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Know Your Enemy Part II: Behind The Steel Curtain

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I'm the kind of guy that is not afraid to defer to the experts on certain subjects. On the subject of the Pittsburgh Steelers, I must admit I'm a novice. I try to watch as much NFL as possible but with how caught up I get watching the Seahawks games three, four times, I fail to really know the nuts and bolts of other NFL teams. So, to give you a scouting report, a glimpse into the mind of the maniac, I'll defer here to Behind the Steel Curtain lead writer Michael Bean. 

I had the opportunity to meet Michael back in August in Las Vegas, and he's a good dude - he knows the Steelers and he's a good writer so check out some of his stuff - you'll probably learn a thing or two that will make the game more interesting. Also, if I remember correctly, he's a recent Seattle transplant from the East Coast so he now knows whassup with the 12th Man. 

Give Credit Where Credit Is Due: Ravens Roll Dice with Bold Roster Moves, Yield Early Dividends with Blowout Win over Rival Steelers - Behind the Steel Curtain - I won't spend too much time trying to flesh out the metaphor between the tactics of war Sun Tzu was referring to and the rivalry between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens. Football is not war, of course, but let's look at the broader lesson can be extracted that very much applies to the Steelers-Ravens rivalry specifically, and how best to go about assembling a winning NFL roster more generally. That lesson is: be proactive, creative and unafraid when retooling your roster. At all times really, but though difficult, especially at times when you're close but ultimately fall just short against a superior team, and even after winning it all and feeling entirely invincible. It'd be worthwhile to have this same conversation about the Steelers, but for now, I wanted to just tip my cap to the Ravens for a number of ballsy, forward thinking transactions made this summer. There's probably even more relevant examples than listed here, but to begin with:

Tomlin: Marcus Gilbert Will Have First Shot At Steelers Right Tackle Position - Behind the Steel Curtain - Steelers coach Mike Tomlin announced today RT Willie Colon had surgery to repair a torn triceps, and will likely be placed on the IR. Rookie Marcus Gilbert will be given first crack at the starting right tackle position vacated by Colon - for the second straight season. 

Steelers vs. Seahawks: Five Players to Watch in Pittsburgh's 2011 Home Opener against Seattle - Behind the Steel Curtain - Oh boy, that game against the Ravens was tough to watch. The Steelers got manhandled both on offense and defense, putting up little resistance on their way to a 7-35 thrashing via the hands of their hated rivals from Baltimore. Much has been said about this game already, so I'll refrain from a more detailed analysis. But Sunday could come with some consolation, when the Steelers await the Seattle Seahawks in their 2011 home opener at Heinz Field. After Seattle became the first team in NFL history to win a playoff game despite a losing record last year, many fans out west were excited about the upcoming season.

Pregame Zone Blitz: Pittsburgh Steelers Look To Return To Basics Against Seattle - Behind the Steel Curtain - It's back to basics in the Burgh this week. Nevermind chop blocks, or trash talk from former players. Forget about underwhelming defensive line performances or even what was shipped to opposing quarterbacks this week. The Steelers need to focus on the fundamentals that made this team so successful the last few years. While their opponent may not be Walsh's 49ers, it's a dangerous team capable of success in a few pivotal areas. The approach for those kinds of teams is a strict focus on the basics of the game; technique, footwork, positioning and effort. It's Back To Basics Week here at PZB, and the Steelers are going to out-fundamental Seattle in Week 2.   

Steelers Vs. Seahawks: Opponent Spotlight -- Earl Thomas - Behind the Steel Curtain - The Pittsburgh Steelers have likely been hard at work getting their minds and bodies ready for redemption in Week 2 when they host the Seattle Seahawks at Heinz Field Sunday afternoon. They should be able to handle Seattle easily. The 14.5 point line in their favor certainly suggests that they're expected to cruise easily, even if they did look utterly unimpressive in their 35-7 Week 1 loss to Baltimore. I will write a bit more about Seattle before kickoff on Sunday, but suffice it to say that from the top of the roster on down, the Steelers have a decided advantage over Seattle. That's still the case even if we later learn that this team is not what we thought it would be because of age, an unfortunate injury or two, and of course, the vulnerabilities in the defensive secondary and along the offensive line.

After Week 1 Performance, I'm No Longer So Concerned About James Harrison - Behind the Steel Curtain - Do I have access to the medical staff of the Pittsburgh Steelers? No. I have heard directly from James Harrison that he's making considerable progress regaining his strength after two offseason back surgeries limited him physically all summer? No. That's just to say that I'm speculating based on very little concrete evidence outside of what I saw with my two eyes last Sunday during the Steelers' 35-7 loss to the Baltimore Ravens. And what I saw was not the same dominant James Harrison that we're used to seeing terrorize the league, but nevertheless Deebo played a fairly strong game that encouraged me to believe that he's going to be just fine as the season progresses provided he doesn't suffer a setback.

Steelers Vs. Seahawks: Pittsburgh Should Level Record at 1-1 Provided They Do Two Simple Things - Behind the Steel Curtain - As I alluded to in my short write up about Seattle Seahawks star safety Earl Thomas, there's no argument to be made when it comes to whether or not the Seahawks can match the Pittsburgh Steelers person for person when the two teams meet at Heinz Field on Sunday afternoon. Pittsburgh may turn out to be too old, or slow, or banged up to ultimately make as much noise as we thought at the outset of the season, but there's no question that they still have the team to beat up on lesser opponents in 2011, of which there are several on the schedule. Seattle would be one of those teams. In fact, there's really only two ways that Seattle can win this game: