Wednesday, October 23, 2013

10/20/2013 Versus Baltimore Ravens

I saw some defense today!  Okay, Flaco played pretty bad but I did see a more disciplined and determined pass rush against the Baltimore Ravens.  Polamalu again was very active and the corners kept receivers in front of themselves for the most part, today.  

I guess Todd Hailey got the message finally about making his play-calling less predictable.  He needs to keep adding "new wrinkles" to the game plan.  I still don't think Heath Miller is near 100% but I would rather have him on the field even with the one turnover near half-time that netted the Ravens a field goal. Antonio Brown continues to be a big play threat and his enthusiasm seems to motivate himself as well as his teammates. 

Le'Veon Belle  is really a good "tackle to tackle" runner.  He seems to be masterful a setting up his blocks and cuts with his "stutter step" followed by immediate acceleration.  I was also glad to see Felix Jones back into the rotation to relieve Belle and provide some additional quickness.  I know Jones was benched after a fumble in previous recent game, but he is just too productive not get on the field.  He is an excellent receiver and kick returner as well.

The defense also played much better getting pressure on Flaco even though it did not yield many sacks.  More importantly, the Steelers front seven really "stuffed" the Ravens running game as they seemed very determined in "shedding" blocks and getting penetration into the backfield.  

Injuries continue to plague the offensive line.  I believe Marcus Gilbert injured his right quad muscle.  I'm still thinking some of these injuries to our offensive linemen could be attributed to poor blocking technique.  You will often see our offensive line initiate good contact but are "too high" and lack leg drive.

Overall, the Steelers played better and won a close game against a decent team in the Ravens.  Let's face it, the Ravens are not the same team that won the Super Bowl last year but they still have some formidable play-makers on offense


Tuesday, October 15, 2013

The Late Great L.C. Greenwood

I still cannot understand why this man is not in the NFL hall of fame.  He had over 73 sacks and helped his team win FOUR Super Bowls! Dan Hampton of the Chicago Bears has 57 sacks and one Super Bowl victory and yet is in the NFL hall of fame. Cortez Kennedy of the Seattle Seahawks had 58 sacks and no Super Bowl appearances or victories yet is in the NFL hall of Fame.  I hold no grudges against the aforementioned players but I still fail to see the merit the selection committee uses to determine Hall of Fame players.

What I remember most about L.C. Greenwood is his quickness off the snap and the "ranginess" he possessed.  L.C. Greenwood was pretty tall for a lineman at 6 feet 6 inches and never really played over 250 pounds but linemen in general weighed less during his era.

I also remember L.C. Greenwood was a tremendous hitter.  I remember seeing him jet in the backfield of the Baltimore Colts in a playoff game and level Lydell Mitchell as soon as the ball was handed to him.  It was one of those "Did you see that?" moments for sure and kinda' killed the momentum of the opposing team.

I also remember L.C. Greenwood played spectacularly in the Steelers Super Bowl appearances.  In Super Bowl IX against the Vikings(...yes the Vikings were an NFC powerhouse back then), he harassed Fran Tarkenton all day and his length prevented him from throwing over him.


Joe Greene is the only survivor now of the legendary "Steel Curtain" and the only member in the NFL Hall of Fame.  However, I will continue to make the case that L.C. Greenwood belongs in the Hall of Fame as well.  

S.C Steeler !!!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

09/29/2013 VS Minnesota Vikings

My old reliable saving grace quote of "WHO GOT THE MOST!", is really starting to lose its bite.  I was "sulking" with another SC Steeler fan in the gym while working out to see if we could determine what seems to be the problem with the team this year.  The bottom line is it seems like a lot!!!  Even the other gym comrades whom usually enjoy the taunting Steeler fans on loses were scratching their heads over what seemed to be the dilemma with our team.  Cowboy fans continue to be relentless however, but their still "suck" just as bad but don't even realize it. They have issues.

I thought the game plan to beat the Vikings would be so easy: just stick 8 men in the box and play 3 deep on defense and make their quarterback beat us.  Who knew Matt Cassel would replace Christian Ponder and make throw after throw when necessary.  Oh I forgot, " the Steelers can't rush the passer"!  With no pass rush, even the most "average" quarterback can have an "above average day which is what Matt Cassel proceeded to do.  No pun intended but Matt Cassell is as about as average as they get; of course except when he plays the Steelers and completes 16 out 25 passes for two touchdowns and no interceptions and a 123.4 passer rating for the game.  The man's career passer rating is about 80!

