Loose Slag from The Still Mill (Dec. 6th)
** Before too much praise is heaped on OC Kevin Gilbride, don�t forget that against Oakland, our offense had to waste TWO timeouts because of slackly, plodding movement in terms of getting the playcall into the huddle, and then breaking the huddle and getting to the line of scrimmage. Both times, Stewart got to the LOS with about 5 seconds left on the playclock, and then had to waste a TO in order to avert a penalty. I�ve lost track, but I feel certain that this offense has wasted at least 18 timeouts thus far this season. Let's also not forget that the Stillers lead the league in snapped balls with one-second left on the play clock...happened about 15 times last week. Gaypride simply cannot get the play out of his grab-bag quick enough...I suggest either larger cards for Gaypride's fat fingers, or a larger bag...
** For the second week in a row, Cowher used the word "improvision" in his weekly press conference to describe a QB doing improvisation in the pocket. What we don�t need, is another Don King, making up words as he goes along�.
** Said Cowher in the press conference: "You�ve gotta be careful that you don�t overcoach�.I know I did that to Earl (Holmes) a couple weeks ago�.I had Earl so screwed up against Cincinnati, that he was robotic." Thanks, Bill. Nice work!! Great idea, making your most aggressive linebacker passive and robotic� attaway to hinder what is obviously that LB's best trait --- mean, aggressive, in-your-face play.
** Speaking of Holmes, there�s one LB on this team who truly deserves consideration for the Pro Bowl. Name is Holmes�Earl Holmes. Disregard the fact that he has no gaudy sack or INT stats, which obviously removes him from any real consideration, because the majority of simpletons who vote simply look at some raw stats. Holmes has been a force, consistently stuffing the run and throwing RBs back for losses. Anyone who�s watched just half the Stiller games this year should have full knowledge that Holmes has been the best, most consistent physical presence out of our LB corps.
** For the record, Brent forced the first Wheatley fumble, not Henry. Keevin did have the initial hit, but Brent�s hit is what stripped the ball. And for the record, Flowers, not Gildon, recovered the second Wheatley fumble.
** Speaking of Brent Alexander, he might be -- just behind Kevin Green -- the best dollar-for-dollar FA acquisition this team has ever made. Brent has supported the run superbly -- including a key stuff on 3rd and 1 versus Oakland -- and has put an end to all the hideous long pass plays that killed us in �99 and early in �00. Come to think of it --- how in the world did Scott Shields ever beat out Alexander ??
** Despite imbecilic statements, like Savran�s "Huntley simply is not sturdy enough to be a feature back", Huntley once again had some hard hits on Sunday. On special teams, he laid a couple jarring hits. As a RB, he made a couple good, hard blocks, including a devastating chip-block on Regan Upshaw in the 1st quarter that sent Upshaw onto the ground.
** Both Wayne Gandy and Marvel Smith had mediocre days. Gandy struggled like a mama�s boy against Upshaw, both in pass protection and run-blocking. More than once, Gandy lazily allowed backside pursuit to nail Bettis on a plunge up the gut. I realize Gandy has the bad shoulder, but this was his worst game of the year. On the bomb to Troy, Smith was literally steamrolled onto his back by third-string DE Josh Taves. If nothing else, Smith needs to spend 6 hours a day during the offseason in the iron-house, along with some one-on-one tutoring from a Mike Webster kind of guy, in order to toughen up his ability to deal with brute power-rushing.
** Despite Cowher�s rhetoric, I�m still not pleased with the defensive scheme. Yes, we won, and we limited Gannon�s rushing yards. But don�t forget that the Raiders piled up nearly 300 yards in passing, despite dropping FIVE passes. Furthermore, the Raiders fumbled away two balls, which, combined with the clock-chewing drives of our offense, really hampered them in terms of getting more opportunities to move the ball and score. I just think that NON-existent pressure on the QB for an entire game is not the recipe for consistent success in the NFL. A marginal QB like Kerry Collins might pick us apart if we try this tomfoolery this Sunday.
** Said Cowher about fullback Dan Kreider: "He�s far exceeded what I thought he would do when he came in." Oh, ok. I guess that explains why Kreider, who is a far better blocker, was cut and Witman was retained. Maybe this adroit personnel-evaluation ability of Cowher also explains why there are so many EX-Stillers contributing elsewhere around the NFL�.
The Still Mill