Tag Archives: Takes
Hines Ward and Pirates Andrew McCutchenHines Ward stood on the mound at PNC Park, with fans on their feet cheering, wound up, and with his familiar smile threw a perfect strike to pitcher Jeff Kars…
Source: Pittsburgh Steelers : News
PITTSBURGH (93-7 THE FAN) — 93-7 The Fan Steelers’ Insider Ed Bouchette joined The Fan Morning Show Wednesday.
He discussed prospects that the Steelers may target in this year’s 2012 NFL Draft.
The first round of the draft will be held on Thursday night.
Click the link below to listen to the full interview:
Source: CBS Pittsburgh » Steelers
No team is the same from one year to the next, but one can learn about where a team is going by studying where it has been. We’ve watched each Steelers game last year play-by-play and pulled out a certain amount of trend-setting and trend-extending plays that earned the Steelers both a 12-4 record and a first-round playoff loss. We’ll highlight what each of those plays meant from a bigger picture perspective on the season that was in 2011.
The Steelers, for better or worse, have been a WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) kind of team over the last several years. Outside of the standard few anomalies, one could review the stats of any given game and have a pretty good chance of picking the winner and a good approximation of the score.
Pittsburgh’s Week 4 17-10 loss at Houston was one of those anomalies. Statistically, it looked close. The score said it was close.
It just never felt close. Upon further review, this game, more than any other in the 2011 season, shows how our preconceived notions affect our objective viewing and ultimately, our opinions. The lessons learned? Penalties are the great equalizers, and don’t ever count the Steelers out.
It was to be Houston’s signature game. Hosting the defending AFC Champions, the Texans looked poised to take their first division crown, and qualifying for the playoffs for the first time in franchise history.
ESPN The Magazine was on hand doing a big feature issue on everything involved with game day in the NFL, and it was the perfect game for them to pick. Every year, it seems there is an inter-conference showdown between the chased and the chaser.
In the interest of full disclosure, I loved this Texans team. I love the way they played the game. I write that in past tense because, as the intro to this article suggests, no team is the same year in and year out. This Texans squad, though, had all the makings of a champion, and this game was pivotal in their maturation from also-ran to contender.
The Target Tattooed on the Steelers’ Backs
The fans of the Steelers brawl with fans of the Ravens, Bengals and Browns all the time. They all hate the Steelers and get particularly fired up for each of the two games their team plays against Pittsburgh. Their arch rival is Pittsburgh. The Steelers only get one arch rival, and it doesn’t even matter who it is. They are the arch rival of basically every team they play.
Each year, they have an out-of-division game like this, and it’s a true measuring stick of where the Steelers are at that point in time, and usually, we can trace back their ultimate success or failure to this kind of a game.
In 2010, it was the all-out whipping of Oakland in the worst officiated game ever played. That set the tone for the Steelers’ run to the Super Bowl. In 2008, it was the win against Dallas (a game they had no business winning if not for sheer resiliency).
Early in Week 4, we’d see a clear picture of how the Steelers would respond to direct and adverse competition with the league’s best.
The Opening Drive
If the Ravens’ victory over Pittsburgh in Week 1 can be described as a catharsis, the Texans first drive against the Steelers should be described as “dominance.”
I don’t recall an offense putting as savage a beating on any Steelers defense in recent memory. I couldn’t help but slink deep in my couch and numbly accept all the barbs of the Steelers being too old, and being past their prime.
As a fan of pure football, it was a thing of beauty. I’d love to ask Texans fans if they’d ever had a drive so efficient, so physical and so brutally dominant as that one.
Houston overcame two holding penalties to go 82 yards on 19 plays, chewing up 10:22 off the clock. Some of the holes the Texans offensive line created were worthy of their resumes.
The Steelers’ defensive line was flat-out owned. It was depressing to watch. Despite getting completely dominated, though, the Steelers re-grouped as the game went on, and only surrendered another 10 points.
If you would have bet me $ 100 after that first drive the Texans would only have two more scoring drives, I would have taken it and forced you to go to an ATM immediately to get my money. Maybe it was simply the experience the Steelers’ defense had. Age has its advantages. They had seen it all. Maybe not to that extent, but as the game drove on, the defensive front seven (behind James Harrison, who played an outstanding game), held their ground when it didn’t appear they had any ability to do so.
Crazy thing was, he was just back from a hamstring injury that held him out of the first two games of the year, and had 10 carries going into Week 4.
An injury to Ben Tate gave Foster probably way more carries than he was supposed to. All told, he had 30 carries for 155 yards and a touchdown. Just a warrior’s effort. Impossible not to respect him after that.
What sets Foster apart (and makes him, I believe, the best running back in the game) is a combination of his vision and his feet. No one has a better combination of those two critical traits for a running back. The Texans’ zone running is better than anyone else’s, and Foster is perfectly built for that offense.
Granted, many of his runs were through holes large enough to drive a semi through, he often made six yards out of nothing. You don’t have 19-play touchdown drives without being able to run the ball at a high level.
