Daily Archives: April 7, 2012

Dennis Dixon & Jerricho Cotchery Visit Rams, Daniel Sepulveda Told He Will Not Be Back

Pittsburgh Steelers unrestricted free agents Dennis Dixon and Jerricho Cotchery both worked out for the St. Louis Rams on Wednesday according to a Twitter report by Adam Caplan. Dixon has already made a free agent visit to the Denver Broncos while Cotchery reportedly has visited the Kansas City Chiefs since the start of free agency.

Caplan reports that Dixon was scheduled to throw to Cotchery, who played for new Rams offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer when both were with the New York Jets, during the workout. The Rams are still likely in search of a backup quarterback to Sam Bradford, Read more [...]

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BTSC 2012 Community Mock Draft Pick No. 12 — Seattle Seahawks Select Melvin Ingram, DE/OLB, South Carolina

Seattle Seahawks'  Marshawn Lynch wears shoes with candy "Skittles" on the sides in the second half of an NFL football game against the San Francisco 49ers in Seattle Saturday, Dec. 24, 2011. (AP Photo/John Froschauer)

Consensus seems to be that the Chiefs threw a curveball taking Brock Osweiler, so would the Seahawks throw one as well? We're using baseball metaphors today because their season is just starting. Anyways, Riddlah made the pick here and that's for you to decide. Next up: Arizona Cardinals, aka Steelers West, and they'll be represented by Steel34D.

By the way, if you look back at previous community mock draft picks, you'll see that some of them now have minute-long draft profiles embedded that were not there before. It's been Michael Bean's personal project to make these videos happen, and we'll be going back and embedding more as new ones come out everyday! Let us know what you think of them! -barnerburner-

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Before free agency, quarterback would have easily been Seattle’s most pressing need. However, that all changed on March 18, 2012 when the Seattle Seahawks signed Matt Flynn, the previous back up to Aaron Rodgers, to a 3 year $ 26 million deal of which only $ 10 million is guaranteed. Whether or not his signing will pay off is unclear, but what is clear is that Seattle most likely won’t be drafting a quarterback with any of their first few picks after they just dropped big money on their (hopefully) franchise quarterback.

For this pick I could have gone several ways. I was considering Michael Floyd (taken), Quinton Coples (taken), or maybe even Luke Kuechly (also taken). However, after scouring Field Gulls for several days and listening to their opinions and analyses of their team I decided that the best pick would be...

Melvin Ingram – DE/OLB, South Carolina

I chose Melvin Ingram because not only does he provide quite a bit of value at this pick, but because he fills one of Seattle’s biggest needs: pass rush. In the 2011-2012 season, Seattle only managed 33 sacks, 11 of which came from their stud defensive end Chris Clemons. That simply won’t cut it. But before I go on I suggest you read this excellent piece by Thomas Beekers on the intricacies of Seattle’s defense.

In Seattle’s defense, Ingram would play at the SLB position during the first two downs before replacing Red Bryant at the DE position to, along with Clemons, provide that fierce pass rush that Seattle has been missing. To do this Ingram would not only have to have great pass rushing ability but also he would have to be able to drop into coverage and stop the run while playing at the SLB position. Luckily for Seattle, Ingram is proficient at all three of those requirements.

At South Carolina, Ingram had shown the ability to drop back into coverage on several occasions unlike many of the other DE/OLBs in the draft, such as Nick Perry, Courtney Upshaw, or Whitney Mercilus. Obviously he’ll need work at it, but then again most prospects do. As for his run stopping ability, he has both the strength and block shedding ability to be proficient against the run, and to top it all off he is quite fast and has very good closing speed for someone who weighs 260lbs+, which will also help him out a lot when dropping back into coverage. His pass rushing ability is easily one of his biggest strengths, shown by his 21.5 career sacks on a very talented South Carolina defensive line.

Melvin Ingram has all of the requirements to fit into Seattle’s complicated defense and should be a starter in no time at all. He possesses everything you could want in a DE/OLB—a great pass rush, the ability to stop the run, and even drop into coverage if need be. He also has a great work ethic and from all accounts is a great kid with no past history of trouble. Combine his natural talent and athletic ability with his superb work ethic and you have all the makings of a future NFL star.

