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October 31, 2015
by Chris Adamski


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Adamski: Are tight ends hurting the Steelers more than most teams?

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(BEFORE GETTING TO THIS POST, A REMINDER TO LISTEN TO THE STEELERS ROUNDTABLE SHOW ON TRIBLIVE RADIO, SIMPLY BY CLICKING ANYWHERE ON THIS PARAGRAPH. MARK KABOLY, RALPH PAULK AND I TALK EVERYTHING BLACK-AND-GOLD FOR A FULL HOUR)

 

During Steelers defensive coordinator Keith Butler’s weekly session with the media Thursday, he faced 14 questions. Almost half (six) had to do with defending tight ends.

 

The Steelers this season have developed a reputation for failing to be able to cover tight ends effectively – but how much do they deserve it?

 

Yes, visions of Rob Gronkowski running free and wild through the secondary, and of the Antonio Gates/Ladarius Green duo stacking catches – and even of Travis Kelce making crucial receptions last week – are fixtures in the heads of Steelers fans. And I’m just as guilty as anyone in openly questioning if the Steelers can capably contain good receiving tight ends. With Tyler Eifert’s Bengals coming to town Sunday, that doesn’t bode well, no?

 

But, let’s not forget, it’s not a stretch to say that Gronkowski and Gates are two of the best receiving tight ends in NFL history (the latter definitely is; the former is too young to heap that praise upon him yet but he certainly is well on his way). They tend to pile up catches and yards and touchdowns no matter whom they’re playing.

 

Butler was asked if the Steelers’ struggles with tight ends is “somewhat circumstantial.”

 

I think it is a little bit,” he said. “Some of it’s that and some if it is that they’re good. We’ve faced some good tight ends. When you look at who we’ve played, they’ve had some pretty good tight ends. If we concentrate too much on tight ends, then we will miss a wide receiver. They have a good wide receiver this week, so we’re going to try to do the best we can at covering those guys. We have to limit them as much as we can, enough to win anyway.”

 

 

I did some research and made a chart. It remains crude in nature despite way too much time coming up with it. It’s the Steelers’ performance against a team’s best tight end  this season as compared to that individual’s average output for the season.

 

Then, at the bottom, are the total tight end stats allowed by the Steelers this season (and the average per their seven games) for ALL tight ends (not just the “top guy” listed above), and that compared to the NFL average for tight end production in a game.

 

Make sense? Anyway, for the Ravens, Crockett Gillmore missed the Steelers game because of injury, so I had to sub in backup Maxx Williams. For the Rams and Cardinals, their top two guys are so statistically interchangeable that I just combined then for the purposes of this graph.

 

Week    Opponent           Top tight end                     Catches/Yards/TDs          Average output

1              Patriots                 Rob Gronkowski               5/94/3                                   5.7/92.3/1

2              49ers                     Vernon Davis                     5/62/0                                   2.4/34/0

3              Rams                     Cook/Kendricks                 3/19/0                                   5.7/45.5/0.17

4              Ravens                 Maxx Williams**              2/17/0                                   2/18/0

5              Chargers              Antonio Gates                   9/92/2                                   9/93.5/1

6              Cardinals              Fells/Gresham                  1/9/0                                     2.5/37/0.29

7              Chiefs                   Travis Kelce                        6/63/0                                   4.9/69/0.29

TOTALS VS. STEELERS     45/455/6      game avgs:  6.4/65.0/0.86        NFL avgs: 4.6/49.7/0.39

 

 

A lot of variables there that make this analysis less-than-perfect (the lack of Gillmore, the fact two teams don’t have a single biggest TE threat, the 3-TD game of Gronkowski – while alarming – being more of a statistical fluke, etc.), including the relatively small sample size of less than a half a season.

 

But if you look at the numbers, the Steelers are allowing, what, maybe two extra catches and 15 additional yards per game to tight ends than the league average.

 

But will those numbers increase further this year with the dangerous Eifert?

 

“He having a pretty good year,” Eifert’s former college teammate, Steelers defensive end Stephon Tuitt, said. “I already knew he was talented by being able to practice with him. He’s going to be a tough person to stop, but I think we can do a good job.

