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September 26, 2014
by Alan Robinson

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Robinson: Steelers Roundtable Weighs Trap Week, Part 1 for Steelers


The latest Steelers Roundtable with Alan Robinson, Ralph Paulk and Mark Kaboly takes up some of the following topics — and a lot more:

— Is this the so-called “trap game” for the Steelers — and how bad are the Buccaneers?

— Where does Le’Veon Bell currently rank among the NFL’s running back hierarchy?

— Dick LeBeau’s defense: As bad as Weeks 1 and 2 or as good as Week 3?

— What will James Harrison’s impact — if any — be on this Steelers defense?

— Can the Steelers avoid the losses to losing-record teams that dogged them during the 2013, 2012 and 2009 seasons?

— Who is Mike Tomlin’s allow pointing up and down for this week?

Listen here via TribLive Radio:






September 25, 2014
by Mark Kaboly

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Kaboly: Polamalu says Steelers got rid of the ‘old guys’ on defense too early


20101022steelers2_500When it comes to football age, at 33, Troy Polamalu is old.

So, it is understandable why Polamalu has a soft spot in his heart for the old guys, especially the ones who played alongside him for a number of years with the Steelers.

Over the last four years alone, consider who the Steelers jettisoned from their defense because they were too old:

* Aaron Smith

* Casey Hampton

* Brett Keisel

* James Farrior

* James Harrison

* Ryan Clark

* Larry Foote

Polamalu and Ike Taylor very well could be on deck.

In the now, the turnover led to back-to-back 8-8 seasons, which, as we now know, isn’t good enough.

Now, the Steelers brought back Keisel right before the season and Harrison a couple days ago that led to Polamalu standing up for some of his old pals.

“When you bring a guy like (Harrison) back and you don’t dig into your youth it tells you something,” Polamalu said. “It tells you that some of the older guys still would’ve helped us out if they would’ve kept them around.”

Now, was this a shot at the front office from Polamalu?

Troy doesn’t do that, but …

Polamalu does have a point.

If you didn’t think these old guys could help you before then why are you running back to them now?

Maybe Keisel was always in the plans, and we all know about Harrison wanting more money a couple years ago that led him to Cincinnati, but, in Harrison’s case, they could’ve signed him any time from March to September and decided not to.

They could’ve told him to hold off the retirement party that thy help kick off a couple weeks ago.

But they didn’t.

So, maybe the old guys could’ve helped if the Steelers kept them around?

Guess we will never know … but Troy knows.


September 24, 2014
by Mark Kaboly

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Kaboly: Brice McCain might be the Steelers best option at nickel


How are the Steelers going to replace the loss of Ike Taylor?

The initial thought would be just to do what the Steelers did when Taylor got hurt against Carolina and put William Gay on the corner then move him into the slot and bring on Antwon Blake in the nickel.

Mike Tomlin said as much during his press conference on Tuesday, but hold on …

The Steelers have options, and the best option just may be Brice McCain in the nickel and Gay at cornerback replacing Taylor on a full-time basis.

McCain acknowledged on Wednesday that he practiced at the nickel back with Gay at corner.

“I practiced everything (Wednesday),” said McCain, a free agent signing from Houston. “I am preparing for everything. I can be anything. Whatever they want me to be, I can be.”

It may be the Steelers best option to replace Taylor.

Typically, the Steelers don’t mind sliding a corner into the slot in the nickel. They used to do it all the time with Deshea Townsend. On the other hand, they want their best players on the field and McCain just may be their best player they have within the group of Antwon Blake and B.W. Webb.

McCain, for sure, is the most experienced.

He played in 74 games over five years for the Texans. Blake has 17 career snaps on defense and those came last year while Webb played only special teams for the Cowboys a year ago.

Knowing that, it’s a no-brainer. Take in account that Blake got beat for a late touchdown when he was replacing Taylor last week and McCain had a pretty solid preseason, it just may be the thing to do.

“We are going to try to do everything we can to replace Ike,” Gay said.

And that just may be with McCain.


Be sure to check out the Mark Kaboly Show podcast on TribLive Radio:


Also, tune in to the Steelers Roundtable on Thursday at 9 a.m. on TribLive Radio featuring Mark Kaboly, Alan Robinson and Ralph Paulk.





September 22, 2014
by Mark Kaboly

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Kaboly: Quick thoughts about Steelers 37-19 win over the Panthers


b434536a11f595ae3a119a15ae286129CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Now, this is how the Steelers envisioned their backfield when they signed LeGarrette Blount in the offseason.

Le’Veon Bell would set them up and Blount would knock them down.

That’s exactly how it took place here on Sunday night that led to an ever-important 37-19 win over the Carolina Panthers.

