By: With Steve Grogan & R.R. Marshall
December 01, 2008

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MB: Well Mr. Grogan, I wish we had something else to talk about.

SG: We can't find anything else to talk about?

MB: How was your Thanksgiving?

SG: Very good thank you.

MB: Now do you have family over? Do you travel? How do you celebrate Thanksgiving?

SG: Actually we travelled out to Kansas and had Thanksgiving with my in-laws at the farm. They're both in their mid-80's and not very well anymore, so it was a good chance to connect with them for a little while.

MB: You must have been estatic seeing the Kansas Jayhawks game?

SG: Well I was a Kansas State graduate so I hate Kansas, but that's all right (laughs). But I hate Missouri more than I do Kansas so yeah, that was a great ball game. I got to see the end of that and it was a lot of fun.

MB: Regardless of what we talk about Steve, as long as it's not the game Sunday we should be fine.

SG: I think you're right.

MB: So Steve, Sunday's game it seemed like New England's offensive line obviously could not hold off the front four right, is that what it boiled down to?

SG: Well that was part of it. Pittsburgh's defense runs a lot of confusing types of front. They'll zone blitz, they'll bring linebackers and drop defensive linemen into coverage, and it can be a problem for an offensive line and a young quarterback. But the real problem Sunday was the turnovers. There were three turnovers that set Pittsburgh up for touchdowns where they didn't have to go any farther than fifteen yards. When you do that against a good team you're just not going to stay in the game with them.

MB: We missed a lot of passes that were very catchable Sunday. Matt Cassel hit Moss on the numbers and they couldn't hold onto the ball. That's tough...

SG: It's hard to explain. There just are days where nothing goes your way, and that was kind of what looked like happened to the Patriots on Sunday.

MB: It seems like a lot of big name receivers are having the same problem this season.

SG: There's no explanation for it. That kind of thing happens. I think Matt Cassel did not play well Sunday, there's no question about it. He played so well for the last couple of weeks and you just have to kind of figure that a young quarterback like him is going to have a game that where he stinks the joint up, that's part of the learning process. At the same time Ben Roethlisberger really didn't beat the Patriots Sunday, his numbers were not great so you have to give the defense some credit for shutting him down. But then they turn around and allow Pittsburgh to run for over 150 yards on them and you just can't do that either.

MB: Steve, do you think the Wes Welker hit was a cheap shot? Or was it just a good hit on a wide receiver going over the middle?

SG: It was a rough one...but no, I don't think it was a cheap shot. But Wes Welker's a tough guy and he just gets up and keeps going.

MB: Looking at the rest of the league, it's the Giants and then the rest of the NFL. Is there one team out there that you think could give the Giants a tough game?

SG: I would think Tennessee in the AFC is the only one that has a chance right now, and they're not overly impressive after their loss against the Jets. And then the Jets turn around and lose to Denver and keep the Patriots right in it. So you're right, I think the Giants may be the cream of the crop this year.

MB: Steve back in the hayday, you were a major celebrity. Did a lot of your teammates carry around guns with them?

SG: There were a few. I don't think it's to the point that it is today. I was watching the pregame show and Keyshawn Johnson said that he'd venture to guess that over half the guys were "packing heat". I don't think we had that many. I may be wrong, but there were some guys who were carrying guns, yes.

MB: Did coach (Raymond) Berry carry a weapon?

SG: (Laughs) No....Coach Berry could get you with his words just as good as a gun would shoot you.

MB: Matt Light obviously struggled Sunday. Does Belichick address him personally?

SG: I think Matt Light seems to have trouble sometimes with certain guys. They seem to be guys that are real speed rushers on the outside. So if you know that a guy has that kind of problem, in some respects I think it's partly the coaches fault for not getting him some help over there. When you've got a guy who's struggling like that, you line up a tight end or you make sure your runningback helps the guy on his way out, and they just didn't seem to do enough of that Sunday.

MB: So Steve what are your grades for this week?

SG: It's hard to be nice about Sunday's performance. I think a failing grade is appropriate here. They were dominated Sunday and while I hate to do it, I was terribly disappointed in the effort and outcome this week.

I gave the offense an F. Tunrovers inside the other team's red zone are absolute killers and they were never able to put anything together consistantly on offense.

I gave the defense a D. They held Roethlesberger fairly well, but they were also put into some difficult situations. They also gave up way too many rushing yards and needed to make a red zone stop and just didn't do it.

As for special teams, I gave them an F. They gave up a big punt return in the first half. Stephen Gostkowski missed an easy field goal at the end of the half, and that hurt the team emotionally. Then the muffed kickoff return by Matthew Slater which lead to a Steelers score was also a big turnover. They just need to play much better.

But the thing to keep in mind here as you look at the rest of the schedule is that they could run the table on their way out and finish 11-5 and still make the playoffs. So all is not lost.

GROGAN'S GRADE WEEK 12

OFFENSE: F
DEFENSE: D
SPECIAL TEAMS: F

OVERALL: F


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