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The Rock Cartwright Special Teams Report

The Steelers are notorious for having a punishing defense and strong, physical special teams. According to our resident special teams guru - running back Rock Cartwright - that is certainly the case this season.

"They've got one guy that really stands out, No. 37 [corner Anthony Madison], plays R2 on kickoff and he's extremely fast and definitely makes plays," Cartwright said. "All of their guys make plays. They definitely fly around to the ball, and of course it's going to be physical. They preach being physical and we preach it, too, so look out for a physical match-up."

The Steelers have a wealth of speedy linebackers who set the tone for the defense, and I asked Rock if any of them play on special teams and make plays there. He pointed to Pro Bowl linebacker James Harrison.

"Harrison shows up on teams for sure, but that's about it," Cartwright said. "Ryan Clark was a starter and he's their personal protector, but I'm not sure if he's going to play, because of his shoulder. We're going to prepare for these guys like we do every other team. This game is definitely going to be a game of field position, and we need to win that battle."

Cartwright said the Steelers don't do anything too tricky or unusual on teams, except for certain kickoffs.

"One thing they do to our return unit on kickoffs returns, they do a middle bloop kick, which can catch teams off guard," Cartwright said. "Out of seven games they did it five times, so we've got to be prepared for that. But overall they're just a very phycial football team. They tackle well and try to get the ball out, so we've definitely got to protect the ball on special teams."

Cartwright said Steelers return man Najeh Davenport is also a chief concern.

"He's a big, physical guy, like 6-2, 250, so we've got to be ready for him," Cartwright said. "Everybody's got to meet at the ball to try to get him down, because we've seen on tape that he's able to break tackles. You've got to wrap him up, basically, and don't wrap him up low, because his legs are so big that you have to be on him and be on the ball. That's what we want to do."

By Jason La Canfora  |  October 30, 2008; 5:30 PM ET
 
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Next: Campbell and the 2009 Free-Agent QB Class

Comments

Hey - I didn't post that thing three times...

Posted by: DikShuttle | October 30, 2008 5:44 PM | Report abuse

FIRST?

Posted by: NewYorkBaller | October 30, 2008 5:56 PM | Report abuse

FIRST?

Posted by: NewYorkBaller | October 30, 2008 5:59 PM | Report abuse

2nd!!! in the nfc east!!!

Posted by: deadskin | October 30, 2008 5:59 PM | Report abuse

Three is a charm, Dik.

Posted by: _Stumped_1 | October 30, 2008 5:59 PM | Report abuse

Oh there goes JLC posting another negative skins ad. Give me a break! he even gets Skins players to go negative.

(sarcasm intended)

The Steelers are a really good football team, probably the best we've played since week 1.

Posted by: JMSinCHeights | October 30, 2008 6:00 PM | Report abuse

By the way, I don't know if anybody's noticed this or if it's already been posted, but the entire NFC East is in the top 10 in both defense AND offense. Pretty ridiculous division we're in.

Posted by: spizzle | October 30, 2008 6:04 PM | Report abuse

Oh there goes JLC posting another negative skins ad. Give me a break! he even gets Skins players to go negative.

(sarcasm intended)

The Steelers are a really good football team, probably the best we've played since week 1.

Posted by: JMSinCHeights | October 30, 2008 6:04 PM | Report abuse

By the way, I don't know if anybody's noticed this or if it's already been posted, but the entire NFC East is in the top 10 in both defense AND offense. Pretty ridiculous division we're in.

Posted by: spizzle | October 30, 2008 6:09 PM | Report abuse

+++They have watched film of teams like Baltimore and Cleveland try to knock his head off, only to be burned downfield, and the coaches are preaching sound fundamentals. +++---JASNO


I think I see the problem. Film can't tackle.

Go ahead, diagram the sentence.

Posted by: TheCork | October 30, 2008 6:12 PM | Report abuse

++++Zorn is telling the team's rookies - nine players now - to rest up because most of them are spent (including preseason, this has already been longer than the college season). It's natural for them to hit the wall, Zorn said, but they have to push through.++++--JLC

HIt the wall? Most of them haven't even been ON the wall.