BTSC 2012 Community Mock Draft Picks:



Source: Behind the Steel Curtain

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Ben Roethlisberger to Do Some Hardcore Golfing to Prepare for the Upcoming NFL Season


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Golf is a great sport.
You just gotta love it.
Ben Roethlisberger surely does and he is going to use it to help him for the upcoming NFL season. The Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback will reportedly be doing some “hardcore” golfing and will be heading off to Scotland and Ireland.
“It is going to be pretty hardcore,” Roethlisberger said.  “I will be playing something like 12 courses in 10 days and they are some of the very best ones that you can find.  I’m going to the K Club, St Andrews, and a bunch of others.
“Golf is such a mental challenge, and as frustrating as it can be sometimes, it can definitely make you stronger.  Playing some great courses in a setting like Ireland and Scotland will be pretty awesome, but it is also a great way to keep your mind sharp.
“You really have to think your way around and get the grips with the course and the difficulties it offers you. I am a pretty cerebral guy, so it is perfect to have that kind of activity in the offseason that keeps...

Source: Yardbarker: Pittsburgh Steelers

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The Season of Hope: April Brings With It Excitement for the Future


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April.

If you are a generic baseball fan this is the best time of the year. While you are reading this the games have begun. And even a Pirates fan can dream that someway, somehow things will be different this year; a competitive year, even a playoff run. Those dreams may likely be dead by June, maybe as early as May and almost certainly by August. But in April there is hope. The Pens begin their playoff run soon. Could Sidney and the boys hoist another Stanley Cup in a couple of months?

In April you can hope.

At least with baseball, basketball and hockey you don't have to wait too long in the suspended animation of hope; football is another matter.

This is the time of the year when a football fan is sustained by vapors, fumes. Hope is sustenance, the only available currency at a time when we are so far removed from the reality and rhythms of the game that we can barely recall what it is really like. The leaves are the fresh light green of renewal, not the blazing orange, yellows and red of decline. The airwaves are full of talk concerning the Masters, season openers, the Cup, the Frozen Four, the NBA playoffs, London and other spring rituals. These, along with the just completed March Madness provide a smorgasbord for the devotees of other sports. In the meantime we munch on stale crackers; celebrating the small, the fantasy, the insignificant as a substitute for the real.

As I write this the league and the Steelers have released their preseason schedules for the 2012. So, I am reduced to poring over a list of glorified scrimmages, most of which will be forgotten long before Columbus Day unless there is some disaster like a major injury. The preseason opener is Pittsburgh at Philadelphia. If you are forgetful enough you may find yourself fantasizing about Ben vs. Michael Vick before you are reminded that for a first preseason game it will be, at most, one or two series for the top tier guys before they yield to the wannabes.

Not that there isn't a certain amount of intrigue in the wannabes. But in the end we're just talking about a better quality of cracker. Then again there may be also some interest in watching the new Haley offense, but how much do you show to a team that you will be meeting in the regular season? Yet I am certain that I will be scouring the NFL Network schedule for a viewing time which is likely to be three in the morning in order to absorb every detail of this and the other two preseason games that are only televised locally in Pittsburgh. The one nationally televised game is against the Colts. Why? To hear them boo Bruce Arians at Heinz? Or, that will be the coming out event for Oliver Luck (or RG3?).

Yesterday it was the new uniforms by Nike. Would we be mistaking the Steelers for the Oregon Ducks? Thankfully, no. Now we can wait for the unveiling of the new throwbacks in celebration of the 80th Anniversary. Another cracker.

So how do we keep hope alive over the intervening days and weeks? Many will continue to immerse themselves in mock drafts. Who will be the next Maurkice, or Limas? Some ambitious types will speculate who we should pluck from the available pool of free agents. And you can always peruse the list of prospects invited to the Southside for interviews and then research them mercilessly.

In two weeks things open up a bit. Players are allowed to begin workout programs on the 16th. Four days later the free agent signing period ends and with it the Wallace Watch. A week later tea leaves give way to reality as they conduct the real draft. Right after that the signing of UDFAs.

In May the bird food diet of hope can give way to some major league dreaming. The roster of prospects will be largely set. Unless the team is really unlucky, the hope will not be dampened by injuries, subpar performances, and there are no games to lose or other disappointments. We can dine on the OTAs and try to read between the lines as Tomlin and other team representatives creatively say nothing. We will still be three months from any real football, but we will have something to talk about. And for all but the chronically pessimistic it will be mostly positive.

But for now, pass the crackers.



Source: Behind the Steel Curtain

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Where Is The Current Draft Stock Of Alabama NT Josh Chapman?

