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Journal FortKnox's Journal: Football: The Steelers 19

OK, I missed the JE about the Indy game afterward.
Here's the deal: The Steelers didn't run the ball, but its because they fell behind. Can't play a shootout vs. Indy. Similar thing happened with Cincinnati, except they had the game until they killed themselves. Bad special team play along with 4 turnovers killed the Steelers.

So, what do I have to say? Well, the Steelers are playing like ass. Dick LeBeau blitzes, so most teams are playing max protect. This is a bad thing, but there are some positives. Ike Taylor, forced to start this year has really picked up his game. He shadowed Marvin Harrison and Chad Johnson in back to back games. Take away that fumble-up first play 80yard pass to Harrison, and he kept both players under 60 yards total. He'll be a serious asset next year. Bryant McFadden, a DB the steelers picked up this year (2nd round draftee) is coming into his own. Now playing the nickle-back, he has the ability to start in a year or two, making the entire secondary very strong and very young. I only have one problem. Chris Hope the FS. I was a big fan of his cause of his hard hitting, but the more QBs pick on him the more he shows that he can't cover well. A spot to be looked at this offseason. Which brings me to my next point:
When you go 15-1, you keep as many players as you can going into the next year so you can try to repeat. When you are hoping for other teams to lose to even GET into the playoffs[1] after a good season, you look for change.
I see the following changes:
A shakeup on the offensive line. Look for a new RG, as Kendall Simmons hasn't been the same since being diagnosed with diabetes. LT Marvel Smith, once a probowler, isn't looking so hot (nor has his replacement, Trai Essex, but he has an excuse, as he's a rookie).
New starting WR: Antwaan Randel El doesn't deserve a bigger spot besides the slot. He can't handle the starting spot. Cedrick Wilson can get SO OPEN with that speed, but drops 80% of the balls thrown to him. Quincy Morgan, though, has been fabulous as a fourth reciever. Look for him to possibly take that starting spot (he came in after training camp). He's tall, quick, and physical... just a failed draft pick by the Browns.
RB situation solved: Honestly, Willie Parker had me sold at the start of the season, I didn't see much in the middle, and yesterday, except for coughing it up twice, he actually had some good runs. I say stay with him, and keep Duce on for 3rd downs. Drop Verron Hayes and I'm guessing Bettis is probably done. Draft a few backs.
QB depth: Hopefully we can score Charlie Batch again for a backup. Drop Tommy. We all saw how bad he's been... no reason to keep him around.
DL: Youth needed, possibly. Kimo Von Olehoffen is getting old, but his backups are young and may be ready to step up.
LB: Get rid of Clark Haggans. He's a good LB, but James Harrison is more than adequat and is tons cheaper. Larry Foote hasn't impressed me this year.
DB: The youth is looking good, but Chris Hope needs competition.

Coaching: Dick LeBeau will never get an bad mark for me as a DC, however Ken Wisenhunt has not shown me a good offense. Most of the big plays are Ben adlibbing, not what Ken Wisenhunt is producing. Maybe the Steelers WRs coach, (former browns OC) Bruce Arians could step up? If not, there's always Russ Grimm...

[1] - SD has to lose once and KC has to lose twice. Not completely unfeasable. KC has Dallas, NY Giants, SD, and Cincinnati. SD has Miami, Indy, KC, and Denver. Both tough schedules, and as long as the Steelers win out (not as easy as it sounds. Chicago, Minnesota, Cleveland, Detroit), they should get the wildcard.
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Football: The Steelers

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  • weird that the Steelers finish out the year against the NFC North (minus the browns, of course). Interesting, in that I'd expect them to play, well, you know, AFC teams. Oh well.

    The Vikes aren't as good as advertised. They've played exactly no one during this run, other than a shaky Giants team.

    Watch the Bears next year. My sleeper pick to win it all, assuming they stay healthy. If they make it to the playoffs this year, which I fully expect them to, they'll flame out in the conference championship, if
    • Hopefully they'll have the Orton/Grossman thing figured out before next year. But with that defense... that's some solid stuff ya got there.
      • Hopefully they'll have the Orton/Grossman thing figured out before next year.

        Yeah, I'm with you on this one. It's been a long time since I've felt this good about Bear's football. (The 2001 season I knew was a fluke, so never got my hopes up)

        Orton has so much potential, it's ridiculous. If he can just perform at his best each week, the Bears will be pretty tough to beat. They need one more threat at wide receiver and for Orton to step up....then they'll have a complete team.

