Mystery Steelers

Posted: October 5th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 27 Comments »

The Eagles take on the Steelers Sunday at 1pm.  These aren’t the Pittsburgh Steelers, these are they Mystery Steelers.

Injuries robbed them of Troy Polamalu, James Harrison, and Rashard Mendenhall so when you see a record of 1-2 and some poor stats…how much can you buy into those numbers?  The flip side is to ask just how healthy the guys are now (all 3 are projected to play).  I really don’t have a good feel for this team at all.

There was a play in the Raiders game where Darren McFadden busted loose for a 64-yard TD.  I re-watched that play several times.  There was no Steelers defender in the gap he hit.  ILB Lawrence Timmons went to the wrong gap.  S Ryan Mundy made a poor tackle attempt up the field and that was all she wrote.  This isn’t Steelers football.  This isn’t Dick LeBeau defense.  To semi-quote Vince Lombardi, “What the hell is goin’ on out there?”

I’m still working on a preview, but check out this stuff:

* The Steelers run game doesn’t exist.  In 3 games, 74 carries for 195 yards.  2.6 ypc.  1 TD.  I can’t stress to you how bad 2.6 ypc is.  A team should average a minimum of 3.5 ypc.  This isn’t all on Isaac Redman either.  The OL gets no push.

* As for that total of 195 yards…the Eagles rushed for 191 vs the Giants.

* Big Ben is playing lights out.  QB rating is 109.2.  8 TDs, 1 INT.

* Ben has been sacked 9 times (3 per game).  He will hold the ball.  If we don’t get 3 or 4 sacks minimum, I’ll be highly disappointed.

* The Steelers have 11 pass plays of longer than 20 yards this year.  Brent Celek has 8 by himself.  Weird.

* Scoring has gone up each week for them: 19 to 27 to 31.  They have more points this year than the Eagles despite playing in one less game.  That’s crazy.

* Steelers are 0-2 on the road, 1-0 at home.  We play them in Pittsburgh.

* Offense is 13th in points, 18th in yards.

* Defense is 21st in points, 5th in yards (like us early last year?)

* Defense is ranked 14th vs the run, but 3rd vs the pass.  That sounds good, but look inside that even.  Opposing QBs have a rating of 99.8 vs the Steelers.  To put that in perspective, last year QBs had a rating of 71.7.

* The Steelers pass rush isn’t getting the job done.  They only have 5 sacks.  This isn’t a pressure vs sacks issue either.  They’ve only got 1 INT and QBs complete 61 percent of passes against them.  There was one play in the Raiders game where it felt like Carson Palmer could have stood with the ball for 10 seconds.  I was shocked.

Are these numbers crazy or what?

If Harrison can be disruptive up front and Polamalu can make plays all over the field, the defense should be vastly improved.  I just don’t know what to expect from these guys.  Harrison had knee surgery.  Polamalu was dealing with a calf strain.

Mendenhall could be huge for the offense.  The line isn’t getting much push, but that is compounded by Redman’s lack of burst/speed.  Mendenhall can turn a loss into a short gain and a short gain into 10 yards.  They haven’t had that element so far.

Sunday is going to be real interesting.  Which Steelers show up?  Which Eagles show up?  I do think it is possible for the Eagles to blow this team out.  I also think it is possible for the Steelers to look completely different and play like a playoff team.

* * * * *

I put up some draft notes.  There is a new Penn State LB to fall in love with.  He’s no Sean Lee or Navarro Bowman, but is pretty darn good.  I’m still dreaming of the day the Eagles get a PSU LB on the squad.

As a bonus…there is a good video of him and an explosive RB.  Fun stuff.

* * * * *

Les Bowen wrote about the Eagles and Steelers.  As he points out, you know the Steelers will study the Cards gameplan for how to attack us.  One big difference…no Daryl Washington, no Patrick Peterson, and no Calais Campbell.

_


  • ICDogg

    Hard to figure out this Steelers team. Are they just short a few guys, or are they getting real old real fast?

    • TommyLawlor

      That’s the question. I don’t know them well enough to know if this is an anomaly or the start of a major downswing.

  • bdbd20

    With Maclin healthy, it will be interesting to see how they use Polamalu. I hope we keep the running game going. I like our chances with Todd and Bell against their LB’s.

  • Kevin_aka_RC

    I love this matchup for our OL. Reynolds/Watkins/Herremans all struggle with quick guys off the edge. The Steelers have power players. The only front 7 players they have that could be characterized as quick are Woodley and Timmons. Timmons is thier best cover LB and Woodley is more of an all-around pass-rusher than speedster. Our OL should hold up fine. The only worry is Vick reading the defense properly. If we take that out of his hands by running the ball more, we should easily hit 20-24 points.

    • ICDogg

      I have a feeling the Steelers intend to blitz heavily.

  • http://twitter.com/ProtoTyler Ty-Philly

    There is a lot of tread worn off the tires of that D. I really see the Steelers as a lesser version of the Ravens right now. With the quality play we have in our front 7 and Mend-“ing”-hall the Steelers run game isn’t a huge worry of mine if we play up to our ability. We will see though.

    • TommyLawlor

      Playing the Ravens and Cards should serve as good practice for this game. It will be interesting to see how we build on the good things and fix those areas where we struggled.

