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If Sanders and Brown Will Stoop to Littering, what Other Character Flaws Could they Have Hidden Deep Down Inside?

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For those of you who don’t know, Steelers receivers Emmanuel Sanders and Antonio Brown plead guilty on Monday to charges of littering and were each fined $ 300. BTSC is a PG site, so if you want all the sordid details, you can click on the link provided.

Sanders should have known better than anyone. He was a spokesman for an anti-littering campaign, and because of his heinous actions, he was removed from his post.

With all the off the field incidents the Steelers have had to deal with from their players in recent years, a littering scandal was the last thing the team needed right now. If you ask me, I think the front office should have done their homework a little better before taking a chance on these two degenerates in the draft.

There were some very important questions that should have been asked in the pre-draft process, but the organization was obviously blinded by the raw talent that each of these young men possessed. However, if the Steelers would have been a little more thorough in their background checks of these guys, they might have seen this coming. I mean, you don’t just get up one day and decide to litter. You either have that in your character, or you don’t.

I’m sure the signs were there all along, and a little more digging by Mike Tomlin and Co. may have saved the franchise from this latest public relations nightmare.

I used to be proud to be a Steelers fan, but because of this littering issue, I’m ashamed to admit my allegiance out in public for fear of being scorned. How am I going to explain this to my kids if I ever have any?

Some questions that should have been asked in the pre-draft interview process:

Did either one of them ever re-gift a present that was given to them?

Did Brown ever break up with a girl via text message or email?

Did Sanders ever use the fact that he was a division one college football player as a way to score with women? And if so, did he ever show a girl a Youtube clip of Barry Sanders greatest runs and try to convince her that it was really him?

Did Brown ever buy a girl flowers from a supermarket?

Did Sanders ever buy a girlfriend a card five minutes before he saw her? And did he fill out the card while waiting at a red light?

Did either one of them ever buy a ticket to see one movie and then sneak into another movie that was already sold out?

How many times has Brown watched a movie starring Hugh Jackman? Any answer above “zero” would have demonstrated very poor character, and would have certainly been a huge red flag for the front office.

Did Sanders ever make the people behind him in-line at the check out wait while he fished for the exact change?

Did Brown ever send his food back at a restaurant and then complain to the manager and say something like, “I mean, it’s a hamburger. How hard could it be to make?

Is either one capable of performing really bad pre-game dance routines? I think this certainly answers that question. Oh, the humanity!

Did either of them ever attend really crazy parties in college?

Did Sanders ever show up to a party with only a six-pack of the crappiest beer he could find? Cheap son of a b……..at least bring a bag of ice.

Did Brown ever accept the invitation to go ahead and eat the last piece of pizza, even though everyone knows that when your friends say that you can have the last slice, they’re really hoping that you let them have it instead? Entitled punk!

These are just some of the questions I would have asked these two young men if I was seriously thinking about having them play for my organization.

These guys better clean up their acts really fast, or their careers will be in the trash.

Source: Behind the Steel Curtain

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Past Dominance Of Heath Miller Inside Red-zone Won’t Be Ignored By Todd Haley

When Todd Haley was introduced as the new offensive coordinator of the Pittsburgh Steelers back in early February, one of the first Steelers players that he mentioned by name during his introductory press conference was tight end Heath Miller. Haley said at that time that Miller is one of his favorite players that he has studied and prepared for during his coaching career. That is pretty high praise for Miller and well deserved as well.

Miller is a consummate professional and one of, if not the best, well rounded tight ends currently in the league. Heading into the 2012 season it appears that Read more […]

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Talkin’ Inside Linebackers: A Curious Approach to the Mack and the Buck

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As Jim Wexell pointed out on Twitter Wednesday morning, the report of a trade between the Steelers and the Jets nearly being consummated during April’s draft says, among other things, the Steelers did not have Alabama LB Dont’a Hightower at the top of their board in terms of expected picks.

Had Bruce Irvin not been drafted by Seattle, the Steelers would have moved up to No. 16 in the draft, and selected OG David DeCastro. The Jets backed out of the deal, opting to take the second of two targeted players – DE Quinton Coples – at 16 instead of risking losing both he and Irvin by trading down to 24.

