Breakdown: Week 1 @ Pittsburgh

Discussion in 'Texans Talk' started by TexansSeminole, Sep 1, 2008.

  1. TexansSeminole

    TexansSeminole Hall of Fame

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    First off, let's look at the 2008 Pittsburgh Steelers:

    They have an excellent coaching staff. Tomlin is entering his second season with the Steelers and so is offensive coordinator Bruce Arians. The Steelers were very efficient on offense last year in Arians first year as the offensive coordinator. Big Ben had his best year yet, and was second in passer rating last year behind Tom Brady. They also return Dick Lebeau as their defensive coordinator who guided them to third in pass defense, third in rush defense, and first in overall defense.

    The Steelers offense:

    Big Ben (Pro Bowler) was a beast last year. 3,150 yards, 65% completion percentage, 32 touchdowns, and 11 interceptions. However he was sacked 47 times last year, so if we are going to stop Big Ben and this offense we will need to get pressure. This will be a good game, as the first game of the season, to get a pass rush going.

    Practically all of Big Ben's targets last year returned to the team this year. Santonio Holmes is developing nicely into their #1 WR, and a true force with his speed. He accounted for 52 catches last year for a whopping 18.1 yards per catch. That adds up to 942 receiving yards with 8 touchdowns. This guy is legit and we will need to game plan around him, as he will stretch the field. Hines Ward is still around and tough as ever. He had 7 touchdowns last year with 71 catches and 732 yards. Only 10.3 yards per catch is the lowest of his career, however he is still a very effective possession receiver and blocker. Limas Sweed and Nate Washington will compete for that #3 WR spot and they are both good receivers.

    They also have solid TE's in Heath Miller and Matt Spaeth. They can both catch it, and Heath Miller was a huge target for them last year catching 47 passes for 566 yards and 7 touchdowns. He has a similar skill set as Owen Daniels but he is alot bigger. 6-5 250.

    Their running game is really the scariest aspect of the offense, as always. Fast Willie Parker (Pro Bowler) returns but with a new sidekick, Rashard Mendenhall. They also have Gary Russell as a third running back. He was the third running back in that nasty group of RBs (Laurence Maroney, Marion Barber) with the Minnesota Golden Gophers. We will need to control this stable of running backs or we will have no chance in this game.

    Their offensive line looks like this:
    LT Willie Colon (18 starts) LG Kendall Simmons (76 starts) C Sean Mahan (52 starts) G Chris Kemoeatu (2 starts) RT Marvel Smith (103 starts). They lost Faneca but they should still have a strong solid group.

    The Steelers defense:

    This is the strength of the team, and arguably the best defense in the league.

    The Steelers run the 3-4 as we all know so it all starts up front with the 3 down lineman Aaron Smith, Galveston native Casey Hampton (Pro Bowler), and Brett Keisel. This is a very effective front 3, especially Hampton in the middle. He and Vince Wolfork make up the top 2 nose tackles in the league in my opinion.

    Their linebackers are scary. They have Woodley on left outside spot behind A. Smith, James Farrior and Larry Foote on the inside, and James Harrison (Pro Bowler) on the right outside spot behind Brett Keisel. Lawrence Timmons, the young linebacker out of Florida State and former first rounder is a key backup behind the outside linebackers. Bruce Davis, a rookie from UCLA, should also provide some depth behind the inside linebackers. Look for Davis and Timmons especially to get some playing time throughout the game, keeping those fast and instinctive linebackers fresh.

    Bryant McFadden, Deshea Townsend, and Ike Taylor are three solid corners to have. Look for Townsend and Taylor to start again this year with McFadden as a nickel back. Troy Polamalu (Pro Bowler) is their star in the secondary. This guy has arguably the most range of any safety in the league. Schaub will have to be smart when throwing the ball in his direction, because Polamalu is one of the biggest playmakers at safety this league has. We may see a change at FS after Anthony Smith did his talking last year at the wrong times, but it is also possible to see him back in that FS spot this year.

    Special Teams:

    They still have Jeff Reed as their kicker, and Daniel Sepulveda was their punter this year until he had a season ending injury. Mitch Berger is now their punter.

    Nate Washington and Melwelde Moore are their returners and neither are particularly dangerous.

    Yes guys, this game is going to be a hard one. We have got to run the football on these guys and keep their running backs in check or we are going to put our QB in some bad situations. This is the kind of game where you can get a QB knicked up. Hearing that in the first game is hard, I know, but without a running game we might end up seeing it.

    Ahman Green needs to come out and atleast contribute because a rookie like Slaton is not going to be able to carry our team against a FAST defense like this one.

    Matt Schaub should be fine if he has a running game to support him. Their corners are the weakest part of their defense, but still not a weakness. Maybe our receivers can have a nice opening day against them.

    Our defense needs to step up against the run. This preseason hasn't looked exactly promising when it comes to our run defense. I will look for our whole front 4 and their backups to really set the tone in this game. DeMeco should be successful with a good push upfront. Hopefully Greenwood steps his game up as well, or I look for another linebacker to come out and push him for time.

    Our secondary will have to be smart when dealing with Holmes, Ward, and Miller. It will be a true test for this secondary.

    This whole game will be a test for this team. We are facing a Super Bowl contender this week, one that has an strong identity (tough defense, run the football).

    Let's set the tone for the season. :fans:
     
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2008
    76Texan, alphajoker and J-Russ like this.
  2. CloakNNNdagger

    CloakNNNdagger Site Contributor

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    Excellent analysis. The only point I would have to disagree with is that if the preseason has any predictive value at all, that Steelers OL may very well be ONE OF OUR POSITIVES.
     
