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. 

I don’t even know where to begin.

Three weeks ago the Pittsburgh Steelers were done. They were 5-8. They needed about 500 things to happen to make the playoffs, all of them seemingly unlikely, including the most basic part of the equation: The Steelers winning three games in a row to end the season.

And then it started happening. They crushed Cincinnati on Sunday night. A couple of teams lost. They won a wild game in Green Bay. More teams lost. As they were beating the Browns on Sunday, more things fell into place and the stars were starting to align as the Ravens were blown out against the Bengals and the Dolphins finished an incredible choke job down the stretch, losing back-to-back games to Buffalo and the Jets while scoring just seven points in the two games.

Suddenly, an improbable series of events came down to just one game: The Kansas City Chiefs backups winning on the road in San Diego. If there was one team capable of losing such a game, it’s the San Diego Chargers. And it appeared as if it was going to happen. Then Ryan Succop missed a 40-yard field goal (an attempt that apparently had the Chargers lined up in an illegal formation) and then a potential game-winning touchdown was, for whatever reason, not allowed to happen.

In hindsight, maybe we (the NFL fans) shouldn’t have given the real referees that standing ovation when they came back last year. They suck as bad as the replacements did. Maybe even worse. There is no excuse for some of the stuff that gets called and doesn’t get called in these games. Nobody knows the rules. Nobody knows what catch is, or what a fumble is, or what’s reviewable, or why it is or isn’t reviewable. It’s a garbage league run by total morons.

And, of course, we’ll keep coming back for more.

What a roller coaster of emotions. Total insanity. Total mayhem. Nothing makes sense anymore.

On one hand, the Steelers shouldn’t have even been in this spot. Your playoff hopes shouldn’t have to come down to Ryan Succop making a field goal or Chase Daniel and the rest of the Chiefs backups winning a game. If they beat just one of the crappy teams (Tennessee, Minnesota, Oakland, Miami) that they lost to, they’re comfortably in the playoffs. Don’t start 0-4 (and then 2-6) and you don’t have to worry about the other stuff. In most normal years an 8-8 season wouldn’t even get you close to a wild card spot. The very fact they were still in it, and managed to extend the playoff chase as long as possible, was nothing more than luck and circumstance. A bunch of crazy shit happened around the league that resulted in a bunch of mediocre teams fighting for a playoff spot in a crazy year.

But it happened! And they still had a chance! And then … well. You know.

I never expected everything to work out for the Steelers, and truthfully, the thought of Kansas City winning that game today was more wishful thinking than anything else. But hell, why couldn’t they have just been blown out? Not like that, man. Not like that.

But enough of that. There was a game in Pittsburgh on Sunday, and it was very wet.

– Here’s a pro tip for you: Plastic sandwich bags on your feet. They keep your feet warm and dry, and the worst part about these cold, wet games is when your feet turn into concrete blocks by the end of the first half. The bags help.

– If nothing else, I’m a lot more optimistic about the 2014 Steelers than I was three months ago. There is some work that needs to be done, particularly on the defense, but maybe, just maybe, this offense doesn’t stink. Maybe there’s something here. Maybe I was wrong about Todd Haley. They certainly improved in the second half and if the no-huddle can remain a focal point, things could get interesting. Even the makeshift offensive line held up well down the stretch. I’m assuming Emmanuel Sanders and Jerricho Cotchery probably won’t be back next season so along with plugging some holes on defense wide receiver is probably going to be a pretty big area of need in the offseason, but with Ben Roethlisberger still in place, Le’Veon Bell looking like a player, and Antonio Brown having a huge year, there’s a nice foundation there.

– But to add to the what-ifs and frustration: Where the hell was the no-huddle in Weeks 1-6?

– On defense Cam Heyward is becoming the cornerstone guy of that group, and they still need to come up with a way to keep Jason Worilds (never thought I’d be saying that) because you just can’t rely on LaMarr Woodley anymore.

– There was a Browns fan in a Colt McCoy jersey in front of us talking trash all day (well, that is until he left at half time), and that was difficult to take seriously. Also weird were the two people next to us that showed up for about 10 plays in the second quarter, and then left.

– A guy in a Houston Oilers hat was mumbling something to us in the Great Hall and we still have no idea what he was talking about.

– Our usual pre-game Pizza stop, Giovanni’s on 6th street, was pretty full so we went across the street and grabbed a slice at Cafe Milano. I give it high marks. A quality pie, a lot of seating, really good price, and a nice setting. I recommend it. Either place is good for a pre-game (Steelers, Pirates, or Pitt football) meal.

– The real pisser is I am convinced the Steelers would have won in Cincinnati next Sunday.

– Look on the bright side. At least we’re not Cleveland Browns fans. Not only did they wrap up another 10-loss season, they also fire another head coach on Sunday night (this time after just one season). They will now be on their fifth head coach in seven seasons. What a mess of a franchise. The worst organization in pro sports.

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  • countertorque

    So, the worst start since WW2 turns into an 8-8 season and just missing the playoffs. There was a comment on Football Outsiders a couple of years back noting that the thing most people hate about Steeler fans is that when we start talking about how hard we have it as fans, we bring up seasons just like this one.
    I missed a lot of the late season games for personal reasons (my family is moving to Japan in a week), but I feel like it was a pretty entertaining season and it ended with hope that next year could be really good.
    Happy New Year everybody. At least the Ravens aren’t going to win the Super Bowl.

    • Rob D

      All true..but Rodney Harrison thinks NE IS going to win the Super Bowl..2nd best team in the NFL according to him. Denver is first. I don’t think he watched Seattle much this year..the term juggernaut comes to mind and the 9ers are right there with them. Both those teams are loaded on both sides of the ball and I believe one of them is SB champion this year. Slight edge to the 9ers who are peaking etc.
      I lost some faith in Tomlin and staff this year. They were a cliche spouting mess at the start of this year and Mike in particular seemed out of answers. Haley looked like a sure fire out the door candidate..Lebeau seemed to have no defensive game plan other than the one that doesn’t work against the Brady’s of the world (that 55 points against was a disaster on every level). NOw they are both going to be back and I’m ok with it. A few more players…hopefully at least 2 impact ones in this draft and you can see the outline of a playoff team. We are OK.
      And yes,,HNY to everyone on the list…enjoy the comments and criticisms and the venting..where else would you go?

  • Rob D

    OH!! and thanks ADam for the writeup..a first class rant about the state of the NFL (the refs didn’t even bother to stick around and explain why the picked up the flag for the QB stepping past the LOS on the final play) The rulebook gets bigger, the calls more head scratchingly puzzling and I still come back and watch the game. It’s the Steelers..I can’t stop myself..lol..

    I pray that a lot of teams go for QB’s in this draft..we might harvest some good uns..My personal pref is for a WR in the first..a TE in the 2nd or 3rd, and mostly defense for the rest. If we lose Worilds, we probably keep Woodley and then you have to draft his successor since he’s with us for only one more year..tops. So disappointed because Lamarr was a fave of mine..loved the signing. BEn played great down the stretch (ugly INT’s today notwithstanding) As long as we have him, we should get another shot at a SB or 2..stay tuned.

    • Canadian Steeler

      Agreed Rob. Never would’ve thought in October/November (probably even early December) that any positives could be taken from this season. I also never would have thought Todd Haley could change my mind – he absolutely has to stay, doesn’t he? I think I forgot about how frustrated I used to get with Arians offence in his first couple years. He took some time to get the offence familiar and confident in his play design, and Haley has earned the right to do the same. Besides, I don’t think we can afford to make the mistake of having Ben learning a brand new offence again. Continuity is key.

      I agree a WR should be a priority, but think a dominant DT (who could maybe play 3 downs) could be great. As always, the defensive backfield could use some talent, but with Lebeau that always looks better with a strong front seven. Interesting to hear Ike’s comments about potentially playing safety in the future. Maybe indicative of a willingness to take a pay cut to stay, especially when you combine them with his previous “Steelers or bust” comments.

      On that note, is there any chance of a SL recap podcast? Probably a bit early to look at the draft, but would be great to hear what everyone thinks of the job ahead facing Colbert & Tomlin.

      • Cols714

        Agreed on Haley. I’m hoping he comes back now. The offense really clicked in the last half of the season. Only 7 sacks over the last 7 games.

        I disagree about DT. I think they need to go safety with the first. Or WR. And not a tall WR, just a good WR.

  • drobviousso

    Gretz – Thanks for the write ups after every home game. As an expat living in Minnesota, I was well and truly pissed the Vikings game got moved over to England. Your write ups soften the blow, just a bit.

    What a fucked up season. It ended, for us, exactly as it should have.

  • Eric

    Well I’ll say this, the Steelers kept the season interesting till the very end. As sports fandom goes, I feel very fortunate to be a Steelers fan. Even their “bad” seasons are not so bad and at least interesting. I just keep looking at Buffalo and Cleveland and shaking my head. A lot of long suffering fans there that stick with their teams and deserve better. I was pretty embarrassed by all the empty seats in Heinz this year.

  • Randy Steele

    I think everyone should congratulate Easy for keeping the faith against all odds. Given the state of the Steelers after the Miami game, that took guts. He noted all along that there was reason, no matter how dim, to hope against hope that the Steelers could make the play-offs–and he was only a couple inches away from a field goal of being proved correct.

    • EasyLikeSundayMorning

      Thanks, Randy. It was a lonely season to be the foolishly consistent optimist.

  • Randy Steele

    I think everyone should congratulate Easy for keeping the faith against all odds. Given the state of the Steelers after the Miami game, that took guts. He noted all along that there was reason, no matter how dim, to hope against hope that the Steelers could make the play-offs–and he was only a couple inches away from a field goal of being proved correct.

    • Randy Steele

      Don’t know why this posted twice.

  • Eric

    I know the prevailing wind is for re-signing Worilds but I can’t get on board till someone explains how his play can differ so drastically from one side of the formation to the other. I can see being better on one side vs the other but that much? I can’t get my head around it.

    • Rob D

      I know..he’s a freak out there now..that great body lean to get leverage, excellent use of hands to get th tackles hands off him and that closing burst the good ones have. Still, it’s a very short amount of time to consider.he’s not been all that noticable up to this year ( would anyone have been all that surprised to see him cut in training camp? Bust was a common term for him by the usual sources (Peter King, for one) Now we have a big decision to make. I roll the dice, cut Woodley after June and put some money in Worilds pockets, if he wants to stay in Pittsburgh. He may not.

    • Intropy

      It could be a combination of factors. He could be more suited to one side than the other and also much better a player than we all thought. Think about it. Where did your poor impression come from? I’d guess it comes from three things:

      1. He was drafted high at a position the Steelers had well stocked at the time. This left a bad taste in peoples’ mouths and colored perceptions of his development.

      2. He was frequently hurt. Being frequently hurt is a legitimate complaint since you do not contribute when injured. But that is orthogonal to evaluating his play when he isn’t hurt, and I suspect being oft-injured makes people overly critical of the play as well.

      3. He never really got much playing time. Part of this is due to #2, and that also likely slowed his development. But maybe a lot of it is that being behind Harrison and Woodley (see #1) means you just don’t get to play even if you are pretty good.

      When he did see the field on either side in prior seasons he’s held up decently. He never set the world on fire, but he held his own. That’s not enough to displace entrenched starters like Woodley and Harrison. So take a decent player who’s had injury problems, give him health, some time to develop, and a consistent block of time to play instead of sporadic patch duty, and I can see how a guy can turn that corner. And if he’s strongly “handed” positionally, throw that in there for good measure.

      Basically I’m saying that the improvement is believable to me. It doesn’t look like a fluke or just a hot streak that will soon end. But I agree there is a lot less data available than I would like for such a big decision.

    • David

      ROLB goes vs their best pass protector while LOLB vs their RT. Right?
      If so, maybe his quickness, strength, or moves are better at getting by RT’s.
      Hell, I don’t know. It’s probably a scheme thing, because he played at his current position when at VT.

  • David

    Well, it’s that time of year again to give my “who I don’t want to win the SB”:

    1. Niners (would match our 6)
    2. Patsies (Another SB for Mr. Gisele. Enough said)
    3. Whackers (Would make it 5 & dangerously close to us)
    4. Bungles (need I give a reason?)

    • Cols714

      I’m rooting for Seattle to win it all. Seattle vs Denver would be fun. Hopefully no patriots or 49ers.

      • David

        Kind of ironic we’re OK with SEA winning it all after XL, but I’m OK with that. Wilson and Lynch are great players. I’m not too fond of Pete Carroll, but I’m still OK with them winning it all.

        Your matchup reminds me of the old AFC West rivalry, Mecklenberg vs. Bosworth, Elway vs. Krieg, Steve Largent over the top. Chad Brown was there as well.

        • Intropy

          I’m also quite okay with the Bengals. Actually that keeps the championship in the AFCN, so they’d be my preferred victor outside of the Seahawks who could be fun to see win just because I live in Seattle.

        • Rob D

          I’m not OK with Seattle winning it all. Still hate the whiny fans after XL. Dont like Carroll and his crazed eyes..lol..nice team they’ve put together though. But they will fall back to the pack after they have to actually pay the QB etc. I think SF has all the tools, including a healthy Justin Smith (which they didn’t have last year) to win it all. I would love to see NE absorb a beating in the playoffs.Just because..lol
          My sentimental favourite is Carolina on the NFC side and Indy on the AFC.But I believe either Seattle or SF will win the whole shooting match.

    • David

      Now that the 1st weekend is over, go Colts and Panthers!

  • David

    Oh good Lord, Cutler’s just been extended for 7 yrs, 18 mil per yr, 50 mil guaranteed. And he hasn’t even won ONE playoff game, right?

    What sucks is that extending Ben just got a heck of a lot more expensive.

  • Cols714

    Ok. I’m officially on the Sammy Watkins bandwagon. We should draft him.

    • David

      Well, what I’m reading at various sites has WR Evans from Texas A&M high on our list.

      But I have no problem with Watkins, although I’d prefer a CB, NT, or LT in the 1st.

  • Eric
    • Cols714

      He was quite good this year. Next year he’ll be even better. Great draft pick by the Steelers.

      • Rob B

        Have to keep rubbing my eyes…this guy is too good to be real. Vision, smarts, superior size, good burst, can catch the ball (I fully expect they’ll use him much more in that role next year)..good blocker. I think the fact that he is really intelligent makes all is other qualities even more impressive. Terrific pick

  • Cols714

    So do we draft
    Clinton-Dix (S)
    Marquis Lee (WR)
    Dennard (CB)
    Or someone else?

    I want Watkins, but he’ll be gone. I”m leaning toward Lee if he’s still there.

    • Rob D

      I really want a big,fast, athletic WR and TE (with the same qualities) in this draft. Probably first round for the WR. Watkins would be the dream pick but he’s going top 5, I think, especially after that bowl game.Some like Benjamin but many say he’s a major project.Marquis is a stud..Someone on the net said that there is a certain point where adding the next good to great player takes a unit to a higher place than what usually one player can accomplish..I think this STeelers O, with another stud WR and a TE with speed would be dangerous. The D needs a lot of work…but I heard a game called a “defensive battle” at halftime this year when the score was 27-20…lol…draft for the D but make sure we get the playmakers for BEns’ golden years…

      • Cols714

        Yeah. I really think the days of a truly dominating defense are over for a bit. It’s really hard to keep QBs and WR from making plays if they are on.

        I”m totally sold on Lee. He’s big enough and fast enough and is supposed to be pretty polished. I’d rather Watkins because he’s awesomer but Lee would also fit rather well.

        The question is whether or not he’ll be there.

        • Intropy

          At this point I think the best realistic scenario is a trade to near the end of the first round to select one of Ebron, Amaro, Sefarian-Jenkins. It requires a partner but it could reasonably happen.

          Watkins is the only receiver I’d take at 15, and even then I’d hesitate to spend a #1 on WR. Khalil Mack could be available there and would be a good pick. If none of the above, then Dennard or Kouandjio.

          And this is super early speculation, so everything will change by draft date.

    • Randy Steele

      All the above.

  • Randy Steele

    I read today in the Wall Street Journal that if the NFL had next year’s proposed expansion of its play-off teams ready for this year, the Cardinals and Steelers would have been playing last week in the wild card round.

    • Cols714

      Yeah. I don’t like the idea of adding another playoff team because right now the NFL seems to have a perfect system. It would, however, give the #1 seed a lot more of an advantage.

  • Rob D

    Well, the Pats won..off to the AFCCG. I am not entirely convinced it will be in Denver but I hope it is. An AFC winning the SB this year seems a very remote possibility but that’s why they play the games.
    NO played as bad a half a football in terms of throwing the ball (and that’s what they are famous for) as you could have. They botched clock mngmt., Brees looked like he’d never thrown a football in anger before and Seattle seemed to hem their receivers in with ease. IF Seattle and San Fran meet for all the NFC marbles, that could be a game to remember. Carolina/SF game should be a doozy as well.
    Denver/San Diego..says here that if Peyton loses this one, his legacy will be permanently tarnished. He’s got all the tools you could ask for on offense..no excuses not to play great. My brain says Denver won’t let this one get away,but there’s something about Peyton that makes you think he’s pacing his room right now..sweating…lol…I don’t trust him in big games. It’s all about the start he has..if you can rattle him early, he stays rattled.

  • Cols714

    I do not want to watch the patriots in another Super Bowl.

    • Rob D

      Nope, me neither! I guess that’s why we have to root for Denver because San Diego isn’t going to win in Gillette stadium. As the playoffs go on, the refs seem to be letting more and more calls go especially PI..makes me angry because of all the times in the reg. season when you have to swallow your rage when your team gets the ticky tack calls against…then you watch the post season and watch the legal muggings..loll..If you are watching the NFL for consistency, you are in the wrong room.

  • Rob D

    Well..I got what I wanted..New England travelling to Denver. With that secondary, the Broncs are going to have to score a lot more points than they did today against the Chargers, wouldn’t you agree? I agree with Phil Simms (gasp..let me sit down whilst that fact sinks in..i’m woozy..lol) that SD should have gone hurry up and filled the air with footballs a LOT sooner. They had success late..too late to win it..plus I believe they got hosed on the PI against them on Peyton’s final drive. Really late flags are infuriating..if it takes you more than 15 seconds to decide if it IS PI..keep the damn flag on your person. Thanks and you’re welcome middle aged bald guys who ref the games..

