Tag Archives: Both

Keith Butler & Kevin Colbert Both Talked About Linebackers On Thursday

The Pittsburgh Steelers wrapped up their final OTA practice of the 2012 off-season at Heinz Field and afterwards linebackers coach Keith Butler addressed the media to talk about his group.

Butler was first asked about how Jason Worilds is doing, being as he has sat out all three OTA sessions thus far. “He’s healing,” said Butler. “He had surgery on his wrist, the same thing that I had when I played, except back then they fused mine. They’re not fusing his. His going to have full range of mobility hopefully when it’s done. So it’s just taking some time to heal. We want to be sure about it so Read more […]

Source: Yardbarker: Pittsburgh Steelers

Steelers OL Coach Sean Kugler Not Opposed To Starting DeCastro & Adams If Both Can Win Jobs

The Pittsburgh Steelers are wrapping up their third and final OTA session this week prior to the mandatory mini-camp that takes place next and offensive line coach Sean Kugler evidently talked to the media today after practice.

According to Scott Brown of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Kugler said today that he’d like to have a starting five in place by start of training camp at the end of July. This statement is not too surprising by Kugler, but it figures that the starting five that end mini-camp next week will likely line up as starters once training camp gets underway at the end of July. Read more […]

Source: Yardbarker: Pittsburgh Steelers

Roethlisberger says he’s heard “both good and bad” about Haley

When the Steelers pushed out offensive coordinator Bruce Arians, and tried to pass it off as Arians voluntarily retiring, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was disappointed, as the two have long had a close relationship. Now the Steelers have hired Todd Haley to replace Arians, and Roethlisberger isn’t sure what to think. “I haven’t talked to him,”…

Source: ProFootballTalk » Pittsburgh Steelers

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OL’s Pouncey and Legursky Both Have Surgery

A couple of the Steelers on the O-line are having surgery, as Maurkice Pouncey went under the knife on Thursday, and Doug Legursky is having surgery today.

Maurkice Pouncey underwent surgery on his left ankle Thursday, the All-Pro center said on his Twitter account. Guard Doug Legursky wrote on his Twitter page that he is scheduled to have shoulder surgery today. Pouncey missed three of the Steelers’ last four games, including the loss to Denver, because of his second high ankle-sprain since his rookie year. Pouncey first sprained his left ankle last January, forcing him to miss the Super Bowl. Legursky hurt his shoulder in the Steelers’ 27-0 win over St. Louis on Dec. 24.

Source: Steelers Gab

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Both kids and stars shine in Texans’ win over Bengals

The Houston Texans turned to their kids, then to their stars to win the first playoff appearance in franchise history, a 31-10 rout Saturday of the bungling Cincinnati Bengals at Reliant Stadim. J.J. and T.J. and Andre and Arian. Rookie J.J. Watt’s leaping interception return for a touchdown late in the first half propelled the Texans in an AFC wild-card game.

Source: post-gazette.com – Steelers/NFL

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NFL Week 16 Picks: Playoff Picture Remains Muddled in both AFC and NFC with Just Two Weeks Remaining

It’s been a number of weeks since I’ve had the time to make picks for the upcoming NFL week. I believe I fared poorly in fact last time, but nonetheless am clinging to a winning percentage of above .500 against the spread for the season. So, with two weeks left to play and multiple division and wild card races still in the balance, let’s take a crack at this week’s odd schedule, which of course started Thursday night with the Indianapolis Colts‘ last-second win over the Houston Texans.

Cleveland (-115) at Baltimore (-13)
  • Something tells me Baltimore will be focused and on point following their blowout loss at San Diego last Sunday night. But with the Ravens‘ inability to stretch the field vertically with the passing game (outside of pass interference calls, of course), defenses are able to key in on Ray Rice more exhaustively, both in the running game and in the flat and screen game that Flacco relies on so heavily. Too high a spread in my estimation for a team that’s missing their top wide receiving playmaker in Anquan Boldin. Pick: Cleveland
Denver Broncos (-3) at Buffalo Bills (-115)
  • The Tim Tebow parade has been quite fun and interesting to watch, but my sense is the Broncos come crashing down to earth here this next two weeks. That might not be the best guess considering how pathetically Buffalo has played since their solid start to the season. I’d take Buffalo to win this one outright and put Denver in a tough spot heading into their Week 17 matchup with Kansas City. Pick: Buffalo
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Carolina Panthers (-8)
  • Jeez, I absolutely detest the thought of taking this Panthers team by more than a touchdown, but the Buccaneers have clearly packed it in and given up on their head coach Raheem Morris. Their pathetic showing against Dallas two Thursdays ago was disgraceful. Pick: Carolina
Arizona Cardinals at Cincinnati Bengals (-5)

(Find all Week 16 lines and other pertinent information at Top Bet’s safe, secure online sportsbook).

