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Archive for August, 2009

Steelers sign Keisel to new contract

August 31, 2009 By: Admin Category: Uncategorized

The Steelers have locked up yet another player to a new long-term deal.  This time, it was defensive end Brett Keisel who was the recipient of the new 5-year contract.

Brett Keisel

Brett Keisel

Earlier this year, the Steelers signed Heath Miller, James Harrison, and Hines Ward.

Keisel was in the last year of his deal, and was set to become a free agent at the end of the season.  However, the steelers seem to be intent upon keeping the core of the current team together.

Financial details of Keisel’s deal were not released.

Other Steelers news:

Offensive guard/center Darnell Stapleton was placed on injured reserve and will miss the rest of the season.  Stapleton underwent surgery in early August, but his knee has not responded as expected.

In an effort to get down to Tuesday’s 75-man roster requirement, the steelers released Martin Nance, Steven Black, Derrick Richardson, and Alex Stepanovich.


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Predicting the Pittsburgh Steelers’ 2009 roster

August 31, 2009 By: Admin Category: Players, training camp

August 31, 2009
By Donald Starver

Tomorrow the Steelers have to announce their first 5 cuts.  From there, it will be a continuous process to get down to the final 53-man roster.  We have already looked at most of the positions on the roster.  If you haven’t been reading this series, click below to get caught up.

Part 1:  Defensive linemen

Part 2:  Linebackers

Part 3:  Safeties

Part 4: Cornerbacks

Part 5: Quarterbacks

Part 6: Running backs

Part 7: Wide receivers

Part 8: Tight ends

Part 9: Offensive line

We’ve covered all of the positions except for the specialists, so I am going to finish those today, and then give my best guess at the final 53-man roster.  Readers will note that some of my predictions have changed since we first started writing this series.  We began this series prior to the start of Steelers training camp.  Since that time, I have observed all of training camp plus 3 preseason games.

For example, when we covered the running backs, I thought that Frank “the tank” Summers would make the roster, but since watching the end of training camp and the last two preseason games, I believe that Isaac Redman has jumped ahead of Summers on the depth chart.  So, with no further ado, here is my review of the specialists, and then my prediction of the final 53-man roster.


Jeff Reed - Jeff Reed is an amazing kicker.  Kicking in the muddy conditions at Heinz Field is not easy.  Yet Reed does it with extreme accuracy.  If he played in a domed stadium, I believe Reed would make the Pro Bowl every year.  If he can avoid further altercations with paper towel dispensers, Reed is guaranteed to make the team.

Jeff Reed

Jeff Reed

Piotr Czech - Czech has looked good in camp.  Against any kicker other than Jeff Reed, Czech might have even had a chance of winning a position.  But Czech is not going to make the Steelers’ roster.  However, he has put together a nice body of work to showcase to other NFL teams.

Dan Sepulveda - If you know of anyone who criticized the Steelers for taking a punter with such a high draft pick, calmly walk up to them and smack them in the face…..hard.  After watching the disastrous farce of a punting game that the Steelers had to endure last season, I now believe that Sepulveda is worth far more than the price that the Steelers paid for him.  Heck, in my opinion Sepulveda is the MVP of the team.

We are soooooooooooo happy to have you back, Dan!!!!!!!!

Dan Sepulveda

Dan Sepulveda

Greg Warren - The long snapper position is another one that we take for granted until we are forced to watch James Harrison launch a snap into lunar orbit.  Greg Warren is back from last year’s knee injury, and the Steelers are better because of it.

So, those are the final 3 players who will make the Steelers’ roster.  Now it’s time for me to list my prediction for the final 53-man roster.

Quarterbacks - Roethlisberger, Batch, Dixon

Running backs - Parker, Mendenhall, Moore, Redman, Logans

Wide Receivers - Ward, Holmes, Sweed, Wallace, McDonald

Tight ends - Miller, Spaeth, Johnson (McHugh’s injury costs him a job).

Offensive linemen - Starks, Kemoeatu, Hartwig, Essex, Colon, Legursky, Hills (though I’m no fan of his), Foster, and Urbik (hasn’t shown much, but Steelers tend to hold onto high draft picks).

Defensive linemen - Hampton, Hoke, Smith, Keisel, Hood, Kirschke, and Harris.

Linebackers -  James Harrison, Farrior, Timmons, Woodley, Fox, Woods, Bailey, Frazier, Arnold Harrison.  Despite his early draft status, Bruce Davis has done nothing to make the team.  I think he’s seen his last days as a Steeler.

Safeties - Polamalu, Clark, and Carter.  Mundy goes to the practice squad, and cornerbacks Deshea Townsend and Keiwan Ratliff will also play backup safety.

Troy Polamalu

Troy Polamalu

Cornerbacks - Taylor, Gay, Townsend, Lewis, Madison, Ratliff.  This was one of the toughest positions to pick.  Joe Burnett is a feisty kid who has lots of potential.  However, Keiwan Ratliff is a veteran player who can actually play if a starter gets hurt.  Anthony Madison is one of the team’s best special teams players, and Mike Tomlin values special teams.  Keenan Lewis has too much size and potential to let him go.  That means that Joe Burnett is the odd man out.  Sorry Joe, but to the practice squad you go.

