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Thread: How will the Steelers handle the Patriots Tight Ends

          
   
   
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    BlitzburghRockCity's Avatar
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    How will the Steelers handle the Patriots Tight Ends

    The conundrum that some defensive coaches face from week to week Joe Whitt sees on a daily basis.

    Whitt coaches Green Bay's defensive backs, and he can attest to the matchup problems caused by Packers tight end Jermichael Finley, who is big, fast and athletic.
    "A corner's not big enough, (and) he'll outrun a linebacker," Whitt said, "so you try and put a safety type on him, and most safeties aren't athletic enough to match up on him."

    Now consider that the New England Patriots have two emerging stars at tight end -- Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez -- and you get an idea of what the Steelers are up against Sunday at Heinz Field.


    Gronkowski and Hernandez may test the Steelers' top-ranked pass defense as much as wideout Wes Welker.

    Gronkowski and Hernandez have combined for almost 700 receiving yards and eight touchdowns this season. They are second and third, respectively, on the Patriots in receptions.

    The Steelers haven't forgotten that the 6-foot-6, 265-pound Gronkowski caught all three touchdown passes Tom Brady threw against them last November. The 6-1, 245-pound Hernandez isn't as big, but he can be just as hard to defend because the former Florida star has the speed of a wideout.

    Double trouble The New England Patriots struck gold in taking tight ends in the second and fourth rounds of the 2010 draft, Rob Gronkowski & Aaron Hernandez. The Patriots often play their second-year tight ends at the same time, but that does not make what they are doing unique.

    "It is how effective they are at doing it and how they utilize those guys and how they are capable of getting them down the field," Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said. "It's a special relationship they are forming there with their signal-caller."

    Gronkowski's relationship with Hernandez is not unlike the one second-year wideouts Emmanuel Sanders and Antonio Brown have had since joining the Steelers.
    "We definitely do compete with each other but in a great way and in a good sense," said Gronkowski, a Woodland Hills graduate. "We are always both trying to get better on our routes and our blocking, but we try to help each other out at the same time."
    Gronkowski and Hernandez pushing each other has resulted in stress for defenses that try to slow New England's top-ranked passing game.

    "They both provide challenges in totally different ways," Steelers strong safety Troy Polamalu said. "Hernandez is obviously more of a receiver, and Gronkowski is big, he's got great hands, and you throw the ball anywhere near him and he's able to pull it down."

    Having two tight ends like that allows New England the flexibility of lining up in a run formation or spreading the field and disguising what it wants to do.

    "You can have all those looks off that same personnel group because of their skill ability," Whitt said. "Are you going to put your nickel (defense) out there? Or are you going to put an extra defensive lineman out there? It makes it hard for the defensive playcaller to decide what he's going to do because of their versatility."
    It isn't any easier for defenses after the ball is snapped.

    "You are taking defenders that are sometimes not used to being flexed out and trying to cover a guy in space," said Arizona Cardinals coach and former Steelers offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt, who played tight end for nine seasons in the NFL. "A large part of this game has become getting those matchups and having your players win the one-on-one matchups in situations."

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    Veteran connecticutsteel's Avatar
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    HELMET TO HELMET CONTACT PUNISH THEM FOR COMING ACROSS THE MIDDLE

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    2nd String Diehardsteel's Avatar
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    I'm not looking forward to seeing our slow Linebackers trying to cover these guys. The Pats have almost as many weapons as we do. Some might say more. I can't wait to see what Lebeau draws up for this Pats offense.

    --- Added 10/26/2011 at 11:23 PM ---

    Quote Originally Posted by connecticutsteel View Post
    HELMET TO HELMET CONTACT PUNISH THEM FOR COMING ACROSS THE MIDDLE
    Wouldn't goodell love that. He'd be all

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    Waterboy
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    Defensive Thoughts

    The Steelers may need to rely on the athleticism and play making ability of Polamalu this weekend. I think that they should let him play up front. He can use his abilities to help slow down the tight ends, as well as, the running game if they try disguise it. Now as who to play over top is the question. I just think that after watching William Gay getting completely owned last year, we need to try a different approach. We also need to pressure Brady. We did not sack him one time. I can't remember if we even hurried him. We need to get a turnover and two defensive stops, and hope that we put up at least 28 points to win.

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    2nd String UKSTEELER's Avatar
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    If only we had a tall, athletic, speedy inside backer who could cover the Gronk we might win this one . . .

    we do, . . . . . Sly, get him on the bloody (Damn) field

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    Draft Pick pimplydan's Avatar
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    I accidently pressed on this banana !!! go figure .....

    Good post. I didn't know the size of these 2 tightends, I do remember Gronkowski 3 TDs too well .

    I always found the steelers have a hard time stopping the Patriots and it's mostly because we don't have a clue what they're about to .

    Major reason is because of those tightends , they can run and pass effectly with the 2 of them in there .

    Brady throws really fast and is hard to sack because of that .

    Wes Walker always has a great game vs us unless we knock him out (remember that hit ?)

    All I know is that I'm tired of watching the Brady bunch taking it to us .

    Will be on my hunting trip in north Quebec ,Canada during the game this weekend . Yes we have a TV and I will be watching the game .

    My first buck was killed on a Sunday and that Sunday night the steelers beat the Ravens ( I believe )

    That was about 4 years ago for those of you that like the archives , It's always halloween weekend my hunts .
    Last edited by pimplydan; 10-27-2011 at 07:51 AM.

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    Assistant Coach coldrolled's Avatar
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    Wait till they catch the ball then tackle them.. that would be the normal play.

    other teams would try to jump the receiver with the ilb/db for an int and keep another db behind the receiver for the tackle. you know brady is throwing..

    i like the solid hitting idea on the short routes to welker over the middle. we need to do those alot. we need to punish all short catches...

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    Starter SnakeEyes43's Avatar
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    Slide Timmons back to the middle, but Worlids at OLB, if he's healthy. That will help add some speed at MLB. And yes, I would love to see Sly get some rotations. I don't want to see Farrior chasing TEs to the endzone all game.
    Bleeding Black and Gold since 86'

  9. #9
    STEELER NATION RULES
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    We need to be completely unconventional (for us) to win this game. The same old thing will not do it. Load up the field with speedsters. Our front three can slow the run enough to let let everyone converge and make it limited. If we can play man to man and hit them on the line and stay with them, we can force marsha into mistakes. She's all about timing for the most part, disrupt it, and we can win.
    Last edited by ejsteeler; 10-27-2011 at 09:11 AM.

  10. #10
    Draft Pick roosterray's Avatar
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    If we are physical with all their receivers, then we have a chance. Zone won't work here nor will playing 10yds off the ball. I can only hop that we play mad for the next 3 games to prove we're for real.

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