Archive for category Observations FWIW

Some Tebow Perspective courtesy of Ricky & TomPaulBillyBubba (blame them)

Posted by on Thursday, 20 August, 2015
Let me preface this by writing that I am truly grateful that Tim Tebow is not one of our QBs. He is not good and does not fit in a pro offense anywhere outside the Oregon Duck packages that Chip Kelly will roll out sometimes. That said, Timmy is 9-7 as a starter, 8-6 regular (57.1%) season and 1-1 in the playoffs (50%). 


For comparative purposes, the starting records of some other QBs that certain fans believe would make fine replacements and/or accompaniments for Ben within the QB corps:


Kirk Cousins: 2-7 (22.2%)
Charlie Batch: 25-30 (45.45%) [although he was 6-3 as a starter in the Burgh]
Jason Campbell: 32-47 (40.5%) [although he was 1-8 in his last 2 years]
Matt Cassel: 33-39 (41.77%) [4-5 in the last 2 years]
Jimmy Clausen 1-10 (9.09%)
Ryan Fitzpatrick 33-55-1 (37.07%)
Mike Glennon: 5-13 (27.78%)
RGIII: 14-21 (40%) in the regular season. 0-1 in the playoffs
Chad Henne: 18-35 (33.96%)

Brian Hoyer: 10-7 (58.82%)

Case Keenum: 2-8 (20%)
Thaddeus Lewis: 2-4 (33.33%)
Ryan Lindley: 1-6 (14.2%)
EJ Manuel: 6-8 (42.86%)
Josh McCown:17-32 (34.69%)
Colt McCoy: 7-18 (28%)
Curtis Painter: 0-8 (0%)
Christian Ponder: 14-21-1 (38.89%)
Terrelle Pryor: 3-7​ (30%)
Brady Quinn:​ 4-16 (20%)

Mark Sanchez: 41-35 (53.94%)

Michael Vick: 61-53-1 (53.04%)

Brandon Weeden: 5-16 (23.81%)
Charlie Whitehurst​:2-7 (22.22%)


​The point in all of this is not that Tebow is a good QB. It’s that people remember him as a guy who finds a way to win. Hines Ward was like that. Jerome Bettis was like that. Alan Faneca was like that too, although he had more talent for his position than the previous two.  I hope you understand my point. People would rather have a Winner on their team than a guy who obviously gets rattled. That is doubly true of a guy who touches the ball on every snap like a QB.​ Landry Jones makes people nervous. Tebow may suck, in fact I think he objectively sucks, but at least when a guy like him gets the ball in his hands you know he is going to try to find a way.


While we’re on the subject, let’s look at the other QBs on the Steelers’ roster.


Bruce Gradkowski: 6-14 (30%) When you tell people from Pittsburgh that Gradkowski sucks, their standard comeback is, “He was good enough to beat us. I like him.”  Gradkowski won once and Steelers fans have never forgotten it. He only has a job in the NFL because he’s from Pittsburgh and the Rooneys like a feel good story

[EDIT: also because Joe Burnett forgot to Unleash Hell and catch a pass that Gradkowski threw right to him].

Make no mistake, if we ever have to depend on him for any length of time, we are sunk. He flat out sucks. He is Andy Dalton-Lite.


Ben Roethlisberger: 106-52 (67.08%) in the regular season and 10-5 (66.67%) in the playoffs. His 116-57 (67.05%) overall record translates to 10.72 wins and 5.27 losses over the course of a 16 game season.
Further, he still has this kind of record after going a combined 15-14 over 2012-2013. Ben has 25  4th quarter comebacks and 35 game winning drives over the course of his career, including 3 game winning drives in each of the last three seasons. He has a career passer rating of over 90, whether the team is winning, tied or playing from behind. But, what’s really astounding is that some of his best stats are when he is inside his own 20 and has to convert a set of downs to get away from his own end zone. Without this guy, the Steelers are a 5 or 6 win team.


I don’t believe that anyone who posts here regularly falls into this category, but people who think Ben can be easily replaced are incredibly short sighted and/or haven’t learned anything new about football since the 70s. There is also the possibility that they are just fucking idiots.