Specialists - Reed, Sepulveda, Warren

So that’s 53.  There is my projection of the Steelers’ final 2009 roster.  It wasn’t easy, but I think I can justify each of my picks.  I know that some of you will disagree with me not selecting Shipley, Burnett, Mundy, and Davis.  Others will think I’m crazy for keeping Kirschke, RaShon Harris and Keenan Lewis.  So let me know what you think.  Am I completely out of my mind?  Do you agree with my picks?  Disagree?  What changes would you make?  I’d love to hear your opinions.


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Steelers dominate Bills

August 30, 2009 By: Admin Category: Post-Game Reports

August 30, 2009
By Donald Starver

Typically, the third preseason game of each season is the final tune-up for most of the Steelers’ starters.  The 4th and final preseason game is reserved for the players still struggling to make the 53-man roster.  They will be given the majority of the playing time in order to try to convince the Steelers’ coaches that they deserve to be on the team. Thus, the Steelers hoped to see a solid performance from all components of their starting team last night, and that is exactly what they got.

The Steelers dominated the Buffalo Bills in all phases of the game. They got scores from the offense, the defense, and the kicking game.

The offense looked crisp and efficient. Big Ben showed no signs of his recent ankle injury, as he completed 15 of 19 passes for 168 yards in two quarters of play.

In particular, Roethlisberger and Hines Ward looked to be in mid-season form. Big Ben connected with Ward 5 times for 74 yards. Roethlisberger also connected with Limas Sweed 4 times for 34 yards.

With Willie Parker out for the game with a slight hamstring injury, Rashard Mendenhall got the starting nod. Mendenhall answered the call by rushing for 48 yards and a touchdown. This was probably Mendenhall’s most impressive outing since joining the Steelers, despite the fact that he did lose a fumble.

On defense, the Steelers completely stifled the Bills’ offensive attack. They allowed only 135 total yard of offense, and kept the Bills off the scoreboard.

In the first half, when the Steelers’ starting defense was in the game, the domination was especially pronounced. The first unit allowed only 3 first downs and 50 yards of offense.

The defense also got into the endzone when linebacker James Farrior intercepted a Bills’ pass and ran it back for a touchdown. Farrior played like the Pro Bowl player that he is. He led the team in tackles with 4, he got a sack, forced a fumble, defensed 2 passes, and returned an interception for a touchdown.

The Steelers dominated time of possession holding the ball for an astounding 41:15, compared to only 18:45 for the Bills.

Even the kicking game joined the party.  Kicker Piotr Czech, who started for Jeff Reed who is nursing a minor injury, added 5 points.  He made both of his extra point attempts and added a 34 yard field goal for good measures.

Even the special teams players looked impressive.  Keyaron Fox played like a man possessed.  He excelled on both special teams and as a backup linebacker.  Stefan Logans had another nice night returning punts.  He averaged 15.8 yards on 4 returns.  He returned his longest one 27 yards.  And Mike Wallace averaged 24 yards on kickoff returns.


James Farrior - If I didn’t know better, I would have sworn that Farrior was wearing a red cape last night.  He certainly played like Superman.

Ben Roethlisberger - Forget any thoughts about his injury being a problem.

Limas Sweed - Played with confidence and made some big catches.

Rashard Mendenhall - Lost a fumble, but still had a good night.

Keyaron Fox - Fox played like he is not satisfied to only be a special teams player.

Joe Burnett - He seems to have already lost the punt returner battle to Stefan Logans.  However, the Steelers’ coaches must have noticed Burnett’s block of a Bills’ field goal attempt.


Bruce Davis - Davis has done little to show that he deserves to be on the team.  He didn’t make his presence known on special teams or as a backup linebacker.  The Steelers are always slow to release high draft picks, but Donovan Woods, Patrick Bailey, Arnold Harrison, and Andre Frazier all seem to want this more than Davis.

Frank “the tank” Summers - It’s probably not fair to call Summers a dud.  After all, he didn’t even play last night.  However, Isaac Redman did play, and he played well.  As unfair as it may sound, Summers may lose his competition with Redman simply by not being in the fight.


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Pittsburgh Steelers 2009 Season Preview

August 29, 2009 By: Admin Category: Uncategorized

Recently, the Cleveland Browns’ blog No Logo Needed asked blogger from all 32 NFL teams to write a season preview for their respective teams.  I was asked to write the preview for the Pittsburgh Steelers.   Here is the article that I submitted.  I hope that I made Steeler Nation proud.

Team:  Pittsburgh Steelers

Head Coach:  Mike Tomlin (3 years)

2008 regular season record: 12-4 (AFC North Champs)

Key players lost:  CB Bryant McFadden, WR Nate Washington, ILB Larry Foote, QB Byron Leftwich, S Anthony Smith.

