December 14, 2007

Exit Sandman, Enter Prophet...

"The Jaguars and Steelers have been mirror images of each other for years, since Jacksonville entered the NFL in 1995 with the idea of building a team in the image of the Steelers."
- Ed Bouchette

"Good teams put it in the end zone."
-TJ DoucheHoushmanzadeh
First things first -- Anthony Smith is no longer The Sandman on One For The Other Thumb. He is now The Prophet. I had dubbed him "The Sandman" after the 1st Cincinnati game, when he deserved it. But after last week's shenanigans - Prophet. So for as long as we last this season, on Friday each week you'll see The Prophet preface my traditional Friday Morning Half Assed Analysis. Starting today.


The overall theme this week is reaffirmation. Reaffirmation of the Steelers ability to stop an Offense from marching down the field. Reaffirmation of their ability to be physical. And hopefully reaffirmation of their ability to score TOUCHDOWNS.

Regarding the latter, responsibility will largely be placed on the shoulders of Big Ben godsend. Although he sat out practice for the 2nd straight day yesterday, the team maintains that his shoulder is just sore and that it should not effect whether or not he plays on Sunday. And knowing Ben, I think we can all say we believe he wants to take the field and be the one to reaffirm our belief in said ability to score.

Before I get into the obligatory Friday "Llaves a Victoria" (Keys to Victory), there's a few milestones you should all be aware of that are in reach this weekend. So keep your collective eyes peeled for the following individual accomplishments:
  1. Hines Ward needs 73 yards to overtake John Stallworth in Overall Career Receiving Yards
  2. Big Ben needs 2 TD passes to tie The Blonde Bomber's single season record
  3. Jeff Reed needs but ONE beer point to move into sole possession of 3rd place among the Steelers all time consumption scoring leaders.
Here's to hoping we'll be able to toast these accolades properly after Sunday's game...

And now, without further ado - below are a few things on either side of the ball that the Steelers should do to insure victory this weekend:

  • 3 Points Ain't Gonna Cut It ~ What? You didn't see that coming? Yes, my first key to the Steelers Offensive success this Sunday or any Sunday for that matter is to SCORE TOUCHDOWNS. Field goals will help, but you need to be able to have the confidence that when your team gets beyond the 20, the 10, the 5 yard line, they're going to finish it off and get 7. We know they can do it. We just need to see it again. Now is the time to develop that Offensive rhythm to [hopefully] propel us into the playoffs. So again, note to Bruce Arians - Try not to get cute at the wrong time. Preferably the right time would be after the game when you're chatting up that chippy cheerleader...I see you BA...

  • Two Words ~ Hines. Ward. Get him heavily involved in the passing game. We'll need a good amount of Santonio as well. But I'm envisioning the need for a lot of short passes to a guy who never disappoints. If you need a good pass play to pick up 10-15 yards, look no further. I'm a firm believer in if it ain't broke don't fix it, and Big Ben to Hines Ward ain't broke yet, so you do the math.

  • Chicks Dig 3rd and 4th Down Conversions ~ Of course, ideally you don't have to deal with 4th down at all. But either way, when you get into 3rd and 1 and 4th and 1, you need to continue to keep those drives alive (mostly the 3rd downs but go with it). We did this very well against the Patriots. But the Jaguarsoffs Defense is just a hair better than the Pats...and by a hair I mean like a really [use your imagine on word choice] long hair. The Jags aren't going to fold like the Patriots would. This will likely mean Dump Davenport will need to come in and come up big in short yardage. Perhaps on the goal line, who knows. One way or another I'm seeing mucho Najeh. With maybe even a Heath Miller sprinkled in there for flavor...
  • Trial By Fire ~ #1 objective on Defense is still STOP THE RUN. I talked about it yesterday, but let's not forget that once upon the 2000 season, Fred Taylor rushed for 234 yards on the Steelers. Of course, once upon the 2000 season Fred Taylor was 24 and had significantly less wear and tear. Nonetheless, he's still the #1 back for the Jags. He has earned our respect and we should plan to stop him accordingly. Fortunately or unfortuantely, much of this may come down to Nick Eason and/or Travis Kirschke and maybe a little Ryan McBean. I'm sure the Jags are privy to the news that Aaron Smith is no longer a concern on the Steelers Offensive Line, and they will be looking to fully exploit that fact. So Kirschke, Eason, McflyBean, whoever is assuming the position, please stop the Jaguars rushing attack at the line of scrimmage. We would be forever grateful. Thanks.

