Daily Archives: June 11, 2012
Chuck Moyer stood in his driveway, took a look at everything going on around him, and smiled. Then he took a deep breath, and it truly looked like the tough, rugged Vietnam veteran was getting emot...
Source: Pittsburgh Steelers : News
Andrew Luck isn’t the only NFL rookie who has been kept out of action by a skewed school calendar. Dolphins tackle Jonathan Martin, who played college football at Stanford with Luck, finally has received clearance to make the move from Palo Alto to South Beach. It’ll take some getting used to. “I was running back…
The Houston Texans had the NFL's best coached defense in 2011.
An arbitrary statement that will likely be argued - and can be. But there wasn't a challenge they didn't rise to accept, especially when they went through a period of time in which they couldn't get a quarterback to don a Texans helmet and step on the field without maiming himself in some way.
The fact they made it as far as they did was impressive.
It was also a let-down.
Houston had the best all-around team in the AFC in 2011, if you take out the quarterback. Unfortunately for them, that position is pretty much required to play well to achieve post-season success. Rookie T.J. Yates in Baltimore was about as overmatched as any player has been in the NFL, but Houston's defense held them in it, losing by a touchdown.
They improved in many ways, too.
After losing DE Mario Williams in October, their defense rallied around a nearly unbreakable scheme, and only surrendering 30 total points in two playoff games. After letting Williams walk in free agency - a smart financial move, considering the success they had without him - they return a young nucleus of budding stars, like DE J.J. Watt, ILB Brian Cushing and CB Brice McCain.
Their offense will see another strong output, with the return of veteran QB Matt Schaub, the signing of RB Arian Foster and a healthy WR Andre Johnson. While the release of RT Eric Winston was troubling, their decision to keep C Chris Meyers around speaks to their desire to continue with a dominant zone-blocking scheme that's propelled Foster to the top of his position.
They'll likely be challenged by an up-and-coming Tennessee Titans team in the AFC South, but with Indianapolis and Jacksonville mired in rebuilding projects, taking the division again seems likely for the franchise that qualified for its first post-season berth in 2011.
Source: Behind the Steel Curtain
The honeymoon's over T...
Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and his wife Ashley are expecting a son later this year. Roethlisberger made the big announcement on his official website Saturday afternoon — Roethlisberger posted: “It is truly a blessing and we are so excited!” Can’t wait to see Little Ben. -TO
Big Ben and Wife Playing Golf in Hawaii
Ben Roethlisberger Attends Archery Show
Source: Yardbarker: Pittsburgh Steelers
Breaking Down the AFC Playoff Contenders: Baltimore Will Have Tougher Time Defending Title Than It Had Winning it
The Baltimore Ravens were the 2011 AFC North Champions. They came close to representing the AFC in the Super Bowl.
These facts are, as they say, undisputed.
in the NFL, you're either growing or you're dying. I'm not suggesting Baltimore is a bad team or they're not capable of winning 10+ games again, but look at their offseason. Did they improve their team?
There's something to be said for internal improvement, true, and they have talent at most positions. But in what way are they getting better? I'm hearing nothing but great things about the Steelers' draft class, and their main challenge is amongst themselves, not their opponents. Wallace is in a contract year, Brown and Sanders are both looking strong, the offensive line is revamped, could be the most athletic defense they will have put out there in some time (Tomlin coaches athletes, that's his MO). I can't say Pittsburgh will walk away with the division, but I see more improvement from last season there than I do in Baltimore.
And keep in mind, just like a few years Pittsburgh beat Baltimore out, they tied at the top of the division, and Baltimore won the tie-breaker on a last-second play. The difference in those two teams was far less than Baltimore likes to admit.
Pittsburgh would have struggled to beat any team on the road in the condition they were in for the Wild Card Round. Health is just as much a part of a championship team as anything else. They didn't have it. But how well did Baltimore play against Houston? Did the Ravens peak in time for the playoffs?
In all fairness, I thought the Ravens' divisional round and conference championship games were poorly play by all three teams involved. In fact, Houston would have beaten both of those teams if they had better quarterback play. Credit to Joe Flacco and Tom Brady, who made plays in their respective games to help their teams win, but T.J. Yates was easily the worst quarterback in the AFC playoffs last season. Houston's last three drives, down 20-13, Yates threw two interceptions and failed to convert on 4th and short.
Flacco didn't have the turnovers, but was equally futile in moving the ball. The Ravens couldn't run the ball (tough to do against Houston) and had 227 yards total. TWO HUNDRED AND TWENTY SEVEN YARDS. How often does that get you 20 points if you're playing a reasonably talented quarterback? Houston turned the ball over four times, and still matched Baltimore with 63 plays. The Ravens were 4-for-16 on 3rd down. Not to take anything away from Houston's defense, which was one of the best units in the NFL last season, but the Ravens didn't win that game as much as they allowed the Texans to lose it. Which Yates did. Spectacularly.
Against New England, 51 Ravens players did enough to secure a win. One failed to secure a pass and one lived out the ultimate nightmare for any player in any sport.
Making it to two consecutive conference championships is an anomaly. The Jets advanced in both 2009 and 2010, lost both games and missed the playoffs in 2011. Pittsburgh defeated the Jets, and the Packers defeated the Bears in 2010, neither Pittsburgh nor Green Bay won a 2011 playoff game.
It's not impossible, but recent history shows how difficult it is to reach the summit and stay there, especially when you can't quite get to the top. Baltimore certainly has the talent, but with an improved division and a first-place schedule, they'll need more than just health to again stand at the top of the AFC North.
Source: Behind the Steel Curtain
Steelers defensive lineman Ziggy Hood says he’s gained two pounds this offseason, from 305 to 307. But through intense workouts, Hood says he has radically transformed himself from a fat 300-pounder to a muscular 300-pounder. According to Hood, his offseason workouts and an improved diet led to him losing 18 pounds of fat and gaining…
As the Pittsburgh Steelers inch closer to mini-camp, there is still no resolution to the contract situation between the team and stay wide receiver Mike Wallace. While this is unfortunate, it may actually be a benefit for some members of the wide out corps.
One player who is looking to capitalize on the absence with some added reps is third-year wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders (SMU).Sanders is an intriguing talent, who is looking to rebound from an injury riddled and subpar 2011 campaign and this opening may be all that he needs.
Looking back at his early career, it is interesting that during their rookie campaigns, Sanders was entrenched higher on the depth chart than last years team MVP Antonio Brown.
During that season, Sanders had worked his way up the depth chart to the number three role that season finishing with 28 receptions for 376 yards and 2 touchdowns.
However, when he injured his foot during the Super Bowl at the end of the 2010 season, little did anyone know that injury...
Source: Yardbarker: Pittsburgh Steelers