Saturday, August 31, 2013

Final Roster Moves Completed Today

Steelers Final Roster Moves

As the Steelers enter the start of the football season after an 0-4 preseason, the Steelers  finalized their roster moves today to 53 players.

Significant moves included:

  • Releasing running back Jonathan Dwyer and activating TE Heath Miller (Miller can begin practicing with the team immediately).
  • In addition to Dwyer, 12-year veteran punter Brian Moorman was also cut.
  • Some of the players waived included G Mike Golic, C Joe Madsen, WR Reggie Dunn, LB Terrence Garvin, CB Devin Smith, RB Alvester Alexander,  and S Voss Ventrone.
  • The roster cuts leaves the Steelers with three quarterbacks, five running backs, five wide receivers, five tight ends, eight offensive linemen, six defensive linemen, eight linebackers, 10 defensive backs, and three specialists.

Steelers vs. Carolina Postscript

Steelers lost to the Panthers 25-10.

In a game without any stars, QB Landry Jones played the entire game. He completed 16 of 35 passes for 189 yards with one touchdown and three interceptions.

The Steelers offensive line only played two series. Primary skill players were given the night off.

Steelers open their season against the Titans at home on Sunday, Sept. 8, 2013 at 1 p.m. EDT., Steelers Depot, Fox Sports

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Steelers Lose To Chiefs 26-20 in OT; Roster Move Updates

Steelers 0-3 In Preseason With Loss To Chiefs

While the Steelers offense finally broke through with a touchdown in the preseason, the fact is penalties continue to be a problem. The team committed nine penalties costing the team 98 yards against the Chiefs. But the penalty stat that remains conspicuous: the team has been penalized 24 times in the preseason for a total of 234 yards. Those are big numbers for three games. Or to put it in perspective, it's an average of 8 penalties for 81 yards.

Nevertheless, the offense finally awoke with an impressive performance by Roethlisberger who managed three third down conversions. Ben ended up 13/19 for 166 yards and one touchdown (including three passes that were obvious drops). Gradkowski was 8/17 for 115. In addition, Steelers have to be impressed with the performances of Markus Wheaton and Antonio Brown. Wheaton caught 3 passes for 54 yards and a touchdown. Brown had 3 receptions for 61 yards. Just as impressive, these two guys have some very impressive speed.

The O line performed better than they have in the previous two weeks. However, Pouncey came up short again and was penalized twice. In addition, while there was improvement in pass protection, Roethlisberger was still sacked twice. It's imperative the offensive line needs to get its act together for the start of the season. In fact, if the O line can improve in the coming two weeks, those wide-receiver speed demons should have no problems getting behind the opposing secondaries.

A little bit more good news: Troy looks healthy. He's still fast. And he still manages to be everywhere on the field.

Steelers made 15 roster moves today reaching the 75 player Tuesday deadline.

Released were tackle Batiste, RB Baron Batch, OT Mike Farrell,  WR David Gilreath,  WR Tyler Shaw, corner Ryan Steed, LB Stevenson Sylvester, TE Pete Tuitupou,  QB John Wilson, WR J.D. Woods, and running back Jeremy Wright. Other players were placed in the team's waived/injury list.

The roster must be reduced to 53 players by Saturday at 6 p.m.

Update on LB Jarvis Jones: He was released from the hospital. According to the Steelers, his medical test results were negative.

Steelers will play their last preseason game at the Carolina Panthers on Thursday night. Kickoff is slated for 7:30 p.m., Yardbarker, ESPN, Fox Sports

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Steelers-Redskins Postscript: "We Need To Get Better In A Hurry."

"We Need To Get Better In A Hurry."

That's what coach Tomlin said after the Steelers second loss in the preseason. And that's not an understatement. In fact, OT Mike Adams added, "I would say we've done a good job of messing it up on our own."

It's been no secret that the Steelers O line has been conspicuous by its absence in the last several seasons.  The offensive line allowed Roethlisberger to be sacked 198 times in the last 71 regular season games. The team's offensive line performance last night did not allay any of the anxiety we've all endured during those previous seasons. If I were in Ben's shoes, I'd be opening up a can of whoop ass on these guys today.

