Daily Archives: January 9, 2012
By Dave Crawley
Eleven quick seconds. That’s all it would take
To wrap up a season and make our hearts break.
A year of travail would end in despair,
Brought to a halt on a pass…and a prayer.
With a bow to the Broncos, who played with aplomb,
Did our season implode before Tim Tebow’s bomb?
Some say the Ravens extinguished the flame
With a mind blowing drive in that infamous game.
Ninety-Two yards in just two minutes plus?
Stop them, and coast through the playoffs. No fuss.
But Flacco went wacko. Each pass was a dart,
The final one piercing our black and gold heart.
Or was is Ben’s hit by the much maligned Browns
That ended our season with with horrified frowns?
Without a clear path through the playoffs, Big Ben
Would take to the field again and again.
Lights out in ‘Frisco. Ben’s down for the count.
They again face the Browns, as injuries mount.
Though Ben’s tribulations made Steeler fans groan,
In this MASH unit season, he wasn’t alone.
But don’t be downhearted. Wipe off that tear.
A 12 and five season’s a pretty good year.
Perhaps best of all, a Steeler with class
Made history, snagging his one-thousandth pass.
So let’s savor Hines Ward and his Ward’s Hall of Fame smile,
And the team that faced struggles with stoutness and style.
Which players return? Though we don’t really know,
They have reason to bask in a Black and Gold glow.
Source: CBS Pittsburgh » Steelers
So what did Tim Tebow do differently that allowed him to have his best passing game yet when it mattered most against the Steelers? According to Broncos coach John Fox, the Denver offense didn’t do anything differently except make the throws they needed to make. “There wasn’t really much different other than we executed better,”…
Bob Labriola and Tunch Ilkin take a closer look at a few of the key plays from the Steelers 29-23 overtime loss to the Denver Broncos.
Source: Pittsburgh Steelers : Videos
One of the big questions about the offseason is the future of WR Hines Ward, and if he will come back in 2012. Mike Freeman of CBS reports that he was texted from a Steelers player who thinks that Sunday’s loss to the Broncos was indeed Ward’s last game.
Did Hines Ward play his last game? It appears he might have. A Steelers player texted to me the expectations around the team was that Ward would soon announce his retirement. That doesn’t mean it’s set he will. That means some Steelers players believe it which means it’s likely to happen.
Ward is a different sort of dude. He could decide to hang on for one more year. But for the moment that doesn’t seem to be the case.
Ward is clearly done physically. He just doesn’t have the burst he once did. He was held without a catch against the Broncos and has become an afterthought in the Pittsburgh offense.
Yet, to me, he’s a sure Hall of Famer. He became only the eighth wide receiver to reach 1,000 catches, had a lengthy and productive career, and won championships. He was one of the toughest receivers I’ve ever seen. And it appears we’ve seen the last of Ward in the NFL.
If Ward does decide to come back, will the Steelers want him back? They have clearly phased him out of the offense, and the teams future is set at the WR spot without Ward. That may come into play in him making his decision.
Source: Steelers Gab
PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Less than 24 hours after their season ended with the shortest overtime in NFL history, Steelers players are undergoing “exit interviews” with their coaches and medical staff to determine what may need to be done in the off-season.
Just a day after the Denver Broncos knocked his team out of contention with a 29-23 overtime win, Steelers Head Coach Mike Tomlin gave his final news conference of the season today.
During the 13-minute news conference, Tomlin didn’t make any excuses for his team — which has been plagued by injuries all season.
Had the Steelers managed to pull out a win last night to move on to New England, they would likely have been without Max Starks, Casey Hampton and Brett Keisel.
Both Starks and Hampton suffered ACL injuries during Sunday’s game in Denver. Keisel has a bad groin injury. They will be evaluated today to determine if surgery is necessary for next season.
The Steelers are meeting with coaches as well as the team’s medical staff today –likely discussing such things as the possibility of surgery for Maurkice Pouncey’s ankle and Doug Legursky’s shoulder.
When asked about the future of his coordinators, Defensive Coordinator Dick LeBeau and Offensive Coordinator Bruce Arians, Tomlin said change is a part of the NFL — it is a constant; but at this point, he does not anticipate any changes in his coaching staff. At the same time, though, he said he realizes that coaches and players do move on. Even so, Tomlin said it’s still too early to speculate what might happen there at this point.
Broncos End Steelers’ Season With 29-23 OT Victory (1/8)
Photo Gallery: Steelers-Broncos
Fan Reaction: Steelers Nation Stunned
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Source: CBS Pittsburgh » Steelers
With the Steelers facing the start of the long offseason, decisions will start being made about the future of the roster. One player to watch on that front is Hines Ward. Ward turns 36 in March and after seeing his role cut dramatically in his 14th NFL season, there’s been some talk that he might…
Tim Tebow ended the Pittsburgh Steelers season on Sunday.
What remains to be seen is whether Tebow also ended an era.
Because the Steelers will have a interesting offseason as they face what could be some uncomfortable decisions with players who have been the core of a run of excellence the past decade -- especially on defense.