  • Cincinnati got a much needed win last week, as well as the help it needed with other AFC wild card contenders losing. But don’t be too impressed by their 20-13 road win over a Kellon Clemons led Rams team. A much tougher test awaits Saturday in the form of the surging Cardinals. If this one were being played in Glendale, I’d take Arizona in a heartbeat, but they’re not nearly as consistent away from home. So, Cincinnati has a great shot at winning, but I still don’t think we’re looking at more than a 3 or 4 point margin in either team’s favor. Pick: Arizona
Oakland Raiders (+3) at Kansas City Chiefs (+100)
  • All the Chiefs have to do is win their final two games, hope Denver loses its final two, and have San Diego split in order to make the most improbable postseason push in a long time, if not ever. Won’t happen most likely, though I do think they can do their part and win this weekend against a Raiders team that’s totally lost its way this past month. Pick: Kansas City
Miami Dolphins (+10) at New England Patriots (+100)
  • Tough line. The Pats are awfully beat up, but they’ve survived just fine up to this point with a shoddy defense. It’s not like Miami has the offensive artillery to really expose Bill Belichick’s flawed defense. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a push here, but I’d lean on the side of New England if I had to. Pick: New England
New York Giants (+3) at New York Jets (+105)
  • The Jets did not match up well at all against the Eagles, and the blowout loss was indicative of that. I think they’ll fare much better this week against a desperate Giants team that once again put themselves in a ridiculously precarious position with a puzzling loss in the immediate wake of a huge win. It’s do-or-die for the Giants, and though the Jets can feasibly survive a loss out of conference this weekend, Rex Ryan will surely have his team preparing as if their playoffs start this weekend. Pick: New York Jets
St. Louis Rams (+13) at Pittsburgh Steelers (-105)
  • Who knows? Seems like the Rams might be a safe bet with Charlie Batch starting in place of the injured Ben Roethlisberger, no? Maybe not. Perhaps keeping things simple and minimizing the likelihood of turnovers will be all that’s needed for Pittsburgh to suffocate St. Louis for a two-touchdown or more victory. Pick: St. Louis
Jacksonville Jaguars (+7.5) at Tennessee Titans (-105)
  • Jacksonville could not have played any worse or less inspired than they did in their Thursday night loss to the Falcons in Week 14. I have never seen a more wretched display of heart and execution all wrapped into one performance as what the Jaguars turned in a little over a week ago. Sure they’ll play better this time, but with the Titans coming off a stinker yet still in the mix in the wild card, it’s Tennessee who will put their recent fiasco in the rear view mirror. Pick: Tennessee
Minnesota Vikings (+7) at Washington Redskins (-115)
  • Redskins laying seven? No thanks. Nice win last weekend, but Minnesota has, for the most part, hung tough in the majority of their 12 losses. Washington feels a little too good about last week and keeps things more interesting than they should. Christian Ponder has been terrible on the road though, so who knows what unfolds at FedEx Field when these two mediocre squads square off. Pick: Minnesota
San Diego Chargers (+3) at Detroit Lions (+110)
  • Love the Chargers again this week. Was not at all surprised they thrashed Baltimore last Sunday night. A tough road test against a Lions team that’s regained its mojo thanks to two close wins the past two weeks. Still, San Diego has it humming right now and I don’t see Detroit being able to get away with an inconsistent 60 minutes against them like they’ve been able to do in wins over Minnesota and Oakland this month. Pick: San Diego
Philadelphia Eagles (+3) at Dallas Cowboys (-105)
  • Great game for fans, particularly those outside of the Eagles and Giants fan tribes who will undoubtedly be on pins and needles hoping their team takes care of business against a rival with so much at stake. Both are coming off impressive Week 15 outings, so it’s definitely hard to give one team the edge in terms of momentum. I do think that if the Cowboys don’t commit to running the football, they’ll play right into Philly’s hands and lose. Something tells me they’ll do just that. Pick: Philadelphia
San Francisco 49ers (-1.5) at Seattle Seahawks
  • Well, I’ll admit I underestimated SF a bit, but the final score on Monday night still doesn’t reflect any sort of foundational disparity between the 49ers and the Steelers. Just about everything broke their way, while nothing seemed to work in Pittsburgh’s favor. Moving on though. San Francisco has a tough test in Week 16, a road trip to divisional foe, Seattle, who’s won five of their previous six games. Marshawn Lynch will have a tough time toting the rock for the second week in a row, but if Tavaris Jackson can continue protecting the football well, I think they’ll be able to make a play or two on defense or special teams to win. Pick: Seattle
Atlanta Falcons (+7) at New Orleans Saints (-115)
  • That’s a big line considering how often these two teams play close games. I believe at least the previous four meetings have been decided by a field goal or less, two in overtime. So, despite how well New Orleans is clicking at this critical time of the season, I don’t think I’d take a position on them covering seven against a Falcons team that’s also finding its rhythm down the stretch. Pick: Atlanta

