Daily Archives: November 30, 2011

Receivers aim for better outing

Coach Mike Tomlin said in his weekly press conference that the team’s wide receivers needed to get more separation and make more competitive catches following Sunday night’s game in Kansas City. Hi...

Source: Pittsburgh Steelers : News

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Woodley back practicing with Steelers

LaMarr Woodley practiced in full for the first time since going down with a hamstring injury, putting the Steelers outside linebacker on track to play Sunday.

Source: Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

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Examining the Super Steelers of the 70′s Has Made Me Realize Why Fans Expect So Much

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I remember the day quite well. It was in 2008, the Monday after the Steelers had just left Cincinnati with a very impressive 38-10 victory. The Bengals were certainly not a great team, and Pittsburgh did exactly what a future Super Bowl Champion was supposed to do.

I was discussing the game with my boss, and instead of being satisfied about the outcome, all he did was complain about the things that the Steelers did wrong in the game, like their inefficiency in the red zone, for example. I couldn't believe my ears. I didn't even bother arguing with the guy because it was just pointless. I mean, who wouldn't enjoy a four-touchdown victory?

My mom is another one. She's obviously old enough to have seen a lot of great Steelers football, but she only became a die-hard fan in 2004. For whatever reason, she can't seem to comprehend that the other team is actually trying to win, too. Before a big playoff game, for example, she'll often ask me, "is (insert playoff team here) any good?" And when I try to explain to her that most playoff teams are, in fact, very good, she gives me this puzzled look and is often taken aback when I suggest that the Steelers might actually lose the game.

I catch myself doing this kind of stuff, too, from time-to-time (okay, all the time). For instance, in the week two game against the Seahawks, Seattle stuffed the Steelers on 4th and goal when Seahawks' safety Earl Thomas stopped Rashard Mendenhall at the goal line. The first thing I did was complain about the missed block on the play. But, when thinking about it rationally, I had to concede that Thomas, a pretty good young safety, simply made a great play.

Had Steelers safety Troy Polamalu made a similar play (and he has countless times throughout his career), I would have been praising his name and arguing with Ravens fans about how he was ten times better than Ed Reed. And I certainly wouldn't have even considered the poor blocking by the opposing team.

The old cliche of "the other team gets paid, too" is often used in these kinds of discussions, but if we all realize that there is another team out there on the field, why do we get so upset with games like the Steelers 13-9 victory against the Chiefs Sunday night? Yes, it was ugly, and yes, the Steelers should have won by at least two scores, but they won, and that should really be all that matters, right?

Immediately after Keenan Lewis ended the near-nightmare with his interception, I complained about the score being closer than it should have been, and my girlfriend gave me a lecture and called me a "typical Steelers fan."

I guess she's right. I mean, this kind of thing has been going on for decades. Pittsburgh sports personality Guy Junker has said that the post-game shows following the team's Super Bowl XIII and XIV victories were filled with callers complaining about the mistakes that were made during those games.

During the Mike Tomlin era, the team has come under a bit of scrutiny for playing way too many close games and never being able to step on the throat of the opposition when they have them down and ripe for a blow-out.

During the 2009 campaign, Steelers beat writer Ed Bouchette was discussing all the close games that Pittsburgh was involved in and, to paraphrase, said "hey, those Steelers teams from the 70's didn't always blow out their opponents. They had their share of close, ugly victories, too."

For a couple of years, I've had that little quote in the back of my mind and always wanted to research those 70's squads just to see what the margin of victory really was. Therefore, I decided to compile some data and compare that era with some other Steelers playoff years.

I'll be honest, I fully expected to find that the Super Steelers of the 70's had to pull a lot of close games out and that their margin of victory was similar to that of other Steelers playoff eras, but I was quite impressed to discover just how dominant those teams were. During the Steelers playoff years of the 70's (1972-1979), their regular season average margin of victory (amv) was 16.21. And in six of those eight seasons, their amv was no lower than 15.3. The 1975 and 1976 teams were especially impressive, as their amv over the course of those two seasons was 20.3.

To give you a comparison, the Steelers have had 13 playoff teams since 1992 and have only achieved an amv of at least 15 points three times--1996 (15), 2005 (15.36) and 2007 (17.1).