  • Apply Pressure Liberally ~ They're either going to run the ball or pass short. Maybe a deviation here and there, but I'm not envisioning the game plan for the Jags becoming much more complex than that. So since we know that, make sure we're blitzing - getting penetration, and on the outside, pressing their receivers like we should've done against New England. They're some big dudes, but I'm pretty sure you can knock 'em off their routes and frustrate 'em just the same. Perhaps The Prophet would like to lend a hand...?

  • This Is Football, Not A Tea Party ~ I feel like I use this analogy every week...probably because I do (someone please help me think of something else)...buuuuuuut -- Your balls are directly below your abdomen between those two things that help you run down the field. Now that you know where they are, try and use them. This was the single biggest problem I had with the game we played against the Patriots last week. We were playing flag football out there. Not hitting barely at all, let alone hitting hard, and generally not tackling well. Like I've said all week - this is going to be a physical game. If you're not ready to hit and be hit, you're not ready to win. So kick each other in the groin or something before the game. Remind yourselves what it's like so you do everything you can to avoid feeling like that after 60 minutes has expired.
And that's a wrap ladies and gents. At least that's what I think.

You guys have any thoughts on this game? What else should we be doing? Did you know that Fred Taylor is Santonio Holmes' cousin? And Troy Polamalu's Uncle is the Jaguars Running Backs Coach? Interestingly, Joey Porter and The Prophet are not related...weird...

PS - I plan on doing another gameday discussion thread here in case anyone wants to jump on and talk about the game while it's happening. Or we could talk about like Britney's new boyfriend and stuff...Your choice.

PPS - Everyone wish Cope case you hadn't heard, he's in the hospital with pneumonia.

Rookie DE Gets His First Chance to Impress Steelers [Wexell]
McBean Ready [SteelCityInsider]
Polamalu On Track to Start [Tribune-Review]
Steelers-Jaugars What to Look for[WPXI]
No Guarantees, Predictions This Week [Associated Press]
Exam Time for Eason, Kirschke [Post-Gazette]
Big Ben vs. Jaguars, No Fond Memories [Post-Gazette]
Roethlisberger Takes Snaps At Morning Practice [KDKA]
Polamalu Matched Against Uncle [Associated Press]

Ballhype: hype it up!


Anonymous said...

I look for a big win this week. And a few changes in personell. Smith needs to rest a week or two and Carter is too good to sit.

And i seriously think that Max Starks would make an awesome, dominating D-lineman since our D-line is hurting without Big Aaron.

Starks is HUGE at 6 feeet 8 inchess/350+ lbs. And he's strong as an ox. I think he played defense in college too.

Even if he didn't the transition couldn't be too terribly hard. A guy has to be fairly intelligent and athletic to play O-line. Switching to defense should actually be a lot easier than that.

With his size Starks could wreak havoc on opposing QBs passing lanes.

Any thoughts on that idea? Anybody think the Stillers will ever listen to our genuisosity here at OFTOT?

They'd better!

Go Stillers!

PS- I had a brief loss of faith but have regained my Black-nGold Spirit. Please forgive me Mr. Rooney, wherever you are...

Cotter said...

Interesting suggestion about Starks my good man.

The thing of that is - he'd basically be a DT and we have 2 of the best DTs in the business already. Plus he's kind of slow. If he had more speed maybe he could play end. But even still I think Eason, Kirschke and McBean are better options.

Way to think outside the box though!

Steve said...

Speaking of DTs...I'm really not looking forward to seeing what John Henderson is going to do to Mahan. Thank god Marcus Stroud is out.

Joey Porter’s Pit Bulls said...

If Mahan gets dismembered by Henderson early in the game on Sunday -- a distinct possibility -- who plays center? Kendall Simmons? Darnell Stapleton??

Could get ugly.

Cotter said...

Fuck it, I'll play. Where's my fat suit?