The NFL already has so many different revenue streams team owners are swimming in pools of money, Scrooge McDuck-style. Not content to stop while they’re ahead, the NFL is constantly trying to branch out into new areas. Having already cornered the market on selling XXXL size t-shirts to every adult male in Cleveland and obscenely priced Bumblebee throwbacks to the colorblind, the NFL is now trying to peddle more merchandise to women. To that end they’ve brought in a bunch of celebrities to be featured in ads aimed at chicks.
Guess who they have modelling Pittsburgh Steelers gear?
Why it’s Hines Ward‘s old partner and Big Ben’s biggest fan, Dancing With The Stars‘ Kym Johnson! Looks like Hines made a pretty big impression on her. Considering she’s Australian, I guess she was free to adopt whatever team she wanted. Between Kym and Russell Crowe, who appeared on the Steelers’ sideline a couple years back, the Black and Gold seems to be the official team of the Land Down Under.
Speaking of the Steelers, last night was the team’s final preseason game. I only watched about twenty minutes of it which was just enough time to watch Chris Rainey have two punt return TDs called back by penalty. Maybe they should re-hire Al Everest. It was also enough time to see third round pick LB Sean Spence go down with what appeared to be a season-ending injury. People are making a big deal about this but Spence probably wouldn’t have played much this year anyway. The far more important development was Casey Hampton being back in the starting line-up when many thought he wouldn’t be ready for the first month of the season.
The Steelers will have to cut down to their final 53 man roster by tonight. I’m heading out for a short Labor Day vacation so I’ll be back on Tuesday with an analysis of who they cut vs who they kept. In the meantime, enjoy this gallery of the newest (and hottest) member of Steeler Nation. And remember, if you’re a woman and these ads have convinced you to buy a jersey, for the love of Cope don’t buy one of those abominable pink things.
They’re worse than the Bumblebees.
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Rule number one of the preseason is don’t get injured. Rule number two is don’t get injured. Rule #3 is see rule number one.
I hate the preseason. I’m sure I’ve made that abundantly clear since I mention it in every one of these damn recaps. But it bears repeating because literally nothing good comes from preseason games. Honestly, outside of a Super Bowl or a AFC Championship game, the only time I’m truly a nervous wreck watching Pittsburgh Steelers football is during the preseason. Injuries can happen at any time but they’re a hundred times more galling when they occur before the season actually starts.
Luckily, coaches have figured out what a deathtrap exhibition games are so they play their starters sparingly. Unless you’ve brought in an entirely new coaching staff or starting a rookie quarterback, starters usually only play a handful of series in the first two games. It’s the third game that’s the tricky one as that’s where coaches usually give the starters an entire half to work off the rust picked up during the off-season. If something bad is gonna happen, it usually happens in that third preseason game.
Guess what? Something bad happened.
Shortly into Saturday night’s game against the Buffalo Bills, Marcus Gilbert, who spends more time on the turf than a groundskeeper, got thrown to the ground as usual. In falling, he took out round draft pick David DeCastro, who was actually blocking his man. The cameras soon spotted DD on the turf clutching his leg in agony. A few minutes later he was loaded into the Cart of Shame and left to assess the damage. After the game, Mike Tomlin would only offer that his injury “was severe.” While the Steelers still haven’t released any specifics, word from ESPN’s Adam Schefter (toldya the national guys are way more wired in than the local media) is that DeCastro tore his MCL, dislocated his knee cap, and damaged his patella tendon.
It appears DeCastro avoided the dreaded Double Whammy of an ACL/MCL tear. Which is sort of like being happy you got herpes but didn’t knock up your girlfriend when your condom broke. Although make no mistake, avoiding the Double Whammy is indeed a big positive. Despite conflicting reports from NFL.com and no official MRI report from the Steelers, reporters seem fiarly sure DeCastro’s ACL is okay.
For whatever reason (I’m not a doctor), an ACL tear is the worst injury imaginable. An MCL injury, while also serious, seems to be less dire. In any case, DeCastro will likely need surgery and I’m fairly certain he’s not going to be back this season. Lineman sometimes gut through knee injuries so depending on the severity of the damage, I suppose it could be possible for him to return late in the year but I have no idea why the Steelers would want to rush him back. We’ll see when the team releases an official medical report but until we hear different, I’d just assume he’s lost.
