I don’t know about you, but I was looking forward to seeing the Steelers be challenged by Andrew Luck’s tremendous field vision and improvising with his fantastic weapons at WR and TE.
Nothing against Scott Tolzien though as the Steelers do not have a good history on thanksgiving and as we the fans have figured out time and time again, the Steelers can lose any game, any given week, no matter who the opponent is.
But just because Andrew Luck isn’t playing, doesn’t mean that I’m not warry of the Colts speed on offense in their WR trio.
So how should the Steelers gameplan against this dynamic trio? Let’s find out.
Colts electric three
Going into this game I was terrified of seeing the Steelers CB’s go up against one of the most underrated WR’s in the NFL T.Y. Hilton (arguably top 5), his partner in crime who brings a ton of size and speed in Donte Moncrief and the unsuspecting Philip Dorsett, who like the other two, has blazing speed to take it to the house.
Donte Moncrief coming out of Ole Miss was considered a raw but very talented player with immense upside (sounds like Bryant). Moncrief has just recently gotten back on the field but he’s capable of breaking a huge one any time.
Gunter makes a giant mistake of not jamming off the line and Moncrief makes him pay by burning him with his long speed. Gunter is not an athletic CB but he’s lengthy and it made no sense for him to not slow him down off the line.
I’d expect (doesn’t mean it’s guaranteed) to see Artie Burns lined up on Donte Moncrief because he has the length and size to disrupt him while also being able to keep up with him on the deep ball. Who knows maybe the coaching staff will feel more comfortable with Cockrell on him but I feel that Burns is just an overall better matchup for Moncrief.
Ross Cockrell on the other hand, as much as I like him, I do not feel he can keep up with the all around quickness of Ty Hilton in space or on the deep ball. The last thing I expect to see (regardless of who the QB is) is a ton of man to man coverage like they used against the Browns because if they were to do that, they’d end up having to deal with this.
Hilton is one those WR’s who can line up on either outside spot regardless and in the slot. He’s a true all around WR. Ty Hilton just absolutely abuses one of the better CB’s in all of the NFL in Jason Verrett who’s in man to man defense. I do not feel comfortable with any of our CB’s in this type of situation.
I don’t care who the QB is, I do not feel comfortable in a dome stadium seeing Ty Hilton in a one on one matchup in man to man coverage. If the Steelers are going to blitz to disrupt Scott Tolzien, it’s going to be more zone blitzing than man.
Now playing in zone can really test how disciplined the entire secondary is with their assignment and that’s where Dorsett has the potential to do damage.
You keep your eyes on the QB for so long and don’t keep track of the receiver, a guy like Dorsett won’t let you recover because he’ll burn you instantly if he finds a seam. For comparison sakes, when the Seahawks were going up against the Steelers last year, they did a decent job keeping a lid on the top 2 Byrant and Brown but who was the unlikely guy who wound up burning them time and time again in that game?
Don’t forget his name because backup QB’s generally seem to have a good chemistry with the number 3 WR on the team and he’s a guy who’s capable of taking anything to the house
I didn’t get into the specifics of the Colts offensive line or their run game because shutting down the run is priority number 1 with a backup QB and Andrew Luck is the most sacked QB in the league.
Some of it is on him, some of it is on the line. Regardless, the Steelers should have no excuse to not rattle Tolzien in the pocket and force him into a mistake. They’re going to ask him to beat em and not allowing him to gain confidence is key.
The splash trio Hilton, Moncrief and Dorsett no matter who the QB is, is capable of breaking a game wide open and that is why the secondary will be under a lot of pressure to get the job done Thursday.
The Steelers don’t have a good history on Thanksgiving and this is a classic game that they can easily lose.
If the Steelers are ready to move forward and learn from that 4 game losing streak, they should not allow the Colts to make this a game.
We’ll see if the Steelers have truly changed on Thanksgiving.