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Stillers-Bills Postgame Commentary

Postby StillMill » Fri Aug 15, 2008 10:47 am

problems on the front page preventing me from publishing there.....

Stillers-Bills Postgame Commentary

The Stillers sputtered through their 2nd preseason game in a listless, bland manner, en route to a 24-21 loss in Toronto. The win/loss is entirely meaningless, but what wasn’t was the plethora of mistakes, boners, and feeble play from a vast majority of players on the roster.

Offense:

Benji started out nicely, hitting Holmes on a crisp 3rd down out for 13, and then escaping pressure to complete a 19-yarder to Ward. The latter play was even more impressive when you realize a defender was latched onto Ben’s lower jersey as he threw this pass.

Well into Bill territory, the Stillers seemed poised for a score, facing a 3rd & 1. But Justin Hartwig, trying to out-Mahan Sean Gahan, foolishly drew a holding flag on a simple, basic line plunge. On the ensuing 3rd & 11, Ben’s curl pass was deflected by a diving DB, and the resultant deflection was picked off. To add salt to the wound, Colon was flagged for holding on the play.

On the 2nd series, Parker slashed up RT with authority, gaining 6. This looked like the Parker of old. But on 3rd & 5, Heath Miller, like a total dumbass, was whistled for a false start, thereby killing the drive.

Ben played through the 3rd series. He had a quality completion to Ward on a skinny post, and then hit Tonio deep for a 40-yard TD. Good concentration by Tonio as he hauled in the pass amidst a closing defender.

Leftwich played the last 2 series of the half, and as expected, with such little familiarity, was largely ineffective. He started nicely enough, hitting Nate on a slim post for 24 yards, which was the lone highlight. (Good catch by Nate, by the way.) Lefty misfired poorly on 3rd & 2. On the next drive, Lefty foolishly fumbled the ball back in the pocket while trying to stiff-arm a rusher, and the Bills nearly recovered at the PIT 10-yard line.

The 2nd half saw a host of backups enter the game, with Lefty playing a few series before turning it over to Dixon. Menden had a good 9-yard dash and a decent 3D plunge, and showed good vision and footwork on his 6-yard TD run. He still runs a bit too upright for my tastes, however, and I hope the coaching staff can keep working on this.

Sweed dropped an out-hitch, and 2 plays later, Willie Peid dropped an out on 3rd & 6. Sweed dropped another pass, slightly behind, in the 4Q, and Reid did haul in a low pass from Dixon. Dixon showed his speed and athleticism by improvising on a scramble and dashing down the sidelines for a 47-yard TD run. Plays like this will provide the Stillers with an interesting roster decision when the preseason is completed.

From what I could see on the small streaming video feed (thank you NFL, you worthless pieces of shit, for not putting this game on any TV source outside of Pittsburgh), the O-line play was okay. Chris Kemo was flagged for a false start. There were a few pressures, but the running game had some holes and Ben was given time to throw. Mind you, the ground blocking is not where it needs to be, but I’m willing to be patient for a couple more weeks due to the influx of new personnel and the relative complexity of the Stiller ground blocking.

Defense:

On the other hand, I’m not willing to be patient with this group of soft, mamby pamby defenders that allowed a mediocre Bills offense to march up and down the field like a marching band at a parade. This defense was everything you don’t want in a defense -- soft, feeble, uninspired, unemotional, and ineffective.

The Bills offense had a 10-play, 67-yard TD march, and then followed that up with an 11-play, 90-yard TD march that actually went 98 yards. The Stillers had the Bills backed up to their own 2, and on 3rd & 13 from the Buff 7, the Softee Defense parted like the Red Sea and allowed slow-footed Trent Edwards to scramble right up the middle for a sickening 22-yard gain. Mind you, the entire 1st string defense was on the field for both of these marches, with only Troy Pola missing from the lineup, and they made Trent Edwwards look like Joe Montana.

Some observations:

- On the d-line, the gap control and “winning a stalemate” at the point of attack is nearly non-existent. It’s as if these fellows showed up and totally forgot the technique they’ve used the past 6 seasons.

- FatAss Hampton played and did nothing.

- The fill by the 2 ILBs picked up right where it left off in Jax last season, which is certainly not good.

