Wednesday, October 1, 2008

The Stache Report: Week 4

- It took a multitude of injuries, but the Steelers finally started to utilize their new toy, Mewelde Moore. Through the first three games the guy had zero catches, inexcusable for a guy who caught 46 passes two years ago before being phased out of the offense in Minnesota with the emergence of Adrian Peterson. Moore showed how lethal he could be out of the backfield, nabbing three balls, none bigger than his 24-yarder in overtime to get into field goal range. Look for him to be incorporated more into the offense now that the depth at running back has been depleted.

- That depleted backfield illustrates how quickly things can change in the NFL. Before the season started the Steelers boasted one of the strongest running back stables in the NFL with Willie Parker, Rashard Mendenhall, and Mewelde Moore. Injuries to Parker and Mendenhall leave Moore, an unproven Gary Russell, and a recently re-signed Dump Truck as the primary options Sunday night against Jacksonville. I’m thinking Russell may get the start, with Moore being worked in. If Carey Davis can recover in time from a sprained ankle he’ll see some time as well.

- I don’t necessarily think the preseason is useless, but Troy Polamalu is making a strong case against that train of thought. The guy didn’t play a down during the exhibitions, and it allowed him to get fully healthy. He’s playing unbelievable ball right now, twice coming from out of nowhere Monday night to bat down deep passes that could have resulted in sizable gains for Baltimore.

- Anyone else want to see more of the no-huddle? I think Ben is more comfortable in it. The best thing is it allows him to get to the line of scrimmage with enough time on the play clock for him to survey the defense. Too often it seems like the Steelers are pressing to get the play off when they go to their conventional offense. Yet it always seems like they only go to the no-huddle when they’re down and in desperation mode. Once I’d like to see them do it early in a game when that’s not the case.

- Look, I feel bad for Kendall Simmons. I really do. A torn Achilles is as bad as it gets for football players. That said, this line will be better without him. It looks like they’ll go with Stapleton or Essex at guard, but the more prudent move in my opinion is to eventually slide Colon inside to guard and let the $7 million dollar man earn his money at right tackle.

- James Harrison must love Monday Nights. After last season’s performance against the Ravens, he chipped in with 2.5 sacks and a forced fumble on Monday. That fumble was picked up and returned for a touchdown by LaMarr Woodley, who by the way also had 1.5 sacks. These two could both be on their way to the Pro Bowl this season if they keep this up. They’re on pace to combine for 36 sacks themselves alone this season, and are the best duo at outside linebacker the Steelers have had in some time.

- I know it’s only four games, but I don’t find myself holding my breath on kickoffs and punts anymore. The coverage teams have done an outstanding job thus far. Let’s hope they can keep it up. And while we're talking special teams, Jeff Reed proved once again that he is money.

- Quick look ahead to next week: Jacksonville has had our number as of late. They’ve won the last four meetings, using a brand of physical football. That might be more difficult this time around. Jacksonville has been decimated by injuries along their interior offensive line, and their run game isn’t in optimum shape as a result. This puts more pressure on David Garrard, who willed his team to victory on Sunday against the Texans. That will be more difficult to do against the Steelers, obviously. On defense, the Jaguars haven’t generated the type of pass rush to take advantage of a lackluster Steelers O-line. They’ve totaled only five sacks as a team thus far. Rashean Mathis left Sunday’s game with a bruised shin and did not return. His status for Sunday’s game is not known as of yet, but his absence would be a huge boost to us. He’s been an absolute Steeler-killer in the past. One thing that worries me: having a short week coming off an overtime slugfest with an extremely physical Ravens team.


Falcons-Panthers: Muhsin Muhammad didn’t look like he was 35 on Sunday

Browns-Bengals: Why oh why did CBS stick those of us in western Pennsylvania with this piece of shit? Newsflash CBS, I don’t care if they’re in the AFC North, these teams both suck and I don’t want to watch them.

Texans-Jaguars: Steve Slaton is becoming a pretty dangerous weapon for that Houston offense.

Broncos-Chiefs: I said last week that the Broncos couldn’t keep winning with atrocious defensive play. And they didn’t, falling to the hapless Chiefs.

49ers-Saints: Drew Brees is good. Really good.

Cardinals-Jets: Every now and then, Kurt Warner has a game where he turns the ball over approximately 4,268 times. That game came on Sunday.

Packers-Buccaneers: I know the Buccaneers are 3-0 with him, but in the long-run does Brian Griese really give Tampa Bay the better chance to win than Jeff Garcia?

Vikings-Titans: Merrill Hoge can barely contain his excitement over the Vince Young-less 4-0 Tennessee Titans.

Chargers-Raiders: Gamblers got the ultimate backdoor cover when LaDainian Tomlinson sprinted his way to the endzone in the final minute or so.

Bills-Rams: The Marc Bulger for Trent Green switch reeked of desperation from the get-go. As expected, Scott Linehan didn’t finish the season. Hell, he didn’t even get to the halfway mark.

Redskins-Cowboys: That Monday Nighter against Washington is looking a little bit tougher today. Maybe Harrison can have like 10 sacks that night.

Eagles-Bears: Kids, don’t gamble. It’s not worth going through the pain myself and IWTFTB experienced Sunday night.


I Want To Fight Tom Brady said...

The line will indeed be better without kendall simmons and I hope to god they slide Colon to guard so starks can earn his paycheck. I watched Stapelton twice completely ignore an inside blitz to step outside and help double team one of the Ravens ends. Bruce arians is by far the worst offensive coordinator the steelers have had in recent memory. If the steelers don't add the screen to their playbook, I'm going to place another bet on the eagles. Come on arians...look at ur RBs! Particurally mewelde moore, these guys are capable of catching the ball out of the backfield.

Anonymous said...

I really hope they more Colon to guard, but Tomlin said "Not in the immediate future" So we'll see.

I see us beating up the Jags pretty good, taht's becoming more of a rivalry than Cleveland.

I forgot how good a healthy Troy is. He makes the games that much more interesting.

Derek said...

Another point in favor of sticking with the no huddle is that it limits Arians' impact on the offense, which in my opinion is a plus. Despite a terrible line and relentless blitz packages week after week, we continue to see 5-7 step drops by Big Ben, slow to develop pass routes, and a hesitance to establish the ground game on a consistent basis. I know the line is bad and I know Ben is sometimes slow to look to his check-downs, but Arians strikes me as a bafoon at times. The more Ben is entrusted with the offense the better.

I Want To Fight Tom Brady said...

I think even Ben is a pretty big bafoon myself. Even when they ran no huddle, they didn't dominated the field.

Don't forget, we would have probably lost that game if it wasn't for James Harrison and Lamar Woodley.

Somebody tell Big Ben to stop acting like a baby too. You can see his ass whining all the way from the upper deck.