Daily Archives: June 9, 2012

QB Ben Roethlisberger Starting a Franchise

Or so we assume - the following announcement went up on his website today:

"Ashley and I are proud to let you all know that we are expecting a baby boy later this year! It is truly a blessing and we are so excited! – Ben"

Congratulations and all the best to Dad, Mom, and Baby Ben. We assume he will be properly raised, with a football in his crib to play with : )



Source: Behind the Steel Curtain


Isaac Redman has no doubts he’s ready to lead the Steelers

New Steelers offensive coordinator Todd Haley is expected to implement a run-first offense in Pittsburgh, and the biggest question is who will do most of the running. After Rashard Mendenhall suffered a torn ACL in Week 17, it appears that the carrying the load will fall to Isaac Redman. And Redman says he’s ready for…

Source: ProFootballTalk » Pittsburgh Steelers


Roethlisberger announces that he’ll be a father

Different quarterbacks handle paternity differently.  Peyton Manning was ultra-secretive about his twin girls.  Eli was the same, to a lesser extent. Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, however, has made it publicly known that his wife is expecting their first child. Roethlisberger made the declaration on his website.  “It is truly a blessing and we are so…

Source: ProFootballTalk » Pittsburgh Steelers

Pittsburgh Steelers end OTAs, prepare for mandatory mini-camp

The Pittsburgh Steelers wrapped up their OTA sessions today and are now focused on next week’s mandatory mini-camp. For some players like rookies David DeCastro, Mike Adams and Alameda Ta’amu, this will be the first time since the rookie-camp for these potential starters. Yes, they have had their playbooks, but there is no way to build chemistry with teammates without being around to learn the system together. While these three rookies will make their debut of sorts at mini-camp, fans should still not expect to see wide receiver Mike Wallace, who has still not signed his RFA tender. Of course, next week is a big week on that front, as the Steelers could potentially reduce his tender to the league minimum, which would cost Wallace roughly $ 2.2 million. Will they do that? No, they won’t do that, as they are reportedly in long-term contract discussions with Wallace and that really is not the Steeler-Way, but it will remain a possibility if this drags into the regular season.

There is...

Source: Yardbarker: Pittsburgh Steelers


Running back Baron Batch, 2012 Pittsburgh Steelers potential break-out performer

The Pittsburgh Steelers have finished their OTA sessions and fans are starting to prepare for the excitement of training camp and the regular season. With that excitement comes questions about some of the more interesting players in camp and what type of role (or if they will have one) they will have moving forward. One such player is running back Baron Batch, who the Steelers drafted in the seventh round (232 overall) in the 2011 NFL Draft. Last season, he was the buzz of training camp and looked like a serious candidate to unseat Mewelde Moore as the third down back until going down with a torn ACL on August 11 and finishing the 2011 campaign on injured reserve.

During these OTA sessions, Batch was able to get back into action on the field even though he still has some soreness from his ACL injury, an improvement over the first rookie mini-camp where he was still not ready for action. As the Steelers move toward training camp, he will face tough competition from rookie fifth rou...

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Weekend Check Down: The Top Stories of the Week


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OTAs ended for the 2012 pre-season on Thursday. What remains is next week’s mandatory minicamp and then, for those of us who are excited and anxious for the start of the season, a long, difficult dead period lasting about six weeks until the start of training camp on the 25th of July. No big, earth shattering stuff in terms of news this week, but a lot of nice little tidbits that could serve to fire the imagination and fuel discussions through the summer lull.

OTAs conclude

These days, it seems like the Steelers value chemistry more than most teams in the league. While many teams are moving their training camps to team headquarters, the Steelers are the only team left in the AFC North to go elsewhere in the summer. Working and living at St. Vincent College develops a bond that is lost by staying in-house

ESPN’s Jamison Hensley wrote this as part of a piece commenting upon the Steelers’ tradition of blowing off one of the practice sessions (which they did on Monday), and going out as a team for a day of ‘entertainment’. Hensley acknowledged the chemistry and "camaraderie" these types of activities build. The concluding practice session was held at Heinz Field on Thursday (all the other sessions were conducted at the South Side facility). No one has said it explicitly but I suspect that practicing at the game site is a pretty big deal for the young players. There were a few interesting interviews conducted on Thursday as well. One was with quarterback…

Ben Roethlisberger

You can find the video of the interview on Steelers.com. I believe its sinking in that the alleged controversy concerning Ben’s reaction to the new Haley offense is more a media contrivance than real. Interviews conducted this week with Heath Miller, Byron Leftwich and Haley himself confirms the challenges everyone is facing with mastering the new terminology. Ben mentions in the interview that progress is being made on the offense and that more is anticipated during the minicamp.

Ben was wearing #78 in practice on Thursday in honor of Max Starks. He is repeating an action he took last season in openly lobbying for the team to resign the tackle. There are a couple of things that can be said about this gesture. Expressing appreciation for offensive linemen can be viewed as good politics for quarterbacks and running backs, but Ben has by all accounts a strong and sincere bond with many of his offensive linemen. You’ll remember that one of Ben’s companions when he was having his difficulties in Georgia was Willie Colon. Starks and Ben were part of the same draft class and have been in the wars together, including three Super Bowls, for the entirety of each man’s career. Ben reports that Starks is in good health. And though he would not project to being a starter, with a rookie and a second year man at the tackles Starks would be a good person to have in the mix, unless you believe that it would make no difference than say, Jonathan Scott.

