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Thread: Jay's official Super Bowl preview thread

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    Default Jay's official Super Bowl preview thread

    All right, you knew it was coming.

    I even promise that I'll be as "fair and balanced" as Fox News.

    This is the Super Bowl of Super Bowls, and who better to open for Springsteen (a man who usually needs no warmup act to preceed him) than the Steelers?



    The theme of this Super Bowl is "an irresistable force [Kurt Warner and his trio of WRs] hits an unmovable object [the Steelers Defense]."

    If this game were to be played in Pittsburgh, in January, I think we know who would leave the field battered and bruised. But it is not. It is Tampa, and February. Even though the high temperature was 55 degrees last week when I was at Clearwater Beach (not a good way to get a suntan), I understand it has warmed back up.

    This matchup will be strength on strength. How the Steelers offense does against the Cardinals defense likely won't make any difference (with one caveat, below), and special teams likely won't make any difference. If Warner & Company can move the ball and strike quickly, this game will be competitive and the Cardinals can win. If they can't, I'm not sure the game will even be competitive.

    Caveat: If Big Ben turns back into Turnover Ben, and gives the Cardinals the the same type of field position that he gave Manning, it could be a real problem for the Steelers defense. However, Ben only has one interception in the past three games, and with the exception of the Titans game in Week #16 has really protected the ball well over the past two months.

    Now to the articles:

    From Monday's Tribune:

    Five Underhyped Super Bowl Stories
    David Haugh
    http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports...1076497.column

    Fitzgerald has 419 receiving yards in the playoffs and, more than any other player in the Super Bowl, has the ability to dominate the game. Though Taylor will have help from a blitzing pass rush and safeties over the top, the cornerback typically assigned to the opponent's top receiver must believe he has to be the best player on the NFL's best defense. If Taylor can be, it could create quite the Super Bowl legend for a fourth-round draft pick out of Louisiana-Lafayette. It wouldn't be the first time Taylor has shut down an elite receiver. In back-to-back wins this season, he limited Randy Moss (45) and Terrell Owens (32) to fewer than 100 yards combined. Bears cornerback Charles Tillmans's college teammate plays a similarly physical style. People in Pittsburgh will tell you there are bricks used to build Heinz Field softer than Taylor's hands, but knocking down passes would suffice against the Cardinals.
    (I love the "bricks used to build Heinz Field are softer than Taylor's hands line... its so true.)

    Born to not lose: Grown-up Big Ben leads Steelers
    Alan Robinson, AP
    http://sports.yahoo.com/nfl/news?slu...v=ap&type=lgns

    “I hate to lose. I hate being second,” Roethlisberger said. “When it comes down to it, I want the ball in my hands and I want to win the game.”

    And which NFL quarterback won the most games by age 26? Brady? Dan Marino? John Elway? Joe Montana? No, Roethlisberger, with 51. In a few days, he could join only Brady by winning a second Super Bowl before he turns 27.

    Consider this, too: Roethlisberger has started during each of his five NFL seasons. Terry Bradshaw, against whom all Steelers quarterbacks are measured, didn’t become an unquestioned starter until midway through his fifth season, in 1974. Before then, Bradshaw endured several awful seasons, benchings for Terry Hanratty and Joe Gilliam, while he did a lot of growing up.

    So much has happened to Roethlisberger during those five seasons: Going 13-0 as a rookie before losing in the AFC title game; winning the Super Bowl in his second season; the motorcycle crash that seriously injured him in 2006; the down season that followed; a comeback year (32 touchdowns, 11 interceptions) under a new coach in 2007; another Super Bowl appearance this season, despite a falloff in production (17 touchdowns, 15 interceptions).

    “I have been through a lot,” Roethlisberger said. “It’s rewarding to get here, it would be more rewarding to win it. A lot of people find ways to doubt you and hate you and love you, and it’s fun to prove people wrong.”

    His reckless, playground style creates some of the punishment he absorbs. He doesn’t believe any play is irretrievably broken, so he hangs onto the ball longer than many quarterbacks.
    Much has been made about Ben's new, big contract. It is very out of character for the Steelers to believe in paying big money to a QB. The sentiment throughout Steelers Nation is that Ben is proving to be worth the money. Its not gaudy passing stats that will ever impress Steelers Nation. On the other hand, what Ben did late in the regular season in Baltimore against the Ravens defense, marching 92 yards in 12 plays in just under three minutes for the game winning score.

    Or as Nate Washington said after the AFC Title game,

    Big Ben's scrambles produce one key play after another
    Ed Bouchette, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
    http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/09020/943058-13.stm

    "I tell people all the time, he's a good quarterback but he's one heck of a football player," receiver Nate Washington said yesterday after a team meeting. "There's a difference in those two. That's what Ben does, he prides himself on making plays."
    Ben may not be the best QB in the NFL. But I don't think you can name a better football player at the QB position. Maybe Brady, but I'm not certain I've seen Brady throw his body into a block on a reverse like Ben does, or make an outstanding open field tackle when he has to.

    Moving on, my all-time favorite player, who will be elected to the Hall of Fame this week, has a very good analysis of the strength-on-strength aspect of the game. And it scares me.