The Steelers were gashed a bit on the ground more often than in recent years, but none quite as impressively as Foster’s performance. It was a slap in the face, and one the Steelers would learn from as the year progressed.
Offensive Line Reaches a New Low
The hope in this series wasn’t to solely point out the sieve-like ability of the Steelers’ offensive line. It just happens to be a main focus of the first quarter of the season.
All the credit in the world to Texans’ defensive coordinator Wade Phillips, and probably the best coached defense in the AFC in 2011, but this could have been the worst pass protection game by a Steelers offensive line in Roethlisberger’s career.
With Jonathan Scott on the bench, LT Trai Essex provided little reason to feel positive about pass protection from the left tackle position, and LG Chris Kemoeatu would find himself on the bench the following week. Phillips noticed that early as well, and he made pressure rain all over the offensive left side of the formation.
The Steelers’ opening series was a lesson in dysfunction. After a 15-yard penalty on Mike Wallace, who was jawing with Houston’s sideline after a nice 22-yard catch-and-run, and a 10-yard short catch-and-run by Emmanuel Sanders, the Steelers looked to be establishing some rhythm.
Until, of course, they weren’t.
On first down, Roethlisberger drops five, and fires to the short seam, where TE David Johnson is neither in a position to make a catch, nor is he looking for the ball. Roethlisberger had to release it, because Kemoeatu lunges for DE Antonio Smith on the line, grabbing nothing but jersey. Smith would have buried Roethlisberger if he held the ball any longer (side note, a graphic flashes on the screen of how the Steelers were -9 in turnover differential. It’s the first quarter of Week 4).
Second down, the Steelers look to exploit the hard-charging Texans’ defensive front with a screen pass. Roethlisberger is nearly sacked, and throws the ball in the area where RB Rashard Mendenhall should be. He is not, because he has his shoulder in ROLB Mario Williams after RG Ramon Foster didn’t even come close to reaching Williams on a pull. The ball falls harmlessly incomplete. Neither Williams, nor ILB Brian Cushing, were blocked in any way.
Third down, at the snap, Kemoeatu is whipped off the line again by Smith, who forces Roethlisberger to cut off his drop and step up to avoid him. He’s met immediately by OLB Conor Barwin, who took one step to his left, which was too much for Essex to handle. Barwin forces a fumble, which is also recovers.
There’s a penalty for illegal contact on Houston, which appears to be a bogus call, considering the Texans dropped into a deep zone, and no defender is tight on a receiver five yards from the line of scrimmage. The Steelers get bailed out on a phantom call (they didn’t even put a jersey number with the penalty).
Automatic first down. Next play, Kemoeatu thanking his lucky stars Smith is taken out for the play, replaced by seldom-used Tim Jamison. The result is the same, as Jamison shoves Kemoeatu – who’s horrendously late out of his stance, never a good thing when you’re pulling on the play – deep into the backfield, and is hit by Mendenhall, the ball carrier, four yards in the backfield. The play goes for a yard loss.
Roethlisberger gets crushed by CB Daniel Manning on the next play, forcing an incomplete deep pass to Jerricho Cotchery. Not sure how the Steelers could have thought a deep pass could work in this series, considering the amount of pressure they were facing.
On third down, it’s J.J. Watt coming off the offensive left edge, barely touched, for the sack.
Let’s summarize the last six plays: Incomplete pass (hurried), incomplete pass (hurried), sack/fumble (recovered by Houston) overturned on a mysterious penalty, blown running play (1 yard loss), incomplete pass (hurried) and sack.
Credit to the Steelers, they managed to regroup and play some competitive football, particularly in the second half, but a slew of ill-timed Texans penalties and the inconsistencies that often plague a team on the verge of Super Bowl contention held them back just enough to give the Steelers the ball with a chance to tie the game late.
But the Steelers offense, particularly their pass protection broke down again at the end, leading to Roethlisberger’s one official turnover of the day.
We would see sweeping changes the following week, as this Week 4 loss triggered a huge offensive uptick during the team’s subsequent four-game winning streak.
Source: Behind the Steel Curtain
The Cardinals have signed free agent CB William Gay to line up across from Patrick Peterson in the same defensive backfield as Adrian Wilson and Kerry Rhodes. Check out the details at NFL Gridiron Gab.
Follow me at: http://twitter.com/Chris_M_Bach
Source: Steelers Gab
Judging by the report by Brian McIntyre, Pittsburgh Steelers nose tackle Casey Hampton has taken a reduction in his 2012 base salary and eliminated his $ 1 million workout bonus. Hampton, who is headed into the final year of his three year contract, was scheduled to earn a $ 4.89 million base salary to go along with a $ 1 million workout bonus. He also had $ 2,166,668.00 million worth of signing bonus proration left on the books as well and his cap hit in 2012 was scheduled to be $ 8,056,668.00 million.
Hampton has apparently reduced his base salary to $ 2.8 million and removed his his workout bonus Read more […]
Source: Yardbarker: Pittsburgh Steelers
Veteran nose tackle Casey Hampton agreed to a pay cut Thursday, providing the Steelers with more salary cap savings and shoring up his future with the team.
