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My Biggest Concerns for the Steelers game...

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Then you do lose, but if that is what you are looking for

and expecting..... it becomes habitual.

Nothing to do with me. I don't draft, sign players, call plays, or play on the field. I have NO control. I can only watch and I haven't seen an aweful Steelers team before. Even the worst ones had some good moments.

I love my team, I'm just very unsure about the line-up on both sides of the ball. I just hope that they do well.

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Nothing to do with me. I don't draft, sign players, call plays, or play on the field. I have NO control. I can only watch and I haven't seen an aweful Steelers team before. Even the worst ones had some good moments.

I love my team, I'm just very unsure about the line-up on both sides of the ball. I just hope that they do well.

Habitual looking for and expecting bad things to happen

because "they always have" is not a good thing for a fan

who is after all just a human, living a life.

The Steelers will field a team but I truly like our lineups

on both sides of the ball. I think we will take it to them.

This is how Smitty likes to go about it and if he sees no

effort changes will most certainly be made. This is fun stuff.

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While you all have valid concerns, I'm only concerned about the things I can control. That being said, my biggest concern for the Steelers game is:

That my fridge is stocked with plenty of cold beer and food.

secondary concern is that DirecTV doesn't foul up and my NFL Sunday Ticket functions properly.

The rest of the things, ATL Falcons will handle.

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Honestly, I'm not too worried about our defense - just a little concerned about the youngsters - hope this first "real" NFL game doesn't overwhelm them and make them perform those "little" mistakes that cost us. We have enough Veteran leadership on that group that I think they'll be ok. At least they don't have to deal with the rowdy crowd when they are up on the field.

I guess the areas that concern me are the OL, the kicking game and the dropped passes.

I don't like to judge before the first game of the season - but those will be the areas I'll be watching closely. I want to see some pass protection, no missed extra points or field goals and our receivers concentrating on bringing the ball in before trying for YAC. If they do that - we'll be fine.

This is a top notch, super physical defense we are going up against and it's a 3-4. This will be a very difficult test for our offense - perhaps the most difficult they face this year. Polamalu alone can destroy an offense. Then throw in James Harrison and Lamarr Woodley and that nose tackle Hampton - deadly combination.

The key to this is can our offense move Hampton? If they can move him - we have it made - I'm just not sure they can. I'm hopeful though!

The main thing I want to see is the Falcons go out and play the full 60 minutes physically, fast and with heart. We do that - we should come home with the win.

Of all the games we play this year - this is one of the ones that concern me the most. On the road to start the season, in a very hostile environment against an amazingly good 3-4 defense. If we lost this game, it would not be the end of the world - as long as they play at the top of their game and never quit.

Do not fret Tandy. I believe that the Birds are a better team, and we will exploit matchups on offense, and the D will rise up! We will be playing with a safety in the box I think. In addition, I believe our corners will play good football.

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About the Steelers defense last year, we missed Troy for 11 games. They went 9-7. With Troy, they were 4-1 with the 1 loss being Cincy when he left the game early with injury. Without Troy, they were 5-6. He is the straw that stirs our drink.

The Steelers also played without Aaron Smith for 11 games. While everyone knows Casey, Aaron may be more important because behind him, we were shaky. Hampton does not get moved....it seems like ever. I cannot remember the last time he was pushed back. It is like his shoes grow roots. The thing is, Aaron Smith and Brett Keisel are also stout, not much with a pass rush, but they play the run exceptionally well. James Harrison has 26 sacks in the past two seasons and is a 90 tackle a season OLB. Woodley has 25 sacks in the last two seasons. They are the key pass rushers (with some coming from Timmons). Farrior is the field general and he may have lost a step. It looked that way last season, but we will see if it was losing Smith in front of him and Polamalu behind him or if his time is up. Timmons is the RILB and it appears the light has come on for this kid. He gave 7 sacks last year, but has made a huge leap from what we witnessed this preseason.

With Troy out, our secondary was abused. William Gay started and he was not up to the task. We allowed McFadden to leave in free agency and go to Arizona. He played well for us. During the draft, we traded and got him back. Ike Taylor is very good in coverage, usually draws the other teams #1 and shuts him down, but he has hands of stone. About the only way he will get an INT is if we dip him in stickum. Our best bet is if he pops it up for Troy or someone else. Ryan Clark was a very good addition at FS. He compliments Troy, is a stabilizing factor, plays the run and pass well.

