A life of frustration is inevitable for any coach whose main enjoyment is winning.
I am still in shock over the loss to the Raiders; I could sit here and make excuses for this team I won’t do that…I could sit and bitch and complain that’s another thing I refuse to do. The Steelers defense sucks…It has not been up to par for the past two seasons…The fact of the matter is simple; The Steelers had their starting 11 on the field together once since 2011( Opener against the Ravens) That is not an excuse that is a fact. Talent wins games in the National Football League. I believe Dick LeBeau and the rest of the defensive staff flinched when TP and Harrison went down with injuries. (I wanted to use the word panicked instead of flinched). I don’t believe a single defense in the NFL could overcome losing two defensive players of the year…LeBeau attempted to play it safe and schemed not to lose. That’s the blame I place on LeBeau and the rest of the coaching staff. At some point players must step up and perform. LeBeau did not blow coverage’s…LeBeau did not miss a run fit…LeBeau did not miss a tackle. My fellow Steelers fans are leaning on stats to support their argument which is laughable at best…I will once again remind you what the great Steelers defensive tackle Joe Greene said…Stats are for losers. For those stats losers in Steelers nation I have a couple for you; The Steelers are No. 5 in total defense and No. 3 in passing yardage in the NFL. Opponents are converting nearly half of their third-down attempts (16 of 33). The Steelers defense has allowed a 64-yard touchdown run (Darren McFadden) and a 71-yard touchdown pass (Demaryius Thomas). Opposing Quarterbacks’ second half numbers against the Steelers this season are 33 of 53, 385 yards, 4 TD, 0 INT’s. I have no answers for you…I do have one opinion. If Harrison and TP are healthy this defense is going to fuck teams up…I have no stats to back up my opinion…I have a belief in the talent of TP and Deebo…I believe they make average players around them far better. I will not waste time talking about the Steelers offense…The Steelers made the playoffs with putrid offenses in the past…This team is built around the defense. It’s the mentality of the team, city, and fan base we will kick your ass and take your wallet and woman…To quote Charlie Daniels “Just go and lay your hand on a Pittsburgh Steelers fan". The ass kicking mentality is the main reason behind the Steelers run game offensively. For those of you who are sitting reading this thinking FC is full of poo…If I am wrong the Steelers season is over and they will be picking in the top 10 in the draft. Basically what I am saying is the Steelers cannot win consistently without TP, Harrison or Ben…If you take the 3 best players off any team they will struggle to win.
Eagles with the Ball
The Eagles have talent all over the field. Mike Vick is a very dangerous quarterback when he is allowed to play his game. The Steelers must NOT allow Vick to roll to his left and throw the football. Vick has been lethal delivering the ball down the field this season. He continues to struggle with the intermediate passing game. The Eagles have 2 legit playmaking wide receivers in Desean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin a future pro bowl tight end in Brett Celek and the most complete running back in the NFL in Shady McCoy. The Eagles have ridiculous talent at the skill positions…The Eagles have one major weakness on offense and that’s the offensive line. The Eagles are going to come out high tempo and attack the Steelers defense…I expect the No huddle offense because the Eagles had success with it the past few weeks and the Steelers struggle to defend it…The Steelers front seven must make plays.
Eagles Run Game
Brett Keisel and Demetrius Bell- I am shocked the Eagles went back to Bell as the starter at left tackle over King Dunlap. Bell looks the part…He is not very strong at the point of attack. This is a critical matchup for the Steelers…The Eagles bread and butter runs are stretches and downhill power runs with a crack from slot receiver or tight end in the run game. Brett Keisel must set up camp in the Eagles backfield…The best way to interrupt the power run game is penetration into the backfield. Keisel has no excuses this week…Hood and Keisel could register zero tackles and zero pressures in this game and still have played a great game. The Steelers must play smart football…They must play assignment based football. The Eagles love to run counters off their power run game…The Eagles will run quick inside reverses…None of the trickery or sleight of hand works against a smart defense that does their job. Keisel must anchor…Keisel must beat the block…Keisel must find the ball and make a play.