But the most interesting portion of the interview to me was when Ben was asked who impressed him during the practices. The question came in two parts; one focusing upon returning veterans, the other on newcomers. The two names he mentioned from the returning veterans were Willie Colon and his switch to the interior of the offensive line, and receiver Antonio Brown.

In terms of the newcomers he was high on free agent acquisition Leonard Pope, commenting on his size and comparing him favorably with Heath Miller as a pass catcher. Ben was reluctant to say anything about the rookies, echoing Tomlin’s take that first year players haven’t accomplished anything of significance where it counts, in the games. But having said that he did go on to express how impressed he has been with fifth round draft pick Chris Rainey.

Ben was also asked if he had any problems with having two rookies possibly starting on the offensive line. He said no, and also said that he had spoken on the phone with first round draft pick David DeCastro and offered to help him with travel arrangements for next week’s minicamp.

Another intriguing interview conducted on the last day of OTAs was with…

Keith Butler

One of the nice things about this time of the year is that the assistant coaches get to have their moment in the sun. Butler (whose interview is also available on Steelers.com) was one of four Steelers assistants to be interviewed this week.

When asked, Butler revealed that the group of younger linebackers was one of the more impressive groups that he has had while adding as a caution that this was all about what was being accomplished in shorts and that the real test would come when the pads went on.

He had a lot to say about third round draft pick Sean Spence that was eye opening. Spence, who had a spectacular interception during the Thursday practice, is picking up the system so quickly that it is likely that he will see the field on defense in addition to special teams duties. Butler pointed out that none of his linebackers has ever started as a rookie, but it was noteworthy to me that he didn’t entirely close the door on that possibility for Spence.

The remainder of his comments were made in reference to Jason Worilds and Chris Carter. Worilds has had wrist surgery, and though he is expected to be available for camp and the season, he is being held out now as a precaution. Carter is another player who has impressed. And Butler pointed out something that many of us may have forgotten. Because of the lockout last year this is Carter’s first OTAs. Second year players such as Carter and Cam Heyward may make more spectacular progress this year as they have a full year of preparation under their belts for the first time.

Butler also acknowledged earlier in the week that it would not be easy replacing departed linebacker James Farrior but that he had much confidence in Larry Foote.

While on the subject of assistant coaches talking to press, let’s also include…

Dick LeBeau

LeBeau was interviewed by the Post-Gazette and at Steelers.com this week. He commented on the Denver debacle and the one area that was a cause for concern from last year’s defense, a lack of turnovers. The defense bore the brunt of the player losses during the off season (The release of James Farrior and Aaron Smith, Chris Hoke’s retirement and the loss of Willie Gay to free agency) but LeBeau expressed confidence that the pieces were available to keep the success of the unit going.

Like Butler, LeBeau was very high Sean Spence and what he has shown so far. (Maybe we’re not overstating how impressive this year’s draft has been). The bulk of his remarks on Steelers.com were concerning the position competition at cornerback opposite Ike Taylor. LeBeau heaped high praise on all three candidates; Keenan Lewis, Cortez Allen and Curtis Brown, encouraging us to dream that we may see an era when there exists both quality and depth in the secondary. Is that really possible? And it should be noted that Allen and Brown are also second year players which could mean that they too may make a dramatic jump after a having a full year of preparation.

But probably the most noteworthy interview was with offensive coordinator…

Todd Haley

The interview that was published through the Post-Gazette on Haley's offensive concept but he also seemed to have spent an inordinate amount of time reassuring the press that he and Ben Roethlisberger weren't at each other's throats.

"We want to be, No. 1, a physical group whether we're throwing it or running it. We want to be a smart group and -- its coach speak -- but we want to be a disciplined group. If we're that with the guys we have out here working, at least in my estimation, we ought to have a chance to be pretty good."

And staying with the offense, also in the spotlight this week was offensive line coach…

Sean Kugler

We learned from Kugler that the first and second round draft choices David DeCastro and Mike Adams, prevented by rule from participating in the OTAs have just not been sitting at home twiddling their thumbs. Each was given a laptop loaded with the team playbook. They have been contacted and quizzed on a nightly basis by Kugler. He has been impressed by the quality of the questions he has been fielding in these nightly conversations. Kugler stated that Adams and DeCastro are slated to run with the first team when the minicamp commences next week.

Kugler also had some things to say about some of the returning veterans being very excited about the potential of Willie Colon’s move to guard and claiming that Maurkice Pouncey was having his best off season (Really? Wow!)

Leaving OTAs for a bit, let’s talk about…

Warren Sapp

Sapp continues to endear himself to Steeler Nation, once again opining that Pittsburgh lacks the necessities to successfully compete for a championship. You may recall that in the wake of the early season loss to the Ravens, Sapp declared the Steelers as being "Old, slow and done". Apparently a 12-4 record and a playoff slot constitutes being "done". High praise indeed.