Bell rushed for 147 yards on 21 carries and Blount added 118 on 10 carries. Both had runs of 50 yards or longer. Bell outran defenders. Blount ran them over, or even jumped over them.

“He came in and closed the game out like he should,” Bell said.

It was the first time in 28 years that two Steelers running backs ran for more than 100 yards in a game. Earnest Jackson ran for 132 and Walter Abercrombie 109 as the 1-6 Steelers ran over the 5-2 Bengals on Oct. 26, 1986, at Three Rivers Stadium.

The offensive line that day was LT Ray Pinney, LG Craig Wolfley, C Mike Webster, RG Terry Long and RT Tunch Ilkin.

“I am glad to be part of it,” Bell said.

Other (quick) observations about the game:

* Lance Moore played only one snap. The Steelers decided to go with Justin Brown in the slot instead, which was curious. I asked Moore after the game if he was OK and he said he was. The only reason I could come up with of why the Steelers went with Brown over Moore was Brown’s blocking ability. But, really, I’m baffled.

* You can say what you want about the Steelers offensive line, but the unit is the team MVP, so speak, through three games. Some of that credit has to go to Mike Munchak, but a lot has to go to the return of Maurkice Pouncey. More than one player in the locker room after the game told me that he’s been a difference maker. I believe them. Oh yeah, David DeCastro hasn’t been too shabby either.

* I am waiting until the Steelers get through the next stretch of games against winless Tampa Bay, winless Jacksonville and one-win Cleveland before feeling safe in saying what kind of team the Steelers have. Right now, they can be 10-6 or 6-10. I don’t know.

* The inability to stop the zone stretch might quickly replaced by the inability to stop the pass. With Ike Taylor out for the foreseeable future with a broken arm, the defense is going to have to rely more William Gay (which isn’t bad) and Antwon Blake (which might be bad).

* The Panthers, in my opinion, gave up in fourth quarter.

* See what happens when you don’t miss tackles. I am sure there were some, but I don’t remember seeing many.

* Luke Kuechly guesses a lot … and he flops well.

* OK, be sure to check out my show on TribLive Radio on Monday from 2-3 p.m. I’ll have interviews from Blount, Bell, Brett Keisel and DeCastro.

* That 6 a.m. wakeup call is going to stink.


September 19, 2014
by Mark Kaboly

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Kaboly: Steelers, Haley going to the shotgun with regularity


Predictably unpredictable.

That’s one way of describing the Steelers offense through the first two games of the season.

The predictable part has been with the formation. The Steelers are among the top five in the league in calling plays for the shotgun formation. However, they have run the ball out of the shotgun almost as much as they have thrown the ball.

For offensive coordinator Todd Haley, that’s been by design.

“What you don’t want to be, tendency wise, when you are under center you are running it and when you are in the gun you are throwing it,” Haley said. “It gives you some freedom to do some other things as far as some of the underneath handoffs. It opens up a different play book of what you can run out of the gun.”

Haley has used the shotgun on 60 percent of the Steelers plays through two games – down 16 percent from last year. Only the Eagles, Jets and Dolphins have run out of the shotgun more this year.

It’s been successful for the Steelers.

Nearly 85 percent of their total yards have come when Ben Roethlisberger has been in the shotgun. Le’Veon Bell has rushed for 113 of his 168 yards while in the shotgun.

“You have to be able to run successfully out of it,” Haley said. “You don’t want to become a softball type team. You still have to have your downhill type runs.”

Note: Want more Steelers? Check out the podcast of the Mark Kaboly Show ( and the Steelers Roundtable ( on TribLive Radio.



September 18, 2014
by Alan Robinson

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Robinson: Is this pivotal game of Steelers season? Listen in …


Here’s the podcast of the latest Steelers Roundtable, in advance of the Sunday night game at Carolina — a team that Trib writer Ralph N. Paulk says the is the NFL’s second best right now.

This week, Steelers writers Alan Robinson, Mark Kaboly and Paulk discuss:

— Is this the pivotal game of the Steelers’ season? They got off to starts of 0-4 and 1-2 the last two seasons, and they’ll need to upset Carolina to avoid starting 1-2 — forcing them to play catch-up once again in the first month of the season.

— What’s wrong with some of the Steelers’ core players, including Lawrence Timmons, Cam Heyward and Marcus Gilbert?

— What threat does a banged-up Cam Newton pose to a Steelers defense that isn’t stopping the run?

— What’s the mood of the locker room of a team that’s been outscored 50-9 in its last six quarters?

— Will they get the run defense fixed before it’s too late?

— Will there be any carryover from the latest Ben Roethlisberger injury?

