Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Much to Feel Good About

For a 5-3 team that's lost to wretched Tennessee and Oakland teams, plus Denver, the Steelers are finding their stride.

There's a lot to look forward to:  First, Kansas City at Heinz Field on Monday Night.  Then, Baltimore twice in three weeks, sandwiched around a tough game at Cleveland, never mind the 2-7 record.

Let the season begin.

Encouraging signs for the Steelers are many and good.  It all starts up front.  It's like the coaching staff told the offensive line, "Hey, it's okay to be physical."

As a unit, the entire offensive line is jelling and finding its identity.  It is spearheading a multifaceted attack has rediscovered its running game.  Guards Ramon Foster and Willie Colon seem to be playing with a new confidence, and the running backs are following right behind.  There's newfound energy.  All of a sudden, the offensive line is a force.

The offensive line has gone old-school.
Give credit to offensive coordinator Todd Haley. He has devised schemes that (1) play to the team's strengths; (2) protect Ben Roethlisberger's health by keeping him upright; and (3) dominate time of possession.  That last point is absolutely crucial because it keeps the defense off the field and keeps the other team's offense on the sideline.

Also give credit to defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau for once again masterfully devising schemes that expose other team's weaknesses while masking his own unit's shortcomings.

The secondary has improved dramatically the past few weeks -- coincidentally, perhaps, since third-string safety Will Allen started getting more playing time.  Ryan Clark has been rock-steady, Keenan Lewis and Ike Taylor have really stepped up their game, and Cortez Allen has the look of a future starter and a good one.

This team's going to be okay.  Football is fun again.

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