    All in all…a satisfying weekend of football.

    San Fran looked out of it early..then cruised to a relatively easy win. That game should give them extra confidence going into Seattle. They just don’t need to turn the ball over 5 times like they did earlier…and I believe they can win. Seattle’s O hasn’t been the same one we saw last year..the D is carrying them. I don’t think that will be enough ..and predict SF in the Bowl. Against Denver..then I have to decide if SF winning a Bowl is OK..or If I want to live with the “Year of the Peyton” extravaganzas sure to follow in the wake of a SB win by his team..sheesh..I believe another ring and he will be judged by ESPN types as the greatest evah…better than “Tom Terrific” ( they’ve apparently stolen that moniker from Tom Seaver, the bastards!)…indeed he may well be the Christ come back to earth. I am not sure I could bear it..so I am going with the only 14 year old coach in the NFL and his team of strutting peacocks, I guess. What a Faustian bargain. See what happens when the Steelers suck!

    • David

      Well, the NFL probably wants a Patsies-Whiners Super Bowl.

      I want a DEN-SEA Super Bowl.

      That means it will be the former.

      • Cols714

        Me too. Seattle – Denver would be fantastic. I just cannot take any more Belichick loving from the media.

        • Eric

          Strong points made here:

          http://www.sportspickle.com/2014/01/nfl-playoffs-hate-chart

          I think Denver is probably the only team I could accept. Maybe Seattle.

          • Rob D

            That was hilarious fun..Eric..thanks..There’s something about the bandwagon around Seattle that turns me away..Even in this remote outpost of Canada that I call home, those stupid colours are starting to show up on drunken college kids..It’s usually Buffalo or Detroit ones that predominate. I don’t like Pete C. but love their smack talking secondary. Hate their “engineered to blow your eardrums out and make you out to be the bestest fans evah” stadium..but love the way they’ve built their team…sigh….at least they could have a douchey QB!

  • Randy Steele

    Thought I’d pass along this little gem from Gene Collier’s column this morning…

    “Daniel Spuck, currently residing at the State Correctional Institution at Mercer, filed suit to force the league to re-jigger the playoffs to include the Steelers. In his request for an emergency temporary injunction, Spuck demanded, according to a story in the Baltimore Sun, that Chiefs kicker Ryan Succop re-try a field goal from 37 yards after a penalty against the Chargers that should have been called but wasn’t, and/or the Steelers play the Chargers at a neutral site to determine the sixth seed in the AFC playoffs, or commissioner Roger Goodell simply declare the Chiefs winners and put the Steelers in the postseason, and/or the NFL pay Spuck’s legal costs plus $25,000.”

  • Cols714

    As much as I want Marquis Lee, I think the Steelers are going to take Clinton-Dix. They’ve shown the ability to draft good WRs in the later rounds. Safety, not so much. So in 2015 we can have a Dix-Thomas safety duo. Plus he will help immensely this year.

    • Rob D

      Safety is becoming a more and more important position in the league. I’d be happy with that pick.Still prefer WR if the guy is an absolute stud but we need help in a lot of places and shouldn’t pass up a difference maker for a “need”. If Sanders stays, I believe the first round WR pick will go out the window..

    • Canadian Steeler

      I think that would be the right call, barring a situation where Watkins falls into the Steelers’ laps. It’s looking like (at least) half the starting secondary is replaced, so an injection of talent is needed there. I’d also be alright with a lineman (even a NT) but only if he can play and be effective in passing situations as well.

      • Cols714

        I only think Clark is leaving this year. The rest will be back.

        • Rob D

          Agree..I think Ike is here till he retires, Troy is still a very good player (if he isn’t asked to play ILB as well as safety, that is), Cortez showed promise, and Clark ran out of mojo (first time I’ve ever seen that man shy away from hits, including the Minny fiasco in London) Gay had a a very good season. Hopefully we find another good secondary player in the draft. I wonder if Shamarko is ready to start? Hope so..Golden is still a fave of hte coaching staff, from all reports.

          • Cols714

            Yep. Ike will be paid less but he’ll be back. He either has to play here or retire, I doubt any other team would want him.

            We could use a safety in the draft and another late round CB. And Marquis Lee. Can’t forget about him.

          • Canadian Steeler

            I wish we had seen more of Shamarko or Robert Golden to know if they could possibly fill the void at FS this year. It’s more than likely Shamarko ends up being Troy’s replacement, but safeties are more and more interchangeable so maybe he could learn on the job at FS this year.

            Do you guys think a 1/2 should be spent on S or CB? There’s at least one more body coming in at S I think, either that’s a vet (Will Allen?) or a pick. If Ike comes back at CB, I’m reasonably comfortable with our three starters so you’d think any pick here would be typical Steelers 1st rounder (ie. minimal playing time in year 1).

          • Cols714

            A safety. The Steelers have been able to draft later round CBs and turn them into pretty good starters. But safety hasn’t worked out the same way. Keenan Lewis (who was OK, but the way Steelers message boarders talk about him you’d think Rod Woodson walked out the door), Ike, William Gay, Cortez Allen, it’s a pretty good list.

            So I think they’ll go either safety or WR in the first.

          • Rob D

            Agreed, with the Steelers draft history at that position..we might be wise to take one early.
            MAn, I am sick of the whole Keenan thing, too. The grass is always greener etc..Late bloomers always cause problems..Worilds was a bust in many people’s minds and now he’s a “must sign”, for instance. We could say it takes too long for Lebeau and Co. to evaluate players and that may be true. But I don’t buy the internet meme that the Steelers LOVE to keep ultra talented playmakers on the bench because that’s the STeeler way. If Joe Greene showed up, he’d start.
            I was all in on taking a WR, but then remember all the high profile busts the Lions took etc..It’s scary..Watkins or Lee? I think they take either of those guys if they are there..Other than that scenario. defense is the pick. I think we find a replacement for McClendon at NT, move him to DE and we suddenly look pretty good..I wish Ta’amu wasn’t a drunken idiot..damnit..

          • Cols714

            Yeah, if Lewis or Worilds showed they could be good early, the Steelers would have played them. Especialyl Lewis, he was given chances and was pretty horrid until his final year.

            As for WR, I agree. After Watkins and Lee, none of those other guys, especially the taller guys who can’t get separation in their routes sound good.

            For NT, I’m OK with McClendon coming back. I think most of the run defense problems were with Foote being out. Vince Williams just had no idea how to read the run early on. I could see them getting an ILB early. If CJ Mosely falls to them, he could just be the pick.

          • Rob D

            We could do worse than McC at NT. I’ve always thought he had the body type to play DE in a 3-4 scheme or tackle in a 4-3. But they don’t pay me to make those evaluations..idiots! :)
            Foote being out was HUGE. I had no idea how important he was/is to our D. YOu tend to forget this game is not just about being a physical specimen, you need smart guys calling the signals on D too.
            If they knock this draft out the park….this could be a very interesting team next year. Down the stretch, they looked a lot like the STeelers we know and love.
            This draft is loaded with WR’s..I’d be OK, if the two you and I like aren’t there, to grab one later in the draft.
            Any word on comp picks?

          • Steve

            With all this pre-draft discussion going on, I’m getting hungry for some Ted K draft analysis.

  • Rob D

    Well, NE was never really in that game..Still had a great year considering their talent level. Way overmatched in this one though. Denver looked really good, Peyton had a great game (if you don’t even touch him, any decent QB will eat you alive)..Brady’s O-line got handled and that was the strength of their team. “Pot Roast” ate them up…lol. I guess LeGarrette Blount played .he just didn’t do anything. Off to the SB for Pey Pey..that should be a circus. As a bonus, only ONE shot of Kraft’s box throughout the whole game! Enjoyed that lack of coverage.

    Now for the big game of the day..should be a great one.

    • David

      Ha ha hahaha-ahhhhhhhhh. Denver-Seattle Super Bowl. I can sleep well tonight.

      Boldin’s look of “What the…” after the pick: good

      Harbaugh almost crying during Pam Oliver’s inteview: great

      Shot of Brady covering his forehead and eyes after DEN got their last 1st down: priceless.

      • Rob D

        Not a fan of Denver but I was suprisingly relieved after the Pats lost.I guess I still have a lot of hate somewhere inside after all..lol..
        I was very disappointed in the quality of the offensive game plan for both teams in the NFCCG..San Fran basically had CK tucking the ball and running as their go to play..I know he’s young. I know he’s prone to taking huge chances and I know you are playing against the best and most physical secondary in the league. He still has probably the best Oline in the game, Vernon freaking Davis, Crabtree, Boldin et al. Curious to say the very least. They had the momentum and the lead and they let it get away, IMO.
        I think Denver is the early favourite. I can’t take a young pup at QB who appears to be regressing a bit (growing pains probably) against Peyton who just vanquished a lot of bad mojo by easily outduelling Brady (even I can’t resist ESPN analysis…this QB vs. that QB..who cares about the rest of the guys!) I just hope it’s a good game but I don’t think Seattle is going to score many points and they are going to need to. Peyton has a chance for a big career capper and I don’t think he’s going to let it get away from him.

        • David

          I’m picking Seattle, b/c this game reminds me of MIA-SF, aka as Marino-Montana 30 yrs ago. Yes, I’m that old. Wilson isn’t Montana, but that D looks like SF’s that year. You know what their D and Ronnie Lott did to Marino’s gunslinging.

          So SEA 27-17. And SEA fans, hopefully this will silence your crying since 2006.

          • Rob D

            Marino/Montana SB..I was in a smoky room with a bunch of my customers (I was a bartender at a corporate club bar)..drinking martinis and the best buffet ever. Guy who threw the party was loaded (both with drink and money) and had just divorced his wife and was enjoying the first bachelor days he’d had in 20 years. Wow..the difference was they were all NFL fanatics and were dead silent during the actual play. Then they’d erupt in groans of scream so delight, depending on who scored. One guy was just excellent at pointing out blocking schemes..another could diagram every play the 9ers ran. I learned alot that night. I don’t think Seattle will win, but then again, i had some money on Marino..lol (I was still PISSED about not taking him in the draft, so that’s my excuse)

        • Intropy

          The weekend went about as well as it could have. No risk of the Patriots getting a legitimate one or the 49ers tying the Steelers at 6 rings. I’m okay with either team winning now. I think I’ll pull for the Seahawks because I live in Seattle and it’s kind of fun to watch people around here enjoying football (really a fair-weather fan kind of town).

          OTOH I read earlier that Roethlisberger is the only sophomore QB ever to win the Super Bowl, and it’d be nice to see that stand. But Wilson seems like a stand up guy so I wouldn’t mind that too much.

  • Cols714

    Brady looked awful in that game. He’s now 4-6 in his last 10 playoff games. Maybe that Brady-Belichick mystique was really mostly just taping practices and playing in the worst division in football for the last 14 years.

    • Rob D

      Who knows, Cols..but he overthrew 2 pretty much sure TD’s that could have changed that game’s outlook pretty fast for the Pats. Over the years, having the Dolphins, Jets and Bills at their worst pretty much guaranteed 5-6 wins each year. Meantime, we had the Ravens /Steelers beating each other’s heads in..lol It shows you though that you don’t really need a great team to get to the dance. Just a QB and I suppose, some coaching. If Pats had Gronk and Aaron wasn’t a homicidal maniac…who knows? But like you point out. Brady isn’t “that guy” anymore in the postseason. EVEn Bill Simmons pointed that out last year.

  • Eric

    Steelers reportedly hired Mike Munchack to coach their offensive line:

    January 23, 2014

    That’s a big plus for everyone not named Velasco. I’m about as happy as you can be for an assistant coach hire.

    • Rob D

      Might I be allowed a WOOOOHOOOOOO!

      I think I deserve it after this past year nearly killed off the rest of my thinning hair, and had my wife questioning my sanity..lol..

      Great hire, superb position coach. Now we’re cooking with fire.

      http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2014/01/22/steelers-to-hire-mike-munchak-as-offensive-line-coach/

    • Cols714

      This is great news.

    • EasyLikeSundayMorning

      I’m trying to contain my hyperbole, but this could be huge. If he can get our guys to play like the first and second rounders that they are, we really could have an elite OL. That will allow is to control the ball with Bell, who seems like the perfect, patient fit for a zone blocking scheme. If tge OL is very good, a runner and receiver, Bell could approach 2000 yards of total offense next year.

      Now I hope we use the majority of our picks on defense.

      And the pedigrees of our coaching staff are amazing. It really says something positive about Tomlin and the organization that LeBeau, Haley, Munchak, Lake, Butler, etc. are all willing to be assistants on this staff.

      • EasyLikeSundayMorning

        Ok, maybe it is just missing the Steelers being contenders, but I’m having a hard time containing my expectations for our OL and the cascading effect on the offense and defense. I’m having visions of Antonio Brown catching passes 15 yards down field on play action with the safety cheating on the run and poof! he’s gone for a long TD. And shortening the game with better TOP could pressure on opponents to pass, allowing our pass rushers to pin their ears back more. After going into hibernation, I am now ready for next season to start.

        My brother just sent me this: http://espn.go.com/blog/pittsburgh-steelers/post/_/id/4471/bell-should-benefit-from-munchak-hiring

        Time to get a Bell jersey…

        • Cols714

          I think the Haley offense improved this year to the point that I’m confident in it.

          However, if we are talking TOP, the Steelers were usually #1 or #2 during Bruce Arians tenure. Probably the last time I’ll talk about Arians because Haley’s offense looked good in the last 6 games.

  • Cols714

    Yo Ryan
    I don’t know if I’ll participate, but it might be worth while to throw up a Super Bowl thread.
    Thanks!

  • Eric

    The Steelers won Superbowl 43 on this day 5 years ago.

    • Cols714

      One of the best games ever. I was just demoralized after the safety and TD by Fitzgerald. Then that glorious drive. I’ve probably watched that drive 40-50 times in my life. After the game and most of the party guests had left, I remember taking the dog for a walk and then puking because I was nervous drinking all game and then the dog eating some of it.

      Great time!!

      • Canadian Steeler

        Feel free to watch it again (and again…)

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PzDawiYEpFU

        I have the game on a hard drive somewhere, not to mention the “Road to SBXLIII Blu-ray discs I just had to buy that had every game from those playoffs. That 1st and 20 after the holding penalty, the first play of this drive, is such vintage Ben. Watch that pump fake on Santonio’s big gainer too. Oooh boy. Maybe it’s revisionist history with how things ended with Holmes, but I thought Ben was hard done by not winning MVP from the game. He did more than Brady did on the final drives of either of his MVP performances (I may be making this up, but they did just go for FGs, so I feel like it has some merit).

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JCqh6lj6y3k

        This is a great NFL Films video of it too. I probably watched it every day for a month that February.

        • Randy Steele

          Thank you for this. I made my day.

        • Cols714

          Thanks!!!! This is fantastic. That block by Mewelde Moore?? on 3rd and 6 on the first set of downs was amazing. And the catch by Holmes on that play too.

      • Rob D

        LOL..dogs..always at the ready to help.If we had lost that game, do you think Lebeau would still be our DC? Probably..but he’d have taken some huge heat.
        The drive to win SB XLIII would have been a career capper for anyone..Ben still has many pages to write. That’s as good a source of optimism as you can have if you are a STeeler fan.

        ( I was never a huge fan of John Madden..but this game WAS a fitting career capper for him. He and Al were great..didn’t take a favourite, and didn’t jump to conclusions.

  • ROb D

    I’ve had a wonderful week..didn’t watch a second of commentary, analysis or SB shows. OK, I lied. I was channel surfing and came upon the NFLN and they had some bimbo reporter going down an improvised slide in NYC with Roger G. They only do the big stories!
    I

  • Rob D

    I know we didn’t play a good SB in 05, but we were nowhere near the level of the Broncos on this day. Putrid in every phase of football. Granted, they got sideswiped by a great D..but man..tackling was optional for them, ball security non existent (they could have had 2 or 3 more fumbles easily), the offensive line couldn’t keep Peyton clean against 4 man rushes..it’s a laundry list.
    Defense still matters in the NFL after all. Who’d a thunk it? Most STeeler fans were already aware of that fact, though.
    I truly believe this is Peyton’s last great year. It’s time for the slide…

    • David

      I was thinking about this last night: Let’s say you’re offered two choices

      1. Get to the SB but get shellacked like last night, or

      2. Not make it, let’s say, lose in the AFCC or hell like this year, not make the playoffs

      Which one do you choose? I think for us, having 6 under our belt, the choice is #2

      • Rob D

        Yep, there’s a point where you look at your team and realize they don’t have the horses. If you get to the that point, you still root for them but you can’t be overly disappointed if they don’t make the playoffs. They fought and scratched to get back to .500 which shows the coach still has control and the players still have heart. A good draft will really help..and I think picking earlier in every round plus the anticipated comp picks will help us restock.

  • Eric

    I didn’t really care who won. However, if Seattle won, I was hoping it was on a controversial call. I’m petty like that.

    • EasyLikeSundayMorning

      I’ll admit that I’m still annoyed with all the Seattle moaning about calls when we beat them in the Super Bowl. We won 21-10 and their TD was after a 76-yard INT return (during which Ben was blatantly blocked in the back). So their offense generated one total scoring drive that resulted in a FG. Even if Bill Leavy tackled Matt Hasselbeck, Seattle fans shouldn’t have been complaining.

      That game has one of my favorite moments: on the INT, ARE ran past a gaggle of Seattle players like he was in a video game to make the tackle. It was ignored because Seattle scored a TD 3 plays later, but it was incredible.

      • EasyLikeSundayMorning

        I can’t find a wide-angle replay of the INT return tackle from SB XL. The highlights do show Ben being shoved down from behind. One replay angle reminded me that ARE not only ran the entire length of the field but he came from the opposite side of the field. So he ran the whole hypotenuse of the field and caught Herndon who was running down the opposite sideline. A ridiculously good play by ARE and a hidden gem. Wish I could find the highlight.

  • Cols714

    If Santonio Holmes gets cut from the Jets, I’m totally on board with signing him. He and Ben had ridiculously great chemistry. As long as he’s healthy, of course. Sign him up.

