Saturday, September 25, 2004

Week 3: Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Miami Dolphins (9/26/04)

As of 9:15 a.m. Saturday morning, the Miami Dolphins are expected to host the 1-1 Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday at the Pro. Hurricane Jeanne may force a postponement to Monday or Tuesday evening. Nevertheless, I wanted to continue my tradition and write a preview for this game. Admittedly, it won't be my best analysis. I've got to be out of Jupiter within a few minutes, but I wanted to talk about the basics.

The number one question pertains to the improvements, or lack thereof, of the Miami Dolphins. Since last Sunday's abortion of a football game, Wannstedt and the coaching staff made some alterations. KR Lamont Brightful was cut after his disastrous kick returning follies. The decision was made to stick with QB A.J. Feeley, at least for Week 3. My suspicion is that Feeley keeps the job unless he gets hurt or plays beyond awful. Damion McIntosh replaces Wade Smith at the LT position. Hopefully this gives Feeley slightly better protection than he was getting from Smith. Offensive Coordinator Chris Foerster has decided to implement the shotgun in this week's gameplan. We learned that the shotgun was simply not in the gameplan for the Cincinnati affair. Injuries still loom large for Miami. DT Larry Chester was placed on injured reserve with a torn ACL. That makes him ineligible to return this season. Both FB Rob Konrad and DT Tim Bowens remain doubtful for Sunday. Travis Minor is already listed as OUT with an ankle injury, not that anybody will miss him.

It's actually amazing, considering how bad the team has performed, that the games have been relatively close. I simply do not see much improvement being made since last week's debacle. That isn't to say that Miami can't win. The Dolphins could be 1-1, or even 2-0 if Feeley hadn't had INT's returned for scores. Miami's banged up defense has performed admirably. It's hard to count them out of any game.

Pittsburgh comes to Miami off a 30-13 thrashing last week at the hands of Baltimore. They have questions at the QB position. Veteran Tommy Maddox is out for 6 weeks. The reigns have been turned over to rookie Ben Roethlisberger, out of Miami (Ohio). Like with Carson Palmer last week, the chance is that he'll make a big mistake that leads to Miami points. Unfortunately, it's been our QB making the crucial mistakes. Duce Staley gives this team a big upgrade at the RB position. Jerome Bettis still sees time in short yardage situations. In a bizarre statline, in Week 1 vs. Oakland, Bettis scored 3 TD's with only 1 yard gained. Through 2 weeks, Hines Ward has been the only receiving weapon utilized. He has 13 catches. Plaxico Burress and Antawn Randle-El have a combined 7 receptions.

My Prediction: I will be at this game whenever it's played. If the roads are able to be navigated, I'm driving down there. My guess is that it'll be hard to play tomorrow afternoon. Expect to see it played Monday or Tuesday. See my Week 3 picks for my official selection.


Blogger Eric Cioffoletti said...

Some good points. The games remain close (imho) because of Thomas and Taylor and maybe Seau. I think those three guys alone are enough to keep the other team's offense in trouble. During week 1, Thomas made almost all the tackles by himself for god's sake.

I may actually pick Miami to win this game. As much as injuries have been a problem for them, I cannot, WILL NOT accept a 0-3 start for a team with as much talent as they have on defense. And the Steelers don't have their starting QB. And Miami has home field advantage. There are a lot of things going in Miami's favor.

I'll withold any official picks until tonight.

September 25, 2004 at 2:40 PM  
Blogger tsias said...

Crap! It don't get much worse than this.

September 27, 2004 at 2:20 PM  

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