The Steelers returned every starter from the 2008 team that went 15 of 16 regular season games without a 100 yard rusher or a 200 yard passer. They did not allow a 100 yard rusher. Kerry Collins had 215 late in the season.

I cannot say how excited I am to see these guys back together. They even returned Larry Foote (split time with Timmons in 2008) as a backup.

As for the offense, they did not gameplan in the preseason. Arians just called plays. It will be interesting to see how Dixon performs with a gameplan built around him. He does not throw a bad ball. He is slippery like Ben. He runs well. I think our OL is better with Adams at RT and Pouncey at center than they were last year. Santonio Holmes is gone, and that could hurt, but Mike Wallace is a beast. We needed to get him more touches. I can promise you this, if Robinson covers Hines Ward, Wallace will blow by your #2 like he is tied on. I have watched a lot of football, but I do not know if I have ever watched a WR with his speed. No QB, not Ben, not Lefty, not Dixon, not Batch, has overthrown this guy. He always has to slow and wait.

Pretty exciting for us Steeler fans. We kind of like flying under the radar. Everyone talks about how we are dead, but our defense will keep us in most games. They are usually good for a sack/fumble, forcing a bad throw to Troy, something that sets up the offense. I think Wallace shocks your corner, at least once. I do not expect the Steelers to get more than 15-20 points. I also think they can squeeze your offense. The defense allowed 20 PPG last year which is horrid, but it was only 14 in 2008. I think they end up closer to that.

PS: You won't run on us. I think it has been 34 games and they have allowed 1-100 yard rusher.

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FWIW while I think Troy's a future Hall of Famer, to my eyes he looked pretty rusty in the preseason. He may still be rounding into form after the injury.

If I was gameplanning against the Steelers--and I say this as a rabid Steelers fan--I'd do the following:

1. Stack the box with 8 man fronts on early downs, then blitz like crazy on 3rd downs. Make our OL prove they can handle blitz pickup. (They often can't LOL).

2. Be pass-first, run-second on offense. (You probably won't be able to run much anyway.) Our DBs *should* be improved this year, but make them prove it, particularly McFadden.

3. Try the short passing game on early downs to stay away from 3rd-and longs. Isolate Gonzalez and backs out of the backfield on our LBs, who are built for rushing upfield, not coverage. Farrior in particular has lost a step in coverage, and it hurt us last year.

4. Hammer in the fact that containment is the #1 responsibility of your edge guys. Dixon is capable of huge, backbreaking runs when he breaks contain.

5. Run back EVERY kick. No knees in the end zone, no fair catches on punts. Our coverage teams should be improved, but only because they simply cannot go anywhere but up from last year. Your kick returns may provide as good a chance to score as any play in your playbook. (Yup our coverage units were THAT bad last year).

6. Above all else, be aggressive. A conservative game plan emphasizing the run game can be the kiss of death when we're at home. It plays to our strengths and just sets the table for a ton of 3rd and 8s, which can be absolute murder in front of the home crowd with our pass rush.

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What concerns me as a Steelers fan on Sunday:

1. Special Teams: Last season, in virtually every game there was either a kickoff run back for a touchdown, or a big time return at a crucial part of the game that pretty much knocked the Steelers out of position to play their game. Even though Stefan Logan (who is now gone) broke numerous yardage records in kick returns last year, we now turn to rookie receivers Emmanuel Sanders and speedy Antonio Brown on kick and punt duties. We will use more veterans like James Harrison on special teams but we sure don't want to use him often and would be nice for someone to step up since this is where young guys make the team here in Pittsburgh. Remember now, the Steelers lost every game by 7 points or less, and special teams certainly had a glowing effect on that stat.

We have a new coach to come in and re-shape the whole mentality of special teams 101: TACKLE and GET UP FIELD.

2. Red Zone offense: Last year, the Steelers had a 4,000 yard passer, two 1,000 yard recivers, a Tight End with encouraging numbers, and a 1,000 yard rusher. The Steelers would and could move the ball smoothly and effortlessly from 20 to 20 with ease but once we were inside the 20, play calling went rye and we had to settle for 3's when good teams put an exclamation point on it. We must turn 3's into 6's this year or it'll be more of the same and that's keeping teams hanging around.

3. Protecting a lead: I expect this to improve right out the gates. Losing all-star Troy Polamalu is one thing, but then losing all-star defensive end Aaron Smith was just a back breaker. The Steelers defense operates with its relentless linebacking core. Why? Because of our front line. Aaron Smith has been ageless and one of the most daunting and underrated DE's ever to play in this age.

