Notes From The Still Curtain
Being in charge of retail distribution for one of the largest american retailers (in this economy), I haven't given Stillers.com the requisite time I intended to, but my silence is over. I've painfully watched, enjoyed, labored, and agonized thru this season thus far and share extremely mixed emotions about our performance season to date. Nothing is more exciting than beating down the Ratbirds, Ray-Ray and the rest of the trash talking criminals that reside on the purple sidelines, but here are some of my thoughts:
Our running game is non-existent. Has the flash in the Parker pan passed? Is it our O-line's inconsistency to create holes? I say BOTH! Too often, I see Parker take a handoff and come to a halt looking for a hole with a tremendous amount of indecision. He's a speed back and is looking for the home run that isn't there rather than taking what's available which may be 2-3 yards. That indecision creates no gain or 1-2 yard loss each time. It's convenient to blame to O-line (which isn't good by any means), but Moore doesn't get stopped for losses. The Ratbirds RB's simply plowed into the lines and created their own yardage yesterday and quite frankly was their only offensive weapon!
It's been about 12-13 years since our secondary has been able to hold it's own (Woodson, Lake, Perry) and I don't need to hold my breathe every time a pass is thrown. I see Tomlin's influence here because it's the difference between a Cowher D and the current unit you see. They are all Cowher's disciples, but playing differently. Ike is now face guarding the #1 receiver rather than playing zone with a 10 yard cusion all game. Moss got 1 catch....Owen's 1 catch.....etc... He can't catch anything, so have him blanket the #1 receiver and take both of them out of the game! I like it!
The other improvement of the secondary is that we are getting off the field on 3rd downs more frequently. Cowher's defenses were great for creating 3rd and longs (12,13, 15 yards) and then giving up the 1st downs. Have you noticed less of that?? Pola is blitzing less and now has a league high 7 Int's! I think they have found the right balance for Pola and is incredible playmaking talents!! The blitzing takes him out of the play if he doesn't make contact. Gay, McFadden, and Town are all quality CB's, so depth is better than ever. I've almost forgotten Chad Scott and his weekly ability to give up the bomb or equivalent PI flag on a 50 yard pass!
Big backs have success against our 3 man D-Line. Had they ran McLain all day, he would have absolutely gained 100+ yards.
Ponder this one....would our Defensive stats be this good if our special teams weren't SOOOOO bad!!???? Think about it....the opposing teams never have to go more than 50 yards for a score! How much longer can we take this?? Berger actually hit some good punts yesterday and the coverage was AWEFUL! We place Russell on KO returns because we have no one else?? There is absolutely NO THREAT of him EVER getting a TD. He's safe! He will get you to the 20 and maybe the 30 if he breaks a tackle. What other team places a 230 lb back to return kicks?? WTF???!! The Bears can substitute anyone and they can take it to the house!
Tonio! Tonio! TONIO!! WAKE UP!! He makes me furious! There is not a game that goes by that he doesn't drop a critical pass or have a boner of a play! He has more talent than all the receivers put together, but his ball skills are simply AWEFUL!! He doesn't catch with his hands...he uses his body too often! Where the hell is the receivers coach here?? He is a drive killer. Yeah, he came thru on a clutch catch to win the game....but did the game need to be won at the last minute?? If he ever gets his head out of his ass, he could be great!
Has anyone seen or heard from our 4th round draft pick OL Tony Hills from Texas? Is he hurt or simply relegated to the rookie bench not permitted to dress or ever test his talents until his 2nd year as per norm?!
Bruce Arians is a complete and total moron! I can see you all shaking your heads in agreement saying "no shit pal"! There is ONE bright side to him....ready? It is IMPOSSIBLE for the opposing team to game plan for our offense other than 4th and 1 because it makes no sense to ANYONE IN THE NFL!! Have you noticed that EVERY time Ben runs no huddle...the offense thrives?? Shouldn't be a surprise, because it's Ben being Ben and improvising and calling his own plays. Ben has his moments, but take the shackles off of him. This guy can flat out win games! We can criticize him all we want, because he's OUR QB! I wouldn't trade him in for anyone else! All you fantasy footballers can judge him based on TD's and Yards, but all he's done is win 50 games in the NFL faster than any other QB in the HISTORY of the game! By the way...we have at least 3 more games to go to expand on that stat!
So, now that I have done my bitching....I can't be more excited about the possibilities of this off-season! I think the Stillers expose the Titans and Kerry Collins as frauds next week! With the tough schedule they have had this year, to be 11-3 with the possibility of home field advantage is simply amazing! They find a way to win which makes this team special.
My wife gave birth to my 3rd and final child on 11/29 and the Stillers have done nothing but reward me with victories over the hated Pats, Cowpokes, and Ratbrids....My little girl Molly is my good luck charm and she was wearing her first stillers jersey yesterday, a Ward 86....right next to my 2 1/2 year old Ben with his #7, my 5 1/2 yr old Zack with his #43 and dad sporting good old #58 Lambert! My wife was shopping!
All the best and may you all have a very merry and black and gold Christmas! Next up...Mary Collins and the Teen Titans! A good D, but the INT machine will reappear!!