- Carter and Farrior (The Winged God of Pass Defense) were each weak and slow on the 1Q TD completion to Royal.

- Harrison, one of the very few defenders to show up with attitude and intensity, had a nice edge rush and nearly tomahawked the ball from the QB.

- Larry Slow-a-Foote was slow in getting over to Royal on the 2nd TD. He was slow all evening on everything -- running plays, QB scrambles, dump offs, you name it. It’s going to be sickening if Tomlin hands this stiff the starting job. Will Timmons have some early struggles? Yes. But by November and December -- where a team needs to gel and peak -- Timmons will far outplay Footsie.

- Ryan Clark had a weak tackle attempt after a swing pass in the flat, and simply got run through by the RB. Very weak.

- Kirschke had a weak-assed, gimpy flail on a RB who was dead to rights on a screen pass that had been sniffed out. Kirschke showed more ineptitude in the 2H, though he did have a rare FF. Really, though, it frightens me to think we have nothing better to roll out onto the field to give Aaron Smith or Keisel a breather.

- Almost daily, you read some blather about Potsie Farrior’s supposed, vaunted, unparalleled leadership. None of it was evident last nite. The defense played uninspired, soft defense with virtually no technique whatsoever.

Spec teams:

Mostly poor.

Moore looked timid on the opening KO, and had a goofy spin move on a PR that netted zero. Nate had a fairly easy chance to down a punt inside the 1, but failed. Reed badly duck-hooked a 42-yard FG. Reid had a decent 29-yard KOR, but then had a meek, feeble KOR late in the game.

The worst moment came on the 95-yard KO return in the 2nd half. Arnie Harrison played this poorly, and the rest of the coverage team wasn’t too sharp, either. Very poor.

Ernster had a weak KO to the 13. Berger punted much better, booting a 50-yarder with no return and then hitting a 48-yarder. He did launch a pooch punt into the EZ in the 4Q. Ernster gave a shameful effort on the long TD return. At this point, I’d cut Ernster and keep Berger, but it’s worth looking at each of ‘em during the next 2 exhibition games.

Synopsis:

In preseason, it’s never about wins and losses. Rather, it’s about effort, technique, teamwork, gelling, and progress, none of which was evident in this sleepwalk of an effort.

I realize Tomlin is trying to put less emphasis than last year on the pre-season, but there’s the old “fine line” and this team has well crossed it for the worst. The 4th preseason game is nothing more than injury avoidance, so this team essentially has 1 more exhibition game to show some professionalism, intensity, and technique, especially on defense and spec teams. It’s time Tomlin and the so-called team leaders step forward and denounce the horseshit we’ve seen thus far, and more importantly, to put their noses to the grindstone and snap this team out of its collective slumber.

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Re: Stillers-Bills Postgame Commentary

Postby DirtDawson » Fri Aug 15, 2008 2:43 pm

I'm glad you brought up all the numerous dropped passes during Dixon's play, because most boneheads would just look at his stats and critique him likewise. The guy played well and managed the game thoughtfully.


The O-line looked. like. shit.


You'd think the pass protection got better, yet there was Ben, running for his life all over again on numerous plays. Even to the point forcing him to throw the interception.

I was especially worried about the tackles. If you watch the first half again, go ahead and count how many times Marvel Smith was beaten on the outside, and how often Kendall Simmons broke down on the inside. It's very, very concerning when the pocket can't hold for longer than a second.


On Defense, i guess we've discovered Lamaar Woodley's weakness, which is his lack of mobility in coverage. I think I saw only one or two plays when he dropped back, and both times he was completely clueless, not even near any recievers.

didn't get to see much of Timmons this time around, which was a bummer.

the only guy on defense who looked good for me was James Harrison, fighting on every down and closing in on the QB multiple times. If you look at the replays, he spends alot of his passrushing downs literally driving back the LT into the pocket. He also made a couple nice tackles in the open.



And as you already stated, Casey Hampton somehow figured out that he gets paid to go into a 3-point stance, stand up out of it, and repeat. That's all he did all game.


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Re: Stillers-Bills Postgame Commentary

Postby Iron Gut » Fri Aug 15, 2008 6:28 pm

I'm glad to see that others on this site are not giving the defense a pass fro an uninspired effort. I agree that we used a vanilla defense, but the intensity level was non-existent.