  3. Tedc

    Tedc Hardheaded

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    I have to agree with Cloak on the offensive line of the Steelers. They are hurting and are not playing well as a unit. Last year they allowed 47(?) If I remember correctly) sacks and this year they haven't shown that they are able to do much better allowing 11 in the preseason.

    Parker should get the most carries but Mendenhall has produced fumble-itis and needs to prove he won't fumble every 10 carries.

    If our D shows up (which is what I expect) and we are able to produce pressure on Ben, we will be OK.
     
  4. Vinny

    Vinny shiny happy fan Staff Member

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    the key is stopping the run...if the Steelers have second and third and short all day long they won't have to protect as long or run elaborate patterns when they pass the ball.
     
  5. TexansSeminole

    TexansSeminole Hall of Fame

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    I agree completely.

    The Steelers have alot of weapons to throw short passes to. Heath Miller vs. Greenwood is a mismatch in their favor and Hines Ward has a knack for picking up those types of first downs.
     
  6. 281

    281 Hall of Fame

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    i THINK justin hartwig is their starter at center... don't quote me on that, though. former titan.
     
  7. TexansSeminole

    TexansSeminole Hall of Fame

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    I know Hartwig is on the team, but Sean Mahan started all 16 games and 2 postseason games for them last year at center after signing as a free agent so I assume he is the starter. You could be right though.
     
  8. SteelPhantom

    SteelPhantom Rookie

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    Hartwig is our starter. he's a decent upgrade over Mahan........but that's not really a compliment seeing as how over 20 of the sacks last year were accredited to Mahan.

    i'm excited to see this game. i hope your O-line can bring it, cause our LBs may very well kill someone this year.:specnatz:
     
  9. 281

    281 Hall of Fame

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    i just want it to be known i loved woodley coming out of college... he's a beast.
     
  10. TexansSeminole

    TexansSeminole Hall of Fame

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    20 sacks! That's crazy. Good luck to Hartwig.

    I agree Woodley is a good player.

    I'll tell you what though, watch out for Lawrence Timmons. That guy earned the Hit Stick two years in a row coming out of spring at Florida State. He can bring the wood.
     
  11. Brando

    Brando Site Contributor

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    :gun: I didn't even think about that matchup. Thanks for the heads up.


    Troy Polamalu on the defense is a pest so look for him to make some plays for the Steelers. That being said he is coming off of a hamstring injury and I think his 1st game back is against us. He's a player though.
     
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2008
  12. HJam72

    HJam72 Hall of Fame

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    Green, Taylor, and Slaton meet Palomalu....and please meet him often on pass plays.
     
  13. Maddict5

    Maddict5 Hall of Fame

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    isnt hampton waaaaaay overweight? will he even be playing?
     
  14. CloakNNNdagger

    CloakNNNdagger Site Contributor

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    They have him listed at 325 pounds, which may look valid if you're looking at him from the wrong end of a telescope. But the Steelers have given up on his getting to the "ideal weight" and began allowing him to return to practice with the team about 2 weeks ago. Throwing a cheeseburger or two behind their DL may reverse his directional inertia and impact in the upcoming game.:gun:
     
  15. Norg

    Norg Hall of Fame

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    Iam not going to lie this looks scary ...........:thinking:

    but how good are they on the deep ball we all know if the run game fails us it will be up to the OL and Matt to gun sling it seahawks STYLE !!!

    but that will also be a negative becasue that will tire out are defense :thinking:
     
  16. CloakNNNdagger

    CloakNNNdagger Site Contributor

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    Also, left guard Chris Kemoeatu just started practicing with the team about 2 weeks ago after recovering from a partial triceps tear. An OL needs the triceps to help push off the defenders as he comes out of the crouch. He probably still has weakness in his play, and probably accounts for another facctor involved in the weakness that has been noted in the Steeler's OL.
     
  17. alphajoker

    alphajoker Hall of Fame

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    Excellent analysis TexansSeminole. I know the Texans want to establish the run game but realistically, it has been missing in action throughout the whole preseason. I think they will use the short to intermediate pass game to set up the run and from there, play action. That should give us the best chance to control the clock and keep their offense off the field.
     
  18. Texans_Chick

    Texans_Chick Utopian Dreamer

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    Pittsburgh is a hard team to play, especially on the road. They lost all of one home game last year.

    The Texans were a stinky road team last year, winning only 2 of them. Some of those problems were due to injuries at key times of the season, but it is hard for a team to learn how to consistently play well on the road.

    Here's a nice piece between FanHouse Blogger JJ Cooper and our Diehard Chris from Houston Diehards. It's mostly Texans focused, but has a little Steeler flavor.

    Behind Enemy Lines: Five Questions With a Texans Blogger

    As much as we worry about our secondary, I am very worried about our run defense. Maybe they unleash something new once the regular season is starting, but given what I've seen the last two years, color me skeptical.
     
  19. Vinny

    Vinny shiny happy fan Staff Member

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    the problem is if you cannot stop the run without loading the box you set yourself up to give up big plays. We are going to struggle if we have to bring a S low to help with the run because Reeves has the look of a cornerback that always needs someone lurking over the top. I can see them running from a 3 wr formation quite a bit, then busting us when we are in single coverage worried about the run too much.
     
  20. threetoedpete

    threetoedpete Hall of Fame

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    Great pre-view Seminole. So is Okoye matched up with the guy with the two start experience ? This is the game they need Okoye to show up and throw his chubby legs over that damned wall and pull himself over.
     

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