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The True NT Debate

Discussion in 'Steelers Talk' started by STEELWINDS, Oct 20, 2019.

  1. STEELWINDS

    STEELWINDS Well-Known Member

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    I know the topic of attaining a true Casey Hampton type NT has been talked about several times. I have heard the arguments that in “today’s game” such a player/position has become obsolete to a high degree. I comprehend the argument but beg to differ. The counter-argument seems to be in regards to the idea that we do not need such a player anymore due to the “limited” amount of snaps he would get. So what! If that person’s play for one or two snaps per possession can wreck havoc, as Casey did, I think it would become invaluable to our performance. It would seriously change the dynamic of a key element missing from our current defense; a defense in which I may add seems to have the arrow finally pointing up again. However, how many third down conversions are we constantly going to let the opposing teams convert?

    I realize that our “D” is creating sacks and turnovers, and that is great! And yes, the “O” has to capitalize on the “D’s” plays. However, it is going to take time given the QB situation. We are not the run-stuffing dominating “D that we once were when we had a true NT. Hargrave is a good player but IMO only an adequate NT. He does not require multiple people to handle him like Casey did, thus “in part” this is one (major one at that) of several reasons as to why our run defense is not dominating like it once did. When he was on the field we were making teams one dimensional, no more with our current system. I for one am definitely in favor for the return of such a player. I really think a high quality “true” NT would go a long way in helping our defense become more effective and return us to those long game streaks of sub-100 yard rushers from the opposition. Fact: The D is going to have to carry us folks given our QB situation. We need to max out on every aspect of our D to make this happen. Adding that “True Wrecking-Ball NT” would provide us with one more high caliber aspect to an already improving defense.
     
  2. STEELWINDS

    STEELWINDS Well-Known Member

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    Hey everyone. I see a lot of views to this thread but no responses. Not that anyone is obligated (smile). Sorry if it is too long-winded. Really would like to get some feedback from some members. I really feel that a true NT would take this D to another level and have read similar posts in the past. Have a great day everyone!
     
  3. steel machine

    steel machine Well-Known Member

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    While I agree, how do we go about getting one???? Our D has improved and I still hold out my fantasy of the 1976 season repeating. 1-4 start and then the D carried us to 9 straight wins. And until we lose another game I am holding on to that fantasy:)
     
    • Hilarious Hilarious x 1
  4. mytake

    mytake Well-Known Member

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    I thought NT was going to be a Not Tomlin debate. I was drawn in by the click bait title, but now I am wondering why I clicked on this thread.
     
    • Hilarious Hilarious x 1
  5. STEELWINDS

    STEELWINDS Well-Known Member

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    Man, that 1976 defensive run was thing of beauty. I remember it well. Like I said, a true NT could do wonders for this "D". Hargrave is a great player but more built for the outside. Simple math, Big Snack type player = 2 lineman (or more) to contain thus freeing up other defenders.
     
  6. Thigpen82

    Thigpen82

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    I guess the argument is less that the position is obsolete, and more that to invest in a player like we invested in Hampton (a first rounder on a big contract) for first and second down makes less sense. They won't put an NT on the field for third and long, and that's where the problems lie for many people.

    In terms of being a run-stopping behemoth, I agree we have a way to go, but look at some of the figures:
    Last year we were fifth best in rushing yards allowed, and in the last three games we're seventh best overall with an average of 81.0
    For reference, in 2005 we averaged 87.2, and in 2006 we averaged 88.2 overall; third best both years (just to pick two years when Hampton was in his prime).

    Obviously I'm cherry-picking a bit (in fact, a lot) - three-game average versus whole season, and those weren't the best seasons, and we aren't yet making teams go away from the run completely; but part of that is due to the offense not forcing teams to play catch up (as we did to San Diego).

    So overall, while I see why one might want a gamechanging NT, I'm not sure the evidence outweighs the need for, say, a stud OLB.
     
  7. Da Stellars

    Da Stellars Well-Known Member

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    The Ravens have Brandon Williams and that dude is a monster in the middle of the defensive line.
     
  8. STEELWINDS

    STEELWINDS Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, I just can’t shake the notion that if we can get teams into second and long, and even third and long because of the NT it would go a long way in changing the dynamics of our “D”. I remember but do not have the dates pinpointed where we were #1 in rushing defense (maybe 2008 or 2009) only giving up on average about 65 yards/game on the ground. We had a ridiculous streak of holding teams to sub-100 yard rushing performances. If we can replicate that now, and given the fact that we finally have a decent secondary, we could really go on a tear I believe. Our “D” is finally coming around. Too bad for Tuitt unfortunately. As I stated, Hargrave is good as what hat he does but he really does not demand two blockers like Big Snack.
     
