Tag Archives: News

Pittsburgh Steelers News Bulletin: On Haley’s Offensive Changes, Mike Wallace, and a Heinz Field Hall of Fame

It’s a great day for some Pittsburgh Steelers notes and musings. Without much of an agenda, a loose and informal structure and geared fully to illicit conversation within the greatest Steelers community web site on the planet (presumably, the universe), we’ll start off diving into the offense.

Haley’s Offensive System

How different will offensive coordinator Todd Haley’s offense be from where it was last year? We’ve heard QB Ben Roethlisberger say it’s 90 percent different (S.W.A.G.), but he’s also talked about going no-huddle and getting the ball to the receivers.

Haley passes to set up the run, and the most obvious difference between the success he had in Kansas City (before he lost half his starters to injury) was the heavy involvement of his running backs. Maybe this is a chicken vs. the egg thing, but the Steelers have considerably more talent at WR than Haley had in Kansas City. Is he just going to ignore that? And if he doesn’t, isn’t he just sitting on much of what they did last year?

I understand it’s early, and you have to take what Roethlisberger said with a grain of salt (if you really want to get picky, you could say the offense changing "90 percent" would probably mean the Steelers are running a wishbone this season, and removing Roethlisberger for an as-of-now-unidentified quarterback in short yardage situations). What exactly is going to be different?

One guess I would make would be less of a priority on high-to-low reads from Roethlisberger and more of an open look for him with more option routes from the receivers.

WallaceHate

You’ve probably noticed BTSC hasn’t run a Mike Wallace-specific story in a little while now. It could be a record for amount of time passed without featuring him. Part of the reason is Wallace hasn’t said or done anything newsworthy recently. It makes me ask myself if he even has at any point this offseason.

Sure, there’s the RFA tag, the possibility of a franchise tag, the contract negotiations and alleged desire for a "Larry Fitzgerald" contract, but Wallace hasn’t said a word. We’ve spoken plenty for him though.

It’s dumb to suggest he doesn’t deserve criticism. I’m of the belief a good quarterback makes an average receiver look much better, but it’s more important to look at the converse of that statement. A bad/injured quarterback makes a good receiver look worse. Part of the reason, I’m guessing, Wallace doesn’t have a long-term deal in place is because the two sides aren’t very close in their initial offers. You can make arguments for both sides, too. On Wallace’s side - few, if any, have the stretch of big-play dominance he has in three years. On the team’s side - the offense hasn’t been all that productive overall, and it was stuck in third gear much of the time when Wallace was getting eight targets a game, as well as when he was getting four a game.

Is that big play threat conducive to a highly productive offense? The risk involved with the deep pass is much higher than of a short pass, so it seems as if the better big-play option would be a guy who can take a short throw a long way. Higher percentage pass, less likelihood of it resulting in a sack or interception.

Roethlisberger really doesn’t throw a great deep pass on schedule. Things go off schedule, pocket breaks down and he’s moving, he’s pretty solid. But sitting in the pocket, he just doesn’t look comfortable.

Maybe a better route is to basically give Wallace the chance this year (since he’s not going anywhere) to put up or shut up. If you’re not, as his haters call him, a "one trick pony," let’s get you in space and see you make guys miss. He’s made those plays in his career, and I’d like to see more of it.

Hall of Fame at Heinz Field

I believe the construction of a Steelers Hall of Fame is a part of the recent proposal to add seats and amenities at Heinz Field, but one needs to get built, like, yesterday.

Who wouldn’t go see that? Say what you will about your love or hate for the Green Bay Packers, the Packers Hall of Fame outside Lambeau is a destination for any hard core football fan. It’s history, it’s the foundation of the NFL. If the Packers have one of those, as storied a franchise as it is, then I’m Packers-green with envy. It would turn Heinz Field into a year-round destination, and one of those things I would see, regardless of the price.

If it’s not in the works already, someone needs to make this happen. If that person is you, please let this serve as our request for action.



Source: Behind the Steel Curtain

Get your Steelers Fathead!