As DeCastro departs, the Steelers welcomed back Max Starks on Saturday. Mad Max looked good at LT. He had a few hiccups early but once he found his groove he looked just like the Max of old. Pretty sad that this team invests pick after pick on OTs yet keep turning to that old warhorse to bail them out every season. The new new look O-line will be (left to right) Starks, Colon, Pouncey, Ramon Foster and Marcus Gilbert.
DeCastro wasn’t the only casualty on Saturday. DE Brett Keisel was also helped off the field in some pain. Thankfully, it appears he only suffered an ankle sprain and should be okay by the opener. Of course, we know the Steelers love to lie about these things so who knows. If he has the dreaded high ankle sprain, that’s the kind of injury which lingers all year.
The good news was second year man Cam Heyward played in Keisel’s stead and did well. Remember Ziggy Hood languished on the bench for a couple years before the light bulb came on so perhaps Cam is a quick learner. The Steelers D looked terrific against Buffalo, generating a ton of pressure on Buffalo QBs which lead to several turnovers. I’m still not sure about the secondary but if the line and linebackers can dominate scrimmage like they did on Saturday, that’ll really cover for a lot of shortcomings.
Offensively, we got our first prolonged look at the Haley offense. Things started a little rough as the wide outs had a ton of drops which repeatedly stymied their drives. Manny Sanders, in particular, got open for a long gain but Sweed’d a perfect pass from Ben. The best action came late in the half with the Steelers backed up to their 1. Ben got them out of trouble by throwing a 30 yard bomb to Jonathan Dwyer…yes, Jon Dwyer. Isaac Redman finished up their previous drive with a tough 2 yard TD run so between iRed and Dwyer, the Steelers look to have a pretty impressive running back tandem. Early in the second half, Lefty came in after a pick by Troy and tossed another 40 yard bomb to AB.
Who says they have no deep game without Mike Wallace?
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Which evidently some 8.9 million of you watched. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. The Pittsburgh Steelers are America’s Team and so many of you can’t watch pre-season games because you live in other states. Add in the general public’s curiosity about Pey-Pey’s heir apparent Andrew Luck and I sorta understand why the game did bonzo ratings.
But, c’mon, it’s still a pre-season game!
Anyway, sorry for this update coming out a little late. Our pal Hennessy was supposed to present us with his take on Sunday’s meaningless action but he’s MIA so I figured I’ll jump in with what I saw. Which I have to admit wasn’t very much. To be honest, I only caught the second and part of the third quarters on Sunday because I was completely engrossed in the Pittsburgh Pirates‘ epic six hour 19 inning victory over the St. Louis Cardinals.
Screw you, Jerry Meals!
I did turn on the Steelers game in time to see Ike Taylor come down with a sweet interception. Clearly, they weren’t lying when they said Andrew Luck threw a really nice ball. If Ike was able to catch it, it must’ve been a perfect pass. A short time later, Cortez Allen came down with a ricochet INT which is a good sign for a D that didn’t force many turnovers last season.
The Steelers seem locked into Keenan Lewis being the starting corner opposite Ike while Allen plays the nickel role. I guess they figure Lewis’ size suits him better as a starter or something. He was pretty mediocre in the nickel role last year so it must be the Dilbert principal. In any case, I expect Allen will be in the starting line-up before year’s end because that kid has a really good nose for the ball.
The offensive line continued to look somewhat shaky. There are no doubt going to be some growing pains with David DeCastro and Mike Adams. They both do a great job run blocking but tend to get a little confused on passing plays. I can see where the rumor that DeCastro was struggling in camp came from as there were a few plays on Sunday where he clearly got confused. He physically seems fine, though, which is why I think he’ll start sooner than Adams.
Adams played a lot on Sunday as I think the team has figured out that he is indeed a bit raw. He still doesn’t look at all quick enough to handle outside speed rushers coming off the edge. That’s why I’m 99.9% certain at this point that Max Starks will be at LT on opening day. Adams isn’t ready, Gilbert started at LT Sunday but I don’t think they see him as a natural there, and Essex and Foster for damn sure aren’t starting unless Ben pisses off Mike Tomlin.
Speaking of Ben, he got to run a bit more of the Todd Haley offense this week. The Steelers went with a no-huddle for awhile which is a good sign because Ben always does well when the tempo is sped up. Chris Rainey got walloped early in the game but shook it off and came back to have a productive evening. It’s good to see he’s not as fragile as his slight frame suggested he might be. Antonio Brown had another big play catch-and-run TD which isn’t supposed to happen without Mike Wallace out there to “stretch the field.”
