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Steeler Hitman

Five Up and Five Down Texans Win

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Five up

1. Team is 3-0 instead of 0-3 from last year.

2. Great second half coaching adjustments on both sides of the ball.

3 Ray Ray McCloud. Explosive and looks like  the real deal on both return teams.

4. Big Ben  made some nice throws and the offense did not turn the ball over.

5. Steelers OL and DL played a solid games.

Five Down

1. OC Fitner - - play calling and offensive execution. Made a nice adjustment at the end, but early on the lack of patience in the rushing attack, extending drives and throwing deep instead  of managing the offense to wear down the Texans. He gets the Danny Smith Coaches Doghouse Award this week,

2. Pass defense - - Secondary is clearly not where they were in 2019 thus far. A lot of coverage lapses and the studs (Nelson, Haden and Minkah) have not stood out yet.

3. Third down defense.  Improved later in the game, but early on they allowed Watson too many completions and did not get a big rush on him at times. Tunsil did his job on Bud pass protecting. 

4. Slow offensive start yet again.

5. Injuries: Derek Watt and Dionte Johnson

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Ups

1) Offensive Skill positions - Really liking the mix of talent we have on offense.    They all seemingly have different things to contribute, too.    Washington is becoming more reliable.   Ebron is doing what we brought him here for,   Claypool is a playmaker...so is DJ.   Love Juju, but he is likely gone with our cap issues and depth at WR.    James Conner is underrated....when healthy.    McFarland has breakaway ability.    

2)  Chuks -  Too soon to say anything, but he held up nicely today.    Hope he can continue growing into a good OLineman.

3) TJ Watt -   Too good.   Would have like 8 sacks or have drawn at least 4 holding penalties if they actually called the more blatant ones.

4) Vince Williams and Mike Hilton - I dont love either as a starters, but as a role players, they are great.

5) Defensive line -   Held up better than last week.

 

Middle

1) Ben - He continues too look off.  His deep accuracy has been off for years, and its likely not getting any better.  He will hit one or two out of every 10.  He needs to be smarter about when to take those shots and when to dump it off.   He has always looked for big plays too much.   Still, he was decent for the 3rd week in a row.    He needs to be better if we are to go the distance, especially since our defense has taken a step back, especially the defensive backfield.

2) Coaching -   Tomlin is so frustrating.    This team always has the same issues.   We play to our competition every game....up and down.     You kind of have to take the good with the bad, but Im just tired of watching this team eek out wins vs lesser teams.   Houston isnt bad, but all 3 weeks have been us just letting teams hang around.   Couldve been 1-2 or even 0-3 rather easily.   Still, seeing as how we often lose games like these, I give Tomlin credit for keeping the team focused just enough to win these games.     Oh...Fitchner and Danny Smith are balls.

 

Downs

1) Secondary regression - None of these players are playing notably well individually or as a group.     Watson through some darts, but coverage just isnt as tight as it was in 2019.  Nelson looks very meh.   Fitzpatrick has been almost non existent.   Hilton struggles too much in coverage.    Its just a very mediocre unit right now.

2) 3rd downs on both sides -   our 3rd down defense is always a disappointment.    I blame Fitchner's terrible playcalling for most of our offensive issues on 3rd down.

3) Commentary -   Not sure who was calling it today, but it seems like the first 3 weeks, the commentary has been terrible, and they have mispronounced Roethlisberger at least 4 times this year, thus far.     The guy has been in the league 17 years, and you cant get it right?   

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5 hours ago, Steeler Hitman said:

 

2. Pass defense - - Secondary is clearly not where they were in 2019 thus far. A lot of coverage lapses and the studs (Nelson, Haden and Minkah) have not stood out yet.

The Steelers were clearly out schemed in the first half. Guys didn't just magically start playing better in the second. Credit to the coaches for recognizing that their plan wasn't working, but they came in with a bad plan on defense. The pass rush was so bland and vanilla in the first that it was pretty disgusting.

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I went to nfl.com and sifted thru stats for the defence. Secondary needs to get better and overall the defence needs to get more FF. Run defence appears good, but the pass is a problem in too many categories. 

15 sacks is decent, so the secondary must be on a different wave as of late.  At this rate, the team might break the 72 sacks  record from he 84 bears, but wait and see.  That record has been one that has lasted as well as Gastineau's sack record. 

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6 hours ago, Steeler Hitman said:

1. OC Fitner - - play calling and offensive execution. Made a nice adjustment at the end, but early on the lack of patience in the rushing attack, extending drives and throwing deep instead  of managing the offense to wear down the Texans. He gets the Danny Smith Coaches Doghouse Award this week,

smith with his faceshield is even more annoying.  Not a good ST coach but perhaps there are worse.  No waterfowl outside the doghouse this week for either smith or fichner. The problem is "winning solves everything" is a mentality that teams accept. Fichner bothers me too often, but what can I do? I can decide to turn the channel or go into the other room as I did, just can't tolerate it sometimes.  No Air Connor at the GL, thats lame, the fans would go crazy and thats a TD too.  

