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!


Thursday, April 29, 2010

How Badly Will Big Ben's Suspension Hurt The Steelers

Brian Burke at the excellent blog Advanced NFL Stats tries to tackle this question. In the write up below, Burke notes that the replacement of Roethlisburger with an average quarterback would probably result in one extra loss over four games. With Big Ben we might go 3-1, but without him, we would go 2-2. But, the Steelers back ups have played much better than average in the last four years. I hope that trend continues for at least four to six more games.

Over his career, Roethlisberger has averaged 6.7 net yards per attempt (NYPA) and a 3.4% interception rate. In 2009, the league average was 6.2 NYPA and 3.1% int rate. According to my game probability model, all things being equal, Roethlisberger's passing stats would turn an average team into one with a 57% chance of beating an average opponent.

If we replace him with a substitute for a few games, it's hard to predict how the Steelers' passing game would do. But just as an exercise, say their passing game drops by one standard deviation. Their NYPA would be 5.7 and their int rate would be 4.5%. All else equal, this would drop them from a 57% team to a 40% team.

If the suspension, which is expected to be announced later today, were for four games, you could think of it as a 4 * 0.17 = 0.7 win penalty for Pittsburgh.

But there's something unusual about Roethlisberger's replacements over the past several years. Since 2006, Steeler backup QBs have averaged 7.4 NYPA and a 2.1% int rate, a substantial improvement over Roethlisberger's numbers! Charlie Batch, Byron Leftwhich, and Dennis Dixon combined for 1930 yards on 243 attempts. They gave up 5 ints and 54 sack yards. The backup QBs differed from Roethlisberger primarily in int rate and sack rate.

Roethlisberger was sacked on 9.1% of his drop backs, while his replacements were sacked at a 4.0% clip. Assuming a backup, whoever it is, continues to perform so well, he would make a 50% team into a 67% team.

The backups were sometimes playing in lower leverage situations, so it's not fair to expect they would continue to perform as well as they did. It's also likely they would regress to the mean, but it's hard to say by how much.

Still, these numbers might make it easier for the Steelers to consider putting Roethlisberger on the trading block.

For reference, you can see how the Steeler backups compare to Roethlisberger in terms of Win Probability Added (WPA) and Expected Points Added (EPA) over thepast several seasons here.

What do you think? What will the Steelers' record be after four games?

Processing the Draft

The dust has settled from the three day NFL draft. And it's time to weigh in.

If you missed the draft, here is a rundown of the players selected by the Steelers.

After the draft, I like to evaluate two questions:

1. What was the strategy?
It's difficult to clearly label Kevin Colbert strategy. Philly likes to draft linemen and New England will almost always trade down, but the Steelers will sometimes trade down, sometimes trade up, sometimes draft for need, and sometimes draft the best player available. Whatever the strategy, the front office has done a great job the last 10+ years.

This year, after the first round pick, the most puzzling decision was the drafting of three linebackers. With Harrison, Farrior, Timmons, Woodley, Foote, and Fox already in the line up, the Steelers had bigger positions of need. The depth at outside linebacker was pretty weak, but Jason Worilds and Thad Gibson won't be making much of an impact on this defense any time soon unless Deebo or Woodley gets injured. Defensive rookies rarely start for Dick Lebeau. Joey Porter, Jason Gildon, LaMarr Woodley, and James Harrison first made an impact on special teams before becoming starters. And if there is one area the team needs to improve, it's special teams. So maybe Worilds, Gibson, and Sylvester can improve the special teams while they make the transition from defensive end to linebacker.
With the rest of the picks, the Steelers tried to add competition in a variety of spots. Another late round lineman will push the back up tackles. A new third round wide receiver can be tutored by Hines Ward and hopefully become the next Mike Wallace. A late round corner to push Joe Burnett and Keenan Lewis. A big running back for the fans to adore. And a developmental project at defensive end to push Ziggy Hood and Sunny Harris. Mike Tomlin loves competition. Hopefully the rookies will provide it.

2. Is the team better after the draft?

There are three ways this team improved through the draft.

1. Offensive Line - The O-line needed an infusion of talent. Maurkice Pounceyis a talented man. If Pouncey can play well at right guard, the Steelers could become a dominant offensive team. The Steelers struggled running the ball in the red zone. As a result, they kicked a lot of field goals. Willie Colon and Pouncey, with Kemo pulling from the left, should be able to open more holes for Mendenhall. Trai Essex wasn't bad in pass protection last year, but he's more of a finesse player than a mauling blocker. With Big Ben out four to six games, the Steelers need to become a much better rushing team. Maurkice Pouncey will help.

