Category Archives: Season Info
The Pittsburgh Steelers are one of the toughest NFL teams to figure out ahead of the 2016 season—in a good, potentially great, way.
Just after the 2015 campaign ended, had you asked if the Steelers would improve upon their 10-win performance and wild card berth the following year, the answer would have been a resounding yes. They would have Martavis Bryant, Antonio Brown and Le’veon Bell for an entire season. Ben Roethlisberger remains one of the most underrated great quarterbacks of all time. How could they not emerge as a dynamo on the back of perhaps the scariest offense in the NFL?
Well, a spanner or two (or three) has been thrown into those plans. Stud wide receiver Bryant is suspended for the entirety of the 2016 crusade after violating the league’s substance abuse policy. Bell, the Steelers’ star running back, is also facing a four-game suspension for skipping a drug test. Multiple reports have the Steelers confident that the suspension levied will be overturned, and that Bell will, in fact, be available for their Week 1 sparring.
Still, these types of hiccups are troubling. You want your best players on the field every week, and the Steelers won’t have that luxury with Bryant watching from home all year. And there’s a chance they’ll be debilitated even further for the first 25 percent of the season with regards to Bell. Those losses would cripple most teams.
But the Steelers aren’t most teams. Not by a long shot. Bell’s backup, Deangelo Williams, shined as the No. 1 running man through the first few weeks of last season. Brown, meanwhile, is the best wideout in football. Having Bryant on the field, as one of the most lethal deep-ball threats in the game, makes his job easier; not having him on the field, though, doesn’t make Brown’s job impossible.
Brown caught more than 70 percent of his passes while racking in 136 total receptions and more than 1,830 yards. The last player to reel in at least 69 percent of his passes while clearing the 1,800-yard plateau? That would be Jerry Rice, during the 1995 season, as a member of the San Francisco 49ers, according to pro-football-reference. That’s some serious company, and it suggests that Brown can carry an entire receiving corps on his own.
He has a better chance than most one-man shows anyway. The Steelers’ running game, whether they are using Bell or Williams, will open up plenty of opportunities in the air, while Big Ben has the ridiculously strong arm necessary to capitalize on Brown’s speed against double coverage. Wide Receiver Sammie Coates has also stepped up in training camp and could be speeding toward a subtly spectacular season. Any production of Bryant’s that he can make up will make life exponentially easier on Brown and the rest of the Steelers’ offense.
The defense, of course, will need to tighten up as well. It was hot and cold last season, and appeared to cool off as the year progressed. The Steelers, nevertheless, ranked 11th in points allowed per game.
If they can stay right around that area, they’ll be just fine.
Pittsburgh’s passing prevention will most likely need to improve for that to happen. While the Steelers ranked among the top six defenses in total interceptions, they finished 30th in passing yards allowed and 19th in passing touchdowns relinquished.
Their secondary would often get burned taking too many gambles, so they’ll have to see if rookie cornerbacks Artie Burns out of Miami (first round) and Sean Davis out of Maryland (second round) can make an immediate impact. Anytime defenses are even slightly dependent on newbies in the secondary, the potential for some sort of regression exists.
And yet, there’s a reason why Bovada gives the Steelers top-five Super Bowl odds (+1200), in addition to the second-best AFC Title chances (+550), behind only the New England Patriots (+275). Even a slightly below-average defense puts you in a great position if you’re carried by a dominant offense. And we know the Steelers will have that, even without Bryant and, potentially, Bell.
Besides, regardless of what Pittsburgh’s secondary looks like, it will be buoyed by a stingy run defense. The Steelers ranked in the top five of both rushing yards allowed per game and touchdowns let up on the ground last season, and they didn’t lose any personnel that would suggest they’re do for a decline.
It helps, too, that the AFC isn’t exactly overrunning with powerhouses. You have the Patriots, yes. But the No. 2 slot in the conference is far from determined. Any one of the Cincinnati Bengals (+800), Denver Broncos (+900), Indianapolis Colts (+1100) or Kansas City Chiefs (+1100) could end up being Super Bowl contenders or pretenders. The Steelers, on paper, are easily the best team of that bunch. They have the best quarterback, in Roethlisberger, and it isn’t even kind of close, and their backfield combination of Bell and Williams leads the pack by a similar margin.
