Who are the SteezBros?

Welcome to SteezBros! SteezBros is a Steeler Blog run by three brothers who are all huge Steeler fans. If the true definition of fan is fanatic, we fit the bill. We were born into Steeler fandom. Love of the Steelers goes back many generations in our family. It's in our blood. You can read our "Welcome to SteezBros" post in the archive if you are interested in more information about us and the blog. Thanks for reading and check back often!


Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Steelers Re-Sign Carey Davis

Much maligned, in these pages, full back Carey Davis has been re-signed by the Steelers according to the Post-Gazette. With Frank Summers performance being less than stellar and rookie tight end David Johnson suffering injury, the front office decided to bring in a familiar face. Just what we needed to get the offense going, a FB who constantly falls down short of the first down marker. Since Bruce Arians doesn't like to run behind a full back normally, I'm not sure why we didn't bring in another TE. He is in love with 3 TE sets but Willie Parker prefers running behind a FB so maybe that played into the decision. The Steelers were also very high on Davis when most of the fans and the media weren't.

UPDATE: Frank Summers has been placed on IR ending his season.

Awesome Jersey Sightings

When the bros where in Pittsburgh, we saw a plethora of jersey's being worn by the Steeler faithful that defy reason as to why they were purchased and/or why they are still being worn. We wanted to share those with you now.

Above is a Dan Kreider jersey who was our fullback, albeit a great one, I just don't know too many people who purchase and wear the fullbacks jersey.

I have always been a big Jeff Reed supporter, Josh has not. Any time Reed has a big kick, Josh bets me he will miss. I have always won these bets until the Chicago game, but Josh did not offer the bet. That is why he missed.

You can see my excitement in the first pick. We saw a Reed jersey in the aftermath of the Superbowl victory on Forbes Ave. and I photographed myself with the Reed jersey in the background. The second pick is from our tailgate before the Titans game. I asked this random chick to get a pic with me because of the Reed jersey (really who wears a kickers jersey). I wanted her to face backwards but she chose to face forward.

I am normally entirely against personalized jerseys, however this one is awesome. If the guy wasn't such a jagoff it would be that much better. Unfortunately, I couldn't get a straight on shot but the jersey says Mr. Picnic and is number 00. He also displayed bunting on his truck when he left for the game.

Next we have a guy wearing an "Famous" Amos Zereoue. A classic example of buying into the hype of a player that has had one good year and purchasing the jersey, which is almost as bad as purchasing a rookie's jersey before they have even play a down, only to have them drop game changing toucdown passes. (See Sweed, Limas).

Amos is back, this time joined by Mike Logan. This couple needs to invest in some new jerseys.

And finally another personalized jersey, I am guessing this guy just became a grandpappy.

Monday, September 28, 2009

2nd and Long

First Down Play Calls Against the Bengals in the 2nd Half:

  • Five-yard pass to Heath Miller
  • Willie Parker rush for no gain
  • Willie Parker rush for one yard
  • Willie Parker rush for two yards
  • Willie Parker rush for a two yard loss
  • Nine-yard pass to Willie Parker
  • Willie Parker rush for three yards
  • Willie Parker rush for three yards
  • Willie Parker rush for no gain
  • Willie Parker rush for three yards
  • Incomplete pass (final play of the game)
Draw your own conclusions.

Thanks to FO.

Right or Wrong: Analyzing the Decision to Go for It on 4th Down

Mike Tomlin is taking some heat for the decision he made at the end of the second quarter in the 23-20 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals. Leading 13-0 with 1:15 to go in the first half, the Steelers faced a 4th down and 4 from the Bengals 35 yard line. Tomlin decided to go for it. The conversion attempt failed and Cincinnatti capitalized by driving down the field and scoring a field goal at the end of the half.

Writers from the Post-Gazette are calling it a terrible decision. But we shouldn't be surprised. Members of the media often defer to the standard NFL thought that going for it on 4th down is always risky and taking the field goal or punt is the safe - read correct - decision. If you watch football at all, the announcer almost always prefers the safe play and questions the coaches decision making when they go for it on 4th down.

The coaches usually follow suit, choosing punts and field goals over fourth down conversion attempts. ESPN writer Gregg Easterbrook often explains that coaches choose the "safe" option on 4th down because it saves them from criticism. If a 4th down attempt fails, the media blames the coach. If the team punts and the defense can't hold, it's the players fault. As we're seeing today, this sentiment probably has some truth to it.

But, the announcers and media members are wrong. In certain situations, the decision to go for it on 4th down is not risky. It's playing the percentages. Which is why I want to spend a little time analyzing the decision made at the end of the first half.

If you read extensively about the NFL, you've probably seen quotes that coaches go for it on 4th down less than what researchers say is optimal. According to research by the football statistics web site, Advanced NFL Stats, the optimal decision chart for 4th down looks like this.

If you are interested in the full analysis of how this chart is derived, read the four-part post here, here, here, and here. This is the cliffs notes version. Using real data, the researchers assigned every yard line an expected value of points. If you have the ball on your opponent's one yard line, you have a very high expected point value (because you are one yard from scoring a touchdownn). If you have the ball on your own one yard line, the expected value is actually negative, because it is more likely that your opponent will score before you will. Using this data, the researchers created the decision making chart above. On the vertical axis is yards to go on 4th down and on the horizontal axis is position on the football field. For example, on 4th down and 4 from the opponent's 15 yard line, the team should go for it if it is 4th and less than 4 and should kick a field goal on 4th and longer than 4.

According to this chart on 4th down from the opponent 35 yard line, the Steelers should go for it if less than 10 yards is needed for conversion. It was 4th and 4. The decision, according to the math, was absolutely the right decision.

I work in finance so naturally, I'm biased towards following the math. But, even I recognize that not every decision should be made purely on empirical data that averages every team in the league. Adjustments need to be made for the situation in the football game and specific team strengths and weaknesses.

At that point in the game, the Steelers had dominated both offensively and defensively. The offense was averaging 8 yards per offensive play, double what they needed to get on the 4th down play. The defense was allowing less than 3 yards per play, indicating that even if the conversion failed the defense could prevent the Bengals from gaining the 35 or more yards necessary to attempt a field goal. Additionally, if the Steelers gained just one first down, they would be in position to get a field goal (or touchdown), making it a three possession game. With only one half to go, the Bengals would have had an extremely difficult time making a comeback. Thus, all these signs, along with the empirical data, point toward going for it.

On the flip side, if the conversion attempt failed, the downside was two-fold. One, the Bengals would have a chance to score before the half. Two, the momentum of the game could change on that score. The first scenario is taken into account with the research above. The second scenario is purely qualitative. Had the Bengals went into the half having generated 0 points, 60 total yards, and losing by 13, their mentality would be much different than putting together a last minute drive and cutting the deficit by 3 or 7 points. It may not be captured quanititatively, but no one can convince me it doesn't matter. Thus, there was a definite downside in going for it.

The other two options were to kick a field goal or to punt. A field goal from 52 yards is a 50-50 proposition at best. If missed, the Bengals would have only needed 25 yards to get into field goal position themselves. Taking into account Jeff Reed's struggles last week, the field goal attempt was probably the lowest percentage play.

Punting was the other serious option the Steelers considered. At the time, I thought it was the best option. A punt would have pinned Cincy deep with little time left. Unless something strange happened, the halftime score would have been 13-0. Not an insurmountable lead, but certainly tough given the way the teams were performing on offense and defense.

Knowing what we know now, the Steelers should have punted. Their lead would have been safe at 13-0 and perhaps the Bengals wouldn't have played as hard in the second half. But these kinds of decisions should be evaluated based on the information known at the time. It's similar to blackjack. Of course hitting on 16 is a bad decision when you go bust, but it's the right decision if the dealer is showing a 10. Same situation here. It was labeled a bad decision because the dealer flipped a 10 on our 16. But, given what we knew at the time, I can't fault the coaches for making the decision that research said was the right one.

If only the coaches would have made the "right decision" earlier in the game on 4th down from the Bengals 1 yard line.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Deja Vu: Steelers Lose Again

Last week, we told you not to panic. This week, I hope you'll tell us not to panic.

We are only three games into the season. All is not lost. The Steez have an unusually easy schedule after next week's game with San Diego. But, this is certainly not how I imagined the Super Bowl champions would start the season. It's like 2006 all over again.