    • Rob D

      Same here..if we did sign him, that would mean the Rooney’s are convinced his wake and bake days are behind him. Could be a Cris Carter type of career where they guy realizes what he stands to lose and just how short your time in the NFL spotlight truly is. Not sure about him, though..haven’t been following his saga much since he left. I’d rather have him than Sanders any day of the week though. Guy was clutch.

    • Eric

      No thanks.

      1. He’s 30.
      2. Hasn’t been healthy in years
      3. Has “character issues”

    • Randy Steele

      No thanks.

  • Eric

    Bet that changes next season with a fully healthy Le’veon Bell.

    • Rob D

      Indeed..Bell is going to be an integral part of this offense. I’m very excited with the new Oline coach working with our young line and this stud RB..Ben will be too..

  • Eric
    • EasyLikeSundayMorning

      Thanks Eric, wouldn’t have run across that on my own. In addition to the reasonable roster analysis, one interesting thing in that was that after Levi is released, we’ll be only about $6mm above the cap, a seemingly manageable number.

  • EasyLikeSundayMorning

    I try to stay away from PFT to avoid giving Florio a penny. But this article had one of my all-time favorite user comments: “It’s been 10 years since they had a Lombardi”

    http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2014/02/13/reports-michael-lombardi-to-join-patriots-front-office/

    • Eric

      Reading comments on PFT? You’re a braver man than i….

      • ROb D

        ’tis the dead zone of the offseason. I’ve done many , many things I am ashamed of during this time..lol (For me, clicking on a Peter King link is a sign I need therapy..can’t get enough of his coffee reviews, bitching about people on airplanes and sucking up to the powers that be in whatever NFL city he is in…)

  • Rob D

    http://www.footballoutsiders.com/under-cap/2014/under-cap-afc-north

    I’m not a cap person..but I don’t ever buy into the idea that the STeelers are a bunch of morons who don’t know how to manage one and are just seconds away from having it all blow up in their face. I’ve heard it for years and it never happens. We lose a few players but so does every other team in the NFL..it’s just that most Steeler observers never look at other teams cap situations in any way near the detail they devote to the BlackNGold.

    On another note,,I am starting to wonder if an OLB isn’t a first round pick this year. If you are scared about JJ ever making it, cutting Woodley after June 1st, and possibly/probably losing Worilds to another team..it makes sense.

    • Cols714

      I agree. I battled over at the BTSC blog last year about this very thing. It seems that the Steelers made the right call to keep the team together. They were maybe 2 plays away from winning the 2010 Super Bowl because of this strategy, and then went 12-4 in 2011 before a couple of 8-8 seasons. That’s pretty good.

      And who did they lose? So far the only real notable guy is Keenan Lewis (a good but definitely not great CB who has become way overrated in Steelers fans minds). That may change this year with Worilds, but we’ll see.

      • Rob D

        I try not to argue too much..I hate to sound strident or rigid in my beliefs, but some of the stuff out there just drives one batty..I agree totally,,they almost won another SB and had a great season following it. We all want another ring and they came close.If Chicago beats Green BAy, we most likely DO have another ring. Still wouldn’t satisfy a lot of fans..lol..good lord!

        I acknowledge the loss of Keenan Lewis. He is the No. 1 CB on a team that was arguably the worst defense on a contending team in NFL history the year before the got there. Nice player..not Rod Woodson.

        Hope they keep Worilds..I’m a believer even though it’s a short amount of games but I think I saw enough to say he’s special.

  • Eric
    • Eric

      Should be pretty easy to make up the other 3 million.

      The talk is that this is a very good draft. Which is good.
      Which makes me mad they didn’t take that 3rd for Sanders. Which bad.

      • Randy Steele

        I’m still mad because they wasted their 3rd-round pick last year on Landry Jones, and then had to trade with Cleveland, giving up this year’s 3rd rounder to nab Shamarko Thomas,which they should have done in the first place.

        • Eric

          Would you be less mad if I pointed out that Wheaton was picked in the 3rd and Landry and Thomas (from Cleveland) in the 4th?

          • Randy Steele

            Of course, you’re right… but I’m still ticked off about drafting Jones.

          • Rob D

            Yes,; the Landry Jones pick is a head scratcher.

          • Eric

            I don’t disagree. Jones was taken 4 spots after they picked Thomas. Maybe they couldn’t get a deal done for less than this years 3rd, but it seems likely they could have gotten Thomas by just waiting. Why they thought they needed a low round developmental qb is beyond me.

      • ROb D

        Tons of underclassmen in this draft…stock up on future prospects type of deal.. Steelers managment might be blowing smoke, but there’s a lot of talk about taking a WR high in this one. We should hope for a LOT of QB’s to go early this year..we should have a great player fall to us..might be a WR, might not..

  • Randy Steele

    While strolling through the morgue here, looking for any signs of life, I had a small idea. Ryan’s old HSS site occasionally provided a spot to let his readers ramble about the books they had read or were reading, and I found myself wishing that I could write to you about one of the best books on sports I’ve come across ever. What makes it even better is that the book is about the 1970s Steelers’ dynasty. “There Life’s Work,” by Gary Pomerantz is as close to a must-read book that there is, not only about the Steelers, but about professional football.

    I could continue to wax eloquently about Pomerantz’ wonderful study, but it’s so chock full of intense, interesting details about the Steelers in the 1970s, that I thought I could covert chunks of the book into little quiz questions.

    So with that in mind, and because I don’t have much of anything better to do, I’m going to post a question here, based on what I read in the book, with its answer the following day, if, of course, I can find my glasses.

    I know there aren’t many of us left on this site, but what the heck, I don’t care. You’re the only guys I like to talk to about football, particularly the Steelers.

    Here’s the first question:

    WHAT WAS THE TERRY BRADSHAW’S NICKNAME AMONG HIS STEELER TEAMMATES?
    A) Brad
    B) Rats
    C) Rickshaw
    D) Blondie

    • Cols714

      No googling losers!!!!

      Um, C? Rickshaw

      What’s a good timeframe for results? I don’t think anyone checks this site daily. FWIW

      • Rob D

        I think it’s Rickshaw too..dont’ know why..

        • Randy Steele

          Sorry, Gentlemen. The correct answer is “A”, Brad. I don’t know why some named Terry, which is already a nickname (short for Theresa, I guess), needed another nickname, but there you have it.

          • Rob D

            Dab nab it…!

          • SunilR

            Didn’t Hanratty get his name from ‘Ratso Rizzo’ from Midnight Cowboy? That’s what I read in ‘About Three Bricks Shy of a Load’ by Roy Blount Jr.

      • Eric

        “I don’t think anyone checks this site daily”

        Some sad sack losers do…. (whistles innocently).

    • Eric

      Going with “D”.

  • Eric

    The talk of wasted 3rd round picks yesterday got me thinking. From our/Steelers point of view, it was a mistake to keep Sanders over the Patriots 3rd round pick. I think everyone, including the Steelers FO, would like a do-over on that.

    However, if you knew that giving the Patriots Sanders last year would have led to the Patriots winning the Super Bowl, would you take Sanders or the 3rd round pick?

    I think I would pass on the pick. I don’t think I could handle another NE Super bowl victory.

    • Rob D

      I was very happy they kept Sanders because we were pretty thin at WR and losing both Wallace and Sanders in the same offseason…yikes!
      Now I’d love to have that 3rd because it’s such a deep draft with all those underclassmen declaring. I think I’d rather cut off a limb than watch Dreamy hoist another Lombardi..lol

  • Randy Steele

    QUIZ OF THE DAY:

    ART ROONEY, SR. GOT HIS NICKNAME, “CHIEF,” FROM WHICH OF THE FOLLOWING:
    A) Jim Thorpe called him “Chief” when they played against each other in a semi-pro football game.
    B) His resemblance to editor-in-chief Perry White on the “Superman” TV show.
    C) Rooney was once named an honorary fire chief on Pittsburgh’s North Side.
    D) His ancestors included a native American Indian.

    • Cols714

      Geez. These are hard.

      D.

      • Randy Steele

        Sorry, Gentlemen. Perhaps I should have warned you that this a graduate level course. Freshman Lit is down the hall.

        The correct answer is ‘B’. Art Rooney, Sr.’s twin sons, Pat and John, gave him the nickname of “Chief” while watching Perry “Great Caesar’s Ghost” White on the “Superman” TV show.

        However, Rob, it’s interesting to note that Art Rooney, Sr. was a plenty good athlete. He played semi-pro football and minor league baseball, plus he was a boxer. He did, in fact, play against Jim Thorpe during a semi-pro football game.

        • Rob D

          I think it’s cool that Cols and I obviously don’t cheat! lol..we are getting murdered by Professor STeele here! O the humanity…Cool about ARt Sr…I guess I’m going to have read that bio that was out last year..ahem

    • Rob D

      Ok..ummmmmmm…..I’m going with C but I hope it’s A cause it’s a cool story. Plus Thorpe was one of the greatest athletes in history and I think that the first book I ever read was about him and I loved the Burt Lancaster film..Jim Thorpe, All American.

  • Randy Steele

    QUIZ OF THE DAY:

    PROFESSIONAL FOOTBALL DIDN’T PAY ALL THAT WELL IN THE 1970s.
    ROCKY BLEIER AUGMENTED HIS STEELER’S SALARY BY WORKING WHICH ONE OF THE FOLLOWING JOBS DURING THE OFF-SEASON:

    A) Junior high school Teacher
    B) Securities broker
    C) Building contractor
    D) Insurance salesman

    • Cols714

      D. Insurance saleman

      • Rob D

        I’m with Cols.. D..insurance salesman is the last refuge of every athlete along with used car sales.

        • Randy Steele

          Gentlemen, you are CORRECT! Rocky Bleier worked as an insurance salesman for Mutual of New York. Andy Russell was a securities broker, and L.C. Greenwood taught junior high.

          • Rob D

            wooo hooo…!

  • Randy Steele

    QUIZ OF THE DAY:

    HOW MUCH DID ART ROONEY, SR. PAY TO THE NFL IN 1933 TO PURCHASE THE PITTSBURGH STEELERS?

    A) $25,000
    B) $105,000
    C) $68,434
    D) $2,500

    • Cols714

      A.

      • Eric

        Well it;s either A or D. So I’ll say D.

        • Randy Steele

          Hard to believe, but the answer is D. Art Rooney, Sr. paid only $2500 to the NFL for a franchise.Gary Pomerantz noted in his book that Rooney often spent more than that betting on a single horse race — and Pomerantz wasn’t kidding.

          • Cols714

            Jeebus. Using the inflation calculator that’s only like $45,000

            Ridiculous.

          • Rob D

            Insane…I would have been the most insufferable cocktail party guest ever. “Did I tell ya about the time I bought my NFL team for 2 grand? Eh?? O well then,,let me start at the beginning!!”

    • Rob D

      I am amazed at how little my puny brain has retained over the years..I used to KNOW this stuff…sob..”the years dwindle down, to a precious fewwww” (insert cocktail piano noodling here) So I will guess and say D..it seems ridiculously low but it WAS ’33 and times was hard.

  • Randy Steele

    QUIZ OF THE DAY:

    During the 1950s, the Pittsburgh Steeler’s college draft was entirely managed by Ray Byrne, who worked this job only part-time. What was Byrne’s full-time job?

    A) Insurance salesman
    B) Welterweight boxer
    C) Undertaker
    D) Tour bus operator

    • Eric

      B. Rooney always had his buddies running the Steelers back in their losing days. Rooney was a boxer, therefore, B.

      • Randy Steele

        Sometimes the jokes write themselves. The woefully inept Steelers of the 1950s and early 6os had an undertaker managing their college draft. The correct answer is C.

    • Cols714

      B. No doubt

    • Rob D

      I’m going with undertaker C…

    • Canadian Steeler

      I’ve gotta go with B as well. Although part of me thinks it’s too convenient of an answer…

      (By the way, these are great. Annoyed at myself that the first time in months that I don’t check the site for a few days, I miss some great quiz questions.)

  • Randy Steele

    QUIZ OF THE DAY:

    In the early 1960s, Art Rooney’s son, Art Jr. (known as “Artie” to his family), took over the scouting department for the Steelers. What was Art Jr.’s previous work experience?

    A) Insurance salesman
    B) Attorney
    C) Bookmaker
    D) Actor

    • Eric

      (shrugs) C?

      • Randy Steele

        Perhaps it should come as no surprise that the correct answer is “D,” actor. After all, Art Jr. is the great-uncle of actresses Kate Mara and (Patricia) Rooney Mara.

    • SunilR

      D, Which means it’s really B. But I’m sticking with D.

    • Rob D

      This is a total guess..have no idea…so I will go with the one that ignites my imagination…D..actor..

  • EasyLikeSundayMonrning

    Randy, I’m about 150 pages into the Pomerantz book and agree that it looks to be must-read for anyone who comes to this site (even monthly…). The stuff on Bill Nunn, Jr. was great, as was the section about Art Rooney (especially Saratoga and that ironically Runyon didn’t think much of him). I hope not to be too depressed by the parts like the Webster stories which are obviously coming. To be nitpicky, I’d say it is a slight notch below a book like Moneyball (which is enjoyed by people who don’t even like baseball or sports). But if the rest of the book is as good as the beginning, every Steelers fan should absoluetly read it, as should most sports fans.

    • Randy Steele

      Hey,Easy. Thanks so much for chiming in. You’re right-It’s not “Moneyball,” but it’s about the 70′s Steeler’s empire (Pomerantz’ phrase); hence, it’s great.

  • Randy Steele

    QUIZ OF THE DAY:

    After six years, Chuck Noll’s NFL career playing guard (and sometimes linebacker) for the Cleveland Browns came to an end because…

    A) he decided to quit playing to attend law school
    B) he had an epileptic seizure and was cut from the team
    C) he stopped playing to join the Browns as an assistant coach
    D) he took over his family’s business from his father, working as a butcher

    • SunilR

      C.

      • Randy Steele

        This one surprised me, too. The correct answer is “B”. Chuck Noll suffers from epileptic seizures.

        In fact, Noll lost a chance for a football scholarship to Notre Dame because of his epilepsy and attended Dayton instead, where after graduation he was signed to play professional football by the Cleveland Browns.

        Noll had medication to manage his epilepsy, but after one episode, Paul Brown, then coach of the Cleveland Browns, refused to take the chance that Noll might have another seizure while playing, even if he were under treatment.

        By the way, Noll, one of 12 children, worked in a meat market while attending high school in Cleveland. He also seriously considered going to law school.

    • Cols714

      C.

  • Rob D

    I will say…A..just because

  • Randy Steele

    QUIZ OF THE DAY:

    When Mean Joe Greene was a toddler, he was so big that his aunt began calling him “Joe Louis,” and soon so did everyone else in his family. In fact, Joe Greene didn’t realize his name wasn’t Joe until his was in grade school. What is Joe Greene’s real name?

    A) Charles
    B) Michael Paul
    C) Franklin
    D) Leonard

    • Cols714

      Shut up. Just shut up. His name isn’t Joe?????????? How can I be 36 years old and a lifelong Steelers fan and not know this?

      UGh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      D.

      • Randy Steele

        You’re only 36?! I have underwear older than that.

        • Randy Steele

          The answer is “A,” Charles Edward Greene.

          • EasyLikeSundayMorning

            One interesting part Wexell’s book were the tidsbits about Steelers’ names, such as Troy’s last name wasn’t Polumalu at birth. He changed it from Aumua legally only in 2007, although he’d been using the name of the uncle who raised him for 15 years at that point. A certain video that started to make Troy my daughter’s favorite player (www.youtube.com/watch?v=lsdsKD2fNeY)
            wouldn’t work as well with his birth name.

        • Eric

          36?! You’re so old!

          (laughs nervously, slinks away).

    • countertorque

      I’m realizing that I know nothing about the 70′s Steelers. But, I’m enjoying the converstation.
      I guess I need to get that book.

  • Randy Steele

    Five years after taking over as head coach of the Pittsburgh, Chuck Noll led the Steelers to their first Super Bowl. How many players on the roster of Noll’s first team were still on the final roster for the Super Bowl?

    A) 11
    B) 5
    C) 2
    D) None

    • Eric

      C – 2.

      • Randy Steele

        Weird. I posted the answer to this question this morning but it’s not here. The correct response is “B,” only 5 players remained from Noll’s original squad, of whom there were two of note: Ray Mansfield and Andy Russell.

    • SunilR

      B) 5

    • Cols714

      A.

  • Eric

    I was thinking that the Steelers will probably be pretty limited this year by the salary cap but by next year will almost be in the clear contract-wise. After seeing this:

    https://twitter.com/AdamSchefter/statuses/439423607211851776

    I’m pretty confident that this will be the last year the Steelers will be tight against the cap.

  • Randy Steele

    QUIZ OF THE DAY:

    During the 1972 NFL Draft, the Pittsburgh Steelers selected seven players who became regulars on their Super Bowl winning teams. (Could we use another draft like that, or what?!) Which one of the following starters was not selected in the 1972 draft?

    A) Terry Bradshaw
    B) Dwight White
    C) Ernie Holmes
    D) Jack Ham

    • Cols714

      A beadahaw

      • Randy Steele

        Cols, you are correct. The answer is “A,” Terry Bradshaw. He was drafted number one, the previous year, 1970.

        The other four players scooped up in what many have called the best NFL draft of all time are receiver Frank Lewis, guard Moon Mullins, tight end Larry Brown, and safety Mike Wagner.

    • SunilR

      D, Jack Ham

  • EasyLikeSundayMorning
  • EasyLikeSundayMorning

    http://grantland.com/features/the-curious-case-of-jim-harbaugh/

    Given Bill Simmons’ friendships with Lombardi (and Bannon), it seems unlikely that Grantland would run that piece without Simmons getting an indication that there was something to the story. This overwhelms my skepticism of anything from Florio. I am extremely glad that it didn’t happen, as having two Harbaugh brothers in our division would be massively annoying.

  • Randy Steele

    Franco Harris’ critics thought he wasn’t tough enough to play running back in the NFL. In fact, with the 13th pick in the first round, Chuck Noll did not want to draft him. Which one of the following running backs had Chuck Noll planned to draft instead of Harris?

    A) Lydell Mitchell
    B) Robert Newhouse
    C) Lawrence McCutcheon
    D) Ed Marinaro

    • Cols714

      A. Mitchell

      • Randy Steele

        Sorry, the correct answer is “B”, Robert Newhouse, who was taken in the 2nd round that year by the Cowboys. Lydell Mitchell was drafted later in the 2nd round by the Colts. (If this draft had been held today, Steeler fans would be screaming that their GM could have traded down, picked Harris, and grabbed at least an extra 3rd rounder in the process.)

