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Loose Slag from The Still Mill

October 22, 2008 by Still Mill

Loose Slag from The Still Mill


- In case no one has been keeping tabs, here�s a list of the QBs that Def. Coord. Dick LeBeau has had the luxury of facing thus far in �08: 


-          Matt Slaub, Hous.

-          Derrick Anderson, Clev.

-          Don McNab, Phil.

-          Joe Flacco, Balt. (rookie)

-          David Garrard, Jax

-          Ryan Fitzhue, Cinci


It�s almost laughable that the best QB of this pathetic lot is Don McNab. 


Here is the list of RBs LeBeau has had the luxury of facing thus far:


-   Steve Slaton and Ahman Green

-   Jamaal Lewis

            -   B. Westbrook (Injured and left the game in the 1Q); and C. Buckhalter

            -   W. McGahee (Injured and left the game in the 1H); and L. McClain

            -   Jones-Drew  (Injured and left the game in the 1H); and F. Taylor

            -   C. Benson and K. Watson


Granted, LeBeau doesn�t assemble the schedule.  Granted, he faces whomever he is forced to face.  I bring this up merely to point out the long line of cream puffism and slouches that Dick has had the luxury of facing so far.  With this kind of outrageous good fortune, this guy ought to be playing the stock market and the lottery with every spare dime he owns.  His luck of facing bumbling clods runs out on Sunday afternoon, however, as he faces Eli and a deep stable of very strong backs


- Larry Timmons had his most extensive PT of the season vs. Cinci, and responded with a sterling effort.  He was all over the field, providing good pass coverage, good run support, and superb pass rushing.  OLB LeMarr Woodley had (yawn) yet another strong game in which he manhandled and wreaked havoc on whatever blocker was assigned to him.  


            The myopic oaf will claim that the bench rotting of these 2 fine LBs is now somehow helping them play at this level.  That�s pure folly.  Each of these players was very, very highly skilled, with outstanding physical prowess.  Both came from big-time college programs, meaning they didn�t have to be spoon-fed and coddled the way an Ike Taylor or a Dicardo Colclough needed.  Not all, but most of what these 2 players are doing this season could have also been accomplished last season.  Timmons could have rushed from the ILB spot; Woodley from the OLB spot.  There�s not a whole lot of encyclopedic knowledge, nor sage-like wisdom, nor Yoda-like experience required to pin your ears back and rush a QB.  Down the stretch last season, when Haggans and Foote/Farrior were doing absolutely nothing, this dynamic duo could have given the defense an immense boost.  Instead, they rotted.  The ability was there all along; the only thing that was missing was opportunity. 


            Rotting is nothing new on the LeBeau defense.  4th year CB Bryant McFadden -- a 2nd round draftee, no less -- rotted his 1st 3 seasons.  He was again rotting in �08, and only an injury to greybeard veteran DeShea Townsend, who is well past any prime he might have had, finally allowed McFadden the chance to play.  All�s McFadden did was give the team the best CB play this season out of any man on the roster.  


It�s become readily apparent -- to me, at least -- that the fault for defensive rotting wasn�t Cowhard�s, nor Tomlin�s.  The root problem is LeBeau and his bizarre, over infatuation with making the defense overly complicated, along with doing nothing to minimize that challenge with a young player.  Part of Dick�s job is to be the trainer, the educator, and the mentor of a talented rookie.  But Dick has no interest in any of that.  Dick�s theory of teaching is to blindly toss the rookie into the deep end of the pool with anchors chained to each leg, and when the rookie shows the slightest struggle in the deep end, Dick runs to the head coach and denounces the rookie as a dumbassed incompetent incapable of playing defensive football.  Sickening and sad, but true.  


- On the other side of the ball, we all have been pleased with the production of RB Mewelde Moore, who has been fabulous the past 3 games since injuries wiped out Parker and Mendenhall.  The question that should be asked, however, is this: exactly what was Arians and company thinking in their blatant benchrotting of Moore?  


