Category Archives: Defense
The Atlanta Falcons will face the Pittsburgh Steelers tonight at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh. This will be the Steelers third preseason game and you'll see the starters play the 1st half and the roster will begin to finalize for those on the "bubble".
Here are a few players to pay special attention to during tonight's game:
Tony Hills - The tackle from the University of Texas in now a 4th year player and it's now or never for him. Hills came into training camp in great shape and has played inspired during practice and the last 2 preseason games. Hills can play tackle as displayed against the Philadelphia Eagles or guard. Hills has been so impressive that he appears to be the front runner for the RG position. Tonight, Hills is starting at RG.
Antonio Brown - What else can you say about the youngster? The guy has seized every opportunity in training camp and preseason. He is continuing right where he left off last year but now he may be in the process of wrestling the 3rd wide receiver spot from Emmanual Sanders. Sanders has been sidelined with a foot injury.
Cornerbacks - How will our cornerbacks Keenan Lewis, Crezdon Butler, William Gay, Donovan Warren, Bryant McFadden (questionable), and Cortez Allen (questionable) fair against the highly talented and explosive Atlanta Falcons offense.
Ramon Foster and Chris Scott - Will they allow Tony Hills to steal their spot at RG? At the start of training camp, it was Foster's job to lose. Apparently, he is starting to lose it.
Marcus Gilbert - The rookie LT from the University of Florida had a rough start to training camp reportedly showing up out of shape. He has turned things around recently and is getting his first start due to Jonathan Scott's injury (hyperextended knee). He will have a tough matchup against Atlanta's 4-time Pro Bowler, John Abraham.
After 3 years, the Pittsburgh Steelers cut 2nd round draft pick Limas Sweed. The highly successful tall-wide receiver from the University of Texas is exactly what Big Ben has always wanted since Plaxico Burress left town.
With the release of Sweed, he can now be considered the biggest draft flop in recent memory. In fact, Sweed may be considered the 2nd biggest WR draft flop in Steelers history behind 1st round pick Troy Edwards during the Bill Cowher era.
The Steelers decided to release Sweed instead of placing rookie running back Baron Batch on injured reserve. Batch underwent surgery yesterday to repair a torn ACL he suffered last week.
The Steelers must pay the final year of Sweed's 4-year, $3.3 million rookie contract until his shoulder injury is healed. The Steelers also can retain Sweed and place him on injured reserve if no other team claims him.
Today, Sweed finished his Steelers career with only 7 catches. Over the past three years, Sweed has been plagued with personal issues especially lack of confidence as well as being injury prone. This training camp was critical for Sweed to prove his worth especially given his history and recovering from his 2010 season-ending achilles injury.
Apparently, Sweed didn't convince the Steelers coaching staff of his worth. It's not over for Sweed though. Another team can still claim Sweed or the Steelers would re-sign him.
Let's not forget that pro bowler James Harrison was once cut by the Steelers.
Now that LaMarr Woodley signed his extension worth 61.5 million dollars over 5 years (and 18 million of that over the next 2 years), who do the Steelers target next among their big name players?
Let's break it down. The Steelers have 2 young stars that will be unrestricted free agents at the end of this year. The first one we'll cover is Pittsburgh Steelers inside linebacker (ILB) Lawrence Timmons. Even though Timmons' has yet to make a pro bowl, he was probably the second best ILB in the league last year behind only Patrick Willis from the San Francisco 49ers. Timmons skill set is unique for someone his size. He is a tackling machine and can cover any tight end (TE) in the league. His coverage skills are what makes him so valuable to the Steelers. Timmons could likely have increased sack numbers if he wasn't asked to drop back into coverage on many 3rd down plays. Timmons can play the hybrid role like Troy Polamalu and needs to be the staple of this defense for many years to come. My best guess would indicate that he'll demand contract numbers similar to LaMarr Woddley. Timmons' agent is Drew Rosenhaus.
Let's take a look at Lawrence Timmons' stats for the 2010-2011 season:
Games Played: 16
Forced Fumbles: 2
Passed Defensed: 9
According to reports the Pittsburgh Steelers have signed all their draft picks with the exception of:
1st Round Pick: Cameron Heyward, DE, Ohio State University
3rd Round Pick: Curtis Brown, CB, University of Texas
The following other draft picks have already been signed:
Marcus Gilbert, Tackle, University of Florida
Cortez Allen, CB, The Citadel
and Chris Carter, Keith Williams and Baron Batch.
The past few days have been busy for the Pittsburgh Steelers front office. See below for a list of recent personnel moves and rumors.
