Monday, January 21, 2013

Steeler Roster Changes Coming; Salary Cap Challenges; Fans Pick Greatest QB In Steelers History

Steelers Could Be Seeing Big Roster Changes

One didn't have to listen closely to what Steelers general manager, Kevin Colbert, was saying last week.  Expect roster changes. In fact, expect some major roster changes. Referring to the 2012 season as "disappointing" and "unacceptable," it's clear what he meant. 

Colbert said the Steelers will rework some contracts and terminate others largely to make room under the salary cap. 

"If we don't change a roster that produced 8-8, we'd be silly to expect a better result," said Colbert.

Steelers President Art Rooney II threw his continued support behind coach Mike Tomlin and Offensive Coordinator Todd Haley.

Salary Cap Challenges Facing Steelers

Salary cap goes into effect on March 12. On that day, every team's 51 man roster contracts must be below the 2013 salary cap estimated to be about $121 million. Some reports place the Steelers about $10 million over the cap. However, Rooney hinted that number might be low. In addition, salary cap issues could limit how many veterans would return.

Who Is The Greatest Quarterback In Steelers History?

We know all the names---Roethlisberger, Bradshaw, O'Donnel, Stewart, Maddox, and Hanratty. 

So who did fans choose as the best QB in Steelers history? According to Yardbarker (who ran the poll), Terry Bradshaw took it by a wide margin. Bradshaw received 79.3% of the votes. Roethlisberger received 18.8%. Neil O'Donnel edged out Slash by .08%. O'Donnel came in at 1.08% while Kordell slipped in at 1%.

Yardbarker, Fox Sports,

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Bettis + Kevin Green Finalists In Pro Football Hall of Fame; Steelers Cut Chris Rainey; View From The Stands: Ron Cammarata

Jerome Bettis + Kevin Green: 2013 Hall of Fame Finalists

NFL Hall of Fame announced Jerome Bettis and Kevin Green as finalists in the 2013 NFL Hall of Fame.

Bettis was the Steelers leading rusher for a total of five years. He amassed 50 100-yard games with the Steelers.  He rushed for a total of 10,571 yards in his Steeler career and 13,662 total career yards (Bettis played for the LA Rams earlier in his career).

Kevin Green played linebacker and defensive end with the Steelers from 1993-1995. He also played for the LA Rams, Carolina Panthers and Forty-Niners.

Steelers Waive Rainey

Steelers cut rookies running back Chris Rainey after his arrest on a battery charge in Gainesville, FL.  According to police reports, Rainey got into an argument with his girlfriend about his cellphone. Witnesses reported Rainey allegedly slapped his girlfriend as he tried to pull her out of his car.

Rainey was selected in the fifth round of the 2012 NFL draft.

From The Stands
Ron Cammarata
Section 110, Row CC-Seat 9

The best two days of the NFL season is arguably wild card weekend. The games aren't necessarily the high scoring events that we have come accustomed to during the regular season, and the balance displayed by these better teams comes to light.

In the playoffs, even teams that we don't associate as running teams find that very important element. Look at the Saturday night game with the Packers and Vikings. The Packers all season never established, or cared to run the ball with any great efficiency...but in the playoffs they ran the rookie back Harris with a lot of consistency.

In the earlier Saturday game between the Texans and Bengals, Mike Mayock (in my opinion the best TV analyst in the business), made an excellent point that he reiterated often throughout the broadcast. In reference to the Texans offense he claimed that in reviewing film of their entire season, that Matt Schaub was a much better quarterback (and, in turn, the offense was better) when Schaub was under center running a play/action style offense than standing in the shotgun. The Texans zone-blocking schemes of their offensive line lends itself to a run first team approach more so than the pocket protection needed for success in the shotgun. Recognizing Mayock's repeated comments make me think of exactly our own offensive trouble that plagued the Steelers propensity to run the shotgun in recent years, no matter Arians or Haley. In a recent article in the Tribune Review, it was pointed out that the Steelers passed the ball 162 more plays this season than they ran the football. Of course, down and distance, along with other contributing factors dictate pass over run...and that's OK. But in the post-Bettis era of Steelers football, it is obvious that this team is all about the quarterback and what and how the quarterback wants in conducting the offense.

