I'd rather have a gun than a crutch"
I will not recount the pain and anguish from Sunday night against the Ravens. The Steelers defense played 60 minutes of football…If they plan on making the playoffs and overcoming the injuries to Ben and the rest of the skill players that must become the standard.
This week’s gospel is basically going to be matchup based…I’m hung over and disgusted.
Browns with the Ball
Thomas and Keisel- Keisel is at his best when he is allowed to play a fast aggressive penetrating style. Thomas is a very good left tackle…He may be the most complete left tackle in the NFL. Keisel needs to make plays in the run game…Keisel doesn’t have to be a dominant force…Keisel must be disruptive. Thomas is not the dominant force in the run game he once was…He doesn’t blow people off the line of scrimmage…He is a fantastic technician who just gets the job done.
Greco Mack Lauvao Vs Hampton Timmons and Foote- Casey Hampton is making more and more plays in the run game…That’s a trend that must continue. Hampton when motivated is still unblockable. Mack is a very good center…I expect the Browns don’t give him much help…If the Browns do not help Mack in the run game Casey Hampton must make plays…He must drive Mack 3 yards in the backfield and blow up blocking schemes. Timmons did a really nice job of swimming through the muck to make plays in the run game…Larry Foote struggles because he can no longer run at all…Foote doesn’t have the foot speed to make plays sideline to sideline…It’s something the Steelers inside backers must be able to do to be effective. The Steelers need a similar type of performance from Timmons this week in the run game…The Steelers need more from Foote. Greco and Lauvao are both pluggers…They can make blocks…I would consider both players very average. Casey Hampton must make plays or force double teams. Timmons and Foote must tackle in space…They cannot allow the Browns backs to get started…No yards after contact.
Schwartz and Heyward- Ladies and gentlemen we have two young bucks going to war. I think Heyward is going to dominate this matchup…Schwartz is more of a finesse player…A positional blocker…Heyward is athletic at the same time he has a nasty physical element to his game…Heyward has the ability to anchor and hand fight without losing ground…He also has the ability to shed blocks. The thing that stood out to me in the Ravens game is how easily Heyward disengaged from quality run blockers.
Ben Watson and Jordan Cameron have zero chance of blocking Woodley or Deebo in the run game. The Steelers need Woodley and Deebo to dominate the line of scrimmage and abuse the tight ends/fullbacks in the run game.
The Steelers defense must eliminate the Browns running game…The Front seven must dominate the line of scrimmage…They cannot blow run fits…They cannot miss tackles.
Trent Richardson runs without fear…Richardson runs like Jamal Lewis…That’s how I view Richardson. Some of you may be too young to remember Jamal Lewis in his prime…He was a beast. The Steelers front seven must slow Richardson down if they do…Ryan Clark Will Allen or Ryan Mundy will sting him and cool his ass off. Richardson is a big time legitimate physical running back with blazing speed. Richardson does scare me. Montario Hardesty is the Browns change of pace back…He has some talent…He is more of a quick slashing runner…Richardson is more of a downhill sledgehammer style of back. Alex Smith is the Browns H Back and he will be destroyed anytime he is asked to lead block on a Steelers linebacker not named Larry Foote. Owen Marecic is the Browns hammer fullback…He is not much of threat because he is slower than molasses.
Josh Gordon is a good blocker in the run game…The Browns other wide receivers don’t have much interest in the run game…The Steelers defensive backs have to beat up the Browns Wr’s every chance they get. I understand some of you see Greg Little and think he has to be an effective run blocker…He really isn’t…It’s a matter of effort.
The tougher more physical team will win this game in the trenches.
The 30 year old rookie is going to die
Thomas and Deebo-The Steelers need more Deebo and less James Harrison this week. I understand Harrison can’t go overboard and get suspended…The Steelers need pressure off the edge. The Steelers drop Harrison into coverage way more often than he is given credit for by most fans…Harrison is very effective in coverage. Weeden cannot be allowed to become comfortable in the pocket…Joe Thomas is a stud…He is tip top in pass pro…Harrison must close the deal and get to the Qb…Weeden must go down…And he must go down hard…But legally.
Greco and Keisel- Keisel is a player on the rise for the Steelers…The Steelers need interior pressure and Keisel has provided it the past few weeks. Greco is a physical player he is not very agile…He also plays with a very high base…Keisel could be a star this week. Keisel has just enough length and athleticism to give Greco fits rushing the passer. The Steelers need some unsung players to produce…Keisel is the type of player to step up and produce.
