Like a lingering case of Gonorrhea I am back when you least expected it.

“Playoffs don’t talk about—playoffs! You kidding me Playoffs?! I just hope we can win a game!”

Before Mike Leach and Mike Gundy the football gods gave us Jim Mora. The football gods blessed the Pittsburgh Steelers with Charles Henry Noll. My two favorite Chuck Noll quotes

“Leaving the game plan is a sign of panic, and panic is not in our game plan”.

“Pressure is something you feel when you don’t know what you’re doing”.

Those two quotes scream winning to me…It’s something Bill Belicheck, Scotty Bowman, Red Auerbach or John Wooden could have said…My point is simple winning formulas may change but the path to victory doesn’t change. Preparation is the key to success.

Onto this Covid 19 shit storm. The Stains will be missing their head coach and play-caller Kevin Stefanski…That’s big no matter what anyone tells you. Stefanski has a great relationship with Baker Mayfield. Stefanski will be replaced by former Pitt quarterback Alex Van Pelt as the play-caller. Van Pelt has called played plays for a total of twelve games in 2009 for the Bills and he was terrible. Van Pelt has been around some quality offensive minds through the years…He is a Pitt guy and he may surprise me but I believe this a gargantuan loss for the Stains. The Stains will also be missing two unnamed assistant coaches to go along with all pro guard Joel Botonio and KhaDarel Hodge. The Steelers will be missing Joe Haden (Small chance of playing). Boo fucking hoo Cleveland is a cesspool is anyone shocked they have issues?

Cleveland is ON FIRE right now!

Football Talk Stains with the Ball

The Browns are going to try to run the ball. Joel Bitonio being out is a huge loss for the Stains…Most people feel Michael Dunn will replace Bitonio. I don’t. I believe Kendall Lamm moves from right tackle to left guard. Lamm offers more in the run game and he is a house to get around rushing the passer. The Steelers must win and dominate the line of scrimmage. Tyson Alualu, Cam Heyward, and Stephon Tuitt must wreck the line of scrimmage. Jc Trotter the Browns center is a decent player. Alualu should rag doll him at will at the point of attack. My guess is Lamm starts at left guard and he could give Heyward some problems when the two players are engaged at the point of attack. Lamm is a massive dude who just needs to lock on, hold, and turn a butt cheek and a big freaking hole is created. Heyward will make some plays with his quickness and skill…I could see this matchup being an issue at times. The Steelers need more out of Tuitt in the run game…Don’t get me wrong he is a good player…It’s the playoffs he needs to be great. Tuitt will draw Wyatt Teller. Teller is a good player. He can get movement in the run game…He is strong and athletic…The Browns have success in the run game because this offensive line is pretty good…They are coached at the highest level. The Steelers defense first goal is to choke off the run game. It starts with interior play in the trenches. The Browns two best offensive linemen on paper are first round pick Jedrick Willis and Jack Conklin. Highsmith and Watt must do a better job setting the edge and not over pursuing. The Browns have a trio of tight ends who have no interest in run blocking. They will get in the way at times…All three players would much rather be involved in the passing game. Some experts will claim Harrison Bryant is a good blocker I say horse shit. The Steelers linebackers must make their reads and fly to the ball…They cannot over pursue. They must play as a unit maintaining gap integrity and attack the ball. I am going to venture a guess that Williams and Spillane start at inside backer. The Browns wide receivers are actually excellent in the run game. They block and hold as good as any group in the NFL. The Steelers corners were humiliated in the run game in the second matchup. I expect the corners are far more prepared for the fight this week. The Steelers safeties and linebackers must correct their tackling issues…It’s a big problem that no Steelers fan talks about.
Gap integrity, do not over pursue plays is the key to stopping the run. Just do your job. The Steelers are going to have their hands full stopping the Browns run game. Good players who are coached at a very high level with quality backs is tough to stop. The Steelers defensive line must force double teams and keep the inside linebackers clean allowing them to roam to the ball. The Steelers linebackers and defensive backs must limit yards after contact.

If the Steelers force the Browns to throw the ball…I like the Steelers matchups in the passing game far more than the run game. In all honesty I believe the Steelers could dominate every matchup rushing the passer except for the Willis Highsmith matchup…In all honesty Highsmith’s quickness and variety of rush moves gave Willis fits last week so I may be full of shit and the Steelers may dominate every matchup rushing the passer. Conklin is good; he cannot legally block Watt. Tuitt when his motor is running is a similar interior pass rusher as Fletcher Cox…Too big, too quick, way too nasty to deal with, with a single blocker. Cam Heyward may struggle with the gigantour motherfucker in the run game; pass pro is going to be a different story. I don’t think the Steelers have to blitz much this week…I think five man rush packages can and will get there. We all know Keith Butler loves to blitz…My hope is he tempers the blitz packages and recognizes Baker Mayfield can make some plays with his legs. If the Steelers choke off the run game I expect Mayfield gets wrecked.

The Browns have favorable matchups with the backs and tight ends in the passing game. Kareem Hunt, Austin Hooper, Harrison Bryant and David Nojuku scare me in the passing game. I hope Spillane is healthy enough to play…His ability to fit in zone coverages and his understanding of the passing game brings a different element to this defense. Hold your breath when Williamson or Williams is in coverage and hope the pressure gets there.

I am going to guess no Joe Haden this week…It’s a big loss. I am confident Cam Sutton will step in and play a solid game. The Browns have three receiving threats outside…. Jarvis Landry who runs a 4.7 40. He is a modern day Hines Ward in a lot of ways. He runs the tough nasty routes no receiver wants to run….Rashad Higgins who is a vertical threat and decent athlete, and lastly KhaDarel Hodge who is just a guy. Also on the roster Donovan People Jones who got vaporized last week and I will be shocked if he plays. Steven Nelson needs to relax, talk less and just do his thing. Minkah and Edmunds will patrol the back end and I am far more concerned about their play in the run game not the passing game.