        Of note, if defensive back Willie Buchanon hadn’t been chosen by the Packers with the 7th pick in the first round, the Steelers were reportedly prepared to draft him.

        Of further note, this is one of the few examples of Art Rooney, Jr. imposing his will over Chuck Noll, who had final say about whom the Steelers would draft. Art, Jr., who was in charge of the scouting department, believed strongly in Harris’ potential and lobbied fiercely for the Steelers to choose him. It’s highly unlikely the Steelers would have picked the future Hall of Famer without Art, Jr.’s influence.

        • Cols714

          Do you know the other times this happened?

          • Randy Steele

            The conflicts between Noll and Art, Jr. are often noted in Pomerantz’ book, but only this case was specifically spelled out, most likely because the outcome was so critical to the Steelers’ future success.

            Noll wanted to draft John Stallworth instead of Lynn Swann in the first round of 1974, but the scouting staff prevailed, gambling that Stallworth would last until one of the later rounds, but not Swann.

            There was one other notable case when the Chief, Art. Sr. was very angry with Noll’s draft. The Rooney family badly wanted Noll to select Dan Marino in 1983, but Noll refused and infamously (tragically?) drafted Gabe Rivera instead.

          • Cols714

            Geez. I can’t believe he didn’t get fired after 1984 if that’s what happened. If the boss wants you to draft Dan Marino and you refuse, that’s pretty much a worst case scenario.

  • Randy Steele

    QUIZ OF THE DAY:

    Who was the most famous member of the most famous Steeler fan club of all time, Franco’s Italian Army?

    A) Vice-President Spiro Agnew
    B) Francis Ford Coppola
    C) Bruce Springsteen
    D) Frank Sinatra

    • Rob D

      D..Frank Sinatra..honorary Mafia member as well..Like he had a choice..lol

      • Eric

        I’m with Rob, D.

        • Randy Steele

          The correct answer is “D”, Frank Sinatra.

          Steelers’ broadcaster Myron Cope, one of the agents of Franco’s Italian Army, interrupted a Steelers’ practice before a game in California against San Diego, and brought Sinatra onto the field and presented him with an “official” helmet as part of his indoctrination into Franco’s legions.

    • Cols714

      Coppola

  • Cols714

    Wow, I was not expecting Worilds to get the transition tag. From almost cut last year to that is an impressive year. I guess this marks the end of the Woodley era. Without him we probably don’t win the 2008 Super Bowl or get to the 2010 Super Bowl. I don’t think the team will miss him all that much but he was a pretty good player for a few years.

    • Eric

      I think the tag is insurance. Whether they cut Woodley will be based on whether they can sign Worilds and for how much. According to PFF’s #s, Woodley was actually graded higher than Worilds last year.

      • David

        Also remember that the cap is significantly higher this year, so our FO may not be blowing smoke when they say they want to keep both.

        BTW, I’m hopeful now that I’ve seen a couple of mocks, where CB Dennard may be available at 15. LOL, the Jets will probably trade to get in front of us like they did with Revis.

      • Cols714

        Yeah. Which is a good reason to doubt pffs ratings.

      • EasyLikeSundayMorning

        Here’s my guess: They’ll likely ask Woodley to re-do his deal and take a pay cut. If he agrees, he’ll be back. If not, they will cut him.

        I would be very interested in seeing Woodley and Worilds at OLB and Juan and Jarvis at ILB. This would be an extremely talented and versatile set of LBs, creating a wide range of scheme options for Lebeau and Butler. If healthy and playing to potential, it could transform our defense into an elite one again.

        • Randy Steele

          Jim Wexell says that Woodley is a goner.

          • Cols714

            Got it. We could use some depth there but we are pretty set at OLB for a bit now.

            We could use an upgrade next to Timmons, a shiny new safety, a WR, and the normal 4th round CB who we turn into a stud. Sounds like a draft!!

          • Randy Steele

            Yeah. They need another draft like ’71… or better, a 74′.

        • Cols714

          I agree with everything here. Can Jarvis actually play ILB?

          • Randy Steele

            No. I’ve asked that question several times on Scout’s board, and Wexell responded that the Steelers don’t think Jones can play inside.

          • EasyLikeSundayMorning

            What is the logic behind why Jarvis couldn’t move inside?

            As for the argument for moving him inside, I’ll explain my logic. Jarvis is exceptional “in space” when he can use his elite quickness, athleticism and instincts for the ball. We saw this in the preseason when he made a few remarkable plays and on special teams where he was a strong contributor. It has been a year since I watched them, but this aligns with what I remember of his college highlights: a great athlete and ball hawk. By contrast, he hasn’t shown elite edge speed, even average strength, great rush moves or even average leverage; so he’s shown next to nothing as either a pure pass rusher or in setting the edge in the running game. In many of these ways, he seems similar to Timmons whose skills lead to borderline Pro Bowl play inside but borderline useless play outside. So I’d like to see Timmons (who is stronger) play the ILB that plays a bit more of the run and Jarvis the other ILB who plays a bit more of the pass (rotating Foote in for more obvious run situations). With those 4 starting LBs on the field, you can move them around and also move Troy around to create serious confusion for offenses.

          • Cols714

            Timmons actually should be a pro-bowler. He’s easily a top 5 ILB, maybe higher. But because his rookie year was so-so and the hype of Jarod Mayo (who is not that good), he doesn’t get the recognition he deserves.

  • Cols714

    Dear people who have the keys to this site,
    Can you put another post up please? It doesn’t even need to have any content, but it would be helpful to start a new discussion thread.
    Thanks!!!
    One of 2-10 regular readers, Cols714

    • Eric

      Cols,

      You’re making the assumption that they still check their site…. that’s probably not a good assumption….

      • David

        Let’s test this assumption: Ryan, your Tarheels are gonna get drilled by the Dukies this weekend.

      • countertorque

        Did Gretz go and get a paying job again? That’s bad for us.

        • Eric

          Sure did. He’s popping up all over hockey media now a days. He’s doing a good job at it.

  • Randy Steele

    QUIZ OF THE DAY:

    Which one of the following famous coaches did not work for Chuck Noll during his career with the Steelers?

    A) Woody Widendorfer
    B) Bud Carson
    C) George Young
    D) George Perles

    • Cols714

      A.

      • Randy Steele

        Sorry, Cols, but the answer is “C”, George Young, who engineered those great Super Bowl teams of the NY Giants long ago.

        Widendorfer was widely credited, perhaps wrongly, with the success of the 4-man Steel Curtain defense. My opinion? It was mostly Mean Joe and his Wild Bunch doing some hellacious free-lancing. That was all-time, all-world deee-fensive front four, the likes of which we will never see again.

  • MikeR

    You guys taking this discussion elsewhere or still hanging around here?

  • Eric

    Steelers cut two of their 3 Browns (Levi, Curtis… Antonio appears safe for now…) and Larry Foote. I’m surprised by cutting Foote considering the difficulties in filling his spot last year.

    They also extended Heath and Troy for two more years. Which I’m overall pleased with.

    • Randy Steele

      Eric, did you notice that neither Heath nor Troy got any extra money for their extensions? They got the money that was coming to them upfront as a bonus, but nothing more. I thought that was interesting in that we see a glimpse of what the Steeler’s front office thinks about their abilities now, and what they think of themselves.

      • Eric

        I hadn’t known that when I first posted but saw it later. I don’t know that it is really a referendum on their abilities from either the FO or the players themselves. Both sides benefit from taking the money they were owed and splitting it out for 2 extra years. The Steelers get cap relief and the players get their money guaranteed. Obviously, the Steelers benefit more because they extended their contracts. Troy and Heath could have refused, and risked getting cut and losing their non-guaranteed base salaries (which was 5+ million for both). They probably would have made more on the open market. However, from what we know of their personalities they are loyal and low drama. Also they could be thinking about protecting their legacies as Steelers.

    • Cols714

      Good job by the FO. Both of these guys still have 3 years left in them.

  • David

    OK, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: please draft Dennard!

    Some of the latest mocks have him available at 15.

    • Randy Steele

      David,
      For what it’s worth, Jim Wexell isn’t high on this guy. Wexell went to the recent NFL combine and watched Dennard, nothing that he is very tight in his hips, which makes it difficult for him to rotate quickly from a back-pedal during coverage. That puts him at a substantial disadvantage while attempting to cover fast wide-receivers. He can’t turn quickly enough to catch them.

  • Randy Steele

    QUIZ OF THE DAY:

    The 1974 NFL Draft produced five future Hall of Fame players. The Pittsburgh Steelers selected four of them: Lynn Swann, Jack Lambert, John Stallworth, and Mike Webster.
    Who was the only Hall of Fame player that year not selected by the Steelers?

    A) Dave Casper
    B) Edward “Too Tall” Jones
    C) Randy Grandishar
    D) Andre Tillman

    • David

      I say B, as he was the #1 pick that year, I think.

      • Randy Steele

        Sorry, gentlemen, but the correct answer is “A”, Dave Casper, the famous tight end for Oakland. The Steelers also signed safety Donnie Shell and tight end Randy Grossman as unrestricted free agents after that draft. Not bad.

    • Cols714

      B. Jones

  • Randy Steele

    QUIZ OF THE DAY:

    During the Steelers’ hazing ritual of rookies during training camp in 1974, the veterans ordered this player to sing his college alma mater. He snarled and told them, “Kiss my ass.” Which rookie said that?

    A) Randy Grossman
    B) Donnie Shell
    C) Mike Webster
    D) Jack Lambert

    • Cols714

      Sounds like jack lambert.

      • Eric

        What Cols said

        • David

          What Eric said what Cols said.

          • Randy Steele

            Could have been anyone else? The correct answer, “D”, Jack Lambert.

  • David

    BTW, Randy, as a college faculty member in Ohio, I see great questioning style and structure in your posts. Are you a teacher?

    • EasyLikeSundayMorning

      David, I thought you lived near Seattle. Did you move or was I just mistaken?

      • David

        Moved from Pullman last year. A bit closer to the Burgh now.

        • SunilR

          You were in Pullman? I live in Moscow, ID.

          • David

            Wow, small world. Great restaurants in Moscow. Sangria, Mama’s Kitchen. Miss the area.

          • SunilR

            The Sangria folks opened a Neopolitan pizza case downtown.

    • Randy Steele

      No, David. But thanks for asking. I used to be the editor of a special-interest men’s consumer magazine in NYC.

      • David

        Cigar Aficionado?

        • Randy Steele

          I wish. No, the magazine was “Boating,” and it was about…uh, boats, specifically powerboats. Before that I worked several years for “Flying” magazine.

  • Randy Steele

    QUIZ OF THE DAY:

    Three quarterbacks vied for the Steelers’ starting position in 1974: The two Terrys, Bradshaw and Hanratty, and Joe Gilliam. Terry Bradshaw was drafted in the first round. Terry Hanratty was drafted in the second round. During the 1972 draft, what round was Joe Gilliam drafted?

    A) 3rd
    B) 5th
    C) 8th
    D) 11th

    • David

      Back then, the draft was 14 rounds, so I’ll say D.

      • Randy Steele

        David, you are correct. The answer is “D”. Lobbied hard by legendary scout Bill Nunn, Jr., the Steelers drafted “Jefferson Street” Joe Gilliam in the 11th round out of tiny Tennessee State College. Gilliam was rated by many scouts as a first-round pick, but because he was an African American quarterback, his draft stock fell dramatically.

    • countertorque

      C.

  • Randy Steele

    QUIZ OF THE DAY:

    Name the opening day starting quarterback for the 1974 Pittsburgh Steelers.

    A) Terry Bradshaw
    B) Joe Gilliam
    C) Terry Hanratty
    D) Originally it was Bradshaw, but a last-minute injury forced his substitution, and the Gilliam was inserted into the starter’s spot.

    • David

      I say B

      • Randy Steele

        After helping to compile a 6-0 preseason record for the Steelers, Joe Gilliam was named by Chuck Noll as the starting quarterback for the opening game of the 1974 season. The correct answer is “B”.

        Starting the previous two seasons and racking up an impressive 20-6 record, Terry Bradshaw was benched for the first time in his career. He didn’t take it well. Quipped one local sportswriter, “Terry Bradshaw is the wrong guy to live in a town with so many bridges.”

        • Cols714

          I sort of knew this, however it is strange that they won the Super Bowl in 1974 after dealing with this sort of thing at the beginning of the year.

          • Randy Steele

            One of the most peculiar side notes about the early years of the Steeler’s dynasty was the situation at quarterback, which was generally a mess.

            Moral of the story: during this era, running backs were kings.

          • Rob D

            So true, Randy..and it’s an era I truly miss.

    • Steve

      I’ll take a flying stab at a rolling donut and guess…D.

    • Rob D

      I think it’s D..but not sure.

    • countertorque

      B.

    • SunilR

      B.

  • countertorque

    http://www.footballoutsiders.com/stat-analysis/2014/run-stop-rates-2013
    Timmons ranked #5 in run stop rate among LB’s in 2013. The only other Steeler to make the best or worst lists was Heyward as 4th worst interior DL.
    Clark and Troy both got mentioned in the text. Troy had 2nd highest defeats on running plays for a DB. Clark was tied for participating in the highest # of tackles on running plays among DB’s.

    • Cols714

      Eh. I think FO statistics are way overrated. They do some nice stuff, but what you see on the field has to back up what the stats say. And there is no way the Heyward was a bad interior DL last year.

  • Randy Steele

    QUIZ OF THE DAY:

    Angry and frustrated with his demotion to back-up quarterback in 1974, Terry Bradshaw openly requested to be traded, and then thought he had been. To what team had Bradshaw mistakenly believed the Steelers traded him?

    A) New York Giants
    B) San Francisco 49ers
    C) Washington Redskins
    D) Atlanta Falcons

    • Cols714

      New York Giants

      • Randy Steele

        After the rumors of his trade surfaced, Bradshaw walked into the Steelers’ locker room and belted out his rendition of “I left my heart in…” You guessed it. The correct answer is “B”, San Francisco.

        Soon afterward, Dan Rooney had a meeting with Bradshaw and told him point blank that his request to be traded was not being considered and under no circumstances would the Rooneys part with him.

    • Canadian Steeler

      Falcons?

  • David

    BTW, a bit surprised that Mendy is retiring. Such a talented player–fast, strong, but something just wasn’t right with him mentally.

    • Cols714

      Yeah. But his 2010 was fantastic. Especially his 2010 playoff games.

    • Eric

      Reminds me of Robert Smith the former Vikings RB. I remember stories about him reading organic chemistry text books in the training room. Professional football is a tedious, day-to-day grind. I think the more cerebral players can get bored pretty quickly.

      • Cols714

        As an organic chemist, I applaud this!!!

  • Cols714

    Woodley gone. It’s a shame he couldn’t stay healthy the last 3 years. What a great player his first few years in the league.

    • Raveloma

      In theory, this move sounded like it made total sense, but now that it’s done I’m kind of struggling with it.

      The knock on Wood for the last year and a half was that he was out of shape (possibly) and couldn’t stay healthy. Most people will also argue that he performed his best with Deebo opposite him and couldn’t do much on his own.

      So what did we save by making this cut? 6M in this year’s cap hit? That’s a ton of money but consider this:

      With Woodley out of the picture, we have a starting tandem of JJ and JW. 0 depth behind the two. Assuming that JJ is much improved this year and capable of starting, it would still be a reach to say that he plays even 75% of the defensive snaps this year. Probably closer to 50-60%. Meaning we need another starter-capable LB to share time with JJ. The FO is going to have to draft a starter-capable LB this year and probably 2-3 for depth (this number could change with potential FA).

      Having Wood be the next man up in the LB rotation would give us a proven commodity (when healthy) to split time with JJ (as he continues to develop) and also a good off-the-bench starter in case of injury to JJ or JW. Looking back at Wood’s first 6 games last year, he was the only player on the defensive side of the ball who wasn’t completely lost. In fact, you could argue that he was our best player during that same stretch. Having Wood play in a reduced capacity could potentially limit his risk for injury and also give him some incentive to work his ass off this year and show that he still is the same player who earned the contract he did.

      Why would he be willing to work his ass off this year as a spot starter/role player when he couldn’t the last two years? Age and leverage. Wood is currently 29 and the vision of him being a sack machine and DPOY-quality player is still not a too distant memory. If he were to play out this season he would be a 30 yo LB who was either able to get his career back on track and continue to help us win or essentially turn into a Ziggy Hood (a player who for whatever reason, never panned out as the player we envisioned). As a 30 yr old FA with a 3 year sample of declined play, Wood would not be as attractive a FA as he is going to be this year. This would allow the FO to re-negotiate his contract next year if his play dictated or then give him his outright realease. It would also give the coaching staff another year to really work with JJ on his development as well as the recently-drafted rookie LBs.

      So with all of that said, essentially the question is, is this year’s 14m salary worth the gamble of keeping Wood to serve as, at worst, an insurance policy at maybe the thinnest position on the defense (at best, a player who turns things around and re-establishes himself as a premier OLB)? Well consider this, he’s going to be an 8M dead money cap hit (this year I believe) so the savings is 6M. What is the displacement of the player to fill his spot? 1-2M? Let’s say it’s on the low-end and call it 1M. That means that all the FO would be risking is 5M.

      In my mind, I think the 5M in savings is not going to outweigh the absolute dearth of depth at the most important position in the Steeler defense and I also think that 5M is less important than it is to have a player of Wood’s caliber split time with JJ so he’s not thrown to the wolves again as he was last year.

      • Canadian Steeler

        I think these are great points and I completely agree with seriously needing OLB depth, but I wonder if the Steelers were at a no-win position with Woodley. If you believe the reports, they had been burnt by his questionable (terrible) conditioning in each season since his extension, and they were a huge cause for his injuries. At what point do they say enough is enough and cut that loose? I think he could have a great year if motivated, and there still should be a great player there, but I don’t know if that happens with the Steelers. The bridge may have been already burnt.

