Daily Archives: June 23, 2012

NFL, CFL used to meet in the preseason

As the Canadian Football League approaches its annual Canada Day launch to its regular season, let’s fill some space on a slow (relatively speaking) Saturday and look back in time at a series of preseason games once played between teams from the NFL and CFL. While recently perusing the Official 2011 NFL Record & Fact…

Source: ProFootballTalk » Pittsburgh Steelers

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Colbert On the Mark With Comments About Ravens DE Terrell Suggs

BALTIMORE MD - NOVEMBER 7:  Terrell Suggs #55 of the Baltimore Ravens celebrates a play against the Miami Dolphins at M&T Bank Stadium on November 7 2010 in Baltimore Maryland. The Ravens defeated the Dolphins 26-10. (Photo by Larry French/Getty Images)

Steelers General Manager Kevin Colbert recently appeared on FM 105.7 The Fan in Baltimore, and said the Steelers "respect" Ravens DE Terrell Suggs, and there's "no cheering when you lose great players."

Not that anyone would expect less than the company line from someone in Colbert's position, but it does bring up an interesting talking point; respect between the members of the best rivalry in football, the Steelers and the Ravens.

This didn't prompt it, but recently, Baltimore Beatdown, SB Nation's Ravens site, had a post regarding the Steelers with a few links from Behind The Steel Curtain discussing the Ravens.

When our two fine sites cross into each other's turf, the result is, interestingly, usually positive.

To start it off, their editor, Bruce Raffel, had some nice things to say about Behind The Steel Curtain. For that, we thank him.

The comments to the story were compelling. I particularly enjoyed this segue, brought up by our own Steel Spike. He said if he was forced to get a Ravens jersey, it would be one of Ravens DT Haloti Ngata.

It spun off into a discussion about mixing and matching some of each team's best players, which is pretty original. I hadn't quite thought of what a team would look like with Troy Polamalu and Ed Reed in the defensive secondary while Ngata in the middle split Suggs and James Harrison on the outside.

The overriding point, despite a few dissenters (perfectly fine to do so, but it seems their community hates the Steelers much more than we hate the Ravens), is there's respect on both sides, to varying degrees.

As far as Baltimore Beatdown goes, I'm a young buck in comparison to Bruce, who's been doing his thing over there for several years. Not that either of us are complaining at all, but it can be difficult to come up with quality stories at a high frequency rate, while balancing the desires of the community (to whom we ultimately report). But I've been on Baltimore Beatdown more than any other SB Nation site outside 'Steel Curtain, and I've taken a lot of ideas away from Bruce, Zachary Beard, Mr. MaLor, Lastcallbmore and WestminsterRaven.

In my meager experience on SB Nation and as a journalist, I don't think there's a better compliment to pay someone than frequently reading their work, and applying things from them to your own work.

It's also probably a fair time to bring up conduct. I enjoy going on BB's game-day threads when the Steelers aren't playing. I do so recognizing I am the away team, so to speak. In that, I join in their conversations respectfully, and in that approach, I am given respect.

I'm sure Bruce feels the same way, but Open Threads are designed to give our readers a sense of community and involvement during games or other events. They're meant to be enjoyable, open places in which to share our thoughts and analysis and to learn from others based on what they're seeing. I feel I have a much higher level of knowledge about the Ravens due to the time I've spent over there. I encourage all of you to check it out, as well as the open threads of other teams when the Steelers aren't on; you'll be surprised at how much you'll learn. I also ask you to be respectful, and remember you're on their turf.

And please pass the same courtesy to those who appear on our site to discuss the Steelers. We welcome guests of all teams and of the league itself, and in that, we want to foster a spirit of community with everyone. No one says everyone has to agree, but in keeping with our mission statement, we want to foster intelligent discussion and community involvement.

This site has done a great job of that over the years, so I thank you for your assistance.

My email address is in my profile, and if anyone wishes to reach out to me with question of any kind, please feel free to do so.




Source: Behind the Steel Curtain

Steelers TV Watching Superstitions: Weigh In on What You Do To Help The Team Win

(I was just telling a lady I work with about some previous game-watching superstitions. Not sure if she'll ever talk to me again. I used to be much worse about it, but superstitions are an important part of the game experience. If it works for you, keep doing it. This could be the best so far, from Han: "I keep my TV volume at a certain point. The sound level is trial and error based. For example, if they score a TD and I am at 27 then I keep it that way. If things are going wrong I change it until I get the right sound level." - nc)

Thought it would be interesting to explore the TV watching superstitions any fellow fans would be willing to share. I imagine there's a variety of different routines, and some of this depends whether you're watching the Steelers with friends, family, or at a sports bar. I'm fairly normal, just tense when watching the Steelers in a group setting.

