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Steelers will have to get creative on defense this week

Brett Keisel AP

The Steelers defense showed against the Patriots that it can throw the occasional change up.

Pittsburgh played far more press man coverage against New England than usual, and cut down on their zone blitzes.  It worked perfectly.

The Steelers may have to throw something offspeed again this week against Baltimore because of personnel. Their entire 3-4 scheme could be tweaked.

“We might be capable of playing with four defensive linemen,” coach Mike Tomlin said Tuesday. “We are not going to leave anything out. What we do know is that our answers generally are in-house. So, if we are out of in-house linebackers, then some of those answers might have to be in the D-line.”

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports LaMarr Woodley will miss Sunday’s game against Baltimore. James Harrison indicated on Twitter that he is likely out, although his agent thought differently on Monday.  Inside linebacker James Farrior is almost definitely out, and reserve outside linebacker Jason Worilds is questionable.

The Steelers adapted well last week, but they had Woodley available for most of the game. They could consider moving Brett Keisel to linebacker or simply play a base 4-3 or 4-2 front.

It’s not an ideal way to enter a rivalry game, but the Steelers showed last week they are capable of succeeding with a different gameplan than usual.

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55 Responses to “Steelers will have to get creative on defense this week”
  1. hus10188 says: Nov 2, 2011 9:35 AM

    As long as they have Troy Polamalu, they’re straight.

  2. claydefayette says: Nov 2, 2011 9:37 AM

    So Pittsburgh didn’t have to get creative last week against New England seeing how the team was 1-6 against Brady leading up to the matchup?

    The Steelers can keep the 3-4 look. It’ll confuse Flacco more despite being more susceptible to being run on. Is Ray Rice more likely to win the Ravens the game or is Flacco more likely to lose it? I’ll go with the latter.

  3. Patriot42 says: Nov 2, 2011 9:40 AM

    The Ravens rarely can depend on their offense to dominate their opponents. As the Pats and except for this year the Colts can just out score everyone so their defense is tame compared to the Ravens. The Steelers will be facing a defense that will put pressure on the Steelers offense that will give the Ravens the win.

  4. monsterscream says: Nov 2, 2011 9:42 AM

    Baltimore Ravens = 2011 AFC North Champs

  5. zoltar9802 says: Nov 2, 2011 9:42 AM

    All of the talk about this game focuses on the steelers. I guess all they have to do is show up and they win. You want to crown em?

  6. kravenm3 says: Nov 2, 2011 9:45 AM

    I sure hope the D can pull another rabbit out of the hat because it isn’t looking good right now. I am sure Lebeau will be up to the task but my question is in execution.

  7. richie500 says: Nov 2, 2011 9:49 AM

    Tough task stopping R. Rice without 3 of 4 starting linebackers.
    Going to be a tough game, at least Flacco sucks.

  8. baltimoresnativeson says: Nov 2, 2011 9:50 AM

    I hope Lamar plays. He was the main one talkin trash over the summer, and I want zero excuses when Rice runs for 100 yards on them like he has done twice before when Harrison and Lamar played.

  9. steelbydesign says: Nov 2, 2011 9:51 AM

    I never thought of that, but I think it could work, and work pretty well. The strength of the Ravens offense is Ray Rice, and I think if you shut him down, you make play-action less effective, and Flacco uses PA more than any QB in the league.

    A defensive line of Kiesel, Hampton, Ziggy, Heyward looks pretty dangerous… Or even put Jason Worilds on the end which is where he played (and thrived) in college.

    Then you have Timmons, Foote, and Sylvester at LB (not great, but better than other option).

  10. jessieboom says: Nov 2, 2011 9:53 AM

    LOL, honestly I hate the Steelers…but you could fax Cam Cameron your defensive game plan and he still wouldn’t be able to out-smart it.

  11. joetoronto says: Nov 2, 2011 9:56 AM

    “Steelers will have to get creative on defense this week”

    As opposed to last week?

  12. latrobe21 says: Nov 2, 2011 9:59 AM

    Ben will cover for Woodley at OL. He’s made of Pittsburgh steel (with a little KennaMetal added). Big Ben could be the first two-way, all-pro since the 40s or 50s.

  13. latrobe21 says: Nov 2, 2011 10:01 AM

    @ Zoltar,

    Are you from the planet Zoltar, or something? What else, besides the Steelers, do you think us earthlings would discuss?