In a game similar to the one against Chicago, Pittsburgh managed to lose to the lowly Bengals despite drastically outplaying them for three full quarters. Through the first three quarters, the Steelers outgained the Bengals 364-134. Yet the domination on the field did not manifest itself on the scoreboard. The Steelers held a 13 point lead in the first half and an 11 point lead in the 4th quarter, but those numbers could have been much larger.

Continuing a recent trend, the Steelers moved up and down the field, but couldn't score touchdowns. Twice they were held to field goals from 1st and goal at the 10. Once Jeff Reed missed a field goal. And Limas Sweed dropped another sure-thing touchdown that could not have been more routine. Add to that a Roethlisberger pick-6, and the Bengals were able to keep the score close despite being dominated in most major categories.

Perhaps, the most disappointing thing for Steeler Nation to see was, for the second straight week, the defense collapsed in the 4th quarter. After allowing a 70+ yard touchdown drive from Jay Cutler in the 4th quarter, it allowed touchdown drives of 85 and 71 yards to the Bengals (the BENGALS!) in the last 12:45. The defense struggled to pressure Carson Palmer and finished its second straight week without a turnover, which is especially difficult to take knowing that Jay Cutler and Carson Palmer both had 4 interceptions prior to their games with Pittsburgh. Despite the poor fourth quarter play, the Steelers defense had an opportunity to win the game with 35 seconds left. On 4th and 10, the team needed just one stop to win the game. But, James Farrior could not stay with Brian Leonard on a short drag route. And the next play, Carson Palmer threw the winning touchdown pass to drop Pittsburgh to a 1-2 record. The same record as the Detroit Lions.

Pittsburgh learned the same lesson this week (and last week) that the Steelers opponents learned last year. You can't let teams stick around. Given a chance in the 4th quarter, any team in this league can win. The Steelers won in an inordinate amount of close games last year, and no team can consistently win those games. All three of Pittsburgh's games this year were of the nail biter variety. And unless this team can learn to dominate an overmatched opponent on the scoreboard, the expectations of making a magical playoff run will quickly disappear.

Other nitty gritty thoughts from the game:


  • Roethlisberger looked in control for the third straight game. Through three games, Big Ben is completing 71% of his passes and averaging a ridiculous (for the Steelers anyway) 287 yards per game. Unfortunately, that hasn't translated into wins.
  • Despite the great play from Roethlisberger, Mike Tomlin and Bruce Arians still don't fully trust him at the goal line. Ridiculous statement? Maybe. But explain to me why we continue to run the ball from inside the ten yard line. On first down and goal from the ten yard line, the Steelers chose to run the ball on two separate drives. Given the run blocking from this unit, it's basically a wasted down. Not to mention that most defenses will be more susceptible to play action on first down. On third down and goal from the one, we went to Willie Parker (who I refer to as the worst short yardage back in the NFL) instead of letting Ben throw it or running it in himself. Then on 4th and goal from the half yard line, Tomlin orders a field goal. No excuse. Trust Big Ben inside the red zone. It's the only hope of scoring touchdowns.
  • Without looking at the box score, take a guess at the Steelers average yards per carry in the game. More than 4 yards per carry, right? Wrong. 3.6 yards per carry. The running game seemed to be back on track, with Willie Parker running like wild in the first half. The problem - the running game was non-existent in the second half. After half time, the Steelers rushed 13 times for 42 yards. Not exactly stellar when trying to run out the clock. Sure it looked better than before, but rushing 28 times for 102 yards isn't scaring anyone in this league.
  • Not that it would have made a difference, but I wonder why Rashard Mendenhall got no carries in this game. Our running back of the future should probably get some chances before next year.
  • The Steelers used a new formation with Ramon Foster lining up at tight end. It didn't seem to be particularly effective, but it's certainly better than having Matt Spaeth attempting to seal the edge.

  • Mike Wallace had his coming out party on Sunday. 7 catches for 102 yards, including several third down catches and one long bomb for 51 yards. The competition for the #3 wide receiver is over. Now if we can only teach him to run straight into the end zone as opposed to running out of bounds.
  • It's tough to defend Limas Sweed any longer. He dropped a perfectly thrown ball with no defenders hitting him on the play. Don't be surprised to see Shaun McDonald taking his place as the 4th wide receiver.

  • Adding to our wide receiver frustrations, Santonio Holmes played like he did in the second half against the Bears. Utterly inconsistent. He dropped one pass, only caught one other one, and may have run the wrong route on the Roethlisberger interception. Egads. The man only comes to play on nationally televised games. So I guess we should be good next week against San Diego.

  • The decision to kick a field goal from the one yard line was disappointing, but the decision to go for it from the 35 yard line at the end of the first half was more complex. I'll cover this in more detail in a post later today.

Special Teams

  • Stefan Logan isn't tearing it up like preseason, but he is looking like the best return man we've had in years. The 56 yard kickoff return after the Bengals pick-6 is exaclty the kind of momentum changing play the Steelers needed, and have lacked for the last couple years.

  • Jeff Reed isn't kicking it well. We can excuse him for the 52-yard missed field goal, but even his kickoffs are shorter. Come on skippy, pick it up.

  • The coverage units don't look as solid as last year. Granted, they aren't as bad as 2006 either. But, the opening kickoff coverage sure wasn't pretty.

  • Robo-punter dropped another one inside the 20 and booted his other punt 51 yards. Punting is no longer a problem in Pittsburgh.


  • Last, we get to the most disappointing unit - the defense. Although they played well for the first three quarters, Dick Lebeau's boys folded again when it counted most. Steelers fans aren't used to seeing opposing offenses move the ball at will in the fourth quarter, but we've had to deal with two straight last minute losses doing exactly that.

  • In the Steelers roundtable on Friday, none of the SteezBros were overly concerned about the defense. But, what I saw yesterday concerned me. The pass rush was virtually non-existent. Casey Hampton had the only real sack of the day (James Harrison got credit for a sack as well, but it was a 0 yard sack). Harrison and Woodley are getting controlled at the line of scrimmage, with an extra blocker usually helping on Harrison's side. But, it certainly seemed like Lebeau only rushed 4 for most of the game, with Harrison and Woodley on the edges and Keisel and A Smith on the inside. And Smith and Keisel aren't exactly pass rushing forces. Their job is to push the pocket so quarterbacks can't step up when the linebackers come off the edge. I'd be interested to ask Lebeau if the Steelers are dropping more guys into coverage because teams have been keeping in extra blockers. By dropping more people into coverage, the Steelers would have 7 defenders to cover 3 or 4 receivers. Not a bad strategy. But without Troy Polamalu, a new starter in Willie Gay and an old Deshea Townsend, the specialty of this defense is not in the secondary. The team needs to get quick pressure to have sustained success on defense.

  • No turnovers for the second straight game against turnover prone quarterbacka. Do opposing quarterbacks play their best against the Steelers or is this defense not doing enough?

  • I love James Farrior, but he seems a step slower than in the past. He's still one of the better leaders and a heady quarterback for our defense, but he doesn't inspire confidence covering a running back in space.

  • The play in the secondary provides evidence that the Steelers are much worse without Troy. But the play against the running game also shows how much #43 means to this team. The Cedric Benson touchdown run absolutely would not have been a touchdown if Tyrone Carter was replaced with Troy. Tyrone took a terrible angle and was outrun by Benson to the corner. No defensive back in the league should be outrun by Cedric Benson.

Gameday # 3 Links

Another 4:15 start, so here are some links to kill time during the early games if you can tear yourself away from watching your fantasy scores and NFL betting on the computer.

-Bengals DE Antwan Odom has 7 sacks already this season. Max starks has the task of stopping him today. Check out the matchup, here.

-Behind the Steel Curtain looks at the Bengals and what their own people are saying about today's matchup.

-Post Game Heroes has an interesting theory regarding sports betting. Apparently whenever we are 3.5 point favorite or less under Tomlin we aren't very good.

-A breakdown of all the matchups from the PG, here.

-Troy Polamalu is eying October 11 against Detroit for his return according to the curmudgeon, known as Ed Bouchette

-From the Trib, apparently Fast Willie has averaged 130 yards aginst the Bungs in Cincy. Let's hope that trend continues today.

-Just throwing this out there, but the Steelers have only scored one more point than Cleveland has this season.