 

“He’s a tight end, obviously, but he’s like a receiver at tight end – stupid athletic, and he’s got a great set of hands.”

 

 

 

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October 22, 2015
by Chris Adamski


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Adamski: ‘The situation is what it is’ for Cortez Allen

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Tez

 

You can ask anyone who’s been covering the Steelers for any length of time – Cortez Allen is a well-spoken, pleasant, respectful individual.

 

Right now, it could be interpreted that he perhaps has the sounds of one who sounds as if he’s not 100 percent certain why he’s not playing.

 

During the weekly Steelers Roundtable Show on Triblive Radio, Mark Kaboly, Ralph Paulk and I discussed a myriad of issues – CLICK ON ANY OF THIS PARAGRAPH TO LISTEN TO THE PODCAST – including the plight of Allen.

 

Is Allen, in the coaching staff’s eyes, still a relevant member of the Steelers’ roster? Is a lingering knee injury all that is kept him out of game action since Week 1?

 

Here is what we know: After Thursday’s practice on the South Side, there had been 17 days in which the Steelers were required to report their players’ practice participation publicly.

 

Of those 17, Allen has been listed as taking part in all but two of them – the first one after the Week 1 loss at New England, and then on a report that did not actually correspond to an actual practice on Sept. 28 (the Steelers played on a Thursday that week and the NFL requires three practice reports – therefore, one is more theoretical… hey, I don’t make these rules up).

 

Allen has even been a FULL participant in practice three times over these past six weeks, including two consecutive days two weeks ago. (He’d be limited on Saturday and, of course, not play that Monday in San Diego).

 

He has been “limited” in participation for all 12 others.

 

Allen’s recent history had him being demoted and then benched last season – one in which he signed a four-year, $26 million contract extension on the eve of. Ultimately, last season he was placed on injured reserve after undergoing thumb surgery.

 

This season, Allen and William Gay entered camp as the only cornerbacks the Steelers had that were proven commodities. But the team did draft two of the position over the first four rounds, it traded for Brandon Boykin a week into training camp and added Ross Cockrell off waivers a week before the season began.

 

Allen was the No. 3 cornerback for the opener at New England. Since, Cockrell has clearly caught the eye of the coaches and has grabbed hold of the No. 3 spot, with Antwon Blake and Gay playing almost every snap of the season.

 

Boykin has barely played, and Allen continues to be part of each game’s deactives lists.

 

 

 

Two other reporters and I talked to Allen after Wednesday’s practice. Here is a verbatim transcript. Read it for yourself, and read into it what you will:

 

Are you getting closer to being cleared to play?

“That’s a Coach Tomlin question.”

 

It’s been so long for you; has it just been a long stretch to get over the injury?

(5-second pause) Ummmm, the situation is what it is. And… (4-second pause)… that’s just probably a question better answered by Coach Tomlin.

 

Are you frustrated?

I try to keep a level, positive head at all times. Yes, I have my feelings about, um, you know, not being able to do but I have to stay mentally in it so I can help as best I can any way and in any way.

 

What are your chances of playing (Sunday)?

Coach Tomlin question again. If you have any questions about health and me physically, that’s Coach Tomlin.

 

What is your frustration level?

Frustration level? On a scale of what? (Smiles)

I try to stay positive all the time. You’ll never really see me mad because I’m a big-picture guy, so if I can’t do something here, there’s somewhere else I can help or some thing I can do to help us be successful. And I’ll find that.

You obviously have you feel like you’re capable to do the job they ask you to – whatever it is they ask you to – without putting the team in jeopardy and without being selfish. So that goes into a lot of it. Work closely with the staff and … getting into the best shape as possible to do whatever.

 

 

 

With Blake’s status for this week’s game at Kansas City in doubt, maybe we’ll learn more about Allen’s plight — and perhaps even see him in uniform — Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium.

 

Another reminder to listen to the TribLive Radio Steelers Roundtable Show.

 

 

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October 20, 2015
by Mark Kaboly


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Kaboly: Heyward, eye black and Go Fund Me

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IronSteelers fans are passionate.

But don’t confuse passion with crazy.