No Steelers Free Agency News Here – 2012 NFL Free Agency Day Two Recap

Ho-hum. Another busy day around the NFL as teams continued to sign free agents. The Pittsburgh Steelers of course were not one of those teams and this should come to no surprise to anyone. Perhaps the biggest news involving the Steelers on Wednesday was that Chicago Bears free agent tight end Kellen Davis, who was reportedly scheduled to visit the Steelers, re-signed with the Bears on a two-year, $ 6 million contract that included a $ 2.7 million signing bonus.

The other Steelers news revolved around the presence of head coach Mike Tomlin and general manager Kevin Colbert at the Michigan State Read more [...]

Source: Yardbarker: Pittsburgh Steelers


Important News During Down Time in the NFL

Photo

Normally not much happens now. We are less than a week away from the beginning of free agency and more than a month and a half removed from the draft. We content ourselves with speculation concerning attractive free agents, who might be available to us in the draft, we mourn the releases of old favorites and breathe a sigh of relief when we rid ourselves of those whom we view as liabilities. And that’s pretty much it. But some things are happening right now that will have repercussions into the regular season regardless of what happens on the player personnel front. At first blush the news might not seem to concern us too much, but look a little closer.

The Peyton Manning release. Why should Steeler Nation be concerned? We are certainly one of a relative handful of teams with a reliable franchise quarterback who has absolutely no interest in the Manning sweepstakes; though I am sure that there is someone out there prepared to argue that we should dump Ben for Peyton. If Manning lands with an AFC team, which I believe likely, then the balance of power in the conference will be affected. This will be especially true if he ends up in some place like Houston.

They’ll be losing sleep in Boston if he lands anywhere in the AFC East. And do you really want him in Denver? Pittsburgh has to play there this year, meaning among other things, that once again we will likely do so without the services of Ryan Clark.

In my own mind I admit to a bit of creeping complacency. The conference has been living on its reputation of late. We haven’t won a Super Bowl in the last three tries. ‘Strong’ teams like

New England and Baltimore are sufficiently flawed as to not be frightening. The Texans and the Bengals were too inexperienced, the Jets were imploding. There was nothing to fear from the West Division, even if we did lose to their entry in the playoffs. And so we could be somewhat casual over whether we could afford to part ways with a Mike Wallace. It seemed like a good time to load up on young, unproven talent in the belief that little or no penalty would be paid for doing so.

However the Manning issue is resolved will probably raise the bar for the entire conference, and particularly for any teams who have serious aspirations for contending for a championship.

The Bounty Issue. There is so much significant and uncharted territory associated with this that I think that it may be hard to imagine the full impact until we have to live it. Suffice to say that the Saints franchise may be effectively crippled by it in both the short and long term.

Why it is relevant for Steeler Nation is two fold. First, and perhaps most positively, our defensive players will likely be relieved of their roles as poster children for mayhem in the NFL, at least for the near term. On the other hand, how all this combines with the other safety issues that we have been discussing lately on site is yet to be determined. The legitimate concerns expressed over the manner in which the league has approached this matter will be buried in the wake of an understandably severe response to the Saints. The methods and motives of defensive football may well be under trial everywhere as part of that response. And, of course, once a precedent has been set in terms of higher levels of punishment, it will be easier to visit that kind of treatment across the board. Watch out James!

Impact of the new CBA. The full effect of this will not be known until after the draft, but as maryrose pointed out earlier in the week it has already influenced how the Steelers are conducting business in this cycle. The important long term question will be whether the team can continue its stellar record of drafting and free agent decision making under the new rules. Just an important a short term concern is surviving the peculiar challenges brought on by the lockout and the uncapped year.

What is pretty amazing is that we know a lot about how this season may unfold before one free agent has been signed or one player drafted. Pretty interesting year already.



Source: Behind the Steel Curtain

Need Steelers Tickets? Fulfill your ticket needs at Ticket Network or try our Steelers eBay Ticket Page.

This Shouldn’t be Shocking News, but Mike Tomlin is a Great Coach

Photo

Shortly after the new year, I had a back and forth email session with someone debating the abilities of Steelers Head Coach Mike Tomlin. It was a respectful debate, but the person I was talking with was certainly on the "anti-Tomlin" side of the issue.

