Containing Fitzgerald Key to Shutting Down Arizona’s High Power offense.

By Alex Cooze

Pittsburgh, PA (UTC/AP)–You don’t need to ask the Pittsburgh Steelers what they think about Arizona’s Larry Fitzgerald. They’ve been watching Fitzgerald for years, and know how big of a threat he is on the field.

Steelers coach, Mike Tomlin believes that scouting and a good game plan isn’t going to be enough to slow down Fitzgerald. Fitzgerald already has 419 yards receiving which is the most in a single NFL postseason. There’s still one game to go.

“If you get down the field one-on-one with him, he’s going to come back with the football,” Tomlin said. “He is the best in the world at that, bar none.”

So what does Pittsburgh plan to do to contain Fitzgerald’s A-game? They’ll do what they have been doing all year. They’ll pressure the quarterback. Defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau is know for his zone blitz, but even his fabled zone blitz might be hard against a quarterback such as Kurt Warner. Warner led the NFL with 14 touchdown passes against the blitz.

The Steelers have had plenty of opportunities to watch Fitzgerald though. For two years, they just had to look outside their windows. The Pittsburgh Steelers and the University of Pittsburgh share a four field complex in South Side Pittsburgh, but never do they practice together. Fitzgerald spent two years at the University of Pittsburgh under the direction of passing guru, Walt Harris. Fitzgerald finished his collegiate career with 2,677 yards and 34 touchdowns. Trust me, the Steelers noticed.

Fitzgerald is but one of three receivers with over 1,000 yards in Arizona. Anquan Boldin and former Pittsburgh high school sensation Steve Breaston. Expect Pittsburgh #1 defense to play hard against the pass heavy offense of the Arizona Cardinals.

“It’s not about what they do. It’s about what we do. As long as we block hard, run hard, tackle hard, catch passes, make the right reads, our potential is unlimited. We can do anything we want to do.” ~Steelers wide receiver Nate Washington.

AP Copyright 2009

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