    Rod Woodson sees trouble ahead for the Steelers; praises Cardinals' passing
    Ed Bouchette, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
    http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/09028/945036-66.stm

    "I think it's going to be a tough task in the secondary for the Steelers just to match up on a play-by-play basis and shut those receivers down," Woodson said yesterday. "To me, this is the toughest draw the Steelers had in the NFC.

    "Playing against Philly, I think they could out-tough the Eagles. Playing against the Arizona Cardinals against spread-out football, who can find all their receivers? And Kurt Warner's doing an outstanding job. I think it's a tough draw for them."

    "If the Steelers are going to win this football game, the secondary -- the back end -- and the linebackers in coverage have to play the best they played all season long," Woodson predicted. "And if they can do that, they can win the football game. But if they have a bad day, it's over for the Steelers."

    The Steelers often had trouble with spread offenses in the early part of this decade, but they've tightened up since Dick LeBeau's return as coordinator in 2004.

    "You have to think ... a little advantage has to go to the Cardinals just for the fact they can spread you out, they can throw the football," Woodson said. "I can see them going to their two-minute [strategy] in their first series. What that does, you don't have the whole blitz package for Dick LeBeau at hand because you can't get into all that, the checks."
    So the Steelers need Harrison, Woodley, and Timmons to put a lot of pressure on the QBs. Nobody else has been successful at pressuring Warner this season, but nobody else has the Steelers' front seven, either. Again, strength on strength.

    Speaking of Harrison...

    Harrison makes his statements on field
    Barry Wilner, AP
    http://sports.yahoo.com/nfl/news;_yl...v=ap&type=lgns

    His development was slow through the next two seasons, held back in part because the Steelers had a Pro Bowler at outside linebacker in Joey Porter.

    But the Steelers allowed Porter to leave for Miami as a high-priced free agent in 2007, and Harrison efficiently moved into the starting spot.

    Pittsburgh was so impressed by Harrison’s improvement that it already had extended his contract through 2009 even though he was not a starter.

    “I figured the last time I got cut, that if I didn’t get picked up, that it would probably be over for me,” Harrison said. “Fortunately for me, Clark broke his hand and the Steelers called me back and here we are now.”

    At the Super Bowl, and without the kind of attention the league’s top defensive performer should command.

    Toward the end of the Steelers’ one-hour availability, as Harrison counted down the minutes, along came a camera crew and a hulking, sweating man holding a microphone.

    “Sapp,” Harrison said, “You got a question for me?”

    Warren Sapp, the 1999 defensive player of the year, did, indeed. But first, Harrison played the reporter’s role.

    “Hey, Sapp, how come you never had tough times and got drafted first round?” Harrison asked, a smile barely crossing his lips.

    “Because I was a better player than you,” Sapp said, quickly adding, “In college.”

    “Now, we’re both defensive players of the year,” Sapp said.

    Both own Super Bowl rings, too. But Sapp was a regular for the Buccaneers when they won in 2003. Harrison was a backup in 2006 and was involved in three tackles on special teams.

    So Harrison admits he has a little more catching up to do with Sapp, beginning Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals.

    “It means a little bit more to me because I am a starter instead of playing just on special teams,” he said. “I have matured. I handle situations a lot differently now than I would back then. I have gotten better since then, too. I have learned the game and taken time to study the game.

    “I didn’t know if I had it in me to play this well, but it has all come out.”
    And his partner in crime, Woodley:

    OLB Woodley becomes disruptive force
    Ron Musselman, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
    http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/09025/944133-66.stm

    "You think of some of the great linebackers they've had here, names like Kevin Greene, Levon Kirkland, Jack Ham, Jason Gildon, Joey Porter, and you want to be a part of that group," Woodley said. "You want people talking about you like that when you're done playing football."

    Woodley's popularity skyrocketed when he was featured on the cover of the Dec. 22 Sports Illustrated, glaring down at Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco after yet another sack.

    "[LaMarr] has played at a high level," Tomlin said. "The thing that we need from him is consistent pressure. I think that he provides that."

    Woodley, who dreamed of being a WWF wrestler or an NBA player as a youngster, was the Steelers' sixth-leading tackler in the regular season with 78 stops. He also tied for the NFL lead with four fumble recoveries.

    "He's played great for us this year," defensive end Brett Keisel said. "To only be a second-year pro and make the type of plays he makes and do the things he's asked to do is pretty amazing."

    Woodley's pass-rushing skills have drawn the most attention. He has 21 1/2 sacks since joining the Steelers and making the successful transition to outside linebacker in their 3-4 defense.

    At Michigan, he was primarily a defensive end in a 4-3 alignment.

    "It's always hard to draft a college defensive end and turn them into a pass-rushing linebacker," Polamalu said. "But, obviously, LaMarr's done a great job with it.

    "This defense is built for our linebackers to have a lot of success, and he's had a lot of it so far in a short period of time."
    That's true, Troy. But come on, he lists the Steelers all-time great LBs and leaves out the two best: Jack Lambert and Gregg Lloyd?? Come on.

    And lastly, if you aren't familiar with the story Aaron Smith and his son Elijah's battle with Leukemia this season (don't confuse Aaron with loudmouth Anthony Smith, who has been "inactive" for both playoff games and Tomlin has probably stuffed a sock in his mouth), you should read this article.

