Archive for category Steelers Headlines

Yes, Copa. I’m Serious.

Posted by on Friday, 4 November, 2016

I really do not think that Ben creates a 6 point swing vs the Ravens this week.

Don’t get me wrong. You want your best players on the field for every game vs. a rival. If he’s healthy enough to play, he should play. Is he better than Landry? Gawd, yes! But is he a six-point-swing better? I doubt it.
Ben doesn’t have the best track record vs the Ravens in particular, especially vs. Dean Pees’ Baltimore defenses. I don’t know why, but Pees seems to have his number, especially when the games are played at Ratland Stadium, where Ben is 0-4 in his last 4 starts, has thrown 3 TDs and 6 INTs and owns a passer rating of 69.76.

Ben’s Career vs. The Ratbirds:

ben-career-vs-ratsIf you would like to see a larger version of this table, just click on the image.

Steelers’ backup QBs are 1-3 vs Harbaugh and 1-4 under Tomlin vs the Rats, respectively. I’ve also included Landry’s career stats here for discussion.
steelers-backup-qbs-vs-ratsIt can be argued that the best game any Steelers QB has ever had, at Baltimore, vs a Dean Pees coordinated Ravens defense was in 2012, under Charlie Batch.
I do not  recognize Mike Vick’s game because it was at home and his yards per attempt was anemic. But, otherwise those backups did “ok” when compared to what Ben has done vs. Baltimore the past 5 seasons.

This week’s game is further complicated by the fact that Ben has not played in three weeks. I should not need to remind you of Ben’s track record in games coming back from injury. But just in case you’d like to read about it: An article from last season.
Granted, Ben seems to play exponentially worse the longer the layoff and this was a short one. That may give you reason for some optimism.

I do believe that Ben is the best option Sunday, even at 80% of normal health. I just don’t think that he’s 6 points better than a healthy backup.

*Interesting point that many may not be aware of: Pees was also the Patriots Defensive Coordinator from 2006 through 2009. He reportedly did not get along well with King Bill.
**Also interesting, Ben has missed a TON of games vs the Rats. Seven games missed in 11 seasons has to be a personal record for games missed vs one opponent.

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Posted by on Monday, 1 August, 2016

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How have the Steelers fared in Roethlisberger’s 2nd games back from injury?

Posted by on Thursday, 5 November, 2015
I really am expecting Ben Roethlisberger to be improved Sunday versus the Raiders by comparison to last week’s game versus the Bengals.
Another week of recovery time on that bone bruise in his left knee should, in theory, give him the confidence he needs to follow through completely on his throws from his plant leg.
Unfortunately, my buddy Earl had to point out that he thought Ben historically had a rough go of it in his second game back as well. So I started digging. Sure enough, Earl, the buzzkill that he is, was right.

Ben 2nd game back

In fact, when you look at Ben’s first two games back from injury over his career, the picture isn’t a pretty one.

Bens 1st and 2nd Games Back

Ben is 33 and I would like to believe that after the 2011 debacle in San Francisco, when he tried to play on one leg after leaving the Factory of Sadness 10 days before in a walking boot, that he now waits until he is at least close to healthy before coming back. Maybe this game will buck the trend. His first 2 games back in 2012 were losses. However, his own stat lines in those games were not too bad, as you can see above.
Ben looked very good on the first drive this past Sunday. On the second drive, Geno Atkins brushed past, hitting Roethlisberger in the knee, and Ben was never the same again. His throws floated and lacked zip. It was obvious that while he was making good decisions about when and where to put the ball, his body was not up to the task of delivering what his mind wanted it to. Ben was not Ben. The tight windows that Ben can typically deliver the ball into were too tight for a guy who could not put enough on the ball because he couldn’t drive through his plant leg when delivering it.
Let’s hope that his knee has healed enough for his performance to more closely match his own standards this week.

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.