However, the times when I've caught the Steelers alone in my living room, I have to make a strange confession. This sounds weird, but I get so keyed up and nervous, I will mute the TV for the duration of the game! It's funny when you think about it, I don't have high blood pressure or a heart condition, so it makes absolutely no sense to eliminate the audio. This has been going on since the 2001 season, and have no real explanation other than plain old superstition.

Anyone else have a routine or superstition , be it wearing a particular type of Steelers gear for luck, or something else?



Source: Behind the Steel Curtain

Weekend Check Down: the Week’s Top Stories


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Summer has officially begun, and with it ends the springtime phase of the NFL year. The last of the minicamps for teams around the league ended on Thursday. Thursday also marked the end of the NBA year as the Miami Heat wrapped up its second championship. If you live in the Northeast you don't have to be told that its summer you just needed to step outside. So, in honor of the season we will begin with...

Training Camp

Steelers.com published the training camp schedule this week. There will be fifteen sessions that are open to the public all at Saint Vincent College in Latrobe, Pa. with the one exception of a Friday evening session at Latrobe Stadium. It is important to note that though the players officially report to camp on Wednesday, July 25th, the first public session will not be until Friday, July 27th, and that will be a helmet and shorts practice, after that practices will be in pads.

The camp schedule encompasses weekday sessions and three weekends and culminates on Friday August 17th. There are some things about camp that I try not to take for granted. Pittsburgh is the only team in its division and among a dwindling number of teams league wide that still conducts training camp at a location other than their year round training facility. Parking and admission to the practices is free. Living as I do in Redskin Country, I appreciate that the Rooneys continue to refrain from sticking their hands in our pockets just to witness practice. And since, like many of us in Steeler Nation, I reside in enemy territory, it's really nice to be at the home base, so to speak, surrounded by fellow patriots, friends and Steelers family watching our guys go through their paces.

If you haven't done so it is an experience that I highly recommend. The setting is attractive and peaceful (Saint Vincent is also a monastery), the mood is both upbeat and mellow, if that makes any sense, and the price is right. If you can avoid the occasional thunderstorm then it makes for a great afternoon. (All public sessions commence at 3pm).

Contracts

As was reported in this space last week, the June 15th deadline for WR Mike Wallace to sign his tender came and went with nothing being signed and no punitive action taken by the Steelers front office. There was a minor disturbance in the Force when Antonio Brown indicated that he would handle his upcoming contract process differently. First round draft choice David DeCastro has also not signed as of yet, there is no concern that this is a problem, just the process playing out.

Ron Cook of the Post-Gazette has pointed out that it will certainly be helpful and comforting to get both Wallace and DeCastro signed, but the most important contract issue the Steelers face this summer is that of Head Coach Mike Tomlin. Next year is the option year on Tomlin's contract and team president Art Rooney II indicated earlier in the spring that the organization intended to sign Mike to a new contract. The coming weeks would be the best time to accomplish this, but according to Cook the sticking point may well be money.

Tomlin has earned the right to be in the conversation as one of the top coaches in the league. He currently makes considerably less than Bill Belichick and Tom Coughlin. There is no indication that the conversation on this matter has commenced or if the issues raised are actually a point of contention at this time. But the main point of the article, the importance and priority of keeping Tomlin with the Black and Gold is well taken.

More Tomlin

Steelers.com also reported a couple of news items related to Tomlin, but not team related. Kiya Tomlin, Mike's better half is a board member of Pittsburgh Promise an organization that provides college scholarships for students who attend the Pittsburgh Public Schools. The organization sponsored a dance-a-thon that was attended by the coach and several of his players.

Coach Tomlin will also be hosting a tailgating party in Virginia that benefits the Hampton Roads Youth Foundation.

Chris Rainey

It's going to be great. I know this style of offense. I have asked some of the other players if they like it and they do. They think it's better than the one they used to have here

That was Rainey's response to what he thought of Todd Haley's new offensive system in a piece that appears in Steelers.com.

Rainey also responds to questions about his draft day experience, his feelings about the atmosphere of the Steelers organization and the importance of special teams play.

Mewelde Moore

Moore rejoined former Steelers OC Bruce Arians as he signed to play with the Indianapolis Colts. His veteran presence should be quite an asset for a team that is starting a rookie quarterback and in a serious rebuilding phase.