    Football becomes nice distraction for Smith
    By Jason Cole, Yahoo! Sports
    http://sports.yahoo.com/nfl/news;_yl...yhoo&type=lgns

    For three hours and change every week, Aaron Smith can escape.

    He can leave behind the image of long needles being stuck in his 5-year-old son Elijah as doctors check his bone marrow, measuring the effects of the medicine the little boy is taking to fight leukemia. Smith can escape from having to explain to his son that, despite the painful evidence to the contrary, the doctors are trying to help, not hurt.

    For those few, precious hours, Smith can forget about such scary words as “oncologist” and “chemotherapy” and terms like “white-cell count,” the stuff most people hope they never have to deal with or at least get a chance to live a full life before hearing.

    Sure, Smith gets to spend much of that time in the midst of violent collisions with other men weighing 300 pounds – men who would like nothing more than to inflict the kind of pain that would cause their opponent to quit.

    But when you compare that to the pain and fear inspired by a doctor asking you, “What do you know about leukemia?” or the image of your little boy bloated by steroids as he goes through chemo, double-team blocks don’t measure up.
    But don't underestimate Smith's importance to the team. When he got hurt (torn bicep muscle) last season, that was far worse than Willie Parker's broken foot.

    Same article/ links as above...

    Few people in football understand what Smith means to the Steelers. He is a lynchpin of the team’s 3-4 defense, particularly against the run.

    In 2007, after Smith was placed on injured reserve with three games remaining, the Steelers went into a tailspin. They gave up 224 yards rushing at home to Jacksonville in the first game without Smith; they proceeded to lose three of their final four, allowing at least 135 yards rushing in each of the losses. That included a first-round playoff loss to Jacksonville at home.

    “He’s the focal point of our run defense, no question,” nose tackle Chris Hoke said.

    “This is the best way I can say it,” said defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau. “I’ve been here five years since I came back, and I can count on one hand how many times I’ve seen Aaron Smith blocked. He never gets blocked, and there’s no way you can overstate that value to any defense. He gets his job done on a consistent basis.”

    OK, but that sounds like hyperbole.

    “You would say that, but I’m telling you,” LeBeau said. “That’s why I can never understand why he doesn’t go to the Pro Bowl every year. He doesn’t get quite as many sacks as the defensive ends in a 4-3 scheme, but I think our guys should be in competition with the defensive tackles. …
    To me, Aaron Smith is a shoo-in for the Pro Bowl.”

    -snip-

    Said LeBeau: “I could never overstate my admiration for him. He has been unbelievable – every day, to be with your son and to deal with this. He’s a great husband, a great father, a great family man, and he’s been a great leader for our defense.”
    Why do the things that we treasure most, slip away in time
    Till to the music we grow deaf, to God's beauty blind
    Why do the things that connect us slowly pull us apart?
    Till we fall away in our own darkness, a stranger to our own hearts
    And life itself, rushing over me
    Life itself, the wind in black elms,
    Life itself in your heart and in your eyes, I can't make it without you


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    Default Re: Jay's official Super Bowl preview thread

    My key to the game: http://forecast.weather.gov/MapClick...=149&map.y=136

    Sunday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 68. East wind between 6 and 9 mph.

    Sunday Night: Partly cloudy, with a low around 46.
    The poster formerly known as Rimfire

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    Default Re: Jay's official Super Bowl preview thread

    Go Cardinals!

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    Administrator/ The Real Jay ChicagoJ's Avatar
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    Default Re: Jay's official Super Bowl preview thread

    Quote Originally Posted by DisplacedKnick View Post
    This quote is hidden because you are ignoring this member. Show Quote
    I've been thinking that. But these Steelers rely less on physical strength and more on speed than the stereotypical Steelers team. That's been Tomlin's stamp on LeBeau's schemes. Whether its Willie Parker vs. Jerome Bettis, Holmes vs. Randel-El, Harrison and Woodely vs. Porter and Hagaans, etc., this team is quicker, and not quite as strong, than a typical Bill Cowher team.

    So this may be less of an advantage to the Cardinals. Still an advantage - don't get me wrong. And probably more meaningful than any advantage that Whis and Grimm have by coaching against us. (Don't forget, LeBeau knows Whis's offense pretty well, too.)
    Why do the things that we treasure most, slip away in time
    Till to the music we grow deaf, to God's beauty blind
    Why do the things that connect us slowly pull us apart?
    Till we fall away in our own darkness, a stranger to our own hearts
    And life itself, rushing over me
    Life itself, the wind in black elms,
    Life itself in your heart and in your eyes, I can't make it without you


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    Member Moses's Avatar
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    Default Re: Jay's official Super Bowl preview thread

    Quote Originally Posted by ChicagoJ View Post
    This quote is hidden because you are ignoring this member. Show Quote
    I've been thinking that. But these Steelers rely less on physical strength and more on speed than the stereotypical Steelers team. That's been Tomlin's stamp on LeBeau's schemes. Whether its Willie Parker vs. Jerome Bettis, Holmes vs. Randel-El, Harrison and Woodely vs. Porter and Hagaans, etc., this team is quicker, and not quite as strong, than a typical Bill Cowher team.

