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Thread: Can this defense regain it's dominance?

          
   
   
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  1. #1
    BlitzburghRockCity's Avatar
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    Can this defense regain it's dominance?

    Obviously we're not going to see much in preseason from the starters, we never do...that is unless Tomlin pulls out something different this year. So I'm wondering how much gas this defense will have this year as it wears on.

    Last year, stat wise, we weren't the worse defense in the league by any means, but we all know how much this unit struggled. They blew leads late in the game time and time again, the amount of int's made by DB's could be counted on 1 hand, they couldn't stop the run, pass defense was horrific, the pass rush wasn't getting there consistently, etc.

    This unit, guys like Hampton, Smith, Kiesel, Farrior, all of whom are either in the twilight of their careers or headed that way in the very near future are such key components that it's absolutely critical that they stay healthy and on the field. We've literally done very little to improve this defense over the offseason, so basically we're returning the same unit minus the injuries hopefully. Perhaps last year was a fluke because of all the players missing so many games and young players just not being ready to step up, or was it a sign of the times that our beloved Blitzburgh as we know it now needs to be severely revamped. Only time will tell, but given the fact that the only key addition on defense was McFadden (which is HUGE if you ask me), we'll have to find out how much gas the veterans have in the tank. If anybody can get the job done, it's Lebeau, but only he can do so much. The scheme is sound, it's proven to be rock solid for decades but if the players don't execute then it doesn't mean much.

    Polamalu is a given, without him in the secondary we are vulnerable in any given scenario on defense. He affects the pass and run defense in such a big way that you can't discount him when you're the opposing offense. If he so much as misses even a few games we will be in trouble.

    I would like to think that if we stay healthy on defense this year, they can step up and get the job done just like a couple years ago when we lead the league in nearly every defensive category...but we shall see.
    Last edited by BlitzburghRockCity; 07-25-2010 at 03:11 AM.

  2. #2
    Keeper of Keys Dean Denton's Avatar
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    It all sounds great, but like you said its the group coming back, and that could be bad. If Troy is on the field you can bet the outside LB's will be getting more sacks. Troy is great at making QB's hold that ball just a few seconds longer to let those LB's get there and without him the Steelers struggled last year. He really should have been team MVP last year because it changed everything with him out. Never thought one guy could make such a difference. I should have learned from Bob Sanders that year the Colts won the SB.
    Be who you are, become what you dream....

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    SA's #1 Pirates Fan Tetris Champion Black@Gold Forever32's Avatar
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    You hit on the Troy factor.......So I'm not going to comment any further on Troy........

    But if Lawrence Timmons take the next step in his game and becomes more consistent overall then he could add a boost to this defense.....Especially if he replaces Farrior at the Mack.......I think last year the writing was on the wall for Farrior and his age is catching up to him........

    I'm hoping the addition of McFadden and young players like Keenan Lewis, Joe Burnett help the secondary this year......Lewis and Burnett have a year of experience under the belt now and should be more comfortable this year.......In my opinion Will Allen is an upgrade over Tyrone Carter......It won't matter if Troy is hurt a majority of the time again......But it was evident last year that Carter was finished as a player......

    I'm hoping Ziggy Hood shows significant improvement so he can rotate to keep Smith and Keisel fresh..........Both are in their 30s and they're going to need a young pup like Hood to take snaps from them at times to give them a blow.......

    I would love to see Worilds and Gibson contribute this year....But we all know that it usually takes time for this DE converted to OLB to get fully comfortable before they can be counted to make plays.....Woodley by the end of his rookie year did have four sacks and two in the post-season..........If one of those young OLBs or both can contribute early on then that really could give a boost to the defense.....
    Last edited by Black@Gold Forever32; 07-25-2010 at 02:49 PM.

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    Veteran DanRooney's Avatar
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    As long as Polamalu and Smith stay healthy this season, I believe we have the best defense in the league. Everyone knows our secondary is the worst part of the unit and personally I think our situation is a mess. I think Lewis and Burnett are just going to rot on the bench until Tomlin grows some balls and gets them some playing time. Of course, we all know Tomlin doesn't have balls and our secondary has to be abyssal for 10 weeks for him to even think about changing anything. It took him until WEEK 17 to demote Gay to nickel even though he was teasing us about it for at least 3 weeks prior. I don't think I've witnessed a starting corner in the league worse than him and I'm being completely honest. Just rewatch the entire season and single him out. He falls by himself, gets beat consistently, and looks completely clueless out there. McFadden is a huge upgrade.

    As far as our line goes, I think Ziggy can rotate with Aaron enough this season to keep him fresh the entire season. Our linebackers as a whole are far beyond the best in the league and only got better with the added youth of Worilds and Gibson. Farrior still worries me and I'm wondering if LeBeau will ever sit his boyfriend for a few snaps and rotate Foote or Fox.
    Last edited by DanRooney; 07-25-2010 at 07:51 AM.

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    Veteran scudmissile29's Avatar
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    Taylor had just as bad rating as Gay so I don't know what your talking about, and for what it's worth this cornerback stat keeping site rated something like the 20th worst.