Moore made some major contributions during the Steelers' championship run in 2008, but it is fair to say that he was underappreciated during his tenure with Pittsburgh. He and Tomlin were with the Minnesota Vikings at the same time, and I believe that he has represented and displayed many of the characteristics that Tomlin values in his players. I don't believe that there was a place for him on the current Steelers roster unless one or more of the highly touted young runners were unavailable or performed in a disappointing manner.

Nonetheless, Moore will be missed by many and will probably make for a number of great trivia questions in a decade or so.

This year's undrafted free agent sensation?

So far, that would be CB Terry Carter from Louisiana Tech. Carter had three interceptions during the last full day session of minicamp and now has the attention of the defensive coaches.

The Louisiana connection has also been noted. Ike Taylor and Keenan Lewis are Louisiana natives and Tech is Terry Bradshaw's alma mater. Remember the old days when the problem was a lack of quality cornerbacks on the roster? Lewis, Allen, Brown, Frederick, Carter; what a traffic jam.

Baron Batch (cont.)

A trait that Baron Batch shares with Isaac Redman is that he has become an object of our seemingly endless fascination without having accomplished much as of yet on the field. While Redman has played the role of superhero/demigod in the collective imagination, Batch seems to be carving out a niche for himself as poet warrior (I was about to say intellectual sage, but that would be Myron Rolle).

Batch was the subject of a piece in the Post-Gazette that actually featured some of his artwork. Batch also discussed the emotional and psychological hurdles that he has had to address in relation to the rehabilitation process he has been undergoing to come back from a knee injury suffered in last year's training camp. If he has accomplished anything, Batch has provided fans with a great deal of insight into the journey that is undertaken in the quest to achieve success in the NFL. We root for him if for no other reason than what we might learn from his experience of actually playing in the league.

Dublin?

Dan Rooney was in the news once again this week. In an interview with BBC, the United States Ambassador to Ireland expressed the hope that the Steelers might play a regular season game in Dublin in the near future. Besides the logistical concerns (each team would be transporting about 150 team personnel across the Atlantic in the middle of the season) there is also the concern of whom would be the home team in such a match up. If it were the Steelers it would mean forfeiting one of their home dates at Heinz Field. Stay tuned.

Harrison

It has been quietly noted that James Harrison was kept out of workouts during both OTAs and the mandatory minicamp. The reason given was that he has been experiencing fluid on the knee. Harrison has been wrestling with injury concerns for over a year now with the most serious issue being his back. There is some concern about the current state of his health, but I would argue that there is nothing to prove by having him go through these workouts. Now if there are problems at training camp, then there might be reason for concern.

And speaking of outside linebackers...

Clark Haggans

The former OLB for the Steelers made the news for the wrong reasons this week as he is beginning to serve a week of jail time in the Westmoreland County lockup for a DUI conviction that he received in Arizona. While the conviction occurred in the southwest, Haggans has chosen to serve his time in Western Pennsylvania. He will spend two days in jail and then the rest of his sentence on work release.

Willie Colon

Nice profile of our ‘new' left guard by Theresa Varley on Steelers.com. Colon provides details of his injury struggles over the last two years and how he coped with being away from the game for so long.

Other news

Perhaps the biggest football news of the week was the announced retirement of LaDanian Tomlinson. He did one of those one day contract deals and retired as a San Diego Charger. It is believed that he will be a lock for the Hall Of Fame when he becomes eligible in 2017.

Bounty Gate continues as the suspended players went to NFL headquarters in New York to appeal to Roger Goodell. The league also released to journalists information that was used to decide the punishment for these players.

In spite winning and being named MVP of the Super Bowl for the second time, Eli Manning ranks third in terms of media attention in the Big Apple. The current obsession is with Jets' quarterbacks Mark Sanchez and Tim Tebow.

In AFC North news, Ravens offensive tackle Bryant McKinnie has attracted a good deal of attention because he was held out of team workouts in order for him to work on conditioning and weight issues. McKinnie vows to report to training camp at 345 pounds. In a bit of a role reversal, the Baltimore media seems to be somewhat concerned about O line issues with the Ravens.

The problem is Cleveland is at quarterback. It appears that the Browns may be looking to unload Colt McCoy. Steelers fans would hate to see him go.



