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hawaiiansteel
09-04-2012, 11:37 PM
Time for Star Gazing

By Jim Wexell
SteelCityInsider.net
Posted Sep 4, 2012

http://media.scout.com/Media/Image/110/1102630.jpg

As reported, Mike Wallace and Rashard Mendenhall elevated the Steelers’ practice tempo Monday to warp speed. On Tuesday, Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said that both, along with outside linebacker James Harrison, could start ...

“I’ll leave the door open for all of them,” said Tomlin. “We’ll see how they respond to the workload.”

Of the three, Mendenhall was the biggest surprise at Monday’s practice. His burst and long speed had the defensive players buzzing.

“He looked incredible,” said Brett Keisel.

“I thought he looked great. He was running well, finishing runs. I’m excited for him,” said Lawrence Timmons.

The Steelers’ timetable did not have Mendenhall returning this early from his torn ACL only 8 months ago, but he’s now in the running with Isaac Redman and Jonathan Dwyer for the starting job this week.

Wallace and Harrison are more likely to start Sunday, particularly Wallace after Tomlin on Tuesday praised his conditioning and how well he executed his assignments.

Harrison, meanwhile, complained after Monday’s practice about his “legs, especially with the conditioning and everything. It’s a lot harder out there. It felt like the actual first day of training camp,” said Harrison, whose availability will be determined by how his knee responds to practice this week.

If Harrison does play, he’ll more than likely leave plenty of snaps for Chris Carter, who replaced Harrison throughout training camp. Another outside linebacker, Jason Worilds, is also expected to play.

Tomlin also confirmed that rookie Chris Rainey will return both punts and kickoffs, but in response to the question of whether he “trusted Rainey,” Tomlin said: “He will be given a return opportunity. I’m not going to go so far as to say ‘trusted.’ (Laughs) He’s a young guy.”

Tomlin said that Antonio Brown and Emmanuel Sanders could also return punts and kickoffs, respectively.

Ruled out of Sunday’s game by Tomlin were FS Ryan Clark (sickle cell trait), ILB Stevenson Sylvester (knee) and OG David DeCastro (knee). The Steelers can put DeCastro on injured reserve after 4 p.m. Tuesday, thereby qualifying him for a return after midseason. The Steelers are expected to sign Trai Essex to replace DeCastro, but doing so next week could save the team money as well as keep their options open for a serious injury at a more important position, like quarterback.

The Steelers normally activate only seven offensive linemen, so Mike Adams (LT-RT) and Doug Legursky (C-G) should provide enough flexibility for Denver.

Also of note from the first of Tomlin’s weekly press conferences Tuesday was his explanation of why he kept two backup quarterbacks, Byron Leftwich and Charlie Batch.

“There’s always discussion in today’s NFL whether you go with two or three. I find comfort in three,” Tomlin said. “When I walk up and down these hallways and look at pictures of the ’70s Steelers, they had 45-man rosters and I saw three quarterbacks on those pictures. So that’s a little bit of a history lesson for me.”

http://pit.scout.com/2/1218050.html

aggiebones
09-05-2012, 11:40 AM
They never had 3 QBs over 30 in those pictures...I don't think.
They normally had one veteran backup and a younger guy.
For some reason, we keep 3 old dudes. Charlie is a good stop gap, but we can't win a super bowl with him needing to play the playoffs. Same with Leftwich probably. So why keep both and dump Jerod..who had a preseason passer rating of almost 140! Kid deserved more of a chance.

SanAntonioSteelerFan
09-05-2012, 11:52 AM
They never had 3 QBs over 30 in those pictures...I don't think.
They normally had one veteran backup and a younger guy.
For some reason, we keep 3 old dudes. Charlie is a good stop gap, but we can't win a super bowl with him needing to play the playoffs. Same with Leftwich probably. So why keep both and dump Jerod..who had a preseason passer rating of almost 140! Kid deserved more of a chance.

I hear you, aggiebones. Only thing I can think of is the F.O. believes we have a reasonable chance of WINNING the Superbowl, and think that we're more likely to do that without a young inexperienced buck than with.

If they thought this was just a rebuilding year, I bet we would have kept the rook and let one of the Oldsters go.