Lauvao and Heyward- Heyward comes hard every down…Heyward doesn’t take plays off. His motor may end up being his best trait…Heyward is a very physical player…Heyward is talented and athletic…I understand it was one game…The Steelers may have found a very good player in Cam Heyward. Lauvao is a tough guy who wants to fight and grind at the line of scrimmage…Heyward needs to continue to beat blocks and make plays. If Hood plays…Hood McClendon Woods…They must beat blocks and make plays…The level of play must stay consistent…The Steelers front seven must be relentless attacking the ball.
Schwartz and Woodley-The Steelers need Woodley to play like a pro bowl player…Schwartz is a very good pass blocker…He is a rookie. Woodley has to make plays and close the deal….I expect the Browns help Schwartz with Woodley…Other players must step up beat blocks and make plays.
Both Ben Watson and Jordan Cameron have playmaking ability…Timmons has been fantastic in coverage and he should have no problems eliminating one of them in coverage. The Steelers safeties have done an excellent job covering tight ends…I am concerned about Foote in coverage against anyone. Woodley and Harrison do a fine job in zone coverage when they are asked to drop and cover ground. Richardson and Alex Smith out of the backfield concerns me…Both players can run away from coverage…The Steelers must account for the backs in coverage.
Josh Gordon meet Ike Taylor…I expect Ike shadows and eliminates Gordon from the passing game. Ike found his swagger and he looks like a shutdown corner once again. Gordon is a big kid with playmaking ability this will be another test for Ike. Greg Little will draw K Lewis…I expect Lewis is up in bump coverage…I see no reason why Lewis can’t stick to Little like stink on shit. The Browns have three more quality receivers…Moe Massaquoi, Travis Benjamin and Jonathan Cribbs…All 3 can run and make plays. I am amazed Greg Little continues to be a starter on this team. Cortez Allen and Curtis Brown may be called on to make plays in coverage…They must be up to the task. The Steelers safeties have played great football. Ryan Clark and Will Allen are both very smart and never out of position in coverage. Ryan Mundy is a hard hitter who can make some plays on the ball in coverage.
The Steelers must win matchups and create turnovers.
Brandon Weeden can sling the ball…He has decent mobility….The Steelers must drill him a few times…He will break….Physically or mentally. If Weeden has time he can make any throw…Weeden can really spin the ball.
Steelers Run Game
Rucker and Starks-The Steelers need Starks to win matchups at the line of scrimmage in a more dominant manner…The Steelers need Starks to get movement at the point of attack. Rucker is a very good player against the run…Rucker does a great job of setting the edge and keeping offensive tackles out of his pads…If the Steelers expect any runs to bounce outside they must block Rucker. The Steelers at times will down block with Starks on defensive tackle Phillip Taylor; this will create a down block for a tight end on Rucker…If the Steelers tight end can seal Rucker inside the Steelers backs should find some big gains off tackle in the run game.
Taylor and Colon-Colon must keep his hands inside of the numbers…Anytime you get outside of the numbers at the point of attack the flag is coming for holding. Taylor is a massive man who can blow up blocking schemes…Colon must get off the ball and move his feet…Colon has the strength and bulk to win matchups…If Colon is technically sound I expect he has some success in the run game. The Steelers will down block with Starks which leaves Colon a free release to the middle linebacker D Jackson…Colon must block him…I was amazed how many times Colon whiffed on this simple block in previous games…That cannot happen in this game.
Pouncey- Will be uncovered most of the game…Pouncey must destroy players every chance he gets…Pouncey has played passive the past few weeks…That won’t cut it this week.
Rubin and Foster-This is the key matchup and the matchup the Steelers must have this week. Rubin is not the player he was before the knee injury…Rubin is still a dominant force against the run that doesn’t get moved. The Steelers need Foster to beat his ass in the run game…Foster is a very physical player he better be prepared for a war. The Steelers will down block with Adams on Rubin…Foster like Colon must pick off the middle linebacker if the Steelers expect to have any success running the ball.
Sheard and Adams-Adams must dominate this matchup…Sheard is very average against the run. The Steelers need a dominant game from Adams. Adams must finish every block. I believe the Steelers tight ends should have no issues blocking Sheard in the run game…Adams must kick Rubin in the teeth with the down block and the Steelers should have some running lanes.
Heath Miller David Paulson and Leonard Pope must be difference makers in the run game. The Browns outside linebackers James Michael Johnson and Kaluka Maiava are not very physical against the run…The Steelers must control these matchups. The tight ends will be asked to down block against defensive ends…They must move their feet and keep their hands inside.