Titans should be a more consistent and solid opponent and fichner could cost the game to the point where we don't recover.  BoB's team though, allowed it, but no mulligan next week.  Really, wk giants (bad) wk2 injured broncos with back up QB (bad) then BoB, still not good. The titans will be a legit test, and fichner better not cost us the game

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Up

1 - Conner, Snell and McFarland, that's a nice stable.
2- Ben getting a bit sharper.
3 - Hello Ebron.
4 - The D-Line. It doesn't get much harder than Watson.
5 - Vince and Mike on D were ballin.

Down

1 - CBs. Feeling a drop-off here.
2 - Injuries
3 - Fitchner isn't great. He just isn't.
4 - 3rd down D (first half especially)
5 - Cleveland won
 

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It seemed to me like the defensive gameplan was to run zones against Watson. He picked it apart in the first half. Maybe we switched to more man coverage at halftime? It's hard for me to tell what kind of coverage we're running live though. It did seem like it was zone heavy in the first half. 

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one up for me in the 2020 Draft class so far. every week we're getting positive results from a class that did not have many picks and no 1st.

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Just now, MOSteelers56 said:

It seemed to me like the defensive gameplan was to run zones against Watson. He picked it apart in the first half. Maybe we switched to more man coverage at halftime? It's hard for me to tell what kind of coverage we're running live though. It did seem like it was zone heavy in the first half. 

Under Tomlin we've typically gone Cover-2 (typically a zone) and bring 4 against mobile QB's.  In theory it's a good plan because it keeps DB's eyes forward to the QB, so if he breaks contain you can come up and support in the run.  The issue is Watson doesn't used his mobility the way Jackson does or Vick did.  Watson uses his mobility the way that Ben uses his "mobility".  He extends the play behind the LOS to open up passing lanes.  Against guys like that you are best off bringing pressure (5+), playing Cover-1 (man), and assigning a "spy" to the QB.

In the second half I saw us go from Cover-2 (Edmunds was deep with Minkah) to Cover-1 (Edmunds was in the box much more) using a spy (Bush) on Watson who could attack if needed or sit if needed.  This also took an ILB (Bush) off TE's and put an "ILB", in this case SS (Edmunds), on the TE's.

 

10 hours ago, 43M said:

1) Ben - He continues too look off.  His deep accuracy has been off for years, and its likely not getting any better.  He will hit one or two out of every 10.  He needs to be smarter about when to take those shots and when to dump it off.   He has always looked for big plays too much.   Still, he was decent for the 3rd week in a row.    He needs to be better if we are to go the distance, especially since our defense has taken a step back, especially the defensive backfield.

I'm willing to give some of this a pass right now.  Constant rotating WR's out (Juju, Claypool, DJ, Washington, McCloud, Ebron, McDonald seem to randomly come in and out of the game) and no preseason for Ben to get down the timing seems to be an issue.

I look at it this way:

~Ben basically has 3 games under his belt with DJ, as DJ wasn't used much in the first two games last year and didn't play with the 1's in 2019 preseason.  So this means that this is effectively the first game action these two have gotten together, so Ben's still learning DJ's timing and DJ is still learning Ben's timing.

~Claypool is a rookie, and Ben looks to not have that 50/50 trust with him.  He started this way with other deep threats too of "you have to be wide open".  Wallace, Bryant, heck even Brown's early TD bombs from Ben were basically wide open.  So I give that some time.

~Fitchner hasn't been sending Ben's most trusted WR or his best high point pass catchers on deep routes for some reason (JuJu and Ebron).  Between these two they have been targeted 25 times, 1 route with a throw that had air yards over 20; that's 4% of their targets.  Meanwhile he's had 12 of 69 attempts to the other WRs (Claypool, DJ, Washington); this is 17.4% of their targets.  I think they need to get the trusted target and best high point guy some targets deeper than 20 yards.

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40 minutes ago, warfelg said:
57 minutes ago, MOSteelers56 said:

It seemed to me like the defensive gameplan was to run zones against Watson. He picked it apart in the first half. Maybe we switched to more man coverage at halftime? It's hard for me to tell what kind of coverage we're running live though. It did seem like it was zone heavy in the first half. 

Under Tomlin we've typically gone Cover-2 (typically a zone) and bring 4 against mobile QB's.  In theory it's a good plan because it keeps DB's eyes forward to the QB, so if he breaks contain you can come up and support in the run.  The issue is Watson doesn't used his mobility the way Jackson does or Vick did.  Watson uses his mobility the way that Ben uses his "mobility".  He extends the play behind the LOS to open up passing lanes.  Against guys like that you are best off bringing pressure (5+), playing Cover-1 (man), and assigning a "spy" to the QB.