Source: Behind the Steel Curtain

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NFL Week 15 Power Rankings: Playoff Picture in both Conferences Still Quite Murky

Sure there’s one more game still to be played in Week 14 — Seattle vs. St. Louis — but neither of those two teams makes my top-15 anyway. So let’s rank ’em 1-32. Like my Week 12 edition, I’d imagine you’ll find some of my placements surprising. But as I explained then, I take ‘Power Rankings’ to mean an assessment of each team in the present and how they project into the immediate future, not merely a ranking of teams for what they accomplished in Week 2 or 3 when circumstances and dynamics across the league were vastly different than what they are right now.

1) Green Bay Packers
  • Record: 13-0
  • Division/Record: Obviously the Packers are atop the standings in their division and conference. The Pack can clinch homefield advantage throughout the playoffs with one more win or a loss by either San Francisco or New Orleans.
  • Thoughts: What can you say other than the Packers look amazing. Their latest win, a 46-16 thrashing of Oakland, was another masterpiece performance from Aaron Rodgers and the Packers offense. They did, however, lose Greg Jennings with a potentially serious knee injury, a development that might force Green Bay to reconsider how they approach this last few weeks of the season.
2) Baltimore Ravens
  • Record: 10-3
  • Division/Conference Standing: The Ravens are first in the AFC North due to head-to-head tiebreaker advantage over the Steelers. The Ravens would be the No. 2 seed if the playoffs started today.
  • Thoughts: I’m giving the Ravens the nod over the Steelers in this edition for the simple reason that they’re in better shape physically than are the Steelers. A third meeting between the two teams come playoff time would be epic.
3) Pittsburgh Steelers
  • Record: 10-3
  • Division/Conference Standing: The Steelers are second in the AFC North, which despite being tied for the top record in the conference and holding a head-to-head tiebreaker over the No. 1 seeded Patriots, means they’re relegated to wild card status for now as the No. 5 seed.
  • Thoughts: I’d be disappointed to see Ben Roethlisberger sit out next Monday night against the San Francisco 49ers. I think we’d dismantle San Francisco if he were playing at full strength. At the same time, it may be prudent for Big Ben to sit out in Week 15 in order to give his ailing ankle time to heal.