In the meantime, the Steelers also continue to stress their running game. Rookie FB Will Johnson made a couple nice blocks and both Heath Miller and Leonard Pope (who wasn’t supposed to be a blocking TE) brought their hard hats as well. Jon Dwyer continues to be the surprise of camp, looking fast, strong and explosive. If he can get and stay healthy, we may have a RB controversy because he’s looked tremendous in the two pre-season games.
The D wasn’t quite as lucky on the injury front. Yet another LB was lost when Stevenson Sylvester tore his MCL meaning he’ll be out about a month. Sly was the team’s top back-up at ILB so without him there’s a major depth issue with only starters Lawrence Timmons and Larry Foote really capable of playing major minutes at the position. On a positive note, I liked what I saw from James Harrison‘s replacement, Chris Carter. Carter is smallish (he looked smaller than several of the team’s safeties) but really quick off the snap and he’s always around the ball. I’d certainly rather have the Deebo/Woodley combo at OLB but Carter might be okay for a week or two. He certainly seems to offer a bit more than Jason Worilds, who didn’t really show much of anything when given a shot last season.
Finally, Charlie Batch got some significant playing time. Watching him sprint away from defenders on some sort of designed roll-out play made me think Haley had to goofing on him. Chaz can still wing the ball down the field but he runs about as well as my grandpa. Still, I think it’s going to be him and Lefty as the back-ups when the season rolls around. Jerrod Johnson definitely has talented but is far too raw to be trusted as a back-up.
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I hate NFL pre-season games. I understand why they’re necessary but I still loathe them. To me, they’re tedious, dull, and totally meaningless. I don’t know what’s worse, that they televise them like they’re actual games or that rabid football fans watch them and then buy that some undrafted third string linebacker who got a sack in the fourth quarter will actually see playing time during the regular season.
Teams would rather trot out a starting linebacker with one eye or starting quarterback with one leg *cough*Steelers*cough* than play the guys you see playing in the fourth quarter.
Last night, the Pittsburgh Steelers were edged by the Philadelphia Eagles on a last second field goal by some dude named Alex Henery. At least, that’s what Bob Pompeani told me because I turned the game off long before then. I did suffer through the first half and a few plays of the third quarter before flipping over to the Olympics to watch Usain Bolt blow everybody away in the 200 meters. Which reminds me, who thinks Kevin Colbert should give Usain a call? It doesn’t matter if he can catch the ball so long as he can run cheetah-fast in a straight line thereby “stretching the field.”
He probably wouldn’t want no damn $12 million a year to do it.
Anyhow, last night we got our first look at the Black and Gold’s new offensive coordinator Todd Haley, new offensive line, new backfield, new receiving corps, new secondary… Well, we we sorta got a look at them because coaches keep their game plans blander than Justin Bieber in a Disney movie because nobody in their right mind would waste valuable chunks of their playbook on a meaningless game. So while we saw all these guys on the field last night, we really can’t say with any certainty if they’re ready for some football (that counts). However, since I spent valuable Assassin’s Creed time watching this nonsense, here are a few totally random observations.
– I thought the offensive line was supposed to be good this year? It sure didn’t appear that way what with Ben Roethlisberger getting sacked twice on the opening drive and running for his life a couple other times. For the record, the starting unit was (left to right) Mike Adams, Ramon Foster, Maurkice Pouncey, David DeCastro and Marcus Gilbert. The bookends looked shaky, with Adams surrendering one of the sacks while Foster surrendered the other. Both Adams and Gilbert were repeatedly pushed backwards or ran around by a speed rusher in what looked like a repeat of the same old O-line play we’ve seen the past few years.
DeCastro looked pretty solid, though. He pulled on a number of plays and got downfield to block on several others. Him and Pouncey opened up a couple big holes which is a nice sign going forward. Speaking of the running game:
– Chris Rainey. Rainey took over Antonio Brown’s return duties which isn’t surprising because that’s why we assume he was drafted. What was surprising is he’s also taken over Mewelde Moore’s role as the third down back, where his elusiveness and ability to catch balls out of the backfield were on full display. At one point he took a third and long draw and converted a first down in what was probably the first team’s best play of the game. Rainey will never be a three down back (he ended up with 1 yard on 4 carries despite that 14 yard gain) but if you’re looking for this year’s Wallace/AB surprise breakout offensive star, Rainey may be your man.