2. Special Teams - The team didn't draft a bunch of back up linebackers for nothing. Speed and desire was desperately needed on Special Teams. There are no excuses.

3. Cornerback - At the end of the day Friday, I was really confused. The Steelers needed help in the defensive backfield and a late round pick wasn't going to cut it. Ike Taylor, Willie Gay, Joe Burnett, and Keenan Lewis were torched last year. They combined for one interception. Beyond offensive line, it was the one area that desperately needed some help. The front office noticed and brought back an old face - Bryant McFadden. McFadden is by no means a superstar, but he can fill the #2 cornerback role and let Gay and Burnett continue to improve in the nickel and dime packages. This is a big upgrade and, combined with Troy's return, should make the Steelers a top three defense next year.

Overall, I would have liked to see the team get more players that could make an immediate impact. Depth at safety and youth on the defensive line wouldn't have hurt either. Many called this draft one of the strongest in a decade. In the near term, the Steelers got only one or two players that will improve the team immediately. Guys like Worilds, Gibson, and Sanders need some time to develop. Who knows? Maybe Dwyer can become the big back that Pittsburgh loves. But that's not the Steelers M.O. The team almost always drafts for the future. It's worked well in the past. Let's hope it continues.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


According to multiple sources, Big Ben has been suspended for 6 games. The sentence could be reduced to 4 games with good behavior.

Ben will miss games against Atlanta, Tampa Bay, Tennessee, and Baltimore. He could potentially miss games against Cleveland and Miami as well.

The suspension will be without pay. Meaning Roethlisberger will miss out on checks worth between $1.9 and $3.3 million. I know he's already rolling in dough, but that's a heck of a lot of money.
Big Ben could appeal the suspension. It's unlikely though. The appeal would be heard by Roger Goodell. The man who suspended Roethliberger in the first place.

If you ask me, the suspension is a little harsh for someone who was never charged with a crime. I understand that players are expected to live up to a higher standard than "was not charged with a crime", but I still think this is overly harsh. Especially considering the other side of the story that the media seems to ignore.

Along with this report, the Post Gazette and ESPN are reporting that the Steelers are considering trade options. Originally, I would have said this is absurd. But, I'm starting to think it's as likely to happen as not.

Stay tuned.

Steelers Trade for Byron Leftwich

The Steelers traded a 7th round pick to Tampa Bay to bring back Byron Leftwich. Interestingly enough, the Steelers received a 7th round compensatory draft pick for losing Leftwich a year ago.

What does it mean? Will the team cut Batch or Dixon to make room for Leftwich? Which of the three will start when Big Ben is suspended? Will the team carry 4 quarterbacks?

Does this set up the team to trade Big Ben?

Leave your thoughts in the comments.

Steelers Schedule Released

The release of the Steelers schedule held more importance this year than year's past. For all the hoopla, the NFL schedule release means very little. We already knew all of the team's opponents. Heck, we know 14 of the 16 opponents the Steelers will face in 2011 (if there isn't a lockout). The only new information is date and time.

But with the impending suspension of Big Ben, the date and time of games is more important than ever. ESPN is reporting the suspension will be 4-6 games. The first four games for the Steelers will be Atlanta, at Tennessee, at Tampa Bay and Baltimore. Three of the four teams missed the playoffs last year, but Atlanta and Tennessee are good teams that have the potential to bounce back after making the playoffs in 2008. Tampa Bay is still re-building. And the game against Baltimore is one of the most important of the season. Week 5 is the team's bye. Week 6 brings a matchup against Cleveland

Overall, it's not too bad. It could have been worse. We could have played Baltimore, Cincinnati. New Orleans and New England. The week 5 bye could be fortuitous if Ben's suspension is five or six games. But, it's no cakewalk either. Atlanta, Tennessee, and Baltimore are good teams.

I wouldn't complain too much about a 2-2 start.