It is no secret that the Pittsburgh Steelers will likely select a young nose tackle to groom in the draft later on this month and one player that could certainly fit the bill is Alabama nose tackle Josh Chapman. Chapman is still currently rehabbing after having surgery in mid January on his left knee to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament that he suffered in a game against the Florida Gators back in October.

Chapman was not able to participate at the NFL combine back in February, but was able to bench at the first Alabama pro day in early March where he did 29 reps of 225 pounds. Because Read more [...]

Source: Yardbarker: Pittsburgh Steelers

BTSC 2012 Community Mock Draft Pick No. 13 — Arizona Cardinals Select Riley Reiff, OT, Iowa

GLENDALE AZ - DECEMBER 25:  A fan of the Arizona Cardinals wears a bag on his head during the NFL game against the Dallas Cowboys at the University of Phoenix Stadium on December 25 2010 in Glendale Arizona.  The Cardinals defeated the Cowboys 27-26.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Quick show of hands - who else is nominally a fan of Steelers West just because they're Steelers West? I know I would've been rooting wholeheartedly for them if they'd been playing anyone else on February 1, 2009. Anyways, thanks go to Steel34D for the analysis here. Next up: Dallas Cowboys and they'll be represented by Mike Frazer.

By the way, today we're finally able to include one of SBN's minute-long draft profiles with the pick when it's published! It's been Michael Bean's personal project to make these videos happen, and let us know what you think of them! -barnerburner-

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Before the announcement of the Arizona Cardinals pick, I will first recap the season and off-season moves of Steelers West.

2011 Season-

After the Lockout in 2011, the Arizona Cardinals continued their standard operating procedure of signing former Steelers. In 2011 it was Nick Eason who was signed to not only help in depth but to teach Ray Horton's scheme. The Cardinals started with an abysmal 1-5 record after learning they had a long ways to go to match the Steelers in week 6. It was their game the next week that seemed to inspire the team to make a push. Against the Ravens in week 7 the defense dominated in the first half and the offense was effective. Ultimately the Cardinals lost but something change with the team after that game. They went on a 7-2 run with very good play from their defense.

The defensive spark ironically came when they replaced two former Steelers in the lineup. Sam Acho, a rookie 4th round steal, replaced Clark Haggans and was an exciting and very intelligent player. O'Brien Schofield replaced Joey Porter and was effective at times, showing much promise. However, the biggest contribution to the team's success in their run was rookie first round pick Patrick Petersen. Though he went through his up and downs in coverage, he was electric in the return game tying an NFL-record 4 punt return TDs in a season. The Cardinals finished 8-8.

2012 Off-season-

After a failed courting of Peyton Manning, the Cardinals made like seemingly every off season and signed yet another former-Steeler in William Gay. Gay will replace the unheralded Team Defensive MVP, Richard Marshall, who signed with the Dolphins. Gay will be a good slot corner for a very young and very talented corner group that includes Petersen, Greg Toler, and A.J. Jefferson . The Cardinals also helped their offensive line by signing former 49er Adam Snyder, who can play both ROG and RT. Snyder is a run blocking RG who struggles with pass protection. They franchised the best young 3-4 DE in the game in Calais Campbell, and to the fan base's dismay, re-signed Levi Brown after cutting him because he was due $ 16 million.

Draft Decision-

Last year the Cardinals hit big on Patrick Petersen and hope to do it again. They could use an upgraded pass rusher, O-line help and a true #2 WR. Since Michael Floyd and Melvin Ingram are off the board, they will look strictly to the offensive line. The prospects there that they could consider are:

David DeCastro

Riley Reiff

Jonathan Martin

Cordy Glenn

With the 13th pick in the 2012 BTSC Community Mock Draft the Arizona Cardinals select Riley Reiff, Offensive Tackle, Iowa.

There is no denying the Cardinals need a true LT and Reiff has the athleticism to be an NFL left tackle. The former TE for Iowa was moved to guard after his freshman year in 2009. When All-American LT Bryan Bulaga went down with an injury, Reiff filled in very well and in 2010 the Hawkeyes didn't miss the 1st round pick by the Green Bay Packers. Though his arms are shorter than scouts would like at 33", Reiff has undeniable athleticism. At 6'6" 316 lbs, Reiff can move well laterally and naturally bends at his knees. He effortlessly will wash the DE up field creating a pocket. He can effectively run block, though he is very raw and displays the athleticism to get to the second level. He will need to improve his strength and technique, but this is understandable for someone who has only played on the O-line for 3 years total and LT for only 2 years. Reiff has a high ceiling despite his physical short comings and will protect whoever is throwing the ball for the Cardinals. Given the full offseason this year, I believe there will be a drastically different Cardinals offense in 2012. Ryan Williams, the electric RB from Virginia Tech, should return healthy from a knee injury sustained this past preseason. Third round pick Rob Housler, TE will learn the game better and be a bigger receiving threat, and with this pick the O-line should be better. The rest will depend on either Kevin Kolb or John Skelton.