        • Raveloma

          I agree with you, and I think the FO sees the conditioning issue as you laid it out, but I just think that cutting Wood this year really forces JJ and whatever rookies they draft into learning on the fly. It also gives them no insurance should either JJ or JW. go down with injury. I would have given Wood at least one more year to right the ship if for nothing more than to be an injury backup because I’d rather spend all of Woods cap hit this year than get nothing out of it and end up with the dead money. Of course they would have dead money next year if they cut him but I think it would be less – especially of the cap keeps ballooning as forecasted.

  • David

    And looks like Ike took a paycut and is staying and will retire a Steeler.

    Please get the man some Stick ‘em.

  • Raveloma

    Reports of Ike’s pay cut are starting pop up. Along with it are so many comments about how he should have been released outright and is absolutely worthless. I think that is a ton of crap spoken by people with no football sense.

    While it’s clear Ike is on the decline, I still believe that Ike is at worst an average starting caliber CB. I think the decline of Ryan Clark and Troy playing out of position a ton really placed too much on Ike at this point in his career. I’m willing to bet that if the MLB situation is resolved and we get back to generating a consistent pass rush we’ll see Ike (and the secondary as a whole) make more positive plays this year and see much less big plays as we did last year. I’m really happy we were able to retain Ike for at least one more year.

  • Cols714

    It’s really amazing how many steelers fans want to cut everyone so we have cap space. I don’t know why they want cap space but that seems to be more important among a certain set if fans than actually trying to win every year.

    • Raveloma

      The Jags supposedly have over 50M in cap space. They must be badass!

      • Cols714

        Yeah, it’s easy to have cap space when you suck. The reason the Steelers have no cap space is because their players are good. I guess you could say the Woodley contract was a mistake, but at the time no one knew he was going to spend the next 3 years getting injured.

        Other mistakes? Colon was one. Maybe one year too many on Ike and Clark?

        • Raveloma

          I think most will point to Ike as a mistake when they look back and see how Keenan turned out. I don’t think we had a better option than Clark so I’m not sure that’s a mistake.

          Colon was definitely a head-scratcher. I can’t come up with another. I think even going back to letting Porter and Faneca walk were smart moves.

          They’ve definitely had more draft whiffs in recent years than bad contracts.

          • Cols714

            Maybe. But they needed Ike in 2010-2012. His play only fell off last year and maybe he improves this year.

            I could see that though. If Keenan Lewis had shown anything at all before his 4th year it would have made the decision much easier.

          • Raveloma

            Yeah I personally think that they made the right moves with Ike and Ryan. By the time Keenan was playing up to his potential he was already making plans on playing in NO. I’m really excited to see if Carnell can do the same with Cortez and whatever DBs they draft.

    • Eric

      How big of an overlap is there with fans who want cap space and fans that want to sign big free agents? I suspect nearly perfect.

      • Cols714

        I don’t know. IMO the Steelers have been vindicated in their approach. They’ve never had to cut a ton of productive veterans to get under the cap and have contended every year for a while now. Even the past two years they were maybe one or two plays away from making the playoffs.

        And who did they lose that they wanted to sign? Maybe Keenan Lewis? Losing Wallace sucked, but they weren’t going to pay him what Miami did. So I don’t get the bitching about the way they’ve handled the cap. It’s worked out.

        • Raveloma

          I think Keenan is the only player they’ve had “get away” from them. They liked Mike but they saw him for what he is and they were only going to pay a certain price for his services.

          A lot of people will point to how little it appeared the FO fought for Keenan’s services but I’d bet that he communicated to them in certain terms that he was headed home to NO.

          • Rob D

            Agree with Cols and Raveloma…I just don’t get the furious attitude of some STeeler fans on this issue. Way over the top.There’s always room for criticism, of course, but you’d think the Steelers were drooling idiots incapable of adding and subtracting by the rhetoric some fans throw around about ttheir fave team..lol..The NFL game is a gamble..”how much does he have left?” “Is he a late bloomer or a bust?” “Can he come back from that injury” “How much better is he than the average player at his position” “Does he fit our scheme and thus worth more than he would be otherwise”… a lot of questions and they have to make an informed guess on all of them. It’s amazing to me how many times they get it right..the ex Steeler who does almost nothing after he leaves the STeel City is a common occurence. IN the salary cap era, I have few complaints about how they operate. I think they are going to have a big bounce back year…

      • Cols714

        I think it’s mostly people who have the misconception that running an NFL team is like running a household budget. It’s not nearly the same, but they try to make the comparison to credit card debt which isn’t the same at all.

  • Randy Steele

    QUIZ OF THE DAY:

    Before the start of the second game of the 1974 season, against the Denver Broncos, star linebacker Randy Gradishar approached rookie Jack Lambert to introduce himself. As he faced Lambert, Gradishar said, “Hi, Jack. I’m Randy Grandishar. Lambert replied,

    A) “Hi, I’m Terry Bradshaw.”
    B) “Hi. I’m Joe Gilliam.”
    C) “I’m not Jack Lambert. He was traded yesterday.”
    D) “Who gives a f*ck.”

    • Eric

      D.

      • Randy Steele

        Not particularly known for his keen sense of humor, Lambert replied quickly and to the point. The answer is “D.”

    • Cols714

      A. Terry

    • David

      D.

  • Cols714

    Lots of CBs in free agency this year. I think they maybe should have just cut Taylor.

  • Cols714

    Love the safety signing. Seems like Ryan Clark 2.0

    • Raveloma

      I don’t know anything about the guy but from what I’ve been reading in the last few hours is that the guy should be a very serviceable deep safety who is more of a true center-fielder than a thumper like Clark was.

    • David

      I only remember him yapping his mouth off vs the Whiners in the NFC Divisionals. I kept telling myself he needs to shut the heck up.

  • Canadian Steeler

    Pretty excited about the Mitchell signing. Interested to see how it breaks down in terms of guaranteed money/years, especially because I can’t really remember anytime we’ve given a street FA a 5-year deal right off the bat. I’m pretty sure Farrior and Clark were both 3 year deals.

    As for the player, the initial reports are positive. Speedy guy who can blitz. Good in coverage but misses tackles. Can’t find too much film on him (read: youtube highlights, so I’ll just have to wait until training camp/preseason to make any initial judgement. Safety looks deep now, with a good mix of veteran (Polamalu/Allen) and youth (Mitchell/Shamarko).

    Also I might be really behind on this, but Ryan retweeted our old friend Ted Kian today. I can’t be the only one tempted to bug him to come write a 5000 word draft preview. https://twitter.com/SportMediaProf

  • Cols714

    Ted. Come write about free agency and the draft please!!

  • Raveloma

    My thoughts on the draft strategy:

    Position Needs: DE, DT, ILB, CB
    In my eyes, these are the only four positions I see on the team that need a significant upgrade or has a major question mark at the position. These are in order. The order of the DE/DT relies on what happens with Steve Maclendon. Is he the answer at DT or do they try and kick him out to DE. I think they give him some more time at the position and look to draft whoever Ziggy Hood was supposed to be. If they kick him over then DT becomes a very large need, but I’m not sure it justifies a first round pick as it’s mostly a 2-down position.

    While I’m a big fan of Vince Williams and really pulling for Sean Spence, it seems that this position needs to be addressed. This allows Troy to be more of himself and that alone is invaluable to our defense.

    The FO essentially gave Ike a combination of a year to end his career on a positive note and also to serve as a mini Carnell Lake for whichever DB is drafted. We need a DB to come in this year to serve as the first man up in the nickel/dime packages and to eventually be a starter by year two.

    Wants – WR, OLB
    Now you could argue that each of these are needs being that Markus Wheaton and Jarvis Jones (and to some extent Jason Worilds) are not all proven commodities at hugely important positions. But my argument is very simple and sort of a cop-out: I don’t think the FO sees it that way. In Wheaton’s case, I think they saw enough out of him to feel confident in his ability to keep AB from being double-teamed every single week. Jarvis finished the year with his best showing and they feel that JW is worth at least 9m this year or they wouldn’t have tagged him.

    With all of that being said, they’re still too important of positions to be left alone. Both have depth issues, OLB being the more pressing concern. Whether it be due to a 3/4 WR set, rotation at the OLB position, or injury (PLEASE NO MORE) a player not yet currently on the roster will be out on the field come day for at least 10-20 snaps at these positions.

    Additional Depth Needs – RB, TE, OT
    No brainer for the RB. We’ve got a three-down backer in Bell and then not much else.

    As for TE, Heath isn’t going to get younger, and we’ve seen how much he means to this offense when he’s out. Not only him being a security blanket or threat over the middle/in the red zone, but as one of the best blocking tight ends I’ve ever seen he’s asked to pitch in a bunch in blocking schemes. We need to start looking for Heath Jr.

    Mike Adams and Marcus Gilbert will be much improved this year. I have no doubt about that thanks to the hire of Mike Munchak. Except that I do…a little. And with as fast as Steeler linemen go down during the year, we’re going to need some competition pushing these two to really work on their craft and become the players they were drafted to be.

    So there you have it. I think we absolutely need some help on the TroyP side of the ball and I think we’re mostly badass on the Deuce Staley side (couldn’t help myself). So how do I see the first round shaking out?

    With the number 1 pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, the Pittsburgh Steelers select:
    Eric Ebron, TE N Carolina

    I know I know, most of you are setting Greg Lloyd posters on fire, committing domestic assaults, and queuing up the hate mail. But think of it like this. As much as the Steelers need linemen, need linebackers, and need defensive backs – the Steeler offense will win more games this year (and next year, and the year after that) than the defense will and no player in this draft class (with the exception of probably Mike Evans) will help the Steelers do that from day 1 more than Ebron.

    • David

      My thoughts are only one thought on the draft: Darqueze Dennard! Darqueze Dennard!

    • Cols714

      I don’t know. Drafting a TE this early while still having Miller for the next three years seems dubious. Maybe.

      I’m guessing either WR, DE, or CB in the first round.

      • Raveloma

        I’m all in for Mike Evans if he’s there. But I’m not sure he is. I feel good about Gilbert or Dennard being available when we pick, but I don’t see the FO pulling the trigger on a CB with the 1. DE would be an easy 1st round pick…but who? There isn’t a DE that I think is worthy of a top 20 pick who’s name is not Clowney.

        • Cols714

          Yeah it makes sense to go WR then DE and ILB.

    • ThereIsNoSpoon

      I like the logic. Considering the offense really didn’t get going until Heath was back, is it foolish to think 2-TE sets (a la the 2010s Pats) with two legitimate pass catchers would be a bad thing? And if he can block (which I’m guessing from his first round grade he can), what a nice option to have on the outside for chipping pass rushers or erasing linebackers on running plays.

      Obviously, going offense here with so many holes on D means you are banking on Ben winning you a bunch of games…but why not? That’s why we’re paying him $18M. Additionally, a good offense makes your defense better by putting pressure on the other team’s offense to score (see: Defense, Broncos). As Steelers fans, we are used to the D bailing out the O. Might be time for a bit of role reversal?

  • Raveloma

    So only about 6mil guaranteed to S Mike Mitchell. That makes this move look really really good.

    • ROb D

      Very good signing, IMO…Someone on the web said he’s like a faster, bigger, younger version of Ryan Clark.

  • Randy Steele

    QUIZ OF THE DAY:

    As the 1974 season wore on and the quarterback situation was as unsettled as ever, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette ran a poll, asking its readers to vote for the quarterback they wished would start for the Steelers. Angry with the sports staff and its poll, Terry Hanratty decided to retaliate and ran an ad in the PG asking its readers to vote for their favorite sportswriter. Who paid for the $240 ad?

    A) Terry Hanratty
    B) Chuck Noll
    C) Hanratty, Terry Bradshaw, and Joe Gilliam
    D) Dan Rooney

    • Raveloma

      No idea, but that would be really cool if it was Dan Rooney.

      D

      • Randy Steele

        Congratulations, Raveloma! The correct answer is “D”, Dan Rooney, who was quite peeved with the Post-Gazette’s sportswriters and their poll and agreed to fund Hanratty’s prank.

        • Eric

          Ha. Good for Dan.

    • Eric

      B.

    • Cols714

      B.

    • Rob D

      I would guess C..sounds like a QB conspiracy!

  • Cols714

    Well Doug Farrar and Bill Barnwell both dislike the Steelers new safety signing. Seems like a good move to me. I wonder why they hate it so much?

    • Raveloma

      I don’t know how anybody could dislike the move. You bring in a young guy who appears to be serviceable, at least, with good upside. And on top of that you’ve got him for 4 years with only 5.25 mil guaranteed. Sure you’re basing the contract off of one productive year but isn’t that what happened with Jason Worilds?

      • Eric

        Yes and that is why I’m nervous about Worilds!

  • Cols714

    Oh geez!!! Panic in Steelers land. Al Woods may leave the team via FA!!!!

    Give me a break Steelers fans. Al Woods has a grand total of 22 tackles in 5 years of work. If he leaves we’ll find another late rounder to replace him. Yeesh. Steelers fans act like every young guy who hasn’t gotten much playing time is the next Mean Joe Greene.

    Give it a rest.

    • Rob D

      LOL ! :) Last time it was Ra’shon Harris who inspired this much hand wringing.

    • Randy Steele

      I don’t think the issue is the quality of Al Woods’ play per se. He’s a competent defensive lineman, nothing more, nothing less. I think the anxiety results from lack of depth on the d-line. Cameron Heyward is the only DE on the current roster who’s made a tackle in a live game, and he’s only been a starter for half a season.

      My worry is that the Steelers, who draft to fill for need no matter what they say, will be forced to seriously consider picking Louis Nix rather than a big wide receiver or a top-notch corner.

      • Cols714

        Sure. But I’m sure they’ll sign one or two guys in FA and we’ll have similar depth.

      • Raveloma

        There’s really no way that the Steelers exit the first round without either Evans, Gilbert, Ebron, Dennard, or possibly Mosely.
        There was a slim chance they’d look at S but I think that’s out of the picture now. In my mind, Nix has never been a serious 1:15 consideration for us.

        • Randy Steele

          I hope you’re right. But I can see someone on the Steelers’ staff arguing that they could plug Nix into the nose tackle spot on opening day and move McClendon outside, where he’d probably be pretty good.

          Not a big fan of Dennard, as I noted in another post. Also, I think Ebron is too short (6’4″) and too slow to be a serious first-round consideration. I think there’s better value with one of the other tight end prospects later in the draft.

          I’m usually not a fan of the notion that you should trade back to accumulate more picks, but this year is an exception, I think. This draft looks so deep with solid, if not spectacular, talent that it would be wise to acquire at many top-half-of-the-draft picks as possible.

  • Randy Steele

    QUIZ OF THE DAY:

    Of the 11 starters playing defense for the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1974, 10 of them were named All-Pro at least once during their NFL careers. Who was the only Steeler defensive player that year never to be named an All-Pro?

    A) Dwight White
    B) Ernie Holmes
    C) J.T. Thomas
    D) Jack Ham

    • David

      A. Mad Dog

      • Cols714

        C.

        • Randy Steele

          The correct answer is “B”, Ernie “Fats” Holmes, who played his entire career with a chip on his shoulder the size of a cinder block. He may have been certifiably nuts, but there were many games that he was the best Steeler player on defense; yet, he was never credited for his many dominant performances.

  • EasyLikeSundayMorning

    I’m probably the only person who cares, but I was hoping we’d re-sign Dwyer. I’ve never understood all the hatred for him. While he’s not starter material, he always seemed better than expected as a second or third back.

    • David

      Yep, gone to Pittsburgh West, I mean, ARI.

    • Raveloma

      I don’t see any positive to bringing him back vs having a late round draft pick or UFA. They’ll be cheaper, younger, less wear, and probably a better prototype to compliment Lev.
      Haley is going to be looking for a few LSH/Darren Sproles types and possibly a thumper who could also serve as a camp FB. JD didn’t fit either of those, all though he did come on strong in pass blocking.

  • Raveloma

    16m over 4 for Ziggy and 2m guaranteed to Woods over 2 years. Both of those numbers are high and I’m glad the FO made the decision to let them walk.

    • Cols714

      Wow. Ziggy will probably live up to it. IMO, he will be better in a different scheme.

      • Raveloma

        I agree. He’ll probably earn his first round status in an even front as a DT.

  • David

    And Woodley to the Raiders. 2 yrs, $12 mil

    • Canadian Steeler

      Love this. Goes a long way to confirming the suspicion about him chasing money, and he’s a very little threat to burning us by going to a competitor. He could have a rebound year if motivated, but it won’t matter nearly as much with the Raiders tire fire of an offence.

      • Rob D

        Going to the Raiders is like going to the Grey Havens if you are a hobbit..lol

  • EasyLikeSundayMorning

    Looking at the current roster, there are 5 players who we drafted in 2009 or before who have consistently been on the roster: Troy, Ike, Ben, Heath and Timmons. There are two others who we drafted who left and came back: Gay and Spaeth. In terms of years in the league, Warren, Suisham, Will Allen and Ramon Foster are the only other guys who have more than 5 years of experience.

    My concern is not that our roster is too old. It is whether the guys from the last 4 drafts can step up to continue the tradition of excellence we are used to seeing. We’ve seen enough from Brown, Pouncey, DeCastro, Heyward and Bell that I have confidence in at least borderline Pro Bowl play from them. Now we need to see more from Jarvis, Worilds, Cortez, Wheaton, Adams and Gilbert who all have talent but have had inconsistent production (at best).

    • Cols714

      Yep. It doesn’t help that our entire 2009 draft is playing somewhere else now.

  • Eric
    • EasyLikeSundayMorning

      Nice. Of the coaches listed at the bottom, depending how you count them, 10-15 have strong Steelers connections.

  • Cols714

    Cam Thomas sounds like an upgrade over Woods.

    • Rob D

      Yep..solid pickup..(as an aside, I am old enough to remember when BJ Raji was the next Hampton..ahem..now he and Wilfork seem to have hit the skids)

      • Cols714

        Ha. Yeah. Raji had like one good season and has been not good since.

  • Randy Steele

    QUIZ OF THE DAY:

    If Dwight White was “Mad Dog,” Ernie Holmes was “Fats,” and Joe Greene was “Mean Joe,” what was L.C. Greenwood’s nickname?

    A) Hollywood Bags
    B) Arrowhead
    C) Mr. Lean Clean
    D) He didn’t have a nickname

    • Cols714

      D.

      • Randy Steele

        The correct answer is “A”, Hollywood Bags.

