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Derek Hagan: Pittsburgh Steelers' defense predictable

It felt like 2005 all over again on Sunday afternoon in Oakland. Carson Palmer was giving the Pittsburgh Steelers all sorts of problems with an explosive passing attack. Oakland Raiders wide receiver Derek Hagan says Palmer's experience made the difference.


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"They pretty much did the same thing that they did six, seven years ago when (Palmer was playing with Cincinnati," Hagan said, via the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. "Obviously, they've got a legendary D-coordinator over there. He's been running certain things that other teams have seen, that we've seen. We knew their tendencies and we were able to hit them with some big plays when it really counted."

Dick Lebeau rarely has been called predictable, but the long-time Steelers defensive coordinator certainly has tendencies. The Steelers' problem right now appears to be personnel. They don't have a great pass rush without linebacker James Harrison and they miss Troy Polamalu in the secondary. Young stars haven't emerged.

"Sometimes, when you speed up the offense, you can call the same plays and kind of get stuck in the same plays," Steelers safety Ryan Clark said. "We really haven't been that hard to figure out the last seven years I've been here. We've been running the same things, we call the same things. It's not about being predictable, it's about executing.

"Coach LeBeau puts us in a call, we have to execute the right way. It doesn't matter if you know what we're doing if you can stop it."

Pittsburgh's 1-2 start has slipped under the radar somewhat with the Green Bay Packers, New England Patriots and New Orleans Saints also starting slow. The Steelers now have an early bye week to figure things.

It's fairly predictable that Lebeau will get things turned around.

Follow Gregg Rosenthal on Twitter @greggrosenthal.

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