Here is the schedule in its entirety:

Sept. 12 vs. Atlanta, 1 p.m. ET
Sept. 19 at Tennessee, 1 p.m. ET
Sept. 26 at Tampa Bay, 1 p.m. ET
Oct. 3 vs. Baltimore, 1 p.m. ET
Oct. 10 Bye
Oct. 17 vs. Cleveland, 1 p.m. ET
Oct. 24 at Miami, 1 p.m. ET
Oct. 31 at New Orleans, 8:20 p.m. ET (Sunday Night)
Nov. 8 at Cincinnati, 8:30 p.m. ET (Monday Night)
Nov. 14 vs. New England, 8:20 p.m. ET (Sunday Night)
Nov. 21 vs. Oakland, 1 p.m. ET
Nov. 28 at Buffalo, 1 p.m. ET
Dec. 5 at Baltimore, 8:20 p.m. ET (Sunday Night)
Dec. 12 vs. Cincinnati, 1 p.m. ET
Dec. 19 vs. NY Jets, 4:15 p.m. ET
Dec. 23 vs. Carolina, 8:20 p.m. ET (Thursday night)
Jan. 2 at Cleveland, 1 p.m. ET

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Back to Football

If you told Art Rooney, Kevin Colbert, and Mike Tomlin in January that mid-April would be a crazy time for the Steelers, they probably would have agreed. After all, the NFL Draft is in mid-April. And there is plenty of drama debating the merits of the many 300+ lb men that will become professional football players.

But I doubt they would have predicted this. Santonio Holmes, our troubled Super Bowl MVP winner, publicly admitting via twitter to “wake and baking”, then subsequently being suspended for violating the NFL substance abuse policy and being traded for a 5th round draft pick and a case of Iron City (love those aluminum bottles). At the same time, your two-time Super Bowl winning QB was being accused (for the second time) of sexual assault.

It has been a troubling time to work for (or root for) the Steelers.

Heck, even after the DA informed the public that there was not nearly enough evidence to charge Roethlisberger with a crime, the media and the public have skewered Big Ben and demanded punishment. For many examples, see:

Jeffrey Chadiha on ESPN writes “Roethlisberger must face the hammer”
Peter King from CNNSI writes “Ben Roethlisberger deserves to be suspended for his actions
Mark Kriegel of FoxSports writes “Roethlisberger has earned punishment
Ron Cook of the Pittsburgh Post Gazette writes “If Roethlisberger isn’t suspended…there is no justice in the NFL.
Pat McManamon at NFL Fanhouse writes “It’s time for the Steelers to cut Ben Roethlisberger"

Again, this is in response to the decision NOT to charge Big Ben with a crime.

I spent a significant time yesterday writing a post to respond to these morally righteous reactions. Granted, I’ll never be accused of objectivity when defending a player on my favorite team, but I just don’t agree with the large majority of what’s floating around the interwebs about the topic. Luckily, I didn’t have to post what I wrote because I found pieces by much more talented writers than myself that get to the heart of the issue.

Christmas Ape at KSK takes NFL Fanhouse to task

Cotter nails it at One For The Other Thumb

And Michael Rosenberg at CNNSI sums up my feelings nicely:

Now NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and/or Steelers President Art Rooney II may suspend Roethlisberger. The question is: for what? Buying drinks for underaged people? Being accused of a crime that he may or may not have committed, but was never even charged with?

I'm not saying a suspension is right or wrong; frankly, there is a mountain of evidence that Roethlisberger is a self-absorbed egomaniac with a heavy jerk streak, and I won't lose a minute of sleep if he is suspended. If I were a Steelers fan, I'd feel weird rooting for the guy.

I'm just saying: if players can be suspended for being egomaniacs and jerks, this is opening a very large can full of very nasty worms.

But enough of the off-field issues. This post is dedicated to actual football. The NFL Draft is one week away and the Steelers need to find impact players to get them back to the playoffs. Granted, our rookies rarely make an impact in their first year, so we’ll be relying on players like Ziggy Hood, Mike Wallace, Keenan Lewis, Joe Burnett, and Frank Summers to improve a team that went 9-7 a year ago.

If there was a silver lining to 2009, it was a good year to miss the playoffs. This draft class is being billed as one of the strongest of the last ten years. The Steelers need to capitalize on their position in the draft.

With their first round pick, there seems to be a consensus that the Steelers should look at one of four places:

1. Improving the secondary: William Gay was not the answer as a number two cornerback
2. Adding talent to the offensive line: The same argument has been made for five years. The running game struggles and Big Ben takes too many sacks.
3. Grooming a Future Nose Tackle: The three starter
4. Injecting talent and youth at Wide Receiver: With the trade of Santonio Holmes, the Steelers’ future looks shaky at wide receiver. Hines Ward will eventually get old. Outside of Mike Wallace, the rest of the cupboard is bare.

