Daily Archives: April 9, 2012

Should Steelers Trade Out Of Round 2, Dolphins Would Be Likeliest Of Trade Partners

Predicting draft day trades is next to impossible, but it is fun to look at what we might deem the Pittsburgh Steelers draft board might look like along with perceived needs to speculate what trades could possibly take place.

While Jeremy Hritz has already wondered if the Steelers will trade out of first round completely, I personally think they will stay put there if I had to lay some money down on it. The second round though is where I believe the best shot of move down and out could happen for the Steelers.

Judging by where I personally have players graded that coincide with needs the Read more [...]

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Ben Roethlisberger to Try Odd Off-Season Routine


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Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is ready for the 2012 season to start. He and his fellow Steeler teammates had a premature ending to the 2011 campaign. This has Big Ben trying a new off-season routine to get him ready for the new season. This new routine you ask? Golf. Yes that’s right, Golf!
He will be golfing at some of the world’s most challenging courses this summer. He hopes this will prepare him mentally for the grueling times of a 16 game NFL schedule. Roethlisberger is heading overseas sometime in June to play in Ireland and Scotland. He will be teeing up on the prestigious courses of St. Andrews and the K Club, among many others.
Ben said in an interview with Yahoo sports, “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.”
That is an impressive schedule for someone who is accustomed to avoiding 250 pound linebackers, not having to d...

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Words of wisdom from LaMarr Woodley

When Ian Rapoport, formerly of the Boston Herald but now of NFL Network, forwarded the link to his conversation with Steelers linebacker LaMarr Woodley regarding the bounty controversy, the natural inclination was to scoff at Woodley’s comparison of bounties to contract incentives. But then I considered what he was saying.  And it started to make…

Source: ProFootballTalk » Pittsburgh Steelers


Week 5 Film Review: The Steelers Strike Back Against Tennessee

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No team is the same from one year to the next, but one can learn about where a team is going by studying where it has been. We've watched each Steelers game last year play-by-play and pulled out a certain amount of trend-setting and trend-extending plays that earned the Steelers both a 12-4 record and a first-round playoff loss. We'll highlight what each of those plays meant from a bigger picture perspective on the season that was in 2011.

Maybe it was the re-signing of OT Max Starks in the days leading up to the Steelers' emphatic 38-17 thrashing of Tennessee. Maybe it was the the offensive game plan that included less five and seven step drops for eventual AFC Offensive Player of the Week Ben Roethlisberger (24-for-34, 228 yards, 5 touchdowns) and more rushes (171 yards on the ground).

It was, most likely, a combination of all of those things, but the result was perhaps the Steelers' best all around performance of the season.

Chris Johnson

The first play of the game, Titans RB Chris Johnson takes a zone sweep aimed at exploiting OLB Lawrence Timmons (in for the injured James Harrison) off the left side for 20 yards. The same feeling of helplessness on the ground overtook all of us watching.

Johnson managed 31 yards on his next 13 carries (2.3 yards per carry), extending his career total against Pittsburgh to 61 carries for 211 yards (3.4 yards per carry), never having rushed for more than 69 yards.

While the Steelers defense would be run on a bit more as the season progressed, it was after Johnson's initial carry in Week 5 a real change from how the defense started playing happened. With the exception of Jacksonville's Maurice Jones-Drew's 96-yard effort in Week 6, the Steelers weren't gouged by any one particular back the rest of the way (including stuffing Baltimore's Ray Rice to 43 yards in the re-match against the Ravens).

Against Tennessee, they were without Casey Hampton and Aaron Smith; a look the defensive line would have to get used to for the remainder of the season. NT Chris Hoke played an outstanding game in Hampton's place, getting low and knifing through a talented Titans offensive line to stifle their running game.

Goal Line Stand

The Titans' opening drive was full of penalties and misfires on both teams, and while it seems the norm is offenses eventually putting the ball in the end zone if given several opportunities, that wasn't the case against Tennessee. The Titans had, essentially, two touchdown passes dropped and couldn't convert a Steelers penalty into anything more than three points.

The Steelers defense became what would eventually become the league's best scoring defense in this game, even on this drive. Outstanding plays by Ike Taylor and Lawrence Timmons bottled Johnson up for a four yard loss, was outshined by LaMarr Woodley pushing his blocker into Titans QB Matt Hasselbeck and taking both of them down for a sack. SS Troy Polamalu slips past a blocker on a well-timed screen pass to take Johnson down on 3rd and 12 to force the field goal.

