10.11.2008

Report Card: Week 5


With each week comes new reason to think that the next game is the one that will define the season and forever alter the Steelers' shot at another 'ship. The contest against the Jaguars appeared to be one that we'd be relieved to simply get through without any substantial injuries, lick our existing wounds and attempt to mount a charge into the remainder of the schedule against the hapless Bungles.
But...we found $20 in the back pocket of our jeans. That dick who passed us going 100mph got pulled over a mile later. And our girlfriend decided to take "Stripper-robics". Yeah, it was that kind of day.
Maybe we'll look back on the Jacksonville game as the high point of the season. Maybe we'll consider it the momment that our team (and offensive coordintor) finally jelled. Maybe I'll just keep self-touching every time I think of our linebackers. Whatever the case, I'm glad that I'm so painfully superficial that the outcome of a professional sporting event can so easily determine my mood for the next two weeks.
Kudos if you had the stones to take our boys +5 going in...

OFFENSE


QBs: B+
309 yards passing. The quick passing game was a key to his (and the offense's) success, hitting Miller over the middle numerous times and Washington, Ward and Holmes with shorter routes. It's good to see that our offense has been altered to accommodate for our inadequacies a the line AND our strengths in personnel. I still get frustrated when Ben's "internal clock" malfunctions and he holds on to the ball too long, but it's a double-edged sword as he also often will scramble away or make a pass like he did in the 4th while in the grasp over the middle. Ben is one of maybe three or four QBs that can make that play and he's the best of the bunch at doing it. Horrendous INT in the first keeps him from an A.

Line: C-
I was very hopeful that Kemoeatu would step into the starter's role this year and shine...not so much. He was the Jags whipping boy Sunday night, overmatched and overwhelmed. Stapleton appears to be a capable replacement, but Colon had another off day with a false start and holding. Nobody on our O-line seems to be capable of pre-snap adjustments to obvious blitz packages and are thrown way off by stunting, etc. Our offensive skill players continue to compensate for these glaring weaknesses and while this can hold up for awhile and against all of our divisional opponents it is NOT reliable. Work needs to be done here.

Wide Receivers: B
Despite a few surprising drops by Hines, the three-headed monster of Holmes (4 for 65), Ward (7 for 90-1td) and Washington (6 for 95-1td) took advantage of a suprisingly soft Jaguar secondary and really got open for Ben. It looked like Holmes will be getting the bulk of the doulbe teams going forward - and this freed Ward who filled his typicical role with great, clutch catches including the final TD catch.

Tight Ends: B-
I DVRed this game and going back through, it was easy to spot Miller and Spaeth missing some important blocks that resulted in Ben feeling pressure early. These guys are not effective against DEs and with our max protect schemes, that's where they line up. It's also one of the main reasons the pulling plays weren't working. Miller looked great catching the ball though, hauling in 5 for 45 with a TD.

RBs: B
High marks have to be given to Moore for stepping up into the starter's role and running between a collapsing line all night - 99 yards on 17 carries is impressive. Russell's 25 on 6 carries was a nice number to never have to depend upon. It's games like this one that prove that the Steeler's approach to football dictates adequate backs (not stellar ones) in order to be successful. Also, I'd love to see some outside the tackles play calling like we saw in the 2nd and 3rd quarters for Willie when he comes back.


DEFENSE

Line: B+

38 yards rushing. These boys played tremendously considering we were down 2 starters and the Jags O-line was supposed to be one of the better units in the conference coming in. Smith, Keisel and Hoke all played big and freed up some serious lanes for the linebackers. Anyone else see when Hoke pushed a C and RB into Garrard and did enough to allow Woodley to pickup that sack?

Linebackers: A
Woodley gets 2 sacks and is seemingly instantly thrust into the national spotlight and Harrison grabs one and a forced fumble. Farrior, Foote and Timmons all represent swarming backers that any team in the NFL would die to have and will have to scheme for going forward. Like so many other years, it's looking like there'll be a bunch of boys in Black and Gold suring up the linebacker corps in Hawaii.


Defensive Backs: B
Zone coverage most of the night meant there weren't many problems, save an interference call on Taylor in the end zone. Why he didn't have deep help from Troy is odd, may have been a blown coverage. Shutting down Matt "nose candy" Jones was exactly a herculian task, but Ike did well. McFadden actually looked the best, swatting away three passes. Troy played well again and was not as involved as there were literally no plays developing too far down field.


SPECIAL TEAMS


Kickers: A-/B
Standard evening for Reed with a bunch of Kickoffs touched back and everything going through the uprights. Strained calf scares the shit out of me. Mitch Berger out of nowhere with the 49.5 yard average. Whatever.

Return/Coverage: C/C
Good job, Santonio still scares me and fucked up that one kick, dancing around. That kickoff was attrocious, being run back for 40 yards, but it seems that our punter and coverage team are clicking together.

COACHING

LeBaeu was on his game again, shutting down the Jags runnings game and keeping Garrard from being very effective. Realistically, we were two plays away from having an absolute route Sunday.

The absence of Marcus Stroud on the Jags' D-line is obvious as few doubleteams were necessary on our part and there was not real "game changer" on the other side of the ball for them. This allowed for no real doubleteams and meant teeing off on linebackers down field by freed up linemen. I would feel a lot better if we get the fullback position more involved in the running game, but do take solace in the fact that Arians apparently has been shown his role and Ben is clearly the leader in the huddle - good stuff.Excellent way to go into the break, I fucking loathe losing into the bye. Now hurry up and heal, boys...


2 comments:

Spatula said...

Do you have the website for Stripper-robics? I think my wife might like ... oh, hi honey. What? No, honey, I was just kidding. You know, guy talk. Put that down! Ow ow ow ....

Vern said...

At quick glance I thought you were going to give out grades for the bye week.