At each of these spots, there are several players that would fit nicely.
1. Joe Haden from Florida is the consensus number one corner in the draft. He was projected as a top ten pick, but submitted a slow 40 time at the combine, which has hurt his draft stock. After Haden, Kyle Wilson from Boise St. and Kareem Jackson from Alabama would likely be the next two off the board. Safety Earl Thomas from Texas has been mentioned as well. He could play as a corner in the nickel and provide back ups to Ryan Clark and Troy Polamalu.

2. The mock drafts giving a Steeler an offensive lineman focus on two guys – Mike Iupati from Idaho and Maurkice Pouncey from Florida. Iupati is a monster of a man with rare athleticism for his size who could take Trai Essex’s spot at right guard and possibly replace Willie Colon at right tackle if he leaves in free agency next year. Iupati dominated in college, but there are questions about the level of competition he played in college and his ability to understand pass blocking schemes. Regardless of these concerns, it’s difficult for a guard to get a first round grade, meaning Iupati’s rare combination of power and athleticism give him the potential to be a top guard in the NFL. Maurkice Pouncey played both center and guard at Florida often leading the way for Tim Tebow’s dives into the end zone. There are no questions about the level of competition in the SEC where he lined up against nose tackles such as Shaun Cody and Dan Williams. As a Steeler he could start at right guard and eventually take over as Justin Hartwig’s replacement at center.

3. At nose tackle, there is really only one name to discuss in the first round– Dan Williams of Tennessee. He is being billed as the draft’s best pure nose tackle. A guy that can take on multiple blockers and single handedly stop an opponent’s running game. The two biggest questions facing this draft pick are: 1.) Will he be available? – several teams in front of the Steelers would love to draft Williams. 2) Do the Steelers have bigger needs? – with Big Snack re-signed for three years, is it necessary to draft his replacement now with the needs at cornerback, offensive line, and wide receiver?

4. At wide receiver, the conversation begins and ends with Dez Bryant, the superstar from Oklahoma State. Dez Bryant has rare talent and has been compared to Randy Moss. Unfortunately, the comparison is apt because Bryant comes in with a lot of baggage. He was suspended for most of his senior year for lying to the NCAA about his relationship with Deion Sanders. Other character concerns such as frequently attending practices late and general immaturity have been cited by scouts, which has caused his stock to fall from a top 5 pick to mid-late first round. I think a little too much has been made of the character concerns. Bryant has never been arrested, used drugs (that we know of), and was not considered a bad teammate. The length of the NCAA suspension was absurd.

This is how I think it will play out. Joe Haden will be at the top of the draft board, but the Steelers will have to move up to get him. San Francisco needs a corner and has two picks (#13 and #17) before the Steelers. If Haden gets past the 13th pick, the Steelers could move up, but I doubt he drops that far.

Dan Williams will be scooped up by Miami at #12.

After jettisoning Santonio, the team will avoid Dez Bryant due to character concerns (or he might go to Denver at #11).

Earl Thomas will be gone by the 18th pick and Iupati may be too.

Leaving the Steelers to choose from Kyle Wilson, Maurkice Pouncey, or the dreaded best player available.

If you made me pick right now, I think Pouncey will be the man.

Then again, there are rumors that Roethlisberger will be traded for Sam Bradford. (Red flag: This report brought to you by the guy who reported the Steelers would cut Casey Hampton.)

Those are my thoughts. What do you think the Steelers will/should do with their first round pick?

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Whhattt? Goodbye Santonio

The crazy offseason continues. Multiple sources are confirming that the Steelers have traded the Super Bowl MVP to the Jets. A lawsuit was recently filed claiming Santonio threw a drink at a woman in a bar. Apparently the Steelers had enough of Santonio's off the field exploits (this is at least the third off the field incident since he was drafted).

I'm shocked by the news. Rumors have been circulating that the Steelers would not re-sign Holmes at the end of the 2010 season when his contract expires, but I fully expected him to be on the team in the coming year.

The compensation doesn't seem to be nearly enough for a receiver that eclipsed 1,200 yards last season. Perhaps the Steelers know more than we do. Profootball talk recently reported that Holmes will receive a four game suspension

Let the Dez Bryant rumors begin.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Dissension Among the Rooney Family? Ben Announcement on Monday

First some facts. Keep reading for a little bit of rumor mongering.

According to a multitude of sources including the Post-Gazette, Ocmulgee Judicial Circuit District Attorney Fredric D. Bright will announce at a press conference on Monday at 2 PM whether he has decided to charge Ben with sexual assault. The announcement comes very shortly after the case was given to the DA by the police department especially when some experts were saying a decision could be months away. The timing could mean one of two things: Either the case is so flimsy that there is no conceivable way charges could be brought against Ben making it easy for the DA to come to a conclusion so quickly or it was so obvious that there was enough evidence to bring charges that the DA didn't need more than a few days to make his decision.

