Offensive Line Archives - Total Steelers » Total Steelers

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Catching up on some stuff I missed last week, it was announced late Friday night that the Pittsburgh Steelers had fired offensive line coach Jack Bicknell Jr. This announcement came as a bit of a surprise to most as Bicknell has generally been credited for doing a pretty good job this season. If there was ever an example of making chicken salad out of chicken shit, what Bicknell did with our crew of journeymen and underachievers was it. I can’t fathom how much more the Steelers expected from him.

That is, if he was coaching the line at all. Our old friend Ian Rappaport, through his ever-popular “anonymous team source” – who we know is just the kid in the Steely McBeam costume feeding that nobody bogus scoops – tweeted that he heard Bicknell had been stripped of all on-field duties by the end of the year. While not a single one of the crack local beat reporters bothered to report this during the season, Jerry Dulac at the P-G did mention – shortly before Rappaport broke his “news” – that he had heard offensive line assistant Shaun Sarrett had taken over around mid-season. If that’s true, I guess we already know who the next O-line coach is. Continue reading »

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If ifs and buts were candy and nuts, every day would be Christmas…

The Pittsburgh Steelers laid a mighty whuppin’ on the Cincinnati Bengals, temporarily keeping their slim playoff hopes alive with a 30-20 victory on Sunday Night Football. The final score doesn’t accurately reflect how one-sided this game actually was. The Black and Gold roared out to a 21-0 lead in the first quarter and basically coasted the rest of the way. Meanwhile, Cincy never seemed to get on track, repeatedly shooting themselves in the foot with mistakes or ill-timed penalties. As Cris Collinsworth, a former Bungle, said after one of their players got flagged for taunting down while down 20 points, “Well, it’s the Bengals.” Continue reading »

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The Pittsburgh Steelers host the Miami Dolphins this Sunday at Heinz Field. Ordinarily, I’d begin this preview by trying to come up with some compelling reasons to get fired up for the game. In this case, hype really isn’t necessary. For the Steelers’ razor thin playoff hopes to live another week, they quite simply must win on Sunday.

Miami is currently one of the two remaining 6-6 teams in the AFC. I know I’ve been saying all along that the AFC’s second Wild Card might be 8-8 and I still believe that. With four games remaining, can anybody confidently predict ANY of the AFC teams in the hunt will run the table? Regardless whether that second Wild Card is 8-8 or 9-7, the last playoff spot is almost certainly going to come down to tiebreakers. Which is why the Steelers must beat the Dolphins – if they lose they can possibly make up the  game in the standings but they will never be able to make up the tiebreaker. Continue reading »

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The Pittsburgh Steelers have managed to claw their way back into the AFC playoff discussion. As I mentioned in yesterday’s game recap, a large part of their resurgence is due to recent line-up changes. A few of those changes were coach Mike Tomlin demoting guys due to poor performance but most of them came about because of  injuries. In nearly every instance where a starter has gone down, his replacement has come in and been an improvement.

Baseball has what is called a Lou Gehrig situation. Basically, Gehrig was a bench warmer until one fateful day when the starter was ill and couldn’t play. Gehrig took his place and performed so well he’d play every game thereafter for the next fourteen years. It’s a tremendous achievement but also a cautionary tale about how quickly and unexpectedly a player can find themselves replaced. Continue reading »

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playoffs

I have no idea how this NFL season is going to end. What I do know is it’ll probably be in the least likely way possible.

In a year full of twists and turns, the latest came Sunday when the Pittsburgh Steelers defeated the Cleveland Browns 27-11 to officially move into contention for the AFC Playoffs. The graphic above showing the Black and Gold as the second AFC Wild Card team was valid for about three hours yesterday afternoon. That is, until Tennessee beat Oakland to move ahead of us by virtue of a head-to-head victory earlier in the season. Still, the fact the same team that started out 0-4 and got epically blown out by the Patriots a month back is even in the playoff race is utterly insane.

Welcome to the parity-driven, NFL! Continue reading »

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Well, that sucked…

The Pittsburgh Steelers promptly took any optimism gleaned from their modest two game winning streak rolled it into a tiny little ball and tossed it in the trash with a 21-18 loss to the Oakland Raiders. Yesterday’s sloppy mistake-filled game set football back twenty years. There were nine penalties, five turnovers, two missed field goals, numerous dropped passes, and a blocked punt. Oh and let’s not forget four different left guards. Continue reading »

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I’m not sure we can say the Pittsburgh Steelers are all the way back. But they’re  getting there. Yesterday afternoon, the Steelers took a giant step toward digging out of the 0-4 hole that began their season by pulling off a last second victory over the Baltimore Ravens 19-16.

Last week, the Steelers finally broke out of the turnover slump by picking off Geno Smith twice. This week, they finally found a running game. Rookie Le’Veon Bell just missed his first career 100 yard game (93 yards) as five guys combined to pile up 141 yards of rushing offense. Bell averaged 4.9 yards a rush which was particularly impressive when you consider his longest gainer was only 11 yards.

Speaking of impressive, the running game got on track despite the offensive line suffering yet another setback. Marcus Gilbert was injured early on leading to Guy Whimper taking his place at right tackle. Whimper had been used exclusively at guard since coming here but is a tackle by trade so that’s not a huge shock – that they’d rather insert Whimper into a game than Mike Adams is. Adams did see some action when LT Kelvin Beachum was briefly shaken up but it appears he’s buried deep inside Mike Tomlin‘s non-existent doghouse. Continue reading »

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If you listen closely, you can hear Bruce Arians laughing.

Arians’ revenge upon the team that unjustly fired him is now complete in the form of recently acquired left tackle Levi Brown. The Pittsburgh Steelers had high hopes for the former top ten pick, penciling him into their starting line-up before he even stepped foot off the plane from Arizona. So confident were they in their new left tackle that the man he replaced, inept Mike Adams, wasn’t even dressed for Sunday’s game against the Jets.

Naturally, Brown got hurt in pre-game warm-ups and was unable to play. Continue reading »

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There was no Mike Tomlin press conference last week. Pity, considering how pissed Coach T appeared in the aftermath of the Pittsburgh Steelers loss to the Minnesota Vikings, I’m sure it would’ve been highly entertaining even if the questions are being furnished by the cheerleader local media. With the Penguins starting their season and the Pirates continuing to shock the baseball world, the media treated yesterday’s presser like a typical Pittsburgh sports fan: with stunning apathy.

While the sparsely attended affair wrapped in a tidy 15 minutes, there were still several juicy Tomlin nuggets worthy of note (and mockery). Read on! Continue reading »

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Kelvin Beachum, Kendall Reyes

Now that the bye week is over, its time for the Pittsburgh Steelers to turn their attention to this Sunday’s game against the shockingly competitive New York Jets. With no Mike Tomlin press conference last week and a CBA mandated four day break from practice during the bye, there was precious little info out of Steeler camp about those potential line-up changes Tomlin promised. And we all know Tomlin wouldn’t promise something without intending to follow through.

The most change looks to be coming to the team’s beleaguered offense line. It’s amazing to think after blowing two second round picks on Marcus Gilbert and Mike Adams that the team is already resigned to tossing them in the garbage heap but that appears to be where things are headed. The bye may mean newly acquired LT Levi Brown isn’t completely up to speed in time for Sunday although we saw Fernando Velasco walk in off the street and start at center in a week’s time. Word is the Steelers are eager to throw Kelvin Beachum into the starting mix – he’s been sharing first team snaps at LT with Brown – which means he’ll start at LT if Brown isn’t ready or at RT if he is. Continue reading »

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