4) New Orleans Saints
  • Record: 10-3
  • Division/Conference Standing: The Saints are first in the NFC South, and are on their way to catching the 49ers for the No. 2 seed in the NFC and the first-round bye that goes along with it. New Orleans’ final three games are at Minnesota, and then home against Atlanta and Carolina. 13-3 looking like a safe bet.
  • Thoughts: After watching New England’s defense give up 27 points to a Rex Grossman led Redskins offense, I’m bumping New Orleans up ahead of the Patriots. The Saints overcame a deficit against the Titans in Week 14 to run their winning streak to five. Drew Brees is still on pace to break Dan Marino’s single-season passing yards record after throwing for 337 yards in NO’s 22-17 win.
5) New England Patriots
  • Record: 10-3
  • Division/Conference Standing: First in the AFC East, first in the AFC.
  • Thoughts: Despite their porous defense, Tom Brady continues to lead New England to the winner’s circle. Brady now has two favorite targets — Wes Welker and Rob Gronkowski — that have essentially proven to be unguardable this season. That makes life awfully tough for opposing defenses when deciding how to disrupt New England’s offensive rhythm. The Pats could very easily win it all, but their flaws on defense could also be exposed in the divisional round against, say, the Jets who look to be coming on strong and are in no way intimidated of the Patriots.
6) Houston Texans
  • Record: 10-3
  • Division/Conference Standing: The Texans clinched the AFC South with their last-second win over Cincinnati on Sunday. The Texans could very well win a first round bye, particularly if the Steelers surpass the Ravens in the North. Houston holds a head-to-head tiebreaker over Pittsburgh, but it’s Baltimore who got the better of the Texans earlier this season.
  • Thoughts: Wade Phillips has to be coordinator of the year in 2011, no? Obviously T.J. Yates has handled the pressure of taking over for a contending team mid-season with aplomb. He led Houston to victory in Week 14 despite the Texans’ running game being held in check for most of the afternoon. That’s a promising sign for Texans fans who were concerned — and rightfully so — that the Texans would be in huge trouble if Arian Foster didn’t have a big game.
7) New York Jets
  • Record: 8-5
  • Division/Conference Standing: The Jets were the big winners in Week 14 among the crop of wild card contenders. New York won its third consecutive game to move into the No. 6 hole in the AFC. They trail New England by two games in the AFC East.
  • Thoughts: If you’ve listened to the site’s podcast this season, you’ve heard me discuss why I think the Jets will again make the AFC Championship Game in a rematch against the Steelers. I may be one of the only believers in Mark Sanchez out there. No, he doesn’t belong in the same class as the game’s truly elite quarterbacks, but there’s not too many I would take over him in that next tier. Sanchez does, however, have 21 TDs compared to just 11 INTs. That’s not a stat line worthy of never-ending critique if you ask me. If the Jets are going to hold on for that playoff spot and then make the type of run I believe they’ll make, Rex Ryan’s team will have to prove they can play better on the road than they have this season. They’re just 2-4 on the road, with two upcoming tests against Philadelphia this week, and then Miami in Week 17. Sandwiched in between is a very intriguing Week 16 matchup with the Giants.
8) New York Giants
  • Record: 7-6
  • Division/Conference Standing: The Giants moved atop the NFC East standings for the time being with their incredible late-game comeback against the Dallas Cowboys Sunday night. If the playoffs started today, the Giants would be the No. 4 seed and host the top wild card team (the Atlanta Falcons).
  • Thoughts: Eli Manning is playing outstanding football right now, particularly in the clutch. You have to be concerned by how much yardage the Giants defense is allowing, but trailing by two scores has proven to not be a death sentence for the Giants. If I’m Green Bay, I want no part of them in a potential Divisional Round matchup.
9) Atlanta Falcons
  • Record: 8-5
  • Division/Conference Standing: The Falcons were somewhat fortunate to escape Week 14 with a win over the Carolina Panthers. The late flurry kept Atlanta in the No. 5 slot in the conference. The Falcons have held down second place in the NFC South for some time now.
  • Thoughts: I don’t know what it is about this Atlanta — they’re what I might call a very good average team, or a really average good team. Either way, I like them over teams like the Broncos and Bengals in a one-game situation. I do think they could upset a team like the 49ers on the road in the wild card round, but I don’t think they have enough talent to make a run to the NFC title game this season.
10) San Francisco 49ers
  • Record: 10-3
  • Division/Conference Standing: The 49ers clinched the NFC West last week, but risk losing the No. 2 spot to New Orleans if they don’t win out. Which they won’t.
  • Thoughts: I’ve debated with Neal Coolong about the 49ers and how they pose zero threat to the true big boys of the league. San Francisco is a competitive, solid team. But the lack of firepower on offense and they’re inexperience winning big games at this time of year is more than enough to keep me convinced they’ll finish 11-5 and get bounced in the first round of the playoffs.
No. 11. Dallas Cowboys

Dallas will have no one to blame but themselves if they don’t make the playoffs. If they do sneak into the postseason, they’ll be as dangerous as anybody in the field not named Green Bay.

No. 12. Chicago Bears
No. 13. Detroit Lions

Very lucky to have not lost to the Vikings in the final moments Sunday afternoon. The Lions have no more than one win left in them though. We’ll see if it’s enough to get them in. Something tells me no.