The show of support to Cam Heyward’s battle with the NFL over wearing eye black with the words ‘Iron’ and ‘Head’ for his late father Craig ‘Ironhead’ Heyward’ has been overwhelming. Craig Heyward, who played at Pitt and in the NFL for 11 years, died in 2006 from bone cancer

Heyward was fined nearly $6,000 last week for what the league called a uniform violation. Heyward wore the eye black again Sunday and is expected to be fined double that this week.

Heyward said the attention he’s been getting even surprised him.

He’s been getting so much support that even fans are trying to rally to help Heyward pay the fines.

At the time I am writing this, there are no fewer than 11 ‘Go Fund Me’ pages set up by Steelers fans seeking donations to help pay for Heyward’s fine ranging from California to New York to Illinois to Arizona to Altoona.

Like I said, Steelers fans are passionate, but not crazy.

Heyward signed a $60 million contract in July.

As for those 11 ‘Go Fund Me’ pages, there has been one donation for a total of $25.

Bless your heart, Jeff Lenz of Altoona.

You want to contribute, here is the link

Check out the Kaboly Show Podcast where you can hear from Antonio Brown, Kelvin Beachum and Alejandro Villanueva.

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October 17, 2015
by Chris Adamski


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Adamski: Cardinals’ “Pittsburgh West” nickname is well-earned

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Arians

Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians is far from the only member of the organization with ties to the Steelers.

 

 

(BEFORE WE GET TO THIS REGULARLY-SCHEDULED BLOG POST, CHECK OUT THIS WEEK’S EDITION OF THE STEELERS ROUNDTABLE SHOW FROM TRIBLIVE RADIO FEATURING MARK KABOLY, RALPH PAULK AND MYSELF. CLICK ON THIS TO LISTEN)

 

 

The past two head coaches of the Arizona Cardinals happen to be the past two offensive coordinators for the Steelers.

 

In reverse, it just so happens the current offensive coordinator of the Steelers is a past offensive coordinator of the Cardinals.

 

Those are just a couple examples of the manner in which the two franchises – who rarely play, but will do so Sunday at Heinz Field – have been so intertwined over the past decade.

 

There are 20 players who previously played for the Steelers who joined the Cardinals between 2007 until now. Plus more than a handful of coaches who made the same leap.

 

The Super Bowl after the 2008 season not only was the Cardinals’ lone appearance in the Big Game – it also represents the Steelers’ NFL record-setting sixth Super Bowl win.

 

That 2008 Arizona team had a pair each of ex-Steelers (Clark Haggans,  Jerame Tuman) and future Steelers (Leonard Pope and Levi Brown) – not to mention an ex-Pitt star (Larry Fitzgerald) and a pair of ex-Pittsburgh area high school standouts (Steve Breaston, Reggie Wells).

 

OLB coach Joey Porter and cornerback William Gay are two current members of the Steelers who have two stints with the team sandwiched around a short (1-2 year) stay in the desert.

 

Chukky Okobi, Keydrick Vincent, Bryany McFadden, Dan Kreider, Sean Morey, Brian St. Pierre, Alan Faneca,  Crezdon Butler, Nick Eason, Rashard Mendenhall, Alameda Ta’Amu, Larry Foote, Jonathan Dwyer, Lamarr Woodley, Josh Mauro, A.Q. Shipley, Haggans, Tuman, Porter, Gay are players who previously played for the Steelers who then played for the Cardinals since 2007 (the Whisenhunt and Arians eras).

 

Not to mention coaches such as Ray Horton, Amos Jones, Tom Moore and Larry Zierlein.

