A Chuck Noll story

I’m still a young Steelers fan, and when I was first introduced to the team as a kid it was the Bubby Brister era of the late 1980s. By the time I attended my first regular season game as an 8-year-old in 1992, Bill Cowher was already the coach (it was actually Bill Cowher’s first home game in Pittsburgh. Barry Foster ran for 190 yards against the New York Jets. I still remember it, especially since I had a cold and didn’t tell my mom because I REALLY wanted to go to the game — sorry, Mom).

So my memories of the Chuck Noll era Steelers aren’t the same as people that grew up with the team or followed them in the 1970s when he was building the best damn team in NFL history.

I can barely picture a Steelers game with Chuck Noll on the sidelines. But I do have a story that still cracks me up to this day.

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Posted in Cool Stuff, Heinz Field, Steelers History | 23 Comments

Ridiculously Early 2014 Pittsburgh Steelers Projected Roster and Other Goodies (V 1.0)

After an unusually active offseason in signing external free agents and selecting nine players in the NFL Draft, the Steelers’ training-camp roster is mostly set.

Per most of the connected insiders who cover the team full-time (e.g., Ed Bouchette, Jim Wexell, etc.), barring injury the Steelers will likely not be re-signing veteran defensive end Brett Keisel, following their drafting of Notre Dame’s Stephon Tuitt in the 2nd-round.

Keisel could still aid this team, which only has three defensive linemen on its roster with any real game experience. But belatedly going with a youth movement will hopefully pay off in the long-term.

While the Steelers will likely tinker with their roster leading up to training camp, they appear to have only two other positions where a veteran addition would have a good chance to make the team.

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Posted in Analysis, Defensive Line, Draft, Free Agency, Front Office, Offensive Line, Offseason, Preseason, Wide Recievers | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 105 Comments

2014 Pittsburgh Steelers Draft Recap and Redo

After selecting three players in the first three rounds who are expected to provide immediate help in 2014, the Pittsburgh Steelers closed out the draft with six selections on Saturday, who offered a roughly equal mix of boom-bust prospects with high ceilings to go with a trio of more stable overachievers that add quality depth to the roster.

Specifically, the Steelers took three players possessing the size and physical skills to possibly become NFL starters down the road despite not being drafted until day No. 3. If a couple of these do indeed fulfill their athletic potential, this can go from a decent draft to a great one.

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Posted in Cool Stuff, Defensive Line, Draft, Free Agency, Front Office, Offensive Line, Steelers History, Wide Recievers | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 46 Comments

Steelers Get Dream Pick in Round 2, Followed by Mel Kiper’s Projected NFL Offensive ROY in Round 3

The Pittsburgh Steelers faced an ideal scenario in round No. 2 of the 2014 NFL Draft on Friday when they had their choice between two of the top defensive linemen for a 3-4 scheme and multiple top-flight receivers who may have been selected in the 1st round of another draft pool that did not feature so much talent and depth.

The Pittsburgh brass wisely used the 46th overall pick on Notre Dame’s Stephon Tuitt, the most natural, 5-technique 3-4 defensive end prospect in the entire draft. The 6-foot-6, 312-pound Tuitt would have been a 1st-rounder in almost any other year.

Veteran Pittsburgh defensive line coach John Mitchell went even further, stating that Tuitt would have been a probable top-10 pick this year had he not been hindered by a sports hernia throughout a 2013 junior season when he let his weight balloon to 335 pounds.

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Posted in Cool Stuff, Defensive Line, Draft, Free Agency, Front Office, Wide Recievers | Tagged , , , , , | 39 Comments

Steelers Day 2 Draft Strategy and Value Board

The Steelers have glaring needs to fill at corner, receiver and on the defensive line, all of which should be addressed in the first four rounds of the 2014 NFL draft.

That left one possible wild-card round, which could have been used to find a franchise left tackle, bolster the team’s depth and provide long-term stability at outside linebacker, or find an immediate starter and significant upgrade at inside linebacker.

They filled the latter on that list by drafting Ohio State’s Ryan Shazier to team with Lawrence Timmons in what should quickly emerge as one of the NFL’s better inside linebacker duos.

Unfortunately, the Steelers are unlikely to now find immediate help at corner in any round this weekend and must now draft a project or two at that spot with hopes of that player contributing in 2015.

On the plus-side, though, Pittsburgh can get a 1st-round talent in the 2nd-round to fill one of their other major needs in tonight’s NFL draft. Accordingly, here are players and positions the Steelers should be targeting at No. 46 overall and who they should avoid picking at that spot:

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Posted in Defensive Line, Draft, Free Agency, Front Office, Wide Recievers | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 45 Comments

Steelers Select Ryan Shazier at No. 15 Overall: Another Unwise Colbert B(Linebacker)A Pick

Almost every draft expert and Pittsburgh media member projected the Steelers to draft one of the top three cornerbacks or receiver Odell Beckham, Jr. with their 1st-round pick of the 2014 NFL draft on Thursday.