Hightower was eventually taken by New England, and the rest will be history later on down the line.

As it is, the Steelers did not draft a buck linebacker of the future, indicating they’re comfortable with veteran Larry Foote while continuing to groom Stevenson Sylvester for the future.

What Are Some Traits Of a Mack and a Buck Linebacker?

Defensive terminology varies largely depending on the coach’s scheme. In a traditional 4-3 defense, linebackers are commonly identified as Sam, Mike and Will – match the first letters of where they would line up in relation to the offensive formation – strong, middle and weak.

The buck linebacker in the Steelers’ defense is more like the mike – or middle – linebacker. That position holds responsibility for defensive play calls, alignment and communication on the field. As far as between the whistle, the buck is commonly the player filling gaps against the run, along with short middle zone pass coverage.

The mack linebacker is more of a scrape-and pursue defender (partially resembling the role of a will linebacker in a 4-3 defense). He’s responsible for the outside edge, and takes a wider angle to get outside the box and contain the run. A mack doesn’t need to have that same downhill attacking style of the buck, and is commonly more athletic.

What Role Will Sean Spence Play?

Lawrence Timmons is the Steelers’ starting mack linebacker, and LBs coach Keith Butler made no bones about stating third-round draft pick Sean Spence would be a mack linebacker.

What’s interesting about Spence is how much smaller he is than Timmons. Of course, that’s a major reason why Spence was a Day 2 draft pick and Timmons was taken 15th overall. But with Spence, the Steelers add an interesting dynamic to their defense.

While Spence will not be labeled as a safety, I think his future direction is, essentially, one of a roving safety.

Looking back at the Steelers’ win over New England in Week 8 of 2011, we saw the Steelers playing in nickel and dime packages for most of the game. Sylvester left the field, along with NT Casey Hampton, but oftentimes, we saw SS Troy Polamalu down in the box with Ss Ryan Clark and Ryan Mundy playing a Cover 2 shell.

Polamalu was essentially playing the mack linebacker position.

Obviously, Polamalu is going to be effective just about anywhere on the field, but bringing in a coverage-heavy linebacker who can provide at least some run support while getting the most out of the position in terms of coverage seems like a pretty effective strategy.

Spence is very fast and has a nose for the ball. He did well in coverage, and if he’s pairing up with Timmons while the nose tackle leaves the field in lieu of another cornerback, the Steelers could have a very strong coverage unit.

I’m probably getting ahead of myself, Spence’s playing time is obviously yet to be determined, but that kind of scenario, in a pass-happy league, could be the role they’ll ask him to play in the future.

Is This Foote’s Last Year?

With his contract expiring after this season, it most likely is. Foote is built in the mold of an old-school gap-filling middle linebacker, something that appears to be falling off in terms of priority in the league. Middle linebackers are coming in with much more coverage ability than they used to, and teams are looking for for three-down freakishly athletic LBs in the mold of Patrick Willis and Luke Kuechley.

Certainly, he may come back in 2013 to provide depth, but as for now, his highest and best use is really to serve as a continuity bridge between the old Steelers defense and the emerging youth among the front seven.

For as important as the buck linebacker has been for the Steelers over the past 10 years, they clearly said they feel the next buck is on the roster already – Sylvester. He’s obviously not in the mold of Willis, but they appear to be surrounding him with outstanding athletes (i.e. Timmons and Spence).

How Good Is This Unit?

Last year is a really difficult sample to use when determining the overall success of the group. Timmons played out of place for much of the season. Farrior missed time as well. One of the most glaring weaknesses was their struggles in coverage in the base package, which is likely the biggest reason for both the release of Farrior and the selection of Spence. It’s really just a different game than it was even three years ago.

Because of that, inside linebacker is one of the more intriguing positions to watch in training camp this year. How will they be utilized? In saying that, it’s hard to gauge how good they are, because I see much of their roles adjusting more to offensive trends than staying strictly with what they’ve been in the past.

Source: Behind the Steel Curtain

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State Of The Steelers Linebackers – Could Worilds Really Be Slated To Move Inside?

