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A Good Sign

A Good Sign

 

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.

3-4 Defense

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.

Mobile QB

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.

Offensive line

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.

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Comments (17)

Dale Z's picture

Good stuff. Welcome aboard.

IronMan's picture

"Well, maybe now it’s OUR turn to get some championship glory."

There definitely are a lot of similarities. Is it September yet?

Asshalo's picture

Although there system is similiar in a lot of ways to our's, the bottom line is execution. For the most part, green bay hasn't really been able to do that in the past four years. Not that things can't change this year. Just that its not as easy as monkey see monkey do.

Greg C.'s picture

I was going to add that not only are the Steelers not active in free agency, they have let some top-notch players get away in recent years: Plaxico Burress, Joey Porter, and Alan Faneca. I do hope Thompson can snag a really good free agent or two, but it's not as much of a make-or-break thing as a lot of people think it is.

On the down side, let's face it, our defense has a ways to go before it is anywhere near as good as the Steeler defense. It remains to be seen how well they can do in their first year of the 3-4. That's a huge question mark. But the changes in the coaching staff are encouraging.

Packnic's picture

I've been smelling a dynasty ever since Ted and Co. took over. The way this team is built is reminiscent of not only the Steelers but the Patriots as well. Thats like 5 of the last 10 Super Bowls right there. The way the other "fans" like to hate this management style is reminiscent of Cowboy fans, and we see how well that works.

Good post as usual Greg.

Pack93z's picture

Well done Greg.. excellent choice for a writer with the knowledge of the game to back it up.

One comparison that can't be made though, is the patience that the franchise has in terms of letting their coaching staffs remain stable and build consistency into the franchise.

The Rooney's are the Anti-Jones types that allow their coaching staffs to coach without the noose dangling from the rafters..

Only thing better than maybe the Steeler's ownership model is ours.. we just seem to have lost patience in our choices... we lack the deep pockets an owner can bring, but we counter it with one single man throwing a wrench into the plans each and every offseason.

packerslounge's picture

This is great Greg. It also takes a step forward into what Dale and I wanted the site to be. A place, where Packer fans can write, create, and be heard.

I completely appreciate having a forum, it is a great way to get information. However, I also wanted to have a place where instead of arguing over a link in the newspaper, anyone who liked to write, could essentially create a link of their own to talk about.

I encourage anyone like Greg, who loves talking Packers, to hop on board.

Greg C.'s picture

Pack93z: The Steelers have had more continuity than the Packers, that's for sure. But I do think that the Packers are one of the more stable organizations in the NFL. Bob Harlan and Ron Wolfe tried to sustain that when Holmgren left, with the Rhodes and Sherman hires, but unfortunately things did not work out. The hiring of Ted Thompson was another attempt by Harlan to stay consistent, as Thompson was a Ron Wolfe guy. I will say that the Packer offense has been pretty consistent ever since the Holmgren days. It's West Coast with some variations, and mostly it has been good. It even appears to have survived the retirement of Brett Favre.

But we sure have been flailing around on defense. Lots of DC's, all with different styles. I think Thompson and McCarthy actually erred too much on the side of consistency in hiring Bob Sanders to keep the Bates scheme going. I thought it was a good move at the time, because we were going on our fourth year with a different DC, but unfortunately Sanders just didn't have what it takes. He never really came up with any new ideas. I would love for this team to find a defensive identity and stick to it. Maybe it will happen this time. We can always hope. Capers has a much stronger resume than any of our previous DC's.

IronMan's picture

"Just that its not as easy as monkey see monkey do."

I agree. And as far as stability goes, the Steelers have been stable at head coach for a while, because their coaches have had success. Bill Cowher had 6 winning seasons before his first losing one.

I know a lot of people like what Thompson has done, but the bottom line is he hasn't won consistently. And if we have another losing season next year, that will be 1 winning season in 5 years. Having stability just for the sake of having stability, doesn't make much sense if you aren't winning games.

Pack93z's picture

Greg.. I guess I am meaning more in the terms of the period between Holmgren and MM.. part of being stable and remaining consistent is two part, patience and quality hires.

Wolf hired Rhodes, he finished 8-8 but apparently something was amiss in the hire, canned quickly.. one can say, looking at Rhodes history up to then, it was a questionable hire to begin with.

Then Wolf made another questionable move in Sherman.. not Sherman the coach, albeit there was questions in terms of experience there too. But the real issue wrapped around naming him in dual roles.. another questionable hire in terms of Wolf and giving it a chance to being stable long term.

Sherman burned the candle at both ends of the stick, had a hard time separating the bond he formed with players as the coach and the rigid truth that in places we were aging to quickly at positions. Always trying to reload instead of replacing and building.

But we still we winning games, but it was very apparent that Sherman couldn't continue the pace and as a GM the Packers couldn't afford for the roster depth to continue to crumble. Reduced to HC and given a joke of a year.. mind you with a golden parachute of a bankroll to boot.

Hindsight, one can question the MM hires today and point, as you said, to probably trying to hard to remain constant.

My point.. simply is the past ten years have been very unstable in our approach.. we have met the total HC moves the Steelers have made in their history. Hire quality, grow them and be mindful enough to have a predecessor in place when they move up and on.

Under Thompson, we are starting to see that entrenched again.. albeit they made defensive moves out of past oversights.. not everything turns to gold. Even the Steelers have made those types of changes.

My point, is, we as fan and sometimes organizations become too impatient for our own good.

We had a fall back year, but their also was a great deal of distraction and injuries to assist the fall.. While I might not always agree with the approach of MM or Ted, I hope we have the patience to allow the majority of correct decisions overtake the minority of poor one with these two.

packerslounge's picture

It is great to watch you two go at it throwing X's and O's around. Brings back memories of the old days... sniff.

bozz_2006's picture

ditto Packnic

Asshalo's picture

Thompson's legacy is completely unwritten which also means you can't write it off. As much as I'de like to say we have stability and a dynasty on our hands, I can't just yet. one winning season in four years is wearing thin on everyone. He's brought in a lot of excitement without much to show for it. Maybe that will all change by training camp.

Asshalo's picture

Link

<a href="http://www.madison.com/wsj/mad/sports/436477" rel="nofollow">Madison Sports Story</a>

I think he hit this one right on the nail. He's not saying it won't be impossible, just that there's a lot to overcome.

Pack93z's picture

Agreed, but anyone expecting a top 5 defense this coming here is really out there on the hopeful end.

I am hoping more for the 07' version of the defense... with our offense, we should be highly competitive with a defense in the upper half of the league.

I expect more pressure on the QB, but the same type of struggles against the run.. that is unless the interior backers get an upgrade or begin to play in traffic better and shed blocks.

It should be interesting.

Asshalo's picture

Pack93z.

Stats aren't everything. In '07 we gave up very few points-- that was the only stat that mattered. But we did taper off in sacks and turnovers. Hopefully those can stay high all year.

Pack93z's picture

Agreed, stats aren't the end and prove all notion of judging a unit.. just using it more as a reference point than anything else.

Point I was trying to make, maybe poorly, is that we shouldn't expect a dominating defense in 09 and to be honest, to be successful and get to where we want to go, we don't really "need" a dominate defense.

We have plenty of firepower on offense.. we just need consistency and the ability for the defense to get stops late in games.

But hey.. if the defense in 09 is dominate.. you won't hear me complain a tiny little bit.

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