Enjoy the game. GO STEEZ!!!!!!!!!!!!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Cincinnati Roundtable

In place of a game preview this week and to discuss some of the issues the Steelers have going in to the Bungles game, we decided to do a roundtable. We picked five questions to tackle and each gave our opinion. Here is what we came up with.

1) Should we be more concerned for the ability of the offense to put up points or the defense playing a run of good quarterbacks without Troy?

ALEX: I think that both options are a reason for concern and both are problems as we speak, but the defense has still played well, we have only let up 27 points in two games so far. That’s almost a half point better than the average from the 2008 season. It is still very early and it looks as though that number is surely to go up because the D is letting up almost 70 more pass yards per game than the squad from 2008. The offense not only needs to start putting points on the board but needs to put up touchdowns. With the weapons this team has there’s no reason that we only have 3 TD’s this year.

JOSH: There is no doubt that our defense takes a big hit without Troy Polamalu in there, but even without him, the unit is still in the top third of the league. I'm really excited to see if a healthy Timmons can bring some explosiveness and big plays in Troy's absence. That said, the bigger concern has to be the offense. Pittsburgh fans love to claim Roethlisberger is the third best quarterback in the league (myself included), but that reputation is built more on postseason success than scoring a load of points in the regular season. We know that Big Ben will be clutch late in the game, but I'd love to see more blowouts. The way the defense normally plays, we would blow people out by scoring 24-28 points per game. The problems have been two-fold: no running game and bogging down in the red zone. Of the two, I'm more concerned about the red zone.
One item I am concerned about is the turnover margin. The Steelers defense hasn't created any turnovers that led to easy points. The team already has difficulty scoring touchdowns, so a big play that provides a short field would help to put more points on the board. Not to mention, the Steelers offense/special teams has turned it over 5 times in two games. This trend needs to stop now.

ELLIOT: Generally, I am way more concerned about the offense. Yes the D loses alot without Troy, that is obvious, but this week especially I am not too worried about Palmer killing us. As the Bears showed, short quick passes kill us. The Bengals are not built for this type of a game plan. As Josh and I discussed, the Bengals quick pass go to guy was T.J. Housh and he is gone to the great northwest. Their other receivers are stretch the field types and their tight ends are not anything special.

Our offense is healthy. We have tons of talent at the skill positions but for some reason we are not scoring points and not sustaining drives. We need more time killing possession to keep the D off the field for long stretches. Yes the D gave up a 92 yard drive last week, but that will hopefully be an anomaly. Santonio needs to stop dropping balls. Ben needs to stop taking drive halting, field position killing sacks. We currently rank 15th out of 16 AFC teams in scoring. This is to say the least disconcerting.

2) Thoughts on the offensive line play. Starting to gel or still piss poor?

ALEX: I missed a good chunk of the Chicago game because of work but from what I saw in the second half the line did play better but this is probably because they started dropping people in coverage because we can only pass the ball which then opened a few lanes. Our pass protection has been much better this year but overall our line is expensive and piss poor. This is the Achilles heel of our team and when our D took a loss, it makes it that much more important for the line to step up their game. C’mon big boys!

JOSH: There were still major breakdowns against the Titans, but I'm more optimistic about this line than I have been in two years. That's not to say they will be a good line, but if we can just have an average unit blocking up front, Pittsburgh is dangerous. The obvious concern, being beaten into us by every local and national media outlet, is the lack of run blocking. Against the better teams, that won't change. Don't expect to gash Baltimore on Minnesota in the run game. There isn't enough talent up front. But, in the passing game, the line has looked much better. And that is more important for two reasons. One - the Steelers are a passing team now. Like it or not. Two - keeping the franchise healthy.

ELLIOT: I agree with Josh for the most part. Remember, Essex is a first time starter and should improve with experience. I have been greatly encouraged by the pass protection this season. Ben, for the most part, has had plenty of time to throw. A few of the sacks he has taken are on him and not on the o-line. I also think they improved in the run blocking arena last game over the game with Tennessee and I see continued improvement coming as the season moves along. The difficulty we have running right now is a combination of a few things. I agree the run blocking has not been great, but I also think we are calling run plays in predictable situations. Ben needs to audible out of runs when they have 8 in the box. Gone are the days when we could run on whoever we wanted to whenever we wanted. We need to pass to set up the run and take advantage of situations that are conducive to running the ball.

3) The Bengals showed signs of life last week. Is this a good team with an underrated defense? How concerned should Pittsburgh be?

ALEX: I didn’t get to see the Bungles play last week but in beating the Pack, they must have done something right. Green Bay was considered a contender coming into the year. I think their D has improved and even though the stats say they have a bad D they are normally good at taking the ball away if I remember correctly. Pittsburgh should be concerned with this team as Palmer, Ochocinco, and Cedric Benson are all playing well. The Bengals are also way overdue for a win at home against us, too.

There is always concern to face division rivals, except the Browns of course. This year's version of the Bengals is much more dangerous than the team we blew out last year. That happens when your starting quarterback is injured all year and his replacement played at Harvard. Carson Palmer makes the team dangerous offensively and Cincy has quietly made itself into a physical unit on the defensive side of the ball. Roy Williams, Tank Johnson, Keith Rivers, and Rey Mauluga are physical. Antawn Odom had more sacks in the firs two weeks than the Bengals had all last year (exaggeration, but not by much).
Despite the fact the Bungs should be 2-0, I'd still hold off on calling them a good team. Denver is pathetic and, despite the media attention, Green Bay was a 6-10 team. To be taken seriously, Marvin Lewis needs to prove it against a good team. This is their chance. Which makes me very concerned. Cincy is normally an unfocused team that plays without passion. They are focused and passionate to beat the defending Super Bowl champs.

ELLIOT: I must say I am worried about this game although recent history should lead me to believe otherwise. The Bengals are quietly the 12th best D in the league. They have 7 starters on D drafted in the 1st or 2nd round. If the Jets' Superbowl was last week, this is the Bengals'. What gives me heart is that these are still the Bengals. I don't think their offense is that great and I see our D giving them problems. The pundits picked the Bears last week and were right. They are going with the Bengals this week. I think this is a better version of the Bengals than in years past and we should be concerned.

4) Where is the Steelers pass rush?

ALEX: Teams are trying to stretch out our D and throw short and dinky pass plays, which therefore eliminate the number of sacks. I feel like we have a decent amount of QB pressure but just the sack numbers aren’t there because when our defenders get there the QB just lobs the ball over their head to the waiting RB. If teams actually start throwing the ball down field the sacks will come.

JOSH: It's no secret that to beat the Steelers defense, a short, quick passing game is needed. Not many quarterbacks can run that system with success. Kerry Collins and Jay Cutler can. The pass rush is still there - both quarterbacks were hurried - but there wasn't enough time to make sacks. Cutler made the Steelers miss a couple times. I'd like to see more pressure up the middle for teams that play us in this way - another area Timmons could help immensely - especially when James Harrison is constantly drawing double teams. I'm not worried about the pass rush. This is the week Deebo and Wood get off the schnide.

ELLIOT: I too am not worried about the pass rush, yet. We were getting pressure last week, even when we only rushed 3 guys. Some sacks were missed and Cutler made some world class throws while under pressure. We will definitely have some sacks and alot of pressure this week against Palmer. Another thing to look at is the fact that teams max protect against us constantly which makes it that much more difficult to get to the QB. We do need to get to the QB to create turnovers.

5) Big Ben is undefeated in Ohio and the Steelers have won the last 8 vs the Bungles in Cincy. Is this the week the streak ends?

ALEX: Coming off a deflating loss against da Bears, I do not see Mikey T, Ben, and the gang possibly allowing a loss to come at the hands of the Bungles.

JOSH: If so, expect major bandwagon jumpers. But I don't think this is the week we lose to the Bengals. Had we pulled out the victory against the Bears, the team might not be as focused or mad as it is entering this game. Jeff Reed ensured we would be focused. I expect to see a physical battle that is tight in the end. But unlike last week, the Steelers pull it out. 20-14.