The Browns have speed and some size in the front seven…The Steelers must re-establish the line of scrimmage and win battles.
I expect more Mendy this week…I don’t care who the back is…The principle is always the same…Find a hole and attack it…Finish every run and the most important thing…Protect the ball. The reason I expect more Mendy is I believe the Steelers can get the edge of this defense….Mendy has the best size speed combination of any back on the roster. Will Johnson will be asked to block some backers in the hole he cannot blink at the point of impact…He has to welcome the car crash.
I would not be surprised if Plax and Sanders see some time together at receiver…Both players are very willing blockers in the run game. The Steelers must force the Browns to involve safeties Usama Young and TJ Ward in the run game.
Charlie Wrapped in Bubble Wrap
Parker and Starks-This is going to be a test for Starks…By the way I once again lied about trusting Starks…After this week I will trust Starks if he holds up. Parker gave Starks fits earlier in their careers. Parker gets off the ball in a flash and attacks the quarterback at 200 miles per hour…Parker also has a slick rip move back to the inside after he catches the tackle over setting to the edge. Starks has grown leaps and bounds over the past three years in pass protection…He will be tested again this week.
Taylor and Colon- This matchup does concern me. If you look at Taylor you think he is a pure bull rusher with a limited athleticism and that would be incorrect. Taylor is massive man who has a big bag of tricks rushing the passer. Colon is a great pass blocker when he finds the right man to block….Colon is terrible at picking up line stunts…It’s my opinion Colon’s failure to pick up the line stunts against the Ravens cost the Steelers the game. The Steelers need to get the mental things right if they expect to win this game.
Pouncey-The Nation needs more from you.
Rubin and Foster-Foster is going to get beat a few times…Rubin is a very good player…He is not the force he once was rushing the passer. Foster cannot get beat cleanly…He can’t whiff on blocks. I would prefer for Foster to punch Rubin in the throat every pass play. I am far more concerned with interior pressure than pressure off the edge this week.
Sheard and Adams-Adams has no excuse to start slow this week. Sheard is a very ordinary NFL pass rusher. The Steelers need Adams to shut Sheard down. Sheard is not a powerful rusher…He is not quick…He relies on the offensive tackle to make a mental or physical error which he will exploit. Adams must land his punch and move his feet.
The Steelers tackles need to dominate their matchups this week…The Steelers cannot allow pressures off the edge with 5 pass rushers…If the Browns blitz it’s on Batch and the receivers to make the hot reads.
I expect the Browns attempt to cover Heath Miller with James Michael Johnson…I think Miller eats him up. I don’t believe the Browns have a player on their roster that can cover Heath Miller. Jackson Maivia Ward and Young lack the size and bulk. I believe David Paulson could be a factor in this game for the same reasons.
The Steelers running backs could also be major factors in the passing game. The Browns will struggle to run with Mendy or Rainey in space. If the Steelers offensive line can hold up and the backs have the chance to run routes, plays will be there in the passing game. Will Johnson is real close to being a major factor in the Steelers passing game…Johnson can run like a deer he is a very difficult player to account for in coverage.
I will be shocked if the Browns don’t matchup Joe Haden on Mike Wallace with Antonio Brown out with an injury. Haden has long arms and he can run…He cannot run with Mike Wallace in space. Mike Wallace must make plays…He must show more passion for the game…He must compete harder. Sheldon Brown will draw Manny Sanders…I expect Sanders can eat him up…Sanders must run clean routes and make plays on the ball; Brown has lost a step or four over the past few years Sanders has to beat coverage and make plays on the ball. Plax will see some time…Plax is a massive target who is a mismatch the moment he steps on the field…Plax has three practices under his belt…I don’t expect much…I’ve been surprised before. Buster Skrine and Dmitri Patterson the Browns nickel and dime backs will draw Plax and David Gilreath…I have mixed feelings on Gilreath he still has plenty to prove. The Browns corners are dinged…They are expected to play…How effective they will be, will be answered Sunday afternoon.
I have no idea what Charlie has left…I know he is from Steel Valley…I know he played high school ball in the WPIAL…I know he is my age and my body hurts. I can only imagine how he feels. Charlie will make some plays if the line holds up…How much arm strength does he have left…I have no clue….Same thing with accuracy. Charlie protect the ball you old bastard…I believe in Steel Valley Chuck.
Cost the Steelers a win against the Ravens.