Tag Archives: Weeks

David DeCastro Remains Unsigned With Less Than Two Weeks To Go Until Training Camp

As of today there are 12 days left until the Pittsburgh Steelers report to Latrobe for training camp. While the primary talk revolves around whether or not restricted free agent Mike Wallace will sign his tender and report on time, it has almost been forgotten that first round draft pick, guard David DeCastro, has yet to be signed.

Personally I am…

Source: Yardbarker: Pittsburgh Steelers

Weekend Check Down: the Week’s Top Stories

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Summer has officially begun, and with it ends the springtime phase of the NFL year. The last of the minicamps for teams around the league ended on Thursday. Thursday also marked the end of the NBA year as the Miami Heat wrapped up its second championship. If you live in the Northeast you don’t have to be told that its summer you just needed to step outside. So, in honor of the season we will begin with…

Training Camp

Steelers.com published the training camp schedule this week. There will be fifteen sessions that are open to the public all at Saint Vincent College in Latrobe, Pa. with the one exception of a Friday evening session at Latrobe Stadium. It is important to note that though the players officially report to camp on Wednesday, July 25th, the first public session will not be until Friday, July 27th, and that will be a helmet and shorts practice, after that practices will be in pads.

The camp schedule encompasses weekday sessions and three weekends and culminates on Friday August 17th. There are some things about camp that I try not to take for granted. Pittsburgh is the only team in its division and among a dwindling number of teams league wide that still conducts training camp at a location other than their year round training facility. Parking and admission to the practices is free. Living as I do in Redskin Country, I appreciate that the Rooneys continue to refrain from sticking their hands in our pockets just to witness practice. And since, like many of us in Steeler Nation, I reside in enemy territory, it’s really nice to be at the home base, so to speak, surrounded by fellow patriots, friends and Steelers family watching our guys go through their paces.

If you haven’t done so it is an experience that I highly recommend. The setting is attractive and peaceful (Saint Vincent is also a monastery), the mood is both upbeat and mellow, if that makes any sense, and the price is right. If you can avoid the occasional thunderstorm then it makes for a great afternoon. (All public sessions commence at 3pm).


As was reported in this space last week, the June 15th deadline for WR Mike Wallace to sign his tender came and went with nothing being signed and no punitive action taken by the Steelers front office. There was a minor disturbance in the Force when Antonio Brown indicated that he would handle his upcoming contract process differently. First round draft choice David DeCastro has also not signed as of yet, there is no concern that this is a problem, just the process playing out.

Ron Cook of the Post-Gazette has pointed out that it will certainly be helpful and comforting to get both Wallace and DeCastro signed, but the most important contract issue the Steelers face this summer is that of Head Coach Mike Tomlin. Next year is the option year on Tomlin’s contract and team president Art Rooney II indicated earlier in the spring that the organization intended to sign Mike to a new contract. The coming weeks would be the best time to accomplish this, but according to Cook the sticking point may well be money.

Tomlin has earned the right to be in the conversation as one of the top coaches in the league. He currently makes considerably less than Bill Belichick and Tom Coughlin. There is no indication that the conversation on this matter has commenced or if the issues raised are actually a point of contention at this time. But the main point of the article, the importance and priority of keeping Tomlin with the Black and Gold is well taken.

More Tomlin

Steelers.com also reported a couple of news items related to Tomlin, but not team related. Kiya Tomlin, Mike’s better half is a board member of Pittsburgh Promise an organization that provides college scholarships for students who attend the Pittsburgh Public Schools. The organization sponsored a dance-a-thon that was attended by the coach and several of his players.

Coach Tomlin will also be hosting a tailgating party in Virginia that benefits the Hampton Roads Youth Foundation.

Chris Rainey

It’s going to be great. I know this style of offense. I have asked some of the other players if they like it and they do. They think it’s better than the one they used to have here

That was Rainey’s response to what he thought of Todd Haley’s new offensive system in a piece that appears in Steelers.com.

Rainey also responds to questions about his draft day experience, his feelings about the atmosphere of the Steelers organization and the importance of special teams play.

Mewelde Moore

Moore rejoined former Steelers OC Bruce Arians as he signed to play with the Indianapolis Colts. His veteran presence should be quite an asset for a team that is starting a rookie quarterback and in a serious rebuilding phase.