Beachum Aside, Steelers Entering Their Last Year

Posted by on Sunday, 16 August, 2015

The Steelers have several players entering the last year of their current deal. We’ve heard word that Kelvin Beachum’s representatives, Relativity Sports and the Steelers are in contract negotiations. That would seem to be the only additional extension that may get done before the season starts. Let’s take a few minutes to look at Beachum and the other players as well.

Kelvin Beachum – Started 38 games over the last 3 years. The only viable option at LT. Those of you who know me are aware that having Beachum at LT is not my preference. I believe you should have a star guarding the backside of your $100 million QB and franchise player. However, there are no other candidates for the job on the Steelers roster today that would even be competent replacements. Further, going into next season with so much invested in the offense and the left tackle position unsettled would be foolish. The organization has to make an effort to extend Beachum’s deal. I wrote earlier this offseason that I thought it would take a $10 million per year average to keep Beachum. Even Sam Baker, the Falcons’ very average LT, has a deal that pays him $6.85 million APY. Beachum’s people believe he is significantly better. Some writers have tried to make the case that Beachum is a top 5 LT based on, of all things, PFF “ratings”; which is where the $10 million estimate comes from. If they pay him like Baker, I would be pretty content. If they pay him $10 million per year, like Trent Williams, I will probably have a meltdown.

Ramon Foster – Started 71 games over the last 6 years, including being a full time starter the past 4 seasons. A very average guard with no one behind him on the depth chart to challenge him. Ideally someone will step up and push Foster for his spot this year. The team needs an upgrade at starting LG as badly as any position on the team, aside from the 3rd DE.

Steve McLendon – Starter at NT the past two seasons. Not invaluable, but not expendable either until McCullers proves he can man the position full time.

William Gay – Starter at CB and the Steelers best CB the past two seasons. Some say that Gay’s performance declined last year and it may have slightly. He is miscast as a #1 CB. Should be a #2/#3, but is still the Steelers best CB. If justice is to be done here, Gay should get a big raise next year. However, the market for 31 year old CBs who have already hit their ceiling is not a very strong one. I hope the Steelers bring back Gay and recast his role. If Cortez Allen and Doran Grant turn out to be viable CBs this year, I have my doubts that they will make a strong attempt to keep him.

Sean Spence – Valuable backup with a handful of starts who will likely command more than the Steelers will be willing to pay their #4 ILB. Spence will also have greater opportunities should he leave Pittsburgh. Assuming that Shazier and Williams stay healthy, this is likely Spence’s last year in the B&G.

Brandon Boykin – Recent addition to the team via trade. (Something the Steelers should consider with Spence, IMO. Something in trade is better than nothing when he leaves next year.)  Boykin is playing on a 1 year RFA tender at $1.542 million this year. Not sure how he fits yet.

Bruce Gradkowski – Backup QB who is also not invaluable, but not expendable when considering the talent behind him. Steelers need to bring in someone to challenge for the #2 QB spot and also draft another in 2016.

Antwon Blake – Short, fast, deceptively strong CB, decent ball skills, coverage is not his forte, but very athletic and good in run support. Plays to his strengths. A good depth player on a team that needs CB depth. They should make an effort to bring this guy back.

Greg Warren – The $1 million long snapper. This guy has the best job on the team and keeps it each year because he’s good at it. He’ll sign another 1 year veteran qualifying deal again in 2016. It keeps his cap figure low.

Will Johnson – Steelers FB/TE the last 3 seasons. Another guy who is neither expendable, nor irreplaceable.  Closer to replaceable though.

Robert Golden – Steelers 4th safety and STs captain performance slipped a bit in 2014. Golden is probably very close to his ceiling and is more replaceable than not. Gerod Holliman will likely challenge Golden for his roster spot in 2016 if Golden is brought back.

Will Allen – Steelers 3rd safety and Mike Tomlin’s favorite security blanket. A competent safety who has long past hit his ceiling. Very replaceable player should Shamarko Thomas shine in 2015.

Darrius Heyward-Bey – It really would be nice if some young WR with upside knocked DHB off the roster. Based on early camp reports, 2015 is not the year that is going to happen. Expect him to be brought back on another vet qualifying one year deal in 2016.

Clifton Geathers – Meh. A guy on his eighth team in 6 years. My expectations are low. Not even sure he’s a Steeler come September, but I hope so because it will mean the departure of CFT.