            Moore isn�t some greenhorned rookie 6th rounder that needed 14 games to get acclimated to the NFL.   Nor was he acquired at the end of camp and therefore without knowledge of the offense, as he was signed way back on March 3rd and attended the OTAs, the mini camp, and all of training camp.  Yet here was Moore, a veteran RB and supposedly the team�s �3rd down back�, ignored like leper the first 3 games of the season and actually getting less touches than Carey Davis, a blocking fullback. 


            Through the first 3 games, Moore had 1 rush for 6 yards and zero receptions.  Since then, due entirely to injuries, he�s gotten ample PT and has responded like a top-flight starting RB, averaging over 5 yards per carry and snaring 11 passes in those 3 games.  Again, as with Timmons and Woodley, the ability was there all along; the only thing that was missing was opportunity.  Moore didn�t just learn how to play pro football 3 weeks ago.  It�s downright frightening that this coaching staff spent nearly 5 months with this player, on a nearly every-day basis, yet they had absolutely no clue as to what he could do on the football field.  Keep this in mind the next time you hear the bullshit blather of, �The coaches are around (insert player name here) every day in practice and they see every day what he can do, so I trust their judgment as to why he�s not playing more�� 


- Keeping with the theme of rot and leper treatment, it�s nice to see Nate Washington integrated into the offense.  Through the first 2 games, Nate had zero touches of any sort.  Since then, in the past 4 games, he�s had 15 grabs at a 15 YPC clip and 2 TDs, along with an end around that not only netted 11 yards but also a 15-yard personal foul penalty by the Ravens that helped to ignite what had been a stagnant offense that evening.  Again, as with Timmons, Woodley, and Moore, the ability was there all along; the only thing that was missing was opportunity.


- Another leper worth mentioning is TE Matt Speath.  It�s widely agreed that the Stillers use the 2 TE set more than just about every team in the NFL, if not every team in the NFL.  This means Speath is getting an assload of playing time, yet the 6-7� TE has 2 grabs for 12 yards in 6 games this season.  Huge, athletic, and reasonably talented, Spaeth will, at this pace, finish the season with 5 catches for 32 yards.  By no means am I demanding this man catch 63 passes this season, but doesn�t 5 seem a bit low for a 2nd year TE with his size, skills, and playing time? 


- Shifting gears, we can fully expect the Giants to mimic the Eagles and frequently blitz the QB from a variety of angles. They�ll be eager to overload an area to see if they can get some free shots at Ben the way Philly did most of that wretched loss.  With Moore�s emergence and proven reliability, it is imperative that he be used on quick flares on quick screens to exploit the jailhouse blitzes. 


- Related to the point above, we already know that Arians fully despises using Parker in the passing game.  Parker, blessed with speed, agility, and toughness, has the tools to be a major factor in the passing game.  Yet in 14 games last season, he caught (hold your laughter) 23 passes.  It�s not unreasonable to suggest that Arians would submit to a multiple tooth extraction without any painkillers before he would agree to using Parker in the passing game.  The concern going into this game, then, is that we have to almost pray that Parker�s workload is limited, lest we revert back to the bland, predictable, Cro-Magnon, Parker-based offense that was obliterated by the Eagles in Week 3. 


- The Stillers are now 15-2 in games that Chris Hoke starts at NT.  This, despite the constant bleating of, �Casey Hampton is what makes this defense tick.  Without him, the whole defense would crumble and fall apart.�   With the team heading into an offseason where it could very well lose 4 starting-caliber offensive lineman and a 5th (Simmons) recovering from a severe achilles injury, all the while pressed up against the sal cap, Colbert ought to be peddling Hampton around in a trade for draft picks or an unheralded Stapleton-type lineman that can step in and perform.  Hampton is a fat lard who showed little dedication in getting his weight down before camp.  His value to the team, as proven by the won-loss record with Hoke as the starting NT, is grossly overblown.  The ball is in Colbert�s court to pull the trigger. 



Still Mill and -- �When it comes to the analysis of the Pittsburgh Stillers, no one else comes close�.�


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