After all it was clear that corner and receiver were the Steelers’ two biggest needs in this draft due to the lack of quality players signed at both spots beyond 2014 and just how important playmakers on the perimeter have become in today’s NFL.

Although three of the four players projected most often to the Steelers were selected before No. 15 (Oklahoma State CB Justin Gilbert, Beckham, Virginia Tech CB Kyle Fuller), the draft seemed to still fall in Pittsburgh’s favor when Michigan State’s Darqueze Dennard – seemingly a perfect for the Steelers’ scheme and the top-rated corner prospect in the draft per most services – was still available.

But once again, Kevin Colbert showed that he does not take into account his team’s most urgent needs by taking the best player available on his board with the 15th overall pick, who the Steelers had as Ohio State linebacker Ryan Shazier.

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Posted in Defensive Line, Free Agency, Front Office, Wide Recievers | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Pittsburgh Steelers 1st-Round Draft Board: Who to Take and Who Not to Take

The Pittsburgh Steelers are coming off consecutive 8-8 seasons and arguably have their least talented projected 53-man roster entering an NFL Draft since the turn of the Millennium.

Fortunately help should be on the way from what many draft observers (including Steelers’ GM Kevin Colbert) have proclaimed possibly the deepest overall talent pool ever to choose from in an NFL Draft.

With glaring holes throughout its depth chart, Pittsburgh rookies should have the opportunity to compete for immediate starting jobs and/or serious playing time at receiver, defensive end, cornerback, inside linebacker, outside linebacker and possibly even left tackle depending on when the Steelers address each position in this week’s three-day NFL draft.

“I don’t think we can say that there’s going to be an impact guy that’s going to come in and be a starter,” Colbert told media at his pre-draft press conference on Monday. “I think they’ll certainly be able to compete and maybe to contribute in some of the sub-packages and they’ll continue to develop.”

Wait… what?

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Posted in Defensive Line, Draft, Free Agency, Front Office, Offensive Line, Wide Recievers | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 99 Comments

4 Different 2014 Pittsburgh Steelers Mock Drafts

Below are four potential Steeler mock drafts that take into account the needs I detailed in Tuesday’s article.

Two of these mocks have hypothetical trade scenarios. The trade-value chart was consulted, but not perfectly followed, because more teams are moving away from that formula and later picks will be valued more than usual throughout this draft due its depth in all rounds at many positions.

Any of these players may be gone by the round they are slotted below, but all have been listed as available in that spot through multiple mock drafts or scouting rankings from outlets such as ESPN, CBS Sports, etc. Moreover, different names were added for all picks in each mock draft to provide a variety of possibilities.

Remember that compensatory picks rewarded cannot be traded. Thus, the Steelers enter this draft with the following nine selections: 1(15), 2(46), 3(97 C), 4(118), 5(157), 5(173 C), 6(192), 6 (215 C), 7 (230).

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Posted in AFC North, Analysis, Cool Stuff, Defensive Line, Draft, Free Agency, Front Office, Offensive Line, Offseason, Wide Recievers | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 28 Comments

2014 Pittsburgh Steelers’ NFL Draft Needs, Positional Analysis

Once considered by many the best general manager and drafter in the NFL, the selections, roster management and salary-cap wisdom of the Steelers’ Kevin Colbert have been suspect since 2008.

The team had an amazing run of successful 1st -round picks from 2000-08, but recently-departed 2009 pick Ziggy Hood can now be labeled the worst opening-round selection of the Colbert era.

In fact, the Steelers no longer had any players on their roster from the 2008 and 2009 drafts entering the 2013 season. Whereas Pittsburgh still had playoff-caliber starters last fall, the bottom 15 players on the Steelers’ roster were less-talented than any such contingent since the pre-Chuck Noll era, which began in 1969. NFL teams must have quality depth to advance to the playoffs, which Pittsburgh has now missed for two seasons ongoing for the first time this century. Continue reading

Posted in Draft, Free Agency, Front Office, Pass Rush, Preseason, Running Backs, Steelers History, Uncategorized, Wide Recievers | Tagged , , , , , , , | 19 Comments

View From 522: Are you serious?

Since Gretz is a season ticket holder he is going to tell you about all of the debauchery and insanity that takes place in the Heinz Field stands. 

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Posted in 2013 Steelers, Heinz Field | 540 Comments