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Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Jason Worilds is about to enter his third season since being drafted in the second round of the 2010 NFL draft. Several in Steeler Nation are still struggling to understand why inside linebackers Sean Lee or Navarro Bowman weren’t the pick instead of Worilds. Linebackers coach Keith Butler was asked that very question during his press conference following the selection of Worilds and said, “We like those guys. We like Bowman, I especially like Sean Lee. But those guys are inside linebackers right now. And we have a pretty good quartet of guys at inside linebacker. Read more […]

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State Of The Steelers Linebackers – Could Worilds Really Be Slated To Move Inside?

Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Jason Worilds is about to enter his third season since being drafted in the second round of the 2010 NFL draft. Several in Steeler Nation are still struggling to understand why inside linebackers Sean Lee or Navarro Bowman weren’t the pick instead of Worilds. Linebackers coach Keith Butler was asked that very question during his press conference following the selection of Worilds and said, “We like those guys. We like Bowman, I especially like Sean Lee. But those guys are inside linebackers right now. And we have a pretty good quartet of guys at inside linebacker. Read more […]

Source: Yardbarker: Pittsburgh Steelers

Get your Steelers Fathead!

History Shows Inside Linebackers Ignored By Steelers In First Round Of Drafts

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You never know what will crop up in the comments section on this site, but I am proud to say that quite a few of the readers here are well informed when it comes to the Pittsburgh Steelers. The latest discussion centers around the Steelers potentially drafting Alabama inside linebacker Dont’a Hightower in the first round and as Greig eludes to in the comments section of another post, the Steelers have not drafted a true inside linebacker in the first round in the Super Bowl era.

Of course I know many of you will point to Lawrence Timmons, who the Steelers drafted in the first round of the 2007 Read more […]

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NFL Combine: Inside linebacker would fill Steelers need

Vontaze Burfict might already have something in common with James Harrison.

Source: post-gazette.com – Steelers/NFL

With the 24th Pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, The Steelers Select… an Inside Linebacker


You may be saying: why on earth would anyone think the Steelers should draft an ILB in the first round?

I’m glad you asked that question. But before I defend my position, let me say I understand that the Steelers are always going to draft the “Best Player Available” at their slot. The Steelers are well aware that the Kendall Simmons‘s of the world are going to come back to bite you in the backside (not literally, I hope). And naturally there may be different ways of looking at who the Best Player Available is, depending on what positions need to be addressed the most. But no matter how badly the Steelers might need a nose tackle or an offensive lineman, if in their assessment a given available nose tackle or offensive lineman doesn’t represent a good value at No. 24, the available nose tackle or whatever will stay right on the board.

Note that I said “their assessment.” Many people, including some of the draft gurus, thought that Maurkice Pouncey was a bit of a reach at Pick 18, and those people were proven wrong by the end of training camp. Where the Steelers rank someone and where that person is ranked by the masses aren’t necessarily going to look quite the same.

So on to my premise—that the Steelers should look to draft an ILB high in 2012.

First, let’s argue from the standpoint of need.

The current ILBs on the roster are James Farrior – age 37, possible age and/or cap casualty; Larry Foote – age 31, possible cap casualty; Chris Carter – 2011 rookie (5th round) that ended the season on IR because of a hammie that kept him off the field for eight games; Stevenson Sylvester – third-year vet (the third of three 5th round picks in 2010) whose transition from special teams to the defensive unit was not impressive; and Mortty Ivy – former UDFA who played the State Fair circuit (NC, MIA, and StL) before bouncing on and off the Steelers’ practice squad. They’ve just signed Marshall McFadden, a 25-year-old FA who has not yet played in the NFL. Oh, and they have Lawrence Timmons, a pretty dang good ILB if he ever gets to stay there. And this brings me to my point.

The depth at ILB isn’t deep enough. Potentially, both Farrior and Foote could be gone if the Steelers are struggling with the salary cap. And Farrior, as much as I love him, is 37 years old. Assuming that both Farrior and Foote are gone, this would leave the ILB position to be staffed by one stud (assuming that he doesn’t have to move outside again and doesn’t get injured) and a bunch of kids with less than a full season’s game experience between them. The position they would be attempting to fill is arguably one of the most critical positions in the defense run by defensive coordinator Dick Lebeau.