I was a Casey supporter (still am) but he did absolutely nothing last night. He completely went through the motions and I think he plain didn't give a shit because it is preseason. If this is the case, give the reps to someone else.

Tackling. Tackling. Tackling.

Tomlin needs to drill the hell out of the defense on proper tackling all week. With the exception of Silverback, players were missing left and right which sustained the offensive drives of the Bills. Maybe Tomlin needs to use "punishment" laps or push ups whenever a player misses a tackle? During camp, have them drop and do some pushups. Especially during the public practices. Shame them into playing better!

Special teams are still inconsistent. Nobody has stepped up as the prime return man and the coverage on the KO kickoff was plain awful. I hate the idea of using starters on ST, but they may have to bite the bullet.
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Re: Stillers-Bills Postgame Commentary

Postby The Fan Of STEEL » Fri Aug 15, 2008 7:31 pm

I agree with you for the most part there Mill. Nice write up.

Personally, I think our offensive line is going to be better than everyone has feared, and we should be lighting up the scoreboard.

Our defense has been puzzling, or pussing, or something. I know we have been playing a very vanilla defense, but watching teams gash us up the middle for long runs hurt, even in a preseason game. Hopefully they were experimenting and learned that crap did not work. I've been a Dick L. fan for a long time, but I am hoping he has not lost his edge and can find a way to get this D on track. Our secondary is non-existent at times.

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Re: Stillers-Bills Postgame Commentary

Postby Nel » Fri Aug 15, 2008 10:33 pm

Steelers take step back in Toronto
http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsbu ... rss&feed=9

Edwards shines in Bills’ debut in Toronto
http://sports.yahoo.com/nfl/recap;_ylt= ... 02&prov=ap

I hope the Steelers coaches and players read these articles, and play tougher next time. :subngtowl:

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Re: Stillers-Bills Postgame Commentary

Postby thesteelhammer » Fri Aug 15, 2008 11:22 pm

They also called it "Duck and Chuck". Would be funny if it weren't so true.

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/steelers/s_583026.html?source=rss&feed=9

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Re: Stillers-Bills Postgame Commentary

Postby steelerette » Sat Aug 16, 2008 12:43 am

From the Yahoo article that Nel posted up ~

Leftwich did acknowledge he had to ask Mendenhall about how a play went.

“He sat there and just smiled and we laughed about it. But those things happen,” Leftwich said.


:lol: Aw, poor guy. Tomlin did put Leftwich in a tough situation, but you have to start somewhere.

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New Article: Stillers-Bills Postgame Commentary

Postby StillMill » Sat Aug 16, 2008 4:13 am

Stillers-Bills Postgame Commentary has been posted by Still Mill at Stillers.com.

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Re: Stillers-Bills Postgame Commentary

Postby Guinness » Sat Aug 16, 2008 8:48 am

I've just finished my play by play slow motion review of the first 3 series (2 Steeler Offense and 1 Steeler defense) to further analyze why this team looked so awful while watching live. The Good News is that everything I have seen is fixable.

Offense - The offense was rolling in the first series. The line play was pretty solid in both run blocking and pass protection. The only real breakdown was Colon getting beat around the end. BenRoth was making good reads and abandoned the pocket at the right time. The 3rd and 1 holding penalty (which was impossible to see) against Hartwig derailed the drive. This put them in 3rd and long which ended up with a flukey INT.

Defense - First keep in mind that the secondary is without two of 4 starters. Secondly as StillMill pointed out the defense against the run was much more a result of undisciplined gap control. The line was NOT getting blown off the ball as it would seem watching the game live. Two of the longer runs in the first Buffalo series were attributable to overpursuit and a cutback by the RB into the abandoned gap. The first example was Aaron Smith who blew his blocker 5 yards into the backfield. Unfortunately in doing so he took himself about 5 yards away from his gap that was left gaping. The RB recognized this and quickly side-stepped his OL man that was reeling backwards and dashed thru the gap left behind. The second example was James Harrison who was actually playing between the NT and DE. As the play appeared to be going off right side Harrison quickly pursued to his left leaving a gaping hole in the gap he had abandoned. The RB quickly recognized this and cut back into the hole.

