Uncategorized

TO THE SUPER BOWL!!

What a great year to start a Steelers Blog! I get to run the whole gamut on here, from tough losses during the regular season, to Big Ben’s uncanny ability to get it done in the playoffs. My last post about Aaron Rodgers and Big Ben suddenly became more relevant, didn’t it? Things happened just about the way we expected them to. Most people picked the Packers to beat the Bears, and the same with the Steelers against the Jets. Both winning teams though, played pretty ugly games. I always say, great teams find ways to win, even when they play like crap. Both the Steelers and the Packers proved that today. (more…)

Advertisements

Midweek Reaction: On the Upcoming Bills

‘Cause the Raiders game simply isn’t worth talking about.

I don’t know much about the Bills, but I do know that they have a dynamic duo of wide receivers, and we have a disappointing  (to say the least) secondary. I know that they surged late to beat the inept Bengals (Carson Palmer may be even worse than I thought after watching that Tday debacle), and we have a habit of giving up 4th quarter leads. I know that everyone thought the win would be easy last year, and some how we came away losing to a string of teams, including the Bills, that we had no business losing to. (more…)


En Route To Pitt

We are officially on our way to Pittsburgh for an epic weekend of tailgating, and the Steelers Patriots game at Heinz Field. We’ve got great LL tickets. Pictures will be posted.  We’ll drink beer, play bags, toss the rock around, eat some Meckler Dip (family recipe, it’s tha bomb), and record a video blog specially for Pittsburghrick.com. Check back for news from the Burgh!


Midweek Reactions: Game 7 – Steelers/Saints

Alright, so its been a while. Forgive me, Ive been going insane trying to finish up my Masters degree, and unfortunately blogging about my boys in Black and Gold (the real Black and Gold) has taken a bit of a backseat. As always, if you’d like to get frequent updates and listen to me rant during the games, you can follow me on Twitter.

First things first: This was an ugly game. My initial reaction to the way the game started to unfold was that we were unprepared to play against the Saints defense. After some time and some thought, I have confirmed that my first reaction was an accurate one.

>

>

>

>
>

>

>

>

>

>

Offense – I am often puzzled by the decisions Bruce Arians makes when he calls plays, but this game seemed to be worse than others. I am always hesitant to blindly jump on the “fire his ass” train, and when Yinzers started calling for BA’s head I was no different. Needless to say, I am beginning to see the light. The Steelers offense couldn’t seem to play against the Saints blitz. It was just too much for them to handle. I am sure the crowd noise was a big factor in communication, but the play-calling was just ridiculous. I love the balance between the run game and the pass game, but running the ball straight up the middle when there are 8 or 9 guy in the blocks about to blitz is never a good idea.  It wasn’t really until they ran the  22 Double play that Rashard was able to break one off for a TD. This is where the offense started to click, before the 4th quarter, it was like our offense had never seen a blitz before. No short passes, no play action, no deep balls to Mike Wallace…Everything you could logically think of that might discourage the other team from blitzing every down was like a mystery to our offense. Instead we ran screen passes and runs up the middle that resulted in short gains and ultimately a situation where our offense had a long 3rd down to convert. Throwing the ball deep to Wallace (they didn’t do it once against the Saints. They didn’t even try) lets the defense know that they have to respect us and that they cant blitz every down. Wallace has said it himself, he believes he can beat anyone in the NFL. LET HIM!!

>

>

>

>

>

>

>

>Im not in to woulda coulda shouldas, but if Heath hadn’t fumbled, Id probably be writing a much different blog post right now. We’d be talking about Big Ben and yet another miraculous 4th quarter comeback. It was amazing to see how much impact one play had on the result of the game.

Also, why not let Ben run the no-huddle for a while? Crowd noise too much for him? Hasn’t been back long enough? Changing up the pace of the game would have forced New Orleans to stop blitzing, and given Ben more time to get rid of the ball and find an open receiver.

ps-I love Emmanuel Sanders. I needs to hold on to the freaking ball though. I hope they give him shit for that in practice.

Coaching I touched on this a little bit with Bruce Arians, but there are a couple other things I’d like to get at.