– The running back battle. Redzone Redman is going to be the starter, we already knew that. The first guy to relieve him, and thus the nominal back-up, appears to be Jonathan Dwyer. Dwyer hasn’t done bupkiss during the regular season but he was the running star last night, ripping off 40 yards on only two carries. The Steelers gave rookie (technically, this is his second year but he blew out his knee before the season started) Baron Batch an extended look to mixed results (19 carries 41 yards, mostly against third and fourth string scrubs). He ran hard but straight ahead showing only mediocre speed and elusiveness. At 5’10 210, he’s not big enough to run like that which is why he got stoned on three tries from the goal line. Later on, he loosened up a bit and began making some cuts but I’m not sure he’s all the way back yet.
The good news is John Clay only got a handful of carries. That’s usually a tell-tale sign of a team wanting to hide a guy on the practice squad. Batch was also a draft pick and we know how Colbert likes to keep his picks around even when other guys are clearly better. I’m not giving up on Batch based on a single pre-season game coming off a major injury. But I am wondering if the team keeps Mendenhall around with the idea of activating him by mid-season, which back will be odd man out. Redman, Rainey and Dwyer look locked in, I don’t know if the roster has room for a fifth back.
– Speaking of injured players, Casey Hampton continues to work his way back from knee surgery so taking his place at NT was Steve McClendon. All McClendon did was record a sack on his first series as starter. Alameda Ta’amu is the future at nose but I liked what I saw of McClendon last season and it appears he’s picking right up where he left off.
– Poor Byron Leftwich. He should probably consider joining Mike Wallace on his couch until the pre-season is over because he’s snakebit in these games. No, he didn’t get hurt last night but Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie tried to behead him while he was attempting a pass.
Lefty looked fine, not too mobile but still possessing a good strong arm. Charlie Batch didn’t get in the game which I honestly don’t know how to take. Jerrod Johnson played the entire second half and looked like the second coming of Dennis Dixon, ie; Ran away when he sensed trouble, terrible accuracy, occasional flashes of competence. There was literally zero difference between JJ and DD except that JJ has apparently learned more than three plays. If the unthinkable happened and we lost Ben and Lefty, I wouldn’t trust Johnson any more than I trusted Dixon.
Then again, as the Philly fanbase thought while holding their collective onion-tinged breath when Michael Vick hurt his hand attempting a pass, you lose your starting QB and the season is lost no matter who you have backing him up. Let’s hope the team affords our superstar QB a little better protection than we saw tonight. Otherwise, we’re in for another loooong year.
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Later tonight, the Pittsburgh Steelers kick off the pre-season with their annual Battle of Pennsylvania against the Philadelphia Eagles. It’ll be our first look at the Black and Gold since that cold Denver night so many months ago. One person we won’t be seeing is wide receiver Mike Wallace, who continues his ill-advised hold out. The Steelers will some how have to find another receiver to make up the 3 catches for 26 yards he contributed in the Mile High disaster.
Welcome to another installment of Wallace Watch.
While Wallace has checked out physically by refusing to sign his tender and report to camp, Steelers management has begun checking out mentally in terms of wanting to negotiate with him. GM Kevin Colbert told a local radio station that he hasn’t talked with Wallace recently and doesn’t plan to until the selfish idiot signs his damn tender and shows up to work. Gerry Dulac of the P-G is also reporting that Wallace has lost all support from Mike Tomlin, who’s no longer pushing management to sign the wide out to a long term deal. When you’ve lost Tomlin, perhaps the biggest player’s coach in the NFL, you know you’ve done stepped in it.
Despite negotiations seemingly at an impasse, Colbert also reiterated he has no intention of trading Wallace. Nor should he. I’m not going to repeat what I’ve written time after time but the Steelers aren’t the ones over the barrel here. Wallace owes the Steelers one more year at his tender price before he can become an unrestricted free agent. Until he shows up and fulfills his obligations, he’s not going anywhere. Mike Florio at PFT floated the insane idea that the Steelers could pull the tender, thereby rendering him a UFA, and apply that money to signing a veteran wide receiver. Yeah, that’s how you deal with an asshole; give him exactly what he wants.