    So this may be less of an advantage to the Cardinals. Still an advantage - don't get me wrong. And probably more meaningful than any advantage that Whis and Grimm have by coaching against us. (Don't forget, LeBeau knows Whis's offense pretty well, too.)
    Whisenhunt has almost nothing to do with the Cardinals offense so LeBeau wont have any extra advantage there. Going the opposite way, I think Whisenhunt and Grimm still know quite a bit about the Steelers and their players capabilities so that could help the Cardinals out a little bit. Regarding the weather, the Cardinals have been fortunate to play in such great weather throughout the playoffs because playing in cold weather makes a huge difference for them as they haven't won a cold weather game against a good team all year. Looks like the weather in Tampa will be at the minimum 50 degrees so it shouldn't hurt the Cardinals finesse passing game.

    I think the two keys of the game are the Cardinals OLine vs the Steelers DLine and Big Ben not being a TO machine. If the Steelers DLine can't get any pressure onto Warner without blitz help, the Cardinals are going to shred them through the air. The Patriots had great sucess against the Cardinals by rushing 4 and dropping everyone else into coverage because Wilfork and Seymour were able to get heavy pressure on Warner right away. On the Steelers offensive front, Big Ben needs to remember not to try and do to much. If he turns the ball over a few times, the Cardinals will win this game. Their defense has been inconsistent but they have the talent to make big time plays.

    I think the Steelers are going to win, but I am pulling hard for the Cards. I have been rooting for them ever since they beat the Falcons in the wild card round.
    Last edited by Moses; 01-28-2009 at 03:23 PM.

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    Administrator/ The Real Jay ChicagoJ's Avatar
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    Default Re: Jay's official Super Bowl preview thread

    Interesting comments.

    I do agree on the Roethlesberger turnover factor. 100%.

    Let me clarify on the weather: the warm weather favors the Cardinals, but not as much as cold weather would strongly favor the Steelers.

    I don't agree with your assessment of the Steelers D-line, from a scheme perspective. But I would like to hear more about how the Patriots put Warner under pressure.

    For the Steelers, Smith, Keisel and Hampton are run stuffers and against the pass their job is to occupy as many blockers as possible so that Harrison, Woodley and Timmons have blitzing lanes. Its the prototype 3-4, remember? Now, will LeBeau likely pull Hampton and Foote, and replace them with Timmons and a nickel back? Yes. Then he'll rush four, including the obvious three (Keisel, Smith, Woodley) but leave them guessing on whether Harrison or Timmons is rushing or dropping into coverage, and drop Farrior into coverage. If we've got to go to a dime, which I think we might, either Harrison or Timmons gets pulled. Said another way, our nickel D looks like a 4-2, but the "DEs" are really our LBs.

    I'll bet we've blitzed with a DB less than 10 times this season. Troy has become the master decoy in that regard. Collinsworth said earlier in the season that he's never seen LeBeau blitz this little, and remember those guys were together in Cincinnati for a decade so Collinsworth knows a lot about LeBeau.

    We'll concede the out pattern. They can't get enough first downs against us passing that way.

    If by "shred through the air", you mean the first QB to get over 240 yards against our pass defense, then okay.

    Manning, Rivers (twice), McNabb, Romo, Collins, Campbell, Cassel, Garrard, and the other Manning have all been held to 240 or less.

    Of our four losses, two were attributable to early season struggles with the pass rush (Eagles, Giants), and two were attributable to Ben's occasional tendency to turn the ball over (Titans, Colts).

    I was focusing on some of the less obvious story lines originally. Clearly the Whis vs. LeBeau story line is getting a lot of press. Neither Whis nor LeBeau thinks either coach has an advantage - they both know each other very well but what is going to matter is which group of players does a better job of executing the game plan. But to suggest that Whis doesn't have his thumbprint all over the Cardinals offense is misleading. If Whis and Grimm have an advantage at all, it is based on the knowledge of the personnel, not the strategy. So I do agree with the rest of your comments on the coaches.
    Why do the things that we treasure most, slip away in time
    Till to the music we grow deaf, to God's beauty blind
    Why do the things that connect us slowly pull us apart?
    Till we fall away in our own darkness, a stranger to our own hearts
    And life itself, rushing over me
    Life itself, the wind in black elms,
    Life itself in your heart and in your eyes, I can't make it without you


  7. #7
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    Default Re: Jay's official Super Bowl preview thread

    Hopefully this puts another overplayed story to rest:

    Steelers defensive coordinator LeBeau says he's staying
    Gerry Dulac, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
    http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/09028...d=steelers.xml

    After hearing repeated rumors he might retire after the Super Bowl, Steelers defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau told his players in a team meeting he intends to return next season.

    LeBeau, the architect of the league's No. 1 defense, said he told the players only because the rumors were persistent on the Internet and he didn't want them to think he would make such a decision without first informing them.

    "I would never make any kind of decision without the guys in that room, like my son, knowing first," LeBeau said. "The way they're playing, they're going to have to run me out of here."

    LeBeau, 71, has been in the National Football League for 50 years, the last 36 as an assistant coach, head coach and coordinator.

