Steelers Today - A Pittsburgh Steelers blog


Steelers vs. Lions: Key match-ups

October 11, 2009 By: Admin Category: Pre-Game Analyses

Today, the Steelers travel to Ford Field in Detroit Michigan for a home game against the Detroit Lions.  That’s right, I said a home game.  Steeler Nation always travels well, but with Detroit being within easy driving distance from Pittsburgh, I expect to see a sea of black and gold in the audience today, making it feel like a home game for the Steelers.

Those who make the trip are likely to see a good show by the Steelers who are favored in today’s game.

Here is a look at some of the key match-ups that may determine the outcome of the game.

Ike Taylor vs. Calvin Johnson
This is the most obvious, and perhaps the most interesting match-up of the game.  Calvin Johnson is the Lions’ best player.  He is one of the most dangerous wide receivers in the NFL.  However, the Steelers’ Ike Taylor is one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL.  Taylor relishes the opportunity to face the league’s best receiver.  He has been anxiously awaiting this opportunity to go against Johnson.

Calvin Johnson’s size and speed gives him an advantage over most cornerbacks in the NFL.  Ike Taylor is not one of them.  Advantage - Neither.

LB LaMarr Woodley vs. RT Gosder Cherilus
By now, everyone knows that LaMarr Woodley has no sacks this season.  I’m sure that this doesn’t sit well with Woodley.  He would probably love to change this statistic right here in Michigan, where he starred in college at the University of Michigan.

Steelers LB LaMarr Woodley

Steelers LB LaMarr Woodley

The job of stopping Woodley falls to Lions right tackle Gosder Cherilus.  Personally, I don’t think Woodley will be sack-less after today.  Advantage - Steelers.

Dick LeBeau vs. Larry Foote
Many sportswriters have made former Steeler Larry Foote’s presence on the Lions a storyline for this game.  They say that Foote has probably shared all of the Steelers defensive signals and tendencies with his new Lions teammates.  If that is the case, it will be up to Steelers defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau to change things up a bit to compensate for anything that Foote may have shared.

Dick LeBeau is such a brilliant strategist that I don’t think that anything that Larry Foote may have shared will have any impact on the game.  Advantage - Steelers.

Rashard Mendenhall vs. Willie Parker
Perhaps the most exciting match-up of the game will be an internal struggle.

After last week’s 165 yard outburst, many Steelers fans were ready to hand Rashard Mendenhall the starting role.  Of course, that was a silly notion.  You don’t replace a multi-time Pro Bowl player with an unproven upstart after only one good game.  This is even more true when the young upstart has also has a history of fumbling the ball.

Willie Parker is still injured, so Mendenhall will get his second consecutive start.  Should Rashard Mendenhall have another 100+ yard performance, and run hard between the tackles like he did last week, then the conversation will gain legitimacy.  It will still be too soon to anoint Mendenhall as the next great Steelers running back, but the conversation will definitely become much more interesting.  Advantage - We shall see.


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2009 bloggers’ mock draft: Pick #1

March 07, 2009 By: Admin Category: Uncategorized

Steelers Today has hooked up with 31 other NFL bloggers from around the country to do a bloggers’ mock draft.  All 32 NFL teams are represented in the mock draft.

For more details on the bloggers’ mock draft, click here.

First up is the Detroit Lions.

With the first pick, the Detroit Lions’ blog The Wayne Fontes Experience selects:

***Matthew Stafford, QB, University of Georgia***


Why Stafford? The Lions current quarterback depth chart reads as follows:

1. Daunte Culpepper (Hasn’t had a good season in 5 years, played at a weight close to 3 bills in ’08)
2. Drew Stanton (Not good enough to outplay Dan “Ran out of the end zone” Orlovsky for the number 2 in ’08, is on the cusp of “BUST” status)
3. Drew Henson (Seriously?)

That’s why the Lions pick Stafford.

They have needs all over the field, on both sides of the ball. I was tempted to make a “safe” pick, such  as an OT like Baylor’s Jason Smith or Virginia’s Eugene Monroe, or Wake Forest LB Aaron Curry. All project to be first line players, long-time starters. But the need for a quality QB, something the Lions haven’t had since the glory days of Bobby Layne, is just too glaring. Stafford is the highest rated quarterback in the draft, and has the skill set to become an impact player.

The fact the Lions have drafted outright 1st round disasters at quarterback like Joey Harrington, Andre Ware and Chuck Long over the past 20 years, and Matt Millen went on a drunken skill player binge during his tenure (only Calvin Johnson remains in Detroit), cannot deter GM Martin Mayhew and head coach Jim Schwartz from addressing their greatest need, that being a franchise player under center.

Plus, the Lions do have the 20th pick of the 1st round, and the 1st pick of the 2nd, so other needs can be easily addressed later in the draft.

The St. Louis Rams are on the clock.

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