Besides, what veteran receiver could the Steelers possibly sign?
Yes, word has surfaced that the Steelers have been kicking the tires of ex-Steeler Plaxico Burress. There’s no doubt they had great interest in bringing Plax back last summer when he was first released from jail. Their interest waned quickly when a bidding war broke out with the dumbass Jets swooping in at the eleventh hour to sign Burress to a one year $3 million deal. The Steelers would want a deal more in line with what they gave Jerricho Cotchery (two years, $1.5 million per) which may not be doable with Plax facing a number of debts. Then again, nobody has shown much interest in Plax this off-season so beggars can’t always be choosers.
Would the Steelers be interested in trading one headcase wide receiver for another? Well, let’s make one thing clear: Plax isn’t Mike Wallace. Wallace is a big play threat who stretches the field while Plax is more or less a possession receiver at this point in his career. Where Burress would excel is as a red zone threat. Last season he caught 45 balls for only 600 yards but he snagged 8 touchdowns, the exact same number as Wallace, who caught twice as many passes and had twice as many yards. At 6’5 230, Plax has the kind of size that makes him nearly impossible to cover on jump balls in the end zone.
Considering red zone offense was one area the Steelers were woefully inept last season, having another big galoot out there is enticing. When you think of the success the Patriots had with Gronk and Aaron Hernandez, imagine how awesome it would be if the Steelers had their own Jolly Green Giant package with Plax, Heath, and/or Wes Saunders. Plus, we know Ben has wanted a big target for awhile now. Why not give your star QB what he wants, especially since Hines Ward is no longer here to moan about it?
Of course, PFT reported the Plax rumor as solid because it was tweeted by Uncle Eddy at the P-G, which all Yinzers know is laughable because ESPN’s Adam Schefter and John Clayton (who used to cover the Steelers beat once upon a time) have gotten way more scoops than Bouchette ever has. I will say this much for the rumor, though, the P-G (as all Pittsburgh media) has been and always will be a PR tool for the Steelers. As such, the beat writers usually report what the team wants them to report so if they’re talking about a “rumor” that Plax is on their radar, chances are somebody in the front office wants that story out there.
Now, whether they’re leaking this info because they want to send a message to Wallace that they’re prepared to go forward without him or whether they’re genuinely interested in Plax is the million dollar question. Or, in Wallace’s case, the $55.555 million dollar question.
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No, that isn’t the 2012 Cincinnati Bengals team photo done in artsy black and white. That picture there is of the 1934 Pittsburgh Steelers. And to be completely accurate, they were actually known as the Pirates at that point in their history. Professional football, you see, was still in its infancy and to gain some legitimacy teams often swiped names from their more respectable baseball brethren. Oh the irony.
Of course, we’re now in 2012 where anything and everything is on television. And nothing dominates the airwaves like the NFL. ESPN devoted three hours yesterday to the unveiling of this year’s schedule. THREE HOURS. For those of you who chose to spend that time engaged in more productive pursuits, such as waxing your unibrow or polishing off your backlog of Keeping Up With The Kardashians, allow me to break the special down for you:
30 minutes talking about Peyton Manning
30 minutes talking about BountyGate
50 minutes talking about Tim Tebow and the New York Jets
20 minutes of random SportsNation crap featuring the obnoxious Colin Cowherd and painfully unfunny Michelle Beadle
10 minutes of Jon Gruden caterwauling about how every team is a a promising contender, and that every player is a potential All-Pro
20 minutes of actual NFL schedule discussion
Now that you’ve avoided that bullet, head over to Steelers.com and take a gander at the Steelers 2012 schedule sans all the noise pollution. I don’t believe in breaking down schedules because, let’s face it, if I could predict entire seasons six months out, I wouldn’t be sitting here in Carnegie, I’d be in Aruba doing body sushi off Crystal and Chanteuse. I will say it’s a far cry from last year’s cream puff schedule, starting with a killer one-two punch of a Sunday Night game against Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos and then a slugfest with the Ratbird wanna-be Jets. I never root for injury to befall anybody but I can’t wait for Deebo and Mister Woodley to test out Pey-Pey’s bionic placenta-neck. And meeting the Jets in week 2 is actually a lucky break because they’ll probably still be starting useless Mark Sanchez instead of the vastly more talented Tim Tebow. From there, however, I foresee a tough road ahead especially when you play a game against every team in the NFL’s toughest division, the NFC East.