We have heard repeatedly that Ben likes the shotgun, because he can keep the flow of the play in front of him...but that doesn't mean that it is the best approach for the rest of the team's offense.  An offensive line that can pass block out of the shotgun with great success is usually a line with a lot of cohesion and consistency like the Patriots or Broncos. The Steelers 2012 offensive line was a continual work in progress based on injuries and patch-worked all season. In addition, the Monday morning excuse after many losses in the Big Ben era is that the opposition shut down the run...when in reality we chose to stop trying to run.  Any time a team runs the ball less than twenty carries in a 60 minute game when the score is still a philosophical choice. On first down we often saw bubble screens (a Ben favorite) and other college intramural looking formations for the entire series, with three and out results. How about those lame draw plays out of the you recall any of those run plays this year producing a significant gainer on the ground? In 2009, (the last time we did not make the playoffs), out of the shotgun/empty set Ben threw five interceptions in seven of our losses, all on first down in the opponents red zone.

We are fortunate to have a QB with Ben's ability to extend the play based on his sheer size and grittiness, but he does not have the ball release mechanism of a Tom Brady or Peyton Manning and that is OK. But in 2013, our offense needs to put our quarterback under center and use the shotgun when down and distance dictates...not as our primary offensive formation like it was in 2012.

Leave you with with the first two plays of OT with the Cowboys. Win the coin toss, take the ball on offense: first play out of the shotgun, ball thrown in the dirt...second play out of the shotgun, interception...all the time in the world to move the ball in a timely manner to kick a field goal and walk away with a win and regain some momentum going into the important Bengals game. After watching the Bengals (also never tried establishing a run game) against the Texans, it was evident that the Steelers could have and would have given a better performance in that wild card weekend, and may have even pulled out a win---strictly conjecture...a view from the stands.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Steelers 2012 Season Numbers; Free Agents; Initial Look At Draft Needs

Steelers 2012 Stats Of Note

Steelers ranked number one in defense in the NFL. They gave up the fewest yards per passing attempt. Sounds good. So where did they go wrong. Let's examine some of the numbers:
  • Power Ranking: 17th (16th in USA Today)
  • Ranked 25th in takeaways
  • 26th in giveaways
  • 26th in running defense.
  • 22nd in offensive points per game...21
  • 21st in total yards per game...332.8 yards per game
  •  14th in passing yards per game...236.7
  • Roethlisberger had a 97 rating with a total of 3265 yards
  • Total Passing TD's: 35 ranked 18th
  • Average Yards Per Passing Play: 6.6 ranked 17th
  • Redman, Mendenhall and Dwyer averaged out to 3.76 yards per carry
  • Wallace, Miller and Brown averaged out to 12.1 yards per reception
  • Total First Downs: 307 ranked 17th
  • Third Down Conversions: 94 ranked 5th
  • Total Offensive Yards: 5324 ranked 21st
  • Total Touchdowns: 35 ranked 18th
  • Total Passing Plays: 574 ranked 12th
  • Total Rushing Plays: 412 ranked 20th
  • Zero Punt Return and Kick Return TD's
  • One Defensive TD
  • Total Interceptions: 10 for 127 yards.

List of Free Agents

Unrestricted: Allen, Batch, Burress, Foote, Foster, Hampton, Johnson, Leftwich, Legurski, King, Lewis, Mendenhall, Mundy, Pope, Starks, Wallace and Warren

Restricted: Dywer, McLendon, Redman, Sylvester, and Sanders.


According to the Pittsburgh PG, the Steelers are unlikely to use their franchice tag on WR Mike Wallace. Wallace is set to hit the open market, and he's looking for a huge contract. It's unlikely Wallace will then remain with the Steelers considering the team's cap issues.

Current interest in Wallace is coming from the Miami Dolphins.

Initial Look At Draft Needs:

There is probably little disagreement that the Steelers need to look at the Outside Linebacker position. James Harrison's return is iffy. Woodley is coming off a disappointing season including sustaining injuries. And Chris Carter struggled to stay healthy for two seasons now.

Steelers should look at getting some young Tight Ends. Heath Miller will most likely have a long rehabilitation for the MCL and ACL injuries. Leonard Pope is unlikely to return. That won't be a big loss.

Troy Polamalu's injuries have been disturbing and there's really no one ready to slip into his spot. Steelers should take a long hard look at some young draft picks although the draft is not deep in strong safeties. Bottom line: Steelers need to address this position in the off season should Troy suffer yet another injury plagued season.

Steelers should start looking for a capable back-up for Roethlisberger. It's likely that Batch or Leftwich will return but not both of them.

Fox Sports, Yarkbarker,, Pittsburgh PG