No. 14. Denver Broncos

If Marion Barber doesn’t have one of the all-time biggest brain farts, the Bears escape Mile High with an impressive road win. Incredible stuff from Tim Tebow and the Broncos coming from behind yet again. That’s four consecutive weeks they’ve trailed at the two minute warning. Another noteworthy outing from Denver’s defense, but we’ll see how good that unit really is when they square off against the Pats this coming weekend.

No. 15. San Diego Chargers

San Diego is going to beat Baltimore this weekend. Take that to the bank. It’s probably too late though for Norv Turner’s squad after the Broncos’ latest miracle win, but by the end of this coming weekend, they could very well be within one game with two weeks to play. Don’t count them out just yet actually.

No. 16. Cincinnati Bengals
No. 17. Philadelphia Eagles
No. 18. Oakland Raiders
No. 19. Tennessee Titans
No. 20. Miami Dolphins
No. 21. Arizona Cardinals
No. 22. Seattle Seahawks
No. 23. Washington Redskins
No. 24. Minnesota Vikings
No. 25. Cleveland Browns
No. 26. Buffalo Bills
No. 27. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
No. 28. Jacksonville Jaguars
No. 29. Carolina Panthers
No. 30. Kansas City Chiefs
No. 31. St. Louis Rams
No. 32. Indianapolis Colts

Source: Behind the Steel Curtain

Bengals Coordinators Gruden, Zimmer Both Excellent Head Coaching Candidates

Cincinnati Enquirer reporter Joe Reedy (one of the best) posted on his blog a bit about the possibility of Bengals Offensive Coordinator Jay Gruden being a candidate for the Jaguars head coaching vacancy.

And it makes perfect sense.

In pregame research, I try to hone in on three things in regards to the Steelers opponent: what the team’s local media say about the team, what the national media say about the team and what the fans say about the team.

More often than not, I end up scrolling through the Ask a Fan post of that team, and enjoy the wit that lies within. Before the Week 10 game with Cincinnati, I asked them what people thought of either Mike Zimmer or Jay Gruden as head coaching candidates. It went a while before a response was posted, and my question was essentially dismissed as something that won’t happen.

I didn’t understand why then, and considering it seems there will be a cleansing of houses among several NFL teams this coming offseason, I have even less doubt either one – if not both – of them could be brought somewhere else.

I don’t mean to put the Bengals in any kind of negative light – I mean that. But look at what Gruden has done with that offense. He took a second-round quarterback (historically, less than five percent of QBs taken later than the 33rd pick in the draft amount to an above-replacement-level player) with a spotty offensive line and young, underachieving veteran receivers and made them into a passable – if not successful – group. He got RT Andre Smith motivated, which is something no one has ever done. He’s brought them up from the doldrums to be a competitive group.

How many young offenses are there in the league right now that could use that sort of leadership? Indianapolis (likely to get the crown jewel of quarterbacks, in desperate need of an offensive overhaul), Minnesota with Christian Ponder (more talented than Dalton, in desperate need of help, a high draft pick coming), St. Louis (see Minnesota, but with Sam Bradford) and Jacksonville.

As for Zimmer…this is a guy who has figured out how to get pressure with four pass rushers. That’s how you beat Packers phenom Aaron Rodgers (I think it is, anyway, no one else has figured it out yet). And he’s doing it not with Julius Peppers and DeMarcus Ware, he’s doing it with Geno Atkins and Frostee Rucker.

The 4-3 defensive philosophy puts all emphasis on the front four getting pressure. The Giants defeated the undefeated Patriots because of exactly what Zimmer is doing now. It’s also what got Rams head coach Steve Spagnuolo his job. But Zimmer does it without first-round talent. He simply found defensive ends who can play inside (like Justin Tuck in 2007) and moves them in and out. His linebackers can cover briefly down the field, but can really stop the run. That takes a huge amount of pressure off the secondary, allowing them to make plays on the ball.

What general manager who wants to emphasize defense would not want a guy who can build a dominant defensive unit for a relatively cheap price?

I’ll wait for Ravens fans to jump all over me about this, but Zimmer is the Defensive Coordinator of the Year in the NFL, and Gruden is the Offensive Coordinator of the Year. I wouldn’t be at all surprised of both of them are interviewing in multiple places come January.

Source: Behind the Steel Curtain

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