It should not come as a surprise that a large number of fans are heaping abuse on the business end of Sapp’s digestive tract. But now it seems that the Steelers players have had enough of Sapp as well. Ike Taylor and Larry Foote lit into Sapp on Taylor’s radio program and pulled no punches as they ridiculed Sapp’s financial problems. Foote also alluded to an incident during the 2002 season that may be the genesis of this animosity. Before a game between the Steelers and Tampa Bay, Sapp and another player disrespectfully intruded into the Steelers’ warm up area. The situation climaxed with a physical altercation involving Jason Gildon and Joey Porter. I would have loved to have seen that one.

A growing consensus says that Sapp will be eating his words in a few months.

Back to OTAs where…

Troy Polamalu and Myron Rolle solve the problems of the world

Much has been made of an exchange involving Troy and Florida State Alum and Rhodes Scholar Rolle as they were exiting the field after practice last week. The two players, dripping in sweat, were having an animated discussion. Were they unpacking the intricacies of LeBeau’s defense? Deciphering Peyton Manning in high altitude? Dissecting strategies that counteract New England’s two tight end attack?

No. They were discussing whether a world with a population of 6.4 billion could sustain the lifestyle aspirations of a growing middle class. The thing is I can easily imagine these two having that kind of a conversation in the middle of football practice. Throw into the mix Ryan Clark who held forth this week on the NFL Network’s Total Access program and one thing is clear; the Steelers’ crew of safeties, if nothing else, have the potential of being the most erudite and opinionated group in the league.

Miscellaneous football news

You may want to keep an eye on the defensive end spot for the Steelers. Ziggy Hood and Cameron Heyward have been attracting attention with their preparations for the season. Don’t be surprised if one or both players make a quantum leap in their play.

Negotiations between the NFL and their game officials are at an impasse. The possibility of a lockout and the hiring of replacement officials are a real possibility. With safety issues still front and center this could cause some problems for the league down the line.

Speaking of safety concerns, the lawsuits of former players concerning head injuries have been consolidated into one massive lawsuit. The legal issues that the league faces over these issues continue to evolve.

Drew Brees has been offered a new contract by the New Orleans Saints. No word as of this writing of acceptance or rejection.

Chad Ochocinco has been released by the New England Patriots. Terrell Owens is also out of a job. What has this world come to?



Source: Behind the Steel Curtain

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Steelers’ Ziggy Hood got himself into shape

Ziggy Hood made several starts last year in place of the injured Aaron Smith and graded out as ProFootballFocus’ worst 3-4 defensive end. However, Hood was a 1st round pick in 2009 and the Steelers still have a lot of hope for him as he is expected to take over full time for the now departed Smith in 2012.
In an effort to make good on his upside, Hood, who admits he was sluggish down the stretch last season, says he has lost 20 pounds of fat this offseason and added 18 pounds of muscle and has dropped his body fat percentage from 24% to 18%. Hood will have the first crack at the starting job, but could be pushed by 2011 1st round pick Cameron Heyward if he continues to struggle. Now that he’s in shape, he could easily have a break out year in his 4th year in the league.

Source: Yardbarker: Pittsburgh Steelers

Steelers Wide Receiver Coach Reveals Flaw Of Antonio Brown

Well, well, well. It seems that Pittsburgh Steelers third-year wide receiver Antonio Brown has a flaw. Despite busting out his sophomore year with 2,048 all-purpose yards, and always saying and doing the right things both on and off the field, wide receivers coach Scottie Montgomery revealed this past week that Brown has a problem. That problem is that he needs to rest some.

What? In reality, Montgomery, in his one-on-one interview with Bob Labriola on Steelers Live at 4, heaped a ton of praise on the former sixth round draft pick out of Central Michigan, when asked to talk about each of the Read more [...]

Source: Yardbarker: Pittsburgh Steelers


Steelers unlikely to decrease Mike Wallace’s tender

The Steelers aren’t close to a new deal with restricted free agent Mike Wallace and he is not expected to attend mandatory minicamp later this month. However, the Steelers are committed to doing a long term deal with him and are reportedly highly unlikely to decrease Mike Wallace’s tender, something they can do on June 15th. They have the right to decrease his tender from 2.742 million to 577 thousand, but they won’t do that, according to ESPN’s Chris Mortensen, because they feel that would be damaging to long term talks and don’t want to slap their #1 receiver in the face like that.
Mike Wallace said earlier this offseason that he was looking for Larry Fitzgerald money. Fitzgerald got 120 million over 8 years last offseason and in the time since Wallace asked for that type of money, Calvin Johnson got 132 million over 7 years. However, the Steelers probably don’t have the cap to do that type of deal even if they wanted to.
If he wants a long term deal, he’ll probably have to settle...

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Redman confident he can handle full workload


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Sat, 09 Jun 2012 17:23:37
by RALPH N. PAULK




Admittedly, Isaac Redman has a chip on his shoulder.
The Steelers fourth-...

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