  • austinfan

    Polamalu will help, but Mendenhall is only 9 months off ACL surgery, and Harrison is just coming back from preseason knee surgery (scope?) and is 33, so I’ve doubtful either one will make a difference.

    The problem for the Steelers is simple, a big but less than explosive OL that can’t run block, and an old DL. Hampton (35) and Keisel (33) have really fallen off this season, and Hood and Heyward haven’t picked up the slack. At OLB, Worild hasn’t been able to fill Harrison’s shoes. The result is that Ike Taylor (who has been awful) and Keenan Lewis are being exposed without the great Steeler pass rush. Teams can run on the Steelers because a physical center like Reynolds can handle Hampton without help, freeing the OGs to take out the ILBs.

    Big Ben is throwing a lot of underneath passes against soft zones, but he hasn’t faced a defense as fast and as aggressive as the Eagles this year.

    • TommyLawlor

      Mendenhall doesn’t have to be great. He just needs to be better than Redman. I think he’ll do that. Not sure how much of an impact that will mean, but it should help some.

    • ICDogg

      From a Steelers fan:

      Worlids is looking like a bust but if you want to completely take him out of the game just set up a buffet table on the Steeler’s sideline. He will cover that like a hawk.Carter shows some potential. Great first step & speed but pass rushing moves are not developed. He’s also not strong enough yet to set the edge against the run.Our biggest issue in the front 7 is our play at NT. Hampton is either done or just not back in condition yet. He doesn’t command a double team anymore & is being moved out of plays by one man. Our D NEEDS the NT to take on two guys or it filters down the rest of the line. Our DEs are getting manhandled due to this problem. Kiesel is a very solid DE but with substandard NT & ROLB on either side of him even he is ineffective ATM. BTSC is clamoring for McLendon to get the start at NT. He can be run against but he provides penetration that will at least draw the double team we desperately need from our NT.

      • TommyLawlor

        Good stuff. Funny lines about Worilds.

  • Ark87

    Got a bad feeling about this one, Tommy. Match-ups, coaching, health and all that is great, but if Pit loses this game they are 1-3.If the Eagles lose this game they will be tied for first in the division at worst. The Steelers will want this game more, plain and simple. I can’t imagine steelers letting a team come into their home and leaving them 1-3 after a bye week. If that does happen, Pit will be in crisis mode. Got my fingers crossed, but I just don’t like this one.

    • TommyLawlor

      Logical concerns. I was going to address the 1-3 angle in the preview. Very true. Can PIT really fall to 1-3?

      • ICDogg

        Why not… we did last year when no one thought we could.

        • TommyLawlor

          Well done, sir. I like it.

  • P_P_K

    This game is “a mystery wrapped inside a riddle inside of an enigma.”(Did I get the quote right?) Both teams are yet to establish their personality. I expect a tough and close game. If Andy and Marty call a good game,and Big Ben feels the pressure, the Eagles can win and really solidify their status as an elite team. Too bad the Steelers have had their bye week to rest up.

    • TommyLawlor

      I think you did nail the quote.

      And it does hurt that the Steelers had their bye and a chance to return these key players. Just means they’ll have no excuses when we beat them.

      Right?

      • Ark87

        “Just means they’ll have no excuses when we beat them.”

        Honestly, there could be some people on the hot seat if, -ahem- *when*, we win, depending on how the game goes, -ahem- *how badly we stomp them*. Candy bar gonna have like 13 picks for 875 points. We’ll put Nick Foles on the Kick off coverage team (3 FF, for 37 points easily) and all will be well. Gonna be great.

  • iskar36

    I don’t think I can put to much weight on their defensive stats. Take away two perennial pro bowlers from any defense and you are going to struggle. It remains to be seen if either guy is full speed on Sunday and/or if they are loosing a step because of injury and/or age, but both were pro bowl players last year who have been missed on their defense so they could add a lot to helping that D.

  • D3FB

    Wouldn’t Gerald Hodges be the PSU LB that we would most likely pick?

  • phillyfan1978

    Mauti is a football player to the core. Last week he made a great tackle on punt coverage… and he loved it. How many top prospects love playing special teams? He’ll do anything to help the team win. I’m sure he’s Concrete Charlie’s favorite player in college football.

  • A_T_G

    Someone needs to be a little more careful with the “flag as inappropriate” option. Three solid comments were flagged. At first I thought Kevin and austinfan were calling each other candy bars and other delicious treats.

    • ICDogg

      Yeah… I’m seeing this on some other Disqus sites I visit today as well. I am not sure whether someone’s actually flagging them, or if it’s just some goofy thing that made Disqus go haywire.

  • A_T_G

    So the first two guys you mention in the scouting report are a guy named Te’o and a guy coming off an ACL injury? Sounds like guys we want to draft.

  • ICDogg

    The notorious Pittsburgh paper calling out Boykin

    • Flyin

      I like the C4 reference.

  • ICDogg

    The mother ship has a nice breakdown about different alignments and results for the Eagles so far this season http://www.philadelphiaeagles.com/news/article-1/InFocus-Personnel-Package-Analysis/a5c9c10c-d00b-41ec-bafc-fc89d84b0eb3