ELLIOT: If you look at any of my predictions, I rarely go against the Steelers. I just don't see us suffering back to back losses with Tomlin at the helm. Last week was a wake up call. We can't just waltz through this season and let Ben win every game in the 4th quarter. The Steelers don't lose in Ohio. Our offense wakes up this wake and the D plays as good as can be expected without Troy. Steelers 27 Bengals 17.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Tomlin Thursday # 2

We are proud to present our second edition of our new weekly feature, Tomlin Thursday. Click here to see the first edition and to read a little more about what Tomlin Thursday is about. To start off this week, we are going in a more artsy direction. A friend of Steezbros composed a Tomlin haiku to help us honor the man to which this day is dedicated. Here it is for your enjoyment:

Sidelines players swarm

One man, calm, directs it all

Headphones dent his hair

by Jenn Z.

Looking very pleased about a play call. This had to be a defensive call because no one is ever pleased with the offensive play calling.

Thanks to a commenter for submitting this pic. It has been called "Glory on the Horizon" and is a picture of Tomlin at the press conference naming him new Steelers head coach. An awesome day.

In honor of the Penguins season which is about to start, Tomlin shows his support of the other Pittsburgh champs.

Not wanting to be out done by Coach Cowher, who kissed Kordell Stewart, Tomlin holds Ben's hand during the Superbowl.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


1) In the wake of the Chicago loss it has been difficult for us to post anything because discussing anything Steelers related after a loss puts us all in a terrible mood. It is time to look forward to this Sunday and the game against the Bengals. Ben has an exemplary record against both teams from Ohio. That hasn't stopped the pundits from already beginning to call for Cincy to upset us at Paul Brown Stadium this Sunday. On The Herd this morning, both Colin and Herm "We play to win the game" Edwards picked Cincy to win this week.

At the beginning of the season, I had this game marked clearly as W. Now, I can sadly see some validity to their arguments. First, Troy's injury has resulted in a marked drop in our secondary's ability to cover. Cincinnati has a decent passing attack with big receivers. If they follow the Bears blueprint to beating us and give Carson Palmer decent protection we may be in for a long afternoon. Cedric Benson has been having a good season under the radar. They ran all over Green Bay's new 3-4 D last week. Also, Cincy's D is quietly ranked 12th and the league. They gave the Packers all types of problems, consistently getting to Rodgers time after time. The Steelers O has had flashes of greatness this season but the run game is not there and the passing game needs to be more consistent. This is like the Superbowl for the Bengals. If they can beat us this Sunday, they will believe that they have a realistic shot at winning the division this season.

2) Interesting contrast between the first game and the second game of the season for Jeff Reed. He was one of the heroes in the opener and now he is the goat in the second game of the season. For the first time I can remember, he is the goat. Most of the Steeler fans I have talked to can't even remember a game where he missed two kicks. He has been more than solid for the Steelers during his career, especially when the game has been on the line. What adds a bit more intrigue to this story is the fact that this is a contract year for Mr. Reed. He has reportedly already turned down one offer from the Steelers. It will be interesting to see how this plays out over the course of the season, especially if he makes missing kicks a habit.

3) Apparently, Tomlin wants the Steelers offense to resemble that of the Patriots. I would like this too. If he really wants this to happen he needs to fire Bruce Arians and Larry Zeirlein and replace them with competent coaches. Also that means using the pass to set up the run for the most part. One thing that I don't think has gotten too much attention in the whole offensive line/running game atrocity is the switch from a man to man blocking scheme to a zone blocking scheme. I am no expert on football blocking schemes but it just seems like there was a major drop off from when we had Russ Grim and Whisenhunt running the offense to Arians and Zierlien. Go back and watch some playoff games from the 2005 Superbowl season paying close attention to the play calling and protections. It is night and day from what we run this season. I was telling Josh that I think we run the plainest offense in the league. We don't do anything to change up the pace. No reverses or end arounds, no trick plays anymore, we run to the right every single time. I loved the play call to Spaeth on 4th and goal but those are few and far between. Where are the tosses? These used to be a staple of the short distance to go offense and I haven't seen one in a good while.

Here is a fairly in depth review of the Steelers O from the Bears Game.

That's my two cents for now.

Tomlin Thursday coming tomorrow. Who is excited? Comments are greatly appreciated.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Ughhh, Steelers Lose

In a game they controlled throughout, the Steelers found a way to lose to the Bears 17-14 in Chicago. Jeff Reed missed two field goals - either one of which probably would have won the game for the Steelers.

Steeler nation is getting used to watching games like the one played at Chicago. Tight games that could go either way at the end. Except, we're accustomed to winning the games at the end.

Big Ben led the team on another late 4th quarter drive to put the team in position to take the lead. After driving to the Bears 25, Roethlisberger threw deep on 3rd and 2 to Santonio Holmes in the end zone. The ball went right through Holmes hands - his third drop of the day.

What followed was a sight Pittsburgh was unused to seeing. Jeff Reed missed a game changing field goal.

Maybe I should rephrase that. Because Reed missed exactly that kind of field goal 8 minutes earlier in the game.

No matter how the media portrays it, the reason for a loss never falls completely on one man. And it was once again true on Sunday.

Reed missed a 38 yard field goal that would have put the Steelers up 10 with 11 minutes to play. A difficult situation for the Bears for sure. And the miss drastically shifted momentum to the Bears. Still, the defense allowed its second long drive of the evening - a 70+ yard touchdown drive - after allowing a 97 yard drive earlier in the game.

Later, after a 43 yard miss from Reed, the defense again allowed a long drive that put Bears kicker Robbie Gould in position to win.

And don't forget about the Santonio drop that would have put the Steelers up 7 with 3 minutes to play.

It was a team loss.

Nonetheless, it's hard to believe the Steelers would have lost if Reed did his job on Sunday.

Here are some other thoughts from the game:

-Let's give credit, where credit is due. Jay Cutler played well on Sunday. Mainly, he did what he couldn't do against the Packers - take what the defense gave him. Cutler rarely threw downfield, but took advantage of quick throws underneath to tight ends and Johnny Knox to negate the Steelers pass rush. Cutler was calm, cool, and collected in leading the Bears to game-tying and game -winning drives. He eluded the pass rush several times to make accurate throws downfield. I'm not a fan of Cutler's, but he played a good game on Sunday.

- How impressive was that first drive from Ben Roethlisberger? Getting no help from the running game, he led the Steelers on a 92 yard, touchdown drive to set the tone early. It was the first touchdown scored by the Steelers in the first quarter in 11 straight games (including playoffs).

- I continue to be impressed by Roethlisberger and the pass protection in the first two games, but it's getting a little frustrating to only score 14 and 13 points the first two games. Sure, the Steelers should have had 20 against the Bears, but the offense is going to have to do more.

- Several factors contributed to the lack of points scored.

Mistakes: two missed field goals and a drop in the end zone.

No easy points - the defense didn't force any turnovers and the return game was less than stellar due to multiple penalties.

Poor field position - The average starting field position for the Steelers was their own 22 yard line. Meaning they had to go at least 50 yards to get into position for a long field goal.

The mistakes and field position can be fixed. But the defense needs to make more big plays.

- Speaking of the defense, it has three sacks in two games. That's a pace of 24 sacks for the season. LaMarr Woodley and James Harrison have combined for 0 sacks. I'm not overly concerned, because they continue to pressure the quarterback. The Bears almost never left Harrison one-on-one with Orlando Pace, but when the outside backers are attracting this much attention, someone else needs to get pressure. I trust Dick LeBeau to fix this issue.

- The defense missed Troy. Tyron Carter had a big hit on Greg Olsen, but was repeatedly targeted by the Bears in the passing game. He was the main defender on both touchdowns in the game and was beat several other times. After the game, he said should have called timeout before the game tying touchdown to Johnny Knox because he knew he couldn't stay with him in single coverage because of his injured left thigh. "I think I kind of hurt my team by not coming out of the game or by not calling a timeout." You think?

-I was encouraged by the play of the offensive line. Big Ben had lots of time to throw and the line opened up big holes in the running game in the second half. There were still sacks and poor runs, but it was much better than the Titans game. Overall, the Steelers averaged 4.8 yards per rush.

- Dan Sepulveda was outstanding. He averaged 54.3 yards per kick. And the hang time and directional kicking rendered Devin Hester a non-factor.

- There are signs of life for Rashard Mendenhall. The 39 yard run was great, but the reception and cut back run was the most exciting play of the day. Maybe it will give him and the coaching staff more confidence to get him more involved in the game plan.
- After two straight outstanding games, Santonio Holmes went back to his frustrating self. Holmes, who has become the most targeted Steeler receiver, started off the game well (by stealing a pass intended for Heath), but returned to his erratic ways in the second half dropping three passes and missing what could have been the game winning touchdown. He still looks outstanding running routes, but making the routine plays and eliminating drops is the only way to become an elite receiver.