This was right in the middle of the "should he play or shouldn't he play" Ben Roethlisberger high-ankle sprain saga; a saga that proved to be a no-win situation for Tomlin.

During the discussion, in-addition to disagreeing with how Tomlin handled Ben's ankle issue, this person said that he didn't think Tomlin was a great leader, never had his team ready to play an entire 60-minute game, and only really had success because he inherited Bill Cowher's players.

This kind of criticism is nothing new for coaches--it goes with the territory--and Tomlin certainly isn't the first coach to get criticized and have his abilities questioned. It happens to the best of them.

In-fact, the legendary Bill Cowher used to hear similar criticisms all the time. His teams were never ready to play (only after a loss, of course), he was too much of a player's coach, he was way too conservative, and, of course, the old stand-by--he always got out-coached in the big games (again, only following a loss).

By the late-90's, just when the Steelers six-year playoff run came to an end (conveniently enough), there was talk that maybe the Rooneys should part ways with Cowher and bring in a new guy who would take the Steelers to the next level.

The Rooneys did the opposite, however. They extended Cowher's contract, and this proved to be a sound move as The Chin was able to survive the lean years and rebuild the team back into a Super Bowl contender by 2001. In 2005, Pittsburgh finally won the "one for the thumb," and Cowher retired as coach just a year later. Today, if you ask any Steelers fan, Bill Cowher was the most perfect coach who ever lived.

I'm not trying to down-play what Bill Cowher did. He had an amazing career and helped to revitalize Steeler Nation after the lean years of the 80's. His 15-year career speaks for itself: 149 regular season victories, 10 trips to the playoffs, two Super Bowl appearances, and a Super Bowl Championship.

What I am saying is Mike Tomlin is putting together a pretty decent career in his own right. Is he perfect? No, but he's already done so much before the age of 40.

In Tomlin's five years as Steelers head coach, he's averaged 11 wins a year, taken his team to the playoffs four times, been to two Super Bowls, and already has a Super Bowl ring.

I believe Mike Tomlin is a great leader. Is he the kind of coach who wears his emotions on his sleeve? No, but Tomlin convinced me of his extraordinary leadership skills back in 2010. With everything the team faced that year, from Big Ben's suspension to "fine-gate", the wheels could have easily fallen off the wagon. The Steelers had just missed the playoffs the year before, and I don't think too many people would have been surprised if they struggled to finish at .500. Yet, there they were, despite so many obstacles throughout the year, playing in Super Bowl XLV and coming within one drive of winning their seventh title.

I'd say that's an example of a pretty good leader.

As for Tomlin having his team ready to play for 60 minutes. Well, it's always easy to say that a team wasn't ready to play after a loss, but I recall Super Bowl XLIII being pulled out in the 60th and final minute. I don't think any Steelers fan will forget those 60 minutes. I'd say a record of 55-25 is a pretty good indication that Mike Tomlin knows how to get his troops ready to play some football on a consistent basis.

And, finally, there is that sentiment held by a lot of Steelers fans that Tomlin has been winning with Cowher's players. This is another no-win situation for any coach who takes over a successful franchise. If he succeeds, he only did it because he inherited great talent. If he loses, however, people wonder why he couldn't win with such a loaded roster.

There is no doubt that Tomlin inherited a very talented team from Cowher, but you can say the same thing about Cowher when he took over for Chuck Noll in 1992.

Even though the Emperor didn't have a great record with first round draft choices in his final few years as coach, he still left Cowher with more than enough talent to build from. Neil O'Donnell, Greg Lloyd, Dermontti Dawson, John Jackson, Rod Woodson, Carnell Lake and Ernie Mills were all players that were added to the team in Noll's last few years as coach, and they became the core of Cowher's playoff teams from the 90's.

The 2012 season has already been a pretty bumpy ride for the Steelers, and with the salary cap issue still unresolved and free agency looming, the roads could become even harder to navigate. But in Mike Tomlin, the Steelers have a pretty good driver behind the wheel.