Mathis Reynolds Watkins and Hampton Foote Timmons- Hampton’s level of play has been hit or miss. The Steelers have tried to hide Cris Carter/Jason Worilds in the run game…The Steelers have run line stunts, looped linebackers, and blitzed defensive backs to stop the run without Harrison and TP…The Steelers have always blitzed the run…The Steelers were forced to scheme away from particular defenders strengths to hide other inferior defenders. I expect the Steelers play the run “straight” against the Eagles…When I say straight I expect the Steelers play more defensive fronts like 2010 instead of 2012. In 2010 Hampton played 2 gap and just ate blockers…The inside backers played downhill and just attacked the front and the run game. Hampton is not fleet of foot…If he is asked to make too many plays on the move the Steelers defense is doomed to fail…McClendon is not the answer he lacks the ability to beat blocks. I expect Hampton destroys Reynolds…Mathis is very mobile; he is not a basher at the point of attack …Danny Watkins is playing with a bad pectoral muscle… I question how effective he will be. I expect Foote and Timmons have a great game this week…Casey Hampton will do the work…They will steal the glory. The biggest difference will be the Steelers don’t have to manipulate the front to stop the run…They can play classic old man 34 and stop the run with the return of Harrison and TP.
Hood and Todd Herremans-The Steelers need this matchup. The Eagles boot leg package and roll outs are built off the stretch and power run series to the right side of the formation. On paper Hood should beat the shit out of Herremans…This matchup concerns me. Hood has the ability to take over games…He just needs to play his game. The Steelers watch film and they had a bye week…They must realize Hood is playing slow because he is overthinking things…I expect the Steelers allow Keisel and Hood to attack the LOS more with Deebo and TP on the backside to make plays and cover up mistakes.
James Harrison when healthy is the best outside linebacker in the NFL against the run. Most left tackles in the league struggle to block him legally at the point of attack in the run game. I understand most Steelers fans think Harrison is done…I don’t think so. I see no way Brett Celek and Clay Harbor can block Harrison or Woodley in the run game.
The Eagles Wide Receivers are tiny…They will attempt to run block. The Steelers corners must beat up the Eagles Wr’s in the run game…They should view it as free shots. Ryan Clark and TP together is a beautiful thing in the run game.
Shady McCoy is a very good back…Great feet and vision…He understands how to set up blocks. McCoy runs too brave in my opinion. The Steelers really need to tag McCoy early…Legally or illegally. The Eagles backups behind McCoy are unproven rookie head case Bryce Brown and Dion Lewis. Stanley Havili is a soft finesse fullback…He is similar to Will Johnson.
The Steelers must win battles at the line of scrimmage…They cannot over run plays or make mental mistakes…Attack the ball and the ball carrier…Form tackle…Rally to the ball with a pack mentality. The Steelers need Harrison and Woodley to dominate in the run game…Keisel and Hood must be the 1st links in setting the edge...Timmons and Foote cannot tank tackles. The Steelers defense is healthy…They should be fast…A fast Steelers defense is a stout Steelers defense.
Vick trying to chuck the rock
Deebo and Bell- Most people have left James Harrison for dead. Harrison has no back issues….He said his back felt as good as ever during training camp. The Steelers expected Harrison’s knee issues to go away by now…They haven’t. Harrison will play through the discomfort…The issue is not strength or stability related…The issue is a floating body is rubbing against the back of his patella…His body reacts to the irritant by producing histamines which makes his knee swell. Harrison did not blow out his ACL…Harrison did not break his leg. I have a feeling Harrison sends a message to the NFL over the next 5-6 weeks. Bell is a mess in pass protection…He reminds me of Jonathan Scott…There is a disconnect between the brain and the body…Harrison will have to control his rush…Vick loves to roll left and throw the ball…Vick cannot break the habit…It’s a matter of instinct. I expect Harrison expels some pent up rage rushing the passer this week.