 

 

A list of the current members of the Cardinals organization who previously were part of the Steelers (courtesy of the Cardinals):

 

  • Cardinals Assistant Head Coach/Offense Tom Moore (a Steelers assistant from 1977-89, coaching WRs from 77-82 and offensive coordinator/QBs coach from 83-89, winning two Super Bowl rings and coaching five Hall of Famers).
  •  Cardinals Offensive Coordinator Harold Goodwin (an offensive assistant with the Steelers from 2007-11).
  •  Cardinals Special Teams Coordinator Amos Jones (was special teams coach with the Steelers from 2007- 12).
  •  Cardinals O-Line coach Larry Zierlein (held the same position with the Steelers from 2007-09).
  •  Cardinals ILBs coach Larry Foote (played for the Steelers from 2002-08 and 2010-13, helping the Steelers win Super Bowl XL and XLIII – the latter over the Cardinals).
  •  Cardinals D-Line coach Brentson Buckner (played for the Steelers from 1994-96, including as part of the team that went to Super Bowl XXX; also was a training camp coaching intern for the Steelers from 2010-12).
  •  Cardinals LB LaMarr Woodley (played for the Steelers from 2007-13).
  •  Cardinals P Drew Butler (the Steelers punter as a rookie in 2012).
  •  Cardinals DE Josh Mauro (on the Steelers practice squad in 2014).
  •  Cardinals C/G A.Q. Shipley (a Moon native who played at Penn State and spent 2009 on the Steelers practice squad)
  • Cardinals Video Director Rob Brakel (worked in the Steelers video department for nine years).

 

 

Enjoy the game Sunday

 

 

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October 12, 2015
by Chris Adamski


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Adamski: Steelers results on the West Coast over the past 30 years

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I wrote the other day about the Steelers’ struggles in the Pacific time zone throughout their history. They’re 18-37 all-time in California or Seattle (including 1-3 in the playoffs) and have lost five consecutive, having not won on the West Coast in more than a decade (10 years and 2 days, to be exact since a 24-22 win at San Diego).

 

To think, coach Mike Tomlin has never celebrated a victory  west of the Rockies.

 

As you can read in the piece for the print edition, Steelers players — and of course, Tomlin — deny that the trip or the timezone change or anything like that has anything to do with it.

 

“I think if you’re a mentally strong team and a good group and you’re prepared, it makes no difference,” safety Mike Mitchell said.

 

Still, you can’t argue with results — some of which against bad teams.

 

Anyway, the chart below was omitted from the story for space reasons. So we’ll post it here.

 

Enjoy the game tonight…

 

 

STEELERS GAMES ON THE WEST COAST SINCE 1985—

 

Season=Opponent=Result

 

2013=Raiders=21-18 Loss

2012=Raiders=34-31 Loss

2011=49ers=20-3 Loss

2006=Raiders=20-13 Loss

2006=**Chargers**=23-13 Loss

2005=**Chargers**=24-22 WIN

2003=49ers=30-14 Loss

2003=Seahawks=23-16 Loss

2000=**Chargers**=34-21 WIN

1999=49ers=27-6 WIN (but lost their next six)

1995=Raiders=29-10 WIN

1994=**Chargers**=37-34 Loss

1994=Raiders=21-3 WIN

1994=Seahawks=30-13 Loss

1993=Seahawks=16-6 Loss

1993=Rams=27-0 Loss

1992=**Chargers**=23-6 WIN

1990=49ers=27-7 Loss

1990=Raiders=20-3 Loss

1988=**Chargers**=20-14 Loss

1987=**Chargers**=20-16 WIN

1987=Rams=31-21 Loss

1986=Seahawks=30-0 Loss

1985=**Chargers**=54-44 Loss

 

 

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October 8, 2015
by Chris Adamski


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Adamski: Vick returns to where it all (almost) started

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During his 13 seasons in the NFL, Mike Vick has started at quarterback against (or for) 27 of the 31 teams that existed when he entered the league in 2001. He’ll get to cross one of the four remaining off the list Sunday when he leads the Steelers into Qualcomm Stadium to face the San Diego Chargers.

 

This particular opponent, though, is an interesting one for Vick because it was the team where his career was supposed to begin.

 

The Chargers had the No. 1 pick of the 2001 draft, and for months most assumed it was a shoo-in they’d take Vick. Well, Vick did go No. 1 – but it was to the Atlanta Falcons, after the teams engineered a draft-eve swap (the Falcons sent second- and third-round picks, plus receiver Tim Dwight, to San Diego, for the right to move up four spots from No. 5*).

 

All of a sudden, instead of the dynamic young player tasked with being the face of turning around Southern California’s NFL franchise, Vick became the dynamic young player tasked with being the face of turning around the South’s NFL franchise.