My point is that in the 3 series I watched in slo-mo it wasn't nearly as discouraging as watching live. I expect this veteran team to recognize these mistakes and play much more disciplined.

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Re: Stillers-Bills Postgame Commentary

Postby California Still » Sat Aug 16, 2008 10:30 am

Tried to watch on-line sqinting at a computer screen in AZ and was glad it kept shutting down. Both lines looked awful, worse though on the D line. You can expect the Offense to jell a bit later and it does look like Hartwig is an upgrade, so if Tomlin finally names his starting unit and these guys have some time to play as a unit they should be better.
Defense is a whole different matter; they are just a year older and in Hampton's case, a year fatter. They stink; plain and simple as there is zero push at all, nothing.
For this defense to work, there has to be sufficient push from three guys to occupy at least four linemen. You would expect this push to generate from the inside out. Hampton is a fat fraud who does nothing so rest of the defense fails to play as designed.
Foote and Farrior can't cover a simple tight end hook or curl; get Timmons in NOW! Like last year, this defense cannot get off the field. Without quick improvement, it will be a long and disappointing season.

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Re: New Article: Stillers-Bills Postgame Commentary

Postby trenches » Sat Aug 16, 2008 11:17 am

Sorry for the duplicate post about Mill's latest post game. This topic was auto-generated from the main site when his most recent post game was published to the front page a few moments ago.

Going forward, all new articles published on the main site will automatically be announced in this forum.

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Re: Stillers-Bills Postgame Commentary

Postby Steelers4Tim » Sat Aug 16, 2008 11:29 pm

Iron Gut wrote:Tomlin needs to drill the hell out of the defense on proper tackling all week.


No, Tomlin needs to go back to coaching fucking secondaries and following orders from a qualified, competent defensive coordinator. This guy is a fucking disgrace to our sideline. When you hire a JV coach, you get a JV coach. This pre-season has been nothing more than a continuation of the second half of last season, and it's only going to get worse, trust me. Most of these fucking idiots around here wanted Cowher gone, and now they got it. Congrats, we now play soft, scared, and we're afraid to hit people. This football team is nothing more than a reflection of the man who coaches it.

The best way to describe a Tomlin coached football team is simply to call them "nice" guys.....we are the most friendly, polite team in the league, IMO.
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Re: Stillers-Bills Postgame Commentary

Postby J & L Steel » Sun Aug 17, 2008 12:46 am

Steelers4Tim wrote:
Iron Gut wrote:Tomlin needs to drill the hell out of the defense on proper tackling all week.


No, Tomlin needs to go back to coaching fucking secondaries and following orders from a qualified, competent defensive coordinator. This guy is a fucking disgrace to our sideline. When you hire a JV coach, you get a JV coach. This pre-season has been nothing more than a continuation of the second half of last season, and it's only going to get worse, trust me. Most of these fucking idiots around here wanted Cowher gone, and now they got it. Congrats, we now play soft, scared, and we're afraid to hit people. This football team is nothing more than a reflection of the man who coaches it.

The best way to describe a Tomlin coached football team is simply to call them "nice" guys.....we are the most friendly, polite team in the league, IMO.


This preseason,let me stress preseason reminds me of the Steelers teams of '98-2000 and the '03 team. Soft,nice guys. Strange huh?

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Re: Stillers-Bills Postgame Commentary

Postby Zorro » Mon Aug 18, 2008 10:27 am

Same old tired routine here I see. Let's just call this the rant forum.

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Re: Stillers-Bills Postgame Commentary

Postby Nittany Steel37 » Mon Aug 25, 2008 3:47 am

What up, first time on since the site was overhauled...little bit I've seen has been positive, nowhere near the amount of bullshitters and trolls clogging up good steelers talk. but I am disappointed to see Steelers4Tim around. Give it a rest, Cowher's gone, Tomlin's taking us to the playoffs again, the only way we're drafting Javorski Lane is if we convert him into a lineman.

Also something tells me that "shaming" players with pushups in public won't motivate as much as it'll piss them off. The ones making big bucks probably won't be motivated by something that menial, and the ones struggling to make the team shouldn't need any motivation to get down on the kick and MAKE A FUCKING TACKLE!!!!!

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