HERE WE GO!!!

RuthlessBurgher
09-05-2012, 12:06 PM
Awesome news about Mendenhall. Amidst all of this arguing back and forth about who is the better RB to start for us while Mendenhall is out, Mendenhall himself is our best option if healthy.

Oviedo
09-05-2012, 12:22 PM
Awesome news about Mendenhall. Amidst all of this arguing back and forth about who is the better RB to start for us while Mendenhall is out, Mendenhall himself is our best option if healthy.

Yep!!! If healthy Mendy is the starter. No one has proven they are good enough to take that away from him. All the talk was because he was hurt. he is our best RB altought I think he is coming back too soon.

lloydroid
09-05-2012, 12:56 PM
Yep!!! If healthy Mendy is the starter. No one has proven they are good enough to take that away from him. All the talk was because he was hurt. he is our best RB altought I think he is coming back too soon.

JD will make far more big plays than RM. Oh, he looks super good in practice, whoopie;
so do lots of guys. He has had years to show what he can do when it counts and
he comes up lame most times, including fumbling the football which LOST the SUPER
BOWL. He's not a winner. Move on. JD will produce more when it matters. Don't waste
this opportunity on a player who has proven to under-perform when it matters most.

RuthlessBurgher
09-05-2012, 01:25 PM
And Ben Roethlisberger has thrown 5 interceptions in Super Bowls...if you are going to throw out Mendenhall for one fumble in a Super Bowl, Ben obviously must go as well...he's 5 times worse!!! :roll:

Slapstick
09-05-2012, 03:14 PM
Oh, he looks super good in practice, whoopie; so do lots of guys. He has had years to show what he can do when it counts and
he comes up lame most times...

Are we talking about Mendenhall or Dwyer?

ikestops85
09-05-2012, 03:46 PM
JD will make far more big plays than RM. Oh, he looks super good in practice, whoopie;
so do lots of guys. He has had years to show what he can do when it counts and
he comes up lame most times, including fumbling the football which LOST the SUPER
BOWL. He's not a winner. Move on. JD will produce more when it matters. Don't waste
this opportunity on a player who has proven to under-perform when it matters most.

Wow ... I'm not exactly Mendy's biggest fan but I don't believe he lost us the SB. If anything it was the play of the offensive line that was a big cause for the loss. If they would have given Ben protection his arm wouldn't have gotten hit and Wallace might have scored on the play. If Mendy would have been able to gone one step before being hit maybe he doesn't fumble. How do we let those defenders in the backfield that quickly?

As for Mendy I think he is the kind of runner that needs his line to give him a crease. Get him to the second level and he starts to gobble up yards. If he doesn't get a crease he can't make one like Redman. That's why I've always said that I think Redman is the better runner for the type of offensive line we have been putting on the field. I had hopes the O-line would be better this year but with DD out for an extended period and Adams doing his best Jermaine Stephens imitation I've tempered my enthusiasm. If we ever do get that O-line clicking I think you will see Mendy shine.

hawaiiansteel
09-05-2012, 04:18 PM
He has had years to show what he can do when it counts and
he comes up lame most times, including fumbling the football which LOST the SUPER
BOWL.

equal blame could be placed on David Johnson for missing the block that allowed Mendy to get hit, on Kemo for missing his block which allowed Ben's arm to get hit on the interception that was returned for a TD instead of being a long TD pass to Wallace, on Bruce Arians for some of the worst play-calling on that last drive that did not take advantage of Green Bay's depleted secondary, etc.

definitely can't blame the Super Bowl loss all on Mendy...

Shoe
09-05-2012, 06:21 PM
You guys are manufacturing excuses (for the SB). I don't care if Johnson missed the block. That fumble cost us TREMENDOUSLY. We had ALL the momentum. He hangs on to that ball, and I thought we would score. We get a good kickoff, and they have to drive 80 yards (instead of 50), and so on. HE lost that SB.

Sugar
09-05-2012, 06:24 PM
You guys are manufacturing excuses (for the SB). I don't care if Johnson missed the block. That fumble cost us TREMENDOUSLY. We had ALL the momentum. He hangs on to that ball, and I thought we would score. We get a good kickoff, and they have to drive 80 yards (instead of 50), and so on. HE lost that SB.

