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.
Credit where it’s due – for once, Mike Tomlin didn’t issue a hollow threat.
After the Pittsburgh Steelers fell to 0-4, Coach T issued a fiery proclamation that guys would start doing their jobs or he’d find people that would. That’s all well and good but in football there isn’t a lot of wiggle room in terms of line-up changes. Your 53 man is your 53 man and other than adding a veteran free agent or promoting a guy off the practice squad, there’s not much tinkering you can do. Well, yesterday the Steelers found one other way: phone a friend.
Why don’t the Arizona Cardinals just change their colors to Gold and Black and be done with it?
Former Pittsburgh Steelers offensive coordinator and Indianapolis Colts interim head coach Bruce Arians has been named the new head coach of the Cardinals. He replaces another ex-Steelers OC, Ken Whisenhunt, who was fired despite being the most successful coach in Arizona history. Arians beat out several other candidates for the job including current Steelers OC Todd Haley and former Steelers secondary coach/current Arizona DC Ray Horton.
The bottom line here is Bruce Arians is now an NFL head coach. This culminates a strange odyssey which began over a year ago when he was happily entrenched as our OC despite constantly drawing the ire of loudmouth yinzers who blame every setback on playcalling. BA was extremely close with QB Ben Roethlisberger and their buddy-buddy relationship was seen as a main reason the Steelers’ offense became more and more pass heavy in recent years. Steelers President Art Rooney II didn’t like this situation and went over head coach Mike Tomlin‘s head to engineer Arians’ firing shortly after the Steelers got Tebow’d out of last year’s playoffs.
Note I said Arians was “fired.” At the time, the dishonest Steelers front office told reporters that Arians was actually retiring. Of course, his “retirement” lasted all of two weeks as he soon accepted a job as OC for the Indianapolis Colts. I don’t mean this to sound callous so please understand when I say with the utmost sympathy and respect that hooking on with the Colts turned out to be an extremely fortuitous move for BA. Indy head coach Chuck Pagano was diagnosed with leukemia which left Arians the interim head coach for the bulk of the season. By leading a team full of young players one year removed from the worst record in football to a 9-3 mark and playoff berth, Arians emerged as a hot head coaching candidate.
Arians certainly has his work cut out for him in Arizona. I had my issues with his Flying Circus style of playcalling but he was never as bad as Steeler fans made him out to be. As we saw with Haley this past season, OCs are only as smart as their players execute. You can’t run unless you have a good line and good backs and you can’t score points if your receivers can’t catch the ball.
What Arians is undoubtedly good at is working with quarterbacks. He was the OC in Cleveland when they made the playoffs with the likes of Kelly Holcomb and Tim Couch. He was Ben’s QB guru from the moment he set foot in Pittsburgh. Last season, he did a masterful job with first overall pick Andrew Luck. The QB position was an absolute disaster for Arizona this year so in many ways the choice of Arians would seem a perfect fit.
I think I speak for all of Steeler Nation when I say we wish him well.
The Pittsburgh Steelers have lost yet another player in an off-season that’s proving a huge boon to our local U-Haul franchises. Starting cornerback William Gay has signed with – I hope you’re sitting down – the Arizona Cardinals. Shocking news, I know. Somewhere, Hines Ward has to be kicking a chair and wondering how was it that Pittsburgh West couldn’t find a place for him.
Ironically, this isn’t the first time Ken Whisenhunt has imported a starting corner from his former team. Following our victory in Superbowl XLIII, the Cards signed then starting CB Bryant McFadden to a big money free agent deal. B-Mac flamed out spectacularly and was eventually traded back to the Steelers the following season. McFadden started for a Steeler team that was once again Super Bowl bound but was injured this past pre-season and by the time he was healthy he had lost his starting job to, yes, William Gay.
Let’s hope Will.i.am fares better than his predecessor.
