Loose Slag from the Still Mill, on the Jax Loss (Aug. 12th, �01)
(Editor�s note:� I scrubbed the game tape on Monday evening, and compiled about 80% of this report that evening...long before the terrorist attack occurred.� The publishing of this report is in no way, shape, or form, meant to take anything away from the series of cowardly attacks and resulting tragedies that have struck our proud nation.)
Some loose slag gleaned from the scrub of the ugly game tape...
- The injury of Kimo was the result of a dirty cheap shot by Jaguar tackle Tony Boselli.�� On the play, which was a basic run by Taylor up LT, Boselli charged out to block ILB Earl Holmes.� However, Boselli whiffed badly.�� Boselli then got up off the ground, and seeing no one else to block, dove into the back of the legs of Kimo, who was already engaged with a blocker to his front.�� This was a malicious, dirty, cheap-shot that should be met with a steep fine from the NFL.� And if the NFL refuses to issue the fine, then the Stillers must take matters into their own hands in November.
- Wait a minute.� The NFL will assess a fine, only if they are alerted by the team concerned with the dirty play.�� It�s rather implausible that the Stiller coaching staff will even notice this glaring violation on film.�� Don�t agree?� Consider these excerpts from the PG:
��� - Jacksonville Coach Tom Coughlin revealed at his news conference yesterday that the Jaguars noticed a flaw in the Steelers' punt protection long before Sunday and took advantage of it when Jon Witman missed a block and Darius blew by him in the second quarter. "We thought it would work," Coughlin said. "We had practiced it."
��� - �Another problem for them was Jacksonville strong safety Donovin Darius, who kept blitzing at just the right time. Ward said Darius timed the snap count and no one blocked him.� "He's already in the backfield before anything can happen. They just disrupted our offense.� Donovin, with the blitz, was just going up inside every time and we weren't picking him up."
���� Hey, great job of pre-game preparation on the punt team, which apparently had this blatant flaw for WEEKS.�� Great job of in-game adjustments against Darius� blitzes.��
- Speaking of cheap shots, Holmes was pushed from behind near the end of a play by Jax FB Pat Washington early in the 1st quarter.� Holmes immediately popped up and had something to say to the cowardly Jaguar.�� I suspect that McCardell may very well have pulled a similar stunt in the 2nd quarter, in which Holmes and McCardell shoved a bit before Boselli drew a 15-yard flag for shoving Holmes.�
- Funny guy, that Mike Mularkey.�� He spent the entire pre-season claiming that he was �hiding� his covert, top-secret offense.�� Then, after running the reverse to Hines Ward about, oh, 9 times in pre-season, what does Mularkey do versus Jax?� Why, he runs the same reverse, which gained all of 1 yard.�� Hey Mike -- any chance you can maybe have Ward throw from that reverse, or do something other than what the opposing defense has already seen dozens of times on film ??
- Well, at least Mularkey is willing to beat his head into a wall to prove a point.� Case in point:� Mularkey ran the toss-sweep, using his tubby tailback, 4 times vs. Jax.� The results?�� Gains of -2; 4; 1; and 0.��� Seems like a pretty good ploy, Mike.� Gaining less than 1 yard per crack seems like a surefire recipe for success.
- Speaking of Bettis, wasn�t it just a few weeks ago that the local media was once again doing its perennial fawning over the tubby tailback, Jerome Bettis?�� Hasn�t the local media spent most of the summer claiming how slim and trim and quick Bettis is, and how he�s in the �best shape of his life�?� Funny -- every time I watched Bettis attempt to run wide, or run laterally after he�d initially gotten through the line of scrimmage, he looked as slow as molasses, and was easily dragged down.� Amazing how quick a guy looks, running through 72-inch wide holes against cream-puff defenses in preseason.
- Marvel Smith really looked sorry on the tape.� Amongst his pitiful plays, was the sack he gave up to Hardy.�� Smith�s footwork and handwork were on par with what you�d expect to see from a Division-2 backup tackle.� Russ Grimm is doing wonders with this guy.
- Gandy and Faneca were not innocent vs. the Jags.�� On the 4th & 1 in the 4th quarter, Gandy pitifully whiffed on Paul Spicer, who got in for the sack.� Faneca, who had nobody to block on the play, offered no more help than throwing an anchor to a drowning man.� Very poor.�
- Speaking of offensive linemen, how �bout �The Savior�, Jeff Hartings?�� When he was signed -- in lieu of signing a solid veteran DE or WR -- all of that fatty cap money was justified in the name of the unbelievably great blocking Hartings would provide.� Funny -- I didn�t see even one hole that was 6-foot wide versus the Jags...
- Hines Ward, the newly extended receiver, had 3 drops and 1 fumble versus the Jags.�� Take away his 34-yard grab, and Hines averaged a whopping 8 yards per catch.�� Seems like we should have offered Hines even more money.
- For those ridiculing the pass defense of Earl Holmes, take note:� On most plays, Simmons, or one of the safeties, was responsible for Brady, not Holmes.� In fact, on one 1st quarter reception, Brent slipped in his coverage.� The one play he was a bit out of position, was the 15-yard TD reception by Smith.� After seeing the tape, however, I have to wonder:� exactly why was Lee Flowers standing 9 yards deep in the EZ when the ball was caught?��
- I wasn�t pleased with the 3 batted passes that Stewart had.� However, here�s where each of those passes was headed:
��� 1st batted pass:� 2-yard out to Fu
��� 2nd batted pass:� 4-yard curl to a blanketed Tuman
��� 3rd batted pass:� Tylski got wheeled back, as though he was wearing roller blades, by the DT Gary Walker, who then had an easy batt of the pass.
I�m not totally absolving Stewart of the batts.� After all, on at least 2 of these plays, he might have been chickening out and settling for the shorty dump.
- How �bout that new, Mamby Pampy Defense of Cowher and Lewis?�� What a joke!�� Haven�t seen anything so soft -- and shit-related -- since Charmin came out with their new improved toilet paper.�� I charted 24 of the 26 Jax pass plays.� Here�s the breakdown of the number of pass-rushers:
� 3 rushers:� 3 times (including Smith�s 15-yard TD catch)
� 4 rushers:� 15 times
� 5 rushers:� 6 times
� 6 or more rushers:� 0 times
Of the 6 times we rushed 5 men, we caused 2 throw-aways; and 3 inc. passes.�� The 34-yard TD pass to Smith was on a 5-man rush, but Porter did cause the flush of Brunell.� There was also another 5-man rush that forced Brunell to scramble for 7.� Just like the opening day whipping from Dallas in 1997, in which Troy Aikman was given 10, 11, even 12 seconds to stand unfettered in the pocket and shred the Steeler defense, this softee scheme of rushing only 3 or 4 men is outrageously asinine.� If Cowher cannot get some testosterone pumped into his female anatomy and get some harassment on opposing QBs -- and soon -- it�s going to be a long season.