to win matchups against Wilfok. Wilfok is a nice combination of size and speed…Wilfok plays mostly 2 Gap…The Pats will slide into some 1 gap fronts allowing Wilfok to penetrate up field. This is a terrible matchup for the Steelers. I expect Mahan to be thoroughly abused.
Kendoll Simmons in the run game…I believe Simmons shows up this week. Simmons play has been awful…I expect an inspired game from Simmons this week in the run game. He will spend most of his day helping Mahan with Wilfok or flowing to the second level to pick off a linebacker…Simmons is a make or break player for the Steelers this week…Simmons must win some matchups this week in the run game. The Pats may trade to slide Wilfok over Simmons…This could play into the Steelers hands…Willie Colon is improving on down blocks.
Simmons in Pass Pro….Simmons is just awful…Simmons needs to get back to the basics. I expect Simmons to hold his own this week…Simmons will be tested… Ty Warren is a quality pass rusher…I believe Simmons accepts the challenge and shuts down Warren or Mike Wright in pass pro.
Willie Colon in the run game…I believe Ty Warren could destroy Willie Colon…It’s also possible Colon could destroy Warren. Warren and Colon are the same size…Colon needs to get off the ball… HE MUST KEEP HIS FEET MOVING…THE BLOCK STOPS WHEN YOUR FEET STOP WILLIE.
Willie Colon in Pass Pro…Mike Vrabel is pure technique and hustle…Colon sees that every week in practice from Clark Haggans…If Colon gets off the ball he should be ok against Vrabel…Ty Warren is a carbon copy of Shawn Ellis from the Jets. Ellis was too strong for Colon…Colon needs to keep his head back and weight balanced…Warren has a variety of rush moves with enough strength and speed to beat Colon to the inside or to the edge.
(For the Steelers to have success running the ball the Right Side of the Offensive Line must play their best game of the year)
Skill Position matchups….The Pats safeties struggle in pass coverage…Both hit like cement trucks in the run game. Bruschi and Seau are ancient…Neither player can run and make plays in zone coverage at this point. The expected return of Santonio Holmes should be huge. If Holmes is healthy Ellis Hobbs can not cover him man to man…The key is the Steelers ability to run the football…If the Steelers have success running the ball, the Patriots can not sit back and play soft zone coverage with the corners. I believe the Steelers will look to take some shots vertically in the passing game early and often. Hines Ward and Asante Samuel should be an interesting matchup…Samuel is fantastic in off man coverage…Samuel can really break on the ball and read routes…Hines Ward runs mostly 12-14 yard ball control routes…Ward must take advantage of his size and physical toughness against Samuel…Ward must come back to and attack the football when its in the air. The Steelers will spread out the Patriots and attempt to run the ball…For this to work Hines Ward Santonio Holmes and Nate Washington must make quality blocks. The Patriots nickel and dime packages are one of two things…Attacking where they bring 7 and challenge the Wrs to get open…Or very passive where they bring 3 and drop 8…Nate Washington and Cedric Wilson will both have favorable matchups…They must make plays for their quarterback. Heath Miller and Matt Spaeth must make quality blocks on the Patriots Outside linebackers…Parker can only get the edge if Miller and Spaeth set it…Thomas and Vrabel are beasts against the run…Both Steelers players have the ability to block either of them. I believe the Steelers will attempt to dictate matchups…I don’t believe the Patriots have a player on their roster who can consistently cover Heath Miller. Willie Parker is due for a huge game…Parker has the ability to turn any run into a touchdown…Parker needs to protect the ball and trust his eyes…After he picks the hole he needs to hit it like a bat out of hell. Carey Davis sucks run blocking…I recently read a comparison to John L Williams…I wish. Hopefully Davis can make a few plays in the passing game. Najeh Davenport needs to really show up big for the Steelers... Davenport could be a huge wildcard for the Steelers this week. Ben you are the messiah…Protect the ball...Play your game…Make your reads….Trust your Oline…Drive a stake through their hearts. If Ben is on and his receivers make plays for him…No defense can stop this passing attack.