Mike AdamsCraig Wolfley seems to believe that the “Mike Adams Reclamation Project” is coming along just swell. I have thought for the last two years that Adams’ problems are all rooted in not keeping his hips low enough and his confidence, which is obviously lacking. He reaches with his shoulders and arms rather than setting his hips square with the opponent. These traits should be fairly easy to coach him out of, but to date no one has managed to do so. I’m trying to see Wolfley’s point of view, but I don’t yet. I think this is Adams’ last year in the B&G. I guess we’ll see what 2015 brings.

Cam Thomas – Please Go Away

The other free agents are all RFA/ERFA and can’t leave without the Steelers letting them. No point in worrying about them as of yet.

Steelers Interview / Visit List

Posted by on Friday, 1 May, 2015

Updated May 6th

In an effort to keep up with the standard that Walsh and I set last year by assembling a list of Steelers visits and Pro Days with an inordinate amount of attention spent on one prospect (See: Archer, Dri: 2014 Pro Day), I began assembling raw data from various sources in February. The list will be added to and changed I am sure. Please feel free to add names you may come across yourself in the comments.  (I am talking to you, Walsh!) But the rest of you should consider it an open invitation as well.

Links in Bold Green below.

Pos. UPMC Visits Class School Pre-Draft Proj. Rd. Drafted
CB Senquez Golson Sr Ole Miss 4th  2-56 Pittsburgh Steelers
WR Sammie Coates r-Jr Auburn 1st or 2nd  3-87 Pittsburgh Steelers
CB Doran Grant Sr Ohio State 3rd or 4th  4-121 Pittsburgh Steelers
TE Jesse James Jr Penn St 3rd or 4th  5-160 Pittsburgh Steelers
te/OT Cameron Clear Sr Texas A&M 7th or UDFA  UDFA – Pittsburgh Steelers
qb/WR Tyler Murphy r-Sr Boston College 7th or UDFA  UDFA – Pittsburgh Steelers
CB Marcus Peters r-Jr Washington 1st  1-18 Kansas City
WR Breshad Perriman r-Jr Central Florida 1st  1-26 B’more Ratbirds
S Landon Collins Jr Alabama 1st  2-33 NY Giants
OLB Preston Smith Sr Miss St 2nd  2-38 Washington
CB Eric Rowe Sr Utah 2nd  2-47 Philadelphia Eagles
OLB Nate Orchard Sr Utah 2nd  2-51 Cleveland Brighter Richer Oranges
OLB Randy Gregory r-Jr Nebraska 1st  2-60 Dallas Cryboys
WR Jaelen Strong r-Jr ASU 1st or 2nd  3-70 Houston Texans
OLB Eli Harold Jr Virginia 1st or 2nd  3-79 SF 49ers
CB Alex Carter Jr Stanford 3rd  3-80 Detroit Lions
TE Jeff Heuerman Sr Ohio State 3rd or 4th  3-92 Denver Broncos
DT/5T Xavier Cooper r-Jr Washington State 2nd or 3rd  3-96 Cleveland Brighter Richer Oranges
CB Stephen Nelson Sr Oregon State 3rd or 4th  3-98 Kansas City Chiefs
OT TJ Clemmings * r-Sr Pitt 1st or 2nd  4-110 Minnesota Vikings
OLB Davis Tull r-Sr Chattanooga 3rd or 4th  5-148 New Orleans Saints
OLB Kyle Emanuel r-Sr NDSU 5th or 6th  5-153 San Diego Chargers
TE CJ Uzomah Sr Auburn 7th or UDFA  5-175 Cincinatti Bungholes
OLB Max Valles r-So Virginia 7th or UDFA  6-179 Oakland Raiders
TE Kennard Backman Sr UAB 7th or UDFA  6-213 Green Bay Packers
CB Dexter McDonald r-Sr Kansas 7th or UDFA  7-242 Oakland Raiders
CB Darryl Roberts r-Sr Marshall 6th  7-247 New England Gatetriots
CB Bryce Callahan r-Sr Rice 7th or UDFA  UDFA – Chicago Bears
TE Wes Saxton Sr South Alabama 5th or 6th  UDFA – NY Jets
G Quinton Spain r-Sr West Virginia 7th or UDFA  UDFA – Tennessee Titans
WR/QB Devin Gardner r-Sr Michigan 7th or UDFA  UDFA – New England Gatetriots

