Time to Get the Hatred Back
November 4, 2011
Allow me to take you back, oh about a couple or three months ago, to the Baltimore Ravens� first pre-season game. The opponent is Philadelphia, but I can assure you, it�s not the Eagles the Ravens are thinking about. No, as they�ve practiced and watched film, there�s another squad wedged deep in the crawlspace of their minds: your one and only Pittsburgh Stillers.
All year long, since the night in January when the Ravens were released to the golf course, the Ravens had been steaming. It�s bad enough you blow a couple TD lead at halftime, but when you get knocked out by your worst� enemies, it tends to play on the mind. The Ravens may have been preparing for their pre-season opponents, but you can be sure it�s the Stillers they�ve been gameplanning for each week.
Flash forward to early summer, and Coach Harbaugh on ESPN talking trash about how the Stillers love to talk trash. Then imagine the Ravens sweating at camp, practices boiling over as they think about that team in Pittsburgh. The Ravens don�t just hate the Stillers, they�re obsessed with them. And that obsession leads to a single focus.
Now fast forward to opening-day weekend. The Ravens have had plenty of time to absorb the sound of Woodley and Ryan Clark yukking it up on ESPN. Woodley says the Ravens will never be going to the Bowl �in his lifetime.� The Sunday Post-Gazette predicts an easy Stillers win, and calls the Ravens the �new Houston Oilers� � owned and conquered, a problem solved. And the fans? �Ah, why even hate the Ravens anymore, we�re so over them.
The Ravens prepare for the game with playoff intensity. The Stillers? Well, let�s just say they�re loose and relaxed, and leave it at that.
Guess which team wins?
But the Ravens aren�t just satisfied with winning, they�re faking extra points and going for two, up three touchdowns. They�re throwing into the end zone up 35-7. They�re out to humiliate. After the game they try to say the right things about respecting the Stillers and all, but Suggs lets the true feelings slip out: �God can have his (Roethlisberger�s) soul, but his ass belongs to me.�
And so, it�s time. Time to get that feeling back, that disgust you feel about these thugs, that feeling that lasts all game week. Time again to hate Suggs and his mouth and drama-queen posing. Time again to hate that stupid chicken dance Ray Lewis does before each game. Time again to hate those gay-boy douches they call fans in Baltimore, and the oh-so-queer �move those chains, move those chains, ooh!� thing they squeal up in the stands. Time again to hate the sight of Harbaugh pouting on the sidelines when he doesn�t get his way with the refs. Time again� to hate that lineman who false starts every game, and that lame-ass movie they made about his life. Time again to hate anyone who ever put mediocre Flacco in the same league as Ben. Time again to hate that punk Ray Rice and all the trouble he starts. Time again to hate Crackmore, Maryland � time to hate crabcakes, too.
It�s time to hate the Baltimore Ravens, Week One Champions of the World, and all the clowns on TV who crowned them.
Most of all, it�s time for the Stillers to hate again. And it�s time to get back to laying the wood, not taking the wood to the ass. You playing this week, Hines? Get in there for one play even � provided you knock somebody into the turf and out of the game.
It�s time to get intense again.
It�s time to get the hatred back.
Congratulations to Dick LeBeau for finally scrapping the Maginot Line defense (see my commentary from last year) he usually runs against New England. The Stillers dropped the soft zone and played plenty of press-man, taking away all the open field that Mr. Bundchen normally feasts on. What we saw Sunday was the same kind of defense I was screaming for the Stillers to use against Green Bay last season � keep thought filed for future use.
I�ve been hammering home all year the point that the Stillers need to use their best feature � Roethlisberger and the Young Money crew � to win games. The Stillers short-passed the Patriots to death, and yes, moron critics, that was Roethlisberger doing it from the pocket all game.
After the game, Coach Tomlin warned that there was no way the Stillers could do the same thing against the Ravens without getting punished. Don�t look for us to put it up 50 times next week, he said. Sorry to disagree, coach, but the Stillers should do EXACTLY what they did against New England�s defense, at least til the Ravens show they can stop it.
Why? First of all, quick-release passes will help Ben not get killed by the two guys the Stillers never have an answer for, Terrell Suggs and Haloti Ngata. Secondly, the o-line is miles above the unit that opened the season in Baltimore. The pass-blocking should be better this time around. The Ravens secondary is nowhere near as bad as New England�s, but it�s not the strength of their defense either. You�ll hear smashmouth this, run-the-ball that before the game, but that�s not how to play the Ravens. Keep to YOUR strength: Roethlisberger, Miller, Sanders, Brown and Wallace.
INTRODUCING THE �DIESEL� DEFENSE
Will James Harrison play Sunday? That would be nice. In the meantime, here�s a defensive look the Stillers can show, which I call the �Diesel� after the featured player in it, Brett Keisel.
�������������������������������������� DE���������� NT���������� DE
����������������������������� LB���������� LB����������� LB �������������SS
����������������������������� CB����������������������������������������� CB
The current linebacker shortage means the Stillers must get creative with their personnel. They also need to take of advantage of Keisel�s versatility and athleticism. In the Diesel, Kiesel becomes a hybrid DE-LB, able to stand up on the line or drop back behind it. He�s also free to roam before the snap, switching sides depending on his pre-read. Sometimes he�ll rush, sometimes he�ll drop a la zone-blitz. In this formation Troy Pola has also moved up into the linebacker box, ready to blitz or provide run support. The idea is to key on Rice, and make Average Joe beat you with his arm. (Good luck with that one, Ravens.)
The one constant is a single deep safety drop, designed to take away Flacco�s preferred throws. The Ravens bring deep speed at WR the Patriots lack (as they basically run a bunch of TEs out in New England). The Ravens bring Torrey Smith, however, so the deep game must be respected more this week. Not only that, but half of Flacco�s game is to chuck it long and hope his WRs can make him look good. Too often they come down with catches off blind deep throws. That kind of cheesy cheap-and-deep stuff cannot be allowed to happen Sunday.
Big win last week, even bigger game coming up �� what could be better? Enjoy!