Thursday, August 14, 2008

Steelers vs. Bills Review

Well, the Steelers lost and that sucks. But, ya know, it's the pre-season and we can get past that. What's difficult to get past is how crappy the first team looked against the first team of Buffalo. Let's break it down...

The first team looked like crap:

There's really no way around this. They looked like crap. And, really, I'm willing to give Roethlisberger the benefit of the doubt on his interception. That's a tip drill play and, 9 times out of 10, it falls harmlessly to the ground. Donte Whitner made a great play on it and that's why the Bills reached for him in last year's draft.

However... on offense, there were two holding penalties and two false starts. The run blocking was fairly inspired and I like Chris Kemoeatu. He looked fat, angry, and effective. I think he's going to be an excellent replacement for Faneca if he learns how to pass block. The pass blocking, for the second game in a row, was decent.

The thing that concerns me is the mental errors and the fact that it was pretty easy for the Bills -- a team that we crushed last September -- to knock us out of synch on offense and defense. And it was really unsettling to see the Bills run the ball with impunity on what is supposed to be one of the best front sevens in the NFL.

But our offense and defense looked really good against their second team:

I think it's important that all the starters looked like they were coming off the field and Tomlin said, "Aw, hell no. Get your asses back out there!" The first team guys re-gained some confidence after being pushed around and they learned that half-assing their way through things is not going to cut it.

After 15 years of a player's coach like Cowher, Tomlin is refreshing. I don't know that he'll be more successful than Cowher, he's just refreshing at this point.

The Good News:

Christ died for our sins. That's really good news, because it means that every human that believes in Him gets a fresh start.

Oh! The good news for the Steelers! There's some of that, too. The Bills are breaking in a new offensive coordinator, so they had more bells and whistles in their game plan than did the Steelers. The Steelers were basically running a vanilla offense and hoping they could out-talent the Bills. Unfortunately, Buffalo brought the scheme, and we looked crappy.

In the regular season, we probably win this game, but the bad news is that we're not that much more talented than the Bills, who figure to finish at or under .500.

Just when I thought there was something positive...:

Leodis McElvin ran a kickoff back for a touchdown. Aside from a missed field goal by Jeff Reed (he'll be fine, he's a professional), the special teams coverage units looked really solid (although the return units were fairly sucky). Then McElvin ran that kick back pretty much untouched and I came away with the game with a Pollyanna-ish outlook being pretty much screwed.

Byron Leftwich looked okay:

But he held the ball too long and couldn't pull the "college shit" that Roethlisberger can, as evidenced by his lost fumble that was overturned by the refs.

He still might work, but I'll be nervous if Ben goes down and Batch isn't healthy, forcing Leftwich into the line-up. He doesn't get rid of the ball quick enough like Batch and he can't hold it and pull off a hero play like Ben. I'd be nervous, but not as nervous as I'd be if Dennis Dixon was handed the keys. I... guess that means it's a good signing.

Rashard Mendenhall continues to improve:

He showed poor vision on a couple of runs, the coaching staff talked to him, and he was more patient other times. He demonstrated great patience and vision on his touchdown and it looks like the sky is the limit for this rookie. Willie Parker will have his time -- definitely this season while Mendenhall is learning -- but the young man from Illinois will be the starter before long if he keeps improving like this.

The tackling and fundamentals sucked my balls:

There are three guys on the team that know how to tackle. They should sit down with the position coaches and teach the rest of the team how it's done.

Their names are: James Farrior, Bryant McFadden and... wait for it... Lawrence Timmons.

As much as I was opposed to the drafting of Timmons, he is a Collision Tackler. Ronnie Lott, one of the most feared hitters in NFL history described football as a collision sport. He would aim at a spot behind the man he was trying to tackle and try to reach it. Timmons has a similar tackling philosophy. If you want to bring a motherfucker down, Timmons is your man.

The Steelers need to propagate this philosophy throughout their defense. Tomlin has said that a football game is a war of attrition. In order to atrophy our opponents, we need to tackle like Timmons as a defense.

Getting Troy back and having him instigate some of these collisions, as well as teaching the defense as a whole to tackle in this manner will bring us closer to our goal: A World Championship.

1 comment:

  1. As long as they win the two most important games of the season I can sleep at night.
    Beat those Browns!