  14. dirtyback says: Nov 2, 2011 10:03 AM

    The Steelers should stack the box against the run and force Flacco to throw the ball. Just got to make sure you dont get beat deep because that seems to be the only throw average joe can make, mostly because his receivers are decent at locating the ball in the air to bail him out

  15. ravensfan4life52 says: Nov 2, 2011 10:05 AM

    it’s gonna be a great game. and as much as I enjoyed week 1 I hope the game is a little closer this time so it’s actually intense and nerve wrecking like usual. CAN’T WAIT!

  16. smarterthantheaveragebearfan says: Nov 2, 2011 10:07 AM

    Beat the Ravens? Load up the front and focus on Rice. Bet that Flacco can’t defeat you with his passing skills.

  17. ravensfreak00 says: Nov 2, 2011 10:13 AM

    Against our offense, they really don’t.

  18. bigtrav425 says: Nov 2, 2011 10:22 AM

    hmm I may have to start Flacco in my fantasy league after all!

  19. otothez says: Nov 2, 2011 10:24 AM

    Wish we could fast forward to Sunday night. Gonna be a good game. Don’t want to hear excuses about linebacker injuries when the Ravens win.

  20. rwjk says: Nov 2, 2011 10:51 AM

    maybe putzberg’s defensive scheme will be better than the one they had against the indianapolis colts. yea i still remember watching that disgusting game. do you still remember that game putzberg fans? you squeakered by against a team that lost by 60 points 4 games later to a team that just lost to the rams that got DESTROYED by the Ravens. The Ravens anihilated the rams almost worse than the steelers.

  21. flakazoid says: Nov 2, 2011 11:09 AM

    As a Steeler fan, all I can say is thank god for Flacco–the great equalizer.

    All those jump-balls to Boldin ain’t gonna work against the man who finally shut down Welker: Ike-the great!.

  22. benwantsababyruth says: Nov 2, 2011 11:18 AM

    Grizzly Adams DID have a beard.

  23. flakazoid says: Nov 2, 2011 11:37 AM

    Yeah, I’m sure Dick Lebeau is lying awake nights terrified of facinga QB who barely completes 50% of his passes just a week after he throttled one of the 2 or 3 the greatest QBs in NFL history

  24. flakazoid says: Nov 2, 2011 12:29 PM

    Can anyone out there explain what rwjk was talking about? I only have an MFA, not a PHD.

  25. oriolesvsravens says: Nov 2, 2011 12:40 PM

    What? Cover 2, spy Rice, blitz Flacco. Tennesee and Jacksonville did it without out a Harrison and a Woodley. The only thing that the Ravens do successfully, before week 1, against Pitt is run the ball and I’m not sure Cam Cam would follow that blueprint.

  26. carnboys says: Nov 2, 2011 12:41 PM

    How good are the steelers?
    How good are the Ravens?

    The Question will be answer on Sunday.

  27. bravin4evr says: Nov 2, 2011 1:08 PM

    with they inconsistencies that our offense (qb/oc) have shown; steelers “D” will only have to play a half! just hope the half our offense plays will be enough….

  28. 3yardsndust says: Nov 2, 2011 1:55 PM

    I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Ravens draft a QB next April. Flacco is inconsistent at best: sometimes good, often inaccurate. They have a good line, a good RB in Rice, and Anquan Freakin’ Boldin. The fact that they can’t score points is hard to fathom if it’s not Flacco or the OC.

  29. golonger says: Nov 2, 2011 2:15 PM

    Yeah….Thank God for Flacco as he shredding the Squealers last meeting……..and will do so again….the Squealers are old and over-rated……Flacco also has more wins than Big Ben at this stage of his career so…..if you think he sucks….you would be wrong………..

    But..it certainly is convenient you are ALREADY breaking out the injury excuse again….a built in excuse….as always….LOL

  30. allnsmit says: Nov 2, 2011 2:26 PM

    I know some Ravens players/ fans/ coaches that are happy as hell not to have to see the some key players from Pittsburgh this week. As they have done all year, the back-ups will step up and embrace the challenge.

  31. Deb says: Nov 2, 2011 3:37 PM

    All of the talk about this game focuses on the steelers. I guess all they have to do is show up and they win. You want to crown em?
    ————————————————
    Would you prefer the talk were about how Lewis, Ngata, and Suggs were injured and how the Ravens might compensate for their absence in Sunday’s game? I’ve seen some whiny Ravens fans on here, but you take the cake, sport.