The fact that a press conference has been called is leading a lot of people to assume that Ben will be charged with sexual assault. Normally, I would believe that to be true because, let's be honest, who calls a presser to announce nothing. But the high profile nature of this case gives me a moments pause. Having Ben Roethlisberger possibly commit sexual assault in a rural county in Georgia is the most high profile thing that will probably ever occur to this DA. He needs to milk the publicity for all its worth. If he is charging Ben, then he will have a long time to get his name out there and be in the papers. If he isn't charging Ben, this is his last chance to be in the public eye. He needs to make a convincing case to the voters as to why he isn't charging Ben and why that is the correct decision.

From the anonymous source department, according to a friend of the Rooney family, Art II and Dan do not see eye to eye on the Ben situation. According to the source, if Ben is charged with sexual assault and Art does not cut Ben, Dan will resign the Ambasadorship to Ireland and return to Pittsburgh to re-take control of the team from Art II and cut Ben himself. Dan is tired of the team's name and the family's name being besmirched and does not want to stand for this type of behavior from the players any longer. Adds a little more excitement to the announcement Monday. I would be interested to see if they wait till his trial is over to cut him if he does get charged.

Will Ben be charged or not? What do you think the announcement means and the timing?

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Is the Steeler Way Dead?

Interesting read from Joe Starkey at the Trib. Starkey argues that the Steelers are no longer morally above any other NFL team because we tolerate player arrests and bad behavior just like everyone else. Couple that with the lack of a power running game over the past few seasons and it may seem like Steeler Football as we know it is long gone. What do you think? Do you think the Steelers had good reason to treat the Cedric Wilson and James Harrison situations differently? Should more disciplinary action have been taken against Santonio for his multiple run-ins with the law? Should we cut any player that gets arrested? What do you think the Steelers should do with Ben Roethlisberger?

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Two Big Things-Part 2

For the caption contest on this one, leave your best theory on what you think happened inside the bar bathroom in Georgia.

The second big news of the past couple days involves the leader of this team, Ben Roethlisberger. With another sexual misconduct case still pending, another woman, this time a 20 year old college student (she has dropped out of college since the incident), has accused Ben of sexual assault. Unlike in the first instance, the woman went immediately to the police and to the hospital. Ben has once again, through his attorney (the same one who represented Ray Lewis when he was charged with murder), denied the allegations and professed his innocence. Ben is cooperating fully with the police's ongoing investigation. The police and DA should reach a determination by Friday or early next week whether they will charge Ben with a crime.

In the post I penned when the civil suit was filed against him back in July, I wrote about Ben's irresponsibility towards partying and women writing that I thought that he was a dbag personality wise because he thinks he is God's gift to women. He believes that it is a privilege to sleep with him. Any girl that thinks otherwise is crazy. We continue to get evidence that what I wrote was and still is true. Whether he is ultimately charged with a crime, where there is smoke, there is fire. There is one thing I know he is guilty of for sure and that is poor judgment.

Take a look at the above picture. It was taken around his rookie season. I can understand going out and partying when you are 23 years old, the QB of the Steelers and a recent millionaire. I cannot understand continuing this behavior once you are the established leader of a two time Superbowl Champion, 28 years old and you are still in the midst of a prior sexual misconduct suit. Why put yourself in the situation? You have to know you are a target for this kind of stuff. Why risk it with a $100 million contract on the line.

The fact that he is still exhibiting the same behavior as five years and as five months ago leads me to question his judgment greatly. Is this really who we want as the face of our franchise? Should we turn into Bengals fans and look the other way while our players behave like animals for the sake of winning some football games? Do you think that Tom Brady, Peyton Manning or Drew Brees would ever place themselves in the circumstances that Ben continually places himself in? I don't. You know where Peyton is right now? Watching film, trying to win games next year or making another commercial.

His case is not going to be a he said, she said case like the first one. When the girl went to the hospital, they did a bunch of medical tests on her called a rape kit. The results of which are fairly reliable in determining whether a sexual assault occurred. There also are alot of witnesses. How reliable they are remains to be seen. Anyway you look at it, we should know soon whether charges will be brought against Ben. Anyway you look at it, the situation is not ideal. Beyond being repulsive behavior from our QB, it has major implications going forward for our team and for Ben.

