One-Man Tsunami

Vince Wilfork is a dominant player. Standing just 6’2″ but packing a reported 325 pounds (FYI, i’m guessing he’s closer to 400lbs than his listed weight of 325) of beef-a-lo in his Patriots uniform, the guy is a run-game stuffer. He may look like 10lbs of potatoes packed into a 5lb sack in his uni, but make no mistake about it he is dangerous to the running game health of the Pittsburgh Steelers. With a guy of his girth in the line-up, one of the tools in the toolbox for … Read More

Brady Rules of the Game

The New England Patriots passing game is lethal. Everybody knows it, and everybody tries to do something about it, most ending in futility. I’ve spent a week watching tape on the Patriots The rules of the game, so to speak, of beating Tom Brady include; 1. Possess the football, keep Brady on the bench. (Score a TD, recover an onside kick. Wash, rinse and repeat) 2. Pressure the middle, force him to move off his spot and preferably to his left where he is “less effective.”(While watching tape of Brady, … Read More

Synergy, Chuck Noll Style

When you look at the Patriots offensive line, some curious observations can be made. They appear to operate opposite of what other lines in the NFL do. On pass plays they are very aggressive in their short sets, engaging opposing defenders quickly even when there is no play-action. They “set-short” and make it a phone booth fighter size ring and battle away. This can only be done when you have absolute confidence in your quarterback to stay on schedule with the ball and Brady gets it out of his hands … Read More

Get a Stopwatch

In last years loss to the Patriots 39-26, the Pats blitzed (if the stats compiled by Greg Bedard are accurate) Ben Roethlisberger on average, nearly every other throw. In Ben’s first 6 throws, the Patriots blitzed him 6 times, twice sending 6 guys. This kind’a pressure produced 4 sacks, 12 hurries and 3 knockdowns. Maybe taking a page from the playbook of Tom Brady might be prudent. Brady threw the ball 10-yards or less on three-quarters of his 43 pass attempts while spreading the Steelers out with four and five … Read More

Mike Tomlin

“We are going to remain focused on the minute details of our assignments, we are going to try to play within the scheme, we are going to play real hard.” (Mike Tomlin) The Steelers are sitting at 4-2, with a defense that has created just two takeaways. One fumble recovery, one interception. Not exactly where you want to be in the plus/minus ratio, defensively speaking. After posting 35 takeaways last year the Steelers are on pace to rack up just 5. That’s a drought of famine-like proportions. The question posed … Read More

Getting a Win on First Down

The importance of getting a win on first down for an offense was underscored in the game against the Jacksonville Jaguars. A win on first down is a basic building block for having a successful offense. In the first half the Steelers had 13 1st and 10 opportunities. Five of those were wins (4-yards or more), and produced at least 1 other first down. Of the 8 they did not get wins (less than 4-yards), 5 produced at least 1 first down. Of the 3 1st and 10 opportunities that … Read More

Chris Hoke

One of the guys that punched in a teriffic gameday performance was Steelers NT Chris Hoke. I gabbed with Hokie after the game, and we started talking about the first play from scrimmage, when Chris Johnson laid a fast 21-yard gain on the Steelers. “Bro, i was panicking!” Hokie said laughing, because he got cut while trying to get playside. but after that Hokie had no problems busting the backside “A” gap and getting down the line to his run-gap. Chris Hoke reminds me of a junkyard dog. You can … Read More

No Sacred Cows

After listening to Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin talk at his press conference, i came away with the distinct impression that Mike is not a believer in the old adage “A starter can’t lose his job because of injury.” Listening to his words,and his demeanor while discussing Chris Kemoeatu, Rashard Mendenhall and Bryant McFadden left the indelible impression that the people who stepped in for the injured guys may have made a lasting impression and could be up for more playing time. While Mike might “Save a seat on the … Read More

(Big O’l) Max Starks

Got a gander at Max Starks this afternoon at the Steelers southside practice facility. Big o’l Max (you can’t say Max without saying big o’l) isn’t quite that big anymore. As a matter of fact he looks kind’a…well…lean. Not lean like good corned beef, i tell you, but lean enough as compared to the off-season where Max reportedly tipped the scales above the 400lb range that’s usually reserved for Sumo’s, your occassional Yeti or the next contestant on the Biggest Loser. Max is at this juncture a very welcome addition … Read More

Gimme Three Steps

So i’m down at the southside watching the Steelers going through a practice session. I end up in conversation with Aaron Smith, and then Casey Hampton stops by. Then James Farrior and James Harrison. The topic moves to chop blocking and how it’s the technique “Du jour” of the day. All these guys are honked off about it. Without really thinking i blurt out “Back in the day it was legal, we used to do a ton of it.” Well, you might’a thought we were suddenly transformed back in time … Read More