Drafted players who did not visit:

Pos. Class School Pre-Draft Proj. Rd. Drafted
OLB Alvin “Bud” Dupree r-Sr Kentucky 1st 1-22 Pittsburgh Steelers
dt/DE Leterrius L.T. Walton r-Sr Central Michigan 5th or 6th 6-199 Pittsburgh Steelers
de/OLB Anthony Chickillo Sr Miami 4th or 5th 6-212 Pittsburgh Steelers
FS Gerod Holliman r-Jr Louisville 5th or 6th 7- 239 Pittsburgh Steelers

Did not visit but had contact with Steelers prior to draft:

Pos. Interviews Class  School Where Notes
OLB Bud Dupree r-Sr Kentucky Combine+ Pro Day Dinner with Tomlin
FS Gerod Holliman r-Jr Louisville Pro Day + Dinner with Tomlin 14 INTs in 2014


The Combine Interview and Pro Day Interview information I could gather follows below the break. There are also links associated with a handful of prospects the Steelers have paid more attention to than others. A lot like Earl’s “private” posts, the good stuff is actually below the break. As of today’s update, there are 48 prospects noted by associated links [click on their names (BOLD GREEN) that I have reason to believe the Steelers have taken a long look at because of my less than 100% verifiable, publicly available sources.

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A Look At The Steelers Offseason Depth Chart

Posted by on Monday, 16 March, 2015

Updated May 12th

Based on the week 17 depth chart and the players who are under contract for 2015 as of today (January 13, 2015), this is where I believe things stand.  Think of this as a living document that will be updated as things develop and reflect a date of revision. Please feel free to offer any feedback you might have. As Copa might write, everything will be considered but not every point of view will be taken into account. That said, sometimes out of the box thinkers bring about fresh perspective.

OPEN slots on the depth chart are marked in bold. Those openings are based on the anticipated number of players that would be kept on a 53 man roster, except at TE. They’ll likely keep 3 and there wasn’t room to reflect that and the free agents at that spot.

Free Agents are italicized and underlined. UFA is unrestricted free agent. RFA is restricted free agent. ERFA is exclusive rights free agent.

WR 84 Antonio Brown 10 Martavis Bryant  14 Sammie Coates
LT 68 Kelvin Beachum 76 Mike Adams
LG 73 Ramon Foster 74 Chris Hubbard
C 53 Maurkice Pouncey 72 Cody Wallace
RG 66 David DeCastro
RT 77 Marcus Gilbert 76 Mike Adams
TE 83 Heath Miller  89 Matt Spaeth  87 Rob Blanchflower  81 Jesse James
RB 26 Le’Veon Bell 34 DeAngelo Williams – UFA signee (Panthers) 40 Josh Harris  13  Dri Archer
FB  46 Will Johnson
QB 7 Ben Roethlisberger 5 Bruce Gradkowski 3 Landry Jones  2  Tajh Boyd – UFA signee (street)
WR 11 Markus Wheaton  88 Darius Heyward-Bey  18  CJ Goodwin
LDE 97 Cam Heyward 93 Cam Effin Thomas  65  Joe Kruger
NT 90 Steve McLendon 62 Dan McCullers
RDE 91 Stephon Tuitt  96 Clifton Geathers  78  L.T. Walton
LOLB  55 Arthur Moats  48 Bud Dupree  54 Shawn Lemon  40  Anthony Chickillo
LILB 50 Ryan Shazier 51 Sean Spence  57 Terence Garvin
RILB 94 Lawrence Timmons 98 Vince Williams  56  Jordan Zumwalt
ROLB  95 Jarvis Jones 92 James Harrison  44 Howard Jones  48 Shayon Green
LCB 22 William Gay  41 Antwon Blake  27  Senquez Golson
FS 23 Mike Mitchell  21 Robert Golden  31 Gerod Holliman
SS  29 Shamarko Thomas 20 Will Allen 35 Ross Ventrone  42  Jordan Dangerfield
RCB 28 Cortez Allen 39 BW Webb  24 Doran Grant
P  9 Brad Wing  8 Richie Leone  4  Jordan Berry
PK 6 Shaun Suisham
LS  60 Greg Warren
H  9 Brad Wing  4 Jordan Berry
KR 11 Markus Wheaton 13 Dri Archer 40 Josh Harris
PR 84 Antonio Brown 13 Dri Archer 11 Markus Wheaton

Steelers Nation according to Twitter

Posted by on Friday, 24 October, 2014

According to Twitter, this map shows the distribution of Steelers followers across the United States.
While any claim to “America’s Team” is up for debate, as the following maps show, the Steelers are clearly the team of the AFC North at least.