How does a Adrian Petersen get a 138 yards rushing when everyone knows he is going to get the ball and you are stacking 8 players in the box?  I thought Polamalu was playing linebacker on Sunday he was at the line of scrimmage so much, but "All Day"(...AD) Adrian Petersen still got continual yardage after initial contact.  I admire Adrian Petersen and admit he is without a doubt the best running back in the NFL and one of the leagues' best overall players, but the Steelers really tackled poorly which is why the additional yards after contact occurred.

I was encouraged with the entry of  Le'Von Bell to the running back position. He showed good quickness getting into the holes and showed some allusiveness in avoiding tacklers.  Bell did mention that he "tweeked" his foot injury during the game so that does raise some doubts regarding his durability as a player. I still believe Felix Jones is a productive runner but did fumble in the last game and has no run the ball since.  

I still believe in our two young wide receivers have great potential but the lack of protection for Ben may limit their opportunities.  Ben still needs work on ball security in the pocket and limiting his interceptions. He already has 5 interceptions in just 4 games while he only had 8 for the entire 2012 campaign.  Fortunately, Ben seems unscathed by his mistakes(...a bit too much sometimes) believing in his big play capability.

Hopefully this bye week will give the team time to get healthier and work on some fundamentals.  I will dedicate my next post to the late great L.C. Greenwood. 

S.C. Steeler!!!

Saturday, September 21, 2013

09/23/2013 VS. Bengals

I am getting a bit behind in my blogging but here goes. Pittsburgh really played better than the week 1 paltry performance against the Tennessee Titans. I had to endure a week of "trash talk" from close relatives who live there and are ardent Titan fans.  As always, I ended the trash talkin' with one question no one can rebuke, "WHO GOT THE MOST!"
I watch the game and the Steelers really did not look awful but just did not seem to be able to make plays on defense and offense against the Bengals.  Maybe the Bengals have improved but Pittsburgh "still" has better talent, overall but some of it may be older, now. 
It still appears Ben Roethlisberger has the heart of a "lion" and needs one to face the constant pressure he endures.  He rarely has a "clean" pocket to throw from.  I think he rushed and missed a few open receivers due to this constant pressure he faced the entire game.  Ben is one tough "hombre" but when you are hurried(...AND HIT!) constantly when throwing, you will miss some receivers because your body is trying to prepare to absorb the blow(s)!
I did some positive net runs by Felix Jones in the second half even if they were only three yards at a time.  Jones seems to have the quickness to get in the hole(...or find one) and get up the field.  Meanwhile, Redman seems to think he is a "fast" back.  Instead of just "bulling" his way into the seam, he seems to want to "dart" about as if he has the "shiftiness" to elude tacklers.  The best game I remember of Redman was against Cincinnati last year in the second half when he became grinding running using his bulk and power.
I think our two primary receivers are outstanding talents.  Antonio Brown reminds me a lot of Santonio Holmes without the pot smoking( least I hope). Brown may have HOF( Hall Of Fame) talent if he can secure the ball and be a bit more professional after making any kinda' play.  Emmanuel Sanders seems to want to "taunt" the defense after catches a lot like Brown.  Sanders is not the pure "playmaker" Brown is but does have good speed and seems to have heart.  I like their potential and it's obvious Roethlisberger likes to have them both available.  Ben made sure the Steeler's management secure Sanders before New England acquired him in the off-season.
The Steeler defense just was not able to get the Bengal's offense off the field.  Our pass rush did get near Dalton but never touched him before he threw the ball or afterwards.  Ryan Clark and Polamalu both seem healthy and active again at safety.  Jarvis Jones, the rookie out of Georgia, had really bad pursuit angles against the run but did get close to Dalton on a few occasions.  Does "close" count in the NFL?  Sometimes it does if it hurries the passer.
Overall, Steeler fans are not use to seeing a dominating defense as well as a potent/punishing running game.  There is plenty of blame to go around but this dilemma will test the current roster and coaches.
S.C. Steeler!!!

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Please keep this young man injured in the NCAA tournament basketball tournamet in your thoughts and prayers. I "touched" up the image a bit because it was just gruesome to see as it was captured, but even this "touched-up" version would revealed a painful ordeal has occurred and a long recovery journey is ahead.  Please keep this young man in your thoughts and prayers.

I have never had an extremity breakage when I was still playing sports but this rehashed my memory of my ACL tear on my knee when I was in college. I know my blog is usually about football and the STEELERS but I must digress here a bit into my own experience.

I was told when my knee popped in college it sounded like "tree limb" had been snapped and everyone in the gym stopped their game. I only remember seeing red spots before I blacked out from the pain and was carried off.  Thank God my brother was there with me that day.