- While we are on the subject of Santonio, I'm going to go on record as not liking the deep throw to Santonio on third and two with three minutes left. Despite the fact Santonio should have caught it, I disliked the call for two reasons. 1. It was a low percentage play. 2. The Steelers would have been better getting a short first down and running more time off the clock. There are no guarantees a short pass would have worked (or maybe the play call was for a short pass and Roethlisberger saw Holmes open deep), but I was hoping to leave minimal clock time for Cutler and the Bears. It's all Monday morning quarterbacking. But this is a blog - it's what we get paid to do.
-After winning the Super Bowl I promised to go easier on Bruce Arians. I think he continues to improve, as evident by the 4th and inches pass to Matt Spaeth. The acknowledgment that we have no short yardage running game is an improvement, but it doesn't negate the sad fact that we need to throw on every 3rd and 4th and short. That said, I'm still not loving the offensive game plans. Let's leave it at that.

-The Bears took advantage short passes. The Steelers had a tough time defending it without the speed of Troy and with Lawrence Timmons not at 100%

- Finally, I'm not going to panic after one loss. The Steelers should have won this game, but let it get away when a normally dependable player, Jeff Reed, played a terrible game. The Steelers are in the middle of the toughest part of its schedule. If it can play the first four games in 2-2, I think the team will be just fine when it reaches the stretch of the schedule with Detroit, Cleveland, Minnesota, Denver, Cincy, Kansas City, Baltimore, Oakland, Cleveland.

-The Bengals are next week. Ben is undefeated in Ohio. I feel better already.

Game Day #2 Links

Here are some links about the Steez to hold you over until the 4:15 kickoff. Lots of people are picking against the Steelers today. I personally think they will win.

Here is a decent read about new Miami Hurricanes offensive co-ordinator Mark Whipple, who was the Steelers QB coach in 2005 and was a candidate for Steelers offensive co-ordinator when Tomlin was hired and Whisenhunt left but was fired for Bruce Arians. Nice pick, Tomlin.

A couple things from PFT:

-A disclaimer, PFT is well known for rumor mongering and it is pretty much the main way they generate traffic. That being said, here is one rumor saying Fast Willie may have had a strained hamstring last week begging the question, why did he play?

-Are the Steelers just being stubborn for not bringing in new offensive lineman? Check it out, here.
Florio loves to hate on the Steelers and stir up the Steeler's Nation so read this with a grain of salt.

A piece from the Trib saying the Steelers may have running problems against the Bears D. Shocking revelation if I ever heard one, especially judging by last week. Oh, but Willie was hurt. I'm sure that was the issue. The Bears D is pretty banged up with Urlacher out especially. I for one think our running will be more successful.

Is Steeler football as we knew it a thing of the past:

-from PFT, another stir the pot piece, here.

-from the Post-Gazette, here.

A good look at the Bears and what their papers and blogs are saying from Behind the Steel Curtain, here.

Enjoy the game. Go STEELERS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Friday, September 18, 2009

The Rant: DISRESPECT! (A Prediction for the Bears Game Too)

I'm a Steeler fan. And as such, I have an obligation to call out any disrespect aimed at the six-time Super Bowl Champs. Fans of every team have a disrespect complex, but Pittsburgh's is in a league of their own. The defining characteristic is that while we run around shouting disrespect, there is general consensus that the Steelers are one of the best franchises in sports.

Nonetheless, I'm still going to go Peezy on you here in this post.

The win against the Titans last week got the Steelers off to a great start. Tennessee had the best record in the league last year and creamed the Steelers 31-14. The Steelers were ready for payback. Sure, the running game was terrible, the offensive line allowed too many hits, and the defense had trouble getting pressure, but that never stopped us before. Santonio had a big game, the defense held strong, and Big Ben led the team to another come from behind victory featuring three 4th quarter and overtime clutch drives. The Steelers emerged victorious and should be praised for winning a game against a tough opponent, especially considering the loss of Troy Polamalu.

Here's what people are really saying about the Steelers:

NFL Network - Marshall Faulk and Steve Mariucci said the Steelers game plan of great defense and heroics from #7 was an unsustainable strategy. Umm, did you guys pay attention last year? That unsustainable strategy won Lombardi #6.

Jerome Bettis - The Bus's comments have been flung all over Steeler nation (including a mention from the Post Gazette) and blown of proportion. He basically stated the obvious - the run game was poor and so was the offensive line play. He criticized the front office for not addressing the line and said that Frank the Tank was a bum. I'm pretty sure we discuss these same points every day here on Steezbros. What got me more riled up were these headlines from the article:

"Steelers defense in big trouble" and "Steelers Super Bowl Hopes take Big Blow in Week 1"

Let's address each:

"Steelers defense in big trouble"
Umm, really? Last I checked, James Harrison, Casey Hampton, Aaron Smith, and LaMarr Woodley still play for the team. Dick Lebeau still coaches. The Steelers defense will lose their biggest playmaker for 6 weeks, but they are still a top 10 unit without him. The Detroit Lions defense is in big trouble. The Steelers defense will be just fine.

"Steelers Super Bowl Hopes take Big Blow in Week 1"
Oh noes, my team just beat an AFC contender. My Super Bowl hopes are down the drain. Puh-leeze. Troy Polamalu's injury hurts, but it's a six week injury. Unless the team loses five or six of the next six games, we're still in the playoff hunt. And #43 will be just fine come December, January, and (hopefully) February.

Jerome - I know you want to make a splash as a writer, so I'll forgive you this once. But keep spewing hyperbolic non-sense or you'll be looking for another new job.

And finally I get to the part about this week's game against the Bears. The Bears have become a chic upset pick for the talking heads. National Football writers Peter King, Michael Silver, Bill Simmons, and others love the Bears. In some ways, it's not that crazy of a pick. The Steelers are 1 - 78 (or something like that) against the Bears in Chicago. And you may have heard the Steelers have trouble running the ball.

But then again, how about a little respect for the champs?

The Bears aren't exactly red hot. Did you see Jay Cutler play in Green Bay? If Green Bay defenders could catch better than Ike Taylor, Cutler would have had 8 interceptions last week. Imagine what happens when Cutler is staring at James Harrison and LaMarr Woodley off the edge.

The media hype typically follows the teams that put up (or have the potential to put up) big statistics. New Orleans is the best team in the league because they beat Detroit. Green Bay will win the NFC because Aaron Rodgers had a good fantasy season last year and was great in the preseason. Jay Cutler threw for 4,500 yards last year so the Bears are Super Bowl contenders. Meanwhile, teams like the Steelers and Ravens fly under the radar.


The Steelers have the offensive weapons and the defensive talent to take down the Bears at Soldier Field. Especially if Ron Turner creates an offensive plan anything like last week. Sheesh, that game plan would have won a gold star from Bruce Arians. And that's not a complement. Speaking of Arians, he needs to scrap the running game on first down. Hit short passes to Heath, Mewelde, and Hines underneath. Go play action deep to Wallace and Santonio. That will force the safeties out of the box and open up the running game. Timmons will be back for the Steelers, which is good because he is needed to cover Greg Olsen and Matt Forte. Despite both team's reputations, I think the offenses come out on top.

Not to mention: Mike Tomlin is way cooler than Lovie Smith.

The Pick: Steelers 31 - 24

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Tomlin Thursdays

We are starting a new feature at Steezbros and we are calling it Tomlin Thursdays. We have much love and respect for Coach Tomlin and we want to celebrate his general awesomeness and badassness with a photo tribute each and every Thursday this season. Feel free to submit your favorite Tomlin pics to us so we can add them to the collection. Here's to you, Coach Tomlin!

Obviously pleased with someone. They achieved the rare double point and smile.

Celebrating the Superbowl victory

Although at the outset of this season, Tomlin refused to discuss a repeat, it seams like he wasn't too shy at the victory parade. He has 7 fingers held up.Basking in the Superbowl championship while still looking like a hardass

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Pictures from the Steelers Opening Win

Here are some of the pictures we took during our tailgate and during the Steelers opening game win vs. the Titans. Enjoy and feel free to send any of your own so we can post them.