Posted by: TheCork | October 30, 2008 6:13 PM | Report abuse

Hopefully Davenport won't take a dump on the field...

Posted by: NickelsLuvsSkins | October 30, 2008 6:32 PM | Report abuse

Hopefully Davenport won't take a dump on the field...

Posted by: NickelsLuvsSkins | October 30, 2008 6:32 PM | Report abuse

WOW.... good piece by Charles Robinson on Yahoo sports about the ascendency of "small receivers." Turns out they dominate more than ever...

Quotes by Sherman Smith about the 'skins Lil' guys...

Nothing, strangely enough, by Vinny about taking three BIG receivers in the second round....

EXCERPT:

"...Whether it’s Jennings and Henderson, who lead the league with five catches apiece of 40-plus yards, or Evans and Jackson who have totaled 21 receptions of more than 20 yards, the stature of their games has outgrown the size of their bodies.

Maybe (DeSean) Jackson said it best this week, while reflecting on the NFL teams that passed him over because of his size.

“There are a lot of people,” he said, “eating their words right now.”

Posted by: TheCork | October 30, 2008 6:40 PM | Report abuse

Rock shows a lot of respect toward the steeler's special teams unit. What a hater. Trade him.

Posted by: mack1 | October 30, 2008 7:07 PM | Report abuse

Did anybody see that Singletary allegedly pulled his pants down at halftime last week? That might be the funniest thing I've heard in a while.

Anyway, back on track...I think this game has 13-12 written all over it. The bye couldn't come at a better time, IMO. Look for the Giants to thump Dallas by 2-3 scores. A win Monday and we're 2 clear of the Cowpokes, which is basically a 3 game lead with the tiebreak. Big game men (and ladies), big game.

HAIL

Posted by: Notorious_LMG | October 30, 2008 7:16 PM | Report abuse

After catching up on all the blogging today, I'm concerned withe the motivation of the players. I'm reading things like, "they're tired", "sit Santana Moss", "fatigue", "letdown game"....WTF MAN????? This is football! We have a chance to go into the bye 7-2!!!

This is a true test for Zorn and his coaching staff.

Having shot my load....STEELERS 20 REDSKINS 13

Posted by: rickyroge | October 30, 2008 8:15 PM | Report abuse

Ok, speaking of special teams, how's Suisham or SwissHam (my favorite Canadian) half-way through? He's actually tied with 5 other kickers who have made 16 field goals this season. Only 3 other kickers have made more, but Suisham is near the bottom in percentage made, partly because he has attempted more field goals (21) than any other kicker. Also, there are only 8 kickers (including Suisham) that have attempted 3 or more 50+ yarders. Suisham's made only 1 of those. But 21 kickers have made at least 1 50+ yarder this year. His kickoff yards are in the lower half of the league. So if he can get a little more leg on his kickoffs, the skins should be ok. I'm guessing Zorn won't ask him to make too many more 50+ yarders.

On a side note I noticed that ex-skin and Terp, Nick Novak had been the kicker for KC up until last week when they cut him. He had made 6 out of 10 field goals which was among the lowest percentages for all kickers. He was replaced by Connor Barth, a rookie from North Caroloina.

Posted by: hrphillips | October 30, 2008 8:27 PM | Report abuse

If only the WaPo could learn how to make a blog work.

It's not like zillions of online guys and gals haven't made all these mistakes, and then figured them out already, while WORKING FOR NOTHING.
~

Posted by: ifthethunderdontgetya | October 30, 2008 8:27 PM | Report abuse

Some of SwissHam's misses (that's funny already) aren't his fault.
~

Posted by: ifthethunderdontgetya | October 30, 2008 8:29 PM | Report abuse

Wow this thing is actually working?

I was starting to think:

Waiting for voices.washingtonpost.com

meant waiting for the voices in my head. And I hate waiting for those guys.
~

Posted by: ifthethunderdontgetya | October 30, 2008 8:35 PM | Report abuse

Also, saw this headline in a Pittsbugh paper

"Steelers' return game stinks"

By Joe Starkey
TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The Steelers tried out four long-snappers Tuesday before settling on somebody named Jared Retkofsky.