In the second half I saw us go from Cover-2 (Edmunds was deep with Minkah) to Cover-1 (Edmunds was in the box much more) using a spy (Bush) on Watson who could attack if needed or sit if needed.  This also took an ILB (Bush) off TE's and put an "ILB", in this case SS (Edmunds), on the TE's.

I thought so. It looked like we were trying to not let Watson beat us with his legs at first. 

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3 hours ago, warfelg said:

Under Tomlin we've typically gone Cover-2 (typically a zone) and bring 4 against mobile QB's.  In theory it's a good plan because it keeps DB's eyes forward to the QB, so if he breaks contain you can come up and support in the run.  The issue is Watson doesn't used his mobility the way Jackson does or Vick did.  Watson uses his mobility the way that Ben uses his "mobility".  He extends the play behind the LOS to open up passing lanes.  Against guys like that you are best off bringing pressure (5+), playing Cover-1 (man), and assigning a "spy" to the QB.

In the second half I saw us go from Cover-2 (Edmunds was deep with Minkah) to Cover-1 (Edmunds was in the box much more) using a spy (Bush) on Watson who could attack if needed or sit if needed.  This also took an ILB (Bush) off TE's and put an "ILB", in this case SS (Edmunds), on the TE's.

 

 

Thank you for beating me to this.  I just watched the game this morning and saw that the Steelers played more man in the 2nd half

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12 hours ago, 3rivers said:

Smith with his face-shield is even more annoying.  Not a good ST coach but perhaps there are worse.  No waterfowl outside the doghouse this week for either Smith or Fitchner.

Danny Smith has done a much better job the past two games. Coverage teams have been solid. He may have found a punt return stud in Ray Ray McCloud who is already doing very well on his KOR's. Aside from Dionte Johnson fielding a punt inside the 5 yard line (That's special teams 101) and I put that on Dionte who has had to have at least been playing football since HS and probably earlier. Dionte is explosive and can be feats or famine because I shudder at every punt return with him muffing.  

All that aside, OC Fitcher made some nice adjustments to the game plan and started doing what many of us were screaming to do in the first place. The TOP and ball control helped win this game. As stated, sometimes a good defense is a good ball controlling offense.

The problem is "winning solves everything" is a mentality that teams accept.

I don't think that applies here. This is the hone of, "The standard is the standard!" Unless you are winning SB rings, winning a few games isn't enough. Last year proved that as well. The team and Coach T got more wins and productivity than anyone expected: Going 0 - 3 and then 8 -2 before losing the final three 0-3. I never heard anyone in the organization ask for a participation trophy. I think everyone from the front office down to the trainers know that this team is not complete despite going 3 - 0.  They can and will get better on all sides of the ball, the sidelines, and upstairs as well. 

Fichner bothers me too often, but what can I do? I can decide to turn the channel or go into the other room as I did, just can't tolerate it sometimes.  No Air Connor at the GL, thats lame, the fans would go crazy and that's a TD too.  

Agreed. What he did the second half should have probably been scripted out early.  The infatuation with trying to hit the long ball almost hurt the team.  There were wasted opportunities. McCloud gives the Steelers good field position after a nifty PR and the offense goes three and out due to a first down sack trying to drop deep and pass. Hopefully they talk about this and realize that this offense can be so much better with the proper attack and execution of the attack. At the end of the day the stat sheet looks like they were balanced and hit the right mix. We know that is somewhat skewed as it took some time to get the offense on track properly.

Titans should be a more consistent and solid opponent and Fitchner could cost the game to the point where we don't recover.  BoB's team though, allowed it, but no mulligan next week.  Really, wk giants (bad) wk2 injured broncos with back up QB (bad) then BoB, still not good. The Titans will be a legit test, and Fiychner better not cost us the game.

I am not going to crown the Steelers the kings of winning nor am I going o lesson or discredit their three wins.  They played hard, made adjustments and found a way to win in all three games. I remember when the Steelers could have and would have lost all three games (As recent as 2018 when they self-imploded). Giants were not as bad as they are now due to some injuries (especially losing Saquaan). We bottled him up pretty darn good. 

Facing a back-up who has nothing to lose and your team sputtering and making mistakes doesn't always bode well Remember how we over-achieved for a while with a backup (Mason) in San Fran last year? Remember how well Mason played coming off the bench against Seattle week two last year? Duck did the same thing in Los Angeles against the Chargers.  Defense actually may have faired better with the starter remaining all games as they were eating him up early. 

Every week is a new test. The Titans and the Steelers are both 3  - 0. One of the 0's gotta go. Hopefully it is the Titans. We have matched up pretty well against them the past few years. 

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