The Steelers will head northeast today in the hopes of stealing a win from the Patriots and putting themselves back on the right track for the season. Stranger things have happened, am I right? Here’s what’s being said about your Pittsburgh Steelers around the block.
1st and 10 with Woodley
The Steelers’ Teresa Varley sat down with LB LaMarr Woodley to talk about the upcoming matchup against New England as well as how he plans to help the team turn this thing around. For those that don’t remember, the last time the Steelers faced the Patriots in 2011, the Steelers actually dominated the game and came away victorious. Of course it’s a different team on both sides of the ball this time around. In that last game in 2011, Woodley sacked Brady twice. Varley asks Woodley what he remembers from that game.
“I didn’t remember a lot of it until we watched it on film. We got after the quarterback. We did a good job of matching them up and doing a great job of putting pressure on the quarterback. We got some sacks and made him get rid of the ball.” – LaMarr Woodley
Possibly, if the Steelers can remember all the positives that can be taken away from their last victory over Tom Brady and the Patriots, it will prove to be more beneficial than their preparation last week. That seemed to consist of re-watching Darren McFadden gain 64 yards on them in one play and hoping that doesn’t happen again all the white toting how awful they’ve historically played against the Raiders in recent years. At least this week’s preparation can attest to the fact that it is possible for the Patriots to be beaten.
Double Coverage: Steelers at Patriots
ESPN Steelers blogger Scott Brown sat down with Mike Reiss, who covers the Patriots for ESPN, to discuss the matchup. The two teams couldn’t be more different in how their 2013 seasons have played out so far. While the Patriots are leading their division with a 6-2 record, they’ve not looked the best and have had to rely on the contributions of their younger players to pull out victories. The Steelers, on the other hand, have been decimated by injuries and are finding it difficult for each unit to put together consistent performances. Last week’s loss against the Raiders was particularly representative of how the Steelers season has gone so far. The defense started slow, the offense came back, but in the end they couldn’t pull it together within enough time to win the game. With that, both analysts give the Patriots the nod for the victory on Sunday. Brown suggests the Pats will take it with a score of 24-17 and Reiss went with 27-20 in favor of New England.
Steelers preparing for Gronk
For either of those predictions to be made false, the Steelers will have to control one Rob Gronkowski, tight end for the New England Patriots. As Ray Fittipaldo of the PPG describes, that is no small task. As a rookie in 2010, Gronk caught five passes for 72 yard and three touchdowns against the Steelers while being matched up against William Gay for the duration of that game. I think we’re all getting the same memory come to mind right about now. Shake it off. The last time the two teams met, Gronk was made to deal with Cortez Allen on the one-on-one coverage, which proved to be slightly successful in keeping him out of the end-zone, but he still caught 7 passes for 94 yards that day. Allen will most likely go up against Gronk somewhat, although you never know what LeBeau could have in store on Sunday.
“They always have a good defense and they always have good schemes going into games. I’ve got to prepare for anything – any coverage, any zone and any guy that will be covering me. I’ve just got to prepare and be ready for anything.” – Rob Gronkowski