Keisel and Mathis- Mathis struggles with athleticism…Mathis is undersized but strong as a bull. He is a far better run blocker than pass blocker and I believe the Steelers could exploit this matchup. I have no clue what the Steelers defensive linemen are being asked to do rushing the passer...The Steelers defensive linemen are basically playing 2 gap in nickel and dime situations and it seems like a matter of scheme…I would prefer the Steelers get killed with a few draws and attack the quarterback. I’m going to figure with the return of Deebo and TP the Steelers are going to try fewer gimmick defenses. The Steelers have four players who can rush the passer from the interior (Keisel McClendon Hood Heyward)…Its time to utilize those talents. I think the Steelers can exploit the interior of the Eagles offensive line rushing the passer.
Hood and Watkins- I know the Steelers can exploit this matchup. Watkins has poor footwork and very short arms…Hood should own him rushing the passer. Dick LeBeau, John Mitchell and Mike Tomlin have to put Hood, Heyward, McClendon and Keisel in positions to succeed…All four players are blessed with the ability to attack the line of scrimmage and the quarterback…Asking these players to do anything else in nickel and dime looks is foolish and doomed for failure.
Woodley and Herremans- I watched bum speed rushers eat Herremans up all day to the edge. Woodley is too fucking fat to attack the edge of the defense. Fat is not the right word…Blown up…Rocked up…Muscle bound. Woodley is wound tighter than a spring…He is no longer fluid or athletic. He is a short under sized power rusher with no counter move off the power rush. I hope Woodley did not touch a weight…I hope Woodley doesn’t touch a weight for the rest of the season. Woodley at his best can attack a right tackle with speed quickness and power…Tackles don’t have to worry about the midget bowling ball attacking their outside shoulder so they over set back to the inside and eliminate Woodley from the game. Woodley must realize his physical limitations when rushing the passer…He also must realize he has some major strengths to his rush game.
Vick is very mobile…The Steelers must maintain proper rush lanes…The Steelers must force Vick to stay inside of the pocket…They must force Vick to scramble right and throw against his body. Vick has a cannon arm…He makes bad decisions when under pressure. For those stats guys…Vick has the lowest QB rating in the NFL when he faces 5+ rushers. Vick is dumb…He will make the mental mistakes to lose the game if the Steelers force him to make quick decisions.
The Steelers linebackers have to close the deal in the passing game. Brent Celek is a very talented tight end…The Steelers will struggle to cover him. Whoever draws the assignment must eliminate all yards after catch….The same thing for Shady McCoy…McCoy is also talented in the passing game…He will get his catches…He must pay the price when he catches the ball. I said the Steelers must close the deal in the passing game…What I mean by that is simple. If you touch the man with the ball he goes on his ass. Timmons cannot tank tackles or blow sacks on Vick…Same thing for Foote and Woodley.
The Eagles have some major threats in the passing game. Desean Jackson is the Eagles Mike Wallace. Ike Taylor will draw Jackson and he will need a ton of help over the top. Jackson is a burner and one of the true vertical threats in the league. Jeremy Maclin is the Eagles Antonio Brown…Maclin may have better pure speed than Brown…Maclin will run ugly routes at times. Kennan Lewis will draw Maclin in coverage and he will need help over the top at times. Jason Avant is the Eagles 3rd wide receiver and he plays a similar game to Hines Ward post 2005…He makes the tough catches over the middle…Throws the key block on the bubble screen…He is the possession receiver on 3rd and 7. The Eagles will utilize Damaris Johnson in a Chris Rainey type of role…He is lightning in a bottle and a big play waiting to happen any time he touches the ball.
The key for the Steelers is not being forced to include Clark or TP in the run game. I promise you the Eagles are going to max protect and run boot action and attack Taylor vertically at least three times in this game. The Steelers defensive backs have to drop the hammer on the Eagles receivers every time they touch the ball.