    "He said, 'I'm going to get this out of the way. I will be back next year,' " said cornerback Deshea Townsend.
    I can't figure out how he is not in the Hall of Fame as either a player or contributor? And by all accounts, he is a first-class human being as well.
    Why do the things that we treasure most, slip away in time
    Till to the music we grow deaf, to God's beauty blind
    Why do the things that connect us slowly pull us apart?
    Till we fall away in our own darkness, a stranger to our own hearts
    And life itself, rushing over me
    Life itself, the wind in black elms,
    Life itself in your heart and in your eyes, I can't make it without you


  8. #8
    Inspiration Shade's Avatar
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    Default Re: Jay's official Super Bowl preview thread

    Steelers suck. Cardinals rule.

    And that ends my Super Bowl preview.
    "I'm not arguing; I'm explaining why I'm right."

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    Default Re: Jay's official Super Bowl preview thread

    Wow. And I thought Adam had nothing to say.

    Why do the things that we treasure most, slip away in time
    Till to the music we grow deaf, to God's beauty blind
    Why do the things that connect us slowly pull us apart?
    Till we fall away in our own darkness, a stranger to our own hearts
    And life itself, rushing over me
    Life itself, the wind in black elms,
    Life itself in your heart and in your eyes, I can't make it without you


  10. #10
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    Default Re: Jay's official Super Bowl preview thread

    And on a somewhat related note:

    Lofgren Looks Forward to Super Sunday
    Gary Graff, Backstreets Magazine
    http://www.backstreets.com/news.html

    What do you anticipate for the Super Bowl halftime show?

    Lofgren: Well, it goes way beyond just a gig. First of all, TV's never your favorite thing to do in a great band because it removes the three-hour sweatfest. That being said, after 40 years on the road, it's without a doubt going to be the best and greatest TV opportunity any of us will ever have. I'll speak for myself on that one; Bruce did a great job on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial (at the "We Are One" pre-inauguration concert). I won't compare those kinds of gigs, but for me, playing the Super Bowl... It's going to be incredible. And, listen, Bruce has been turning down that gig since '75. We're all thrilled he accepted it this time.

    So given the nature of football and the way the game is played, would it be appropriate for Bruce to call an audible when you guys are at the "line of scrimmage?"

    My opinion would be yes -- but that's Bruce's call. Obviously after 12 minutes you're gonna get cut off and go to a commercial. Would it be appropriate? Well, sure -- but only if Bruce wanted to do it. If he just said, "We're gonna do these four songs together" and then after the second song it's like, "Man, this third one's not feeling right" and he just gave us a hand signal that we follow or vamp on a chord while he runs around and shouts at all of us or makes sure we read his lips and counts it off, then, yeah, of course. It would be appropriate, and there's no one better to do it than Bruce and the E Street Band -- not that I'm predicting it! [laughs]
    Why do the things that we treasure most, slip away in time
    Till to the music we grow deaf, to God's beauty blind
    Why do the things that connect us slowly pull us apart?
    Till we fall away in our own darkness, a stranger to our own hearts
    And life itself, rushing over me
    Life itself, the wind in black elms,
    Life itself in your heart and in your eyes, I can't make it without you


  11. #11
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    Default Re: Jay's official Super Bowl preview thread

    I haven't been paying attention to all the SB hype, so I've got a few Q's. First, I'd expect that the Cards have been developing into a sort of massively likable, everyone-loves-the-underdog team. Is that happening? Or, no? And if so, Jay, what does it feel like going up against the team that almost everyone in the country would like to see win, if only for the 'boy, that's neat-o' factor? Crushing those sorts of teams is what builds that sort of Evil Empire vibe, over time... which could probably be pretty fun, dunno.
    You, Never? Did the Kenosha Kid?

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    Default Re: Jay's official Super Bowl preview thread

    I think they're struggling with the fact that they just aren't very popular in the first place. So they have a lot of unknown players, except for Warner. I think they are massively likeable though. I rarely cheer for the NFC in the Super Bowl (unless the Bengals, Colts, or God-forbid the Browns get in), but I would consider cheering for them against anybody other than the Steelers. They are well coached and I love their coaching staff. Warner is a legit star. Their receivers are both lucky to be playing with Warner and damn good in their own right.

    Their second best/ most popular player played college ball for Pitt, so that doesn't exactly help bring "other parts of the country" in for cheering for them.

    I read a survey not that long ago that the Steelers and Cowboys - thanks to the NFL's continued surge in popularity - are now battling with the Yankees for the most popular professional team in the country. Now it could be that the Steelers have won enough times that every non-Steeler fan wants them lose, and that's fine. If this turns into the Six Pack, then the "venom" that Shade and Adam demonstrated above is because of jealousy. But this will hardly be a situation where everybody jumps on the underdog bandwagon.

    So this is nothing new. For the most part, the entire country wanted the Colts or Seahawks to beat us during our last Super Bowl run. If it weren't for it being Bettis's last game, in his home town, we wouldn't have gotten any fan sympathy whatsoever.

    What we need is for the Cowboys to get over the hump, and have a few more Dallas-Pittsburgh Super Bowls. The "going retro" Lakers vs. Celtics NBA Finals seems to have been a big boost, so why not have the same thing in the NFL with its two most flagship franchises?

