Haslett says the ‘D’ is far short of A-OK
By Bill Coats
ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
Saturday, Dec. 22 2007
Rams defensive coordinator Jim Haslett on Friday bluntly called his unit’s
lackluster performance Thursday night “the worst game we’ve played all year, by
Pittsburgh pounded out 425 total yards in its 41-24 triumph at the Edward Jones
Dome. The Steelers (10-5) hadn’t scored as many points — and the Rams (3-12)
hadn’t given up as many — all season.
“We didn’t tackle, we had guys misaligned sometimes ... it was a combination of
everything,” Haslett said. “There’s not one guy probably on the defense that
was excluded. ... It was bad.”
Although quarterback Ben Roethlisberger earned a “perfect” passer rating of
158.3 by completing 16 of 20 throws for 261 yards and three touchdowns, without
an interception, the Steelers set the tone with a bruising run game.
Najeh Davenport, a career journeyman, entered after Willie Parker, the NFL’s
top rusher going into the game, fractured a bone in his lower leg in the first
series. That actually was a bad break for the Rams, Haslett noted.
“It was probably better (for the Steelers) that they had the bigger back in,
because of the power game they were running,” he said. “That game was really
made for (Davenport), what they were trying to do to us.”
Davenport is 6 feet 1 and 241 pounds; Parker is 5-10 and 209. Davenport pounded
out 123 yards on 24 carries just over three years after he gashed the Rams for
178 yards when he was with Green Bay and subbed for an injured Ahman Green.
That means that for his six-year career, Davenport has collected 17 percent of
his 1,761 yards in two games against the Rams.
Defensive improvement had been a key component in the second half of the year,
after the Rams opened 0-8. Haslett unleashed his troops, designing exotic
alignments and ordering more blitzes, with obvious success.
But as Haslett conceded, the Steelers “had their way” Thursday night.
“It was disappointing,” he said. “I thought we made great strides up to that
game. We just didn’t play very well. Just when we’d think we had something
fixed, something else would break down. It was one of those games.”
Re: Haslett says the ‘D’ is far short of A-OK
Maybe if he used his brain, like I, a 17 year old kid would, he would stop playing zone defense.
Don't let the WR catch the ball 5-10 yards away and then run another 5-10 yards to pick up the first down.
That's all teams have to do against us. Our backs can't tackle. It's LB's or nothing to tackle.
Here's to the zone defense in 2008.