Here is film of Reiff against Oklahoma and Frank Alexander who is considered a draftable DE:

Riley Reiff vs Oklahoma 2011 (via JMPasq)

Riley Reiff 2012 NFL Draft Profile (via sbnnfl)

BTSC 2012 Community Mock Draft Picks:



Source: Behind the Steel Curtain

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Teams remain uninterested in Mike Wallace

When it comes to the status of restricted free agent Mike Wallace, it looks like he won’t be leaving the Pittsburgh Steelers, at least for this season.
According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, at this time it doesn’t look like there will be any teams that make a play for Wallace.
Teams around the league may not be thrilled with the idea of giving up a first round pick and then signing Wallace to a mega contract.
So right now, if you’re wondering if your team might get Wallace, I’d say no.

Source: Yardbarker: Pittsburgh Steelers

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Ben Roethlisberger Doesn’t Think The Steelers Need A Fullback

One of the biggest criticisms that former Pittsburgh Steelers offensive coordinator Bruce Arians received from the fan base during his time in Pittsburgh was that he didn't use a true fullback and instead opted to use h-back David Johnson at times in a fullback type role as well as two and three tight end sets.

Now that Todd Haley has arrived as the new offensive coordinator we still do not have any clarity whether or not he will use a traditional fullback in his offense, but if it were up to quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, he won't.

Roethlisberger recently sat down with Bob Pompeani from Read more [...]

Source: Yardbarker: Pittsburgh Steelers

Weekend Check Down: The Big Stories of the Past Week


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Easter and Passover greetings everyone. If you read my last post you may question how many really big stories have transpired over the last week, but there has been some news. Like last week I want to begin with something that on first blush appears small, but has, perhaps, larger ramifications for the Nation.

Baron Batch medically cleared

Read Steel34D's piece on this issue in Fan Posts. This wouldn't rise to the level of news normally. A low-round draft pick that didn't survive training camp and has not participated in a preseason game much less the regular season is now ready to give it another shot. So what's the big deal? First the disclaimer; Baron Batch has accomplished absolutely nothing in football terms. Baron Batch is about promise. Some players win our hearts in training camp; Isaac Redman is one of the more prominent recent examples. But the better comparison in this case is with Antonio Brown. Batch had already been injured by the time I made it Steelers training camp in Latrobe. I did see how Brown stood out, in camp and in preseason games. He was, in fact, impossible to ignore. Reportedly, Batch made a similar impression in the short time that he was in view before his injury.

But competence on the football field, as much as it means, is only part of the story for Baron isn't it? We will be rooting for Baron Batch because we are hoping that he will fulfill his athletic potential and contribute in a significant way to the Steelers accumulating more Lombardi's; that goes without saying. But to be honest, Batch is the type of guy that you are inclined to root for regardless of what he's doing. You would root for him if he was applying for a job with your company or applying to attend your alma mater or marrying into you family. He may be one of those rare individuals who may be doing football a favor by his presence rather than the other way around.

However, the true significance here is that Batch may not be unique in character to others of the new or Tomlin Steelers. Brown and Batch are 6th and 7th round draft picks that have created an air of excitement that goes far beyond their relative modest credentials coming into the league. Add to that another player I am rooting very hard for because of character issues; safety Myron Rolle. Up to this point it would be hard to distinguish those players specifically selected during Mike Tomlin's tenure and those who came before. In the majority of cases they are just coming into their own as players and as such are hard to gauge as to how they might impact the team as leaders. Leadership has been a topic of discussion for the weeks since Hines, Aaron and James Farrior were released. Let's assume just for argument's sake that Batch makes it and becomes a big contributor to the team. Would he, along with Brown, be considered as part of the future leadership of this team? Could some common characteristics be identified that might be given the label Tomlin Steelers?