I would be shocked if Ben isn't called in for a sitdown with Roger Goodell at some point in the near future. I am not sure if it will be made public or not, but it will happen. Goodell can suspend Ben without criminal charges being filed and without a conviction if they are filed. Goodell has usually waited for cases to make their way through the legal system before he takes any action. The team has I'm sure starting making contingency plans if Ben can't play this season. The Rooneys are a conservative bunch. They are definitely asking themselves whether they want Ben as the face of their franchise. He should have learned from his past run-in and didn't. What does that say about him? Is football more important to him or are the spoils of being a football player what matters most? It is pretty obvious to me.

For the team's future, I think we would be ok with Batch for next year. Just OK. Not a Superbowl contender. Maybe Dennis Dixon beats out Batch but Dixon is still a work in progress. Or we could sign a free agent QB. I don't even know anyone worthwhile to bring in. Derek Anderson just got released but who the hell wants him? Not even the Browns. We could draft someone this year as an eventual replacement. I have heard Tim Tebow thrown around. He is a project but he is also a proven winner. Colt McCoy's name has surfaced as a possibility in the second round. The problem is, this team is ready to win now. Those QB's are not. We need Ben to pull it all together. But first he needs to pull his life together and figure out where his priorities lie. I hope he does it sooner rather than later. I really hope that he does not have to do it from a jail cell. If he did what he is accused of, he deserves jail and he will never wear the black and gold again. Even if he is found innocent, I still think he is a dbag and I will remain skeptical of him until he exhibits some sound judgment. I may be waiting awhile.

Leave your thoughts in the comments. What are your theories?

Two Big Things-Part 1

Leave your thoughts in the comments on these moves and how it effects us going into the draft for the comment contest.

Two big things have been going on in Steeler's land the past few days. First, the Steelers have actually made some waves in free agency. Normally, they only sign their own free agents and maybe bring in one outsider. This year, they have made more signings in one day than in the past 5 off-seasons combined. They started off as they usually do, by signing one of their own in Ryan Clark. Many reports had Clark effectively gone. He had scheduled a visit to the Dolphins. Meanwhile, the Steelers seemed to be bringing in his replacement by interviewing Will Allen of the Bucs. Much to everyone's surprise, a new 4 year, $14 million contract was reported between the Steez and Clark yesterday afternoon. Even more surprising was that Will Allen was also signed. Bringing in Allen provides safety depth and also helps to improve the special teams. Allen was a special teams standout for Tampa as the special teams captain. Due to this move, you can probably kiss Tyrone Carter goodbye. Allen signed for 3 years, $4.4 million and is only 27 years old.

My Read: I love both of these moves. Ryan Clark is a perfect fit to play alongside Troy. Without Troy, he isn't so great, but Troy allows Clark to roam around the deep middle and crush anyone who dares enter his territory. As for Will Allen, some have compared his current situation to the one that allowed us to get Ryan Clark at next to nothing from the 'Skins. Plus, we could definitely use the special teams help.

Continuing on with the improving the special teams theme, the Steelers signed WR and special teams ace Arnaz Battle, formerly of the 49ers to a three year deal. The move seems fitting since we imported the 49ers' special teams coach to replace Bob Ligahesky, earlier this off-season. You would think the Steez would be done with moves but they weren't. An old face is coming back to the burgh in Antwaan Randle-El. He signed a three year deal and was the Redskins second leading receiver last season.

My Read: While in the 'burgh Randle-El was great on special teams as a returner and probably will challenge Stefan Logan for that position next season. Unless Logan can get himself involved in the offense (I would love to see him get in there and catch screens but since we are the worst screen team in the league, I am not holding my breath), he may not be back next season. But with the departure of Willie Parker, he could stay on as Kick Returner and backup RB. Then Randle-El can handle the punt returning duties and third WR slot. Randle-El's return could also mark the return of the trick play since he was featured prominently in most of them in his first stint as a Steeler. No one can forget his picture perfect pass to Hines in the Superbowl. It was better than any pass Ben threw in that game. I am very happy to have him back. Our four receivers are better than almost any other in the league right now. Hines, Santonio, Mike Wallace and Randle El. I'd love to see Randle-El in the slot. Lastly, signing Randle-El and Battle could signal the end of Limas Sweed's time with the team.

In their final move of a very busy day, the Steelers added some O-line depth by bringing in Jonathan Scott of the Bills, reuninitng another player with a former coach. Our new O-line coach, Sean Kugler, was the Bills O-line coach last season. Scott is a versatile lineman, starting two games at right tackle and six at left tackle last season for the Bills.