 

Vick has started 113 NFL games for four teams since – the first 67 of which for the Falcons. He’s started at QB on the road against every other NFL team except for New England, Tennessee, Oakland, Houston, the New York Jets and San Diego. The Jets he started three games FOR last year, and the Houston Texans had not begun play yet when Vick entered the league… which everyone had assumed would be for the Chargers.

 

Now, 14 ½ years after he was supposed to be THE quarterback in San Diego, Vick finally gets to be one there.

 

 

 

FOR MORE STEELERS TALK, LISTEN TO THE TRIBLIVE RADIO STEELERS ROUNDTABLE PODCAST FEATURING MARK KABOLY, RALPH PAULK AND I AS WE DISCUSS ALL THINGS VICK, STEELERS AND STEELERS-CHARGERS. CLICK HERE TO LISTEN.

 

 

*-As an aside, the deal turned out to be a good one for the Chargers, who took RB LaDainian Tomlinson with that No. 5 overall pick and got their quarterback in the second round — a guy named Drew Brees. Both are almost assuredly headed to the Hall of Fame.

 

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October 5, 2015
by Chris Adamski


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Adamski: Steelers show their early faith in Dupree when it matters most

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Ironic that James Harrison, the man who caused a training camp stir with his decree against participation trophies, plays a position that the Steelers have decided to use an “everybody plays equally” mentality.

 

Until late Thursday night, that is, when the Steelers’ defensive coaches might have showed where their true feelings lie.

 

The Steelers starters at outside linebacker are Arthur Moats and Jarvis Jones. But playing the first snap of the game doesn’t mean they’ll play the last. The duo of 37-year-old James Harrison and rookie Bud Dupree have been rotating series with the Moats-Jones pairing.

 

It hasn’t been a strict rotation, either. Many times, if a possession lasts too long, substitutions will be made. On occasion over the first four weeks, the rotation has been disrupted slightly.  There have even been some plays in which, say, Harrison and Moats, or Dupree and Moats are on the field together.

 

That all said, when it came time for the highest-leverage, most-meaningful defensive possessions of the young season so far, the Steelers might have spoken with their actions.

 

Come overtime against the Baltimore Ravens on Thursday, despite the fact it was Jones’ “turn” to play, Dupree and Harrison were utilized on the Steelers’ first defensive series.

 

And then when it came time for the second defensive series, it was Dupree and Harrison again.

 

While Harrison is a former NFL defensive player of the year and his snap count is in part more of a function of his age than it is performance, the fact the Steelers coaches called upon Dupree is a tacit endorsement of how far the rookie has come so fast.

 

“I’m just trying to make them have faith in me each and every play,” Dupree said in the locker room Monday. “Just being on the field, having my presence out there (in overtime) felt good.”

 

Dupree noted that he was tasked with rushing the passer more in overtime than he did in regulation – both of which, again, highlight the coaches’ faith in him. For one, trusting Dupree in pass coverage (as he was often earlier during Thursday’s game) prove that he’s not viewed merely as a “one-trick pony” at his young age. There’s a school of thought from the outside that Dupree is just, as a rookie, an athletic but raw pure pass-rusher. The Steelers’ coaches are showing they already see him as much more.

 

“I always want to be a complete player, so being in coverage I can showcase my versatility,” Dupree said. “Anything things I can do for my team – it’s not all about me, it’s really the team. What do I need to do to win? I just wanna win.”

 

The coaches, of course, want to win too. So it was telling then that with the game so much on the line in overtime, they looked to Dupree.

 

Dupree had a sack on his first NFL play and another sack in his second NFL game. He’s has five tackles in the two games since.

 

Still, he’s showing progress. Obvious mental errors have been absent. According to Pro Football Focus, roughly a fifth of the 78 snaps he’s been on the field in which the opponent ran a passing play, Dupree has been asked to go into pass coverage. The rest, he’s been rushing the quarterback.

 

“I’m starting to think a little less now,” Dupree said, “but it’s still a learning curve. It’s not so much the plays; it’s more the concepts and formations and stuff like that. Different things teams do out of the same formations. They’re not running the same plays every week, like college. So that’s the biggest takeaway and biggest thing in terms of getting better each week.”