Challenges: After El’s TD was taken away from him – a ball I thought clearly crossed the plain. If anything, there wasn’t conclusive evidence to overturn it – Mendenhall clearly ran the next ball in. Just watch the replay. Its sick. It hurts to watch your coaching staff sit back and watch instead of doing something about the terrible officiating that was going on out there. As it turns out, Tomlin has actually said he should have challenged the Mendy run, but hey, hindsight is always 20/20. Or at least close to it. I understand that Tomlin felt it would be hard to win a challenge in an away game, but in a situation like that, you have to try.

Defense – 3rd and 8. You have to stop them. The Steelers had a chance to stop the Saints and get the ball back again late in the game and they couldn’t stop the Saints on a 3rd and 8. I hate prevent defense. It sucks, and other teams always rack up big numbers on our D when they use it. This time, the Saints easily (how the hell was that guy so wide open, and how the hell did the 3 Steelers jerseys around him not stop him from crossing the chain marker??) converted on third down, and then quickly scored to seal the deal.

>

>

>

>

>

>

>

Im not going to sit here and bash the defense though, because the defense was not the problem. Our defense made a couple of really big red zone stops, a goal line stand, and kept the Saints under/on the 20 point mark. In fact, they kept the Saints to just 6 points all the way in to the 4th quarter. Our team should be able to beat any team in the NFL if they hold said team to such a low point total. The Saints only started scoring touchdowns after it seemed the Steelers had already accepted defeat. Im just not used to that. Im not used to seeing my team play so lousy, and then give up before the game is over. I don’t care how loud the stadium is, I don’t care that they are the defending Super Bowl champs. Go out there and play hard.

That being said, we’re in pretty good shape. I think the offense will learn from being in such a hostile playoff-like environment and get better from it. We missed Aaron Smith, but the numbers didn’t really show. As long as Ziggy Hood can step up and play some ball, we should be fine in that area. Timmons had another big week, and the Silverback seems to be back to his old ways of hurting people. I love it. The offense needs to get on the same page or every team we play is going to bring everyone and the kitchen sink in to blitz.

I think sometimes I just need to remember that teams don’t win every game they play (See Patriots undefeated season), and 5-2 is a good spot to be in. Although, it would be nice to be a couple games up on the Ratbirds.

ANNOUNCEMENT Jon and I hit the road next Friday to Pittsburgh where we will tailgate, and watch the game from great seats in the LL of Heinz Field. I’ll take some video and post it here, so STAY TUNED!


Pre-Season is Over….. Kind Of

The preseason is over in the National Football League, yet the Steeler’s offense still will be showing signs of the preseason inexperience, especially if we have to go with Dixon to start the season.  Dixon is obviously the better choice to play, but with the inexperience comes the bad decisions that seem to always come at the worst time.  (Like a 10 point swing at the end of the half during the Denver game, instead of 6 to 10 or even 10 to 10, Dixon throws a pick six and makes it 17 to 3.)   Also, the offensive line is going to struggle as if it is still the preseason.  Pouncey has obviously worked extremely hard and is becoming who we want him to be, but do not forget he is a rookie starter at maybe the most difficult position on offense besides quarterback.  He is young, will blow blitz blocks and at times will be wild with snaps.  So, why cut Hartwig, our only veteran at the center position?  Also, Flozel Adams still is having problems getting down the cadence, even if it has to do with the quarterback shuffle, it is still ugly coming from a guy with such a strong resume.

Not to say that our starting defense looks so much better.  Where is the run defense?  The Broncos, in their first touchdown drive, ran the ball six times and threw only twice, jamming it down our throats.  Even with Aaron Smith back our tackling looks sloppy.  During the last preseason game, even with smash and dash sitting out for the game, the Carolina running backs made our defense look weak.  Arm tackling and not wrapping up will no longer work in this league when the men carrying the ball pack such a punch.  On the defensive cuts note, why cut Patrick Bailey.  Not only a solid special teams player, when he was with the second and third string D he was the only player that really stood out to me, making tackles in the back field and getting such deep penetration to the offensive back field that he made the play happen without getting the tackle.  Patrick was our Joe Green rookie of the year in 08, and from what I saw was only getting better.

Some things to look forward to:  Emanuel Sanders and Antonio Brown.  Can you say Ochocinco and TO?  They seem to be explosive and exciting to watch, and hot heads to top it off.  I’m not saying I like hot heads, and I definitely do not like Ocho or TO.   But,  being in Pittsburgh with great veteran leadership, I think we can balance out the talent and hot-headedness of the two and develop some great wide receivers. The one problem I can see is that Antonio Brown is already being called Rod Tidwell (Jerry Maguire) and don’t forget our last true hot-head who could not back up his mouth; Anthony Madison.  Making stupid comments like guaranteeing a win over the Patriots, than getting burnt numerous times by Moss and Brady.  We need to develop these two and get them level heads, because I do believe they could be great, and fun to watch too.