Wrong answer. Try again.

Eddie Spaghetti
09-05-2012, 06:44 PM
blaming mendenhall is about as dumb as blaming wallace which someone did a couple of weeks ago.

if we are assigning blame to any one player, look no further than #7. From coming out high and wild on the first series, down to the last drive where he was woefully inefficient, that one is on him. I remember distinctly miller being wide open for a nice chunk, I think on 3rd down that last drive. Move the chains once and everything flows a lot easier. Just an awful performance by roethlisberger IMO, and nothing will ever change that.

DukieBoy
09-05-2012, 07:50 PM
JD will make far more big plays than RM. Oh, he looks super good in practice, whoopie;
so do lots of guys. He has had years to show what he can do when it counts and
he comes up lame most times, including fumbling the football which LOST the SUPER
BOWL. He's not a winner. Move on. JD will produce more when it matters. Don't waste
this opportunity on a player who has proven to under-perform when it matters most.

Your opinions underperform.

​"Whoopie" ... really ?

NorthCoast
09-05-2012, 10:48 PM
Seems I have heard these arguments before. The guy sitting on the bench or not starting is the guy with all the potential if given a real opportunity.
The game has changed. RBs by committee are the new norm. Franchise RBs are not needed to be a winning football team. The Superbowl champ Giants had a horrible running offense.

hawaiiansteel
09-06-2012, 02:22 AM
Wednesday Notebook:

By Jim Wexell
SteelCityInsider.net
Posted Sep 5, 2012

http://media.scout.com/Media/Image/110/1103130.jpg

The Steelers had enough problems with depth at ILB before Larry Foote hurt his ankle. Read more in Jim Wexell's notebook:

PITTSBURGH – Larry Foote missed Wednesday’s practice with a sore ankle, and the thinking around the Steelers’ locker room is that Foote was merely given a day off so that his backup could receive much-needed time at the buck linebacker position.
That’s the thinking, but it might also be a prayer.

Foote’s backup is Brandon Johnson, who’s not only new to the team, he’s new to the position as well as the entire 3-4 scheme.

Johnson played outside linebacker behind Elvis Dumervil at the University of Louisville, and then he played weak-side outside linebacker with the Arizona Cardinals and Cincinnati Bengals for six NFL seasons.

Because of his skill on special teams, he was signed by the Steelers in June and they listed the 6-5, 245-pounder as an outside linebacker. But when Stevenson Sylvester got hurt at training camp, Johnson received some time at inside linebacker. And when the Steelers’ other backup inside linebacker, Sean Spence, was injured in the final preseason game, Johnson became the team’s only backup inside linebacker.

So if Foote for some reason can’t play Sunday, Johnson becomes the defensive signal-caller as the buck linebacker in his very first game with the Steelers.

“It’s tough learning three positions,” Johnson said of both inside spots and left outside linebacker. “But the hardest one is probably the buck because you have to make all the calls. And when you’re the guy making all the calls, the pressure’s on you.”

Yesterday, Johnson was used solely at the buck, a position James Farrior once claimed took him years to master.

“It was bittersweet,” Johnson said of his performance Wednesday. “I did some things good and some things bad – bitter and sweet.”

Could he perform the buck duties this week if he had to?

“I think I could, especially with guys like Troy (Polamalu) and the other veterans in the game,” Johnson said. “They’ll probably pick up the slack at some point in time. I would just be out there trying to make sure it’s not my fault, whatever happens.”

ROTATING RUNNERS

With Baron Batch limited by an injured groin, the rest of the Steelers’ running backs took turns with the first team Wednesday, and none of them really knows what coach Mike Tomlin has in mind for Sunday’s game.

“I’m just preparing for whatever,” said Jonathan Dwyer. “I’m just excited to play.”

“We all just switched in and out every play,” said Isaac Redman, who’s been hobbled a bit by an ankle injury. “I’m not 100 percent, but I feel pretty good.”

Rashard Mendenhall said his knee responded well to Monday’s workout, but that he, too, has no idea whether he’s going to play or not.