 

 

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September 29, 2015
by Chris Adamski


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Adamski: Ben-less Steelers face Ravens often — and usually, don’t leave with wins

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LISTEN TO THE WEEKLY STEELERS ROUNDTABLE SHOW WITH MARK KABOLY, RALPH PAULK AND I TO GET YOU READY FOR THURSDAY’S GAME AGAINST THE RAVENS. CLICK HERE.

 

Charlie Batch embraces Ben Roethlisberger after leading the Steelers to a rare Ben-less win against the Ravens.

 

 

 

Steelers-Ravens conjures up plenty of individual comparisons.

 

Ray Lewis-Joey Porter.

Suggs-Harrison.

Polamalu-Reed.

Ngata-Hampton.

Flacco-Roethlisberger.

 

Except, that last one doesn’t happen as often as you’d think.

 

The Ravens’ Joe Flacco hasn’t missed a start since being drafted in 2008. But his Steelers’ counterpart, Ben Roethlisberger, has had some bad luck when it comes to facing his team’s fiercest rival.

 

Until he played in consecutive full 16-game seasons for the first time in his career the past two years, Roethlisberger had missed at least one start against the Ravens six times over his first nine seasons in the league.

 

The most recent game Big Ben has missed? It was against the Ravens (Dec. 2, 2012).

 

The team Ben’s missed the most starts against? The Ravens.

 

Thursday will be the 17th start Roethlisberger has missed since taking over the job following making his NFL debut – against the Ravens, no less – after a Tommy Maddox in Week 2 of 2014.

 

Seven of the first 17 games Roethlisberger has missed will have been against the Ravens.

 

Put another way, Thursday is the Steelers’ 23rd regular-season game vs. Baltimore since they drafted Roethlisberger. While Ben has started 15 of them, here are the other Steelers QB’s to have started against the Ravens since 2004:

 

Tommy Maddox (twice)

Charlie Batch (three times)

Dennis Dixon

Byron Leftwich

Michael Vick (Thursday)

 

Maddox is 0-2, Batch has lost two of his three starts against Baltimore and Dixon and Leftwich both lost theirs. In other words, the Steelers are 1-6 against the Ravens when Roethlisberger is unavailable since he entered the league in ’04 (four were due to injury, one to suspension, one because it was a meaningless season finale and the 2004 Maddox start before a then-22-year-old Roethlisberger had earned the starting job). Ironically, the Steelers are 9-2 since 2004 when Ben hasn’t started against any team that is NOT the Ravens.

 

When Ben has been available to start against the Ravens during the regular season, the Steelers are 9-6 (11-7, including playoffs).

 

When Ben starts, the Steelers’ offense averages 18 points. When he doesn’t, they average 13.5 points.

 

Two of the Steelers’ five losses to the Ravens without Ben since he became their starter were in overtime – all were one-possession games, and four were by a field goal.

 

Interestingly, the Ben-less Ravens games have featured Dixon’s first NFL start, and the final NFL start for all three Maddox, Batch and Leftwich.

 

The good news? The lone win against the Ravens for a backup of Ben’s came in the most recent shot at it. Batch – a local boy who spent 12 seasons with the franchise and who knew, with his 38th birthday just days away, that it was likely his final NFL action – led the Steelers to a 23-20 win in Baltimore that kept them in the AFC North race. As time ticked off, Batch was visibly emotional.

 

At 35 years old himself and on his third team in three seasons and having remained a free agent until the final two weeks of training camp, Vick might be facing a similar end of the line. Who knows – an injury to him Thursday might mean it is his final NFL start, too.

 

 

 

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September 23, 2015
by Chris Adamski


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Adamski: Steelers offensive stars offer support to Martavis Bryant

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CLICK HERE TO LISTEN to the weekly Steelers Roundtable program on TribLive Radio, featuring the wit and wisdom of Ralph Paulk and Chris Adamski live in studio, and the insight and expertise of Mark Kaboly from the Steelers’ facility on the South Side.