Steelers Opener 2009

Monday, September 14, 2009

Best Case Scenario for Troy

According to the Post Gazette, Troy Polamalu's knee injury will not require surgery and he is expected to return within 3-6 weeks. Lets hope it is closer to 3 than 6. The D still looked solid against the Titans after Troy left, holding the Titans to 3 points in the second half. The Steelers catch a break the next two weeks playing Chicago and Cincinnati, two teams that do not have very prolific offenses. Chicago looked terrible last night with Cutler throwing four picks and Cincinnati could only muster 7 points against Denver. If Troy could make it back the next week vs. San Diego, it would be a major bonus. However, I also don't want to rush him back. We will need him much more later in the season and the playoffs and I believe the D will be fine without him just not the best version of itself.

Game Diary-Thoughts from Being There and the Tape

The beginning of the game was amazing. A tear was definitely present in my eye as the 6 Superbowl banner was raised amidst fireworks and a sea of waiving terrible towels. Just an awesome experience.

-Logan immediately pays dividends with a 40 yard runback of the opening kick. It just felt like good things were going to happen. The atmosphere was electric.

-The O game plan to start the game was excellent. I loved the WR screens and it seemed to be working. Not sure why it was abondoned so quickly. The running game was going nowhere. O line was getting no push on running plays.

-Great pass protection on 3rd and 8 but Ben misses a wide open Mike Wallace for what would have been a TD

-Thankfully Sepulveda is back and pins the Titans deep with a 54 yard punt.

-Troy is unbelievable quick on his third down torpedoing of Chris Johnson in the open field to force a punt. It is going to be a completely different D without him for the next few weeks

-Another WR screen is successful to start the second possession, followed by another one to Santonio for a first down. Good blocking by Heath Miller out in front of the screens. Again, I don't know why we stopped doing this.

-Willie Parker can't make anyone miss right now.

-Screen to Heath Miller. Tis is the perfect game plan to reduce pressure on Ben.

-Classic Ben, avoiding a sack, then running around and losing about 19 yards. Should have thrown the ball away on this one because we got driven out of field goal range. Trai Essex got worked on this sack.

-The reffing in this game was suspect. The first questionable call came when Chris Johnson was bottled up at the line, cut it back the other way for a big gainer, finally being chased out of bounds by Troy. A late hit was called on Troy which was clearly not late.

-Tennessee's O line had a great game. Our D had trouble getting to Collins all game.

-Alge Crumpler is humongous.

-Troy was everywhere before getting injured. Everywhere. Hopefully he is back in 3, not 6.

-Bironas misses from 37. The hold and kick were directly in front of us. We had a great view of the bad snap which caused the missed field goal.

-Steelers love pulling Kemo and love running to the right. We rarely run to the left. Glad we paid Starks and Kemo a pile of cash so we can never run behind them.

-2 running plays net 3 yards, then the O-line completely fails to pick up the blitz. Starks had his choice of people to block yet blocks no one.

-I thought Collins looked great, repeatedly finding his check downs under pressure to keep drives alive.

-Willie Gay did not have a great game. He got beat solidly on a couple of occasions.

-There were an inordinate amount of illegal formation penalties. How hard is it to line up on the line of scrimmage? Thankfully none were on Willie Colon.

-Yards: Ten 67 Pit -2, with 4 minutes left in the first quarter. Steelers are notoriously bad in the first quarter on offense.

-Lendale White got booed every time he touched the ball.

-The Steelers weren't bringing much pressure early. 3rd and 3, only 4 people rushed plus the Titans were max protecting leading one to believe receivers should not be getting open but they were getting open underneath.

-TROY!!!!!!!! Ridiculous interception by Troy that happened right in front of us. What a play.

-Run=stuff. Parker doing nothing. O line, no push, probably because they are lying on the ground.

-Ben had great protection on his pick. Just a bad throw.

-Woodley got schooled by Johnson in the open field. Johnson is way fast. For the most part, our D held their running game in check.

-3rd and 12, Steelers bring 5 with Farrior getting the sack basically untouched. Great job by the D to prevent a score here.

-Steelers come out throwing on first down from their own endzone. Good protection again from the O-line. I see lots of throwing this year but Ten is a really good run D. Parker stuffed again.

-If Willie had any vision, he would have hesitated and a hole eventually developed.

-Ben looking for Heath alot. I like it. We gave him the money, let's use him.

-Santonio is great at making tough catches in traffic. He did it all game.

-Willie finally breaks a decent run for a first down. Probably because there was holding on Hines.

-Another terrible call, this time a phantom holding call on Max Starks

-Ben stands in and gets walloped as Willie Colon gets torched by his man. Santonio grabs a tough one in traffic again.

-Willie is just not making good reads. He just ran directly into a tackler. If he would have cut the other way, there would have been a lane.

-A ridiculous non-holding call on Harrison. Get used to this all season long.

-Lendale White getting booed.

-I didn't like the crowd booing Nate Washington

-Ten doing a decent job picking up our rush. Collins had good protection all game.

-Horrible pass interference call on Troy. Terrible. Tomlin giving the refs some lip. He is a badass.

-The Steelers were using a pretty decent rotation at D-line. We have great backups.

-Titans had 2nd and 5 from the 13. Kudos to the D to hold them to a field goal try which was blocked. Smith is such a beast. He got a great push and blocked the kick.

-Troy got injured on the block when giant Alge Crumpler fell on his leg straining his MCL. Early indications are he will be out 3-6 weeks. More updates should be coming today.

-I love Mewelde Moore. I hope we use him alot more this season. Steelers seemed to agree later in the game.

-The Steelers may be the best team in the league at the two minute offense.

-Ben is king of the pump fake

-Great protection for Ben who hits a wide open Santonio Holmes in the endzone. Former Steeler Chris Hope bit on the pump fake and never saw Holmes.

-The D looks completely different without Troy and lets the Titans drive right down the field to tie up the game before the half.

-Ike got beat like a rented mule by Kenny Britt down the sideline and Clark didn't come over to help.

-Titans run the exact same play to score a touch.

-Great stick by Harrison in the open field on Scaife which caused a fumble. I firmly believed Harrison was going to rip someone's limb off this season and he nearly did on Scaife. Scaife just dropped the ball when his knee got injured.

-Finally a decent, patient run by Willie Parker. What do you know, it was a run to the left side with Essex pulling. Maybe we should try it some more.

-3rd and 1, and the Steelers got stuffed. Curiously, we weren't in Shotgun with 5 wides. Hartwig blocked thin air causing no gain. Seems like that problem from last year has not been fixed yet.

-Steelers D looked tough pinning Ten deep in their own zone to force a punt.

-Steelers come out in Shotugn on first and ten. Glad to see they are noticing the run is not working.

-Sweed didn't get many balls. Mike Wallace's speed is evident and he seems to have decent hands.

-2nd and 7 hand off to Willie where if he makes one guy miss he could have a decent gainer.

-My favorite play of the night is when Cortland Finnigan for Ten thought he called a fair catch but didn't and then got drilled.

-Keyron Fox was solid all night in relief of Timmons.

-Gay with a good stick in the open field on Gage. Didn't like his little dance though.

-3rd and 6 Steelers bring 4 but Gage still gets open underneath. I think Farrior missed his assignment on this one breaking towards the outside man. Steelers got decent pressure with 4 rushing.

-Woodley overpowers his man to put pressure on Collins and tip a pass. Expect this alot this year.

-3rd and 11 Steelers only bring 4. Gage drops a first down catch beating Deshea.

-Logan had a pretty decent game but did make a few mental errors along the way.

-I am having trouble believing this is a Steeler team with the atrocity that is our running game today.

-Sepulveda had a nice game and our coverage units were excellent.

-Steelers finally start blitzing a bit to start the 4th quarter.

-Steelers go back to screens and come out throwing on their first possession of the 4th quarter. They also bring in the no huddle. Ben seems to be a decent play caller in the no huddle and the Steelers really move the ball in the hurry up.

-Miller rarely goes down on the first contact and always gets extra yards.

-Ben getting good protection and doing a good job of finding his check down which is usually Heath

-Kearse nearly kills Ben coming in untouched.

-3rd and 1=stuff. This is a given.

-Another 4th quarter drive for Ben to tie the game. Ben is money in the 4th quarter.

