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 Post subject: Re: One player away from a 4-3?
PostPosted: Fri Dec 22, 2017 10:10 am 
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Tuitt and Heyward are not 4-3 weakside DEs. They're just not explosive enough. I think Hargrave & Heyward would work as 3t and Tuitt
or maybe Heyward at LDE. You're going to ask Chickillo to put back on the weight he took off? Maybe he could hold up as RDE. I'd have to see Dupree at LDE or SAM to believe he could do either better than what he's doing now. Watt is straight up WILL in a 4-3, and would probably be very good at it. VW works as MIKE but IDK about his ability to go sideline to sideline.

Also, someone feel free to correct me, but I think press man with 4-3 is pretty rare. Usually those teams play some version of C2 as a base D, or bring a safety down and go C3.

To switch to a 4-3 you need at least 2 years, especially if Ben doesn't retire and create cap space. You have to draft LDE high (think Derek Barnett). You have to draft late or sign pass rush specialist like the rookie in Jax or, say, Pita Tamoepenu 6th round or later. You're going to need a MIKE to replace Shaz, in all likelihood. You probably need a nose tackle. You're going to be sitting at least one of Tuitt/Heyward/Hargrave at all times, maybe two of them, thus negating the advantage you have now on DL.

I'd rather draft a stud ILB and a FS, with OLB depth later, figure out a way to keep Haden, and get Sutton/Allen/Burns in competition for one spot-- easier path to improvement.

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 Post subject: Re: One player away from a 4-3?
PostPosted: Fri Dec 22, 2017 10:17 am 
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Side note: Looking at the current roster the Steelers have demoted RB Toussaint to PS and promoted WR Thomas to the 53. Does Thomas have any, Ant return ability? That will certainly help the cause as the ST's returns have been ultimately disappointing.


This does not make sense.

With Connor gone for the year.
Frenchy to the practice squad
Ridley only on board for the past few sunsets..........

That leaves Bell as the only player on the roster to take a hand off from Ben.
Rosie Nix has ZERO carries in three years.

With the way this staff dials down the game plan for teams that they "only need to score 18-20 points to beat"...........
Is Christmas Day shaping up to be a 30 -35 carry game for Bell.

Even if Ridley gets some offensive snaps.
History shows us Bells back up may get 2 carries at most.

I think these next two games, without AB, teams may stack the box and make Ben find connections with his young guys in Bryant, JuJU, Rogers, James, McDonald and Grimble.

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 Post subject: Re: One player away from a 4-3?
PostPosted: Fri Dec 22, 2017 10:21 am 
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I'd rather draft a stud ILB and a FS, with OLB depth later, figure out a way to keep Haden, and get Sutton/Allen/Burns in competition for one spot-- easier path to improvement.


If I recall....you were high on Allen pre-draft?

Is he a candidate, with his speed, size and length to make a switch to Safety?

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 Post subject: Re: One player away from a 4-3?
PostPosted: Fri Dec 22, 2017 10:40 am 
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Stosh-67 wrote:
Quote:
Side note: Looking at the current roster the Steelers have demoted RB Toussaint to PS and promoted WR Thomas to the 53. Does Thomas have any, Ant return ability? That will certainly help the cause as the ST's returns have been ultimately disappointing.


This does not make sense.

With Connor gone for the year.
Frenchy to the practice squad
Ridley only on board for the past few sunsets..........

That leaves Bell as the only player on the roster to take a hand off from Ben.
Rosie Nix has ZERO carries in three years.

With the way this staff dials down the game plan for teams that they "only need to score 18-20 points to beat"...........
Is Christmas Day shaping up to be a 30 -35 carry game for Bell.

Even if Ridley gets some offensive snaps.
History shows us Bells back up may get 2 carries at most.

I think these next two games, without AB, teams may stack the box and make Ben find connections with his young guys in Bryant, JuJU, Rogers, James, McDonald and Grimble.

Ridley is a very, very good KR, and he's a pretty good dual threat RB... if he can hold onto the ball. The Thomas thing is freaking weird to me–– maybe they wanted someone to be the scout team Nuke?

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 Post subject: Re: One player away from a 4-3?
PostPosted: Fri Dec 22, 2017 8:47 pm 
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I think many are stuck on absolutes when it comes to talking about a 4-3, as if it is just about adhering to some strict guidelines that there is no room for innovation or to do things differently.

I have been saying for a long time that we need to get our big guys out there, leave our big guys out there, have even 4 man lines with all of our big guys out there. There is more than one way to rush the passer, your big defensive linemen can wear down an offensive line, and if you are rotating them, it keeps them fresh. Opposing teams certainly do not rotate their offensive linemen in and out of the game do they?

In the first 13 games of the season we were playing man to man coverages only 12% of the time. This game against NE we played 65% man? And for the vast majority of the game we had our 3 man defensive line out there, not taking one out for that stupid 2-4-5. So, that 3-3-5 was the most successful defense that we have fielded against Brady in a long, long time.

We pressured, him, sacked him and hell even got him to throw an INT. How many games had he gone without throwing an INT against the Steelers?