        Greenwood’s real name is L. C. Henderson Greenwood. His initials “L” and “C” don’t stand for anything.

        His original nickname was “Bag It,” which was given to him by one of the Steelers’ assistant coaches. Terry Hanratty shortened it to “Bags” and the added “Hollywood” to it after he concocted a rumor that he and Greenwood were being traded to Los Angeles.

        • Rob D

          LC should be in the HOF…he was an amazing player..incredible combination of smarts, lithe athleticism and brute power.

    • SunilR

      A, Hollywood Bags, because he was on his way there to be a star.

  • Randy Steele

    QUIZ OF THE DAY:

    While driving from Texas to Pittsburgh, Ernie Holmes, who carried firearms in his car, got involved in a road rage incident and began shooting at the tires of some trucks in Ohio. The Ohio State Police responded and chased Holmes, during which he turned wildly onto a dirt road and broke the axle of his Cadillac.

    Gathering his weapons, he ran from his car and began shooting at a police helicopter in pursuit, striking one officer’s ankle. He was arrested and later given five years’ probation plus a one-month stay in a psychiatric hospital.

    The question: Why was Holmes making the long drive alone from Texas to Pittsburgh?

    A) To borrow money from Dan Rooney.
    B) His wife had just filed for divorce there and he wanted to dissuade her.
    C) He was rejoining practice after resolving a contract dispute.
    D) To attend the funeral of a boyhood friend.

    • SunilR

      A.

      • Randy Steele

        You’re right. The correct answer is “A”. Running out of money, Holmes called Dan Rooney to arrange a loan and he was driving to Pittsburgh to meet with Rooney and get the cash.

    • Rob D

      Dear lord,,just reading that left me open mouthed in amazement. Ihad forgotten the details! Unbelievable. I will say A…

    • countertorque

      Wow. If that happened today, he’d never play another down in the NFL.

  • Randy Steele

    QUIZ OF THE DAY:

    Folks, I regret that my internet access will be sketchy for the next few days and I’m not sure if I will be able to post more questions from Pomerantz’ book. However, I promise to return to this duty as soon as I can.

  • Raveloma

    I don’t know why, but it just occurred to me that the Steelers have had the following:

    The toughest WR in NFL history – Hines Ward
    I don’t know that there anybody that comes close. I think it’s so far apart that I don’t associate Hines with being a WR. If I had to pencil him onto a depth chart I would put HInes Ward #86 FP (football player). Oh, and ask Keith Rivers.

    The toughest RB in NFL history – Jerome Bettis
    The only players that come close are Jim Brown and Earl Campbell. I say The Bus because he played for longer, ran for more yards, and lived purely between the tackles. My favorite Bus moment of all time will forever be him destroying Brian Urlacher.

    The toughest QB in NFL history – Ben Roethlisberger
    Any questions?

    The toughest LB in NFL history – Jack Lambert
    Not. Even. Close

    The toughest CB in NFL history – Mel Blount
    The NFL literally changed the rules to limit this guy’s effectiveness at mauling WRs.

    • Rob D

      Indeed…I’d say Johnny U would give Big BEn a run for his money along with many others from the “classic era”..but Ben is tougher than tough…no doubt.
      WR..Hines just changed the rules..have your head on a swivel D..lol..they used to kill WR’s back in the day. Swann, for instance, shouldn’t be alive but Hines decided he’d be laying out some people as well.
      RB- so many to choose from..you have to be tough for that position. I always thought Chuck Muncie was a mean SOB..Sweetness…Jim Brown would probably be my choice. Greatest PLAYER ever IMO and he made a living running people over.
      LB- Butkus, Lambert are one, two for me..take your pick.

      WE are so blessed with historic players who were great on many levels. Here’s to more of that to come..

  • Rob D

    MJD in for a visit with the Steelers. DOn’t know about you guys and gals, but I prefer to go with younger legs. There’s a pile of good RB’s in this draft; word is that the position is being devalued by a lot of teams in favour of pass catchers etc. WE could find some solid picks in the late rounds at that position without using a high one. MJD has a lot of wear on those tires.

    • Raveloma

      We’re not looking to bring in a RB to be “the guy.” Hell, we’re not even looking for a RB to split the load. We just need somebody to come in and be serviceable when Bell comes out for a breather. With that in mind, I think MJD would be a hell of a RB to have on the depth chart. He may get 5-10 snaps per game and I think with that type of workload, he could be a real asset. And we’re probably also talking about the vet minimum for a guy like MJD. Just as I think we should bring Deebo to camp, I think MJD should be brought along as well. They’ll both be great in the locker room and like an extra coach on the field. I don’t know what’s not to like. We still have room for late round picks. It’s not like there are only a few roster spots up for grabs.

      • Rob D

        IF he’ll play for vet minimum..I would agree. I just don’t think he will..

    • countertorque

      How good is MJD at pass pro? If he can stop blizting LB’s from decking Ben on 3rd down, he’s an asset.

    • Cols714

      How is he at short yardage?

  • Rob D

    “In hindsight, maybe we (the NFL fans) shouldn’t have given the real
    referees that standing ovation when they came back last year. They suck
    as bad as the replacements did. Maybe even worse. There is no excuse for
    some of the stuff that gets called and doesn’t get called in these
    games. Nobody knows the rules. Nobody knows what catch is, or what a
    fumble is, or what’s reviewable, or why it is or isn’t reviewable. It’s a
    garbage league run by total morons.

    And, of course, we’ll keep coming back for more.”

    Adam, this passage just resonates with me more and more as this endless winter drags on. With all their enormous success, you get a feeling that the NFL is overstepping and overreaching in many areas. They refuse to go to full time officials despite the fact they are overflowing with billions. Rule changes are put in place with little debate (They basically eliminated KO returns..an exciting and often game changing part of the game for like..forever) I truly don’t know what a catch, fumble IS..nor am I able to predict how they will call two seeming identical plays in different games. Then the phantom rules that get pulled out at inopportune times that were last called in 1945..lol..
    And yes, we’ll keep coming back..we are fools for love.

  • Raveloma

    My First Round Mock:

    1. Hou – DE J Clowney – They’ve done it once before with Mario Williams. I think Bridgwater was the pick until his pro day performance. It’s not that it was a bad performance that knocked him down, but it just kept them from falling in love with him.

    2. STL – WR S Watkins – They moved up to take Tavon Austin last year and Saffold coming back helps fill a hole on the O-line. Watkins and Tavon give Bradford perhaps the most dangerous receiving tandem in the NFL.

    3. JAC – QB T Bridgewater – They can’t believe he’s still available. While it’s tempting to take Manziel who might sell more tickets, it must have also been tempting to bring in Tebow to do the same thing but they resisted that one too.

    4. CLE – QB B Bortles – Owner Jimmy Haslam comes from Pittsburgh and sees the next coming of Big Ben in Bortles (although it’s not even close).

    5. OAK – QB J Manziel – The big 3 QB go one after another. OAK IS more concerned with selling tickets than adding talent. This does both.

    6. ATL – LB K Mack – Ebron is a perfect fit here, but it’s just too high for him to go. Instead the Falcons take possibly the best pass rusher in the draft.

    7. TB – OT G Robinson – McGown is the guy in TB. They go out and make sure he’s able to stay upright.

    8. MIN – CB J Gilbert – They’re dying to have one of the top 3 QBs. They’re all gone so I think they wait to take Carr later on. They take the best player available at a position of need.

    9. BUF – WR M Evans – The Bills add a big time play-maker and piss off Lions fans at the same time.

    10. DET – TE E Ebron – Screw you Buffalo. Even though the secondary needs help and Dennard is there waiting, the Lions can’t pass up visions of motioning Ebron out wide next to Megatron.

    11. TEN – CB D Dennard – Verner is gone and leaves a huge hole. Dennard comes in and starts day 1.

    12. NYG – LB A Barr – Big holes on the DLine. Tony Barr has top 10 maybe top 5 talent written all over him. Tom Coughlin thinks he can keep Barr on the right track.

    13. STL – OT J Matthews – The Rams are giddy over snagging Watkins and Mathews. This let’s them kick Saffold inside where he may be better suited.

    14. CHI – LB C Mosely – Chi can’t pass up this instinctive playmaker. They’ll make room for him.

    15. PIT – WR K Benjamin – No Evans, Gilbert, Dennard, Ebron. The Steelers take a long look at OT Lewan and DT Jernigan but just can’t justify the selection. With Benjamin they get the WR the offense needs.

    16. DAL – S C Pryor – The ‘boys need a ton of the defensive side of the ball. They take the highest rated remaining defender on the board.

    17. BAL – OT T Lewan – They need help up front. Lewan is a hell of a value here.

    18. NYJ – OT Z Martin – Interior line is a mess. They convert this under-sized tackle where he’ll shine.

    19. MIA – G D Yankey – The Jets beat them to the punch with Martin. They take the highest rated guard.

    20. ARI – S H Clinton-Dix – Bolstering an already solid D. Clinton-Dix is a perfect fit here.

    21. GB – DE K Ealy – They’ll need Ealy to bulk up, but he’s an athletic freak. They need the help up front.

    22. PHI – LB R Shazier – The Eagles can dial up the pass rush with this talent.

    23. KC – G X Su’a-Filo – They need a ton of help inside. Su’a-Filo brings a little nasty.

    24. CIN – DT A Donald – The Bungles need some help up front. Donald’s frame has room for him to bulk up and turn into a solid DE.

    25. SD – T Jernigan – A prototypical DT to anchor an under-rated Dline.

    26. CLE – RB B Snakey – They have their QB. Now they give him a little help with a capable running game.

    27. NO – CB K Fuller – A lot of QBs in this division. Fuller can partner with Keenan to give NO one hell of a secondary.

    28. CAR – WR M Lee – They have 0 WR. Lee is an excellent route runner who can be a weapon for Cam on day 1.

    29. NE – DT R Hageman – Might have the most upside of any defender in the draft. An absolute boom or bust pick. He’ll either solidify a spotty Dline or fall flat on his face. Bill gambles on getting everything out of this raw phenom.

    30. SF – WR B Cooks – 4.3 speed at a glaring position of need. A great fit here.

    31. DEN – CB B Roby – Not many holes here. CB is one of them.

    32. SEA – DE D Ford – Red Bryant is gone. Dee can fill that hole.

    • Cols714

      Nah. I do not really want a slowish tall receiver like Benjamin. It’s tough to get open in the NFL with the speedy corners. Evans I could live with, or Lee, but not Benjamin.

      Sammy Watkins would be a great pick by St. Louis though. I keep getting the feeling that they are going to do something stupid like draft an OT.

      • Raveloma

        Anquan Boldin ran a 4.71 at the combine. He seems to do just fine. The separation he’s unable to gain in pure speed he gains in reach and wingspan. This isn’t a guy that’s going to line up wide and run go routes all day. He’s going to run crosses, digs,slants, and in’s and keep safeties glued to him and free up AB and Heath.

        Imagine this guy in the red zone. How unfair would he be? I agree he’s a reach at 15. But no way he makes it out of the first round. Marqise Lee has too much of a durability concern IMO.

    • Canadian Steeler

      This looks like a pretty worst case scenario for the Steelers. I can’t see a player we’d want with any sort of value there. Benjamin would be OK if we moved back and say got an extra 2. If we can manage to trade back, I’d also want to look at Lee and even Hageman. Seems like a similar type of prospect to Muhammad Wilkerson a couple of years back. It might be too high risk given the variety of needs the Steelers have though. I’d also have no problem with Nix in the second if it were to shake out like this. Basically, our defensive line is Heyward and question marks.

  • Cols714

    Cotchery is gone. Kind of surprising that another team wanted him. We all wanted him cut last year I think and then he had a decent year.
    Bring back Santonio!!!

  • Raveloma

    Updating my mock with the news of Matt Schaub and Ryan FitzMagic deals.

  • EasyLikeSundayMorning

    Last season, the guys on the podcast regularly lamented the Steelers lack of depth. I wonder what they’d say now. Other than Brown, the WRs on our roster have 8 career receptions. Other than Bell, our RBs have 2 career carries. At OLB, we have three players, our DL is missing at least one starter and one of our ILBs is, well, unclear.

    I’m not a panicky person and my bias is to assume that the team knows what it is doing. But it seems odd that it isn’t much of sn exaggeration to say we have more talent in the coaching staff than on the roster. Actually, if our coaches were players in their primes, they’d be a great collection of players, too.

    • Raveloma

      Lance Moore signed.

      • Canadian Steeler

        Really like this one. It’s dangerous projecting receivers outside of the Saints’ scheme but he’s been solid when healthy. With a WR in the 1st couple rounds, our corps looks pretty good.

        Blount’s visiting over the weekend. I’d certainly like him over a guy like Moreno. MJD apparently wants 3.5M a year, which makes me wonder why we even met with him in the first place.

        • Raveloma

          I don’t know if Blount fits here, but I would like to have him as well. I’m a sucker for guys who can pound the rock. I think we’re better served finding a speedster and flex-back in the mold of LSH or Sproles. I don’t know that Blount would see too many carries, maybe 5 per game. Bell is more than capable handling the goal-line snaps and I think he’s a capable receiver as well. But I wouldn’t be upset to have Blount in the mix. Especially with as much as people are freaking out about our depth issues.

  • Cols714

    Lance Moore is a good signing. Easily replaces Cotchery.

    • Rob D

      Yep..Cotch had a great year but he got a lot more catches because of Heath being out. Moore is the guy I wanted..solid!
      Looking more and more like WR is going to be one of the top two picks though. Hope they don’t reach for one in the first. I only want Watkins (not going to happen obviously), Mike Evans or Marquise Lee (some think he’s overrated, but I believe that’s because he was injured in ’13. Spectacular talent, IMVHO. We took another small WR from USC and he was pretty good..lol

      Whatever the pick in the first, I am reasonably sure we’ll find an elite player there. Keep drafting those QB’s..o teams ahead of us in the draft!!

  • Rob D

    Can someone throw some water on those Steeler fans currently freaking out at the loss of Al Woods, Ziggy Hood? I say they either sign a Carrington or bring back the Diesel for one more year (thought he had a nice year in ’13). I believe Arnfelt is a good player and at least as good as Al Woods. We’ll no doubt draft another Dline guy in the draft. I just don’t see why people think we lost Hampton/Smith all over again..but its not the first time I’ve recoiled in horror from the internets..lol

    • Cols714

      Yeah, I don’t get it either. I wanted Hood back, but not at that price.I don’t care at all about Al Woods.

      I do find Carrington intriguing though. He certainly has the build for a 3-4 DE.

      • Rob D

        I like him too..a lot of observers seem to think he got a raw deal and would settle in nicely if he knew his role wasn’t going to change from the get go. He’s young too..

  • Rob D

    Moats is a Steeler. Anyone know about this guy?

    Ron Musselman @ronmusselman8Follow

    Former Bills LB.
    RT @RavensInsider: Arthur Moats’ Steelers deal: one-year, $795,000, $730,000 salary, $65,000 signing bonus

    3:14 PM – 24 Mar 2014

    • Cols714

      He has to be better than Vince Williams, right?

    • EasyLikeSundayMorning

      This is a backup contract, right?

      • Rob D

        One would think so… He’s supposed to be a very good ST”s player so there’s that. Not good in coverage, a 2 down player at ILB (although he’s played OLB in Buffalo too) I read that means we have 5 ILB’s fighting for jobs…then there are some who think he’s OLB depth..I am confused..lol..Buffalo’s D is such a mess it’s hard to slot players who played there.

  • EasyLikeSundayMorning

    As Dave Barry would say, I am not making this up: The Raiders theory for why Woodley has been injured is that he had to lose weight to play 3-4 OLB. Now that he’ll be a 4-3 DE, they want him to gain weight and think he’ll therefore be less injury prone.

    This comes in an article headlined by the coach claiming Schaub is on par with with the other QBs in the division. To be fair, he didn’t say which string QBs he’s on par with.

    • Rob D

      Da Raiduhhhssss…never disappoint ! I’m sure putting on extra weight will solve an aging big man’s leg problems..lol..

  • Rob D

    Comp picks are in: WE done good..a 3rd, a 5th and and a 6th. We are like, 18 picks later in the 3rd round than if we’d kept our own..but at least we have one now. Picks are for Wallace, Lewis and Mendy, I believe. More ammo for the draft. Maybe they can trade up for late round picks now if they feel they have to. Deep draft..more picks..Me likeeeee..

  • Randy Steele

    QUIZ OF THE DAY:

    In mid-October 1974, Ernie Holmes was unhappy that he wasn’t credited enough for his play by the media. As an attempt to attract more publicity, he shaved a unique design on top of his head. What was that design?

    A) Bull’s-eye
    B) Arrowhead
    C) Lightning bolt
    D) Racing stripes

    • Rob D

      B) arrowhead..and yes..that is my final answer

      • Randy Steele

        Rob, you are correct. The answer is “B”, arrowhead. Holmes shaved the hair on his head in the shape of an arrow pointing forward, which he claimed was the direction he was always heading in.

        His stunt worked somewhat. He got lots of coverage and members of the media nicknamed him, “Arrowhead,” but to his teammates he was, and always will be, “Fats” Holmes.

        • Rob D

          He was something…! I kind of liked the unhinged characters who populated the NFL back in the day..Otis Sistrunk!

    • Cols714

      Bulls eye

      Yay!!! I’m glad this is back.

  • Randy Steele

    QUIZ OF THE DAY:

    Of the original six cast members, who was the lowest paid member of the TV show, “Friends” …. opps, wrong quiz question.

    Let’s try again.

    During the football movie, “The Replacements,” there is a scene in which a lineman is shown eating a large bowl of hard-boiled eggs before a game, and then as he begins to play, vomiting on the field. This scene was lifted from an actual Steelers’ practice in the mid 1970s. Who was the guilty lineman who ate a bowl of hard-boiled eggs and then threw up on the field, forcing the team to move to another location?

    A) Gerry “Moon” Mullins
    B) Dwight White
    C) Mike Webster
    D) Ernie Holmes

    • David

      D. Fats

      • Rob D

        It just sounds like Ernie..lol..So (D)

        • Randy Steele

          Who else but Ernie Holmes? The corrrect answer is “D”.

          Oh… and by the way, Lisa Kudrow was the lowest paid member of the main cast of “Friends” when the show began airing.