Timmons will presumably move to mack in the absence of both Farrior and Foote (and here is a link to an article by our own Michael Bean arguing this is his natural position), but in this scenario you would need another excellent ILB to plug in. One of the aforementioned young ‘uns might be that player, but it’s quite a risk.

We saw what happened to the sack numbers in 2011 when the middle of the defense was compromised. Although the pass rush was greatly improved, due to the newly awesome secondary, the run defense was nothing like it was in 2010. This is not solely a function of the lack of depth at ILB, but it was definitely part of the problem.

How about value?

The two positions that most people seem likely to push for in this draft are NT and OG, and I certainly see the reasons for that. Without getting into specific players (which is pointless this long before the draft), we can look at the current rankings. When we do, an interesting fact emerges: the class for OG and particularly for NT seems at this point to be quite deep. There are 11 NTs currently projected by ESPN to go in the first 100 picks. The 12th player is still given a grade of 67 (out of 100). There are seven OGs projected to go in the top 100, and the 8th player is graded at 68. There are only four ILBs even projected to go in the top 100, and the 5th player is graded at 65. In the case of the ILBs, there is a big drop-off between player #3 in the ranking and the rest of the class. Player #4 just makes it into the top 25%. By contrast, nine of the NTs grade at 75 or above, and the 10th one grades at 74. OGs are not quite as numerous in quality, but there are still five players grading at 75 or above.

It seems to me that the Steelers are going to have a lot more good players to choose from in the 2nd and 3rd round at both of those positions, and none of the OGs or NTs are ranked in the top half of the first round anyhow (editor’s note: with the possible exception of David DeCastro). I believe both of those positions can be addressed well in the 2nd and 3rd rounds, but if they are going to get an ILB that is going to see the field next season, they are going to have to pull the trigger on one of the top prospects.

There is another important aspect of this which may not have occurred to many of you: the Steelers have the largest female fan base in the league. They are proud of this fact and do a lot to cultivate it. They hold women-only events, which are greatly appreciated and enjoyed, as I can testify personally. They eschew cheerleaders, thus not unduly messing with the body image of their female fans or forcing them to clean up the drool off the floor in front of their husbands.

But most importantly, they appear to bear this need in mind on about a 34 percent basis, which is, I believe, the percentage of Steeler fans that are female. They will move up to take a snuggly safety like Troy Polamalu, or draft captivating corners like Curtis Brown and Cortez Allen, or bring in winsome wide receivers like Mike Wallace, Emmanuel Sanders, and Antonio Brown. And the truth is that while there are exceptions (Maurkice Pouncey comes to mind,) the big boys in the middle aren’t generally the lookers in the draft. Au contraire, as the French would say.

And I’m happy to say a little research has indeed confirmed that the current top three ILBs are fine looking men. (Luke Kuechly is top in every class, being a looker, a great player, and a very high character guy, but he is unlikely to make it to 24.) There’s a little road rage issue with Burfict, but I trust the Steelers to do due diligence and make the determination about the guy. So for what it’s worth, make mine an ILB.

This is the third in a collaborative effort from the editorial staff at BTSC, providing some arguments behind possible positional directions the Steelers may go with their first round pick – currently scheduled for the 24th overall. These will be posted each day this week, and will not be distributed based on order of preference.

Part I – Wide Receiver

Part II – Trading Up

Source: Behind the Steel Curtain

Steelers 2012 Team Needs: Inside Linebacker

The final installment of the Steelers 2012 Team Needs is Inside Linebacker.  It may seem like a back door need as of right now but when it comes to Salary Cap crunch time it may become a front line need.  The Steelers are anywhere from $ 22-$ 27 million over the cap depending upon who you talk to and have to be below the salary cap by the start of the new league year.
Two players who very well could be on the chopping block are James Farrior and Larry Foote.  One or the other or even both could be cut to save in cap space.  Between the two of them the Steelers could save almost $ 6 million in cap space off of the number they need to get down to. 
Foote would be a $ 3 million dollar saving if he was released.  Farrior would save the Steelers $ 2.8 million.  Both guys have bonus numbers which are right around a million.  So instead of paying 9 million for the two of them we could pay less then 3.  That is a much better number for guys who do not play every down.  They are splitting time wi…

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