Rush Defense Need Not Look Like This

If there were any aspects of the Steelers game that I wouldn't have expected to be wringing my hands about this season, it would be the run defense. Now after being pummeled for 200-plus yards on the ground at home to Fred Taylor and MJD, they face fantasy bust Steven Jackson who is finally getting his legs, having peeled off 143 yards and a touchdown in a loss against Green Bay on Sunday.

If the D was vulnerable without the suddenly acclaimed Aaron Smith (seriously, more praise was heaped upon Smith in his absence by Greg Gumbel and Dan Dierdorf than I've ever heard when he's actually been in a game), that entire side of the front seven is looking spread thin with his replacement Travis Kirschke and backer Clark Haggans out this week.

Haggans replacement, LaMarr Woodley, may help to contribute to another element of the defense that has been sorely missed the last month: the pass rush. The defense as a whole seems to be playing back on its heels, eschewing an attacking style that was present the first half of the season.

With the last complete game having been the Monday night game against the Ravens, the Steelers are at a point where if they're going to do anything beyond backing into the playoffs, something at least approaching a commanding performance needs to be on display.

And, yeah, I know this is the old version of the Nike ad that has some Steelers player with a number 4 (presumably a practice squad punter) playing goal line defense. And what's with 93 and 41? We still have Joel Steed and Lethon Flowers? You would think Michael Mann would have been more circumspect with the details.


Joey Porter’s Pit Bulls said...

Clark Haggans said on his radio show last night that he "definitely" will play on Thursday night.

If Woodley's healthy, though, I wouldn't mind seeing what he can do. to help the pass rush.

Beating the Rams should be no problem, right? Right?! But that's what we all thought about the Cardinals, Broncs and Jets. Damn. No, seriously, if we can't get to Bulger multiple times this week, something's seriously wrong. Bulger's a very good QB, the Rams have outstanding receivers, Jackson's an excellent running back, but the Rams' offensive line is in shambles. Plus, the stands should be full of Steeler fans.

tiny350Z said...

It's funny you put up that commercial. I've been thinking about it a lot... especially after watching this last game.

MDultrarunner said...

I think Woodley will play fine in place of Haggans, though I'd still like to see Haggans start if he's healthy.

I'm more worried about the D-line. Kirschke's out, and Eason is starting. If he goes down, practice squad rook Ryan "Steely" McBean could see some playing time. Shouldn't this be a little worrisome with Jackson starting to get his legs back?