        I don't know which I'm more
    • That would be great if the Bears won it all.

      That would shut up all those stupid people who insist on calling that 2000 Ravens team the best defense ever.
      • That would shut up all those stupid people who insist on calling that 2000 Ravens team the best defense ever.

        I've met a few of these people. I call them "Moe-rons". the 85 Bears were the best defensive team ever. Although, in an interesting collary to the 85 Bears, this year's Bears team has better stats in most areas than the vaunted 85 team. Interesting.

        Keep up the good work in your journal dude.
        • this year's Bears team has better stats in most areas than the vaunted 85 team. Interesting.

          .. but they don't have Walter Payton or Jim McMahon. That 85 Bears team was something special.

          • The offenses certainly do not match up.

            I think that 85 team really dominated their opponents in time of possession. This Bears team is around 28-29 minutes a game-- not so good. When you think about it though, it really makes this years defense look good.
      • as a browns fan i've been watching with joy as the ravens tank. with all that talent (except for QB) they should be a lot better.
    • I wouldn't say the Giants are shaky, although that was definitely their weakest game. Otherwise, I've been surprised at how well Eli's been playing.
      Iggles, though, they're done. They need to win out, the Cowboys to lose out, mannah to fall from Heaven, etc. But at least they have a lot of young guys getting experience. ;-)

      I like the Bears. Orton is doing just enough (in a lot of ways, just like Eli and, to an extent, like Big Ben last year.) Mistakes kill QBs, except Joey Harrington, and these guys don
    • The Vikes aren't as good as advertised.

      well, I _did_ say they had an easy schedule... but the giants game was one where the minnesota defense got to shine. it's not often you beat a team without your offense managing to score more than a single field goal*, with fewer than 80 yards completed in the first 50 minutes of the game.

      Like I said before this season, the vikings defense is going to be a problem for some teams, but the lack of an offensive game plan has them crippled.

      the vikings have talented player
  • It seems as Marvel Smith goes so do the Steelers. He is probably the thrid best offensive lineman on that line but when he is off it seems that offense struggles.

    I don't think Hartings or Simmons are playing all that well either.

    Word is that Russ Grimm is the early favorite for the Detroit job.

    I think Whisenhunt gets at least one more year.

    When the Steelers lost that Baltimore game I thought they would be on the bubble to make the playoffs. They certainly did not help themselves by losing to the Jags-- ti
    • I figgered Grimm would get a head coaching job within the next 3 years. The Steelers were lucky to get such a solid O-Line coach. Hopefully, they'll find someone else just as good.

      If they miss the playoffs, I see Wisenhunt gone (hey, how about bringing marriuchi in as OC?!?! Yeah, I know, I know... I can dream, though), if they make it in as a wild-card, he'll get another yaer. I'm still not impressed by him, though.
      • Can't the Skins just bring him back on the offensive line? Because we really need some of the Hogs back.

        But as an 1982 vintage fan, I would be very proud to see russ get a head coaching job.

  • What little of the game Colts game I saw it seemed that Pittsburgh fell out of its running game pretty quickly. I don't know any team right now that can hang with the Colts in a shootout. I think yesterdays loss did the Steelers in though, even if they still have an outside chance. The Chicago game should be a good one.
  • Did you know about the rule called the "Fair catch Kick"? I saw the little thing ESPN did about it. It was news to me, but I figured FortKnox of all people would probably have heard of it.

    This question is totally off topic from the "Stillers" , I was just wondering though.

    I like the bizarre rarely used rules.

    Sean D.
    • I know you can fair catch a kickoff. And if you saw the last cincy game, there are some situations that may not seem right:
      Guy muffed the fair catch in the air and the steelers player caught it. It was a penalty. By calling the fair catch, you get an unmolested shot at catching it, even if you bobble it. The other team cannot interfere unless the ball touches the ground after it touches the fair catch player.
      • no, the fair catch kick is an option when the receiving team chooses to fair catch ANY kick-off (including punts). If they do, they have the option to start their ofense at 1st and 10 OR they can attempt an unopposed kick from the spot of the fair catch. This means that:
        - the other team must line up 10 yards from the line of scrimmage (like a kick-off)
        - The other team may not break the 10 yard barrier until the ball is kicked.
        - the receiving team sends out its
        • It's sometimes a good play to run at the end of a half if you have no time left to run any plays.

          I believe the Titans tried it coming up to half-time during one of their games this season but the free field goal attempt came up a bit short. Apart from that, I've never heard of anyone trying it for a long, long time.

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