Will the Steelers rough up Marcus Mariota?

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Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota has never faced the Steelers. After Thursday night, he may wish he still hadn’t.

Five years ago, when current Titans assistant head coach Dick LeBeau served as the defensive coordinator in Pittsburgh, the Steelers dealt with a mobile quarterback by hitting him, often.

“Our goal was to be physical with him at any opportunity we had, and I think it affected his play,” Steeler safety Ryan Clark said while appearing on ESPN in May 2013. “We were focused on being physical with him. When they ran the read-option, he was the guy we were focused on. [We] had James Harrison and LaMarr Woodley on him at every chance and every opportunity that we got, just so he knew every play, he was gonna be hit.”

The game included Griffin flipping the ball to receiver Joshua Morgan and running a pass route. Clark took advantage of the opportunity, blasting the pass-thrower-turned-potential-pass-catcher with a legal (but massive) hit.

“Anytime you get a shot at a quarterback you want to take it,” said FOX analyst Brian Billick at the time.

The Steelers may use the same approach on Thursday night with Mariota, making him pay every time he leaves the pocket. No, it doesn’t get discussed as openly as it did before the Saints’ bounty scandal. But it remains a very real dynamic in football, especially when a defense known for toughness faces a quarterback who willingly abandons the protections that apply when he’s in the pocket.

13 responses to “Will the Steelers rough up Marcus Mariota?

  1. Mariota is a smart guy. If the Titans are smart, they will attack the Steelers secondary the same way the Patriots do. That can easily be done in the pocket. There really is no need to play undisciplined against the Steelers, especially now with Haden out.

  2. Well, I think that goes without sayin’…don’t you? I predict Steelers get 4 Mariota sacks, 6 QB hits, 9 QB hurries, 1 INT, 1 QB fumble. Let’s GO STEELERS!

  3. This is no revelation. Every coach from HS on up knows that when you play a team who runs some kind of option look, it is imperative that you hit the QB regardless of whether he has the ball at the moment. The sooner NFL teams understand this, the sooner the “read option” will recede from NFL offenses.

  4. “Anytime you get a shot at a quarterback you want to take it,” said FOX analyst Brian Billick at the time.

    ————————

    Unless it’s Aaron Rodgers, he’ll schedule an appearance on a late night talk show to cry about it….

  5. Mariota has one thing working in his favor tonite, a dirty player like Mike Mitchell isn’t playing.
    Oh wait this is the Steelers so they’ll get at least three cheap shots free from the refs.

  6. “Who do you think you’re foolin’?” (Loves Me Like A Rock – Paul Simon)
    Dick LeBeau knows Steelers D inside & out lol

    Titans 20
    Terrible Towels 17

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