Source: Behind the Steel Curtain


Steelers fans saddened by news of Sharon Ilkin’s death

On Monday, the Steelers world was moved to find out that Sharon Ilkin, wife of former Steelers offensive tackle Tunch Ilkin, had lost her battle with breast cancer at 55.  Tunch and Sharon have three children: Tanner, Natalie, and Clay. The Ilkins still reside in Upper St. Clair.  Married for 30 years, the blow was a hard one for friends, family and Steelers fans as well.

Sharon Ilkin was a teacher who loved children and gardening.  Her husband described her as an antique buff and one who was always up for an adventure, including visits to old houses.  "She was like sunshine," her husband Read more [...]

Source: Yardbarker: Pittsburgh Steelers

Get your Steelers Fathead!

Super Bowl News: The Aftermath of the Conference Championships

Photo

The dust clouds (or in the case of Ravens fans, the fury) have settled a bit from two nail-biters in the conference championships and we begin to look ahead to one of the lesser-reported aspects of the Super Bowl; the game itself.

Amid all the overdone storylines we're bound to read ad naseum (did you know the Giants and Patriots played in a recent Super Bowl? Welcome back to relevancy, David Tyree. Can we please get Rodney Harrison to weigh in on how he got beat on that play?), writers around SB Nation are pointing out some interesting details on how the Super Bowl participants made it to the big game.

Ed Valentine of Big Blue View points out three reasons why the Giants defeated the 49ers. Here's a hint, it wasn't because of their pass protection.

He does point out the special teams advantage the Giants had, though. Two Kyle Williams fumbles turned into 10 points, and in a 20-17 game, it can't get much bigger than that.

Along with excellent punting from Sam Weatherford, the Giants were able to use the same elements San Francisco used all season to defeat a team that gave QB Eli Manning the most savage beating of his life. Special teams are, as always, a winning edge.

Over on Pats Pulpit, Greg Knopping highlights the play of LB Brandon Spikes, and how he went from the ground to the stratosphere in just two plays.

Spikes was crushed by Ravens fullback Vonta Leach, resulting in a big gain for RB Ray Rice. Spikes dropped into coverage on the next play, and QB Joe Flacco didn't see him underneath the receiver. Spikes got what should have been an enormous interception that could have sealed the game in the fourth quarter.

No one was talking about how elite Flacco was after that throw (or another one from the second quarter, as Bill Barnwell points out in a phenomenal piece about both games), but Patriots QB Tom Brady gave it right back on the next play, in what could be the dumbest decision he's made in his career.

Neither quarterback played well, and anyone saying Flacco was anything more than hit-and-miss is in denial. Sure, Lee Evans should have held onto that ball as if his life hung in the balance, but missed tackles, not great passing, got them in position for the game-tying field goal. What about the two throws Flacco made way late to a wide open Torrey Smith in the first half? Obviously, there's the interception, but what about his last pass of the game, the one he tried to cram in a window smaller than the space between his eyebrows that should have been intercepted?

Neither the Patriots nor the Ravens took advantage of opportunities to win the game. They both chose to let the other team lose it. And the Ravens did.

It's certainly fair to hold K Billy Cundiff responsible. An overlooked aspect of the Patriots run to the Super Bowl is K Stephen Gostkowski. He's 4-for-4 on field goals this post-season, and while his longest is 35 yards, Cundiff would probably kill to be perfect from that range today.

Danny Woodhead had a critical fumble against Baltimore, and rest assured, the Giants will be going for the ball the same way they did against Williams. As it is with any big game, possessions will most likely determine the outcome. Both teams were in the top 10 in takeaways in the 2011 regular season, and when you have a quarterback who can convert those extra possessions into points, it's not a surprise when you make it to the Super Bowl.



Source: Behind the Steel Curtain


Tomlin’s Post Game News Conference

General: “Really, not a lot to say.  I’d like to extend congratulations to the Denver Broncos, their staff and players. They played a good football game, of course, and did the job and won. They persevered. I’m proud of our guys and the way they fought but, obviously, we’re not in it for the moral victories, it wasn’t enough. They made the significant plays tonight, particularly the chunks that allowed them to win. We accept responsibility for that like we have through many, many legs of this journey this year. But we fell short.”

