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Do Steelers have answer for Pass Rush?

Postby thesteelhammer » Tue Aug 12, 2008 7:13 pm

"Hot Reads" and "Maturation" are their answer? :?


I'd feel much better if the answer was the second coming of Anthony Munoz.

Steelers have answer for pass rush

By Mike Prisuta
Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The Steelers have scored easier touchdowns, but not many.
Third-and-10 from the Philadelphia 19.

Ben Roethlisberger sees the Eagles showing blitz.

Santonio Holmes sees the same thing.

The quarterback and the receiver exchange a quick glance before the ball is snapped.
Roethlisberger accepts it from shotgun formation and releases it again before he can take two complete steps backward.

Holmes makes the catch, puts a move on cornerback Brian Dawkins and is gone.


"That was one of those plays that's almost drawn up in the dirt," Holmes said.

It was the only time Roethlisberger and Holmes hooked up in a preseason opener Friday night in which the first-team offense played just one series.

But for an offense determined to cut down on the 47 regular-season sacks Roethlisberger absorbed a season ago, once was enough.

There isn't a blitz conceivable that can get to the quarterback quickly enough in such situations.

The pass won't always be as accurate, the catch won't always be made and the receiver won't always leave the coverage searching for its athletic supporter, but the quarterback will not get planted.

That's the beauty of the "hot read."

And that's why the first touchdown of the preseason may remain etched in everyone's memory long after the scores of these for-the-most-part meaningless exhibitions have been forgotten.

"We were on the same page," Holmes said. "We didn't have to yell at each other to get each other's attention.

"We just took our best shot."

If that continues, opposing pass rushes ought to slow down considerably.

If they don't, Holmes on the outside one-one-one, or Hines Ward in a similar situation on the other side of the field ought to extract a big-play price from defenses determined to assault the pocket without the benefit of a safety or two deep.

Holmes already is contemplating the possibilities now that the Steelers are in the process of fine-tuning this "hot read" thing.

"It's gonna be a lot of fun this year if we can get an opportunity to just go out there and click every day, every game, every practice," he said. "It takes a lot of time. And I think spending all that time we did together throughout the offseason, as opposed to two years ago when I wasn't here the first year; this year we spent a lot of time together."

The Steelers scored on maybe two such plays a year ago. This season, Holmes is a second-year starter, which helps.

And Roethlisberger is coming off his first Pro Bowl season, one in which he was encouraged to ramp up his studying of defenses in exchange for more of a say in what plays are called and in what situation.

Holmes likened what took place against the Eagles to the football equivalent of an "alley-oop."

The resulting slam-dunk inspired hope that the Steelers are much-better prepared than they were a year ago to confront the blitzes they know will be coming.

Why now?

"Maturation," Roethlisberger said.

He was talking about himself, his receivers and the offense as a whole.

Roethlisberger was eating an ice cream cone as he spoke, but he left the distinct impression that wasn't the only reason he was licking his chops.

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Re: Do Steelers have answer for Pass Rush?

Postby gutofsteel » Wed Aug 13, 2008 5:00 am

Ben and the receivers getting on the same page and making more hot reads and breaking off routes will help a fair amount, but people continue to oversell Ben's responsibility. That might eliminate 10 sacks, but the Steelers will still be near the bottom in protecting the QB.

It might slow the rush down some, but keep in mind defenses had a lot of success pressuring Ben with just 4 and 5 guys last year and sadly sometimes only 3.

Ben was blitzed of 28.8% of the time he dropped back last year. Brady was blitzed 36.5% of the time, Manning 23.3%, Palmer 29.7%, Kitna 30.3%, McNabb 27.1%, Bulger 32.5%, Brees 22.9%, and Favre 26.9%. So, really, it's not like Ben was blitzed more than average. Bulger doesn't know how to get rid of the ball and make hot reads? His line was decimated with injury last year and he was blitzed more than Ben and sacked at close to the same rate.

We all saw the video of the 47 sacks. Ben didn't have a chance to do anything on 2/3 of those. I'll say again, QB's throwing the ball away is overrated. It just doesn't happen like people think. And coaches call plays for a reason - your QB isn't audibling out of half the plays every time he thinks they are blitzing. You have to trust the OL to do their job sometimes. If your QB is changing the play that much defenses are winning the battle.