A lot of Steelers fans, who are critical of the way the Steelers achieve their victories these days (Bruce Arians sucks, lack of a running game, etc.), will often point to Bill Cowhers teams, and how they "imposed their will" on their opponents at the end of games. Well, maybe they did impose their will in the time of possession and in rushing yards, but the amv for Cowher's playoff teams from the 90's was 12.43, and the amv of his playoff teams from the 00's was 11.7.

The amv in Tomlin's playoff years has been a not too shabby 14.79.

Then, I decided to examine the close victories over the years--seven points or less--and the people that have been critical of Mike Tomlin's teams for having to pull out so many close games (if you can really criticize a team for finding a way to win a lot of tight games), well, they certainly have their ammo.

The Steelers advanced to the Super Bowl six times before the Mike Tomlin era, and only the 1978 team had as many as five close victories during its campaign.

Mike Tomlin has taken the Steelers to two Super Bowls in his career, and the 2008 World Champion Steelers won a whopping six games by seven points or less, and the 2010 AFC Champion Steelers won five games by seven points or less. The Steelers won 24 regular season games combined during those two years, so that means that nearly half of their victories were of the close variety.

That might prove people right when they say that Mike Tomlin's teams always let the opposition hang around, but like the saying goes, "There's more than one way to skin a cat."

For as dominant as Chuck Noll's 1976 Steelers were (22.3 amv and only one win of seven points or less), his team didn't advance to the Super Bowl like Mike Tomlin's heart-burn inducing 2008 and 2010 squads did.

We might get frustrated with how the current Pittsburgh Steelers get the job done, but trophies are trophies no matter how much a team has to struggle to win them.

Finally, now that I've studied those 70's Steelers teams, I understand, not only my mentality, but the mentality that has been passed down from generation to generation in Steeler Nation. Now I know why we often think that the opposition is the Washington Generals to our team's Harlem Globetrotters.

Now I understand why my boss gets annoyed even after a blow-out and why my mother couldn't understand it when the Steelers headed into Super Bowl XLV as the underdog.

Nine Hall of Famers, four Lombardi trophies and a 16.21 amv will do that to a Nation.

Once a region witnesses that type of domination, it's kind of hard to accept anything less.



Source: Behind the Steel Curtain

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LaMarr Woodley Practices Wednesday, Is Expected To Play Week 13 Vs. Cincinnati

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Steelers LOLB LaMarr Woodley had a full practice Wednesday, and is expected to return to the field for the first time since Week 8.

It comes at a great time for the Steelers, who host 7-4 Cincinnati.

Pittsburgh defeated the Bengals 24-17 in Week 10 despite not generating a huge amount of pressure on rookie QB Andy Dalton. He sliced through the Steelers defense on a few drives, as fellow OLB James Harrison was left mostly on his own to get to the passer.

Woodley and Harrison have not played together since the early part of a Week 4 loss at Houston. Harrison fractured an orbital bone in his eye during that game, and missed four straight starts. Woodley missed Weeks 9, 10 and 12 (bye in Week 11) with a hamstring injury.

Woodley was on a tear before the injury, racking up at least 1.5 sacks in four consecutive games. He even had two sacks against the Patriots in Week 8 before suffering the injury. He was October's AFC Defensive Player of the Month.

Having the Steelers defense back to full strength will be critical in their late-season drive for both a playoff berth and possibly a division championship. Early week prognosis on SS Troy Polamalu is positive, meaning the Steelers could field their most complete defensive starting unit since the beginning of the season.



Source: Behind the Steel Curtain

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Talking Steelers Football – 11/25

Bob Labriola and Mike Prisuta host Talkin' Steelers Football.

Source: Pittsburgh Steelers : Audio

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Emmanuel Sanders Looks Ahead To Cincinnati

PITTSBURGH (93-7 The Fan) – Every Tuesday morning at 9 a.m., Steelers wide receiver, Emmanuel Sanders joins the Fan Morning Show.

This week, we talk about Emmanuel’s return to action Sunday night against Kansas City after knee surgery.

We also hear Emmanuel’s thoughts on the Steelers’ inability to put up points against the Chiefs on Sunday night. Emmanuel said that as a team they, “weren’t executing at a high level.”

“We have to get better, and we will get better this week.”

Emmanuel is already looking forward to this Sunday’s game against Cincinnati.

