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No progress between Steelers, Wallace

To no surprise, the Steelers and receiver Mike Wallace remain at impasse. Len Pasquarelli of the Sports Xchange reports that “there has been no progress, and, in fact, very little negotiation” between the team and the player, who is a restricted free agent. There’s no reason for any progress to be made, because there’s no…

Source: ProFootballTalk » Pittsburgh Steelers


Talks Between NFL and NFL Referees Association Stall, Replacement Officials Being Trained

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The NFL has seen replacement players before, but replacement referees appear to be in line for the 2012 season.

A players strike in 1987 led to athletes crossing the picket line to play during the season, but the league hasn't used replacement (or "scab," depending on which side of the argument you're on) before.

Talks between the two sides broke down Monday, leading to the NFL walking away from the table after federal mediation failed to bring the sides together for a deal.

The NFL has said it will begin training and hiring replacement officials from wherever, outside of college football's BCS. Those officials cover both NFL and NCAA games, and the NFL doesn't want to put those officials in "an awkward situation."

As if a newly hired official standing-toe-to-toe with Steelers coach Mike Tomlin over a disputed pass interference call won't be awkward enough.

The amount of newly emphasized regulation in the NFL has led to officials having to watch for considerably more possible infractions - up to, and particularly, issues pertaining to player safety.

As we've seen far too many times this past season, officials simply cannot be the on-field deliverers of NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell's safety agenda. It's difficult to watch Steelers OLB James Harrison jamming a shiv into the side of whichever quarterback the Steelers are playing, all the while making sure the baton FS Ryan Clark uses to bludgeon receivers upside the head isn't being used.

Hiring inexperienced officials at the onset of a labor strife between the league and its officials will only be more gasoline on an already raging inferno. We often rip officiating, sometimes rightly so, but top to bottom, they get the call right 98 percent of the time. If that number drops, and with the newly selected officials far more likely to follow the safety script to the letter, players are going to have to prepare themselves to adjust very quickly to the way a game is being officiated.



Source: Behind the Steel Curtain

Roethlisberger On Haley: ‘There’s No Trouble Between Us’


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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The Steelers begin their OTA’s or organized team activities Tuesday at their South Side headquarters.

Monday, many members of the team and coaching staff were at South Pointe golf club for the annual Cancer Caring Golf Tournament hosted by Hines Ward, Max Starks and Merrill Hoge.

Golf was on the agenda, but football on their minds as the OTAs will get the offense together for the first time with new offensive coordinator Todd Haley.

“People blew it way out of proportion,” Ben Roethlisberger said. “It’s something new, we’re getting to know each other … There’s no trouble between us at all.”

“Some games it might be 60-40 pass; some games it might be 70-30 run,” WR Emmanuel Sanders said of the new offense. “It all depends on the defense that we’re playing that week which is smart.”

Hines Ward has been a part of several great offenses which have been run by a variety of coordinators. He won’t be part of this one, but he knows change is inevitable.

“I’ve had maybe four, five different coordinators and so, it’s a part of the business,” he said. “Players, coaches, they come and go and you have to adjust accordingly and I’m confident that the players will learn the playbook – especially when they start getting to OTAs and training camp and be ready to go before the season starts.”

Roethlisberger says it’s a matter of getting used to something new.

“When you get a comfort level of like eight years of the same thing and then you change it, it’s just something different, so I’m not saying I don’t like the playbook or anything like that,” he said. “Some of the stuff is really – some of the concepts are awesome, it’s just getting an understanding of something new.”

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Filed under: Sports, Steelers, Syndicated Sports Tagged: Ben Roethlisberger, Bob Pompeani, Emmanuel Sanders, Hines Ward, Max Starks, Merrill Hoge, Playbook, Todd Haley

Source: CBS Pittsburgh » Steelers

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Reading Between The Steelers Lines Post Willie Colon Move To Left Guard

The long awaited move, at least by me, of Willie Colon to left guard is now complete. While it is never good to speak in absolutes, I can almost guarantee you that the interior of the offensive line left to right will now be Colon, Maurkice Pouncey and David DeCastro baring any injuries. I know Mike Tomlin will likely say that DeCastro hasn't been given anything yet, but let's be honest, DeCastro is NFL ready right now and is your week one starter at right guard, the position he played at Stanford. (Man it still feels good typing that out.)

