Steelers Nation, it's that time again. One quick question for you, though. Can you handle DaTruth? I think so, too. Let's get it!
---The last time the Steelers started 4-0 was 1979, Super Bowl Champions, baby! Can this team bring the sexy back and get that one for the other thumb? Hey, that's why they play the games.
---Before I get into Steelers-Cards, check this out. True story. During half-time of the 49ers-Steelers game, after LeBeau and Arians went over their half-time adjustments, Tomlin addressed the team as a whole. He didn't give a rah-rah speech. He simply said this, "Is anyone hungry? There is a buffet out there to eat if anyone wants to eat. Do you want to eat?" Translation: For anyone who wants to make plays and be great, there are plays out there on the field to be made. Who wants to be great?
---I hear you saying, DaTruth, how do you know this happened? Well, you don't have to believe me. Just ask Bryan McFadden, who said it. Now on to my thoughts on the Desert Birds.
---After breaking down the past game between the Ravens-Cardinals and hearing all about the Whiz-Grimm revenge game and the Leinart-Warner QB stuff, this game will come down to one word beginning with a "D," and it's not defense. The Big "D" this week is "Dictate". As in, who is going to dictate to whom how this game will be played? Will the Steelers offense and defense dictate to the Cardinals how this game will be played or will it be vice versa? It ain't rocket science people. I write about rocket science and its technology for a living, and this ain't it. It's football.
---With that being said, I am fascinated to see what Dick LeBeau will do when the Cardinals try to spread the field and go to their no-huddle under Kurt Warner. The Ravens weren't prepared for it and Warner ripped them. That won't happen this week. LeBeau has been in his lab all summer working on packages just for this. I think you will see LeBeau's "Big" or Fat package, with 4 DL, 2LBs and 5 DBs for his nickel and 4 DL, 1 LB, 6DBs for the dime. You could see the A. Smith, Hoke, Hampton, Kiesel DL on occasion with Haggans, J. Harrison and L. Woodley along with Kirschke and Eason rotating in an out. In this alignment, Troy will be like an extra LB and either McFadden or Anthony Smith will be in the game.
---That's what I think. But LeBeau might decide that the D will "Dictate" the game and make the Cardinals respond to their base 3-4. Remember, the Steelers "do what they do" and other teams have to adjust, right?
---After reviewing the Cardinals, I have to say that Anquan Boldin is a BEAST! You're talking about 223 lbs of pure MAN playing the WR position. He's the total package. So is SS Adrian Wilson. I like the team's LBs and a couple of their DLs, too. However, the weak link are the corners. Cards Def. Coord. Clancy Pendergast is a pressure coach, and he will bring pressure consistently with 6 to 7 guys to get to the QB. It looks good when they get there, but when they don't, it leaves their corners in man coverage. Eric Green and Roderick Hood aren't good tacklers and don't do a good job of looking back for the ball when it's thrown deep. Antrel Rolle, the 3 rd corner, is a bust as a no. 1 pick that should have been moved to safety his rookie year. If our WRs want to eat, it'll be there for them, even without Ward.
---In order to do that, Ben has to get time. That can be done in a couple of ways. Either by getting Willie off or by keeping an extra TE to help pick up the blitz while Ben takes some shots. Remember those LB on RB drills that Tomlin called for on the first day of camp? This will be a game where the RBs will have to pick up the HOTS for Ben to take his SHOTS. Think Jay-Z got anything on me when it comes to rhyming?
---Leinart didn't look as bad as people have made him out to be against the Ravens. He did hold on to the ball too long on some occasions, but so does Warner. This will be a game where both will be shown a lot and will have to make the correct reads quickly, or they'll be looking face up at that open stadium roof.
---Ike and Deshea cannot be on an island the whole game with Fitzgerald and Boldin. Those WRs are that good. Expect to see a lot of Tomlin's influence with this defense and an extra safety in the game playing more Cover 2. When the Steelers give up big plays in the passing game, it's not usually on 3 rd-down, when LeBeau can unleash his magic. It is usually on first or second down, when the team is playing Cover 3, which means that either Deshea or Ike will be one-on-one if the QB takes shots on those two downs. Think Whisenhunt knows this too?
---No disrespect to Ike or Deshea, but no corner tandem can take those two WR one on one the whole game with no help anyway. That's why defense consists of 11 guys and not just 2. One thing about these 2 WRs. They aren't speed burners, so you need to come up and bump them and try to disrupt the timing of their pass routes. Warner and Leinart are both timing QBs, and they wouldn't like that too much.
---Willie can definitely eat this game. McGahee had a lot of room to run against the Cardinals and he AIN'T no Fast Willie. I do think Ben will have to loosen that D up a little bit with Heath and take some shots deep before Willie can get his eat on, though. It would be nice to have Spaeth and Ward for this game. But no need to rush either back if they're not healthy. This season is a marathon, not a sprint. Remember Cowher saying that about 10,000 times a week?
---Speaking of coach cliches, try this new one on for size. This is one of Tomlin's: "Does this team have the goods to be a world champion?" After the 49ers game in the lockerroom, Tomlin walked by Haggans who shouted, "We got the goods, coach! We got the goods!" Tomlin smiled, shook his head and kept walking. Think he knows something that we don't?
---Allen Rossum could eat this week as well. Their return games and punter (Bouchette's Mike Barr) didn't look great this past game. Barr doesn't have the leg that Sepulvada does and I don't care what Bouchette says about that. His argument that the Steelers should have kept Barr and used the other 2 picks to get REAL football players is lame. What, do you want to give K. Colbert two more second day picks for him to cut as well? I'd rather have someone with Pro Bowl ability fill a hole on my roster for the next 10 years. But that's just me.
---Enough of me bashing Bouchette. I do agree with him on one thing. This is what I asked him during his chat earlier this week and this is how he responded:
datruth4life: Ed, how do you like our LB crew as a whole with the young backups A. Harrison, A. Frazier, Timmons and Woodley in the wings? I think it is a unit with a lot of promise. Your thoughts?
Bouchette: I agree, lots of promise and some old-timers in there until the youngsters come through. It's a good mix. I don't think it compares to some of their great LB corps in the past, but it's still a good one.
See, he's not all THAT bad, is he?
---Hey, Blitzburgh, you want the most telling stat about this season's turnaround so far? Try this one: Big Ben's first 3 games in 2006, 0 TDs, 7 Ints. Big Ben's first 3 games in 2007, 6 TDs, 1 Int. That does it for me. What about you?
---Want to know another reason why I am openly professing a little bit of man-love for our new coach? Check this out from his press conference this week:
Reporter's Question: What do you say to fans looking to January (i.e. playoff and championship football)?
Tomlin: "That's great. I like it. Keep the standard of expectations high. We aren't going to shy away from that. There is nothing wrong with expectations, particularly high ones. Hopefully we're giving them something to be excited about."
---Well, are you excited? I am. As far as the game Sunday, I expect the Cardinals to play hard. I also expect the Steelers to, as Tomlin says, "do what we do." I expect the W, minus the style points. Just Wins Baby. That's all we need. Just Wins.
Steelers Nation, Hit me with your comments and Be Blessed!