  9. thesteeldeal

    thesteeldeal Well-Known Member

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    We do get teams consistently into 2nd and 3rd and long , it’s then our predictable scheme gives up 3rd down conversions like candy on Halloween. That’s always player execution though ,can’t be the coaches ,no way.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  10. Steel Hog

    Steel Hog Well-Known Member

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    Since the NFL teams throw on every down, not just 3rd down, when do you put in a run stopper that makes sense? If we knew what their offensive plays were going to be, then sure, plug up the middle. Now, if they have a run called, and we have a NT run plugger in there, they can just audible to something different. A one dimensional DL is obsolete today as DL's need to not only stop the run but put pressure on the QB. Also, if you do invest in stopping the run, you need to back that up with a defensive backfield/ LBs that can then stop their passing attack.
     
    • Agree Agree x 4
  11. mac daddyo

    mac daddyo Well-Known Member

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    I think it has evolved from run stuffer to a do more position. Just like our DEs have been doing less taking on blockers to pass rushers and run stoppers. The whole front needs to be more multidemensional. The game has dictated that.

    One thing I will say though, and we have been down on him until this point, but can was used in pass rush situations the last game a lot. He was at times quite effective in that role. If we can find a bit guy similar to him that has some better movement skills and aggression, it could go a long way. A guy between hargraves and dan. We run so many two down linemen sets so quickness and power is essential and it would help in a base set as well.:cool:
     
  12. MadtownDruankard

    MadtownDruankard Well-Known Member

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    The NT is and always will be the key to running a successful 3-4. You don't need a stud like Hampton to run it well but you need a guy who can play it and hold his own. This was the reason the Packers failed miserable at running the 3-4 w/ Mike McCarthy. He was unable to find a good NT for most of the time he was there. It sounded like he was at odds with their FO when it came to personnel.
     
  13. STEELWINDS

    STEELWINDS Well-Known Member

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    YES!!!! This has been a major concern and I figured someone was going to bring this up. Letting our opponents off the hook in those 3rd and longs has been problematic for sometime now. You would think that our "secondary guru" of a head coach would have figured some of this out by now but obviously he has not. Ugh!

    I do think that our secondary is improving but IMO but no thanks to Tomlin or the DC as well. How many players have we drafted for the secondary only to have them not pan out. What is the common denominator you may ask? Clearly, it is a coaching/teaching issue. This is just mind-boggling given the amount of "flops" that have come through here during the Tomlin era.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  14. MadtownDruankard

    MadtownDruankard Well-Known Member

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    BTW all these Butler haters out there saying we run a 3-4 defense that is no longer effective in the NFL.... tell me who are the 2 top defenses in the NFL right now?
     
  15. STEELWINDS

    STEELWINDS Well-Known Member

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    It is just unfortunate that Ben went down. I do think our defense is finally progressing. Hey even Coach Cowher gave us a arrow pointing up endorsement the other day. If Ben was okay, and the way our D is progressing, I really think that we would have been close to putting this all together. As I say: "You deal with the cards that you have been dealt". Unfortunately (maybe not), the QBs are going to have to be game managers, for now anyway, and let the D take control for the most part.
     
  16. mac daddyo

    mac daddyo Well-Known Member

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    Missing Tuitt will be huge though.

    I don't think we can or need to keep mason as a game manager. We have to let him evolve. No it doesn't have to be up to where Ben is at this point but also don't restrict him either. We already do this on defense to an extent with young players.

    It is too easy for teams to adjust to restrictive players. Then again we take players that have restricted ability and have them try to do what they are not built for. Case in point Vince williams. We try to play him as a do everything lb only to fail with his limitations physically while we have a guy that physically could do the things we ask Vince to do and never insert him in any game action. UG3. At least a handful of plays a week would go a long way in improvement. :cool:
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  17. Roonatic

    Roonatic Well-Known Member

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    I still pine for a 4-3. I like 4 big bodys up near the line of scrimmage & a speedy playmaking ilb.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  18. STEELWINDS

    STEELWINDS Well-Known Member

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    I don't think we can or need to keep mason as a game manager. We have to let him evolve. No it doesn't have to be up to where Ben is at this point but also don't restrict him either. We already do this on defense to an extent with young players.