With the interior of the line now set, there goes the Read more [...]

Source: Yardbarker: Pittsburgh Steelers

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Assessing the Obstacles that Stand Between the Steelers and a Postseason Bye

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - DECEMBER 19: Head coach Mike Tomlin of the Pittsburgh Steelers is seen during the game against the San Francisco 49ers at Candlestick Park on December 19, 2011 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Karl Walter/Getty Images)

The odds are quite long for the Pittsburgh Steelers to clinch a bye for the postseason. With two weeks remaining in the regular season, not only do the injury-riddled Steelers need to win out, but they need lots of help along the way. Below, I will preview the obstacles that stand in the way of the Steelers earning that much coveted bye into the second round of the playoffs.

Baltimore Ravens

If the Steelers win out, the Ravens still must lose a game in order for Pittsburgh to clinch the AFC North. Baltimore owns a tiebreaker over Pittsburgh by way of a season sweep of the series. Baltimore finishes up at home against the lowly Browns this week, and then at Cincinnati to close out the regular season. Obviously, the Ravens are undefeated at home this year, so don't look for the Brownies to pull off the upset this week. However, the Bengals are currently 8-6 and could still be alive for a playoff spot in the final game. The Ravens could be playing for better position, but Cincy could be playing for their playoff lives.

Houston Texans

Houston holds the tiebreaker over Pittsburgh because of their 17-10 defeat of the Steelers in week 4. Even if the Steelers win the division, they'll need Houston to lose a game down the stretch in order to earn a bye. The Texans play at the 1-13 Colts tomorrow night, and then finish up at home against the Tennessee Titans. Currently at 7-7, the Titans could still be alive for a playoff spot in the final week, but Houston manhandled Tennessee, 41-7, earlier in the year. Like the Steelers, the Texans are battling the injury bug and are down to using rookie quarterback T.J. Yates after Matt Schaub and Matt Leinart suffered season-ending injuries in back-to-back games. Stud receiver Andre Johnson has also been battling a hamstring injury since the Steeler game, and defensive end Mario Williams is lost for the year. The Texans clinched the first playoff game in team history two weeks ago but fell flat at home to the Carolina Panthers just last week. It's hard to say if the Texans are just satisfied with making the playoffs for the first time, and if they really appreciate the importance of a bye.

New England Patriots

At 11-3, the Patriots are in the drivers seat for the number 1 seed in the AFC. However, the Steelers hold the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Pats, and if the first two obstacles fall for the Steelers, they would have a shot at the number 1 seed if New England stumbles in one of their last two games. Unfortunately, the Patriots have scored 30+ plus points in six-straight games and seem to be running on all cylinders down the stretch (at least on offense). New England closes out their schedule at home against the Dolphins and Bills who are both 5-9. The Patriots took care of Miami in pretty easy fashion in week one, but they lost an exciting game at Buffalo to the Bills in week 4 on a last-second field goal. However, that was back when the Bills were playing exciting and inspired football. After getting off to a surprising hot start, the Bills have fallen back into their usual position as one of the worst teams in the league.

Injuries

This has been another injury-filled season for the Steelers, and they just keep piling up as we head to the finish line. The latest casualties being Mewelde Moore's sprained knee and Rashard Mendenhall's sore ribs. When you couple those with injuries to Ben Roethlisberger and Maurkice Pouncey, as well as Lamar Woodley and even Troy Polamalu, the team, media and fans have been weighing the importance of having a bye vs. having the team's key players as close to 100% as possible when the postseason starts. The biggest injury, of course, is Big Ben's high ankle sprain. There are varying reports about what the Steelers will do with Big Ben over the last two games, and whether or not it's worth the risk to play him. The good news is the Steelers finish up at home against the Rams and on the road against the Browns. One would think the Steelers should still be able to handle their business no matter how they decide to handle their injury problems.

The final two weeks figure to be pretty intriguing, and with still an outside shot at at least a division title, it'll be interesting to see how the Steelers respond.



Source: Behind the Steel Curtain

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