  • Randy Steele

    QUIZ OF THE DAY:

    The Steelers’ success in the 1970s created lots of opportunities for commercial endorsements for the players. Which one of the following products was not endorsed by a player for the Steelers?

    A) Ford Fairlane
    B) Samsonite luggage
    C) Red Man chewing tobacco
    D) Skippy peanut butter

    • Cols714

      Samsonite

      • Randy Steele

        Rob, you would have done well taking the LSAT. The correct answer is “D”, Skippy peanut butter, but only barely.

        Perhaps the most ludicrous commercial endorsement made by a Steeler player was done by Terry Bradshaw for “Terry Bradshaw’s Peanut Butter.” Really.

        • Rob D

          wooo.hoooo…Sorry, I don’t’ gloat normally but its been a rough week..lol..Let’s just say I want to kill my family. All of them..and it’s not even Christmas! I got at least one thing right this week…and I have Skippy to thank..

    • Rob D

      Man..OK..many players get associated with car dealerships., they travel a lot so it would seem that luggage endorsements would be a natural fit..chewing tobacco is disgusting but popular….so I will go with D..peanut butter ( a certain kicker should have jumped on that bandwagon at some point but he was too busy beating up paper towel dispensers)

    • SunilR

      Rob’s done all the hard thinking, so I’m going with D too.

  • Rob D

    Blount signs a 2 year deal today. They needed to find a vet as a backup and he’s a pretty good choice. Only 27 years old..250 lbs of rumble which will please the yinzers. Pick up another RB late in the draft probably. Not heard how much he signed for though.

    (Ok, two-year, $3.85M deal, including a $950K signing bonus.according to Schefter)

    • SunilR

      I like this. I have a degree from the University of Idaho, so I have a special place in my heart for the guy who punched out a Boise State football player. That said, I don’t want him picking up unnecessary personal foul penalties, just the necessary ones.

    • EasyLikeSundayMorning

      Seems like the perfect backup RB: big, powerful, a vet without too much tread on his tires, good on kickoff returns, pretty inexpensive. As long as the college character flag is behind him, this could be an excellent signing.

    • Cols714

      Good signing. Plus maybe the fans will the shut the hell up about a big back for a change.

    • Randy Steele

      Worth the risk. High upside. (I also like the fact that the Ravens wanted him and he chose Pittsburgh.)

  • Randy Steele

    QUIZ OF THE DAY:

    Of the players among the Pittsburgh Steelers who won the Super Bowl in 1974, how many were still on the team when the Steelers won their fourth Super Bowl in 1979?

    A) 9
    B) 13
    C) 18
    D) 22

    • SunilR

      B. I started counting and came up with 11, so A is out. C and D seem too high.

      • Randy Steele

        Sorry, Gentlemen, but the correct answer, amazingly enough, is “D”, 22.

        • Rob D

          Doh!!

        • Cols714

          Wow, that is amazing. The sad thing is that with the salary cap there is no way for that to happen again.

    • Cols714

      C.

    • Rob D

      Total guess….13…or B…just because they used to stay with the vets back then..

      I was reading some STeeler stuff and discoverd I had forgottne a really good player for us..Jimmy Smith! Anyone remember him? He was a really good player .Ron Shanklin too..

    • EasyLikeSundayMorning

      C)

  • Randy Steele

    QUIZ OF THE DAY:

    During the famous “Immaculate Reception” play against the Oakland Raiders in the 1972 AFC divisional play-off game, a pass ricocheted into the hands Franco Harris, who caught it a few inches off the turf and ran for the winning touchdown. To which Steeler player had Terry Bradshaw originally thrown the pass?

    A) Frenchy Fuqua
    B) Frank Lewis
    C) Barry Pearson
    D) Larry Brown

    • David

      A. Frenchy

      • Randy Steele

        Gentlemen, you are correct. The answer is “A”, John “Frenchy” Fuqua.
        The original play, however, was suppose to be a pass from Bradshaw to rookie wide receiver Barry Pearson. Bradshaw improvised, and the rest is history.

    • Rob D

      Frenchy,,the man with goldfish in his shoe heels. Top that! LOL..
      So..that would be A)….

    • Cols714

      Frenchy

  • David

    Off subject: The Curse of John Harbaugh

    As soon as CBS showed him supporting the Spartans, I knew they would lose.
    Thanks, CBS for ruining my bracket.

    • Rob D

      Da kiss of death..He should work for the mob providing that service.

  • Cols714

    It seems like the draft decision is going to boil down to WR or CB.
    I’m down with a WR if Lee or Evans is there. Anyone else (besides Watkins who should go #2 to the Rams if they had any brains) and then I guess CB.

    However, I could see that if all their top CB and WR are gone they could go with CJ Mosely who would fit rather well and solve the ILB dilemma.

    • Rob D

      Agreed,,there is some late sentiments being aired that they should take Benjamin. I don’t think he’s worthy of that high a pick and would be a reach. I’d be fine with him near the bottom of the first though. Lee is my favourite but he’s not tall enough for most yinzers..lol..I like the idea of taller, bigger weapons too but there aren’t a lot of Watkins types out there..that’s why they are special..they are RARE. Evans is streaking up draft boards..I don’t think he’ll last past the first 10 picks now..darn it.
      I’d love to see them get Gilbert for CB..not a big fan of Ebron ( I think he’s a very dicey proposition overall) and I’d also be fine with CJ since our ILB situation looks a tad weak. I believe we are going to see some great players fall in this draft though. We’ll find something great at 15.

      • Cols714

        They won’t take Benjamin. He doesn’t seem to fit the mold of Steelers receivers that they’ve had success with lately. I think Lee or Evans would be the pick if they are still there.

        • Rob D

          I agree, but watch the howls of anger if and when Marquis is picked..lol..cover your ears..He’s not moar tall, ya see….
          There are a lot of great WR prospects in this draft..the more you look, the more you find and SOME of them have the height.Steelers are pretty good at finding quality WR later in the draft and I expect they’ll find one. I really hope they don’t take Benjamin if CJ, Dennard, Gilbert etc are available.

          • Raveloma

            I’d be ok with Lee. I’d be disappointed with Mosely. He plays the same position as LT. Which means if they moved him over to try and play Foote’s spot, he’d be going through the same learning curve that Vince Williams just went through. I thought Vince showed enough to earn a second year.

            I wonder how Lee compares to Santonio from a skills perspective. To me they seem close. I was a huge Santonio fan so if Lee fits the bill I’d be very happy, as I think most Steeler Nation would be.

          • Rob D

            Good point on CJ, Raveloma..

  • Randy Steele

    QUIZ OF THE DAY:

    During the 1974 AFC title game against the Oakland Raiders, Joe Greene described the Steelers’ defense as being “in the zone.” It was his only time during his 13-year-career with the Steelers that Greene thought they played at that high level. The Raiders ran the ball 21 times against the Steelers defense that day. How many rushing yards did they total?

    A) 29
    B) 44
    C) 52
    D) 61

    • Cols714

      A. 29

      • Randy Steele

        You all got it right. The correct answer is “A”, a staggering tally of only 29 yards on 21 carries. That’s 1.4 yards per attempt.

    • SunilR

      A, 29.

    • Rob D

      0 isn’t available so I will go with A) 29. Joe Greene in the zone. That’s a very frightening prospect since his average games were amazing.

  • Randy Steele

    QUIZ OF THE DAY:

    Which of the following incidents did not happen during the Steelers’ first Super Bowl in 1974?

    A) Dwight White was hospitalized for pneumonia.
    B) Jack Lambert broke his ankle.
    C) Andy Russell tore his hamstring.
    D) Glen Edwards ruptured his spleen.

    • Cols714

      A. pneumonia

    • SunilR

      I’m pretty sure A did happen, but have no recollection of reading about the other events. Since I’m just guessing I’ll go with (B).

  • Randy Steele

    QUIZ OF THE DAY:

    As you know, the Oakland Raiders rushed for a paltry 29 yards in 21 attempts during the 1974 AFC title game against the Steelers. Coincidentally, Minnesota ran the same number of times, 21, against the Steelers during the 1974 Super Bowl. How many total yards did the Vikings rush for in the game?

    A) 37
    B) 29
    C) 17
    D) 22

    • Cols714

      A. 37

      • Randy Steele

        During a mix-up on one play between L.C. Greenwood and Joe Greene, a hole opened that allowed Chuck Foreman to run for 12 yards, the Vikings’ longest carry of the day.Deduct that play and the Steelers held the Vikings’ running backs an average of 9 INCHES

    • Rob D

      I will go with 17..I remember it being a ridiculously low total..but the old brain won’t give up the definitive answer..stupid brain…

    • Raveloma

      Delta.

    • SunilR

      17, C

  • Raveloma

    Do you guys think adding Heyward-Bey changes the draft plan? I don’t see them taking a WR in the top 3 unless somebody has a serious slide. AB, Marcus, Moore, DHB, and a late-round draft prospect seems probable with as deep of a draft as it is.

    Now I’m starting to get the feeling that if Gilbert or Dennard are off the board, the Nix hype machine might start back up again.

    Also, where are all of the internet heroes who were saying Colbert is an idiot and the Steelers have no depth? Moats, Moore, Baby-zilla, DHB, Bailey, Blount are some pretty stout backups and could probably all be starters for a team right now.

    • Rob D

      They’ve had a very good offseason so far, IMO. DHB will fight for a roster spot with Moye, I believe. Still think ONE of the top two picks is a WR. Agree with the consensus that it’s probably CB/WR in whatever order. I’m getting scared that Benjamin is going to go to them at 15..I’d rather trade down and grab him late in the 1st but apparently a lot of teams want to trade down and it may not be do-able.I hope they don’t take Ebron or Nix in the first..

    • EasyLikeSundayMorning

      I’m fine with the Moore and DHB signings, as they were cheap, but let’s not make them into better players than they are. Neither is a #1 or 2. If there’s an elite WR who the brass likes, they’ll still take him. Personally I hope we go very heavy on defense in the draft, regardless of position.

      One other random observation: we basically traded Cotchery for Blount and $1mm. That seems like an excellent trade.

    • David

      Yes I do. Now WR, S are not top priorities.
      I think CB and now, ILB are good possibilities for R1.

      Dennard, come on down!

    • Cols714

      I doubt DHB even makes the team to be honest and I still think they will go WR in the 1st if Evans or Lee or Watkins is there.

      As for Nix, I hope not. If all the WR and CB they like aren’t there I’d much rather them take CJ Mosely who it looks like will be able to start immediately.

    • Randy Steele

      No. The Steelers are rolling the dice on Heyward-Bey. Moore is adequate, but the more important issue here is that they were both inexpensive to sign. I still think they grab a wide receiver in the first two rounds, third round at the latest, depending on who is available, of course.

      That said, everything I’ve read that I trust notes that the front office is in love with this year’s crop of cornerbacks, and if I had to bet right now, I’d pick Dennard as their first choice (although I’m not crazy about him).

      • Cols714

        Yeah, I could see this happening. What’s wrong with Dennard?

        • Randy Steele

          Reporters from the Combine said he couldn’t flip his hips quickly and cleanly enough out of his back-peddle to get into a sprint. That’s too big a question mark for a corner back with a supposedly first-round grade, I think.

          I don’t think Mayock is as high on him either. Mayock’s been moving up Kyle Fuller, and recently opined that Fuller might be the no. 2 corner back behind Gilbert.

          • Cols714

            Gilbert seems unimpressive as well. I don’t know about taking CBs in the 1st round if they aren’t going be Revis. The Steelers seem to do pretty well with taking 3rd and 4th rounders and making them good CBs. Ike Taylor, Cortez Allen, William Gay, Keenan Lewis, etc.

            Actually, when was the last time we picked a CB in the 1st round? Deon Figures?

          • Randy Steele

            Chad Scott was a more recent R1 pick (1997).

            CBs are more important in today’s NFL. If you can justify a linebacker in Round 1, you can also justify a corner back at that time. That said, I agree with you and I’m not crazy about the idea of a CB in Round 1.

            But, for me, it always comes down to skill and talent. Pick the player you think will be a man-eating monster at his position in Round 1 and the rest will take care of itself.

          • Rob D

            This draft is kinda scary..Colbert says it has incredible depth but I wonder if Dennard/Gilbert are just good players elevated to first round worthy status by virtue of being better than what’s out there this year ..not world beaters. Ebron scares me for the same reason. Nix..ditto…I like Mayock and he’s been re-evaluating his choices a lot..shows you that after putting in the work, he’s starting to realize first impressions are deceiving. Additionally, there’s a lot of buzz out there that a lot of teams want to trade down. Maybe there’s not a lot of elite level players out there outside the top 7 or 8…or 10?

          • Cols714

            If teams are dying to trade down, maybe we can trade up for Watkins? If the Rams are truly going to do something stupid then Watkins could be there at #5.

          • Randy Steele

            To move up even a few spots we’d probably lose a 2nd Rounder, too pricey in my opinion. (Can’t trade the 3rd round pick because it’s compensation, and 4th rounder isn’t worth enough.)

          • Cols714

            1st and 2nd rounders for Watkins? I think I’d do that.

          • Rob D

            He might be the one player worthy of such a move.

  • Randy Steele

    QUIZ OF THE DAY:

    During a game against the Browns in Cleveland in 1976, Joe “Turkey” Jones grabbed Terry Bradshaw and flipped him upside down after the whistle, and then spiked Bradshaw headfirst into the ground. Unable to move, Bradshaw was immobilized on a spine board and rushed to a hospital and later airlifted back to Pittsburgh after the game.

    The door of the aircraft was too small to allow Bradshaw, still strapped to the spine board, to be carried by two attendants. Only one man would be able to fit through the door while carrying the stricken 215-pound quarterback.Who was the lone man who carried Bradshaw aboard the aircraft?

    A) Ernie Holmes
    B) Dwight White
    C) Joe Greene
    D) Mike Webster

    • David

      D. Terry’s center and protector

      • Randy Steele

        Rob is on a roll. The correct answer is “A”, Fats Holmes. By the way, Bradshaw returned to the field three weeks after this incident.

        • Rob D

          Woo hooo! I have no idea how I remembered that..And I still have no idea why Terry wasn’t paralyzed after that incident. A neck like a bull didn’t hurt, I guess..

    • Cols714

      C.Joe Greene

    • Rob D

      I will say…A) Ernie

  • Cols714

    All of the latest mock drafts have st. louis making the stupidest decision possible. Taking a LT instead of a surefire star WR like Watkins. How can anyone keep convincing themselves to take LT so high in the draft? Where are all of these Super Bowl winning teams with crazy high draft picks at LT?

    They don’t exist because that position has become enormously overvalued. Take the big fast strong shifty WR with great hands.

  • Randy Steele

    QUIZ OF THE DAY:

    During the last regular season game in 1975, Coach Chuck Noll put Joe Gilliam in as quarterback to play the second half of the game. Gilliam only completed two passes in 11 attempts for a total of 29 yards. He also threw two interceptions. What was wrong with him?

    A) He had torn the rotator cuff of his throwing shoulder.
    B) He suffered an appendicitis.
    C) Nothing was wrong. He was only rusty from inactivity.
    D) He had been snorting heroin that day.

    • Rob D

      I will say D) Great talent…sad story.

      • Randy Steele

        The correct answer is “D”. According to his roommate, Reggie Harrison, Gilliam had been snorting heroin all day.

    • Cols714

      D. Wait, can you snort heroin? I thought you had to inject it.

      • Rob D

        Yep, you can. No personal experience!

  • Randy Steele

    QUIZ OF THE DAY:

    In 1977, Coach Chuck Noll was sued for slander by a player on the Oakland Raiders for publicly branding him as part of a “criminal element” for a vicious, illegal hit he made during a game against the Steelers. Who was this player?

    A) Jack Tatum
    B) Phil Villapiano
    C) George Atkinson
    D) Willie Brown

    • SunilR

      C, Geoge Atkinson.

      • Randy Steele

        You are correct. It was “C”, George Atkinson.

        • Rob D

          George is always on anything STeeler related on NFLN, slagging the team to the best of his ability..lol…bitter SOB..

  • Randy Steele

    QUIZ OF THE DAY:

    Although the jury eventually sided with Coach Noll, and threw out the 1977 slander case against him by George Atkinson, the trial did not go well for Noll. He was forced to admit during cross-examination that at least one of his own players was also part of the “criminal element” that pervaded the NFL. Who was that player?

    A) Mel Blount
    B) Donnie Shell
    C) Jack Lambert
    D) Glen Edwards

    • Rob D

      B) Donnie Shell..probably because of his thundering, Ryan Clark-like hits…

      • Randy Steele

        SunilR is correct. The answer is “A”, Mel Blount, who was so angry with Noll for the statement that Blount announced that he would never play for Noll again. Nevertheless, Blount remained on the team for another seven seasons.

        • Rob D

          Doh! I had completely forgotten about that!

    • SunilR

      A, Mel Blount.

  • EasyLikeSundayMorning

    Is it just me, or has Scott Brown gotten much better since he left the Trib for ESPN?
    http://m.espn.go.com/general/blogs/blogpost?blogname=pittsburgh-steelers&id=5814&src=desktop
    This is a very good rundown of the free agents we’ve signed and how little of a financial commitment we’ve made. Of course, that also means we haven’t brought in elite talent either, but it seems like good decision-making within the constraints of the cap.

    My only question about the offseason so far is whether there was a way to have restructured Woodley and paid him what the Raiders did, but maybe it wasn’t possible. I think we’re short on high-end talent (compared to Steelers teams of the past dozen years) and Woodley is a difference-maker when healthy.

    • Rob D

      Agree about Scott, EAsy…I think they took the reins off him or something. I used to not read or take his pieces with a huge grain of salt…Now I regularly check his stuff out. I have to think the STeelers were sick of Woodley’s lack of commitment to a training regimen (with no proof positive for that, just from a lot of reading and maybe ‘reading into’ statements made by players and mngmt. ) I don’t like going into the season without him but at his age, you must be a workout warrior like Ike to stay in the league and be productive. I think you can get away with not doing as much when you are in your absolute prime. Woodley is past that point, IMVHO.

      • Randy Steele

        I think if the Steelers’ front office people and coaches had really wanted Woodley, they would have figured out a way to keep him. His price tag no longer matched his results.

