Home > Steeler Articles > Steelers Vs. Buccaneers, Week 3

Steelers Vs. Buccaneers, Week 3

– I thought last week that the Steelers might have a few problems with Vince Young, mostly due to his mobility and apparent improvement as a passer. That obviously didn’t happen, but the Steelers defense does seem to have more problems with mobile QB’s than with pocket QB’s, for whatever reason. Josh Freeman, the Bucs QB, fits that mold but is already showing signs of being a better passer than Young, with a stronger arm to boot. Some commentators have compared him to Big Ben, I’m not sure how valid those comparisons are at this point. In just two games he has almost 80 yards rushing, that’s something the Steelers will have to be aware of. Freeman’s passing numbers aren’t flashy but they’re solid and he has a 4 TD to 1 INT ratio so far.

– Even though the Steelers defense DOES occasionally have problems with mobile QB’s, the complex 3-4 defense may prove to be a big problem for Freeman on Sunday. Freeman is entering only his second year as a pro and has never faced a defense as complex as the Steelers. If the Steelers defense continues to play as well as they have the last two weeks, Freeman could be in trouble. Especially if and when the Steelers defense shuts down the Bucs running game.

– The Bucs defense has 4 sacks this year, 2 of them belonging to DE Tim Crowder. If Flozel Adams plays RT the entire game, he could have a problem containing Crowder on passing downs. The entire O-line for the Steelers could have their hands full against a young, but athletic Bucs D-line, especially on passing downs. With a battered and injured O-line, things could get interesting.

– The Steelers and Bucs are both tied (along with a few other teams) with 4 INT’s, the most in the NFL.

– The Bucs young defense is ranked in the middle of the pack in yards allowed so far (309 yards) but has only yielded 10 points per game (3rd in the league).

– The Bucs starting safety, Tanard Jackson, has been suspended and starting in his place is rookie Cody Grimm. Do the Steelers take advantage?

– The Steelers will likely follow the same model from the past two weeks – rely on the defense to make plays and stop the Bucs from scoring very many points and play very conservatively on offense. One has to wonder, though, if being too conservative could cost the Steelers a close game. Last week the Steelers defense forced 7 turnovers near mid-field or in Titans territory and the offense only managed to score 12 points the whole game. The Titans, after doing nothing all game on offense, had a chance to tie the game with a TD and two point conversion in the final minute of regulation. It’ll be interesting to see if the Steelers open things up a little bit with the experienced Batch taking first team snaps in practice this week and preparing to start. It can be argued that there comes a point where being too conservative can put too much pressure on your defense to win the game. What’s riskier – asking your defense to single-handedly win a game or occasionally throwing the ball on early downs to move the ball, get first downs and maybe even score points? We’ll see what approach the Steelers coaching staff has in mind on Sunday. It’ll probably determine the winner of this game.

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