Wednesday, September 12, 2012
Scouting report: Early look at Steelers
By Rich Cimini
A quick look at Sunday's opponent, the Steelers:
1. They opened with a 31-19 loss to the Broncos on the road on Sunday night -- a tough spot for the Steelers, considering the emotion and drama of Peyton Manning's return. On Sunday, it's the Steelers' home opener, and they've won nine straight home openers. They haven't started 0-2 since 2002, one of only three teams with no 0-2 starts in that span.
2. They face the Jets for the first time since the 2010 AFC Championship Game -- a 24-19 Steelers win.
3. After watching some of the Steelers-Broncos game on TV, Rex Ryan remarked Monday that QB Ben Roethlisberger seemed to be delivering the ball quicker than in the past. But he still was sacked five times. He has been sacked an NFL-high 220 times since 2007. Roethlisberger struggled when facing 5+ rushers (6-of-14 for 60 yards and an INT), per ESPN Stats & Information -- and we all know how much the Jets like to blitz.
4. The Steelers are hoping for the return of OLB James Harrison, who sat out the preseason and the opener with lingering knee issues. That would be a huge boost for their defense, which parted ways with several key veterans in the offseason.
5. The Steelers have bad memories of Tim Tebow. In an AFC wild-card game last January in Denver, Tebow became just the third QB to pass for 300 yards, rush for 50 and have no turnovers in a postseason game. Tebow beat the Steelers with an 80-yard TD pass to Demaryius Thomas on the first play of OT. On Tuesday, coach Mike Tomlin said the Jets showed only the "tip of the iceberg" with regard to Tebow and the Wildcat.
6. They used to be known as a tough, rugged, Ground & Pound offense, but the Steelers' identity has changed. In Week 1, they ran 54 plays out of 3+ WR packages, the second-highest total in the league. Big Ben has three dangerous receivers -- Mike Wallace, Antonio Brown and Emmanuel Sanders. This could be a problem for the Jets if CB Darrelle Revis (concussion) can't play.
7. Here are the Steelers' playing-time leaders from the opener (81 total plays): TE Heath Miller 80 snaps, Brown 73, Wallace 70, Sanders 60, RB Jonathan Dwyer 42, RB Isaac Redman 24, WR Jerricho Cotchery 14.