Moore made some major contributions during the Steelers’ championship run in 2008, but it is fair to say that he was underappreciated during his tenure with Pittsburgh. He and Tomlin were with the Minnesota Vikings at the same time, and I believe that he has represented and displayed many of the characteristics that Tomlin values in his players. I don’t believe that there was a place for him on the current Steelers roster unless one or more of the highly touted young runners were unavailable or performed in a disappointing manner.

Nonetheless, Moore will be missed by many and will probably make for a number of great trivia questions in a decade or so.

This year’s undrafted free agent sensation?

So far, that would be CB Terry Carter from Louisiana Tech. Carter had three interceptions during the last full day session of minicamp and now has the attention of the defensive coaches.

The Louisiana connection has also been noted. Ike Taylor and Keenan Lewis are Louisiana natives and Tech is Terry Bradshaw’s alma mater. Remember the old days when the problem was a lack of quality cornerbacks on the roster? Lewis, Allen, Brown, Frederick, Carter; what a traffic jam.

Baron Batch (cont.)

A trait that Baron Batch shares with Isaac Redman is that he has become an object of our seemingly endless fascination without having accomplished much as of yet on the field. While Redman has played the role of superhero/demigod in the collective imagination, Batch seems to be carving out a niche for himself as poet warrior (I was about to say intellectual sage, but that would be Myron Rolle).

Batch was the subject of a piece in the Post-Gazette that actually featured some of his artwork. Batch also discussed the emotional and psychological hurdles that he has had to address in relation to the rehabilitation process he has been undergoing to come back from a knee injury suffered in last year’s training camp. If he has accomplished anything, Batch has provided fans with a great deal of insight into the journey that is undertaken in the quest to achieve success in the NFL. We root for him if for no other reason than what we might learn from his experience of actually playing in the league.


Dan Rooney was in the news once again this week. In an interview with BBC, the United States Ambassador to Ireland expressed the hope that the Steelers might play a regular season game in Dublin in the near future. Besides the logistical concerns (each team would be transporting about 150 team personnel across the Atlantic in the middle of the season) there is also the concern of whom would be the home team in such a match up. If it were the Steelers it would mean forfeiting one of their home dates at Heinz Field. Stay tuned.


It has been quietly noted that James Harrison was kept out of workouts during both OTAs and the mandatory minicamp. The reason given was that he has been experiencing fluid on the knee. Harrison has been wrestling with injury concerns for over a year now with the most serious issue being his back. There is some concern about the current state of his health, but I would argue that there is nothing to prove by having him go through these workouts. Now if there are problems at training camp, then there might be reason for concern.

And speaking of outside linebackers…

Clark Haggans

The former OLB for the Steelers made the news for the wrong reasons this week as he is beginning to serve a week of jail time in the Westmoreland County lockup for a DUI conviction that he received in Arizona. While the conviction occurred in the southwest, Haggans has chosen to serve his time in Western Pennsylvania. He will spend two days in jail and then the rest of his sentence on work release.

Willie Colon

Nice profile of our ‘new’ left guard by Theresa Varley on Steelers.com. Colon provides details of his injury struggles over the last two years and how he coped with being away from the game for so long.

Other news

Perhaps the biggest football news of the week was the announced retirement of LaDanian Tomlinson. He did one of those one day contract deals and retired as a San Diego Charger. It is believed that he will be a lock for the Hall Of Fame when he becomes eligible in 2017.

Bounty Gate continues as the suspended players went to NFL headquarters in New York to appeal to Roger Goodell. The league also released to journalists information that was used to decide the punishment for these players.

In spite winning and being named MVP of the Super Bowl for the second time, Eli Manning ranks third in terms of media attention in the Big Apple. The current obsession is with Jets‘ quarterbacks Mark Sanchez and Tim Tebow.

In AFC North news, Ravens offensive tackle Bryant McKinnie has attracted a good deal of attention because he was held out of team workouts in order for him to work on conditioning and weight issues. McKinnie vows to report to training camp at 345 pounds. In a bit of a role reversal, the Baltimore media seems to be somewhat concerned about O line issues with the Ravens.

The problem is Cleveland is at quarterback. It appears that the Browns may be looking to unload Colt McCoy. Steelers fans would hate to see him go.

Source: Behind the Steel Curtain

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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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