No word which games will feature the Steelers in their brand-spanking new throwback unis, which they really should give us fair warning so those of us with 1080i high definition LCD televisions know to kick down the resolution a notch lest they be blinded. Thank Tebow the NFL hasn’t moved to broadcasting in 3-D yet. I know Steeler Nation is the strongest, most passionate fanbase in the game but you either have to be drunk, color blind, or an extreme hoarder (of Steelers junk) to want to buy one of these monstrosities. I never thought I’d like a jersey less than those dopey pink jerseys they market to bubble-headed groupies who wouldn’t know a tight end from a, uh, tight end but these win in a landslide.
If the Steelers do plan on actually wearing these beastly things, let’s hope they do the right thing and make a big production out of it. Start with your honorary team captains, B. Brian Blair and Jumping Jim Brunzell.
And instead of playing “Renegade” to fire up the crowd, how can you not use this song:
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Hope everybody had a nice Labor Day weekend. Sorry for not updating the past couple days but as the proud grandson of a steelworker, I honor my forefathers by doing nothing more strenuous than throwing brats on the grill, cracking open a PBR and watching fireworks over Labor Day holiday.
While in absentia, the Pittsburgh Steelers finalized the roster which will lead them to legendary glory here in 2011 (and hopefully well in to 2012). The biggest surprise cut was second year cornerback Crezdon Butler. Butler played quite a bit during the preseason, struggling at times but also showing flashes of ability. The team is thin enough at corner that it’s surprising they’d just give up on a youngster so soon. It’s slightly reminiscent of last year when Joe Burnett played similarly well yet still failed to make the team. Then again, Burnett was a final round cut by the New York Giants this season so I guess Kevin Colbert knows what he’s doing.
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About those preseason games…
Sorry for being tardy with this update but watching the Pittsburgh Steelers final exhibition game last night left me feeling not unlike Alex after undergoing treatment in “A Clockwork Orange.” The tone was set early when Charlie Batch played two series then spent the rest of the game on the sideline wondering why the Panthers cheerleaders all look like they’re thirty-five years old. Mike Tomlin made no effort to disguise this farce, telling reporters afterward that if a player was suffering from anything more serious than a hangnail, they weren’t going to see action. I feel sorry for the people of Carolina who paid good money to see UFL level action at NFL level prices.
Remember, folks, Roger Goodell is all about listening to the fans.
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Remember back during the lockout when Roger Goodell had this crazy idea for an 18 game season? Remember how the Ginger Dictator justified this little slice of insanity by saying, “The fans have told me they hate meaningless football games?” Remember when it was revealed that the scheme would essentially cut the preseason in half with the final two exhibitions becoming regular season contests? Remember how this idea was met with howls of protest from coaches who said, “I absolutely need four games to determine my rosters and prepare for the season?”
Tonight the Pittsburgh Steelers have their yearly preseason meeting with the Carolina Panthers. In this fourth and final preseason game, which is absolutely crucial remember, head coach Mike Tomlin has already announced Ben Roethlisberger, Ike Taylor, Jerricho Cotchery, Troy Polamalu, James Farrior, Casey Hampton, Maurkice Pouncey and Bryant McFadden won’t be playing. But, hey, you’ll get a full half of Charlie Batch! ALL CHAZZ, ALL THE TIME! IT’S LIKE HITTING THE LOTTO AND SCORING WITH ROONEY MARA IN THE SAME DAY!
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Alright, who didn’t bring their rabbit’s foot?
Before the Pittsburgh Steelers kicked off their third preseason game Saturday night, I threw up a quick note beseeching those making the trek to Heinz Field to bring whatever good luck charms they may hold dear. I knew the starters were going to see significant playing time. And I knew that the last thing we needed was one of those starters to get injured in a meaningless exhibition game. When the game ended with not one, not two, but three significant injuries to key personnel, I knew somebody didn’t listen.
The ugliest injury belonged to back-up quarterback Byron Leftwich, who broke his left arm bracing his fall early in the second half. The camera didn’t cut directly to Dennis Dixon so we can only speculate whether he was sticking pins into his Leftwich voodoo doll at that exact moment. Seriously, how much luck can one man have? Dix must have been born with a horseshoe up his ass.