In terms of other 4-3 defenses not playing man to man. Really? Minnesota they don't play man to man? Zimmer didn't draft Xavier Rhodes to be that huge shut down, man to man corner? Mike's old team, Cincinnati, they don't predominantly play man to man? Every game we face them that sure looks like Pacman, Kirkland, William Jackson the 3rd all playing man to man. Both of those teams are 4-3 defenses.

I just see people making excuses and having a fear of change. Now, with Shazier being injured and possibly not ever playing again, that gives the 4-3 haters just one more excuse. Me? I see it as an opportunity.

We may already have Shazier's replacement on the roster. TJ Watt might be that answer. I just watched the NE game and Brady and company wanted nothing to do with Watt in coverage. And that is very understandable. Watt in coverage was giving up a passer rating of 34.7. From PFF, 154 drops in coverage for Watt, only targeted 17 times and had 4 passes defended and 1 INT.

Watt to me could very well be the next Brian Urlacher. Urlacher was the centerpiece of that Chicago defense, the MLB and he was this mammoth player for an ILB/MLB. 6'4 258 pounds. He was a very good athlete, like Watt, played some on offense in college. Watt is 6'4 252

Urlacher 4.61 40, Watt 4.69
Urlacher 6.94 3 cone, Watt 6.79 3 cone
Urlacher 4.18 short shuttle, Watt 4.13
Urlacher 34 inch vertical, Watt 37 inch vertical

This past game against NE we didn't really get to see Watt used against Gronk, teams can simply avoid Watt if he is just a mere OLB and plays on one side of the field and you do not move him around. The answer to that? Move him to MLB, have him featured in a 4-3.

As a Brian Urlacher MLB, teams would not have the luxury of just avoiding him, Watt would be in the thick of things on every play. And to have 4 big bodies in front of him on the defensive line? To be protected like that and with his range and length and instincts? Watt could be a perennial Pro Bowl MLB for the next decade.

And for those that think the Steelers could never do this or would never think of pulling something like this off. That they would never entertain the idea of a monster ILB/MLB. Well, how do you explain Donta Hightower?

I think the Steelers were genuinely interested in signing him and he is a mammoth ILB who excels in everything. You can try and shoot my idea down of moving Watt to ILB but the Steelers have already been entertaining the idea of having a bigger player inside.

I keep saying this, but this defense is so young with so much talent that they just need to throw away this Dick LeBeau defense and make the switch to something new to take advantage of all of this talent. The possibilities are unlimited once you take off those Dick LeBeau glasses that prevent you from seeing it.

B2B, in terms of Chickillo not being big enough, or not being able to hold up at his current weight, etc. A 4-3 and a rotation along the D-line really eliminates those concerns for me. If you look at the snap count percentages I posted for Philly for example, if Chick is only playing 40% of the snaps, say 24 snaps out of 60, then it becomes a moot point. I watched Robert Mathis of Indy play DE for them and he was only 6'2" 235. They were pretty good at keeping him fresh, he was not playing 90-95% of the snaps either.

I think it would be very eye opening for some if they looked at other 4-3 teams, looked at the size and weights of their DEs and of their playing times, snaps counts. There is this misconception that you need to have a certain body type, certain athletes, etc. I just don't see that at all. Teams are being successful with nothing more than what we currently have on the roster.

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 Post subject: Re: One player away from a 4-3?
PostPosted: Fri Dec 22, 2017 10:30 pm 
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Stosh-67 wrote:
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I'd rather draft a stud ILB and a FS, with OLB depth later, figure out a way to keep Haden, and get Sutton/Allen/Burns in competition for one spot-- easier path to improvement.


If I recall....you were high on Allen pre-draft?

Is he a candidate, with his speed, size and length to make a switch to Safety?

I think he's a straight up man corner with unbelievable length, cover skills, and a willingness to hit/tackle-- Richard Sherman. If they don't give up on him and can develop him... sky's the limit. I think he could play some safety but it would be a waste.

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 Post subject: Re: One player away from a 4-3?
PostPosted: Fri Dec 22, 2017 10:33 pm 
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I'm with you in exploring Watt to the inside. We just don't have enough scary edge rush talent for either 3-4 or 4-3. Maybe that's the problem.

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 Post subject: Re: One player away from a 4-3?
PostPosted: Sat Dec 23, 2017 9:44 am 
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I don't know if that is the case B2B. Look at Philly, here they were running a 3-4 of sorts, they were using Brandon Graham as an OLB and some of the other DE types that they had as OLBs. Not really anything special, Graham was not really playing to his potential.

But then fast forward to Jim Schwartz taking over as the DC in 2016. Now instead of Connor Barwin and Brandon Graham masquerading as OLBs in a 3-4, now they are DEs, pass rushers in a 4-3. And they are part of a rotation where they are being kept fresh. Graham in particular starts to play well, he has 9.5 sacks so far this season in 14 games and has 15 sacks in his two years with Schwartz, and with him officially moving the team to a 4-3.