If only Retkofsky could return kicks.

Somebody needs to.


I guess this writer wasn't pulling any punches.

You can read the rest here:

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/steelers/s_595705.html


Posted by: hrphillips | October 30, 2008 8:37 PM | Report abuse

Hello Everyone,
Well, we are 6-2 at the mid point.
How are our rookies fairing in their initial campaigns? [election pun]

Thought you might be interested in this clip:
http://www.nfl.com/videos?videoId=09000d5d8081a270

Posted by: RedskinRay1 | October 30, 2008 8:40 PM | Report abuse

So tell me people, are there any hamsters out there brave enough to be registered for Movember? Other than myself of course!

Posted by: kost52 | October 30, 2008 8:42 PM | Report abuse

Whats a Movember, Uncle Kost?

Posted by: zcezcest1 | October 30, 2008 9:10 PM | Report abuse

zcezcest1, I'm glad you asked bud!

Movember is a Moustache growing charity event held during the month formerly known as November. It raises money and awareness of men's health issues such as prostate cancer, depression, testicular cancer etc.

So basically people sponsor me to grow a dirty porn moustache for the month and the money goes to charity!

Check it out! http://www.movember.com/

Posted by: kost52 | October 30, 2008 9:23 PM | Report abuse

Has anyone else noticed that Rock basically says the same thing about each opponent's special teams every week?

I understand the need to not provide bulletin board material, but Jasno should do something to make this interesting if it's going to be a weekly feature.

Try this: Have Rock associate each opponent's special teams with a color and an animal.

Or not. I don't know. But I knew what this was going to say before I read it.

Posted by: freakzilla | October 31, 2008 2:17 AM | Report abuse

Has anyone else noticed that Rock basically says the same thing about each opponent's special teams every week?

I understand the need to not provide bulletin board material, but Jasno should do something to make this interesting if it's going to be a weekly feature.

Try this: Have Rock associate each opponent's special teams with a color and an animal.

Or not. I don't know. But I knew what this was going to say before I read it.

Posted by: freakzilla | October 31, 2008 2:19 AM | Report abuse

zilla, I was kind of thinking the same thing. Would love to see a little more personality from Rock, in addition to a bit more nuanced take on each opponent. Who is the real Rock Cartwright?

Posted by: NateinthePDX | October 31, 2008 2:44 AM | Report abuse

zilla, I was kind of thinking the same thing. Would love to see a little more personality from Rock, in addition to a bit more nuanced take on each opponent. Who is the real Rock Cartwright?

Posted by: NateinthePDX | October 31, 2008 2:50 AM | Report abuse

++++Zorn is telling the team's rookies - nine players now - to rest up because most of them are spent (including preseason, this has already been longer than the college season). It's natural for them to hit the wall, Zorn said, but they have to push through.++++--JLC

HIt the wall? Most of them haven't even been ON the wall.

Posted by: TheCork | October 30, 2008 6:13 PM |

...says TheCork who watches 'em in every practice.

Posted by: talent_evaluator | October 31, 2008 6:10 AM | Report abuse

Movember is a Moustache growing charity event held during the month formerly known as November. It raises money and awareness of men's health issues such as prostate cancer, depression, testicular cancer etc.

Posted by: kost52 | October 30, 2008 9:23 PM

Movember? I'm already growing mustaches on my prostate and testicles. Should I send in the pictures?

Posted by: talent_evaluator | October 31, 2008 6:15 AM | Report abuse

Movember? I'm already growing mustaches on my prostate and testicles. Should I send in the pictures?

Posted by: talent_evaluator | October 31, 2008 6:15 AM | Report abuse


Um, no.

Posted by: cosomfla | October 31, 2008 6:58 AM | Report abuse

Um, no.

Posted by: cosomfla | October 31, 2008 6:58 AM

It's Australia. Anything goes. The world is upside down. Most people's mustaches grow in down there.

Posted by: talent_evaluator | October 31, 2008 7:19 AM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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