• May 17, 2022

Steelers Offense Has Shown Eagles Defense How It Will Be Attacked

The Pittsburgh Steelers were embarrassed by the Washington Redskins in game one of the preseason, so they came out of that game with an attitude. Head coach Mike Tomlin wanted to make a statement to Steelers fans and the nation in last Thursday night’s game against the Eagles in their second preseason game.

I think that desire had the Steelers do something which you don’t normally see in preseason games. Pittsburgh’s coaching staff game planned for the Eagles. They might have scripted those first quarter plays for Ben Roethlisberger. Pittsburgh attacked the two areas which teams are going to consider to be the Eagles weaknesses, linebacker and safety.

It wasn’t an accident that the Steelers were attacking Eagles middle linebacker Casey Matthews and strong side linebacker Jamar Chaney with draws, screens and quick-hitters up the middle. They’re going to force the linebackers to recognize plays, then force them to beat blockers to make tackles on running backs and tight ends in the open field.

There are inexperienced and unproven players starting for the Eagles at the linebacker and safety positions, while the Birds have All-Pro’s on the defensive line and at the cornerback position. It makes sense to attack them in that way. The fact that the linebackers and safeties make most of the front calls and coverages changes will also have teams changing formations and putting men in motion to test them in that area as well.

In addition, don’t think it was lost to the Steelers that Allen is trying to come back from knee surgery. Many times during my NFL career, I sat in meeting rooms and heard coordinators go over injury and experience information of the upcoming opponent. I’ve seen it have a great affect upon a game plan. This is a must during the season, but rarely done in the preseason.

You may say Pittsburgh shouldn’t have been taking this game so seriously, in truth the Steelers did the Eagles a favor by showing them what other teams are going to do when they look closely at the Birds defensive personnel. They’re going to want neutralize the pass rush by getting the ball out of the quarterback’s hands and not make a habit of throwing the ball at the Birds cornerbacks.

Offenses will try to run inside because getting outside will likely be impossible with the defensive ends lining up wide and getting upfield. Teams will try to split the defensive front with traps. They’ll run draws to neutralize the pass rush intensity. Screens do the the same thing. They’ll take advantage of an over eager pass rush by making a play initially look like a pass then changing once the defensive linemen commit.

The Eagles linebackers are going to see screens and draws all season long. Any offensive coordinator who looks at the Birds defensive personnel is going to attack the linebacker and safeties.

It also wasn’t an accident that numerous times, the Steelers were able to get one of the safeties, Nate Allen, in one-on-one situations with their wide receivers. You’ll see teams get into various formations and send nearly every player in motion in order to find out how they can get the safeties isolated. Once that is deciphered you will then see those offenses strike downfield in pursuit of the big play.

The Eagles can expect to see more of this type of game plan because quarterbacks will stay away from throwing the ball in the vicinity of their three Pro Bowl cornerbacks, Asante Samuel, Nmandi Asomugha, and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. Samuel is known for jumping routes, so it wasn’t an accident that the Steelers baited him on the slant route and threw the ball deep on him when they got the chance to attack him in blitz coverage.

Teams are going to get the ball to their tight ends as well as their third and fourth wide receivers.


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  • This Steelers game will be the “Gift that keeps on giving” if the coaches are living in reality. After listen to Juan talk, I’m beginning to think that helmetless headbutt killed some braincells.

    Of course you can never listen to what the coaches say. I’m going to watch what they do personnel wise after teams start letting go good linebackers and offensive tackles.

  • After my initial disappointment with the Eagles performance I have sat back bit and reassessed. First, The Steelers may be the last team in the NFL to put stock in preseason games. They always have. Some old timers may remember Bradshaw playing the entire fourth game against us back in the mid-eighties after getting his bell rung in the second quarter. Second, they are an intact team with continuity that few other squads can compare to. They had all but Ike Taylor and Max Starks back from their SB squad of last year. We have how many new players? Third, we were missing our RT, essentially both our starting WRs (since D Jack was rusty and didn’t play hard), and most importantly our two down starting DTs. So obviously teams can run against us without those guys in there. It was a good ass whipping that should help us in the future and give us a chance to learn and improve.

  • Other teams, mostly in their division, have been burning the Birds with the TE since Emmons left. They have never addressed that issue. Cooley and Whitten circle those games on their calendars every year, because they know that they will have about 10 catches for 100+ yards and a Td or 2. Nothing new there. The screens are what really worry me or even swing passes to the RBs.