Listen here:



September 17, 2014
by Mark Kaboly

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Kaboly: Former Steelers OL Chris Kemoeatu gets kidney from older brother


With a full beard and a Pirates baseball cap on while addressing the media, mammoth former Steelers offensive lineman Chris Kemoeatu made a revelation.

“I wasn’t sure how this was going to turn out because I’m scared of needles,” Kemoeatu told reporters on Wednesday just three weeks after receiving a kidney transplant from older brother and former Ravens/Panthers/Redskins defensive lineman Ma’ake Kemoeatu.

It turned out just fine.

Chris Kemoeatu, who played guard at 344 pounds, battled the effects of a childhood illness that gradually weakened his kidneys. It was about a year ago that found out that he needed a kidney transplant, and his older brother didn’t hesitate to step up.

“I’m the oldest of the seven kids, so it was my responsibility to donate a kidney,” Ma’ake Kemoeatu said during Wednesday’s press conference at the University of Maryland Medical Center.

Chris Kemoeatu had to first undergo a coronary bypass surgery in the summer to correct a pre-existing heart condition six weeks before the transplant surgery.

“I had no idea what he was going through,” receiver Antonio Brown said. “I am praying for him for a speedy recovery. That’s my guy.”

Chris Kemoeatu was the Steelers sixth-round pick out of Utah in 2005 and went on to start 53 games including Super Bowl XLIII. Kemoeatu retired after he was released following the 2011 season.

The Kemoeatu Brothers in January opened Pacific Elite Sports Fitness Center in Kaneohe, Hawaii. PESFC is a cutting edge training and physical therapy facility that brings the best in new technology, nutrition and rehabilitation methodologies home to Hawaii.

Brown and Maurkice Pouncey were on hand in January for the grand opening.

“I’ve known for a while now (about his condition) and I am hoping for a full recovery from him,” Pouncey said. “He’s a great guy.”


September 11, 2014
by Alan Robinson

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Robinson: Brand new Steelers roundtable — Can Steelers solve no-huddle muddle?


Our latest Steelers roundtable with Alan Robinson, Ralph N. Paulk and Mark Kaboly takes on everything Steelers:

— Will Dick LeBeau’s defense ever get the no-huddle under control?

— Can the Steelers be this good on offense all season?

— Who is Mike Tomlin’s arrow up — and down — for?

Listen now!





September 9, 2014
by Mark Kaboly

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Kaboly: Former Steelers coach Bill Cowher weighs in on Ray Rice incident


NFL: Super Bowl XLVII-CBS Sports Press ConferenceCount former Steelers coach Bill Cowher among the people who feel that the Ravens did the right thing by releasing Ray Rice after video surfaced on Monday of Rice knocking out his then girlfriend, now wife, in an Atlantic City hotel elevator during a February, 2014 incident.

During a conference call promoting ‘NFL’s Thursday Night Football,’ Cowher said that the TMZ Sports video of the incident was “disturbing.”

“From a coaching perspective, you are with your team as much as you are with your family and there is a commitment you ask your players that is family-like in terms of sacrifice and dedication,” Cowher said. “I will just say to you as a father of three daughters (Meghan, Lindsay, Lauren), it was inexcusable and it was very disturbing. I think (the Ravens) absolutely did the right thing because there is no way that you want to condone that even by having that person in your building.”

Cowher will be at M&T Bank Stadium Baltimore on Thursday as he will join fellow analyst Deion Sanders for ‘NFL Thursday Night Kickoff’ along with host James Brown.



September 4, 2014
by Mark Kaboly

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Kaboly: Shazier, Tuitt take part in the TV show ‘The League’


We know Ryan Shazier can play football.

Apparently, the rookie can act, as well.

Shazier joined teammate Stephon Tuitt and a host of other rookie NFL stars on Wednesday’s season premiere of the comedy ‘The League’ on FXX.

Since I have never watched the show (I will probably start now), here is an excerpt from

“In what has become a hallmark for the series, the season premiered with an extended, cameo-filled dream sequence about the fantasy league draft. In the opening scene, Kevin MacArthur, whose gifted wife, Jenny, is also in the league (which constantly makes him feel emasculated), is trying out at the NFL combine as Rich Eisen narrates his paltry performance. In less than two minutes, we’re bombarded with an array of famous to not-quite-as-famous NFL stars: Carlos Hyde, Mike Evans, Taylor Lewan, Shazier and Tuitt.”

“It was kind of cool being out there doing something different,” Shazier said Thursday. “I definitely would love to do it again just to get my name out there. You never know what you could do after football. It was fun.”

Shazier said that he got hooked up with the show through “people who know people.”

The scene was filmed between the end of minicamp and the start of training camp.

Make sure you check out the podcast of the Steelers Roundtable featuring Alan Robinson, Ralph N. Paulk and Mark Kaboly. Listen here:

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