Answer Man

Dale Lolley catches up with Pittsburgh's smartest football man for his take on the Steelers, their loss in Denver, and the upcoming game against the Bengals.

DL: Hey, Answer Man, you've been keeping a low profile of late. You got a minute?

AM: OK, but make it quick.

DL: OK, thanks. What was up with that game plan last week? What was with all the passes?

AM: A lot of those were audibles by Ben (Roethlisberger) out of what he felt were potentially bad plays into some short passes. In fact, the first two plays were called runs. Ben checked off to a short pass to Santonio (Holmes) that was incomplete, then to one to Heath (Miller) that he completed for a short gain. After that, he hit the long pass to Nate (Washington) and we ran the ball two times and threw it three times before we scored. I'd say there were at least four audibles out of run plays in the first quarter.

DL: All right, so the plan was to run the ball more. But even when a team puts nine in the box like Denver did, shouldn't you still trust the running game? I mean, everyone puts nine in the box against the Steelers.

AM: Yeah, they do, but Ben didn't always have the ability to audible out of those plays in the past. Now he does.

DL: Is that a good thing?

AM: Sure. You've got to give the QB the ability to make some calls out there. It gives him more of a feeling of being in charge. And that's what BA (Bruce Arians) wants with Ben. He wants him to feel like he's part of the process.

DL: What about the defense? Was that a one-game anomaly, or did Denver show the way to beat this defense?

AM: It was a bad game and Denver did do some things other teams had success with. They rolled (Jay) Cutler out a lot to get away from the pressure. Not all quarterbacks can do that.

DL: I didn't think Cutler was that good. He showed me something in that game.

AM: He's got a big arm. He might have the best arm in the league behind Brett Favre.

DL: OK, what about Cincinnati this week?

AM: Their offensive line isn't playing that well, though they opened some holes against the Jets. But really, they don't have anybody who drives off the ball. They're basically just guys who get in your way.

DL: So the Steelers should be able to get some pressure on Carson Palmer?

AM: They should be able to, though not having Aaron Smith is going to hurt.

DL: What about using LaMarr Woodley with his hand down in the nickel and dime?

AM: That's a distinct possibility. The kid is making plays every time he's on the field. He's showing he can be a difference maker. But Nick Eason and Travis Kirschke will rotate at Aaron's spot in the base, though I don't know how much base we'll play.

DL: Does Cincinnati really miss Chris Henry that much. Chad Johnson and T.J. Houshmandzadeh are having great seasons.

AM: Yeah, they are. But to be effective in that offense, they need a third receiver who can challenge teams. Otherwise, you can keep your base defense out there more and make it difficult to run because the third receiver doesn't scare you. They're not forcing you to play nickel like they do when Henry is out there. You can double Chad and/or T.J., but you then have to single Henry. He's talented enough that he's going to win that matchup a lot. That's why Carson Palmer's interceptions are up this season. He's had to force some throws into double coverage because the guys they're playing at the third spot just can't get open against single coverage.

DL: That and the defense has put them behind a lot.

AM: That hasn't helped either. Three of his nine picks have come late in games when he's trying to force the issue. We done, I gotta run.

DL: I had a few more things, but I guess they can wait.

AM: OK, later.

DL: Thanks Answer Man.

Dale Lolley appears courtesy of the Observer-Reporter.


Steel City Insider Top Stories

\r\n\r\nDL: Hey, Answer Man, you've been keeping a low profile of late. You\r\ngot a minute?\r\n

\r\nAM: OK, but make it quick.\r\n

\r\nDL: OK, thanks. What was up with that game plan last week? What was\r\nwith all the passes?\r\n

\r\nAM: A lot of those were audibles by Ben (Roethlisberger) out of what\r\nhe felt were\r\npotentially bad plays into some short passes. In fact, the first two\r\nplays were called runs.\r\nBen checked off to a short pass to Santonio (Holmes) that was\r\nincomplete, then to one to\r\nHeath (Miller) that he completed for a short gain. After that, he hit\r\nthe long pass to Nate\r\n(Washington) and we ran the ball two times and threw it three times\r\nbefore we scored. I'd\r\nsay there were at least four audibles out of run plays in the first\r\nquarter.\r\n

\r\nDL: All right, so the plan was to run the ball more. But even when a\r\nteam puts nine in the\r\nbox like Denver did, shouldn't you still trust the running game? I\r\nmean, everyone puts\r\nnine in the box against the Steelers.\r\n

\r\nAM: Yeah, they do, but Ben didn't always have the ability to audible\r\nout of those plays in\r\nthe past. Now he does.\r\n

\r\nDL: Is that a good thing?\r\n

\r\nAM: Sure. You've got to give the QB the ability to make some calls\r\nout there. It gives him\r\nmore of a feeling of being in charge. And that's what BA (Bruce\r\nArians) wants with Ben. He\r\nwants him to feel like he's part of the process.\r\n

\r\nDL: What about the defense? Was that a one-game anomaly, or did\r\nDenver show the way\r\nto beat this defense?\r\n

\r\nAM: It was a bad game and Denver did do some things other teams had\r\nsuccess with. They\r\nrolled (Jay) Cutler out a lot to get away from the pressure. Not all\r\nquarterbacks can do\r\nthat.\r\n

\r\nDL: I didn't think Cutler was that good. He showed me something in\r\nthat game.\r\n