    He hasn’t said anything about crowning the Steelers. He’s doing his job: writing about how a prominent team that plays a 3/4 defense is going into a huge rivalry game down three linebackers. Instead of being jealous that writers are speculating how the Steelers can compensate for these personnel losses, just be glad it’s not your team starting off in the hole.

  32. squealcity says: Nov 2, 2011 4:18 PM

    Well you guys are missing some key defensive figures, but they were all there the first game on 9/11/2011.

  33. ppdoc13 says: Nov 2, 2011 4:50 PM

    come on now Deb – while the Ravens don’t have the guys missing you discussed, our best offensive lineman by far (all pro second team) is out of the game. Our number 1A receiver who was counted on for 60 or 70 catches this year has played all of one game at the beginning of the season and is out with a foot injury. We played the first 7 weeks using 3rd string cornerbacks and our 1st round pick who was expected to start from the beginning of the season finally saw a few plays of game action in week 7 after a high ankle sprain. Our #1 corner who we paid significant money to is on IR. Our starting CB’s have been Lardarius Webb who is a 3rd round pick coming off an ACL last year and Carey Williams who was a 6th round pick of the Titans.

    No excuses Deb, next man up. If you beat us in Yinstown, I won’t be whining about how we have gotten nothing out of Lee Evans and Ben Grubbs, Jimmy Smith, and Foxy. If we beat you again, I don’t want to hear any Squealer fans complaining about how you had it so bad because your LB’s were hurt.

  34. jja80 says: Nov 2, 2011 5:30 PM

    @golonger

    21/38, 137 yds, 1 TD, 1 int

    No, that isn’t the stat line from Tebows first start. That’s what Flacco did against Jacksonville! You think that’s what good QBs do? Lol I know your hoping Bal gets a chance at Luck

  35. steelcurtainn says: Nov 2, 2011 6:38 PM

    How bad will it be for the Raisens if we beat them with our Bteam linebackers?

    Ratbirds Walking in Purple and Black but walking out with purple and black bruises. Floppo Throws 2 picks. Steelers win 24-13.

  36. golonger says: Nov 2, 2011 7:03 PM

    steelcurtainn – yeah, the odds of that happening are about as good as you getting your GED!

  37. golonger says: Nov 2, 2011 7:05 PM

    jja80 – gee, why dont you look at the first game….and Flacco’s overall career (i.e. winning %)…oh, that’s right….i forgot you haven’t gotten to that complicated math yet…..let me know when you do!

  38. jja80 says: Nov 2, 2011 7:59 PM

    Golonger – yep, 67% winning percentage. How’s that working out in the playoffs? I’ll give u Flacco is decent in the reg season. Come playoff time, he chokes. If u really think these r the same two teams that met in week 1, ur in for a rude awakening this Sunday night

  39. Deb says: Nov 2, 2011 10:05 PM

    @ppdoc13 …

    Baby, next time read the exchange. I wasn’t complaining about the potential for our 3/4 defense being without three of its four linebacking starters plus one backup or the fact that we’ve been playing with a makeshift offensive line all season. I was talking about your fellow Raven complaining about the coverage of Woodley. When is the last time you’ve seen me making excuses for any Steelers loss no matter who was injured? You’ve got the wrong girl, darlin’. I don’t make excuses when we lose. I don’t make apologies when we win. And when we beat the Ravens, I just sit back and enjoy the whining :D

  40. steelcurtainn says: Nov 2, 2011 10:17 PM

    @golonger

    Or you graduating elementary school. Now run along little raisen, just stating a prediction so dont get your panties in a wod.

  41. golonger says: Nov 2, 2011 11:07 PM

    steelcurtainn – run along….get back to your Wal-Mart greeter post loser!

  42. golonger says: Nov 2, 2011 11:09 PM

    jja80 – yeah…its worked out pretty good actually……..if u really think the Squealers are a true contender, you are the one that needs a reality check!

  43. golonger says: Nov 2, 2011 11:10 PM

    Deb – sorry but, asking these people in here to actually be able to read is WAAYYYYY too much to ask! LOL

  44. golonger says: Nov 2, 2011 11:13 PM

    ….the only whining come Sunday night will be from Squealers fans who could have used the 3 hours they wasted watching the game more productively at their late-nite Wal-Mart shift!

  45. golonger says: Nov 2, 2011 11:13 PM

    I am assuming they have Wal-Marts in sh&%burg don’t they??????

  46. latrobe21 says: Nov 3, 2011 9:06 AM

    @ golonger:

    Sorry, but there are no Wal-Marts in Pittsburgh. The company had trouble rounding up enough “greeters” from Baltimore to work in the stores. Apparently, they’re all working at M&T Bank stadium.