Pittsburgh has been a rarity in the salary cap era. They have been able to keep a standout group together, one built largely through the draft. That group was able to win 12 games, and Sunday it bounced back from a 20-6 deficit to score the final 10 points of regulation and force overtime on Denvers home field with more injuries than any team should survive. After the defense finished the season first in the league in points and yards allowed.But none of the Steelers are getting younger, and even Chuck Noll recognized with his great players of the Steel Curtain era when it was time for them, as he said, to get on with their lifes business. Joe Greenes statement when Pittsburgh failed to make the playoffs in 1980 might also apply to this version of the Steelers: If this is the end of an era, I dont want it to be a funeral. Weve had some great moments.
Pittsburgh has earned the respect of anyone who likes tough, hard-nosed, winning football by finishing with winning seasons in 10 of the last 12 seasons (with one at 8-8). It has won 10 or more games in eight of those seasons, including two Super Bowls.
But Brett Keisel (33), Casey Hampton (34), James Harrison (33), Aaron Smith (35), James Farrior (37), Ryan Clark (32), Ike Taylor (31) and Troy Polamalu (30) are in the post-30 time when injuries and not winning prompt questions. That list is the heart and soul of a dominant defense. And that defense is run by Hall of Fame assistant Dick LeBeau, who is 73 and also getting to the point where the future might be a year-to-year decision.
Then theres the offense. Hines Ward had become a part-time player by years end, offensive coordinator Bruce Arians always seems to be the subject of speculation, and the Steelers offensive line all season was held together by garden twine.
One option the Steelers could follow is to maintain the status quo, keep the veteran core for one last run at a title while working in more young players like Ziggy Hood, Cameron Heyward and Jason Worilds. This is still a team one year from a Super Bowl, and one electric play from advancing this season.
But in the NFL change can be inevitable, and even the Steelers might have to make tough calls with some of the guys who have carried the banner for years.
The Steelers have been patient and supportive with Harrison, but even they might be weary of his suspensions and fines and outrageous statements and photos with handguns. Harrison was at nowhere near the same level of aggressiveness after he was suspended for a vicious shot to the head of Browns quarterback Colt McCoy on Dec. 8. Sunday in Denver, his only noticeable plays resulted in a roughing the passer and a serious knee injury for Denver receiver Eric Decker.
Harrison is a former Defensive Player of the Year who had one of the more memorable plays in Super Bowl history, but he could be at the point where the cost-benefit analysis does not favor him staying.
Farrior was the last big move the Steelers made via free agency on defense. Hes a captain, a leader, a pro, but at times this season he was a part-time player.
Hampton has been a stalwart at nose tackle for 12 years, with Keisel and Smith perfect complements at end in the three-four system. Smith has ended the last three seasons on injured reserve, and Keisel and Hampton watched the second half from the bench in Denver after getting hurt during the game.
Polamalu has been beyond great since he joined the Steelers in 2003. Prior to this season, Pittsburgh signed him to a four-year contract extension, which they said would ensure he retired with the Steelers. In Denver, he played his typical game -- being aggressive and guessing on routes. But Denver recognized the guessing and used it to their advantage for some big plays. Without the underrated Ryan Clark to back him up -- Clark was held out for health reasons related to a sickle-cell tendency -- Polamalu looked vulnerable. Even with that, he and Clark are probably the most likely to remain.
These guys can play. All of them. The question is how much longer. The Steelers have to at least have the discussion.
Pittsburgh might even face the dreaded transition year (or two). Its offensive line needs a lot of help. Running back Rashard Mendenhall has an ACL injury. No team can retool everywhere and win, especially a team like Pittsburgh that does not sign many free agents.
Perhaps on Sunday Pittsburgh was a victim of some higher power, some weird, eerie Tebowian happening. The guy who sometimes wears the bible verse 3:16 on his eye black threw for 316 yards and averaged 31.6 yards per pass. Not even a Hall of Fame coach and Hall of Fame players can compete with that force.
But its just as likely the Steelers are victims of something much more ordinary and inevitable. Perhaps they are at the age and time of major decisions.
Source: Yardbarker: Pittsburgh Steelers
Head Coach Mike Tomlin and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger address the media after Sunday's loss against the Broncos.
Source: Pittsburgh Steelers : Videos
The questions are rolling in about the Pittsburgh Steelers 2012 free agents so I threw together a quick rundown of the restricted, unrestricted and exclusive rights free agents as the Steelers head into the offseason. The 6 restricted free agents will all certainly be tendered with only Mike Wallace receiving a first round tender. The other 5 will receive the lowest one year tenders. These amounts have not yet been released and I will post those amounts later in the offseason when they are made known. Both exclusive right free agents have no choice but to accept their tender offers and they can't Read more [...]
Source: Yardbarker: Pittsburgh Steelers
Way back before the season even started, we wondered aloud about the age of the Steelers defense. After the team lost in Week 1, Warren Sapp said the following about Pittsburgh’s crew: “Old, slow, and it’s over.” In the weeks to follow, the Steelers defense seemed to answer any doubts. They finished first in the…