Tuesday, October 04, 2011

The Silverback is Out

James Harrison, aka "Silverback"
In news that might make Houston Texans linebacker Brian Cushing happy, Steelers coach Mike Tomlin announced today that James Harrison will miss several weeks with a broken right orbital bone.

Just how scary tough is James Harrison, anyway? The man fractured his face, the orbital bone around the socket of his right eye, and he not only came back in the game, he played the entire second half. Good heavens. That's a ba-a-d dude.

Let the Scrutiny Begin

Mike Tomlin's weekly news conference today (noon, ET) should be interesting.  He's got some "'splainin' to do," as Ricky Ricardo would say to Lucy, and we might get some talk of the "fine line between drinking wine and squashing grapes."

Or getting squashed, as was undeniably the case Sunday in Houston.

We'll get an injury update.  And probably some predictable coach-speak: "We'll take a look at the situation.  We're sticking with what we've got. We have to get back to basics, blah, blah, blah."

Steeler fans, however, would like to know where the defense has gone, how it surrendered 180 yards rushing and what will be done to fix the offensive line, pass protection, the running game and play-calling.

Vince Wilfork
It's probably too much to expect to expect an explanation of all that.  Maybe, however, we'll learn why New England defensive lineman Vince Wilfork has more interceptions (two) than the Steelers' defense (one)

In other realms, the composition of the roster itself is being second-guessed. 

Over at Nice Pick, Cowher, blogger Dom di Tolla offers a seriously in-depth analysis on what he calls "The Pittsburgh Steelers' $61.5 Million Mistake," which would be the contract given to Lamarr Woodley.  Mr. di Tolla explains why he believes Woodley's game is flawed, why Woodley is replaceable, and how the Steelers could have applied that money elsewhere, particularly on the offensive line.

Merrill Hoge, former Steeler and current ESPN analyst, also is dumbfounded at the play of offensive line and the defensive front seven.

Aaron Smith, carted off the field in Houston
"The offensive line is getting beat on individual match-ups and vanilla schemes," Hoge said. 

"And it's almost mind-boggling how the defensive line is getting mauled. Used to be, the front three were bedrock, you couldn't move them. Now they're getting pushed back three and four yards."

As for Arian Foster's clinching 42-yard touchdown run that Woodley first over-ran and then recovered just enough to miss a tackle, Hoge said, "You'd be hard-pressed to watch game tape for five years and see a back side collapse that bad."

True dat.

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