Dwyer did give a hint by admitting that he carried first (“somewhat”) in team scrimmages. The third-year back who missed last season’s Denver game with a broken foot was asked what his gut is telling him about Sunday night.

“My gut’s just telling me to be prepared for whatever, to get ready to have some fun, and to play the best game I possibly can,” Dwyer said.

THE NECK? THE KNEE?

Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning was able to have some fun back in July with questions about his recovery from a neck injury that cost him the 2011 season.

“I have no concern over that,” Manning told ESPN’s Tom Jackson. “I’m not begging James Harrison to blindside me by any means but I feel I’m going to be able to handle it.”

Manning added: “So, James, I love you and don’t take this as a challenge now. Go easy on me if you can.”

Yesterday, Manning wasn’t nearly as playful when asked about his neck (“It’s fine”) and whether it was tested this preseason (“That was not a factor”) and whether there was any apprehension on his part (“There’s not.”)

Harrison wasn’t playful with reporters, either. He ended a brief session in Pittsburgh with “Peace out. Out of my face.”

Harrison was limited in Wednesday’s practice and said he’ll talk about his injured knee on Friday. Tomlin told Denver reporters, “(Harrison) came in today and was no worse for the wear. … His availability is going to be based on how he feels following some cumulative work over the course of the week.”

http://pit.scout.com/2/1218591.html

Slapstick
09-06-2012, 08:50 AM
So if Foote for some reason can’t play Sunday, Johnson becomes the defensive signal-caller as the buck linebacker in his very first game with the Steelers.

“It’s tough learning three positions,” Johnson said of both inside spots and left outside linebacker. “But the hardest one is probably the buck because you have to make all the calls. And when you’re the guy making all the calls, the pressure’s on you.”


Seems like a pretty good idea right now when Timmons was given reps in training camp at making the defensive calls, eh?

phillyesq
09-06-2012, 10:03 AM
It's amazing how quickly a position that seemed to have a lot of depth - Foote, Spence and Sylvester is one sore ankle away from being manned by Brandon Johnson.

feltdizz
09-06-2012, 10:45 AM
blaming mendenhall is about as dumb as blaming wallace which someone did a couple of weeks ago.

if we are assigning blame to any one player, look no further than #7. From coming out high and wild on the first series, down to the last drive where he was woefully inefficient, that one is on him. I remember distinctly miller being wide open for a nice chunk, I think on 3rd down that last drive. Move the chains once and everything flows a lot easier. Just an awful performance by roethlisberger IMO, and nothing will ever change that.

yep, he was so focused on Wallace and a big gainer he forgot about getting a first down.... in 2008 he hit Miller for a nice gain.

feltdizz
09-06-2012, 10:47 AM
You guys are manufacturing excuses (for the SB). I don't care if Johnson missed the block. That fumble cost us TREMENDOUSLY. We had ALL the momentum. He hangs on to that ball, and I thought we would score. We get a good kickoff, and they have to drive 80 yards (instead of 50), and so on. HE lost that SB.

the fumble cost us..

but it wasn't like Mend fumbled on a routine hit. GB knew the play beforehand... Mend had half a step before he was crushed in the backfield. It's hard to blame any RB for fumbling when the LB is 3 yards deep in the backfield.

Oviedo
09-06-2012, 10:53 AM
It's amazing how quickly a position that seemed to have a lot of depth - Foote, Spence and Sylvester is one sore ankle away from being manned by Brandon Johnson.


LB is quickly becoming an area of concern not a strength. Can you be a great 3-4 team with the questions we have at LB.

We may have stars in Timmons, Woodley and harrison at LB but there is a lot more concern because of Harrison's health and Woodley always getting dinged. I feel much better about the overall strength of our DL and DBs, I never thought I would ever say the latter.

Slapstick
09-06-2012, 11:01 AM
LB is quickly becoming an area of concern not a strength. Can you be a great 3-4 team with the questions we have at LB.

We may have stars in Timmons, Woodley and harrison at LB but there is a lot more concern because of Harrison's health and Woodley always getting dinged. I feel much better about the overall strength of our DL and DBs, I never thought I would ever say the latter.

Yup. Injuries suck for everybody...