Ike Taylor - The Pittsburgh Steelers biggest need was cornerback due to the youth and uncertainty at the position. The Steelers signed Taylor to a long term deal.
Max Starks - The Steelers made a surprise move and cut starting left tackle Max Starks. Starks had neck surgery this offseason which may have just ended his career. There is also reports that Starks weighed in at nearly 4o0 pounds.
Shaun Suisham - Even though he had a very poor FG attempt in the Super Bowl, Suisham was 14 for 15 for nearly a 94% success rate last season.
Antwaan Randel El - A long time Steeler (before his short stay in Washington) was cut. This was likely due to the Steelers being 10+ million over the cap and amount of young talent at the WR position. Randel El will always be remembered for his diversified play and his performance in Super Bowl XL.
Chris Dieker, QB, Southern Illinois
Aaron Bates, Punter
Eric Greenwood, Idaho, WR
Ty Boyle, North Dakota, DE
Joshua Harrison, South Carolina State, T
Derek Chard, LS, Connecticut
LaMarr Woodley - This is breaking news! The Pittsburgh Steelers have come to a long term agreement with the pro bowl linebacker
Willie Colon - The Steelers have said that resigning Colon is now the #1 priority.
According to ESPN.com reports:
The Pittsburgh Steelers and veteran cornerback Ike Taylor have reached an agreement on a four-year deal, a league source told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter.
The Pittsburgh Steelers have come to terms with the following Undrafted Free Agents (UDFA).
Vaughn Charlton, TE/HB (Temple)
John Clay, HB (Wisconsin)
Terrence McCrae, WR (Ohio)
Armand Robinson, WR (Miami University)
Adam Mims, WR (Furman)
Weslye Saunders, TE (South Carolina)
Colin Miller, C (Central Michigan)
Trevis Turner, OT (Abilene Christian)
Brent Greenwood, S (Iowa)
Niles Brinkley, CB (Wisconsin)
Eric Clanton, OLB (Citadel)
Mario Harvey, MLB (Marshall)
Miguel Chavis, DE (Clemson)
Anthony Gray, DT (Southern Miss)
Eric Greenwood, WR (Idaho)
Read the complete article of James Harrison sounding off against .. well, everyone.
Calling Roger Goodell the devil... check
Calling out teammates... check
Calling out the New England Cheatriots... check
Calling out Brian Cushing... check
Calling out league policy... check
Harrison should have a "shut up" clause in his contract for real. The guy is a great player and he's even better at channeling his anger to the playing field. But come on now Harrison, just stay away from the microphone. Your not a good talker and you can easily be taken out of context. The result of this is now the Pittsburgh Steelers will have a greater target on their back this year.
Read the complete article from Men's Journal here.
With the NFL lockout still looming, the Steelers have had plenty of time to plan their free agency strategy. The question remains...
Will the Steelers resign the 31 year old, Ike Taylor? Taylor has been the only proven cornerback in the Steelers secondary over the past several years. But Taylor is over 30 and wants to be paid. The Steelers, more than any other team in the NFL, do not pay big money to players on the downside of their career. Taylor doesn't feel confident in the Steelers' ability to resign him:
I see myself being anywhere I need to be. Wherever you put me, I’m going to make home….I just leave it up to my agent and Pittsburgh.When it comes down to getting serious, I’m sure my agent is going to call me. Other than that, he’ll let me know when the time is right.
I need that market value. I work so hard. I’ve been through so much, I feel so unappreciated, feel so underrated at my position, I feel like it’s my time to get my worth, in whatever city that’s in.
Most fans, including myself fear that our secondary will get burnt by the likes of Brady, Brees, Manning and Rodgers moreso than usual without Ike. The Steelers have shown little ability to draft quality cornerbacks over recent years (see Keenan Lewis). Hopefully one of the young guys step up and replace Ike if he indeed leaves and follows the money.
You can tell NFL news these days are a bit slow. The NFL holdout continues with no end in sight.
No free agency (yet), limited player-held voluntary practices, and basically zero NFL news.
That's why Peter Prisco from CBSSports.com would write such an article calling Steelers' standout safety, Troy Polamalu the most overrated player in the NFL. Overrated? Maybe....Definitely not the most overrated player in the NFL (see Tony Romo).
But has Prisco watched the Steelers D without Troy? Sometimes they are flat out bad. In fact the Steelers D is designed around Troy and quite honestly, the D is too dependent on Troy's play making ability.
Hey Pete! Why don't you ask Ravens QB, Joe Flacco if he thinks Polamalu is the most overrated player in the NFL.