Tag Archives: Detroit Lions

Keenan Lewis practices with 1st team defense

Keenan Lewis, the second year pro from Oregon practiced with the first team defense for the first time this training camp.

Lewis, who was injured the majority of last year has high expectations from the coaching staff and fans alike especially given the struggles last year with the loss of Polamalu. The steelers defense needs another playmaker in the secondary; lewis may be that guy.

Lewis has looked impressive in training camp and preseason. Although Lewis gave up a touchdown against the Detroit Lions, Lewis played well matched up against Calvin Johnson, one of the most talented and physically gifted receivers in the NFL.

Mendenhall to start against Vikings

Rashard Mendenhall, the second year 1st round pick from Illinois is set to start against the undefeated Minnesota Vikings.  This is the first time in Mendenhall's career that he is set to start when both he and Parker are healthy.  According to head coach Mike Tomlin, Mendenhall has officially passed Willie Parker on the depth chart by indicating that Mendenahll has the "hot hand".

This has been an incredible turn of events for Mendenhall.  Less than a month ago, Tomlin didn't play Mendenhall one snap against the Cincinnati Bengals because he didn't feel comfortable that Mendenhall knew his assignments and lacked game time preparation throughout the week.  Now, Mendenhall has impressed coaches, teammates, and fans alike with his running style that's been averaging over 5 yards a carry.  Mendenhall has showed a great, and decisive burst through the hole, speed, hands (in the passing game), and the ability to break tackles.  He's been one of the pleasant surprises this year along with Mike Wallace.

Mendenhall will have a difficult task this week against a very strong Vikings defensive front.  Many critics of Mendenhall say that his success is due to the weak run defenses of the San Diego Chargers, Detroit Lions, and Cleveland Browns.   This week, Mendenhall has the opportunity to silence those critics.

Fantasy Focus: Steelers vs Lions

Santonio Holmes

Santonio Holmes

This week kicks off another entry of our fantasy football prediction blog.  Steelers face off against the 1-3 Detroit Lions at Ford Field at 1pm today.  The Steelers will be visiting Ford Field for the first time since capturing their fifth Lombardi Trophy during Super Bowl XL.

Unlike previous versions of our fantasy focus articles, this one will only feature Pittsburgh Steelers players.

Pittsburgh Steelers

Ben Roethlisberger - The Detroit Lions have given up more points than any other team in the NFL to opposing quarterbacks in fantasy football.   Roethlisberger should be in for a big game today against a struggling Lion's defense.  However, if the Steelers jump out to a big lead early, Roethlisberger could be pulled or you'll see a heavy dosage of Rashard Mendenhall.  The Steelers won't run up the score and pad stats.

Rashard Mendenhall - With Willie Parker out with a turf toe injury, second year pro Rashard Mendenhall could be in for another huge day against the 20th ranked Lion's run defense.  Last week, Mendenhall had his breakout game against the Chargers totaling 165 yards and 2 touchdowns against the San Diego Chargers defense.  Mendenhall will receive the majority of the carries except on certain 3rd down situations where he'll be relieved my Mewelde Moore.

Heath Miller - On pace for 96 receptions, Heath Miller is on pace for his best season of his career.  Miller is underrated in most NFL circles, but he's in for his first pro bowl season of his career.  Miller has been getting open in the middle of the field and is an obvious mismatch for many teams.  With Santonio Holmes receiving double coverage, Miller is seeing more balls thrown his way.  Last week against the San Diego Chargers, Miller had 70 yards receiving and 2 touchdowns.

Santonio Holmes - He has been targeted by Roethlisberger more than any other player, Holmes is due for a big game.   Even though Holmes has been seeing double coverage as the Steelers #1 receiver, he's got the speed to beat those double teams and make plays deep down field.  Outside of week 1, Holmes has been quiet thus far this year; expect him to have close to 100 yards and a TD today against a weak Lion's secondary.

McFadden Testing the FA Market

Bryant McFadden, the Steelers starting cornerback (opposite of Ike Taylor) became a free agent at 12:01 Friday, February 23rd.  With the big market signings of Raiders CB Nnamdi Asomugha and Redskins CB Deangelo Hall, McFadden and high-profile agent Drew Rosenhaus may be looking for a pay day. Bryant McFadden - Interception vs Balitmore Ravens

McFadden has been said to have visits scheduled with the Lions, Cardinals and possibly the Ravens.  I also wouldn't be surprised to the see the Tampa Bay Buccaneers interested. 

The Steelers would be very wise to sign McFadden.  That would allow the Steelers to focus more exclusively on the offensive and defensives lines.  They lack quality starters and depth on the offensive line.  The defensive line has very little depth but a solid starting lineup.  The entire defensive line is now over 30 years old and Casey Hampton is in the last year of his contract.  Don't expect the Steelers front office to extend Hampton's contract which leaves a gaping hole at NT, leaving vacant one of the most important positions in the 3-4 defense. 

The Steelers haven't fared well in the offseason thus far.

  • The Steelers have been unable to lock down James Harrison for a long-term contract. In fact, his agent said that they're "not close".
  • The Steelers franchised Max Starks. The FO has said that they plan on working out a long-term contract. Well, that's what they said last year when they slapped him with the transition tag. Starks made close to 7 million last year with the transition tag and now is scheduled to make close to 9 million this year due to the franchise tag. Wouldn't the Steelers see that it's financially more sound to sign him to a long term deal instead of paying him close to 16 million for 2 years?
  • Willie Colon was tendered a 1st round pick. Are the Steelers planning on signing Colon long-term? Will he be playing guard or tackle?
  • The Steelers haven't extended LaMarr Woodley or Heath Miller
  • The Steelers are very thin at offensive line and haven't signed ANYONE. Kemo is returning but Essex remains unsigned, and Simmons was cut. This leaves the Steelers with an empty slot at guard and the other guard as Darnell Stapleton who struggled at times last season. A look towards the future (2010 season) indicates that Justin Hartwig, Willie Colon, and Max Starks will all be UFA next season. That could possibly mean that the entire offensive line could contain new starters in one year.
  • Nate Washington is expected to sign with the Detroit Lions for #2 wide receiver money.
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