For the entire interview, click below:



Filed under: Football, Heard on The Fan, Sports, Steelers, Watch + Listen Tagged: Emmanuel Sanders, Pittsburgh Steelers, The Fan Morning Show

Source: CBS Pittsburgh » Steelers

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Bengal Andrew Whitworth Gets Ready For AFC North Division Matchup

PITTSBURGH (93-7 The FAN) — Cincinnati Bengals Left Tackle Andrew Whitworth joined Seibel, Starkey and Miller to talk about this weekend’s matchup between the Steelers and Bengals, and how much he’s looking forward to his matchup with James Harrison since they’ve gone at it pretty hard in the past.

Things have a different feel around the Bengals now that they cleaned house, and Whitworth told us how exactly it has changed, and what this new atmosphere is doing in helping them get better as a team.

Whitworth also told us what it has been like transitioning from Carson Palmer last year, to Andy Dalton this year, and how the team has responded to the rookie signal caller.



Filed under: Football, Heard on The Fan, Sports, Steelers, Watch + Listen Tagged: Andrew Whitworth, Andy Dalton, Cincinnati Bengals, James Harrison, Marvin Lewis

Source: CBS Pittsburgh » Steelers

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Tomlin Optimistic About Polamalu & Woodley

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Troy Polamalu left Sunday’s game against the Kansas City Chiefs with concussion-like symptoms and did not return.

However, it is looking like he will be able to suit up against the Cincinnati Bengals.

During his weekly press conference, head coach Mike Tomlin said Polamalu has not exhibited any signs of a concussion since the team returned to Pittsburgh.

“Troy hasn’t had any concussion symptoms since we have been back here,” Tomlin said. “All things are positive in terms of his potential participation this week. Obviously we’ll continue to err on the side of caution.”

He still has to undergo a battery of tests in order to be cleared, but Tomlin appeared to be optimistic that Polamalu will play.

“He was asymptomatic relatively quickly and I am talking about Sunday night,” Tomlin said. “If we are going to err, we are going to err on the side of caution when it comes to health, particularly from a head injury standpoint. I have no issue with that. We lean on the expert advice of our medical staff. Troy’s been good. We anticipate it being a non-issue moving forward this week.”

LaMarr Woodley could also be returning to the lineup on Sunday. He has been out with a hamstring injury, but will be looked at throughout the week and could be a game-time decision.

“He appears to be moving toward game readiness,” Tomlin said. “We will watch him throughout the week to solidify that but we like where he is.”

Pittsburgh already has one win over the Cincinnati Bengals this season, but it did not come easy.

Tomlin said they will need to keep an eye on wide receiver Andrew Hawkins. While he is typically lined up as a slot receiver, he can present matchup problems if he is on someone other than a cornerback.

The game could have major playoff implications. Pittsburgh is tied with Baltimore atop the AFC North at 8-3. The Bengals are also in the mix at 7-4.

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Filed under: Football, Sports, Steelers, Syndicated Sports Tagged: LaMarr Woodley, Mike Tomlin, NFL, Pittsburgh Steelers, Troy Polamalu

Source: CBS Pittsburgh » Steelers

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Woodley ready to return for Steelers

Linebacker LaMarr Woodley went through his most extensive practice on Wednesday and appears to be ready to play again when the Steelers take on the Cincinnati Bengals Sunday at Heinz Field.

Source: post-gazette.com - Steelers/NFL

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Pouncey, Polamalu Held Out of Practice Wednesday

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Steelers C Maurkice Pouncey and SS Troy Polamalu did not practice Wednesday in preparation for their Week 13 game against Cincinnati.

Pouncey left in the middle of Pittsburgh's Week 12 win over Kansas City with an illness. It was reported that he was dehydrated and had lost some weight. Polamalu's concussion-like symptoms were said to be improving, and he was likely held out for precautionary reasons.

OLB Chris Carter also did not practice.

It's still early in the week, and neither Polamalu nor Pouncey are currently. expected to miss Sunday's game. If they did, however, like they did for most of Week 12, LG Doug Legursky would move to center, and Chris Kemoeatu would replace Legursky. Ryan Mundy would fill in for Polamalu.

Injuries are a part of the NFL, especially late in the season. With the return of LaMarr Woodley to the lineup expected this week, it would be frustrating for the Steelers to have more starters miss time with injuries. This team hasn't had a full compliment of starters since Week 1.



Source: Behind the Steel Curtain

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