My Read: Nice to see depth being brought in that is experienced. I think it speaks highly of Scott that his former coach wanted to keep working with him. I think Tony Hills is probably gone after the move and this should be a wake up call to Urbik to get his stuff together.

Leave your thoughts in the comments for a chance to win some tickets to the Carnegie Museum.

Steezbros Contests

Steezbros has recently entered into a marketing partnership that will be provide us with prizes to give away to readers we select. The way we are going to choose the winners will be via comment contests. Comments help our blog to become more popular and enable it to get searched more often when people are looking for Steeler blogs. You can sort of look at as a partnership between us and our readers as well. We give you prizes for supporting our blog and helping it grow. It is also a way to show our appreciation for everyone out there that devotes time to read our blog.

Our first prize to be given away is:

Two Carnegie Museum Passes (Carnegie Museum is in Pittsburgh for those wondering)

The sponsor of the prize is PittsburghBudgetCars.com. They are known for their used cars in Pittsburgh.

What you have to do to win is, post comments on any of the posts we put up by the end of the week. After Friday, we will choose what comment we like the best and award the passes to that commenter. You may enter as many times as you like. There are going to be many more opportunities to win prizes throughout the rest of the off-season and into the season so keep reading and keep sending in comments. Good luck!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Casey Hampton Gets His Wish; Reed Franchised

This is probably how I would react if I were given $11 million guaranteed. Especially the shirt off part.

After publicly stating his desire not to be franchise tagged, Casey Hampton got his wish today by signing a 3 year, $21 million deal, with $11 million of that being guaranteed. Not sure what I think about this just yet. Not having a salary cap next season probably helps to make better sense of this deal. I for one was hoping he got tagged. I think a pissed off Big Snack would come to camp more motivated next season since he would be playing for his next deal. Now, he has nothing to worry about and may come to camp as a hot air balloon. On the other hand, we have no viable replacement for him at the moment so I am glad he is back on the team. I would be surprised if he lasts the duration of the deal though unless he really gets in shape the next few years. Thoughts? I will comment back to anything worthwhile.

Also, I realize we haven't posted in a while but it is the off-season for us as well. Not that much relevant has happened since we failed to make the playoffs. More posts will be coming with the start of free agency and the draft approaching. Some things that should have been mentioned but weren't due to general malaise and depression from not making the post-season:

1) Dick LeBeau making the Hall of Fame-apologies to St. Dick. This is a much deserved honor that was too long in coming. He is still in the top ten all time for interceptions and he is a defensive innovator. Congrats.

2) Omar Khan not named GM of the Seahawks. Our front office flies under the radar most of the time because we rarely make a splash in free agency, trade anyone or doing anything flashy. This is a good thing in my opinion because our personnel rarely gets pillaged. Our chief negotiator and cap guru, Omar Khan, was up for the Seahawks GM gig but was not selected. Good news for us. In that same vain...

3) We lost Doug Whaley, the pro scouting coordinator to the Buffalo Bills Assistant GM position. Brandon Hunt was hired as his replacement. Hunt was with the Steelers from 2005-2007 as a scout, then was with the Texans until we hired him back after Whaley departed. I think this is something to be concerned about a little. Our scouting department is generally superb so losing one of our top guys could result in a drop off.

4) New coaches hired:

a) Scottie Montgomery, WR Coach-played for Denver and Carolina, held same position with football powerhouse Duke from 2006-2009
b) Al Everest, Special Teams Coordinator, formerly held the same position with SF
c) Jerry Olsavsky-Defensive Quality Control Coach, played LB for the Steez from 1989-1997
d) Sean Kugler-Offensive Line Coach, Bills O-line coach from 2008-2009. The Bills gave up 46 sacks last season, leaving them only 4 behind our total of 50. With Ben at the helm, I bet we can reach 50 again next year.
e) Randy Fichtner-QB Coach, replaces Ken Anderson who retired. Fichtner was our WR coach


While I was typing this post, Jeff Reed was designated our Franchise Player, earning him a $2.8 million dollar pay day next season. No cap. No worries. Push this off tell 2011, if there is a season. I am a Reed fan. He is very reliable and he provides endless hours of entertainment with his internet pics and Sheetz rage incidents. The downside is he stinks at kicking off. Josh claims he was ranked as 40th in the league last season. Please sign a kickoff specialist and give him a chance in camp. Then we can finally cut Tony Hills and have someone he actually contributes to the team taking up a roster spot.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Firings Continue

According to the Post-Gazette, Special Teams Coordinator, Bob Ligashesky, has been fired. It really should not come as a surprise since our coverage and return units were both ranked near the bottom of the league. Although Logan did set the record for return yards for the Steelers he almost never had decent running lanes. As mentioned in the article, Bobby April is available who would be an awesome get for the Steez.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Arians in; Zierlein out

According to the PG, Bruce Arians will be kept on as offensive coordinator next year.