    I was in Walt Disney World during the day of the AFC Title game, and I've got to tell you that there were so many Steelers jerseys/ shirts that it could have been the parking lot of Heinz Field on game day. (And a pretty strong exodus to the parking lot/ tram about 90 minutes before kickoff.) (Full disclosure, I was sporting a Hines Ward jersey). There were some Ravens jerserys, two Eagles jerseys, and we were asked a couple of times, "who are the Eagles even playing today?"

    JMO. For what its worth.
    Why do the things that we treasure most, slip away in time
    Till to the music we grow deaf, to God's beauty blind
    Why do the things that connect us slowly pull us apart?
    Till we fall away in our own darkness, a stranger to our own hearts
    And life itself, rushing over me
    Life itself, the wind in black elms,
    Life itself in your heart and in your eyes, I can't make it without you


  13. #13
    Administrator/ The Real Jay ChicagoJ's Avatar
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    Default Re: Jay's official Super Bowl preview thread

    And just like that, "The Buzz Log" has an innocuous article on the relative internet-search popularity of both teams. Cheesy, but a little bit interesting...

    Super Bowl Search Showdown
    By Mike Krumboltz
    http://buzz.yahoo.com/buzzlog/92208
    Why do the things that we treasure most, slip away in time
    Till to the music we grow deaf, to God's beauty blind
    Why do the things that connect us slowly pull us apart?
    Till we fall away in our own darkness, a stranger to our own hearts
    And life itself, rushing over me
    Life itself, the wind in black elms,
    Life itself in your heart and in your eyes, I can't make it without you


  14. #14
    flexible and robust SoupIsGood's Avatar
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    Default Re: Jay's official Super Bowl preview thread

    Six Pack?
    You, Never? Did the Kenosha Kid?

  15. #15
    Administrator/ The Real Jay ChicagoJ's Avatar
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    Default Re: Jay's official Super Bowl preview thread

    Well, we finally got "the one for the thumb" a couple years ago.

    I'm not too sure about "Six Pack." You can decide for yourself.

    http://www.post-gazette.com/multimed...teelervidbox10
    Why do the things that we treasure most, slip away in time
    Till to the music we grow deaf, to God's beauty blind
    Why do the things that connect us slowly pull us apart?
    Till we fall away in our own darkness, a stranger to our own hearts
    And life itself, rushing over me
    Life itself, the wind in black elms,
    Life itself in your heart and in your eyes, I can't make it without you


  16. #16
    Member Moses's Avatar
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    Default Re: Jay's official Super Bowl preview thread

    Quote Originally Posted by ChicagoJ View Post
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    Let me clarify on the weather: the warm weather favors the Cardinals, but not as much as cold weather would strongly favor the Steelers.
    I agree 100%.
    I don't agree with your assessment of the Steelers D-line, from a scheme perspective. But I would like to hear more about how the Patriots put Warner under pressure.

    For the Steelers, Smith, Keisel and Hampton are run stuffers and against the pass their job is to occupy as many blockers as possible so that Harrison, Woodley and Timmons have blitzing lanes. Its the prototype 3-4, remember? Now, will LeBeau likely pull Hampton and Foote, and replace them with Timmons and a nickel back? Yes. Then he'll rush four, including the obvious three (Keisel, Smith, Woodley) but leave them guessing on whether Harrison or Timmons is rushing or dropping into coverage, and drop Farrior into coverage. If we've got to go to a dime, which I think we might, either Harrison or Timmons gets pulled. Said another way, our nickel D looks like a 4-2, but the "DEs" are really our LBs.

    I'll bet we've blitzed with a DB less than 10 times this season. Troy has become the master decoy in that regard. Collinsworth said earlier in the season that he's never seen LeBeau blitz this little, and remember those guys were together in Cincinnati for a decade so Collinsworth knows a lot about LeBeau.

    We'll concede the out pattern. They can't get enough first downs against us passing that way.
    I wasn't saying that the Steelers DLine wouldn't have success, merely that this year Warner has been phenomenal against blitzing teams due to his quick release, the talent that Arizona has at the skill positions, and the system that Arizona runs. From what I have seen this year, the teams that have traditionally had the most success against the Cardinals were the teams that could pressure Warner with their DLine. The first team to really figure that out was actually the Eagles back during the regular season when they walloped Arizona 48-20. I remember reading that Warner has thrown something along the lines of 12-13 TDs and 2 INTs against the blitz this year which is phenomenal.
    If by "shred through the air", you mean the first QB to get over 240 yards against our pass defense, then okay.

    Manning, Rivers (twice), McNabb, Romo, Collins, Campbell, Cassel, Garrard, and the other Manning have all been held to 240 or less.

    Of our four losses, two were attributable to early season struggles with the pass rush (Eagles, Giants), and two were attributable to Ben's occasional tendency to turn the ball over (Titans, Colts).
    If the Cardinals are going to win this game, Warner will need at least 300 yards or Big Ben is going to have to make some mistakes.

  17. #17
    Jimmy did what Jimmy did Bball's Avatar
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    Default Re: Jay's official Super Bowl preview thread

    I've seen a lot of Super Bowls and this Steeler vs Cardinal matchup will be another one.