  • Great article! If the steelers were playing poker they went all in after the first round of cards, we should thank the steelers. Now the the Eagles coaches have lots of stuff to work on and get better and the team can focus on the games that count – and no one got hurt! How do you think the Giants feel today after that great victory over the bears – that means nothing except they lost a starting CB for the season…

    Pman – fried pickles – who would have thought…. the Highlander Gaelic – not bad. Back in SD

  • good stuff G and all obvious tendancies that teams will use to attack this Eagle Defense… Everyone knows the Strength of the Eagles Defense is at the CB and DE postions and the way to attack that effectively is to pound the ball between the Tackles in the Running game and to attack the LB & Safeties with Screens,Crossing Routes, Bubble routes and using the TE’s in a the passing game and by this way, this is nothing new, Teams have attacked these same areas against this Eagles Defense for the last few Seasons now and until they get stronger up the middle and in their LB play, Teams and O/Coordinators will continue to attack the middle of the field..

    I bet the SL Rams with their strong running game RB’s S Jackson/Cadillac Willaims/J Norwood who are all also good at cathching the ball out of the backfield with QB Bradford are licking their chops to play this Defense..
    Throw in some young TE’s and this is exactly what the Rams will do..
    The Rams is pretty average at the WR position with lots of young players,but they will send their WR’s on Deep routes to clear out the CB’s and a Safety allowing the strength of their team (RB &TE) to attack the middle of the field versus this EAgle Defense.. If the Eagles DL cannot get to Bradford and hit him around and force the tempo and into some poor throws and Decisions, then it may be a very long day for the Eagles Defense and a strong possibility that the Eagles lose their opener and set a bad tone for the Season.. The Rams are a much improved team along the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball and this young QB Bradford is the real deal. and the Fans and that Dome will not be an easy place to play..

  • bsm…I heard that Kirk Morrison’s agent has been talking to us. He would be a good fit as a two down run stuffer in the middle. We have a little money left. Now people are wondering how we give D Jack a raise. Well, it will not be a huge raise. But there is a good bit of money on this roster that is unnecessary. First, J Parker makes 3.5. He’s a back up and I think Tapp is just as good if not better. He gets cut or restructured. Fat Jack makes over three. So they have other reasons for taking a strong interest in the development of Kelce. But that is a tough decision there. Joselio Hanson makes around three. Guess what, they are not paying a fourth corner with no ability to be a starter for an extended period that kind of money and Marsh isn’t going anywhere. They will take their chances and cut Hanson and Nnamdi can get his number after all. Another one that is kind of dicey is Winston Justice. He makes a little coin as well. I would bet at least two and they don’t even like him. If Harris can start and Dunlap continues to show ability, Justice could be expendable. I think they can find enough to get a Kirk Morrison and give D Jack an extension if they make a few cuts. I would say in this order: 1) Hanson definite, 2) Parker probable, 3) J Jackson maybe, 4) Justice possible but not highly likely given Harris’s health.

  • Hey Navy, it was fun meeting you on Sat and hope you had a nice flight back.. Let me know when you make your next trip out to visit your son in college
    The Fall Season is beautiful up here with the Eagles in full swing…

  • Paulman….Teams will not run as well against us in a “real” game with Patterson and Dixon playing first down and second & short. Plus Mathews will improve in the next three weeks or he will not be playing as much. And I wouldn’t rule out a veteran depending on their roster evals and what cuts they are going to make. The defense will be fine. How well will the Rams run when they give up 17-21 points in the first half? How will their defense stop this offense? Everyone says “Oh to beat the Eagles you just run.” No that’s incorrect. You can’t just run. First you have to stop a hell of an offense before you can “just run.” If you can’t do that, you can “run” for about a half unless you can keep it close. Teams that can beat us have to play defense first and then run if they are successful on defense.

  • Paulman…also I expected the movement up and down the field. The way to attck this defense is to play “small ball.” No one does that better than the Steelers. But what I didn’t expect is for them to be able to score in the RZ. I expect teams to get down there and settle for three because of our corners playing in tight quarters and the attacking line should make it tough on teams down there. That didn’t happen. But I think more often than not it will happen that teams move the ball but don’t get the points one would expect for the yardage.

  • Use Asante’s tendencies as leverage. If an OC knows he is going to jump the routes, sneak a safety over the top but hide that coverage until pre-snap. This way you bait the offense into thinking they’ll burn him only to have the receiver flattened by a full speed safety (post catch of course).

  • G:
    bugsyhawk is right. I could not agree more. And I hate it.