Patriots with the ball…The Patriots offensive attack is sick. Tom Brady is the best quarterback in the game. Randy Moss, Wes Welker, and Donte Stallworth can score anytime they touch the ball. Tight end Ben Watson maybe the fastest Tight End in the NFL. Lawrence Maroney is struggling but he has the ability to take over a game. What no one is talking about is the Steelers defense. The Patriots Wide Receivers can really run…They don’t like to get hit…The Steelers defensive backs pride themselves on their ability to knock your ass out…Some defenses have a defensive back or two that can lay the wood…Both Steelers Corners and Safeties can lay the wood…The first 3 defensive backs off the Steelers bench in the nickel and dime looks will try to kill you. The Patriots have faced great defenses…They have not faced a defensive backfield like the Steelers bring to the table…If Brady isn’t perfect you will see a Patriots Wr helped off the field.
The Steelers must stop the Pats running game out of 2 Te’s…Kevin Faulk is a weapon for the Pats in the screen and draw game…Front 7 players must be alert and they must keep there rush lanes.
Matt Light and Brett Kiesel in the run game…Both players are warriors...I don’t believe Matt Light can blow Brett Kiesel off the ball…Kiesel will struggle to beat blocks and make plays in the Patriots backfield against the run…I believe Kiesel and Light will see some time in pass pro…I believe Kiesel could give Light some trouble…Light struggles with length and speed…Kiesel has a lot of length and decent speed for a big man. I will call this matchup a draw...There is a decent chance Brett Kiesel could make some plays.
Matt Light and James Harrison in Pass Pro….This is a very interesting matchup. Harrison is crazy strong with his Rip...Matt Light is above average in pass pro…I have a strong feeling James Harrison becomes a house hold name after this week. I expect a mammoth performance from Harrison. This is a big game…James Harrison seems to be a big game hunter.
Logan Mankins in the run game…Logan Mankins is the best guard in the NFL. He will not move Casey Hampton with down blocks…He could poke him in the eye. Mankins is just a nasty beast with bad intentions in his heart every single play. Mankins is dominant at the second level…Hampton must force the double team every single interior run play.
Logan Mankins in Pass Pro…Zero sacks allowed….Mankins is perfect in pass pro…I see no way Kiesel even sniffs Brady against Mankins…This could be the game Mankins gets lazy or sloppy in his technique….I just don’t see it.
Dan Koppen and Casey Hampton…I don’t know how to explain it…Koppen can handle Hampton pretty well without help…The Steelers have little to no chance of stopping the Patriots offense if Koppen can handle Hampton without help. Casey Hampton has to play every snap at full speed…He needs to walk Koppen in the back field every single freaking snap…Hampton must force the Patriots offense to account for him every down.
Stephen Neal in the run game…Neal is a former standout collegiate wrestler (Just for you Fury) who transitioned into a fine offensive guard. Neal understands leverage and hand placement…Neal is not the strongest player in the world and he can be handled if the defensive player gets his hands inside of him…Neal is fantastic at the second level and he will destroy the Steelers inside linebackers if Hampton doesn’t force the double team.
Stephen Neal in Pass Pro…Zero Sacks allowed…Neal like Mankins is perfect in his pass set…I believe Aaron Smith could give Neal some problems from a size strength speed perspective…Neal is coming off a broken leg and shoulder problems…Smith when rested is a mad man with the straight bull rush, swim and Rip moves. This could become a key matchup…Someone needs to pressure the Quarterback from the interior…This matchup looks the most promising to me.
Nick Kaczur and Aaron Smith in the run game….I expect Aaron Smith to control this matchup. Kaczur is a decent positional blocker…He has little to no chance moving Smith in the run game.
Nick Kaczur and Clark Haggans in Pass Pro…This is a matchup the Steelers must exploit…This is the weakness of the Patriots pass protection…I would give Woodley downs rushing the passer…Haggans plays hard on base downs…He can’t rush the passer with reckless abandon when winded…A Fresh Lamar Woodley off the bench could pay huge dividends.
Skill position matchups.
The Steelers defense has to lay the wood every chance they get. Tom Brady is the best quarterback in the NFL….He must go down and he must go down hard. Brady’s receivers must take a hit every time they touch the ball. The Steelers must eliminate the Patriots run game. The Steelers defensive line and outside linebackers must generate pressure. Lebeau has to take his chances with Moss…I play Ike in man coverage and help over the top. I take away the short passing game from the Pats by playing my corners up. I challenge the Patriots… Troy Polamula is another wildcard…I have a feeling Troy has a big game this week. Tackle and attack at full speed…Leave nothing on the field Boys.
The Steelers suck and the Patriots are very good. All together now…Cover the Freaking Kick Steelers.