How bad was the performance? This bad: eight turnovers, starters failing to reach the end zone and three turnovers. This was the performance from the likes of number one picks in DeCastro and Pouncey including veterans like Foster and Mike Adams. Not good.

Then there's the problem with back-up quarterbacks. At first glance (during this pre-season),  if the Steelers lose Roethlisberger like they did last year, the depth in quarterbacks is lacking. Landry Jones completed only 9 of 22 passes he threw and Gradkowski was 5 of 9. It's clear Roethlisberger needs to be in the best shape of his career if this O line fails to protect him yet again. Add to this scenario, the Steelers appear to be running out of backs. Bell, Johnson and Batch all sustained injuries. Redman was already on the sidelines with a stinger sustained in practice. The Steelers need those guys on the field not in the trainer's room.

Defense doesn't get off the hook either. They gave up 146 yards in the game. In fact, not having to face RG III, they even had some trouble stopping third string Washington QB Rex Grossman. He completed 10 or 16 passes for 133 yards including a touchdown.

If there was any up-side to last night's game, it was in rushing even with poor pass protection.

The fact is the performance of the offensive line needs a lot of work. "It's poor execution," reiterated Tomlin. And that's not an understatement., Yardbarker, Fox Sports

Monday, August 19, 2013

Steelers vs Redskins: What To Expect

Steelers vs Redskins Tonight-

Some things to watch for with Steelers in their preseason game with Washington tonight:
  • Cornerback Cortez Allen returned to practice this week, and he looked good according to most reports.
  • Tomlin indicated he likes what he sees in Bruce Gradowski as Ben's backup.
  • Don't be surprised to see Dwyer start this week due to injuries sustained by Bell and Redman in practice this week  although more recent reports earlier today said Bell might be on the field tonight. Bell returned to full practice yesterday.
  • Tomlin also said he likes what he's seen in Kelvin Beachum as swing tackle. Beachum will also get some work at center in this game.
  • According to the Tribune, Heath Miller is expected to be out for the first month of the regular season.
  • This week Ben reiterated Antonio Brown is his number one wide receiver.

Steeler Depot,

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Giants 18, Steelers 13: The Good and The Bad

What Did The Steelers Show In Their Loss To The Giants

Many observers will say, "Well, it's only the first pre-season game." In many respects, that's true. Nevertheless, even these games can give us a glimpse into the future. With the Steelers, like with most teams, it can come down to mistakes and injuries. We would hope the Steelers learned that lesson after last year's disappointing season.

Let's take a look at what the Steelers did right:

  • J.D. Woods had two impressive catches.
  • David DeCastro played well for his 31 snaps. His knee injury appears to be something that bothered him a lifetime ago.
  • All the back-up linebackers gave the Steelers hope for the future in that position. They played better than expected for back-ups.
  • OLB Jarvis Jones had two tackles and recovered a fumble. Good showing.
  • After a blocked punt by the Giants, Steelers defense showed what they are capable of doing by keeping the Giants out of the end zone at the Steelers 5-yard line. In fact, the defense did well in several sudden change situations.

What Went Wrong:

  • David Gilreath was unimpressive in punt returns by fumbling once and later being tagged on the 3-yard line. Bad decision.
  • DaMon Cromartie-Smith, quite frankly, showed little. He registered not a single tackle.
  • Marcus Gilbert was charged with a holding penalty.
  • Ben had a pass blocked.
  • Marshall McFadden was charged with a penalty for being illegally downfield nullifying a 52 yard punt.
  • Landry Jones. What can you say? He didn't look like a 4th-round draft choice.
  • Bastite--who?
  • The Steelers burned out all of their time outs in the first half with over 12 minutes remaining.
  • Stevenson Sylvester incurred an ankle injury. The injury will be evaluated today.

Regarding the performances of Roethlisberger and Gradkowski, it was much too early to tell what the future holds with the exception of both utilizing a short-passing game (perhaps that is what the future holds for the Steeler offense).