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    Barring injury this defense can absolutely regain it's spot at the top of the NFL. While there are definetly problems in the secondary, i still believe Le Beau is putting the players he feels gives us the best chance to win in the game. I would definetly like to see more of lewis and burnett but these guys have to earn their way onto the field, not just because the guy in front of them is struggling. I don't think dick LeBeau went senile overnight, the throwing mud against the wall to see what sticks coaching philosophy doesn't work long term... There was a running joke in pittsburgh for all the years between terry bradshaw and ben roethlisberger Q: Who is the most popular player on the steelers? A: The back-up quarterback until he got his opportunity to play... Let's hope lewis and burnett are ready to step up... GO STEELERS
    Last edited by airbrake 1; 07-25-2010 at 10:01 AM.

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    steelersbabex25's Avatar
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    Everyone talks about how the loss of Troy Polamalu killed our defense last year, and don't get me wrong, it definitely did, but I think people forget about Aaron Smith a lot. Smith is one of the most if not the most important player on defense and to have him go down for the entire season killed us as well, not to mention Polamalu going down with him. A lot is being said that maybe Polamalu's knee is still weak, maybe Smith and Polamalu aren't fully healed. But maybe with the additions of McFadden and Hood, injuries to these players won't be nearly as bad as they were last year..maybe not, "kiss your season goodbye" caliber.

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    BlitzburghRockCity's Avatar
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    BG32 made a good point about Lewis & Burnett. Those guys got some experience last year, my only fear is that they don't turn into another William Gay and just flop under the pressure of getting more playing time. There's no indication that they will, but Gay showed a lot of promise 2 years ago and when he took over at CB it was a disaster. Hopefully those 2 new guys can step up when their number is called.

    Ziggy Hood is another guy who needs to show up this year and take control of his destiny on this team. It would be pretty damn hard, if not impossible to unseat the starting 3 we have now, but since Lebeau rotates DL all the time to keep them fresh, he'll get his chances and we need to see him perform and earn that 1st round pick money he's getting.

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    Starter cmerrifield's Avatar
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    Yeah, I feel like this year will be Tomlin's year to either prove he was worth hiring or prove the critics were right. He has some young guys he like who can start getting some playing time. I know we resigned a lot of Cowher's guys this offseason, but I think it will be Tomlin's guys that will make or break this team. Guys like Timmons, Lewis, Hood, Wallace and probably Pouncey and this years draft too. I think those will be the determining factor on whether or not this team returns to greatness. This team needs to make the playoffs, or I dont think Tomlin will see another extension.

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    Starter MattyVfromCT's Avatar
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    do i think it will return to a typical steelers defense? yes. can it be dominant like 08? possibly. we shall see. i definitely expect us to be better than last year but that depends on guys staying healthy. obviously troy and smith going down were key reasons for why our d didn't live up to the 08 performance. but to me the biggest reason was william gay as our #2 corner. he allowed the highest completion % out of every db in the league if i'm not mistaken. and i believe it was somewhere around 75% and that is god awful. trading to bring back b-mac was the biggest move we did in the draft imo. mcfadden is a solid corner who knows our system well. is he deion sanders? hell no, BUT he's head and shoulders better than willie f'n gay. ike needs to play better also but i like what i've been hearing about the work ethic of our corners in ota's and hopefully that continues into the season. also, we'll see if gay can even win the nickelback job. burnett and lewis have a year under their belts and i've been hearing good things about crezdon butler.

    the loss of troy was huge. we allowed almost 10 more points per game in the 11 games he missed vs the 5 he played. passing yardage is about the same, BUT, the difference is passing touchdowns is alarming. we allowed 2 passing touchdowns in the 5 games troy played in, and 2 of those were less than a half he played in. in the 11 he missed we allowed 20 passing touchdowns. that is ridiculous. now granted you could make the argument that we played better teams in the 11 troy missed such as san diego, minnesota, green bay, etc but we also lost to some garbage teams like cleveland, oakland and kansas city.

    obviously troy was a huge loss for us but i think losing aaron smith was just as big if not a bigger loss. he is our best run stuffer and imo our best d-lineman. some may argue for hampton but i believe that smith is better. while our run d was ranked 3rd last year, behind only minnesota and green bay, there's a noticeable difference in yards allowed on the ground in games smith played vs games he missed. in the 5 games smith played in, we allowed 71.2 rushing yards per game. in the 11 games he was out, we allowed 98.37 rushing yards per game, a difference of 27.17. not a huge difference but definitely noticeable. in 07 it was even worse. in the 11 games smith played in, we allowed 71.73 rush yards per game, very similar to 09. in the 6 he missed including the wild card round against jacksonville, we allowed 130.67 rushing yards per game, a 58.94 yard difference. that is insane. it boggles my mind how aaron smith does not get anywhere near the credit he deserves. and it's not just the difference in rushing yards allowed. he takes up multiple bodies, and can pressure the qb despite not getting a lot of sacks. his loss was one of the main reasons we did not have a consistent pass rush. ziggy hood didn't step up until the 2nd game against the rats.

    another problem we had was the performance of our inside linebackers. timmons is soft against the run and average in coverage but a great pass rusher. farrior was bad last year. he looked slower than a whaling vessel. i think part of it had to do with aaron smith's injury because farrior looked the same in late 07 when smith went down as well. he doesn't have much left in the tank. i'm curious to see how much playing time he gets. i don't want to see him in on 3rd down or long passing situations. he was burned by tight ends and running backs catching passes in his zone. they brought back foote and drafted sylvester to play inside. we'll see how much time those guys get

    this year depends on troy and aaron staying healthy as well as how our inside linebackers and corners perform. i think it can be a dominant defense but like i said before, we shall see.

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