On the defensive struggles to contain Broncos WR Demaryius Thomas
“They did a nice job.  I’d be remiss if I didn’t compliment Demaryius Thomas and the other guys that made the significant plays. More than anything it was some good tough challenging catches by them and some run after. Nice job by those guys.”

On the impact of the Pittsburgh injuries
“You know better than that. We don’t live in that world.  We don’t make excuses in regards to injuries. The guys we put on the field were capable of doing the job and the reason we didn’t do the job is because we didn’t perform. We didn’t perform well enough from a coaching standpoint and from a player standpoint.”

On how much QB Ben Roethlisberger’s injury affected his performance
“Not significantly.  It won’t be enough to be an excuse, that’s for sure.”

On the Steelers last possession of regulation
“Lack of execution by us.”

On if he had been through a second quarter like the one they faced tonight
“I have been in many situations standing on the sidelines in the National Football League.”

On the performance of RB Isaac Redman
“It was what we expected.  He did a nice job.  Not only him but all the guys in replacement of some guys that went down.  Isaac did a nice job.”

On feeling like the Steelers took back control of the game in their final possession in regulation
“At no point did I feel comfortable, you know, there’s time on the clock. But we were in position.”

On his surprise at the number of passing attempts by Denver
“No, the number of attempts wasn’t surprising. The number of long completions was. I think they had under 20 in regulation, which is right within their personality.  I think the significant difference is the number of big plays they were able to connect on.  [That can be attributed to] Throwing and catching by them.  Execution.”

On his expectation of QB Tim Tebow’s rushing yardage
“I thought he would potentially run more.”

On the last play of the game – first play of overtime (Denver touchdown)
“He [WR Demaryius Thomas] got inside of our cornerback. Of course we had a number of people committed to the run.  He made a nice catch.  He was able to break free. The catch is less of an issue than his ability, of course, to break free and the run after. The run after was significant, not only on that play but in several instances tonight.”

Source: Steelers Gab

Get your Steelers Fathead!

Moore Out For Rams Game; No News on Roethlisberger’s Ankle

The Steelers will be without running back Mewelde Moore Sunday against the Rams, as he an MCL sprain and will not play in the Chirstmas Eve game.

Out of the loss, Moore was the only player who sustained a significant injury.

According to Mike Tomlin, linebacker LaMarr Woodley did not have a setback with his hamstring injury. He said all other existing injuries, including Ben Roethlisberger’s ankle, will be evaluated Wednesday when the players report to work.

Source: Steelers Gab

Discuss this article and more at our Pittsburgh Steelers forum

Shop Pittsburgh Steelers Gear

Apply to Join the Ochocinco News Network (OCNN) and Cover the Super Bowl!

The OchoCinco News Network (OCNN), “America’s First Athlete-Driven Social News Network”, is back again and looking for help in covering the coolest events and hottest parties at this year’s Super Bowl in Indianapolis. After making an unforgettable splash at the past two Super Bowls, editor-in-chief Chad Ochocinco is turning to the fans to find the newest member of the OCNN news team and help make the coverage of this year’s Super Bowl better than ever.

Do you think you’ve got what it takes to cover Super Bowl media day and interview top NFL players about the big game? Can you withstand the red carpet frenzy at the Super Bowl’s hottest parties and secure an interview with the most popular celebrity? As Chad Ochocinco will tell you, it’s no walk in the park.

If you think you’ve got what it takes, visit the Motorola facebook page and submit in a 30-second video answering the question, “Why should Motorola send you to the Super Bowl to be an OCNN reporter?

Five finalists will win a DROID RAZR by Motorola, while the grand prize winner will also win the official OCNN assignment to cover all the action during Super Bowl week. The assignment includes an all-expense paid trip for two to the Super Bowl in Indianapolis, along with two tickets to the game. During the week, the winner will report for OCNN alongside Chad Ochocinco, covering the coolest NFL events and hottest parties that Super Bowl has to offer.

For additional contest information, please visit the Motorola facebook page: www.facebook.com/motorola

Source: Steelers Gab

Discuss this article and more at our Pittsburgh Steelers forum

Shop Pittsburgh Steelers Gear

Powered by WordPress