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The Terrible Flag

Posted by on Monday, 6 October, 2014

ScreenShot1128If evidence were needed to demonstrate that the Steelers’ biggest opponent is themselves, we might look no further than at their abysmal performance in penalties. As of today, the Steelers are by far the most penalized team in the NFL, with 51 penalties. This is more than double the penalty count of nine other teams. The Steelers have more penalties than Cincinnati (22) and Baltimore (21) combined. They have amassed 437 penalty yards, second behind only the Patriots (466).  The Steelers lead in penalties per game (10.2) while the Ravens have the fewest penalties per game (4.2).

Most egregious, the Steelers lead the league in Face Mask penalties with 6, which is 714% more than the league average of 0.84, and Illegal Block in the Back with 4, some 425% above the league average of 0.94. All of the Face Mask penalties have been the 15 yard variety.

We can also combine three other penalty types, Unsportsmanlike Conduct, Taunting, and Unnecessary Roughness, as three “bad boy” categories. Combined, the Steelers have 7 such penalties compared to a league average of 2.44.

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Steelers Nation Radio

Posted by on Monday, 23 June, 2014

click on the picture to get to SNR; online radio through the iHeartRadio network. All Steelers, 24/7.

Steelers Nation Radio


Pouncey’s Contract

Posted by on Friday, 13 June, 2014

Although it’s been reported as the new market deal for NFL centers, Pouncey’s deal really is team friendly. I hope the Steelers do more deals like this one going forward and fewer like Woodley’s, which married him to the team for at least three years. Alex Mack gets $26M guaranteed (all paid in the first three years), Pouncey gets $14M guaranteed, but will earn $26.5M in the first three years, if he performs well and the team keeps him.  Pouncey is betting on himself.

Basically, the Steelers exchanged a higher average salary and a potential for greater money in the first three years of the deal, compared to Mack’s deal, in exchange for numbers that can be managed in the team’s favor. The team can convert his 2015 or 2016 roster bonuses to signing bonuses, if they need cap space; or if they need to, they can release him as soon as next season and face a manageable cap penalty by utilizing the post-June 1 designation.

Pouncey's Contract

Kaepernick’s contract

Posted by on Thursday, 5 June, 2014

I love boobs. Heck, who doesn’t. But let’s talk contracts. Specifically, let’s talk Kaepernick’s contract.

When the numbers were announced it looked as though this contract, in particular the guaranteed money, would impact the Roethlisberger negotiations. But, what are the practical guarantees of the deal? What do the 49ers actually have to pay Kaepernick?  The answer: $12.973M, not the $61M that was reported. His signing bonus and 2014 salary are the only dollars fully guaranteed. The balance of his “guarantees” are base salaries for 2015, 2016, 2017 and $5.2M of his 2018 salary. But, and this is key, those guarantees are only guaranteed for injury, not skill.

Each April 1 Kaepernick’s salary for the following year becomes fully guaranteed. Free agency usually begins the second Tuesday in March. So, the 49ers can take a look at their options for a couple of weeks and simply cut Kaepernick at any time, thus creating cap room in any year. To say this is team friendly is a huge understatement. This is the kind of deal we need to get with Jason Worilds.

Kaepernick also gets $2.4M per year in workout/roster bonuses if he’s on the team. That is quite substantial, even for a QB. But, the contract requires him to, with his own after tax dollars, purchase an insurance policy that pays the 49ers $20M in the event that he has a career ending injury.

The Steelers should be so lucky as to get Ben to sign a deal like this one.

Kaepernick contract

You Be the Judge

Posted by on Thursday, 29 May, 2014

I’m tossed up on which two of these photos represent twins separated at birth. Any opinions?

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