  47. latrobe21 says: Nov 3, 2011 9:09 AM

    @ golonger:

    With your apparent lack of education, I believe you could qualify. Why don’t you apply?

  48. golonger says: Nov 3, 2011 10:45 AM

    latrobe21 – LOL, nice try..typical weak comeback I would expect from a toothless, loser Squealers fan…if there are no Wal-Marts in Sh*&sburg, it must be because nobody wants to live there (including Squealer fans)

    ….and I’ll compare my “lack of education” to your failed attempt at getting your GED any day of the week

  49. phillysteel says: Nov 3, 2011 11:40 AM

    for one its great that the Steelers arent saying the look they will give the Ravens on D, this will only be an advantage for the Steelers. what you have to look at on film is the Steelers in Press coverage (new), blitz coverage nd the normal zone, now add in the 4-3 and the 4-2,” that Tomlin suggested. Falco already has a hard time trying to figure out the normal D and regular people on the field now add in new wrinkles on D we will have 4 sacks and pic in this game 28-20 Steelers

  50. steelcurtainn says: Nov 3, 2011 6:12 PM

    @golonger

    Walmart, good one! But Loser, now u and the Ratbirds know about being losers especially to the STEELERS when it counts. Now get on back to your concession stand job at the movies. I love trash talking with you (rock)ven fans.

  51. golonger says: Nov 3, 2011 9:43 PM

    steelcurtainn – first of all….if you want to talk about being a loser, let’s talk about last year’s Super Bowl……secondly, having one of the best records in the NFL over the past five seasons and having the second-best home record (second to the Pats)…hardly qualifies anyone as a loser……unless one might be using dumba%%, redneck math that dirt-bag squealers fans use.

    If you love trash talking, I suggest you come up with something original and not borrow from others……but than again….like most s*&tsburg fans, thinking isnt your strong suit now is it????

  52. steelcurtainn says: Nov 3, 2011 11:13 PM

    golonger- Yes, we did lose the superbowl, we dont make excuses. But we just won 2 out of the last 6 superbowls(and lead the NFL with 6)which hardly makes the steelers losers.

    As for the ravens well the real truth is their a good team BUT take a backseat to the steelers and there is no denying that. Playoffs head to head are proof 3-0. And if you deny that, well then, your just another stubborn anti-steeler fan.

    Your other statements are irrelevant and I wont even waste my time commenting on them. I know its hard being runner up to the steelers every year. I understand, You must be itching for a sb, its been more then a decade. Your frustration against the steelers is quite evident.

  53. golonger says: Nov 4, 2011 4:55 PM

    steelcurtainn – of course, any statements you want to discount are irrelevant….because you are a tool

    Winning the SB isn’t the only indicator of success…..but, if you want to go there….why dont you look at the Squealers prior to 1975…anything?….that’s right….nope…..how conveniently squealer fans look to certain timeframes as marks of success………Baltimore was winning championships before anyone knew Shi^sburg HAD a team….

    the only frustration i have is that we beat ourselves…..the squealers have nothing to do with it….if we play up to our standards, nobody including the squealers has a chance.

    The only frustration is on your end and the fact that 10 SBs wont change the fact that shi%^burg is the armpit of the universe and NOBODY wants to live there except absolute morons like yourself…..no, get back to your gas pump and your pot mark cream loser!

  54. steelcurtainn says: Nov 4, 2011 6:37 PM

    @golonger After that email, I can see you are truly an idiot. I see you can’t have a normal conversation without name calling something usually 4th graders do. You must have been homeschooled!

    Yea sure the ravens beat themselves, excuses, excuses, and more excuses. I guess, The steelers beat themselves against the pack too. And If you play to your standards NO ONE has a chance too……WOWWWW REALLY….. Your comments make my stomach hurt from laughing.

    BTW, would you assume I live in Pittsburgh when you have no idea? Pittsburgh is far from the armpit of the universe, usually haters say that like yourself. I’ve been to Baltimore and there is nothing special about that place.

    Im done talking to MORONS like you and yes I will also stoop to your level of namecalling as well.
    Get on back to your ticket scanning job at M&T Skank on Sundays….. you freaking dumb%4s.

  55. golonger says: Nov 7, 2011 1:32 AM

    steelcurtain = loser……….just like your team, your city…..your family…and your toothless mouth…….sad day at Wal-mart tomorrow…LOL

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