-Hentrich shackersons a punt setting the Steelers up with good field position with 1:50 to go.

-Ben has great time and hits Holmes for a first.

-Ben hits Mewelde over the middle for a first with 1:03 remaining. Steelers take a questionable timeout. They had plenty of time and could have spiked.

-Ben hits Hines wide open over the middle who breaks for the goaline this should be ballgame but he fumbles at the 5 Tennesee recovers.

-51 seconds on the clock. If the Steelers had all 3 timeouts left, they could force the Titans to punt it back to them but since they used one, Ten can run out the clock and head to OT.

-Steelers win the toss. Ben drives them down in classic Ben fashion and Reed comes through yet again. I win $5 from Josh yet again. Reed is quietly one of the most clutch kickers in the league.

Steelers 1-0. They survived a survival game.

1) Run blocking was awful vs. a very good run D.
2) Pass blocking was pretty good. Ben had time and made alot of good decisions and spread the ball around well.
3) Special teams played great.
4) D looked good especially without Troy for the entire second half. Run D as solid as ever. This is probably the best rushing team we play all year with Minnesota.
5) Tomlin still struggles with clock management
6) Ben is clutch and our 2 minute drill is the best in the league.
7) Mewelde should be our starter at running back. He is great out of the backfield catching balls as well.

Titans postgame thoughts- VICTORY!!!

Here are some delayed thoughts from Week 1. I haven’t really gotten a chance to look at much video from the Steez game as school, work, and an unfortunate tragedy have been in the way. But from being at the game I will give my thoughts and I will also include the post game thoughts from the infamous Scerb since he hit the nail on the head with his email to us.

This is a good win, ugly it may have been but the Titans are a tough team and a win against a tough intra-conference will go a long way looking down the road. Not only do the Titans have a loss already but the Steez will hold a tie break over them if their records are identical at the end of the year. Ben essentially had three come from behind/game winning drives in this one game (tied it at 10, Ward fumble, Skippy field goal). This is incredible, but we still need to finish off our drives with 6 and not three. Ben had some not so good throws a la his 1st INT and the underthrow to my new almost favorite Steeler Mike Wallace. Hopefully this isn’t the Guides (Gweeds?) but I think he is in for a big rookie year. He saw a lot of snaps on Thursday night and seems to me that he is the clear #3 receiver as of now. As per Post Game Heroes, Wallace saw 52 snaps while Sweed only had 14.

Here are Scerb’s thoughts before I continue with mine:

We can't run the ball (obviously). Mewelde may be our best back. Willie has no vision. He might as well close his eyes and run full speed into someone. Neither he or Mendy can shed tackles. Someone taps them on the shoulder and they fall down. Anyone hear faint chants for Issac Redman??!!

The run blocking is not helping any of the above causes. I saw some things out there that guys should be ashmed of. Notably Hartwig and Frank the Tank completely whiffing on blocks. Saw Frank one time jumpin front of a tackler without so much as messing up the tackler timing. Also saw Hartwig a couple of times on 3rd and short simply fall over after snapping the ball. He's an awful center and something we better address next draft. The short yardage stuff drives me crazy. Same issue as last year, when we need one freakin yard, we can't get it.

Troy looked unbelievable before leaving the game. Our defense is completely different without him. Good thing we've got some easy games early in the season. If he's nagged by injuries all year I'm officially boycotting Maddden and will never play the f'in game again (not that I do anyways). Btw, the PI call on him was one of the worst I've ever seen. Troy didn't even touch the guy, then the dude, knocked Troy over, and they called him for a penalty!!!! YEAH

James Harrison almost snapped someone's leg in half (one of their receivers, Scaife, maybe). He's an animal. So is Woodley. Hopefully Timmons will be back next week (should be, we have 10 days).

Anyway, it was nice to get a win on a sloppy night, especially against a good team in the Titans. However, this team has a long way to go.

I agree with the Scerb in almost every aspect.
Willie Parker had an awful game. There was one run where he had gained yards (amazing enough) and had his receiver blocking his man to the inside of the numbers and Willie instead of running behind the block and into the open field chose to run directly where the receiver was blocking his man to which then resulted in him only gaining a few yards which could have been a big gain. Just one instance of how blind he was running. Mendy wasn’t really on the field but has he given us a reason to want him on the field? He does deserve a shot but he really needs to capitalize on the few chances he does get. He has yet to do that. Mewelde is our best option in the backfield right now. He is better at catching and blocking than the other two and is running a lot better right now, too. I don’t know who is better at catching the football Parker or Ike Taylor. They both have Cubes as hands. I have also proposed that we should never run the ball again.

Frank the Tank played terrible. He couldn’t block a soul much like the O-Line in running situations. It got the point where Josh and I were relieved to be in shotgun and throwing on third-and-short, one of our biggest pet peeves. I remember a play from Thursday where after the play I looked at the line of scrimmage and the entire right side of the line were on the ground with no Titan player in site. Hartwig, Essex, and Colon. Then I saw Kemo five yards in the backfield. Good God man. Pitiful performance by the O-line. The pass protection was good in the second half but like Scerb said they weren’t bringing anybody and they still let up 4 sacks. At least one was Ben’s fault, which was probably his worst play of the night. When you are in field goal position you can’t take a 14 yard loss in a tight game. Early in the first quarter the man sitting behind me seriously said put in Batch so we can win. I hate stupid people.

In a separate e-mail, Scerb guarantees Hines will not fumble again this year. Should Hines have just “taken a knee” or do you agree with him trying to score right there? Initially I was irate and said to just go down, which I still think is the right play, but we all know Hines has a nose for the end zone and after seeing the replay he probably really thought he could score easily and didn’t see the guy coming from behind. I still love you Hines but please don’t do that again.

I lost some respect for ‘Tone as well, even after an awesome game which was the exact stat line of an MVP performance, for wearing the Vick jersey after the game. Not just because it was a Vick and Eagles jersey, but because you should never wear another team’s apparel during the season or especially in an interview. If you want to show your support for Vick make a shirt that says “I support Mike Vick” don’t wear a jersey next time bud.

I’m sure Josh and Elliot have more to add in the coming hours and days. Pictures and Jersey fouls, too. Thank you Steezbros and Steezmom for a great time at the game and the Torrell’s for the tickets. Thanks Scerb for your take on the game as well.

Comment it up, people.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Game Recap: Delayed

The Steezbros attended the game last night with Steezmom and have lots of pictures and thoughts to share. But, like my flight at the Pittsburgh airport, my nuggets of wisdom are delayed until a later time.

And if my google reader is correct, literally tens of you are sure to be disappointed.

Don't be too sad. The Steelers are 1-0.

Madden Curse: That Didn't Take Long

Our hopes that sharing the Madden Cover would negate the effects of its famous curse were unjustified. It took less than one half of one football game for Madden voodoo to attack Troy's knee.

Stupid John Madden.

In April, when news came out that Troy would be on the cover, I wrote this:

"Maybe since there are two players on the cover, each will only get half a curse. Expect Troy to miss 6- 8 games due to injury next year, but be back in time for the playoffs. Great googly moogly."

Here's to hoping its the first correct prediction I've ever made. Please Troy. Come back in 6 weeks better than ever.

Be afraid Larry Fitzgerald, be very afraid.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Gameday # 1

Finally, real football will be played tonight at Heinz Field. Does it get much better than having your team open the season on national television at home? I am excited to see how this year's team looks when they are actually trying. I expect this to be a relatively low scoring game. Tennessee's offense is not that prolific. They have a 37 year old QB and relatively unknown receivers although they added a familiar face in Nate Washington who may not be able to play tonight with an injury. Their strength is their running attack led by Chris Johnson, who had a stellar rookie campaign a year ago and fatboy Lendale White, mostly known for stomping a Terrible Towel after the Titans beat us last year in the regular season (big mistake). It just so happens that one of our strengths is stopping the run.

Our game plan on D will be to stop them from running and force Kerry Collins to throw. Then Harrison and the boys will repeatedly harass Collins into sacks and turnovers. I predict two Tennesee turnovers and at least 3 sacks from the D. Beware of a lot of screens to Chris Johnson to try to slow the rush. Our D can be beat by dump offs, delays and screens because of their aggressiveness.