    -Bball
    O'Brien has been fired! Yay! What took so long?

    ------

    "A player who makes a team great is more valuable than a great player. Losing yourself in the group, for the good of the group, that’s teamwork."

    -John Wooden

  18. #18
    Administrator/ The Real Jay ChicagoJ's Avatar
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    Default Re: Jay's official Super Bowl preview thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Moses View Post
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    If the Cardinals are going to win this game, Warner will need at least 300 yards or Big Ben is going to have to make some mistakes.
    Yes and yes.

    One other option, though, is that Warner could turn E. James loose. Wisenhutt and Grimm know quite well that if Manning had discipline to stick with Edge in the second half of the 2005 playoff game, the Colts might have been able to make a full comeback. Cowher planned, correctly, that Manning would generally become one dimensional and LeBeau overcommitted to the pass.

    Manning only really went to Edge in one series, and the Colts moved the ball right down the field. Then he went back to passing, and if the NFL didn't blow call on Polamalu's interception, that next drive would have been over long before midfield.

    And that's why I keep saying Manning is a far better QB than offensive coordinator.
    Why do the things that we treasure most, slip away in time
    Till to the music we grow deaf, to God's beauty blind
    Why do the things that connect us slowly pull us apart?
    Till we fall away in our own darkness, a stranger to our own hearts
    And life itself, rushing over me
    Life itself, the wind in black elms,
    Life itself in your heart and in your eyes, I can't make it without you


  19. #19
    Administrator/ The Real Jay ChicagoJ's Avatar
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    Default Re: Jay's official Super Bowl preview thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Moses View Post
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    I wasn't saying that the Steelers DLine wouldn't have success, merely that this year Warner has been phenomenal against blitzing teams due to his quick release, the talent that Arizona has at the skill positions, and the system that Arizona runs. From what I have seen this year, the teams that have traditionally had the most success against the Cardinals were the teams that could pressure Warner with their DLine. The first team to really figure that out was actually the Eagles back during the regular season when they walloped Arizona 48-20. I remember reading that Warner has thrown something along the lines of 12-13 TDs and 2 INTs against the blitz this year which is phenomenal.
    Fair enough. We'll do it with our linebackers, though, not the D-line.

    Not really a Super Bowl preview, but Peter King has a nice description of it here from an article last month:

    The Dream Scheme
    Dick LeBeau's revolutionary philosophy—pressure the passer, but keep zones covered—just gets better with age
    Peter King
    http://vault.sportsillustrated.cnn.c...9835/index.htm

    LeBeau was a good pal of Bob Knight's when both attended Ohio State in the late '50s, and they've kept in touch to this day. Their conversations inevitably turn to defensive pressure on the ball. It worked for Knight on the basketball court, and it has worked for LeBeau, especially since the idea of safe pressure came to him while preparing for his first coordinator job, in Cincinnati in 1984. While scouting for the '84 draft, LeBeau talked to LSU coach Bill Arnsparger about pressuring the passer while still being able to cover receivers. That got LeBeau to thinking: On obvious passing downs, what if he dropped a defensive lineman or two or a linebacker into a shallow zone and blitzed a defensive back or linebacker? Zones wouldn't be left unmanned, and by the time the quarterback saw an open receiver, the confusing blitz package would have—hopefully—done its job. The zone blitz was born.

    LeBeau's scheme began to flourish when he joined Bill Cowher's Steelers staff as secondary coach in 1992, and it has really taken off for him since '03, LeBeau's single season as a Bills assistant. That year Buffalo improved from 15th in total defense to second, and the players bought into the scheme on opening day when 335-pound defensive tackle Sam Adams dropped into the middle linebacker's zone, picked off Tom Brady and returned the interception 37 yards for a touchdown. In Pittsburgh since 2004, LeBeau's units have ranked first, fourth, ninth and first overall, with this year's team playing better than any unit LeBeau has coached.

    The Steelers may have the two perfect outside linebackers for the zone blitz: five-year veteran James Harrison and second-year man LaMarr Woodley. They're equally adept at coverage and rushing the passer, and the 265-pound Woodley is a good run stuffer.
    Why do the things that we treasure most, slip away in time
    Till to the music we grow deaf, to God's beauty blind
    Why do the things that connect us slowly pull us apart?
    Till we fall away in our own darkness, a stranger to our own hearts
    And life itself, rushing over me
    Life itself, the wind in black elms,
    Life itself in your heart and in your eyes, I can't make it without you


  20. #20
    Member Sollozzo's Avatar
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    Default Re: Jay's official Super Bowl preview thread

    Quote Originally Posted by ChicagoJ View Post
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    Yes and yes.

    One other option, though, is that Warner could turn E. James loose. Wisenhutt and Grimm know quite well that if Manning had discipline to stick with Edge in the second half of the 2005 playoff game, the Colts might have been able to make a full comeback. Cowher planned, correctly, that Manning would generally become one dimensional and LeBeau overcommitted to the pass.

    Manning only really went to Edge in one series, and the Colts moved the ball right down the field. Then he went back to passing, and if the NFL didn't blow call on Polamalu's interception, that next drive would have been over long before midfield.