Source: Behind the Steel Curtain

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Ike Taylor thinks of decisive play in wild-card loss “every day”

The last great play by Tim Tebow as a Bronco has had a lasting impression on the man who was victimized by it. Steelers cornerback Ike Taylor, burned by Denver receiver Demaryius Thomas for an 80-yard touchdown catch-and-get-out-of-my-way-stiff-arm on the first snap of overtime  in a wild-card playoff game, says that the memories of that…

Source: ProFootballTalk » Pittsburgh Steelers

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Pittsburgh Steelers Fans May RB Rashard Mendenhall More than They Think

When the season opens in 2012, there is a great possibility that two starters from the 2011 campaign will be on the PUP list for the Steelers, running back Rashard Mendenhall and nose tackle Casey Hampton. Ironically, this was to be (and is) a huge season for both players as the Steelers weigh their contract options moving into 2013.This is especially true for Mendenhall, who in the last regular season game against the Cleveland Browns, tore his right ACL on the final play of the first quarter. That injury capped a somewhat disappointing 2011 season in which he ran for 928 yards and nine touchdowns. Fortunately, for the Steelers, they appear to have depth at the running back position and do not have to rush Mendenhall in his recovery.
Even General Manager Kevin Colbert expects Mendenhall (and Hampton) to return in 2012. “My guess is they’ll open the season on the PUP,” said Colbert, “You’ve got to remember both of those injuries happen late in the year.”  If this is the case, neithe...

Source: Yardbarker: Pittsburgh Steelers

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Fans May Miss Pittsburgh Steelers Running Back Rashard Mendenhall More than They Think


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When the season opens in 2012, there is a great possibility that two starters from the 2011 campaign will be on the PUP list for the Steelers, running back Rashard Mendenhall and nose tackle Casey Hampton. Ironically, this was to be (and is) a huge season for both players as the Steelers weigh their contract options moving into 2013.This is especially true for Mendenhall, who in the last regular season game against the Cleveland Browns, tore his right ACL on the final play of the first quarter. That injury capped a somewhat disappointing 2011 season in which he ran for 928 yards and nine touchdowns. Fortunately, for the Steelers, they appear to have depth at the running back position and do not have to rush Mendenhall in his recovery.

Even General Manager Kevin Colbert expects Mendenhall (and Hampton) to return in 2012. “My guess is they’ll open the season on the PUP,” said Colbert, “You’ve got to remember both of those injuries happen late in the year.”  If this is the case, neit...

Source: Yardbarker: Pittsburgh Steelers

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Will the Steelers Offensive Line Come Together in 2012 as the Team Wants it To?

We all know that the Steelers are counting on their offensive line in 2012 to be much better than it has been in the past several years.

The club has spent some high draft choices on the line, and today PFW says that the line needs to be a stronger unit in 2012, and they question if it will be able to come together as fast as the team needs it to.

There has been plenty of focus on what changes new coordinator Todd Haley will implement on offense, as well as how well he will work with QB Ben Roethlisberger. While these are material issues, there’s no doubting that Roethlisberger’s rare passing gifts and daring style of play all but guarantee that he will put his unique stamp on the offense no matter the coordinator — though whether Haley works to implement more short, quick passing with an eye on protecting Roethlisberger from the rush is something to watch, the way we hear it. A more pressing issue, we’re told, is how a potentially new-look Steelers’ offensive line jells. Pittsburgh could have new starters at both guard spots as well as at left tackle, with rookies David DeCastro (right guard) and Mike Adams (left tackle) possible Week One starters. Building continuity upfront can take time, so let’s see how Pittsburgh fares in that regard.

Source: Steelers Gab

Steelers aren’t celebrating Terrell Suggs’ injury


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As in any football rivalry, there have been moments when those on one side of the Steelers-Ravens divide have wished ill will on those on the other side. That’s just the way these things go. In an interview with 105.7 The Fan in Baltimore, via ESPN.com, Steelers General Manager Kevin Colbert said that those feelings…

Source: ProFootballTalk » Pittsburgh Steelers

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Former Steelers Kicker Jeff Reed Just Hoping For Another Chance

Former Pittsburgh Steelers kicker Jeff Reed is not ready to hang up his kicking shoes just yet. The eccentric player known for his spiked hair, and at times colorful lifestyle, continues to train under the watchful eye of a personal trainer in North Carolina.

Reed, who just wrapped up coaching at a kicking camp this past week at Queens University in Charlotte, said Thursday that he trains every morning for about two and half hours starting at 6:00 a.m. and kicks religiously on Sundays at 1:00 p.m. to simulate game times.

Reed, who spent his first eight plus seasons in Pittsburgh, was released Read more [...]

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