Truly, we all have to keep "pressing on-wards" when life throws us one of these unexpected challenges.  I was very glad to see the young man on crutches on the news today.  I truly hope this your man heals completely but "never" tries to compete at this level again and can redirect his dreams towards other avenues.

I did not redirect my dreams and immediately went into despair and depression.  See I had made up my mind again that I was going walk on to the college football team again and see what I could make of it by actually spending all the time expected to lift and watch films as the coaches requested. Playing college football at a major university is a job and the players should be compensated for their sacrifice in the classroom because a winning team can bring in "huge" revenues for the prospective university

Anyway, my ACL tear wiped out my dream in an instant.  Decades later, I think of not getting that second chance and not knowing the possible outcome of playing again will just be one of those regrets that will always haunt me at times.

If you ever have a chance at a dream( long as it's a legitimate and legal one, I might add!), ALWAYS GO FOR IT!!!  Pursue it in spite of what others tell you even if your own family is against it.  The one thing I failed to understand about achieving dream, is that the path to is NEVER straight and NEVER smooth.  That is why achieving your dream always requires you have the "courage" to take a chance.  "Courage" is NOT overcoming the fear but moving forward in spite of the fear you may be experiencing.

Taking chances will NOT always supported in your inner circle which is why so many dream achievers often have no encouragement from family and friends.  However, GOD will always put a "remnant of hope" in all our lives. We just have to hold onto that hope and believe.  Another thing about dreams is you "MUST" put in the work necessary to achieve the goal.

Last but not least, if you still fail at least you have removed the agony of never trying and thus never really knowing if you could have achieved your goal/dream.  "REGRETS" are a terrible thing to have to live with.

Monday, December 24, 2012

What do the Steelers Need?

Obviously the loss to Cinci' has eliminated Pittsburgh from the "dance".  However, it was really disheartening to see probably the most consistent and reliable offensive player on the team go down on Sunday: Heath Miller.  I want to say that Miller should be the MVP of the team this year and if some other player wins it, I "demand" an explanation as to "why"!

Again, this offense turns the ball over and is just plain ineffective in running the ball.  Ben likes to carry the load but is really "NOT" the type of quarterback whom can do the same as a Brady or Manning.  However, you can win Super Bowls with Rothlisberger; there's a difference and "Ben" needs to realize this as well.  

It is imperative this coaching staff get a "real pair" of running backs.  Yes, you need two.  Mendenhall has the most talent out of the present group, but that ain't sayin' a lot!  He can stay as a back up or seek greener pastures.  Redman needs to go back on special teams.  

Tomlin really needs to stop thinking reserve players can play as well as starters and make corresponding adjustments sooner.  Our player screening process also seems to be failing!  I hope all the players have a great off season and get healthy for next year.  I really hope we can draft Monte Ball out of Wisconsin.  Jonathan Frankly at UCLA is the most talented RB in college but seems to have this problem with hanging on to the ball!  Do we dare take a risk?

Friday, November 2, 2012

Steelers - Giants: Reflections of Each Other

I am still a Steeler fan but the Giants would be the NFC "mirror image" of Pittsburgh if you ask me.  Both teams, and franchises emphasize defense and a gritty style of play. The Steelers are typically a top rated NFL defense year after year and the Giants have a formidable defensive line that is unmatched in talent as well as depth.  I would classify the Giants defense as more "streaky" while the Steelers are pretty consistent week to week. 

The persona of these teams are also similar.  The Steelers are quick to diffuse distractions and disruptive players like Santonio Holmes from a few seasons ago just like the Giants excused "Plexico" after his gun-carrying debacle.  Additionally, neither the Steelers or the Giants seem to grab a lot of media attention, even when the teams are winning and their players seem to have a strong grasp of sticking together by not pointing  fingers during interviews.  The players on both teams seem to only vocalize how their own play can be better versus pointing blame on teammates.

I also realized that both of these teams have quarterbacks drafted in the 2004 draft with the Giants actually overlooking Ben in that draft for Eli who was them highly regarded pro prospect entering into the draft.  Of course with both of these quarterbacks now have two Super Bowls under their belt, it is likely their legacy will be measured by titles versus statistics.  Both quarterbacks are "always" deemed as "questionable" when the class of elite NFL quarterbacks are mentioned.

Another similarity with these two teams is they both would preference running the ball but neither have had a lot of sustained success in doing so over the last couple of seasons as is the trend throughout the NFL.  
Right now, the Giants seem to be a bit more healthy than the Steelers regarding key players so you have to give them the edge.  However, in the NFL advantages on paper mean nothing if your teams plays lousy.  That's why I'm picking Pittsburgh to win this one as it is just the right timing for the "G-Men" to start their typical mid-season losing streak at home!