Side notes:   Leinart was cut by the Cardinals, and all I can do is laugh.  Willie was cut by the Redskins, possibly ending his career.  They claim he never showed that speed that made him Fast Willy, and being just Willy won’t get you a roster spot over Portis or Johnson.  I was not able to catch any of the Redskins preseason games, but you have to think Willy’s got something left, and I hope to see him get a second chance somewhere.  Nothing can take away the longest Touchdown in Super Bowl history, and we won’t forget what he did for us here in Pittsburgh.  Good Luck Fast Willy.


Don’t Believe Everything You Read

Mendenhall clearly does not have a broken arm. No idea where that came from…

Remind me not to believe everything I read. Even if its from a seemingly reliable source.


18 Game Season?

Leaders in the NFL, including Roger Goodell and individual team owners met today to talk about the proposition that the NFL change its regular season length to 18 games, instead of the normal 16 we’ve all grown accustomed to. At this point in the juncture, it seems that the extra two games will simply replace two of the usual preseason games. They have not yet taken a vote.

Sounds great right? More football, and less of that annoying preseason bull-crap. Let’s get those guys on the field so they can destroy their bodies sooner than later! Unfortunately for the money hungry owners and merchandising companies, the players, and most of the coaches aren’t too fond of the idea, and it starts with preseason.

In an interview with ESPN, Payton Manning made it known how he feels about the proposal, citing a conversation he has with his teammate, 4 time  pro-bowler Jeff Saturday. Apparently Saturday believes that without the last two games of preseason, he doesn’t make the NFL. As you may know, the 4th game of preseason is usually a game in which the coaches sit the 1st team players all together. The rest of the preseason is meant as an avenue for the coaches to evaluate the skill levels of their players. Without the extra time, coaches would have a lot more trouble seeing the guys with hidden talents. Imagine the scenario of a two game preseason: The starters play 2 quarters in the first game, maybe the entire second game, and then the regular season starts. When are the coaches really going to be able to take a look at the game skills of their younger players?

There’s also that pesky money issue that many players have already made some comments about, showing their concern. Vikings’ star tight end Visanthe Shiancoe wondered aloud to the press at training camp how they would be paid for the extra two games. Do they get two extra checks, or do they just split the same money evenly over 18 weeks? Valid concern, and that doesn’t even touch on the issue of injury.

Could a guy Brett Favre’s age really compete an extra two weeks? Assume for a second that the Vikings make the playoffs, not so far fetched. Now count a minimum of three extra games to get to the super bowl. If there were an 18 game season, Brett’s beat up 40yr old body would have to endure a minimum of 21 games to win the super bowl. Certainly changes things. Maybe Favre stays home and never plays for the Jets, and in turn never plays what he is referring to as the best season of his career with the MN Vikings. Add to that the issue that these guys will be getting thrown in to the football season sooner, with less time for conditioning to prepare for regular season hits. We’re looking at a lot more injuries.

Goodell made it known to the press that they actually have the right to move the NFL to 22 games if they wanted to. Sounds great, right? No, it doesn’t. This isn’t baseball. We don’t want to drive football in to the ground by playing too many games. In football, every game means something. Every single game can be the difference between making the playoffs and falling short. That’s an exciting feeling for a fan, and it makes the players play harder with a greater determination to win games. Who wouldn’t love that kind of energy?

A really good and loyal baseball fan pays attention to his/her team’s scores and occasionally watches a game. Do you really want to turn football fans in to those kinds of fans? I certainly don’t. There go your ratings. Good luck getting my wife to be cool with paying an extra $100 for Sunday Ticket, too. Yeesh.

Goodell, if you raise the number of games in the regular season too drastically, you’re gonna lose fans, and players. We’re already hearing of studies about how bad football is for the brain function of its stars down the road.  Players are dieing young from brain related injuries, and those are players who didn’t even play a season with 16 games. My advise to you, Mr. Goodell is this: if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

Also, it would be nice if you went ahead and reduced Big Ben’s suspension. I need to finally get some sleep before the season starts. Thanks.