The Pre season is over. The roster is finally set. Its time to play some real football.
I expect the Steelers to play fast and hard; Mike Tomlin has preached preparation and commitment since the day he was hired. I expect the Steelers to come out flying on defense and special teams. Offensively the Steelers will protect Ben(Max Protect, roll the pocket, quick sets.. 3-5 steps drops) pound the rock with Parker to control tempo and the clock. The Steelers won't take many chances with Ben's confidence early in the season..Meaning I don't expect many 5 man routes before the offensive line has time to gel in game time situations at game time speed. I love the idea Ben finally has the opportunity to check out of a bad play(only 4 years before he was allowed to audible). The Steelers are talented enough to win 8-9 games pounding the rock and playing good defense and special teams...If the Steelers expect to make noise in the playoffs Ben needs to be the man. This is Ben offense, Arians is saying the right things about game planning and play calling...Unfortunately we heard the same things from Sherman Gilbride Mularkey & Whisenhut in the past.
Did you know?
The Browns have opened the season at Cleveland Browns Stadium every year since it opened in 1999, but are just 1-7 in those games.
Pittsburgh, meanwhile, has won four straight season openers - tied with Atlanta for the longest opening-week winning streak in the NFL.
Steelers with the ball. The Browns front seven could cause problems for the Steelers offensive line. I don't see the Steelers man handling the Browns in many match ups up front in the run game. Kameron Wimbley is a very good pass rusher...Antwan Peek doesnt scare me at all. The Browns inside backers Andra Davis and Dqwell Jackson are quality players who can flow to the ball and make tackles. The Browns secondary is young but somewhat talented. Sean Jones is the best safety in the NFL no one has heard of. The other safety Brodney Pool is a bum. Leigh Bodden is a solid # 2 corner(he is expected to play) the other corner Eric Wright is a rookie.
Match ups in the front Seven
-Marvel Bong Toker Smith and Robaire Smith in the run game. Marvel Smith is a very good run blocker..He will be tested this week in the run game with Robaire Smith. Robaire Smith is 6-4 320..His game is simple. He wants to walk Marvel 2 yards in the backfield eat up space and cause chaos in base formation downs. Marvel Smith has a tendency to come out of his stance high and soft...If he does it this week he will end on his back.
-Smith on Kameron Wimbley in Pass Pro. Wimbley is the real deal rushing the passer. He can beat a LT to the edge or back inside. Wimbley is 250 pounds and he plays the game a lot like Kevin Greene. Full boar all the time and he is relentless rushing the passer. Smith has to keep his technique and move his feet. Smith can NOT over commit early in his pass set. Wimbley gave Smith fits last year in pass Pro. This match up scares the poo out of me.
-Faneca in the run game. Any run inside the tackle box to the left Faneca will have to help Mahan with Ted Washington. I hope Mahan only needs Faneca to punch out help him with positioning, So Faneca can flow to the second level and pick off the inside backer Jackson. Faneca is great at the second level...He was one of the keys to Parker's 200 yard+ performance last year against the Browns. If Mahan needs minimal help with Washington it could get real ugly for the Browns.
-Faneca and Simon Fraser in Pass Pro. Fraser is a quality interior pass rusher. He had 4.5 sacks in very limited action last season for the Browns. The good thing from a Steelers perspective...Fraser's game is power..I don't see him walking Faneca...I definitely don't see Fraser walking up Faneca's chest. The bad thing from a Steelers perspective is...Fraser will also play LDT in the nickel and Dime and he is Tailor made to destroy Kendall Simmons. Faneca like Marvel Smith needs to keep his technique and not over extend.
-Sean Mahan and Mount Washington in the run game. Wow welcome back to center Sean..Now go block 400 pound Ted Washington in the run game. This week we will get to see if the Steelers added some zone blocking. Its a scary thought to have this massive man falling on top of you...But I would cut block Washington every chance I had. Washington will be fresh and healthy.. this match up could be disastrous...Jeff Hartings where have you gone? The Steelers will help Mahan with both guards depending on which side of the field they run to..If Mahan needs minimal help The Steelers will jam the ball down the Browns throats..If Mahan needs a ton of help...Could be a long day for Willie Parker.