  • I hear you Jbird about the Steelers being a good nickle & dime team offensively jbird, but the concerning thing is that the Steelers scored on longer pass plays that were outside of the Red-Zone
    1st TD Past out of position Samuel was a 30 Yarder
    2nd TD Pass that beat an out of position N Allen was a 20 Yarder
    3rd TD Pass to Crothcery was also a 20 Yarder

    Remember these yardages were from the line of scrimmage, Snapping the ball from the 20 Yard line and then dropping back 7-8-9 yards and the WR cathching the ball in the end-zone a few yards deep is more like a 30-35 yard pass where it takes a little time to develop and in all 3 caes, the DL did not get enough pressure and the covereage was out of position or beaten ..

  • Hit me up for the fantasy league. Have some spots left. There are about 4 spots out there with invitations sent and not accepted yet. If you got an invite, please accept or you will be removed by the end of the week.

    Hit me up for an invite astuckey05 at gmail .com

  • I glad the Steelers offense played well against us. No we can address the areas where we made mistakes. Obviously we must play better against the run. I feel this was a great experience for our young linebackers. Now they can look at the tape and make the necessary adjustments. I hope we show some patience with Matthews. I like this kid and feel he will be fine in the middle. This Cleveland game should give us a good idea of his progress he made since the Steelers game.

  • Is anyone else mildly amused by Terrelle Pryor’s fall from grace? This yahoo said he would not go to Penn State because they didn’t have a sucession plan for when Joe Paterno leaves. Last I checked, JoePa is still in State College, getting ready for another season. How is Pryor’s college coach doing? He then gets drafted in the 3rd round by Skeletor, to go to the single most dysfunctional organization in professional sports. The Raiders make the Mets look like rock stars. Kharma is a bitch sometimes.

  • Maybe a little Anderson, about the Pryor fall.. I am not really sure how many NFL Football people really saw him as legitimate NFL QB.. a very good athlete and an exciting College player no doubt, and to be honest, I was surprised that he went as high as he did in the 3rd Round and don’t see this fella with a long career in the NFL.. Time will tell..
    As far as Penn State, It still pissed me off they Joe Pa steered them to the Big 10 which they simply don’t belong.. 90 % of their Alumni,Boosters,Recruits and families of theie Student-Athletes live in the Nid-Atlantic region and are not from the Mid-West… If I am a parent from NJ/DE/Ct or Eastern PA, I want to see my kid play, I want him to play with kids he compete with and knows from tracel clumbs,highg-school bal land coaches and instead, Penn State playes road games in Nebraska,Minnesota,Iowa,Wisconsin,Illionois… It makes no sense and has made Penss State irrelevant in Football and Basketball and It also weakened East Coast College Athletics (same case with Boston College) both schools should have stayed in the Big East and then when you when you add them with U Conn/Rutgers/WVU,Pitt,CIncinnati, then you have a decent Football in the Northeast that you simply don’t have any longer…

  • I am not sure they had any choice about the Big Ten if they wanted to remain a prestige program in football. (They are perpetually irrelevant in basketball). Playing Rutgers, UConn, etc just isn’t good enough to get them on tv every week. Notre Dame is facing the same sort of institutional death because they have stayed as indepedants. You have to get on tv to be able to maintain the kind of program PSU is used to having. Really, the NCAA needs to be blown up, I truly think at this point, they are hurting more than they help regarding the moneymaking sports. I do not have the answers, but I do certainly know what they are doing is not the solution. The NCAA exists to enrich the NCAA.

  • But the grass roots supporters of any football pograms are the players, their families,their high-school coaches, and of course Alumni and Booster.. and how many of these live in the mid-west.. 10-15%.. The rest are from from Harrisburg to Washington,Dc up 95 thru Phila/NJ to NY and Ct.. and now they have the close connection to thier base by moving to the Big 10..
    When Paterno ended to series with Pitt, then has issues with WVU, it opened the door to the Big 10 but I think their short-term gain will turn out to be a long-term loss for the Nittany Lions.. Think of all the recruits that they have lost over their years in both Football and Basketball simply because they are too far and most of their Road games are even further away. think of all the High School connections they lost that used to send kids after kids to Penn State but now have closer relationships with U Conn/Rutgert/MAryland,.Villanova, Temple since they are closer to where they are from.. If a am a Dad whose lucky enough to have a great athlete who is scholarship material and can go to a big program, I and my family want to watch him play and not have to travel 500-700-1000 miels away for Road games…

    Big East Proposal (Football only)
    East Division- Penn State,Boston College,U Conn, Syracuse,Rutgers,Temple
    West Division -Maryland, Pitt, WVU, Cincinnati,Lousville, South Florida

    Each Division plays tall he other 5 teams from it’s own division plus 4 teams from the opposite Division giving each School 9 Big East Conference Games and then can play 3 out-of conference games .. Sounds like a good Football league which would represent the Northeast well and keep the tradition, the rivalry’s and recruiting good talent among out schools backyards..

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