Good morning from Pittsburgh. Here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, Sept. 18:
Danny O’Neil at the Seattle Times looks at the problems presented by the Steelers’ defense, which not can blitz but also stuff the run. Offers O’Neil: “Welcome to Blitzburgh, a town where the linebackers eat meat, floss with opposing quarterbacks and the crowd’s devotion to its defense unites generations. ‘They love their team with a deep connection,’ Seattle coach Pete Carroll said. ‘They show it when they play.’ Carroll’s Seahawks will feel that Sunday when one of the league’s youngest teams continues to search for its new identity against the Steelers, an experienced heavyweight that will be looking to work out some of last week’s frustrations.”
He’s also got three keys for the Seahawks, starting with protecting QB Tarvaris Jackson.
Dave Boling at the News Tribune examines Carroll’s attempt to get his players on the proper biological clock for today’s game. Says Boling: “A study by Italian scientists found that in young adults, the athletic efficiency was at least 20 percent higher in the afternoon than the morning because of brain-wave patterns, hormone production, cell regeneration and other biological activity linked to the daily cycle. The Seahawks have won only once in their past 11 games in the Eastern time zone, with losses by an embarrassing average score of 30-161/2. Going back 10 seasons, they have sleepwalked to 12 losses in 20 such trips.”
Also at the News Tribune, Eric Williams looks at the Steeler mystique through the eyes of tight end Zach Miller. Says Miller, who played here while with the Raiders: “Well obviously it’s a loud stadium and the crowd gets into it, so they’ve got a good home advantage there. There’s a little bit of that Steelers mystique, where obviously they have a tradition and all of that of playing physical football. But you can win there. You’ve just got to play good football and not turn the ball over. And match their intensity that they come out with. Because they are going to come out hyped; they’re going to come out ready to go. And you have to match that, and then get into your game as the game goes on.”
John Boyle of the Everett Herald writes that this Seahawks team is not the same one that lost to the Steelers in Super Bowl XL. Says Boyle: “While that game may not feel like ancient history, a lot has changed in Seattle since then, in particular the Seahawks roster. Just two players, cornerback Marcus Trufant and linebacker Leroy Hill, remain from Seattle’s only Super Bowl team. The Seahawks also have changed head coaches twice since the 2005 season and brought in a new general manager. ‘It is kind of weird,’ said Trufant, Seattle’s longest tenured player. ‘It seems like it happened so fast, too. I remember back in my first couple of years when I was one of the younger guys on the team, and now I’m one of the older guys and I’ve been here the longest, so it is a little bit different.’ ”
There’s also an Associated Press story out of Pittsburgh on the impact Carroll had on Steelers safety Troy Polamalu when they were at USC. Says Polamalu: “He gave me a lot of freedom. He taught me a lot about defenses, taught me how to find freedom within certain responsibilities. He taught me a lot about the safety position in general. I had a great coach before him in Dennis Thurman and (Carroll) continued to add to that and I’m very thankful.”
Christian Caple at PI.com has five things to watch in today’s game. No. 3 involves Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger: “When facing Ben Roethlisberger, pressuring the quarterback is only half the battle. Actually getting the dude on the ground is a different story. ‘If you can hit him when he’s not looking,’ defensive end Raheem Brock said, asked the best way to take down the 6-foot-5, 240-pound Steelers quarterback. ‘You know how to hit the big guys. You’ve got to get them off their feet. If you don’t take him down right away, he’s just going to toss you aside. You’ve got to hit him.’ ”
Here at Seahawks.com, we’ve got a look at challenges awaiting the Seahawks today, starting with the opponent: “This is a great matchup for us – a fantastic team,” Carroll said. “We know them very well, just because everybody knows the Pittsburgh Steelers.” We also preview the game in words and video.