 

 

SOUTH SIDE – Martavis Bryant, of course, is not practicing with the Steelers or even around the team while he serves a four-game suspension for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy.

 

Two of the young receiver’s most prominent teammates said Wednesday that they have talked to Bryant, offering support to the Steelers’ budding star.

 

 

 

Running back Le’Veon Bell (himself just back from a two-game suspension):

“I’ve talked to (Bryant) a little bit. Obviously I know how tough it is for him, but I told him it’ll go by pretty quick. It (stinks) having to watch and not being able to practice with your team, but it’ll go by pretty quick. And once you get back you can put it all behind you and just try to make yourself into a positive role model like you once were. Obviously, people are going to hate him for a little minute and give him a little beef and things like that. But once you get back on the field and start making some plays and as time goes on, things will get better. That’s kind of what happened for me. I’m happy to be back out here, and I’ll help Martavis when I can.”

 

 

 

Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger:

“I talk to (Bryant) every day, whether it’s a text or calls. He’s upbeat. He’s ready to get back and help this team, help this city and get back to us, his family, where he belongs. I’m encouraged by what he’s doing and the work he’s doing, because I told him, getting yourself right as a man is more important than football. He’s doing that and taking great pride in it, just like he does with football. We are excited for him.”

 

 

 

As it stands now, Bryant is eligible to re-join the Steelers on Oct. 2, the day after they host the Baltimore Ravens in their fourth game of the season.

 

 

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September 17, 2015
by Chris Adamski


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Quantifying how much Sunday’s early-season game means to the Steelers’ playoff/Super Bowl hopes

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It’s a non-conference game against a team that isn’t widely expected to be a Super Bowl contender. It’s only Week 2 of the season, and other than it being the home opener, there’s little about Sunday’s matchup against the 49ers that carries much significance.

 

Don’t tell that to the stat-crunchers at NumberFire.com, though.

 

As Mark Kaboly, Ralph Paulk and Chris Adamski discussed on their weekly Steelers Roundtable Show on TribLive Radio, Sunday’s game at Heinz Field has the feel of a game that, as far as Week 2 contests go, is one the Steelers have to win.

 

Intuitively and anecdotally, the Steelers need to win the games they’re favored in considering they are playing the NFL’s toughest schedule. They also need to win as many home games as possible, and they of course would like to avoid going 0-2.

 

Quantitatively, the good folks at NumberFire can put some tangible measure to how much the 49ers game means to the Steelers. The site uses its internal efficiency metrics to simulate the season tens of thousands of times to determine the most probable outcome for how the season will play out.

 

Here is what NumberFire concluded would be the Steelers’ chances at a playoff berth, AFC North title or Super Bowl win come Sunday night, pending a win or loss against San Francisco:

 

Playoffs-
 *   With Win: 26.36%
 *   With Loss: 15.08%

Division-
 *   With Win: 20.28%
 *   With Loss: 11.92%

Super Bowl-
 *   With Win: 1.52%
 *   With Loss: 0.82%
In other words, the Steelers, mathematically, are almost twice as likely to win their division by improving to 1-1 than they are if they fall to 0-2. They’re also almost twice as likely to win the Super Bowl, and about 43 percent more likely to make the playoffs with a victory Sunday vs. a defeat.

 

 

Incidentally, I’m sure many Steelers fans will take umbrage with what seem to be low figures in all the above scenarios. If so, you probably will like the following even less. Below are NumberFire’s projections for the Steelers as of this moment after Week 1:

 

 

Projected Record: 7.27 – 8.73
Playoffs: 19.96%
Division: 15.88%
Conference Championship: 2.34%
Super Bowl: 1%

 

 

Remember, these are cold, objective, quantitative data projections. Also, please, don’t shoot the messenger; I’m just passing them along. Finally, perhaps this is a reminder that some in the outside world aren’t as sold on the Steelers as maybe some in Pittsburgh are.

 

(Then again, some others are much more bullish on the Steelers).

 

 

Regardless, another reminder to CLICK HERE to listen to the weekly Steelers Roundtable Show – starring Kaboly, Paulk and Adamski – on TribLive Radio. Enjoy.

 

 

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