Despite the losses, the Steelers should actually emerge as a better team than they were in 2008.  Byron Leftwich and Anthony Smith were both backups.  Bryant McFadden and Larry Foote were both splitting playing time with players of equal or greater talent.  Nate Washington was the Steelers’ #3 receiver, so he won’t be as difficult to replace as Hines Ward or Santonio Holmes would have been.

Key players acquired in free agency:  CB Keiwan Ratliff, WR Shaun McDonald, RB Stefan Logan.
As usual, the Steelers didn’t really participate in the free agent market.  Instead, they let other teams battle for the overpriced free agents, and then pick and choose from the leftovers to find potential contributors at a bargain price.

Top storylines in 2009:  Just like in 2008, and 2007, and ….oh nevermind….. the top story in 2009 is the offensive line.  The Steelers have one of the worst offensive lines in the NFL.  Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has been sacked over 100 times over the past 2 years.  They may be the only team in NFL history to win the Super Bowl despite having one of the worst o-lines in the league.  Will the offensive line be able to keep Big Ben alive, or will Roethlisberger be carried off the field in a body bag?

Key strengths on offense:  Despite being a run-oriented team, the Steelers actually have some of the best passing weapons in the NFL.  Big Ben is an elite quarterback.  Hines Ward and Santonio Holmes make up a tandem of wide receivers who have both been Super Bowl MVPs.  And tight end Heath Miller is one of the best (and most under-utilized) in the NFL.

Key weaknesses on offense:  The offensive line.  Duh!

Key strengths on defense:  Ummmm, the Steelers have had the top defense in the NFL since………forever.  They have NOTHING BUT strengths.

Key weaknesses on defense:  You’re kidding, right?

Expectations for 2009:  The Steelers should be an even better team in 2009 than in 2008.  Their defense should be even better with the insertion of LB Lawrence Timmons in place of Larry Foote.  Their punting game will be better with the return of Dan Sepulveda.  The Steelers’ kickoff and punt return also looks to be heading in a better direction.  The strong just got stronger.

Prediction for 2009:  Super Bowl champs again.  In Pittsburgh, any other result is a disappointment.

So, that’s what I wrote for his blog.  Do you Steelers fans agree or disagree?

Also, I read the introduction that Don Delco, the writer for No Logo Needed wrote for my piece.  I got a laugh out of the comment that a Cleveland Browns fan yelled to the Browns’ defensive linemen at training camp about beating the Steelers.  I suggest that you go to his blog and read it.  It is definitely worth seeing how Browns fans feel about us.

Also, if you read the comments that were left about the article, one Browns fan says that Browns fans feel the same way about beating the Steelers as Ohio State fans feel about beating Michigan; even if they have a losing season, beating the Steelers makes all of the other losses acceptable (It’s too bad the Browns haven’t beaten the Steelers since the 60′s….Or maybe it just seems like it’s been that long).

Let’s show this Browns blog the power of Steeler Nation.  Let’s go over there and take over his blog the same way that Steelers fans take over opponent’s stadiums.  Let’s leave some “Here we go Steelers” comments to let them know that Steeler Nation is in the house.

300x100_Steelers_shop now picture

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T.O. won’t play Saturday against Steelers

August 26, 2009 By: Admin Category: Uncategorized

August 26, 2009
By Donald Starver

According to the Buffalo Bills, star wide receiver Terrell will not play in this Saturday’s pre-season game against the Steelers.  Owens has been nursing a sprained toe, but was thought to be on track  to play in the final 2 pre-season games.  However, according to Bills head coach Dick Jauron, T.O. might not play in either contest.

“He won’t play this weekend”, said Jauron, speaking about this weekend’s game against the Steelers.  When asked about T.O.’s likelihood of playing in the Bills’ final pre-season tune-up next week, Jauron was less definitive in his answer.  “I wouldn’t make any predictions on that,” said Jauron. “I’m just going to wait and see how he feels.”

Bills' WR Terrell Owens

Bills' WR Terrell Owens

I don’t mean to sound like a Steelers homer (Who am I kidding?  You all KNOW that I’m a Steelers homer), but this sounds like a thinly veiled excuse to avoid having to play against the 6-time Super Bowl champion Pittsburgh Steelers.  T.O. has never played particularly well against the Steelers.  In fact, Steelers cornerback Ike Taylor has traditionally owned T.O.

Despite not being a fan of Terrell Owens, I am nevertheless disappointed to hear that he won’t be playing.  After all, who wants to pay to see the Buffalo Bills without T.O.?  T.O. is perhaps the only interesting aspect of what is definitely one of the worst teams in the NFL. 

T.O. left the Dallas Cowboys, a team that hasn’t won a playoff game in 12 years, to join the Bills, who haven’t won a playoff game in 13 years.  In fact, the Bills haven’t even made the playoffs since 1999.

Saturday’s game kicks off at 7:30 PM at Heinz Field.  Steelers fans should probably start tailgating a little earlier than usual.  After all, they’ll need to be extra drunk to enjoy watching the Buffalo Bills.

300x100_Steelers_shop now picture

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