Source: Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
We thought the Steelers might try to renegotiate Casey Hampton’s deal to save some money this offseason, but the big boy just decided to take a pay cut instead to help the team out. And that means it looks like a sure thing that the Big Snack will be back for 2012.
Hampton was set to cost the Steelers $ 8 million in salary cap space with a $ 4.89 mil salary and a ******** of bonuses, but the Steelers just couldn’t afford to hang onto a guy that’s going to be 35 this year and is playing on three-time surgically repaired knees holding up a 325-pound frame.
Now, Big Snack has saved the Steelers about $ 3 mil by dropping his base salary to just $ 2.8 mil and tossing out his $ 1 million workout bonus – a move he probably did not mind at all. Does this mean that Hampton will never step foot in the weight room again as long as he’s a Steeler? Who knows. What it does mean is the Steelers are around $ 6 mil under the $ 120.6 mil salary cap after handing out there RFA tenders. And they have even more money to work with now that they’ve got an extra million and change after the Cowboys’ and Redskins’ phantom punishment.
Another restructure here and a few more cuts there and the Steelers could easily be well under the cap by more than $ 10 mil again. And with Colbert & Khan in charge, that’s a very distinct possibility.
Source: Yardbarker: Pittsburgh Steelers
This says it all, and it’s clearly from the heart.
Dear Steelers Fans,
As of today, I am no longer a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers. I leave the field and Steelers with no regrets, and am grateful to have played for such a tremendous organization. I feel truly blessed to have spent my entire professional career in the best town, playing for the most loyal fans who have loved and supported myself and my family.
The last 13 years of our lives have been special because of the people who cheered me on, and I am truly fortunate to have been a part of the Steelers, the City of Pittsburgh and the Steelers Nation. You have opened your arms and your hearts to us as a family and we will never forget that. Your support, enthusiasm, love and dedication are gifts I will carry with me my entire life.
I may no longer be on the Steelers active roster, but I will always be a Steeler and will never forget the people who made it all worthwhile — the fans, the Rooneys, the front office, the equipment guys and trainers, my teammates and family. Thank you for supporting me over the last 13 years, and I hope you will support me in whatever future path life will take me on.
We plan on making Pittsburgh our home and I will endeavor for the rest of my days to find a way to thank each and every one of you personally for all that you have done and meant for me and my family. You cheered for me for 13 years and now I cheer for you for the rest of my life. You will always be in my heart, thoughts and prayers. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for allowing me to have the job of a lifetime. You will always be in my heart.
Your friend always,
Aaron Smith and Family, No. 91
Thank YOU, Aaron. May God continue to bless you and your family. Godspeed.
Source: Behind the Steel Curtain
The Mike Wallace dilemma continues for the Steelers, and while many (me included) have written off him coming back to the black and gold in 2012, GM Kevin Colbert said at the NFL Scouting Combine on Thursday in Indy that the team is going to work hard to get Wallace back for 2012 and beyond.
“We want Mike to finish his career with the Steelers and we’re pretty sure he wants to end his career [with the] Steelers,” Colbert told reporters. “We’re going to do everything we can to make sure that Mike Wallace remains a Pittsburgh Steeler and I think that’s Mike’s belief as well. Usually when you have two parties that share the same goal, it’s easier to achieve that goal.”
Wallace stated that he and his agent, Bus Cook, are chatting with the Steelers about a deal, but at the same time said that he wants to get paid after three very good seasons with the Steelers.
“Yeah, we are talking, but I don`t know how far they are going to get right now because of the situation,” Wallace said. “I know that they are working hard trying to take care of it, but I don`t know. We`ll see.”
Colbert Thursday didn’t say how the Steelers are going to try to do things to keep Wallace around, but the best bet is to think they are going to put a $ 2.7 million first-round tender on the wide out, this way if another team makes a huge offer the Steelers can’t match, they will get that teams first round pick this season.
You could look at it this way though, the Steelers may actually be thinking about putting the whopping $ 9.4 million franchise tag on Wallace. If they do that, it will pretty much be a for sure that he will be back in 2012, but at the same time, the team will have to make some rather drastic moves as they will be even more over the salary cap.
Bottom line, the Steelers have until March 5th to decide whether to put the tag on Wallace and until March 13th to get under the salary cap. It’s going to be an interesting few weeks as they try to get something done with their speedy wide out.
Source: Steelers Gab
PITTSBURGH (93-7 The FAN) — Steelers Defensive End Ziggy Hood joined Seibel, Starkey and Miller on Sportsradio 93-7 The FAN to wrap up the season and preview the future of the team.
Ziggy said it has been tough to swallow not being in the playoffs, but they gave it their all and just came up short.
There’s a chance going in to camp next year Ziggy will have to step up and be a leader on the defensive line because Aaron Smith and Casey Hampton may not be back, and he told us how ready he is to accept that responsibility and make this team better moving forward.
We wrapped things up getting Ziggy’s thoughts on New England Denver playing this weekend, and with his experience playing against both teams, who he thinks will advance.
Source: CBS Pittsburgh » Steelers