As I Was Saying�
October 14, 2011
Warning: severe horn-blowing and self-congratulations ahead�
Well, looks like the Stillers are back from the dead � buried as they were by the �experts.� Of course, not all of us pronounced the team �finished� � let�s refer back to what I said before the game. But before we do, let me just say: welcome back, Mr. Starks. We missed you.
�As I discussed BEFORE the season (long before Sapp and his buds did) the Stillers defense had aged and was no longer dominant � which in some ways was beside the point, as it would be up to the offense to carry the load this year. Whether or not the Stillers really are toast will be decided by how many points the offense can score � somewhere between 20 and 30 will be needed to win most games on the schedule. Whether or not that�s possible will be up to the offensive line � it�s really that simple.� (PalmerSucks, �Are the Stillers Really �Finished?�� October 7th)
How PERFECT was it, then, that the last two opponents scored the exact amount of points, with completely different results won-loss wise. So what changed? And are the Texans really any better than the Titans?
For as much as people were squawking about the old slow defense this, the old slow defense that� � it really was, and has been all along, about what the Stillers offense can do. Which, as I�ve told you time and time again, boils down to how the offensive line performs.
17 points in a loss � 17 points in a win � the difference was all in what the offense did. Do you see at last what I�ve been harping on since the preseason? For all the talk of how many yards the run defense got gashed for last week, last I looked the most important stat of all was points allowed. Holding an opponent to 17 or less, by the way, is considered championship-level defense. If your offense can�t score more than a lousy two touchdowns and a field goal, then the problem isn�t on the defensive side of the ball.
�Run Redman, and warm up Dwyer: Since the Stillers� line couldn�t pass block a group of cripples right now, the team will no doubt retreat back to the run game. That�s fine, but they�d have more success with Redman, who hits the hole instead of dancing around like Hines Ward on ABC. The Stillers should also give Jon Dwyer a look, as he ran hard and looked terrific in the pre-season. A Redman-Dwyer combo would mean the other guys face a big-back power game, which would help sustain drives and provide some much-needed nap time for the Wheelchair Curtain crew.� (PalmerSucks, October 7th)
Was there ANYONE else out there besides me (including the big-money guys on TV) who was telling you about Dwyer BEFORE the game?� Sure, the Post-Gazette gushed over him Monday, but as usual, they�re as late as a pregnant girl with a flat tire on her way to the hospital. Remember as you hear more about Dwyer this year who told you about him first.
Dwyer turned your basic counter-pike into a 76-yard jaunt of beauty � I�ve watched him since college, and I can assure you, he�s got franchise-back talent. He ate his way out of being drafted on day one, but even now at 250 lbs. (229 the Stillers wish) Dwyer�s got wheels. If he�d lose 15 pounds, he could be a real threat � even now, I like him better than Redman (and I like Redman a lot). Dwyer�s earned a spot on the field, and there�s nothing wrong with implementing a 3-man RB rotation when Mendenhall returns.
Kudos to Legursky for burying his man on that play, by the way. The Stillers o-lineup of Starks, Legursky, Pouncey, Foster and Gilbert is the best they�ve trotted out this year.
�Likewise, the Stillers can go to the short-pass game, mixing in slants and dump-offs to keep the defense off balance. The shorter the time the linemen have to hold their blocks, the better. Bruce Arians apparently doesn�t realize this, but then again, Bruce Arians is a moron. Maybe it�s up to Coach Tomlin to take the necessary steps.� (PalmerSucks, October 7th)
Well, SOMEBODY took charge of the situation, regardless, as you saw Ben take a lot more three-step drops last Sunday. The ball came out faster, and the QB ate the turf less. Maybe now he�ll realize that you don�t have to get it all at once, especially when they�re dropping a safety back every time Wallace takes the field. Take what they give you, and if it�s short, fine, hit them later with a deep ball when they don�t expect it.
A Radical Thought: Move Woodley Inside
Lawrence Timmons, filling in for Harrison, acquitted himself quite well, particularly on a backside pursuit play where he caught, then buried, Chris Johnson. He appears to have the speed and athleticism to play outside if needed. What about having him swap spots with Woodley, who�s about Kirkland-sized at this point anyway? When Harrison returns he could team up with Timmons at OLB, with Woodley inside � providing the added bonus of getting either Foote or Farrior the hell off the field. Timmons and Harrison outside, Woodley inside, Foote or Farrior on the bench � that�s my idea of �fantasy football.�
Bungals No More
Not only aren�t the Cincy Bengals NOT falling apart without the great Carson Palmer, they�re sitting pretty with a 3-2 record and have become one of the surprise teams of the league. (That�s even without the services of the great Ochostinko.) Andy Dalton, a QB I�ve mentioned before, didn�t threaten to quit when things got tough � he just picked himself off the turf and carried on. But then, he�s not just another pampered, overhyped USC quarterback who will go on to suck in the NFL. Unfortunately for Stillers fans, Dalton will become a problem in the years ahead � provided the losing atmosphere in Cincy doesn�t pollute him.
The More, the Merrier
I noticed more 6-DB defensive sets Sunday, with the Stillers somehow not sacrificing anything in run defense.� This will come in handy against the New Englands of the league, who love to spread the field. I also noticed Stiller d-linemen spent less time on the ground Sunday, so maybe they�ve solved the cutblock problem. Or maybe Hoke�s just a little faster than big Casey.
Anyway, to recap: Stillers NOT �over,� provided they can get some decent o-line play. Check. Watch out for Jon Dwyer, check. Go to the short passing game and watch what happens, check. Final score, PalmerSucks 100, dumb sports media, zero.
Now excuse me while I go get some aspirin. I think I pulled a muscle with all this back slapping � just list me as questionable for next week.