When Smith went down, so did the morale of that line. We got exploited not only on our frontline, but the secondary as well and everyone knows if you have no meat on the dline in a 3-4,esp when you lose an All-pro, then your backers suffer and when your backers suffer and fail to amount pressure from poor dline efforts, then the secondary suffers as well. The Steelers defense is all built around disguising and being able to have the personal to run the blitzes we run and the 2 main men that make that happen is Troy Polamalu in the deep end and Aaron Smith on the front end. They are both back and healthy which means hello James Harrison, hello LaMar Woodley, and hello Lawrence Timmons. Our D will be back.

4. Offensive Line: The stats never lie. This unit had an overall ranking of #31 in the entire league as a unit. Musical chairs and injuries have been the norm since Alan Faneca and Jeff Hartings left some while ago. We always seemed to never have the right man in place, and it's happening all again. Our best lineman, right guard Willie Colon injured his foot and is out for the season as Pouncey starts at Center as a rookie. We brought in Flozell Adams to fill the void of Colon. Adams was an All-pro left tackle for Dallas for..EVER.. but the switch to right tackle in our systems leaves him a liability. He must step up and learn quick enough to use his experience to get the job done and he must have help with calls. The same could be said about Pouncey. Fortunately for us, the Steelers offensive line and its personal is suited for a running attack style offense. We are big. Smash mouth big and we did start coming on late last season and played above average. A big question mark.

5. Quarterback play:: With our 2 time Super Bowl champion and franchise QB riding the pine for a month, we turn to Dennis Dixon, a 3rd year pro with 1 start who makes plays with his legs taking the reigns. Will we game manage until Ben comes back? Could Dixon hold the fort down to lead up to a winning record in the first 4 games? Will he have a short leash? Will we see Charlie Batch at all? Could Dixon handle the pressure and handle things when they go wrong? These are the questions that will be answers.

6. Defensive Takeaways: Last season, it took the Steelers ALL OF 16 games to get an interception from a cornerback. That cornerback that had the lone interception, Deshea Townsend, isn't even on the team any longer. The take-away column was led by a man that didn't even play more than 3 games of the season. That's right, Troy Polamalu with 3 in 3 games. This is a major concern if we can't come up with takeaways as an overall defense.

7. Mendenhall: We all know he's going to get a CRAZY amount of carries and he better be ready for the workload. He's been in Tomlin's dog house before and should know what it is to be a professional by now. Still, his running style concerns me and I'm afraid he'll put the ball on the ground in key situations. We are in need of Mendenhall badly and he needs to step up and do it or else it could get ugly quick.

8. Short yardage: Last season 3rd and 1 actually made me wince. That's right, a once smash mouth, pound it down your throat until you say uncle team where 3rd and 1's-3's were automatic gimmies. Last season, our short yardage game was so bad that I would of rather seen us go deep on 3rd and inches rather than line up and try to gain a yard. Issac Redzone Redman could be the key to that success.

A lot to look for from both teams come Sunday.

Edited by StainlessStill
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My biggest concern is the coaching staff being too conservative and stubborn. Two handoffs to Turner, a 3rd and 8 throwaway out of bounds, and a punt isn't going to get it done. We need to put them on their heels EARLY. Give Ryan the reigns and SET THE FREAKIN' TONE.

I see the defense starting out real well and our offense not going for the throat. We let them hang around long enough until their defense makes a huge play. The Saints would put this game away in the 1st quarter. That's what I want from our team.

Sometimes it sucks to be right. Everyone's been worried about the defense but has given the offense a pass. We should be modeling ourselves after the Champs, the Saints. They impose their will on the defense. We try to "steal" every 3 yards we can get. This team can beat most teams with this method but not the good ones. Embarassing offense performance in my opinion.

For those who want to blame the kicker, keep preaching. This loss was not his fault.

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The playcalling. Obviously most people have problems with the playcalling when a team struggles...but after trying unsuccessfully to establish the run through 3 quarters (which I understood) we had some things working with the pass...and to start off 2 key drives late in the game Mularkey called 2 runs up the middle with Turner as if they were going to MAGICALLY be effective all of a sudden. Both got stuffed and set up 2nd and long situations.

Matt's decision making late in games. It's one game, but since last year this has been a concern of mine and that INT to Polamalu was just a poor decision. (I'm also tired of seeing that same out pass).

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