Ten's Defense was solid a year ago, however they lost a key piece of their D-line when Albert Haynesworth signed with Washington in the offseason. I still think they will be solid and could give our O-line a tough go in the trenches. Our offensive line is unquestioningly the biggest mystery of the year. Trai Essex is stepping in for Stapleton, but otherwise they are the same as a year ago which doesn't instill alot of optimism in me. Personally, I thought the O-line looked very solid in pass protection during the preseason. Ben got crushed repeatedly last year and that needs to improve or we won't have a franchise QB much longer. Run blocking still looked fairly poor. I won't be surprised at all tonight if we have difficulty doing much in the run game. Willie Parker is not 100% and Mendenhall has not looked like a number one draft choice to this point. I am hoping we start doing a lot more screens and dump offs to RB's and can use that as our quasi-running game maybe throwing in Stefan Logan for some of these plays to take advantage of his speed and joystick moves. I think our passing game should be great this year. Ben will have another solid season using the many weapons he has to choose from. We know Bruce Arians loves to throw and I expect alot of it this season. Ben will carve up the Titans secondary tonight as we use the pass to set up the run.

Last night I predicted Steelers 31-0 but that may have been the redbulls talking. I am going to go with Steelers 27 - Titans 10.

As for my season prediction, I don't see any reason why this team shouldn't repeat. D should be awesome. O should improve. Special Teams is definitely improved with Sepulveda back and Logan in as return man. Tomlin has the group focused and hungry and he himself has improved. The team is talented and deep. If the Steelers win tonight, I could see us going undefeated. My prediction is 15-1 with a loss to Baltimore along the way and a victory in the Superbowl. The Steelers were used to winning back to backs before Superbowl 40, I think we get back to tradition this season and bring home number 7. GO STEEZ!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The Steezbros are heading to tonight's game so if anyone is around Red Garage 5 and wants to meet up, let us know.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

James Harrison: My New Favorite Steeler


Lots of good stuff on the interwebs today.

I guess that happens the day before NFL kickoff when your team just won a Super Bowl and opens in front of a nationally televised audience against the team with the best record from the previous season. Who knew?

We'll try to find the best stuff for you to review, but really there is so much I'd just point you to ESPN, CNNSI, the Post Gazette, Yahoo, FoxSports, CBS Sports, and whatever else your little heart desires. There is enough out there to make sure you get no work done before tomorrow night's game.

But my favorite nugget of information out there came from a Post Gazette article on James Harrison. It details the defensive player of the year's intense shyness.

With his brutal honesty and more brutal play, how can you not love Deebo?
"I turned down a whole bunch of stuff," Harrison said. "Go here, do this and do that. I don't want to do nothing. I'm not interested, especially now, I don't really need it.

"I'm happy with the contract I have. And the kind of money I would get from that versus what I'd have to do, I'd probably have to sit there and talk to people." (emphasis mine)
Right on James! If I just signed a contract for $50 million, I wouldn't want to talk to people either.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Timmons Not Playing and Power Rankings

Lawrence Timmons, the Steelers inside linebacker, has not been practicing all week so this shouldn't come as a surprise, but he is out this week with a high ankle sprain. Keyron Fox will get the start in his place. Judging by Fox's play during the preseason, I don't expect there to be a major let down from Timmons to Fox and I fully expect the D to be as tough as ever vs. Tennessee. If Fox gets extended time due to a lengthy Timmons injury (you never know with a high ankle sprain) I could see him creating a controversy about who should start. Fox is that good.

In more meaningless news, the Steelers top the final ESPN Power Rankings. Check them out here. Let's hope they can finish the year at the top of the rankings.

Hartwig Extension

The Steelers have signed center Justin Hartwig to a 4-year $10 million contract according to the Post. This is almost guaranteed to be the last signing before the season and we all know that we don't negotiate during the season. My question is why does there seem to be absolutely no effort to sign Ryan Clark? Ryan is a huge huge reason our defense and Troy are as good as they are. Troy can do whatever he wants on defense because Ry Clark has his back and covers where Troy isn't. Seeing as Troy has the freedom to just use his instincts and doesn't always have an assignment on a play this is tremendously hard to do. Like the pick six in the AFC Title game? Troy felt the play going where it did, that's not where he was supposed to be. Ryan is the reason Troy is Troy. I don't think Ryan Mundy or Ty Carter can step in like Ryan Clark is playing right now. Clark has said he loves it here and does not want to move his family again. Here's to hoping that doesn't happen.


Pic link

Here is my first random thought/rant post of the year. As we begin the 2009 season here’s some of what I think, want to see happen, maybe a prediction if you’re lucky, and any other thought I may think of along the way.

Take in the last couple days of being the Super Bowl Champions. As per approximately 8:30 PM EST on Thursday night, the 2008 championship is the past. In no way will it ever be forgotten but as far as I am concerned, which I may be drinking Tomlin flavored Kool-Aid here, the page will be turned and we need to move forward and onto winning Super Bowl XLIV. This is a new team and it will face new issues, new struggles, and has new players. Although there are many of the same faces, to me there is no correlation between the 2008 and 2009 Steez. The slate is washed clean and winning the Super Bowl last season will not win any games for us this year. We must start at the foundation and build the team again with hopefully the same end result of last year and add yet another Championship to an amazing franchise.

Finally football is back! The dog days of Summer are over and finally I can pass my time reading and watching everything football. Thankfully the Pens played as long as they could to help pass the time of the beginning of summer, which was a great ride. The second part of summer has been very slow and hard to endure. But football is back! Rejoice. For the next six months it will be here. Take it in as much as you can.

Speaking of the Pens, Sid, Geno, and the gang are delivering season tickets personally. How cool is that? Sid even brought the cup to one dedicated fan’s house! Is there any way that we can petition the Steelers to do that too? Which players on the Steez would you think would do it and who on the team would you most want to deliver your tickets? Personally I would want Snack, Ry Clark, or Bungy. Maybe Ike just so I could Swag with him.

I am really excited for the 2009 Steez squad. Our O has all the weapons it could hope for and I think this year our Defense may outdo the 2008 D. I am pumped about Timmons starting (eventually after healing) and Stefan Logan if he can keep it up is going to be electrifying. Ben and ‘Tone should take more steps at improving on stellar performances last year, as should Limas. We should have five solid receivers and maybe if we are lucky we may be and I mean maybe be able to run a successful screen. I wouldn’t put money on that one however. If we could that would help our O line tremendously helping to ease of some pressure. Our line looked really good in pass pro. this preseason although the Bills are who stick out most in my mind and aren’t that good in the pass rush department. Run blocking and Mendenhall look like question marks.

On Thursday look for us to try to jump on the Titans quickly and establish a lead. I think we will come out throwing the ball and spreading the ball around the field to set up the run. This should be a tough game but one we can/should win. I am planning on our D to stop everything especially if Nate Washington cannot play. He has a hamstring injury. The Post Gazette revealed that ‘Tone has a back injury from a helmet in the Washington game but should be okay. Timmons most likely will not play but Keyaron Fox is beastly and has been all preseason and on special teams the past couple years. The D should not skip a beat.

Also in the Post Gazette today, Skippy was offered a deal the other night and turned it down with his agent saying it was a very low offer.

Will Ike Taylor’s self intro still be him attending Swaggin’ as a school? I certainly hope so and hopefully many a people throughout the league “wont be able to see him this year”

If this is Big Snack’s last season with the Steez, will his impressive list of nicknames follow him? I hope he’s not done in Black ‘n Gold.

Richard Seymour to the Raiders for a 2011 first round pick? Although I like the Pats losing him I definitely don’t like them getting another 1st rounder. But Seymour also is not reporting to Oakland as he’s sorting things out in NE. Al Davis has completely lost it for the record.

I think the Steez, baring injury will again be the class of the AFC. Look for the Pats, possibly SD if Rivers doesn’t choke like I always hope he does, Miami could be good, Balt will be tough and if Flacco and Harbaugh are following Ben’s and Mikey T’s footsteps then we may be trouble. I think we remember what happened in Ben’s and Mike’s second years respectively. In the NFC, the East will be the beast with the G men and Eagles the class of the conference. I don’t think the Vikes are as good as everyone thinks but a poor division will help. Can the Cards get back up after a knockdown and come back for seconds? I think it’s gonna be a 2004 QB class final.

Ill be back later with more.

Any thoughts I missed or thoughts of your own? Comment it baby!