If the Steelers don’t blow coverage’s or rush lanes I believe they can shut down this offense.
Steelers run game
I do not expect Rashard Mendenhall to walk on water in his 1st game back.
Max Starks and Trent Cole- Cole is an undersized demon rusher with zero quit to his game. I expect the weather and field conditions slow down the wide 9 a little bit Sunday afternoon. Max Starks has to land some body blows in the run game to slow Cole down. Starks has to play like a 6-7 360 pound man in the run game…I understand Starks is far more Teddy Bear than Grizzly Bear…The Steelers need creases in the run game…Starks has to find a mean streak or he is useless in the run game…He actually clogs holes playing patty cake at the line of scrimmage…Lock on and move your feet you gigantic pussy. I expect the Steelers to down block with Pope (useless) and Miller on the Eagles defensive ends at times…The Steelers tight ends better be ready to brawl or they will wind up on their knees or asses.
Colon sucks and Derek Landri- Landri had two killer games against the Steelers in 2007…It still haunts me. Landri is an undersized battler who plays six inches off the ground…He is coming off injury so he may be limited. 1st round pick Fletcher Cox will spell Landri. Colon is terrible in the run game. I expect the Eagles dominate this matchup. The Steelers best hope is to down block Landri with Starks and hope that Miller or Pope can block Cole maybe the Steelers will get lucky and Pouncey can pick off Demeco Ryans. Colon is a worse option than Chris Kemoeatu in the run game.
Pouncey- Will show why he makes Pro Bowls this week. Call it a gut feeling.
Foster and Cullen Jenkins- Jenkins is not the player he once was. Ramon Foster is morbidly obese. I was shocked how fat he is. Foster cannot get to the 2nd level…He literally lacks the foot speed to move 9 feet. If Foster gets off the ball and get his hands inside of Jenkins pads he will maul him…If Jenkins has the Steelers snap count down he will eat Foster up. This is a must have matchup for the Steelers. The Eagles will also wave in Cedric Thornton…Thornton lacks the cement in his pants to hold the point…He can use his quickness to blow up blocking schemes and make plays.
Soft Gilbert and Jason Babin- Gilbert should beat the piss out of Babin in the run game. Babin does not even play the run…He has one goal fly up field and make plays. Gilbert has to land his punch every single freaking play. Gilbert when motivated is a fantastic right tackle…Ability wise he has everything you look for…He is mentally weak. Gilbert should have one goal in this game…Be a war machine.
The problem with the Steelers run game is a mentality…Flozell Adams, Jeff Hartings, Alan Faneca, Leon Searcy tough guys…If the Steelers ever expect to run the ball successfully they need 5 men upfront who want to kill someone. These men cannot zone block…They can line up and win battles hat on a hat.
Heath Miller and Leonard Pope will be asked to block undersized defensive ends in the run game…It’s a matchup the Steelers really need to win at times. Eagles weak side linebacker Akeem Jordan is expected to miss the game. He will be replaced by Adrian Moten…Michael Hendricks starts at strong side linebacker for the Eagles…The Steelers need to cover him up in the run game…Hendricks struggles to beat blocks from wide receivers in motion…Kendricks will make all the plays when he is unblocked. Eagles middle linebacker Demeco Ryans is a tackling machine…The knee injuries robbed him of some quickness he will make plays if allowed to roam unblocked.
Mendy has something Dwyer and Redman lack…Talent. Will Johnson is an albatross as a fullback…His effort is pathetic. The Steelers running game is dependent on the offensive line. Jim Brown or Barry Sanders would struggle to have success running the ball the past few weeks behind this offensive line.
The Steelers receivers try hard in the run game…They are not very effective. I think Wallace should consider cutting corners at the line of scrimmage. Asomugha is very tough against the run…Rogers-Cromartie is big but not very physical. The Eagles safeties are terrible against the run. Kurt Coleman and Nate Allen both are comparable to Mundy against the run…Mundy will actually crack someone unlike the Eagles safeties.