All of the quarterbacks connected on 19 or 33 pass attempts for 124 yards. Steelers were 55% passing vs. 45% in rushing stats. They also managed to inch out the Giants in time-of-possession while Giants edged the Steelers in first downs 15 to 14.

In short, the passing game was not impressive. Steelers only TD came from a fumble recovery in the end zone in the fourth quarter. Starters were long gone and were probably eating a late dinner pounding down some Iron City's.

Next Pre-Season Game: At Washington on August 19.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Plaxico Burress: Season Ending Injury; Tomlin Likes What He Sees In Adams At Left Tackle

Plaxico's Season Ends As Quickly As It Started

Injuries---one of many reasons it's difficult to make predictions in the NFL. Plaxico Burress suffered a torn rotator cuff in practice yesterday. This injury is likely to end his season. And, at 36 years of age, perhaps even his career.

Mike Adams Switched To Left Tackle

Although Coach Tomlin indicated he likes what he sees in Mike Adams at left tackle (replacing Marcus Gilbert who moved over the right), Tomlin said he's not yet ready to proclaim it's a permanent move. He did say at left tackle is where Adams will be playing in Saturday night's game. There have been reports out of training camp that Gilbert's performance has not been as good as expected adding to the likelihood that Adams will remain at left tackle.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Steelers vs. Giants + Current News

Steelers vs. Giants

Steelers open their pre-season against the NY Giants on Aug. 10. 7:30 PM. KDKA, Channel 2

Current News:

  • Ladies, purses are now banned at Heinz Field as well as computer bags, backpacks, diaper bags and fanny packs. Clutch bags are permitted but must not be larger than the size of a hand. The only bags permitted are clear vinyl or plastic and cannot exceed 12 by 6 by 12 inches. No coolers are permitted regardless of team logo especially Cleveland and Raven logos. Exceptions will be made for medically necessary items.
  • Polamalu, 32, is entering his 11th season. He appears in great shape and trimmer than last year.
  • C Cortez Allen underwent knee surgery last week. He expects to be ready for the opening game of the regular season when the Steelers face the Titans.
  • Expectations are high for the Steelers offensive line with veterans returning like Pouncey, Gilbert, Foster, DeCastro and Mike Adams. However, depth continues to be a concern
  • Remaining Question Marks? Steelers passing and ground game. Mike Wallace's departure as well as Heath Miller's injury adds to some concerns. According to most observers, including Steeler players, the offense will be all about running the ball. No further comment on the offense until I see some games.
  • Steelers claimed TE Michael Palmer off waivers from Seattle. TE John Rabe was released to make room.
  • The team also signed TE Nathan Overbay. Tackle Mike Farrell was released.
  • Coach Tomlin said not to be surprised if rookie La'Veon Bell, RB, gets some snaps on Saturday.
  • All four QB's are expected to play on Saturday night., Steelers Depot, PG, Sporting News

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Dick LeBeau: Godfather Of The Zone Blitz + Sanders Sets His Expectations

LeBeau Talks About Up-Temp Offenses

When Dick LeBeau talks defense, people listen. This season he's preparing Steelers defense for read-option, up-tempo games (Say: "Chip Kelly').

"You're going to see these up-tempo offenses more and more across the league, " said LeBeau. "You need to practice that, because the up-tempo is another tool offenses have now to pressure defenses," added LeBeau.

Steelers are confident in LeBeau considering there's nothing he hasn't seen in many decades of coaching.

Key Players Added + Lost:

Key Additions:

RB LeVon Bell, CB William Gay, QB Bruce Gradkowski, OLB Jarvis Jones, KR-RB LaRod Stephens-Howling.

Key Losses:

OL Willie Colon, NT Casey Hampton, LB James Harrison, CB Keenan Lewis, RB Rashard Mendenhall, T Max Starks, WR Mike Wallace

Also: Steelers released DT Omar Hunter and C Nigel Malone. Signed C Ryan Hunter and TE  John Rabe  from the Vikings.

"Losing Mike {Wallace} is unfortunate, but when Mike left, the next guy has to step up. That next guy is me." WR Emmanuel Sanders

USA Today,, ESPN, Fox Sports