The ‘Bounty' story continues

The current phase of the story includes the appeals by Sean Payton and others of their suspensions by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. The decision on those appeals have yet to made as I write this, but that aspect of the story has been overwhelmed by the release of an audio tape by filmmaker Sean Pamphilon of a defensive meeting presided over by Gregg Williams that is particularly damning. Adding additional spice is that Pamphilon's access came through former Saints player Steve Gleason who has ALS, is reportedly distraught because he gave no permission for Pamphilon to release the tape. One thing is certain, regardless as to how these particular aspects of this issue are resolved, the general mood of Saints Nation is not one of contrition. In fact, the reaction of Saints fans is reminiscent to me of how Steelers Nation generally reacted when the hammer came down on James Harrison and other Steelers players over the past two years. Adding more intrigue is the contract situation for quarterback Drew Brees and the possibility that Bill Parcells will play coach for a year due to Payton's absence. This one is just getting started, so stay tuned.

Demetrius Bell signs with the Eagles

The buzz was starting to build earlier this week that former Bills offensive tackle Demetrius Bell might be rejoining his former coach Sean Kugler with the Steelers. We may never know if Pittsburgh was seriously interested, but it is all moot now. With loss of tackle Jason Peters Philadelphia definitely had the greater motivation to get something done. Those who are concerned about the state of the offensive line are still at square one.

Sepulveda out. The Post-Gazette reports that unrestricted free agent Daniel Sepulveda says that the Steelers do not want him to return to the team. This should not come as a surprise given that 1) Sepulveda has had his season cut short by knee injuries during three of the last four years, and 2) his replacement, Jeremy Kapinos has done fine work in his place. This will probably be judged a failure for Kevin Colbert and the front office given the draft position of Sepulveda. In reality this is more a hard luck story rather than one of failure. We wish Daniel good health and better luck in future endeavors.

Preseason schedule released

We now know who the Steelers will be playing during August when the games don't count. The exact time of only one of those games have been announced so far, a home game against the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday, August 19th, on NBC. The game will be the likely coming out party for whomever the Colts draft in the first round, probably Oliver Luck. The other home game will be the, now traditional preseason finale against the Carolina Panthers. The preseason opener will be against the Eagles in Philadelphia, and an away game against Buffalo rounds out the schedule. These last three games will be broadcast by KDKA in Pittsburgh. If, like me, you don't live in Pittsburgh, if past practices are continued then the NFL Network will broadcast those games either live on tape delay or both.

New uniforms displayed

Nike and the NFL revealed to the world the new uniforms that will be worn by NFL teams this season. Depending upon whether you are a traditionalist you will either relieved or disappointed by what you see. Besides being more form fitting, and the addition of the Nike Swoosh, the Steelers uniforms have not changed a bit, which for a traditionalist like me is just fine. There is still a bit more drama. Given the fact that this year commemorates the 80th Anniversary of the team (The Year of the Fan; another news item that I am combining in this paragraph) there will be a new throwback uniform, the design of which has yet to be released. Check the Steelers website for more information on official team activities and contests related to this event.

Kirby Wilson visits the Southside Facility

This is the real feel good story of the week. Running backs Coach Kirby Wilson who was severely burned over 40 to 50 percent of his body during the week leading up to the team's playoff loss to the Broncos has returned to the team facility for the first time. His recovery is moving ahead of schedule by all accounts, and it seems likely that he will return to his duties with the team sometime during the upcoming season. This is great news for Coach Wilson and his family, the team and the Nation.

The Steelers come to Northern Virginia

You may have heard word of an autograph event occurring in Chantilly, Virginia, just a few miles from where I live in the Virginia suburbs of Washington DC. I honestly didn't pay much attention to it, but a report from my friend Arla, a Pittsburgh native and a member of the Steelers Mafia got my attention; particularly since she included photos in her email to me. It turns out that the Steelers contingent at this event would be impressive by any measure. Representing the 70s Steelers was Joe Greene, Franco Harris and Rocky Bleier. Soon to be Hall Of Famer Dermontti Dawson was also present. And representing the modern era were Hines Ward, Big Ben, Ryan Clark and Mike Wallace. Not bad for Chantilly.



Source: Behind the Steel Curtain

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Lack of Interest in Wallace due to Pick not Money

There has been a lot of talk about Mike Wallace so far during this off-season, but there has been very little interest in the restricted free agent. According to Adam Schefter, who has been continually bombarded with Wallace questions by Steelers fans, there are no teams interested in Wallace and he Continue

Source: Yardbarker: Pittsburgh Steelers


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