Commentary

Will spread attack be too much for Steelers?

Originally Published: January 26, 2009
By Jeremy Green and Gary Horton | Scouts Inc.
The Steelers have the best defense in the NFL, and the Cardinals have an extremely high-powered offense. Something has to give. Scouts Inc.'s Jeremy Green and Gary Horton debate whether the Cardinals' spread offense can get the best of the Steelers' sub packages.

Great Debate: Cardinals' spread offense versus Steelers' sub packages

Arizona Jeremy Green: The Cardinals' running game has improved during the postseason, but I expect to see a whole lot of three- and four-wide receiver sets by Arizona in Super Bowl XLIII. Spreading the field horizontally makes it easier to decipher the Steelers' complex -- and extremely effective -- blitz packages. Because the Cardinals have so many weapons, including wide receivers Larry Fitzgerald, Anquan Boldin and Steve Breaston, Pittsburgh often will have its outstanding pass-rushing outside linebackers farther from center, which will force them to take more steps to reach QB Kurt Warner. Warner is a master of pre-snap blitz recognition and will have very capable, hot receivers at his disposal. He gets the ball out as quickly as anyone in the game right now, which makes his linemen's protection duties far easier. Also, the Cardinals should almost always have a running back in the backfield with Warner, usually Edgerrin James, who is excellent in blitz pickup. James isn't what he used to be in this regard, but he also is a suitable dump-off option out of the backfield.

Gary Horton spent 10 years in the NFL as a scout and another 10 years at the college level as an assistant coach and recruiter. He is the founder and most seasoned member of the Scouts Inc. staff, and his extensive experience at all levels of football make him an excellent talent evaluator.