In any other season, given the absence of Bryant and the uncertainty of Pittsburgh’s passing defense, it might be tough to envision the Steelers as Super Bowl contenders. They would be playoff-bound, sure. But there would, presumably, be another team or two to slot ahead of them. That’s just not the case this year. The Steelers are a good-to-great football squad that will be propped up even further by the AFC’s shallow juggernaut pool—and there is, by no means, any shame in that.
We like the Steelers to advance to the AFC Championship game against the New England Patriots, where they’ll likely fall just shy of their ultimate Super Bowl aspirations. Then again, if a few things go their way, we could see the Steelers play Green Bay in an all-anticipated Super Bowl Final
Steelers Final cuts: T Tony Hills, CB Crezdon Butler, P Jeremy Kapinos, TE John Gilmore, DE J.Crittenton.
Surprising? Maybe a few.
Crezdon Butler – Butler had a decent preseason but he never separated himself from the pack like many thought. He did have a 95-yard pick six but apparently that wasn’t enough for Coach Tomlin. Let’s hope Butler clears waivers because this kid still has potential.
Tony Hills – This is a bit of a surprise to me. It’s been reported that Hills came into camp in the best shape of his career and he performed well during preseason at both Tackle and Guard. He even started at RG for two games. I would rather have Hills starting at RG than Legursky.
Jeremy Kapinos – Many thought that he outperformed Daniel Sepulveda but I disagree. Sepulveda does have injury concerns.
This completes the Pittsburgh Steelers Cuts for the 2011 season. Here are the other cuts. Baraka Atkins, Mario Harvey, Chris McCoy and Mortty Ivy, defensive lineman Corbin Bryant, defensive backs Brett Greenwood, Macho Harris, Donovan Warren and Da’Mon Cromartie-Smith, running backs James Johnson and John Clay, offensive linemen Colin Miller, Kyle Jolly, John Malecki, Trevis Turner and Keith Williams, wide receivers Armand Robinson, Wes Lyons and Tyler Grisham, tight end Jamie McCoy and kicker Swayze Waters.
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.
Listen to Pittsburgh Steelers head coach, Mike Tomlin’s last press conference of the 2011 training camp series.
Flozell Adams has been official cut by the Pittsburgh Steelers. Adams, now 36, filled in admirably last season at RT due to the season ending Achilles injury suffered by starter Willie Colon.
Most people anticipated this cut because the Steelers signed RT Willie Colon to a 5 year /29 million dollar deal yesterday. That dollar amount is a bit surprising given Colon didn’t play last year and he’s coming off of a major injury. To stay with the Steelers, Adams would have had to take a pay cut. Adams was due 5 million this year. The Steelers simply can’t afford to pay Adams 5 million for this season and he refused to take a pay cut which is why he’s no longer with the team.
The Pittsburgh Steelers said that Willie Colon was a priority this offseason and they weren’t kidding. Even though Colon missed all of last year with an Achilles injury, the Steelers rewarded the right tackle (RT) with a 5 year / 29 million dollar contract. Sources around the league say that Colon is a top notch RT but many fans have their doubts. Regardless, Colon was rewarded with a “more than fair” contract especially coming off of a serious injury. Maybe the fact that he’s good friends with Ben Roethlisberger helped his case.
Discuss this signing at the PlanetSteelers.com Forum & Message Board
According to reports, Willie Colon is being targeted by the Chicago Bears. ESPN.com reports:
The Bears have made contact with Steelers tackle Willie Colon about the possibility of making a deal, according to an NFL source. But it’s believed that Colon is actually more of a contingency plan for if the Bears are unable to land Saints tackle Jermon Bushrod.
Also, there has been rumors that the Buffalo Bills are interested in Willie Colon. Before Colon suffered a season ending Achilles inury, many “insiders” considered Willie Colon as a top 5 right tackle. Most Steeler fans would disagree. Willie Colon has been notorious for offsides penalties and has almost gotten his buddy, Big Ben killed by opposing linebackers on several occasions. With that being said, Colon is still a priority for the Steelers front office. With the Steelers 10+ million over the cap and Colon’s price rising, the Steelers may need Florida Gator rookie, Marcus Gilbert to step into the starting role earlier than expected.
Only time will tell but the Pittsburgh Steelers tackle situation is getting worrisome. There are rumors that Max Starks is cut due to weight and injury issues, Jonathan Scott is unsigned, Flozell Adams is unsigned, and Willie Colon may be Chicago bound.
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)