Sad face.

According to the same report, offensive line coach Larry Zierlein will be fired.

I don't think this makes much difference unless some talent is added to the line.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Offseason Questions

The Steeler offseason began Monday and the first change was announced yesterday. Ken Anderson, the QB coach, is retiring. Other changes have been promised. As we enter the offseason, I've created a list of questions that I think need to be answered. In the next few weeks, we'll explore these questions in detail.

1. Will Bruce Arians be fired?
1a. Who would replace Arians?

2. Which free agents will be retained?

The current list of pending unrestricted free agents (via Mondesishouse) going into the 2010 season is as follows:

QB Charlie Batch, LB Rocky Boiman, S Tyrone Carter, S Ryan Clark, DE Nick Eason, NT Casey Hampton, DE Travis Kirschke, RB Willie Parker, K Jeff Reed, CB Deshea Townsend, and WR Joey Galloway.

RFAs (restricted free agents) include these players:LB Patrick Bailey, OT Willie Colon, RB Carey Davis, DB Willie Gay, P Daniel Sepulveda, TE Matt Spaeth, and G Darnell Stapleton.

Santonio Holmes and LaMarr Woodley will be entering the last year of their contracts.

3. How will the negotiation of the collective bargaining agreement affect free agency?

I'm no expert, but some major changes take effect if we enter 2010 without a new CBA. There will be no salary cap. Certain players, i.e. Willie Colon, will be restricted free agents as opposed to unrestricted. I think each team will have two franchise tags. Etc.

4. Will the Steelers get serious about special teams? Bobby April, one of the best special teams coaches in the league, was recently fired. Any chance the Steelers pursue him?

5. How will the team address the declining performance and increasing age of the defense? James Farrior, Aaron Smith, Brett Keisel, James Harrison, Chris Hoke, Travis Kirschke, are all 30+. The secondary lacks talent. The depth at linebacker and safety is thin.

6. What positions will be targeted in the draft?

7. How will Joe Burnett, Kraig Urbik, Keenan Lewis, Limas Sweed, Ryan Mundy and Frank the Tank develop over the offseason?

8. Will the offensive line ever get an infusion of talent?

9. Who will be on the cover of Madden next year?

10. Will Kevin Colbert leave the Steelers to follow Bill Cowher if Cowher takes a coaching job?

What did I miss?

Monday, January 4, 2010

Why We Aren't in the Playoffs

I am encouraged to see our team fight to the end. We closed out the season with 3 big wins, two against playoff teams (GB and Balt). Tomlin and the boys showed me something which is encouraging heading into the offseason and for next year. We needed a ton of help yesterday to get into the playoffs. It didn't happen. It would have been nice to get in but it would have hurt alot more to blow 4th quarter leads to lose in the playoffs. Here is why we aren't going to the playoffs this year:

1) Coaches inability to accept the fact that Farrior has lost about 4 steps and put Keyron Fox in to replace him. I understand Farrior is the leader of the D and makes all the the play calls but he routinely got beat by TE's and RB's out of the backfield for game killing plays.

2) Injuries-Troy missed most of the season. Dennis Dixon started a key game against division rival Baltimore. Aaron Smith missed the majority of the season. That stuff catches up with you. Smith and Troy are our two most important defensive players. We couldn't over come it this year.

3) Poor coaching-Tomlin, Lebeau, Arians, Zeirlein and Ligashesky failed to have the team ready to play on a week to week basis and the passion just wasn't there for most of this season. Don't be surprised if a few of these guys are gone pretty quick.

4) Losing close games-Last season we won almost every close game we were in. This year it was the opposite. If we win one of these games, we make the postseason:

Chicago loss by 3
Cincy loss by3
KC, Balt, Oak losses by 3

That's 5 losses by 3 points. Most of those games we should have won but couldn't get it done for whatever reason.

It was an interesting season to say the least and we will have more in the coming days but those are the biggest reasons I see for our failures this year. What are your thoughts?