There was some sloppy play in this game early, but it produced a few of the best defensive plays of the season. All told, the Titans went 89 yards on 13 plays in their opening drive, and were held to 217 yards on their next 57 plays.

Offense

WR Antonio Brown took the opening kickoff 52 yards, and the Steelers never looked back. Roethlisberger, hampered by a sprain and bone bruise in his right foot, kept the passes short, leading to two important factors; the beginning of the Antonio Brown Emergence in 2011 and the last two touchdown passes WR Hines Ward would ever catch.

With RB Rashard Mendenhall out with a hamstring injury, the Steelers didn't have great success running the ball early, but Roethlisberger was peppering passes to the non-Mike Wallace receivers (targets to Brown, Ward, David Johnson and Weslye Saunders on the opening drive). While the running game would come around, the offensive line gets a large amount of credit for Roethlisberger's performance in the sense it was not as disastrous of a game for that unit as Week 4 at Houston was. However, Roethlisberger did not hold onto the ball nearly as long against Tennessee and was decisive in his throws. Credit is due to the offensive line, but in review, the one sack allowed seemed more the effect of shorter patterns and quicker releases.

And for all Isaac Redman fans (who are often anti-Mendenhall fans), Redman spun through the hole on a carry in the first quarter. Just sayin'...

The opening drive ends so perfectly. Ward is split wide to Roethlisberger's left, in the slot, with an empty backfield. Roethlisberger drops five, looks at Ward, which draws the middle of the Titans zone over a step. He turns back and fires at perfect pass to TE Heath Miller, who falls forward for the score.

Six different Steelers had catches or were targeted on that drive - Saunders, Wallace Redman, Johnson, Brown and Miller. They ran double-tight, they ran five wide, they converted screen passes, they converted pass down the seam. Tennessee really had no idea what to expect.

And all of this without one pattern run longer than 11 yards.

The Steelers get away from this philosophy a bit against Jacksonville in Week 6, largely due to the extreme match-up advantage Wallace had against any Jaguars defender, but a blustery day in Pittsburgh held that plan at bay. They would, however, ramp it up in wins over Arizona and New England, as the Steelers produced their best offensive performances during this time.

And it all started, ironically, due to Roethlisberger's injured foot.

New Steelers offensive coordinator Todd Haley will look at the opening drive of this game in his film evaluation of this team in 2011, and he'll wonder why the Steelers didn't utilize the team's depth at receiver a bit more throughout the year.

In other words, he'll wonder exactly what we've wondered for a few months now.

The Value of Play Action

The offense would continue to roll. After a perfectly executed fake punt throw from P Dan Sepulveda to FS Ryan Mundy, the Steelers continued to apply a short, controlled approach to their offense.

I remember writing after this game the value of all those 1-yard carries, not as a means of scoring on each play, but rather, setting up the play-action.

Redman has 15 yards on six carries at this point. Brown just rattled off a 10-yard carry on first down, giving the Steelers the ball at Tennessee's 7-yard line. Roethlisberger sells a good play-action, and doesn't even need to look at Ward. It's a quick, smooth catch-and-release throw to a wide open Ward for the score.

Titans 3-and-out, RB Jonathan Dwyer cracks off a 76-yard run, off a perfect block by LG Doug Legursky. Redman picks up nine yards on three carries, down to Tennessee's 1-yard line.

Play action, touchdown pass to Johnson. 21-3, the route is on, and every single Steelers offensive player who's been on the field has been involved in some way. Excellent all-around execution in one of the best overall performances the Steelers offense would put up all season.

The cherry on top was the Steelers gave notice to their future opponents loading the box to stop the run or keeping safeties close to the line to cut off underneath routes would come with a consequence. Wallace torches the Titans secondary for a 40-yard touchdown that came after the Steelers ran twice for four yards on first and second down.

Woodley announced his four-game funk to start the season was over, marking the beginning of a streak that, had he not suffered a hamstring injury in Week 9, would have put him in contention for Defensive Player of the year (1.5 sacks and an interception against Tennessee, the first of four consecutive games with more than one sack). Roethlisberger was named AFC Offensive Player of the Week and the Steelers rushed for 176 yards in the win.

