Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Scouting the Steelers

Some things in Pittsburgh have changed. They spread the field more on offense, the defense moves around before the snap on some plays. But the Steelers, under new coach Mike Tomlin, are still winning with the same basic tenets.

They run the ball very well. They are tough and physical on defense. And, after last year’s post Super Bowl hangover, they’re back among the top teams in the NFL at 4-1.

“We don’t care who gets the credit, we’re just trying to win,” Tomlin said.

Willie Parker has been very good at running back for Pittsburgh this season, with more than 100 yards per game. Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger’s improvement is a big key for the Steelers. His first two years he was mostly a caretaker for the offense. Last year, when he was battling injuries and the Steelers were struggling, he threw a lot more and had 23 interceptions. This year he’s still throwing a lot and has nine touchdowns and three interceptions.

“He overcame adversity, that’s one thing he’s done,” Parker said. “He’s playing at a high level.”

Defensively, the Steelers play the same 3-4 defense they’ve used for many years, with three linemen and four linebackers. They rank in the top five in rush defense and pass defense and are first in the NFL in total defense by more than 20 yards per game.

“They’re playing hard and playing fast and playing together,” Tomlin said of his defense.

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