In preparation for this weekend's highly anticipated showdown between the Tennessee Titans and the Pittsburgh Steelers, two of Bloguin's finest sites got together for a little question/answer exchange.
Through a few email conversations, I picked the brain of Blitzburgh Blog's Bam Morris as he provided his thoughts on this Sunday's Titans/Steelers matchup.
The Total Titans/Blitzburgh Q&A exchange...after the jump.
What are your thoughts regarding the "theory" that the age of the Steelers has caught up to them and that they're too old?
The Steelers defense is the oldest starting defense the NFL has seen this century and, given their struggles against the run, there is definitely some truth to this theory.
The same core group of guys has been very good for the Steelers for a long time, but most of these players are a few years north of 30 and it is bound to catch up with them sooner or later. When healthy, the Steelers only have 2 defensive starters under the age of 30 -- LaMarr Woodley and Lawrence Timmons.
Both have been among the biggest disappointments of the season for the Steelers, so it's not just age either.
It's still early, but as a Steelers fan, does this feel more like '05, where the team eventually got it's act together and made a run, or like '06/ 09 where things just didn't come together?
It definitely feels a lot more like 2006 and 2009 to me.
In 2005, we knew the Steelers were good and the issues seemed to be correctable. This season, two of the biggest problems have been injuries and age. There's not a whole lot you can do about those during the season. I think the Steelers should be playing better than they've shown during the first four games, but I no longer view them as a 12-4 team and a true Super Bowl contender.
My expectations have shifted to the 9-7 range.
What are your feelings on the Steelers-Titans rivalry? Has it been lost in division realignment, or does the towel stomping incident still irk them?
The rivalry between the two teams was really reignited with the Terrible Towel stomping. We were all really upset over that.
But after the Titans blew it in the playoffs that season and the Steelers went on to win the Super Bowl, everybody kind of forgot about it. A potential showdown in the playoffs that year would have given the rivalry life for years to come, but I'm not feeling the same amount of hatred towards Tennessee as I did a few years ago.
Lawrence Timmons always struck me as more of a 3-4 OLB than ILB. Has he played outside much in the past, and if so, how did he fare?
He has played on the outside for several games in his career, but the majority of his reps have been on the inside.
He's a freakishly good athlete -- I'd argue the best on the Steelers entire roster -- and is capable of playing both positions.
Last year, he seemed to be developing into one of the better ILBs in the game before struggling down the stretch. Lots of people had high expectations for him this year, but he has been awful so far.
One of the worst parts about Harrison's eye injury is Timmons moving to the outside. It is going to slow his development at ILB and it will make the whole defense feel out of sorts.
Last and certainly not least, what's your prediction for this week's Titans/Steelers tussle?
Sadly, the Steelers have shown me nothing thus far that would make me believe they could beat a half-decent NFL team. They blew out an awful Seahawks team. That's the only thing on the 2011 Steelers resume to this point that is a positive.
The Steelers offensive and defensive lines have just been so terrible throughout the first four games that I can't imagine them improving enough to keep Ben Roethlisberger clean or stop Chris Johnson from getting 3 or 4 yards downfield before contact.
Hasselbeck is a smart, veteran QB who won't give the Steelers chances to make a lot of big plays on defense.
I think it will be a low scoring game, but I like Tennessee in this one. No way Roethlisberger has enough time to make plays with the passing game. The only reason it is close is because it's at Heinz Field.
Tennessee 17 Pittsburgh 14