Monthly Archives: August 2017

Modified Rapture: Falcons @ Steelers

USA Today Sports, Charles LeClaire photo

The start of this game was not promising. Nor the middle, for that matter. You could excuse the Steelers not moving the ball as efficiently with Joshua Dobbs at quarterback as the Falcons did with Matt Ryan at quarterback.

But it got more and more difficult to excuse the Steelers not moving the ball at all as the first teamers for the Falcons stayed on the sideline.

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The Case For the Pittsburgh Steelers, 2017

By Ivan Cole

 

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette/Peter Diana photo

Every year that I have been writing about Steelers football a highlight for me has been the team assessment I make just before the beginning of the regular season. It usually appears at the end of the preseason, around the time of the final cuts. The bulk of this year’s version will, more or less, follow that pattern. However, there are some elements of this season that are special and demand special attention.

 

That is not a typo. There are multiple opportunities/challenges for the Pittsburgh Steelers, and in particular, their leadership in 2017. This makes it a season like no other in my estimation, one that has the potential of defining an era, and not just relating to football.

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Life, Death, and Steelers

IMG_1946

Via WMU Football

This year’s training camp has been quite a roller-coaster ride. The hopes of Steeler Nation rise high as we see Ben putting the ball wherever he wants, whether that is in a garbage can, the crosspiece of the goalpost, the stomach of a recalcitrant cameraman*, or to be gently cradled in Antonio Brown’s arms. Then they crash to earth as we look at the list of injured players sitting out practice—a sort of Who’s Who of our best defensive players. Not to mention the League playing Whac-a-Mole with Martavis Bryant and the Steelers, seeming moving the bar every time Bryant thinks he’s hurdled it. (I realize that was a mixed metaphor, but it’s morning, people…) Read more

Maybe They Weren’t Giants: Steelers @ NYG

photo via Steelers.com

The Steelers won their first game of this young (pre-)season. We all know these games are meaningless, or so we’ve been telling ourselves for the past however many years, when the Steelers have lost most of them. It might not mean much, but it’s nice to see them win one, especially under the circumstances.

As we knew going into the game, many of the starters didn’t even see the field, except where their feet might have strayed onto the turf on their way to the sidelines. Those starters on the offensive side included Ben Roethlisberger, Landry Jones (abdominal strain,) Le’Veon Bell (who of course wasn’t even there,) Antonio Brown, Martavis Bryant (who was there but not playing,) James Conner (putative second back,) Maurkice Pouncey, and Alejandro Villanueva (concussion.) Did I miss anyone? Is anyone left? From last year’s starters, at least the majority of the season, the only guys on the field were Marcus Gilbert, David DeCastro, Ramon Foster, Jesse James, and Eli Rogers (if you considered him a starter.) And of course there were the extras—Xavier Grimble, Cobi Hamilton, Darrius Heyward-Bey, et al.

In other words, given they were working against the Giants’ first-team defense (with a few exceptions such as Jason Pierre-Paul) you might think the Steelers’ offense, led by the first rookie quarterback to open the preseason for a very long time, would be overmatched. And of course you would be right, although it might be just as fair to say many of the wounds were self-inflicted.
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Joshua Dobbs, Rocket Scientist with a Rocket Arm

photo via Steelers.com

One of the scenarios which seemed almost a slam-dunk this season was that Joshua Dobbs would be a “camp darling.” After all, the man he’s behind in the depth chart, Landry Jones, has somehow or other not managed to endear himself to the fanbase, despite being about what you would expect from a backup quarterback. After all, guys are generally backups for a reason.
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Training Camp Vignettes No. 2: Tuesday August 8


Via Tribune-Review/ Christopher Tyler Randolph photo

This is a very special edition of TCV, if you will, because I was joined by none other than Homer J and Ivan Cole! We met up at the Ruths Chris Steakhouse—well, okay, it was Eat 'N Park—just east of St. Vincent's to plan our strategy. And as long as we're on the subject, can anyone explain to me why it is "Eat 'N Park" rather than "Park 'N Eat?" It isn't like they visit your car, like Sonics of old. You have to park before you can eat, unless you walk there. The Eat 'N Park in my neighborhood (Squirrel Hill) doesn't actually have a parking lot, so it would be more accurate to characterize it as "look for a long time for a parking spot, then eat." I suppose that's rather long for a sign…

But I digress already. We finished our lunch, headed over to the promised land, and claimed seats. Unlike last week, we didn't get seats in the shade right off, although we were shaded by about halfway through practice. It almost wasn't necessary, though. Mike Tomlin must have been cross, because it was the most perfect day imaginable. There was absolutely nothing to make anyone uncomfortable—beautiful blue skies with scarcely a cloud in them, temperature around 75 degrees, and the gentlest of breezes. It was, in a word, perfect. Read more

Training Camp Vignettes: Wednesday August 2nd

Tuesday was supposed to be my first day at training camp. In fact, I got about a mile from my house in the Mean Green Momma-mobile before I thought to myself, "Wait, aren't the players usually off on Tuesday?" I pulled over, checked the schedule, and the answer was yes, they were.

So yesterday I repacked my cooler bag with St. Vincent's-approved beverages (water, in this case), grabbed my binoculars and a hat and various other necessities, including, for once, a yellow pad and pen, and headed out again. I was rewarded with a beautiful day in Latrobe. It was just the way Mike Tomlin likes it—sunny and hot. Fortunately I got there early enough to snag a seat in the shade, but it was still plenty warm.

As I sat and waited for practice to begin, which it wouldn't for another 45 minutes or so, I observed my fellow thrill-seekers. On my left was a family who had driven up from Atlanta. They were at St. Vincent's primarily because their son, who looked to be eight or so, is a rabid Steelers fan. (He inherited this from his grandfather, a Pittsburgh ex-pat.) His mother said that on the Friday before the Super Bowl the kids at his school were encouraged to wear their jerseys. Apparently the teachers forgot to specify which kind, because the son proudly rocked his Antonio Brown jersey amidst the sea of red. Read more

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