The Eagles struggle to beat blocks at every level. The Eagles stop the run with quickness and hustle. They have allowed 1 rushing TD for a reason…They struggle to stop the passing game in the red zone. The Steelers must simplify the blocking scheme…I believe the Steelers can be effective running the ball against the Eagles.
Ben being a Gunslinger
Starks and Cole- As much as I want to bitch about Starks in the run game…He has been very solid in pass pro. Cole is a midget who flies up field…He has the quickness and balance to attack back to the inside…He can duck under the offensive tackles punch and gain the edge…Cole is hell on wheels rushing the passer. Starks has to get in his pass set and land his punch…The matchup is basically over when Starks locks on. I should fear this matchup…I don’t.
Colon and Landri- Colon is a fat piece of shit….He has been an upgrade over Kemoeatu in pass pro. My major issues with Colon are the false starts and failure to block the line stunts. The Steelers did a nice job with the line stunts against the Raiders…I expect the Eagles test the Steelers the same way. Landri is just nonstop action and motion…He plays like he has Parkinson’s disease…His best skill is his motor. Fletcher Cox on the other hand is a big quick strong dude…His rush game is raw…He is very talented and could physically man handle Colon at times.
Pouncey-Must do a better job with the line stunts and anchoring at the point of attack. Pouncey was de-cleated in back to back games by blitzers that just can’t happen.
Foster and Jenkins- Jenkins knows every trick in the book rushing the passer. Jenkins lacks physical dominant talent at this point of his career…He beats blockers with his mind…He sets up the linemen and takes his heart…Foster has been fundamentally sound in pass pro. Foster has to set the tone in the run game…Jenkins has to be hesitant to rush the passer by the end of the 1st quarter.
Gilbert and Babin- Babin like Trent Cole is just nonstop rushing the passer…Babin has no quit…He will counter off his initial rush and chase the quarterback all game if he has to. Gilbert just needs to pound him and pound him…Babin will slowly break physically…He won’t break mentally.
The biggest help for this offensive line is simple…The snap count. Ben and Haley have to make it a part of the game…Offensive linemen have one advantage they know when the ball will be snapped other than that…They’re screwed. The Steelers need to vary the snap count and the rhythm of the offense…It will slow down the rush and help the run game immensely.
Heath Miller will be blanketed by Michael Hendricks…Hendricks is excellent in coverage. Miller’s best chance to make plays is using his big body to shield Hendricks from the ball. The Steelers should plan to incorporate Will Johnson in the passing game…If the Eagles want to blitz their balls off let’s see if they can cover our 4.5 running fullback. Mendy and Rainey are threats in the passing game…My expectations are low for both players. Pope is useless and Ben has no faith in Paulson. Demeco Ryans struggles in coverage…He has ball skills…He lacks foot speed in coverage.
Mike Wallace will draw Asomugha…I pray Castillo allows Asomugha to cover Wallace without help over the top…Asomugha is a very good corner…He can’t run with Wallace…He can walk up and bump him and ride for 5 yards…Wallace has to beat the jam and make plays. Rogers-Cromartie will draw AB…Once again I hope Castillo has the hair on his nuts to play AB without help over the top…Cromartie is a big long strider with great ball skills…I have a feeling Brown exposes Cromartie’s tight hips in coverage. Sanders will draw Eagles rookie corner Brandon Boykin…Sanders should have no problems exposing Boykin in space. Steelers receivers are going to be forced to beat jam coverage…If they do…They could have ginormous games. The Eagles safeties Kurt Coleman and Nate Allen have good ball skills…They are not great coverage safeties…Neither can run with a Steelers receiver in space.
Ben has to deliver the ball on time…Ben has to take what’s there. It’s in his best interest to vary the snap count…The most important thing protect the ball.
Special teams- discontinued because the Steelers suck