-Kendall Simmons in the run game. Similar to Faneca...Since he's not covered he will help with Washington and hopefully get to the second level.
* Side note*...Don't be surprised if the Steelers attempt to down block Washington with Faneca or Simmons and kick Mahan around to pickup the play side backer..Its a blocking scheme used by Zierlein for the Browns against the Steelers and he had some success. Mahan is quick enough to make the block...Faneca is strong enough to root Washington out...I am not so sure about Simmons.
-Simmons in Pass Pro against Roye and Fraser...If Simmons can anchor and avoid being put on his proverbial roller skates in pass pro he will be fine...As you can tell I have a lil faith in Simmons still. I hope he proves me wrong.
-Willie Colon and Orpheus Roye in the run game. If Roye is healthy he will man handle Colon in the run game. Colon couldn't get movement on 260 pound 4-3 defensive ends...No way he can move 320 pound Orpheus Roye.
-Willie Colon on Antwan Peek in Pass Pro. This is the reason Colon is your starter at RT. Colon should dominate in Pass Pro. He has good feet...Good balance...Great hand positioning...And he cheats like an all pro(He holds every freaking down...He gets away with it...All that matters.)
-Heath Miller and Tuman in the run game. Colon will need help with runs inside the tackle box. Both Miller and Tuman will have there hands full attempting to hook the Browns Olbs in the run game outside of the tackle box. Miller looked awful in the run game last season and in the 07 preseason...He needs to step up his play. Tuman is a bum always has been...Always will be.
Skill Position battles.
-The Steelers must force match ups. The way you force match ups is with balanced play calling and a variety of formations. I expect the Browns to cover Holmes with Wright and Ward with Bodden. Holmes is to quick for Wright and Ward is to nasty for Bodden. I love the Steelers match ups outside if Washington and Wilson step up and make plays. The Steelers Wr core lacks size...Washington Holmes and Wilson maybe the quickest Trio of Wrs in the NFL...Ward adds the jam. They have to make plays for there Qb.
-Parker please protect the ball. Other then that...Do your thing and attack the hole. Parker is elite. What can I add? If Parker becomes a weapon in the passing game...There isn't 5 backs in the NFL I would rather have. If your even hes leaving...Speed kills...Don't do drugs boys and girls
-Ben..The messiah. Make good decisions not only with the ball but with your health...One of the reasons we all love Ben is his fearlessness. Lets look back at his rookie year against the Browns when Orpheus Roye almost decapitated Ben...Ben rolled out of the pocket.. danced a jig...Cleaned Marvel Smith's bong.. stared down Roye blew him a kiss.. took the shot and threw a perfect 50 yard strike to Plax. Can you say stud? My only other issue with Ben is he still locks onto receivers...I have a feeling Ben is far more confident in the play calling so his mechanics will be improved.
-Carey Davis will have his shot at fullback...I'm open minded at this point. Davis is very good in Pass Pro and blitz-pickup.
-Spaeth could be a sneaky red zone target.
-Dookie should see at least 10 carries...He better run hard...Kirby Wilson(running backs coach) loves Gary Russell.
-I expect a far improved offensive line in pass pro...I expect the Oline have problems run blocking throughout the season.
Stains with the Ball
Let's just say it ... Charlie Frye sucks. The Browns Oline sucks. The Browns have some talent and size in the Wr core but as I said...you are who you are and Charlie Frye sucks. Jamal Lewis could be rejunivated in Cleveland...He better break a lot of tackles because once again the Browns Oline sucks. Kellen Winslow Jr is a big time talent or is he? The Browns offense or the lack there of..Will limit the Browns to being a 4-5 win team.