Baker under pressure will give the game away.

Baker will need to dance better than this to avoid getting jacked up.

Steelers with the Ball

If the defense has eight or more men in the box you throw the ball. If the defense has seven men in the box release the hounds and run the ball. The more things change the more they stay the same. It’s that simple. The Steelers offensive line is below average in the run game getting movement at the point of attack. The Steelers running backs are try hard guys with little god given ability. What I am trying to say is this…The Steelers are going to struggle to run the ball. The talent lies in the passing game with this offense. I will take the Steelers top three receivers over any team’s top three. The tight ends struggle to run block…They are athletic play makers in the passing game. Ben is a hall of famer who the team built the offense around.

I don’t know who is calling the plays. I don’t know who has input. I care about results. The Steelers opening script has been putrid all year. The Steelers coaching has been pathetic on the offensive side of the ball. The play calling has lacked imagination and any rhythm…Throw shit against the wall and hope for the best… When in doubt run the inside zone just don’t cut it with this team.

Myles Garrett, I admit I am not a fan. I think Ally has had enough of his bullshit too. Ally is such a great dude I hate to throw him under the bus…He is not the best run blocking left tackle…He has struggles at the point of attack which I just don’t understand. He plays with good leverage despite being 6-8. He has decent balance…His hand usage and placement is above average…He just struggles and I don’t understand why. He has played really well against Garrett this season. Matt Fieler will take over at left guard and I think it’s a mistake. Dotson is a superior player. Dotson is more powerful at the point of attack. He is far more mobile at the 2nd level in the run game…He brings a nasty element to the offensive line. Fieler has not impressed me at guard. The Browns defensive tackles Sheldon Richardson and Larry Ogunjobi are both explosive downhill players early in games. Dotson pimp slapped Richardson up and down the field last week…David Decastro is rounding into form and I completely buy into the theory he was not close to 100% earlier in the season. I am very concerned with Richardson and Fieler. I am not real concerned with Decastro and Ogunjobi. Moe Pouncey has settled into the smart dirty grizzled vet portion of his career. If the Steelers have any chance of running the ball Pouncey, Fieler and Decastro must win consistently against Richardson, Ogunjobi, and Stains middle backer BJ Goodson. Chuks my man you are a bum…The Steelers managed to find an Oliver Ross clone. The Steelers caught a big break with the Vernon injury. Porter Gustin will replace Vernon and he is a high motor player with size limitations against the run…He is long and lanky…he lacks the sand in his pants to hold the point. I will also say this…I believe the Steelers best starting five offensive linemen would be Ally and Fieler at tackle Dotson and Decastro at guard and Pouncey at the pivot.

Eric Ebron you are useless in the run game. Vance Macdonald is not much better. Hope the Steelers tight ends can get in the way long enough for the back to find the hole. JuJu and Claypool are very good run blockers and I hope they go at the Browns corners Denzel Ward and Terrance Mitchell. Diontae Johnson is willing in the run game…He has a shocking amount of heart and he has no issues hunting safeties and backers to run block against which is shocking. If the Stains are forced to involve their safeties in the run game that is a big win for the Steelers.
The Steelers struggle to run the ball for several reasons. Poor play design and play calling….An offensive line which is built more to pass block then run block. Tight ends that cannot block. Backs that lack talent.

The Steelers passing game should be precision…. The talent is there. Play calling and design matters.
Ally and Garrett should be a war. Garrett is also dinged, his right shoulder is not right and he is struggling to rush the passer with anything back to the inside. Ally should be able to set to the outside and run Garrett past the quarterback at will. Garrett is cagey and very talented…Ally has to be at the top of his game. Fieler and Richardson is a matchup in the passing game I do not like. Fieler gives up way too many interior pressures. Richardson is basically a pure bull rusher who guesses the count and flies up field. Fieler is fat and slow to react and gets devastated at least twice a game. Pouncey as stated earlier is old and dirty…He finds the line and doesn’t cross it. I expect Decastro to shut down Ogunjobi. That leaves Porter Gustin and Chuks. This matchup shouldn’t scare me as much as it does. Chuks has showed no signs of improvement throughout the season. Gustin is a very refined pass rusher with skills to wreck a passing game. The key for the Steelers Oline is no immediate pressures…If you get beat…Cheat. Hold, trip, hell tackle them from behind…Keep Ben clean.

If Ebron plays he is a major weapon who the Steelers have just scratched the surface with. Macdonald is a tough matchup as well. The Steelers backs and tight ends could really stress the Browns pass defense. Goodson is decent…Phillips the Browns other coverage backer thinks he is far more athletic than he is in reality. The Steelers will spread out the Browns a ton this week…They are going to force the Browns to make plays in space.

Denzel Ward is a quality corner who may be able to limit whatever Steelers receiver lines up against him. From there the Stains have no answer for the other two receivers. Mitchell cannot handle Claypool or Johnson from a speed explosive standpoint. Mitchell cannot handle JuJu from a physical stand point. The Stains safeties are decent…Nothing special.

The key to every game for the Steelers offense going forward is Ben and the play calling. If Ben is on and the offensive coaches are on their games this offense should carry this team far in the playoffs. If we try simpleton cute bullshit which keeps games close we could be one and done.

The Franchise

Special Teams

Cover the kick
Don’t fumble the returns
Boswell is hopefully healthy
No dumb penalties

Steelers 31
Stains 17