Aug 302013
 

Pittsburgh-Steelers-Drew-Butler

Last season, the Pittsburgh Steelers rested almost half their starters during the team’s final preseason game. Mike Tomlin made the mistake of announcing this beforehand and fans reacted accordingly. I’m sure he got a stern talking to because when you make it obvious that a game doesn’t matter, people don’t watch and more importantly they don’t show up to pay overpriced parking or buy watered down beer. So this year, Coach T kept his intentions to himself.

Not that anything different happened. Last night, the Steelers played their fourth and final preseason game. And last night, Ben Roethlisberger, Troy Polamalu, Ryan Clark, Ike Taylor, LaMarr Woodley, Brett Keisel, Antonio Brown, Emmanuel Sanders, and even backup quarterback Bruce Gradkowski all didn’t dress.

It was Scrub-a-poloza in Carolina last night as the Black and Gold went 0-fer the preseason, falling to the Panthers 25-10. Thus concludes Pittsburgh’s first winless preseason since Bill Cowher’s final season back in 2006 and only their third in nearly 50 years. Again, the worst team ever, the 0-16 Detroit Lions, went undefeated that preseason so these games are hardly an accurate predictor of the season to come. Still, it doesn’t exactly instill one with a great deal of confidence coming off a miserable 8-8 campaign.

So, what’s Tomlin’s assessment of his team pulling a Detroit this preseason? Continue reading »

Wallace Watch Day 15 – The Plax Factor

 Posted by at 5:30 am  Mike Wallace, Preseason, Wide Receivers  Comments Off on Wallace Watch Day 15 – The Plax Factor
Aug 092012
 

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?

Oh.

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.

Bring Your Rabbit’s Foot To Heinz Field

 Posted by at 12:11 pm  Dennis Dixon, Mike Tomlin, Offensive Line, Preseason  Comments Off on Bring Your Rabbit’s Foot To Heinz Field
Aug 272011
 

The [intlink id=”19″ type=”category”]Pittsburgh Steelers[/intlink] face the Atlanta Falcons in the all-important third exhibition game tonight at Heinz Field.  If you’re going to the game, don’t walk under any ladders.  Stay clear of black cats.  And if you own a rabbit’s foot, by all means bring it with you.

The third preseason game is where many a season is won or lost.  It’s the game where starters see the most amount of work in anticipation of the season opener.  [intlink id=”45″ type=”category”]Mike Tomlin[/intlink] has already stated he’ll be be playing the starting units almost the entire first half.  Hopefully when that half is over, everybody will be healthy and ready for the regular season.

Beyond praying to the Injury Gods that they watch another game tonight, there will be a couple interesting little side notes to keep tabs on.  First, [intlink id=”85″ type=”category”]Tony Hills[/intlink], who has been a total bust as a tackle, will start at right guard.  The Steelers have talked of the move during training camp and this will be Hills formal audition for the job as for some reason Doug Legursky and Ramon Foster have fallen out of favor.  I don’t know what Chris Kemoeatu or Jonathan Scott have done exactly to be penciled in as sure thing starters either but I guess beggars can’t be choosers.

Also, for fans of [intlink id=”55″ type=”category”]Dennis Dixon[/intlink], this may be your last chance to see Slash 2.0 in the Black and Gold.  I believe Dix will get a lot of work in the second half as the Steelers try to showcase him for other teams.  I make no secret of my love for the guy but he’s not really what a Super Bowl contending team needs in a number three starter.  The Steelers would dearly love to get a draft pick for him rather than simply cutting him loose.  Considering the Raiders wasted a third rounder on a glorified power forward like Terrelle Pryor while the Colts just signed 45 year old redneck racist Kerry Collins to fill-in for an injured Pey-Pey, there has to be SOME market for a young quarterback with Dix’s upside.