\r\nAM: He's got a big arm. He might have the best arm in the league\r\nbehind Brett Favre.\r\n

\r\nDL: OK, what about Cincinnati this week?\r\n

\r\nAM: Their offensive line isn't playing that well, though they opened\r\nsome holes against the\r\nJets. But really, they don't have anybody who drives off the ball.\r\nThey're basically just guys\r\nwho get in your way.\r\n

\r\nDL: So the Steelers should be able to get some pressure on Carson Palmer?\r\n

\r\nAM: They should be able to, though not having Aaron Smith is going to\r\nhurt.\r\n

\r\nDL: What about using LaMarr Woodley with his hand down in the nickel\r\nand dime?\r\n

\r\nAM: That's a distinct possibility. The kid is making plays every time\r\nhe's on the field. He's\r\nshowing he can be a difference maker. But Nick Eason and Travis Kirschke will rotate at\r\nAaron's spot in the base, though I don't know how much base we'll\r\nplay.\r\n

\r\nDL: Does Cincinnati really miss Chris Henry that much. Chad Johnson\r\nand T.J. Houshmandzadeh are having great seasons.\r\n

\r\nAM: Yeah, they are. But to be effective in that offense, they need a\r\nthird receiver who can\r\nchallenge teams. Otherwise, you can keep your base defense out there\r\nmore and make it\r\ndifficult to run because the third receiver doesn't scare you.\r\nThey're not forcing you to\r\nplay nickel like they do when Henry is out there. You can double Chad\r\nand/or T.J., but you\r\nthen have to single Henry. He's talented enough that he's going to\r\nwin that matchup a lot.\r\nThat's why Carson Palmer's interceptions are up this season. He's had\r\nto force some\r\nthrows into double coverage because the guys they're playing at the\r\nthird spot just can't\r\nget open against single coverage.\r\n

\r\nDL: That and the defense has put them behind a lot.\r\n

\r\nAM: That hasn't helped either. Three of his nine picks have come late\r\nin games when he's\r\ntrying to force the issue. We done, I gotta run.\r\n

\r\nDL: I had a few more things, but I guess they can wait.\r\n

\r\nAM: OK, later.\r\n

\r\nDL: Thanks Answer Man.\r\n

\r\nDale Lolley appears courtesy of the Observer-Reporter.","mobileBody":" DL: Hey, Answer Man, you've been keeping a low profile of late. You got a minute?

AM: OK, but make it quick.

DL: OK, thanks. What was up with that game plan last week? What was with all the passes?

AM: A lot of those were audibles by Ben (Roethlisberger) out of what he felt were potentially bad plays into some short passes. In fact, the first two plays were called runs. Ben checked off to a short pass to Santonio (Holmes) that was incomplete, then to one to Heath (Miller) that he completed for a short gain. After that, he hit the long pass to Nate (Washington) and we ran the ball two times and threw it three times before we scored. I'd say there were at least four audibles out of run plays in the first quarter.

DL: All right, so the plan was to run the ball more. But even when a team puts nine in the box like Denver did, shouldn't you still trust the running game? I mean, everyone puts nine in the box against the Steelers.

AM: Yeah, they do, but Ben didn't always have the ability to audible out of those plays in the past. Now he does.

DL: Is that a good thing?

AM: Sure. You've got to give the QB the ability to make some calls out there. It gives him more of a feeling of being in charge. And that's what BA (Bruce Arians) wants with Ben. He wants him to feel like he's part of the process.

DL: What about the defense? Was that a one-game anomaly, or did Denver show the way to beat this defense?

AM: It was a bad game and Denver did do some things other teams had success with. They rolled (Jay) Cutler out a lot to get away from the pressure. Not all quarterbacks can do that.

DL: I didn't think Cutler was that good. He showed me something in that game.

AM: He's got a big arm. He might have the best arm in the league behind Brett Favre.

DL: OK, what about Cincinnati this week?

AM: Their offensive line isn't playing that well, though they opened some holes against the Jets. But really, they don't have anybody who drives off the ball. They're basically just guys who get in your way.

DL: So the Steelers should be able to get some pressure on Carson Palmer?

AM: They should be able to, though not having Aaron Smith is going to hurt.

DL: What about using LaMarr Woodley with his hand down in the nickel and dime?

AM: That's a distinct possibility. The kid is making plays every time he's on the field. He's showing he can be a difference maker. But Nick Eason and Travis Kirschke will rotate at Aaron's spot in the base, though I don't know how much base we'll play.

DL: Does Cincinnati really miss Chris Henry that much. Chad Johnson and T.J. Houshmandzadeh are having great seasons.

AM: Yeah, they are. But to be effective in that offense, they need a third receiver who can challenge teams. Otherwise, you can keep your base defense out there more and make it difficult to run because the third receiver doesn't scare you. They're not forcing you to play nickel like they do when Henry is out there. You can double Chad and/or T.J., but you then have to single Henry. He's talented enough that he's going to win that matchup a lot. That's why Carson Palmer's interceptions are up this season. He's had to force some throws into double coverage because the guys they're playing at the third spot just can't get open against single coverage.

DL: That and the defense has put them behind a lot.

AM: That hasn't helped either. Three of his nine picks have come late in games when he's trying to force the issue. We done, I gotta run.

DL: I had a few more things, but I guess they can wait.

AM: OK, later.

DL: Thanks Answer Man.

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