Tunch Ilkin, X's & O's Week 3 - Post Game

<b>George Von Benko</b>: Tunch, a big win in Cincinnati, back in the win column and the return of the running game. <br><br><b>Tunch Ilkin</b>: George, I think after Kansas City the guys up front, the offensive linemen, they're a very proud bunch and I think because they didn't play well versus Kansas City they really took it upon themselves all last week in preparation to get ready for this game and to establish the run early and to play physical.


Tunch talks about the win against Cincinnati


Tunch Ilkin: When you run block, it allows you to play much more aggressively. It allows you to play with a little more nastiness to you. I think you saw that. You saw Faneca with two huge blocks on Adrian Ross, one where his helmet got knocked off. It looked like from that old movie "Hush, Hush Sweet Charlotte." And the other time he hits Adrian Ross on a trap he just nails him, knocks him down. He hits Adrian Ross in the face and the first thing that hits the ground on Ross is the back of his head. The physical aspect of the game returned. Also, the Steelers were very patient. They kept after the run. They did a nice job of starting with Amos. Amos had some nice runs early in the first half. Then in the third quarter they bring Jerome Bettis in and five, six plays in a row, hammering them with the Bus. The last five minutes of the game, George, the ability that the Steelers had to take control of the game with the running game and just eat up the last five and half minutes of clock.

GVB: Going into that Cincinnati ballgame in our conversations, you had said that you thought the Bus was going to be a little bit of a factor and he did turn out to be a little bit of a factor.

TI: Let's not forget that the Bus is still a productive running back and even though Amos is the starter, I wouldn't be surprised if we saw more of the Bus this week. He made a statement last week in the third quarter versus Cincinnati. Don't be throwing the dirt on him just yet. He's still wants to play. I believe against Tennessee, especially because of the fact that Tennessee is a physical football team, you got to match toughness with toughness, physical play with physical play. I really think that Jerome fits well into this football game. I wouldn't be surprised if we saw a little bit more of Jerome.

GVB: Looking at the ballgame, Tommy Maddox played against Cincinnati, Bill Cowher at his press conference said that he thought that he did a good job of taking what was given to him.

TI: That's one of the things that jumps out to me about Tommy Maddox and the fact that he went to five or six different receivers through the course of the game and nobody had the huge game like Hines and Plaxico have been having in the past. He was just spreading the ball out. What that tells me is that Tommy Maddox sees the field and because of his mental approach to the game, he is very intuitive about what the defense is trying to do and going through his progressions, he knows who is going to be open. You said it just right, George. Tommy is going to take what the defense gives him. If they are going to double team Plaxico, then Hines is going to be open. If they are going to really going to concentrate on both Hines and Plax, then Jay Riemersma is going to be open, or Dan Kreider coming out of the backfield, or Chris Doering. The interesting thing as well is that he has such a grasp that the entire offense becomes very, very productive running, throwing, screens, and draws as well.

GVB: Special teams, another breakdown here or there, but Bill Cowher said there was improvement, too.

TI: Well, yeah, and I think the other thing he pointed out is that he really wants to eliminate that one big return against his guys every week. You know it's real discipline, George. You've got to play discipline in your coverage lanes. You have to play aggressive. You have to know what's going on. You've got to avoid the mental breakdowns because if you have a breakdown, it is a huge play.

GVB: Looking at how the defense played, how would you grade it?

TI: I thought the defense did great. They totally shut down Corey Dillon, which is huge. And they really kept Jon Kitna and Chad Johnson and company under wraps. I thought the defense was outstanding. I'd give them an "A".

GVB: Speaking of defense, that leads us to our poster's question this week. It comes from a poster whose handle is thehambugler and the question is, "How or why is the Steeler defense that much more complex than any other NFL teams? Or has the term ‘complex' when referring to the defense been over blown, and now just used as an excuse by players who don't play well in it?" Is the Steelers defense more complex?

TI: It's very complex, George. It's a very complex defense in that they do so many different things. If you go back to the origins of this defense, you'd have to go back to Dick LeBeau and Dom Capers and Bill Cowher, the three of them together coming up with the zone blitz. A lot of people say that Dick LeBeau invented it. Because they do so many different things and because so many guys blitz from so many different angles that as a defender, that if they check in and out of a blitz, it also changes the coverage. It could change it from man to zone, it could change it to a different kind of zone. If everybody is not on the same page on your defense, you have 10 guys doing the right thing and one guy blowing an assignment, blow a coverage, boy it's six points. So, I don't believe that it is overblown. I believe the Steelers do have a very complex defense and that's why it is very difficult for a rookie to come in and make an impact right away. He has to understand what they are trying to do.

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