    It is too easy for teams to adjust to restrictive players. Then again we take players that have restricted ability and have them try to do what they are not built for. Case in point Vince williams. We try to play him as a do everything lb only to fail with his limitations physically while we have a guy that physically could do the things we ask Vince to do and never insert him in any game action. UG3. At least a handful of plays a week would go a long way in improvement. :cool:[/QUOTE]

    Hey Mac! I agree with you to a degree on the handcuffing of our QBs. Maybe "Game Manager" isn't such a great term. Yes, both of our QBs are collegiate proven but obviously they are not going to have as much leeway as Ben. Given that, the coaches do have a much better grip on their physical and psychological attributes than any of us on the Board. Sure, let them play and widen the parameters in which they operate as they earn trust and develop chemistry. I agree the last thing we want is for them to become predictable.

    I really thought that Rudolph's best game was the Seattle one. maybe because he had to come in on the fly as Ben got hurt.If Moncrief does not let that ball bounce off of his hands and lead to a pick we probably win that game. Rudolph, as well as the coaching staff, did not have time to game plan for he was not the designated starter. Sometimes when you overthink things (like in a full week of preparation) it could end up restricting the player. I am not saying do not game plan, that would be lunacy, but as a coach do not overthink his first official start and subsequent ones as well. STEELWINDS
     
  19. Da Stellars

    Da Stellars Well-Known Member

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    I kind of want to see this as well...

    3-4 debate is great and all, but we are most often in Nickel....why not get another lineman in there to sure up the line in the 4-2?
     
  20. AskQuestionsLater

    AskQuestionsLater Writing Team

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    I do believe the OP does have a point about the debate of a true Nose Tackle. However, I do not think the OP is using the correct semantics from my own takeaway. I believe what the OP wants is a true dominant Defensive Interior Lineman in the mold of Casey Hampton.


    Someone like Haloti Ngata, whom I have great respect for, comes to mind. The likes of Ngata signaled a change for the Interior Defensive Lineman of the 3-4 shortly after the fact. No longer could Nose Tackles be just immovable objects. They would have to rush the passer as well; the three down Nose Tackle being one of the most underrated values of the 2000s and only beginning to be truly appreciated in the early 2010s. The most recent of these "Casey Hampton" types would be this year's draft pick in Dexter Lawrence. Those types of Interior Defensive Linemen are the evolution of what Casey Hampton was in the 2000s.



    Now, as I have been on record before, the 2020 NFL Draft is loaded with Interior Defensive Line. Nevermind the talent, how deep it is going to be will be something for certain. If there is one player who is as close to Casey Hampton as we will ever see, keep an eye of Leki Fotu from the University of Utah. 6-5, 335lbs. and hailing from a Power 5 conference. The issue is he is a Senior. Even in the Second Round, sans Sean Davis, Pittsburgh generally do not select their defensive players as seniors.




    Even so, someone like Leki Fotu would be an absolute blessing for this team. Let us keep in mind that, nevermind Javon leaving, Stephon simply cannot stay healthy. In addition, Cameron Heyward is not getting any younger himself.



    "Kill two birds with one stone" they say?! Why stop at two?! For Pittsburgh, they can solve three issues at once.
     
  21. defva

    defva Well-Known Member

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    I think we need young physical studs up front. Dan or hargrave aren't that guy.
     
  22. thesteeldeal

    thesteeldeal Well-Known Member

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    I’ll take AD over a true NT.
     
  23. cajunyankee

    cajunyankee Well-Known Member

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    I disagree for several reasons::::

    In a true 3-4 with a zero-tech NT ( which is hard to find because Colleges rarely develop them) you have three DL that occupy 5 OL so the OLB can pressure the QB and the ILB can stuff the run. That’s now 7 Defenders too close to the line consistently so LeBeau tweeted it by dropping some unexpected into coverage making it a zone blitz....

    Problem is offenses quickly figured out how to defeat it..... west coast offenses..... more athletic TEs ...... athletic running QBs who can also pass........ let’s also remember the NFL has designed the rules to benefit passing offenses and over protect the QB.......

    I too long for a 4-3 if we can get the Right MLB and good cover corners and top safeties ..............

    Cajun
     
  24. Steel Acorn

    Steel Acorn Well-Known Member

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    You also have the problem of finding a Casey Hampton type guy, and fitting him under the salary cap with all the other needs. You can't have stud players at every position, and you need to pick and choose where you want your skill positions and where you can get by. I think NT is where you get by.
     
  25. HeinzMustard

    HeinzMustard Well-Known Member

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    Agree. Easier to beat Brady and the evil empire. History has proven this.
     

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