  • Randy Steele

    QUIZ OF THE DAY:

    In the 1970s, the Steelers were regarded by many as a team that took steroids heavily, despite the fact that Coach Noll actively tried to discourage their use. In the May 1985 issue of “Sports Illustrated,” one Steeler player claimed that 75 percent of all linemen in the NFL used steroids. Who was that player?

    A) Gary Dunn
    B) Gerry “Moon” Mullins
    C) John Banaszak
    D) Steve Courson

    • SunilR

      D, Steve Courson. I have his book somewhere.

      • Rob D

        Yep, that would be D…Courson. Remember those freakish muscles around his neck…good lord. That was the first time I realized the use of steroids/HGH etc was for real and not some made up myth.

        • Randy Steele

          Gentlemen, you are correct. The answer is “D”, Steve Courson.
          As Rob noted, Courson was a physical phreak. Standing 6’1″, he had a 22″ neck, 20″ biceps, 38″ waist, and a fully expanded chest size of 58″.

          • Rob D

            Unbelievable. So many of those guys paid dearly for it later in life ..what price glory?

  • Randy Steele

    QUIZ OF THE DAY:

    Joe Greene expected the filming of his now famous commercial for Coca-Cola to take half-a-day. But with lighting problems, botched lines, and Greene’s bloated stomach from drinking too much Coke, the commercial took a staggering three days to complete. How many takes were made before the commercial’s filming was finally complete?

    A) 27
    B) 48
    C) 61
    D) 128

    • Rob D

      I remember it being a lot..so I’ll go with 48..which would be B) Still holds up after all these years. Someone compared Greene to Othello..and he certainly looked the part. All my Cowboy loving friends of that era loved that commercial too.

      • Randy Steele

        Sorry, Rob, but the correct answer is “D”. It took 128 attempts to film that commercial before the ad agency was satisfied.

        By the way, Joe Greene’s hands were so huge that the ad agency had to have Coke bottles custom-made for him that were larger than normal. (Otherwise, the bottles would have looked disproportionately small, as if they had been swiped, say… from the set of a Tom Cruise movie.)

        • Rob D

          Doh! that must have been quite the budget for that ad…Well, Coca-Cola has the odd buck laying around, I guess…:)

          Ha! nice tidbit about his hands…A friend of mine actually sat next to Dermontti Dawson on a plane. I had told him that DD was considered a little undersized for his position. My buddy said that DD took up 2 seats and was the biggest human he had ever seen..lol..Undersized by ..ahem..NFL mastodon standards, that is!!

          Coach Joe Greene holding back a Dolphins LB’er on the sidelines with a a few fingers stuck inside his belt is a memorable image..those hands!

  • Randy Steele

    QUIZ OF THE DAY:

    Joe Greene retired in 1981, a season in which the Steelers had gone 9-7, but for the second year in a row, were out of the play-offs. How many regular season games did he play for the Steelers during his professional career?

    A) 161
    B) 169
    C) 176
    D) 181

    • Rob D

      I will say.. A) 161

      • Randy Steele

        A 10-time Pro Bowler and a 5-Time First Team All-Pro, Joe Greene played his entire professional career, 13 seasons, for the Pittsburgh Steelers. How many games did he play for them? The correct answer is “D”, 181.

  • EasyLikeSundayMorning

    In previous drafts, who were players you had at the time wished the Steelers had taken but didn’t who:
    A) would have been great Steelers; or,
    B) turned out to be busts.

    I think our brains are wired to more easily remember A than B, by the way.

    • Randy Steele

      Geez, those are great questions, Easy. What’s most revealing, to me at least, is how quickly I forgot whom I was rooting for.

      Last year I was kinda hoping/thought it likely that the Steelers would get Kenny Vaccaro in the first round, although he was taken a couple spots before Pittsburgh’s pick. So that doesn’t count.

      In 2012 I was reconciled to the Steelers selecting Dont’a Hightower in the first round, although I think we lucked out and David DeCastro fell to them. I’m still not terribly impressed with Hightower.

      I can’t remember whom I was rooting for in the first round of 2011, but I did think Randall Cobb would be a nice addition, and the Steelers could have chosen him in the second round, but took Marcus Gilbert instead. It’s not that Gilbert was a bad choice, but necessity trumped BPA in that round, I think.

    • Rob D

      I wanted Michael Bush and Michael Oher (despite a lot of negative vibes about him (looks like Tarzan, plays like Jane etc.)I got suckered in by the book by Michael Lewis and his underdog story) Bush is an OK player but not the Bettis clone and Oher is just a guy and not Art Shell II..

    • EasyLikeSundayMorning

      For A) I was a kid in the Pittsburgh area during the Marino era, so I wasn’t exactly unique in wanting him. I really wanted Ed Reed and Ray Rice. Reed went before our pick, but I still imagine him and Troy in the same defensive backfield. Rice reminded me of Marino: would’ve gone much higher after his junior year; had a very good senior year but it was a notch below his junior year and fell as a result. I raised Rice’s name at HSS wondering why he wasn’t more highly rated.

      For B) I wanted Lewis Delmas but he has been hurt a lot. I wanted us to use our first round pick on Tim Tebow. Just kidding. I wanted us to take a 7th round flier on Myron Rolle. Turns out we got him for free and he couldn’t stick. I’m sure there are others, as my knowledge of college players during the BCS era has been dramatically less than of pro players.

      • Rob D

        With Marino…how many more rings do we have?
        Delmas is a good player who just can’t stay healthy..a common problem in this meat grinding sport.
        I really liked Rolle too…

    • Cols714

      Fun question. I was on the Ed Reed bandwagon, but he got picked before us. Then I was on the Kenny Vaccaro bandwagon and he got picked before us. Maybe I just like safeties?

      Other than that I can’t think of anyone that I was really hoping we’d get. I guess I just trust the FO since they mostly get the draft right.

      • Rob D

        Ed Reed wwould have been a decent pick…:) I’m with you Cols, we happen to follow a team who usually make the right moves in the actual draft..and then find good to great players as UDFA’s…It’s too bad many Steeler fans don’t see it that way. I get that they make mistakes but you’d think they never put a foot right the way some yinzers go on about it. I wonder how they’d be if they were Pats fans? All those years of trading back to pick up more volume in picks has not yielded a team you’d expect. They seem to spend each offseason signing vet CB’s and WR’s to patch up holes…. I’d argue they are pretty horrible at finding first round talent in particular. Colbert eats their lunch routinely in that round. Let’s hope they do so again this year. (NOt saying the Steelers should be immune from criticism of course..but ..ya..you know what I’m talking about…lol) The “fire everyone” types…

  • Randy Steele

    QUIZ OF THE DAY:

    After he retired from playing football for the Pittsburgh Steelers, Joe Greene struggled to find his next career. Which one of the following professions did he not attempt after his retirement?

    A) rancher
    B) restauranteur
    C) TV commentator
    D) real estate agent

    • Rob D

      I don’t remember him doing TV..so I will say C).

      • Randy Steele

        Easy, you are correct. Joe Greene was never a rancher The answer is “A”.

        • Rob D

          Dang..but can’t you see him glaring from his ranch’s front porch at the cattle? And they are all like “OK< OK..I'm moving already!" lol..

    • EasyLikeSundayMorning

      He’s from Texas, but I have a hard time seeing him as a rancher.

      I got distracted after reading the first 100-150 pages of Ponerantz’s book. Randy, your excellent qs remind me that I need to pick it up again.

  • EasyLikeSundayMorning

    More decent stuff from Scott Brown (and Matt Williamson). An interesting nugget is that Moats is more versatile than I realized: http://m.espn.go.com/general/blogs/blogpost?blogname=pittsburgh-steelers&id=5889&src=desktop

  • Randy Steele

    NO QUIZ OF THE DAY:

    Gentlemen, I regret that I must take a short break from my quizmaster’s duties, but I promise I shall return soon with more.

    • Rob D

      Excellent,Randy,I have enjoyed them. We shall keep the camp fires burning until the creators return to their creation..lol

      • Randy Steele

        Be back soon, Rob, for whatever it’s worth, which ain’t much.

  • Cols714

    OK
    After all of this, I hope the Steelers draft one of two players. Dennard, or Beckham. So a CB or a WR.

    • ROb D

      We may all disagree on who those players should be..but I also think a WR and CB in the first two rounds is the wise move.I’m almost inclined to think corner first..WR second. There are, IMO, only 3 WR’s worthy of a 1-15 pick but there are many who should be grabbed at 2-46. I hope they don’t take any offensive linemen, safeties or TEs with the first two picks..we need to see what Munchak can do with the talent we have on board first, IMO. I’m not as down on Adams and Gilbert as many others seem to be, for instance. I think a safety will be drafted in latter rounds though. I don’t like any of the TE’s early in this draft at all. The best guy has questionable hands and is not a good blocker..what’s to like there? lol..

    • EasyLikeSundayMorning

      As in past years, on r1, I hope they take the guy they think is the BPA, regardless of position with almost no exceptions (other than QB and maybe 1-2 others). If they can get the next Heath Miller or Adrian Peterson or Alan Faneca, who cares what their current need is?

      That said, when in doubt, I’d rather see them pick a guy for the D. We need our next generation of elite defenders. If Munchak is successful, we’ll have a ton of good, young players on O, and roughly twice as many as on D.

    • David

      I agree with Dennard, but if he’s gone, I’d like Gilbert from OSU.

      • Rob D

        Anyone on the Fuller bandwagon? Mayock is..I’m not as sure.

        • David

          Here’s what Yahoo says:

          A pro-ready, complete corner from a college program with a good success
          rate for producing NFL defensive backs, Fuller is a plus-sized,
          sure-tackling cover man with versatility. He can defend the slot and
          match up with bigger receivers outside, and projects best into a zone or
          off-coverage scheme. Steelers DC Dick LeBeau historically utilizes zone
          concepts in the defensive back end.

          Sounds good to me, esp. the sure-tackling part.

          • Rob D

            Yep…he’s a solid player.I like Mayock because he’s not afraid to change his mind about a guy after watching more tape. The more he sees of Fuller,,the more he likes. (Dennard seems like the freakish athlete type.heard him described as an Ike Taylor with superb hands…that would be cool..lol)

  • EasyLikeSundayMorning

    Related to earlier posts, here’s a question I asked last year at this time.

    If you could add a Pro Bowl-caliber player to the Steelers for the next few years at one position, which position would make the biggest difference?

    • Cols714

      OLB. Which we may already have in house.

      As a runner up I think safety.

    • Rob D

      A Pro Bowl level TE for Ben…If he had a Gronk or Vernon Davis? Opens up everything else outside..Heath doesn’t have any quicks left and he’s started to drop balls he NEVER did in his prime. To me, it’s going to take 2 years or more to get this D back where it should be. The offense is much closer.

    • David

      A Woodson-type CB. We are long overdue for one.

  • EasyLikeSundayMorning

    There is talk a record 8 WRs being picked in the first round. The current record is 7 in 2004, 2 of which became Pro Bowlers. If the other 25 players picked, 13 have made the Pro Bowl, including Ben. Every year is different and maybe the WRs are worth the high ratings. But I hope we pick a great defensive player at 15.

  • Randy Steele

    QUIZ OF THE DAY:

    After he retired from professional football in 1978, Ernie Holmes struggled mightily to find “his life’s work,” as Steelers’ Coach Chuck Noll used to say. Which one of the following professions did Holmes not attempt:

    A) Baptist minister
    B) professional wrestler
    C) nightclub owner
    D) radio disc jockey

    • Rob D

      Hmmm..I shall guess…D) Radio disc jockey..

      • David

        Yep, I agree, D.

        • Randy Steele

          Gentlemen, you are correct. The answer is “D”. By the way, Holmes participated as a wrestler in WrestleMania 2. He also worked as a bodyguard, most notably for the Reverend Jesse Jackson, and played bit parts in the TV show, “A-Team,” and the movie “Fright Night.”

          • Rob D

            As Carson used to say “I DID not know that!”

  • Randy Steele

    QUIZ OF THE DAY:

    In 1996, the “Old Ranger,” Ray Mansfield, who played center in the early 1970s for the Super Bowl Steelers’ teams died from a massive heart attack while hiking with his son through the Grand Canyon. When he was buried, the 56-year-old Mansfield was holding something in his hand. What was it?

    A) his Super Bowl ring
    B) a cigar
    C) a rosary that had belonged to Art Rooney
    D) a Terrible Towel

    • David

      I’ll say C, Rosary

      • Randy Steele

        Sorry, gentlemen, but the correct answer is “B”, a cigar.

        • Rob D

          Right to the end, the Art Rooney influence holds sway.

    • Rob D

      I think I remember (always an “iffy” statement at my advanced age..lol) that Ray was a pretty spiritual person..so I will go with David and say C) ..Darn, he was so young when he died..;(

  • Randy Steele

    QUIZ OF THE DAY:

    An original member of the Steel Curtain, 58-year-old Dwight “Mad Dog” White succumbed from a pulmonary embolism in 2008. He was one of several former Steelers’ Super Bowl players from the 1970s to die before he was 60 years old. At the time of White’s death, how players from the Steelers’ Super Bowl teams had expired before they were 60 years old?

    A) 14
    B) 12
    C) 9
    D) 7

    • Cols714

      C. 9

      • Randy Steele

        Rob, you are correct. The answer is “B”, 12. (And, yes, this is a disturbing statistic.) Dwight White died only a few months after his fellow lineman Ernie Holmes was killed in an automobile accident in Texas. He had rolled his SUV several times off a road, and was pronounced dead on the scene. He was 59 years old.

        • Rob D

          RIP to those guys..damn shame

    • Rob D

      Man..this is a disturbing one. OK.. I will say 12. because I don’t want to believe it’s any more than that!

  • EasyLikeSundayMorning

    Of the 42 players drafted in rounds 1-3 under Colbert, 32 have become starters (76%). This comes from this which includes a list of who started and didn’t in their first year:
    http://mmqb.si.com/2014/04/23/pittsburgh-steelers-draft-strategy/

    It also has an interesting idea about Vince Williams playing ILB on downs 1-2 and being replaced by Troy/Shamarko on third down. Sound plausible, so long as the coverage behind Williams can compensate for his coverage deficiencies. VW is sort of a poor man’s Kendrell Bell.

    One quibble with the piece is that the writer slightly overrates Ike and underrates William Gay. But overall it is worth a read.

    • Cols714

      Williams was horrible at the beginning of the season in run defense though. Did he get better as the year went on?

      He was the main reason we lost to the Vikings.

      • Rob D

        Yes, Cols..he was brutal…not sure how he did as the year progressed. It seems the staff still like him so maybe there’s hope..

        • Rob D

          As an aside, I’m looking forward to seeing what NICK Williams brings to the table. A lot of people really liked this guy and saw him as a serious steal/fit for the Steelers. We can sure use a few pleasant, break out surprises this year

  • Randy Steele

    QUIZ OF THE DAY:

    After retiring from professional football, Steelers’ quarterback Terry Bradshaw began his foray into entertainment and broadcasting by becoming a public speaker in the early 1980s. His fee per engagement then was $1000. What is the minimum fee that Bradshaw now charges for a speaking performance?

    A) $10,000
    B) $25,000
    C) $30,000
    D) $40,000

    • David

      A) 10 grand

      • Randy Steele

        Cols, you are correct. A client of Washington Sports Bureau, which charges a minimum of $40,000 per engagement to book its members, Bradshaw claims to have made as many as 50 speeches a year. That’s roughly $2,000,000 a year when he’s fully booked.

        • Rob D

          Holy cow!!
          I remember a friend booked a former politician for a speaking engagement. He didn’t show…should have read the fine print though. He still had to shell out half his considerable fee! It’s a good life….lol

    • Cols714

      D. 40K

    • Rob D

      I’ll say…25 big ones! Sounds outrageous and that usually means that’s what they are charging…lol

  • Randy Steele

    QUIZ OF THE DAY:

    In 1989, which was the first year he was eligible, Terry Bradshaw was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. What other former Steeler was inducted into the Hall that same year?

    A) Rocky Bleier
    B) Mel Blount
    C) Joe Greene
    D) Jack Ham

    • Rob D

      Trying…not..to..cheat! OK..I will say Mel, which would be B)

      • Randy Steele

        Gentlemen, you are correct. Mel Blount (B) was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame the same year as Terry Bradshaw.

        • Rob D

          Hail and Hurrah! Blount- apparently, he was a fanatically competitive type..I don’t know if you make it to the NFL any other way though..

    • Cols714

      B.

  • Randy Steele

    QUIZ OF THE DAY:

    How many Super Bowl rings does Joe Greene have?

    A) 3
    B) 4
    C) 5
    D) 6

    • David

      I say five. Wasn’t he an assistant to an assistant coach for us in 05?

      • Randy Steele

        O Canada! You are correct! Because he continued to work as a special assistant for the Steelers during the team’s recent Super Bowl victories, Joe Greene has amassed a grand total of six Super Bowl rings.

    • Cols714

      C.

    • Canadian Steeler

      D. Believe he’s been a member of the organization in some capacity for the last part.

  • Rob D

    I just know this is a sucker play…lol….I submit B) 4 as my final answer..Don’t think he has any as a coach..right?

    • Randy Steele

      Rob,
      Joe Greene had, in fact, worked as an assistant defensive coach for the Steelers with Chuck Noll, but Greene left that position after Bill Cowher was hired for the head coaching job.

  • Randy Steele

    QUIZ OF THE DAY:

    There are no players’ jerseys that are officially retired by the Pittsburgh Steelers; nevertheless, it’s understood that the organization will never issue this player’s number again. Who is that player?

    A) Joe Greene
    B) Mike Webster
    C) Terry Bradshaw
    D) Jack Ham

    • Cols714

      A.

      • Randy Steele

        Gentlemen, officially the Steelers do not retire any of their players’ jerseys or their numbers; nevertheless, the organization has never issued a jersey with the No. 52 since this one particular player left the team in 1986. The correct answer is “B”, “Iron Mike” Webster.

        Also, one short additional note: Because we have been thankfully treated with a new thread by Ted Kian, I’ll refrain from cluttering his thread with these Quizzes until it’s apparent that its topic has run its course.

    • Rob D

      Yep, have to go with A) Mean Joe Greene ..although all those other guys surely deserve the honour as well.

  • Rob D

    GAsp! New thread!!!