    And that's why I keep saying Manning is a far better QB than offensive coordinator.
    All of that is definitely true. But you do have to give Manning credit for sticking to the run in the the 06 playoffs (Baltimore game and Superbowl esp).

    I think he learned a valuable lesson during the 05 and 06 playoffs. It's just that this year he had no running game to depend on.

  21. #21
    flexible and robust SoupIsGood's Avatar
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    Default Re: Jay's official Super Bowl preview thread

    I dunno, from what I can remember, the Steelers pretty well had the stretch play devoured during that playoff game. I was glad when Manning went away from it. (Yeah, maybe it worked for one drive, but I think an even bigger problem was not having any effective running play that wasn't the stretch.)
    You, Never? Did the Kenosha Kid?

  22. #22
    Administrator/ The Real Jay ChicagoJ's Avatar
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    Default Re: Jay's official Super Bowl preview thread

    Quote Originally Posted by ChicagoJ View Post
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    This matchup will be strength on strength. How the Steelers offense does against the Cardinals defense likely won't make any difference (with one caveat, below), ...
    I've been thinking about this, and it may not be right.

    The Steelers offense has a pretty low ranking overall, but it has been able to move the ball at times against all of its opponents not named "Philadelphia Eagles".

    Turnovers have been the un-doing, along with a conservative red zone strategy (with our defense, we can live with scoring in "three's".)

    We've faced, this season, the #2 defense (measured by total yards) three times, the #3, #4, #5, #7, #8, #10 and #11 defenses once, and the #12 defense twice. Of our 18 games, 12 games were against teams ranked in the top 12. When we lost to the #11 defense, we actually outgained the Colts in total offense 326-290 but were plagued by turnovers. When we lost to the #7 defense, we outgained the Titans in total offense 374-322 but turnovers killed us. Now, the Giants and Eagles beat us soundly in both total yards and turnovers.

    Perhaps the Cardinals at #19 in total defense can force some turnovers? The seem pretty good at forcing fumbles, statistically.

    Not sure what to make out of this...

    Turnover differential often determines Super Bowl outcome
    NFL.com (no author named)

    http://www.nfl.com/superbowl/story?i...o&confirm=true

    The Cardinals finished the regular season tied for 17th in turnover differential, having turned over the ball as many times (30) as they took it away. Including the playoffs, Arizona is 10-0 this season when posting a positive turnover differential.

    Pittsburgh finished the regular season with a plus-4 turnover differential -- good for a 11th-place tie in the league. Like their Super Bowl counterparts, the Steelers have come out victorious in all 10 games in which they have recorded a positive turnover differential.
    Why do the things that we treasure most, slip away in time
    Till to the music we grow deaf, to God's beauty blind
    Why do the things that connect us slowly pull us apart?
    Till we fall away in our own darkness, a stranger to our own hearts
    And life itself, rushing over me
    Life itself, the wind in black elms,
    Life itself in your heart and in your eyes, I can't make it without you


  23. #23

    Default Re: Jay's official Super Bowl preview thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Moses View Post
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    If the Cardinals are going to win this game, Warner will need at least 300 yards or Big Ben is going to have to make some mistakes.
    The first has happened only once in 18 games played (Philip Rivers) and the next closest was 240 yards, I think (Peyton Manning).

    I think that the Cardinals need to use some 4-wide spead formations, though that would leave them more vulnerable to the pass rush. If to get adequate protection they have to keep a tight end and a running back in there just to help pass block and only send a couple of guys out on patterns, I think that they are doomed.

    They aren't going to run the ball, unless they run from spread formations. That's the one thing the Patriots did well-- I think Kevin Faulk had some nice runs early when the Steelers were spread out and playing deep. But otherwise they will need to spread the D, not necessarily to throw deep since I doubt Warner will have tons of time, but to get a lot of shorter crossing routes where the D doesn't have enought time to converge. They don't seem to throw to the backs much though, despite the fact Edge has the ability to catch and even split out or line up in the slot.

    Personally I hope the Cards play well but I expect a fairly decisive Steeler win driven by fewer turnovers.

  24. #24
    Administrator/ The Real Jay ChicagoJ's Avatar
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    Default Re: Jay's official Super Bowl preview thread

    Quote Originally Posted by pacertom View Post
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    The first has happened only once in 18 games played (Philip Rivers) and the next closest was 240 yards, I think (Peyton Manning).
    You're right. I forgot that Philip Rivers piled 175 passing yards into the fourth quarter of that game to make the final score appear closer.
    Why do the things that we treasure most, slip away in time
    Till to the music we grow deaf, to God's beauty blind
    Why do the things that connect us slowly pull us apart?
    Till we fall away in our own darkness, a stranger to our own hearts
    And life itself, rushing over me
    Life itself, the wind in black elms,
    Life itself in your heart and in your eyes, I can't make it without you


  25. #25
    Member Sollozzo's Avatar
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    Default Re: Jay's official Super Bowl preview thread

    I have almost forgotten that there actually was a Super Bowl this weekend. This has to be one of the most boring, least hyped Super Bowls ever. If it weren't for the commercials and Springsteen, I doubt I'd even watch.

    Hopefully Warner and Fitz. can give it some spark.

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