Ben was sacked 11.6% of the time when teams blitzed (17 out of 147 dropbacks). Let's say he did change the play 30% of the time (every time he expected blitz) and was right half the time. That translates to guessing right on 75 blitzes and avoiding 8-9 sacks. Of course, you know he did some of that so it is even a smaller number. And that's changing a lot of plays where they didn't blitz and a lot where it was picked-up or Ben was able to cope. It's more about changing the play to exploit a mismatch created then it is to get rid of the ball.

Some final numbers: Brady sacked 5.6% of the time on the blitz (and before you say he throws it away or gets rid of it, watch the SB again). Manning 8.8%, Brees 3.8%, Favre 0% (can't be right), Kitna 5.5%, Bulger 10%, Palmer 3.3% and McNabb 9.1%. So, again, if Ben can cut that in half you'd be talking 8-9 sacks avoided. And then if he guesses right on 75, you'd get another 5-6. But that all assumes his OL is average at picking up the blitz (clearly not) and that Ben never audibles right or gets rid of the ball (he might be below average, but he's not horrible).

Brady or Manning would have been sacked 35-40 times behind that line. Ben's not the problem. Imagine what he could do with just average pass pro.

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Re: Do Steelers have answer for Pass Rush?

Postby Witchblade » Wed Aug 13, 2008 7:46 am

Lot of fucking numbers to say, "Our O-line sucked."
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Re: Do Steelers have answer for Pass Rush?

Postby trenches » Wed Aug 13, 2008 7:50 am

I love the stats, gutofsteel. Thanks! :geek: :D

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Re: Do Steelers have answer for Pass Rush?

Postby Steeledge » Wed Aug 13, 2008 10:09 am

trenches wrote:I love the stats, gutofsteel. Thanks! :geek: :D

Blah...blah...blah...the stats don't mean jack-diddly-shit, because you can make them say whatever you want them to...

methinks y'all are being way too pessimistic...

Our biggest problem last year was that a large majority of our pass plays, especially early in the season, took forever to develop. This alone exposed our OL, making them actually look worse than they were (which was admittedly pretty lousy at pass pro.) Once teams caught on, they could just double up on the deep receiver, stunt or blitz up front, and cut off any short check-downs, and Ben was a sitting duck.

That falls squarely on Ariens' shoulders.

With the advent of the "hot read", and executing it well (uh, maturity - I'll try to go slow), defenses will have no choice but to relax the LOS considerably more this year than last. And with the 1-2 punch of Parker and Mendenhall in the run game, they'll be screwed when they do that, too.

Regardless, if we use some quicker hitting passes as well as "hot reads", this offense will be DEVASTATING!
Like the article said...
There isn't a blitz conceivable that can get to the quarterback quickly enough in such situations.

Also, you'll all be amazed at how improved our OL will "appear" to be this year.

Now, if we could just get Smith signed...
Wha make you tink I won cutchu, mang?!?

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Re: Do Steelers have answer for Pass Rush?

Postby darthsteel » Wed Aug 13, 2008 10:30 am

I cant see how the entire offensive unit will not be better on passing downs as a whole.
1. Ben has shown to be a much smarter qb every season and we would exspect the same(the 5th yr is usually the yr qb's have a grasp of everything)
2. holmes should eventually draw doubles from teams without a shutdown corner which will lead to a little less blitzing.
3. the o'linemen have 1 more yr in the new blocking system wihout faneca's opposition to it
4 marvel smith is now healthy when all of last season he had the back injury, that alone should be a big boost.
5 colon has a full yr under his belt and should be improved

wild cards
1. hartwig or (the center position in general), if he is better then mahan and just holds his ground without guys having to cover for him , then the entire line become stronger and there will be less break downs along the length of the line.
2.sweed, if he becomes a big threat in the redzone that could slow the blitzing down inside the 20

I dont think it will be a great line , but I think it can be a much more respectable unit then the last 2 yrs as long as the starters stay healthy..
I also think this will be the start of the hot read , but it mite take ben and the recievers another 2 yrs to really master it where they can see every oppurtunity in thier sleep. Team
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Re: Do Steelers have answer for Pass Rush?

Postby thesteelhammer » Wed Aug 13, 2008 9:46 pm

Another article on how the o-line is going to be improved.

I doubt it, but we'll see. :suxfingers: Team
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Re: Do Steelers have answer for Pass Rush?

Postby Nel » Wed Aug 13, 2008 10:46 pm

I found darthsteel's take on Sweed's potential to remove pressure from the line and QB to be very interesting, and I will be watching for that effect.

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