We couldn't be more pleased to announce the addition of a fly-by-night writer to the Packers Lounge this morning. Bringing knowledge most of you only wish you had, we introduce -- Greg C.
Please welcome Greg to the Lounge in the usual way. Give him hell in the comment section.
A Good Sign
By Greg C.
There are lots of ways to win a football game, and lots of ways to build a championship team, but every Super Bowl winner provides us with a potential blueprint for how to get things done.
The Steelers are a better example than most. Year-in and year-out, they are usually one of the better teams in the league, and there was nothing flukey about their championship this year (unless you count that 100-yard interception return by James Harrison).
So as Packer fans, what can we learn from the Steelers? Does their victory bode well for our own team, or do the Steelers prove that the Packers are doing things all wrong? In my opinion, there are several reasons why Packer fans should be pleased by this Steeler victory. Here are a few of them:
Built through the draft
How many big-name free agents do the Steelers have? How many big name players have they acquired in trades? I can’t think of any. They build through the draft, just like Thompson’s Packers.
Okay, the Packers are just getting started with the 3-4, while the Steelers have been running it effectively for years. And plenty of 4-3 defenses have won championships in recent years. But the flexibility of the 3-4 gives it some advantages. That Harrison interception return, flukey as it was, is the sort of play that is more likely with a 3-4. They disguised the coverage and had Harrison, who would normally be rushing the passer, drop back into a passing lane where Kurt Warner couldn’t see him. And the Steelers’ speed and athleticism on defense had to be a factor in allowing Harrison to take it the length of the field for the score. At times, the 3-4 defense almost has the feel of a really good special teams unit, with its superior ability to play in space.
Ben Roethlisberger’s ability to extend plays was huge in this win, as it was huge all season. A defense can only cover the other team’s receivers for so long. Our own QB, Aaron Rodgers, also happens to be very mobile. Of course, their styles are very different. As Trent Dilfer has pointed out, Roethlisberger is not a scrambler, but rather, he usually stays behind the line of scrimmage and continues to look downfield even as he’s dodging rushers and breaking tackles. (Has anyone else noticed that Dilfer has suddenly become one of the best football analysts out there? Score one for Tedford QB’s.) Rodgers is much more likely to scramble for whatever yardage he can gain on foot, but he is capable of extending plays and getting big completions just like Roethlisberger, and my guess is that we’ll be seeing more and more of this from him as he matures.
Nobody gives the Steeler O-line much credit for this win. Why not? Because, well, they just aren’t that great. This is one of the least impressive O-lines the Steelers have had in recent years. Now, I would much rather have a good O-line than a mediocre one, but the Steelers are proof that if there are other key elements in place, you can get by with an O-line that is well below the elite level. This is good news for the Packers, who do not have a great O-line and may need to replace one or both of their veteran OT’s very soon.
Great tradition, great fan base
The Steelers are one of the NFL’s classic teams. Their fans eat, sleep, and breathe football. There are Steeler fans all over the country and all over the world. They have a great tradition and are a solid, well-regarded organization. Sound familiar? Well, maybe now it’s OUR turn to get some championship glory.