For the newbies who wonder why I’ve always spelled Gay’s first name with strategically placed periods, the video above should answer your question. When he made an idiot of himself by treating the crowd at our last Super Bowl victory parade to his impromptu musical stylings, I decided to dub him Will.i.am in tribute to his budding music career. The gig in Arizona better work out because I don’t think all the Auto-Tune in the world could salvage that singing voice. At least Kanye has some sick flow, yo.
Truth be told, though, I will miss Will.i.am. His is one of the better redemption stories of recent years. When B-Mac left, Gay was thrust into the starting line-up where he became far and away the most picked on corner in the NFL. After a season long demotion back to nickel, a position he’s always filled admirably, Will.i.am battled back to reclaim his starting job this season. The second time was the charm as he played very solid corner and was a big reason the Steelers finished the year with the league’s top ranked pass defense. Who can forget his Big Gay Interceptions against Cincy and Cleveland which effectively put those games away for us?
Scuttlebutt has it Arizona Pittsburgh West is going to use Gay as their nickelback behind second year player AJ Jefferson and rising star Patrick Peterson. If anybody should know how to use him, it’s former Steelers secondary coach and current Cards defensive coordinator Ray Horton.
Meanwhile, the Steelers will go into this season with a new look secondary. Keenan Lewis did a decent job playing the nickel and the former third round pick will be given every opportunity to claim the starting job opposite Ike Taylor. Lewis has talent but he’s been slightly injury prone over his short career and has a times looked lost in man coverage. Cortez Allen had an impressive rookie season, becoming the rare newb who sees significant playing time in Dick LeBeau’s complicated defense. He has the size (6’1) you like in a corner and has a definite nose for the football but 2012 will still be only in his second year as a pro. Barring the Steelers drafting a corner early in this year’s draft, it appears Taylor, Lewis, and Allen will comprise the secondary.
From cutting Greg Lloyd and letting Barry Foster walk to releasing Joey Porter and ridding themselves of Santonio Holmes, the Steelers have never been afraid to turn over their roster. And more often than not, the players they bring in are as good or better than the ones they let go. Still, by my count the team has now lost, either to age, injury or free agency, five starters from last year’s squad. When’s the bleeding going to stop?
The [intlink id=”21″ type=”category”]Pittsburgh Steelers[/intlink] defeated a game but over-matched Arizona Cardinals 32-20. It was allegedly a home game for the Cards but whenever CBS cut to a crowd shot, all you saw was a sea of Black and Gold. A bunch of Cardinal fans had pathetic little flags which I assume the locals handed out to counteract the Terrible Towel although it was to no avail. I’m used to Steeler Nation taking over opposing stadiums, to the point I hardly ever mention it in my recaps, but yesterday may have been the largest hostile takeover since Gordon Gekko tried to take over Bluestar Airlines.
The game started off tremendously for the Steelers. Lawrence Timmons batted a Kevin Kolb pass that was intercepted by [intlink id=”60″ type=”category”]Ryan Clark[/intlink]’s mouth. If only we could stuff it with a football. That’s our second interception of the season, by the way. [intlink id=”57″ type=”category”]Troy Polamalu[/intlink] just missed our third on the Cardinal’s next possession when he dropped a ball that hit him between the 4 and the 3. [intlink id=”14″ type=”category”]Ben Roethlisberger[/intlink] capped the drive by hitting Heath Miller for a 12 yard score and when Arizona went three and out on their next drive it seemed the route was on.
Big Ben marched the team into Arizona territory before [intlink id=”85″ type=”category”]Chris Kemoeatu[/intlink] lumbered ten yards down the field like a charging rhinoceros and decided to spear somebody about ten seconds after the play had ended. The personal foul ruined the drive and the Steelers were forced to punt. The Cardinals still couldn’t get anything going and the teams exchanged punts until Ben finally said “Screw it. Go deep!” and hit a streak of yellow aka [intlink id=”82″ type=”category”]Mike Wallace[/intlink] for a 95 yard touchdown bomb.