They just don't get much more dominant than that.



Source: Behind the Steel Curtain

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Pittsburgh Steelers Select Dont’a Hightower in Rant Sports 2012 NFL Mock Draft


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The 2012 NFL draft is little over one month away from kicking off. The front offices of all 32 teams are scrambling to figure out which players are going to fit in the best with their respective teams. The Pittsburgh Steelers need to have a good draft because they have not made any noise in free agency up to this point. They even lost longtime team leader Hines Ward to retirement. Ward was the heart and soul of the Black and Gold, and will be difficult to replace.
With that being said, Pittsburgh has greater needs on the defensive side of the ball. The Steelers would like to get younger on the both sides up the ball, but defense is a greater concern.
Linebacker Dont’a Hightower would be a perfect fit in Pittsburgh’s defensive scheme. The Steelers released James Farrior earlier this month, and management needs to think of how to replace him. Hightower is a versatile player and can play both inside and outside linebacker. Pittsburgh should use the 24th overall pick on Alabama lineback...

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Journalist Mike Wallace’s Death Causes Confusion for Some Football Fans on Twitter


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Mike Wallace, one of the original correspondents for CBS' 60 Minutes, died on Saturday at the age of 93, and as you'd expect, many took to Twitter to weigh in on the journalist's death. Others, however, weighed in on the wrong Mike Wallace. Believe it or not, there were some football fans out there who thought that the Mike Wallace who died was actually the Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver. Here's a look at a few real-life Twitter responses after news broke of Wallace's death. For anyone still confused, the Steelers wideout is still alive and well, and presumably looking for...

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In the Community – “A Look Back at 2011″ (5 of 8)

Featured: All Pro Dad, Caring Team Kickoff Luncheon, CASA Steelers Tailgate Party

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2012 NFL draft: Possible selections for the Pittsburgh Steelers

Fresh off their second AFC Championship in three years the Pittsburgh Steelers were a strong favorite to repeat once again, but no one expected a first round loss. Expectations for Ben Roethlisberger and company were much higher than getting knocked out of the playoffs by a miraculous touchdown pass by Tim Tebow. The Steelers continuously have one of the leagues best defenses and in a league that has suddenly gone offensive will the Steelers get the itch in the 2012 NFL draft to possible find some offensive difference makers? Or will the Steelers do what they do best…defense. The Penalty Flag’s Mike Presley has Dontari Poe going to the Steelers to reignite the defense; Round 1, Pick 24: Dontari Poe NT Memphis: Father time seems to have caught up to the Pittsburgh Steelers. Casey Hampton will be 35 a week before Week 1 of the 2012 season and will be coming off ACL surgery. Poe’s size at 6’5 makes him a massive lineman that will make it hard for any center to block. He totaled 33 tack...

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New Steelers Nike Jersey & Uniform Unveiled


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Nike and the NFL unveiled the next generation of jersey uniforms for all 32 teams at their Tuesday launch event at Brooklyn Navy Yard in New York and that means we got our first look at the new Pittsburgh Steelers uniforms and jerseys. Nike is taking over this year for Reebok as the league outfitter.

The new Nike Elite 51 is a completely integrated System of Dress for NFL players and the key features of the new uniforms include:
LIGHTER - The Nike jersey and pant, wet or dry, are lighter than previous versions
FLYWIRE TECHNOLOGY - Eliminates layers, reduces weight, and provides lockdown fit
ZONED Read more [...]

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The 2012 Preseason Schedule for the Pittsburgh Steelers Has Been Released

At the beginning of this month, the NFL released the 2012 preseason schedules. The Pittsburgh Steelers finished the 2011 preseason with a 3-1 record, and followed that with a 12-4 regular season record. Head coach Mike Tomlin, and the rest of Steeler Nation are hoping that the start of this season will be similar to 2011.
The Steelers will start the preseason on the road when they will face the other team in the state of Pennsylvania, the Philadelphia Eagles. The following week will bring the Indianapolis Colts to the Steel City, and possibly give Pittsburgh, and the rest of the country, a look at the potential number one overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft Andrew Luck on the night of August 19th on national television.
The third game of the preseason is when the starters get the most playing time, and this will give the Steelers’ offensive line a big test on the road. The Buffalo Bills will unleash their revamped defensive line that will be led by newly acquired defensive ends Mario...

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