You look at Mike Zimmer in Minnesota with that defense. Look at his DEs, Griffin, Hunter and Robison. Griffin is in that 275-280 pound range, Hunter is 240-245 pounds and Robinson is 255 pounds. Griffin and Hunter are the starting DEs and average roughly 75% of the defensive snaps and Robison spells them both and gets roughly 50% of the snaps. Robison is 6'2 255 and has 10.5 sacks for the last two seasons with two games remaining. That is their rotational DE and he does not have elite measurables. If you squint, I don't know, I see a player like Anthony Chickillo who can become Robison for us. Dupree, he doesn't remind you of Danielle Hunter?

I just can't help but feel that if Mike Zimmer had Dupree and Chickillo on his team he would know exactly what to do with those two players, how to maximize their skill sets as pass rushers.

I think scheme and rotation can really elevate your defensive ends and have them play well even if they are lacking elite talent.

I am also not so down on Cam and Tuitt being able to play DEs, sure they would both look great inside next to Hargrave, and that trio would be incredible in a rotation, but look at Cam, 10 sacks with 2 games remaining, as a DE in a 3-4. Tuitt is even bigger, quicker and faster than Cam and I think he has more potential as a sack artist, even thought the numbers are not there right now.

The talent is there for a 4-3. All they need are just a few pieces here and there and that can happen easily in one season.

Look at what happened this season as proof of what is possible. We got a really good starting CB in free agency in Joe Haden. We got a damn good slot CB in Mike Hilton. And then we got an outstanding OLB in TJ Watt. We also picked up a really good free agent DL in Tyson Alualu. It is amazing what can be done in just one short year.

Last season we were depending on the likes of Ross Cockrell, Ricardo Matthews, Jarvis Jones, etc.

I see no reason why the Steelers couldn't pursue two mid-tier free agents, and spend two high draft picks and then have the personnel to make a switch happen, or at least have more hybrid looks where they do play more, genuine 4-3 defense against certain teams. Have their defense morph and flow to match the offense/QB they are up against.

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 Post subject: Re: One player away from a 4-3?
PostPosted: Sat Dec 23, 2017 11:45 am 
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Look at what happened this season as proof of what is possible. We got a really good starting CB in free agency in Joe Haden. We got a damn good slot CB in Mike Hilton. And then we got an outstanding OLB in TJ Watt. We also picked up a really good free agent DL in Tyson Alualu. It is amazing what can be done in just one short year.


That's a lot of change in one year. And add that to last year's influx of talent on defense with Burns, Davis and Hargrave.
That's 6 starters swapped out in two off seasons as the PS have changed out...
CB, S, NT, OLB, CB and Slot CB in Burns, Davis, Hargrave, Watt, Haden and Hilton...
With Cam Sutton and Alualu as added depth . That's 8 players in two off seasons with the promiss of Allen to boot.

Give me another off season of FA and draft and we can continue to build this defense.
Shaz was a huge hit.

Draft needs of FS, ILB and pass rushers.
And like you say....
Pass.
Rushers.

A FS that can cover ground with ball skills......or play awareness and recognition would be a HUGE upgrade over Mitchell.

A Hybrid ILB / SS type at ILB with coverage skills as best trait.

And pass rushers in third and later rounds.

I know I'm not devoting much of draft to offense....
But I expect Ben back.
I think if Ben is back..they Franchise Bell to have one more run with Ben.

A 3rd or 4th round RB or TE.
Or an upgrdade at those spots in FA.
A pass rushing 20-25 snap FA to replace Moats.

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 Post subject: Re: One player away from a 4-3?
PostPosted: Sat Dec 23, 2017 12:53 pm 
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No doubt Stosh, I can see this team being stocked on defense to the point where they can switch and evolve the defense.

Also, let us read the tea leaves shall we?

They did not draft a Casey Hampton type of NT. No, Hargraves is a 4-3 DT, a Warren Sapp/Aaron Donald/Geno Atkins type of pass rusher.

They continue to look at smaller OLBs, like a Travis Freeney, not your prototypical 3-4 OLBs. They keep sniffing around at college LBers that are destined to play in 4-3 defenses. And they also continue to look at and scout these S/LB tweeners that would really only work as 4-3 Will linebackers.

The whole Donta Hightower thing. Was the initial plan, if he was signed, to play him inside? If they switched to a 4-3 he could probably man the middle and Shazier would have been that weak side, Will outside linebacker. Ryan could have had so much freedom to use that super speed to just blow plays up. Watt being bigger could man the strong side with Dupree as a DE.

They keep saying how they want to get pressure and sacks with just 4 rushers. They (Tomlin/Butler) keep saying how they want to blitz less. They talk of how they want to play more man to man.

I don't know, if you ask me, it seems like they sure are going down the path of slowly moving this team to a 4-3 defense.

If you are not blitzing, playing more man to man, have an anti-Hampton NT in Hargrave, and want to get to the QB with just 4 rushers, what in any of that says 3-4 defense?

It is like they are trying to tear off that Dick LeBeau band aid off a little bit at a time, like they are trying to agonizingly, slowly make the switch over 3 or 4 years. Enough of that! Shit or get off the pot. Take that band aid and rip the damn thing off already. Yeah, there will be some initial growing pains but so what? It will be worth it.

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