-Joe Thomas on Brett Kiesel in the run game. Kiesel will have no problems what so ever with Thomas. Thomas is a soft, slow (in reactions), short limbed, typical Big Ten tackle. I expect the Browns to be forced to help Thomas with Kiesel in the run game.
-Joe Thomas in Pass Pro. I expect the Steelers to show the Browns a variety of looks in the nickel and dime. I would not be surprised if James Harrison pulls the hat trick against Thomas...Beat him to the outside, Beat him to the inside and finally beat him over the top(Run up his chest).
-Eric Steinbach in the run game...I expect Steinbach to play. On run plays to the left Steinbach will have to help Fat Fraley with Hampton. We will get to that in a minute. Steinbach knee injury limits his only skill..Movement to get to the 2nd level. Steinbach is another typical Iowa O linemen...Looks pretty and tough in pads..When the whistle blows he squats to go tinkle.
-Steinbach in pass Pro...Kiesel should work him...I felt the same way last year...And I was wrong..Kiesel failed to even get a pressure against Steinbach in the passing game...That must change this year. The Key to the Steelers pass rush is pressure from the Ends.
-Fat Fraley on Hampton. Lets see..First game of the year...Hampton is not only healthy but fresh...This could get real ugly for the Browns. The Browns will have to double the snack every interior run down. I expect some slanting and stunting from the Steelers...Hampton could turn out Frye or Lewis lights in this game. This is the biggest mismatch of the game.
-Seth Mckinney in the Run game. He had major neck surgery last year...Before last year he sucked. He was the Miami Dolphins linemen Hudson Hauck almost punched in the face on MNF against the Pats a few years ago. He is slow fat and short. He has zero ability to get to the 2nd level. He will spend most of his day helping Fraley with Hampton.
-Mckinney in Pass Pro against Aaron Smith...Smith is not the greatest 34 pass rusher...I wont be suprised if he registers a few sacks..He is bigger stronger faster and far more detirmined then Mckinney.
-Kevin Schaffer and Aaron Smith in the run game. This could be a war if Schaffer can pass the new concussion test. Schaffer strength is run blocking. Smith's strength is playing the run. I expect mostly stalemates. If the Browns are forced to play Kelly Butler..Smith will destroy him like he did last year.
-Kevin Schaffer in Pass Pro Vs Haggans/Wood. Both Schaffer and Butler make Max Starks look nimble in pass Pro...So the Steelers should have a huge advantage in this matchup.
-The Solider will have to help both tackles in the run game between the tackles...He will also have to move or hook Harrison and Haggans on runs outside of the tackle box...Good luck with that.
-Did I mention that Charlie Frye sucks?
-Jamal Lewis is an unknown...If he's healthy he will get the ball early and often. I think he's done...And he will be a non-factor.
-The Browns starting WRs are huge...Neither can really run. I expect the Browns to attempt to take advantage of these size mismatches with Fades, Fade Stops, Slants. The Steelers should play the corners up and force Frye(who sucks) to make perfect throws.
-Browns 3rd and 4th WR's are speedsters who couldnt catch the clap from a 25 cent hooker in Hanoi.
-The Solider...We all love to hate him. He makes plays...Mostly meaningless plays. 89 catches 3 Tds. He did record 42 catches for first downs in 06...More of a testament to the quality of Wrs on the Browns roster then his play.
-The Browns have a ton of injuries entering this game. Lawrence Vickers the Browns starting full back is not expected to play.
-The Steelers inside backers should make a ton of plays this week...I dont see many Browns Olinemen getting to the second level to block them.
-Keep an eye on the weather...Thunderstorms and rain could keep the score of this game down a bit.
-Dont expect a ton from Timmons or Woodley...Both could suprise though..
-Special Teams Cover the freaking kicks and hold onto the ball returners...I expect Speds to pound the ball if he is forced to punt. I still hate Jeff Reed.
I say 24-6 Steelers in a monsoon at the mistake by the lake
~Compliments of a skilled analyst .. FC
This is the Gospel of the Lord