Tag Archives: Chris Hubbard

5 Smoldering Questions on Steelers Free Agency

Photo via Steelers.com

By Hombre de Acero

The 2018 off season has already brought change to the Steelers with the next month promising to bring more, even if the Steelers remain quiet in free agency. But before any of that can happen, this corner of Steelers Nation must first resolve these 5 Smoldering Question on Steelers Free Agency.

1. In his post-season pow-wow with reporters, Steelers President Art Rooney II declared that “Its hard to play defense in today’s NFL.” While many will readily accept Rooney’s assertion, it was only 2 years ago that the Denver Broncos won the Super Bowl on the strength of their defense.

Do you think the erstwhile Steelers President might be a little too quick to let Keith Butler and company off the hook?

2. At first word was there’d be no changes to Mike Tomlin’s defensive staff, yet Carnell Lake resigned and Johnny Mitchell got kicked upstairs. Once praised for “The Lake Effect” Lake has been a lightening rod for criticism of late.

Even if you accept at face value his explanation that his resignation was a choice, do you think the Steelers secondary will be better or worse off under Tom Bradley?

3. The day one free agency signings of Mike Mitchell and Ladarius Green were out of character for the Steelers. The latter move was a complete failure, even if you accept that Green played well in the 6 games of the four year contract he signed. Mike Mitchell’s offers more of a mixed bag, but he still was not the impact player the Steelers needed him to be.

The Steelers of course have obtained the services of future Hall of Famers like Kevin Greene through free agency, as well as perennial Pro Bowlers like Ryan Clark and James Farrior.

But none of these were first-choice options of the Steelers.

Could it be that the Steelers simply aren’t suited for Splash Free Agency?

4. William Gay fell to free agency as a salary cap casualty. When the history of Steelers cornerbacks is written, the top five will read: Mel Blount, Rod Woodson, Jack Butler, Ike Taylor and Dwayne Woodruff.

Where would you rank William Gay?

Feel free to offer a range as opposed to a specific rank but be ready to defend your choice.

5. The Steelers have offered tenders to Anthony Chickillo and Chris Boswell, franchised Le’Veon Bell and if reports are correct, Chris Hubbard will have signed with the Browns by the time you read this.

Pittsburgh’s remaining unrestricted free agents are Arthur Moats, Justin Hunter, Daniel McCullers, Sean Spence and Stevan Ridley. Restricted free agents Eli Rogers, Fitzgerald Toussiant and Greg Ducre (who????) also have gotten no offers and are unrestricted free agents.

You are Kevin Colbert: Which of these players do you bring back for 2018?

Bonus Question:

6. It does not take a football genius or a Steelers news junkie to know that Pittsburgh’s most urgent needs in 2018 are inside linebacker and safety.

Which position would you target for the draft and which would you target via free agency? Offer examples and defend your choice.

Pittsburgh Steelers 2017 Fourth Quarter Report: Part Three

A658B5B2-FB0F-41DF-B4A6-05CE4892A8A7By Ivan Cole


Earlier in the season it all seemed upside down and wrong. Predicted to be the strength of the team, the offense was sputtering. They and the team were being carried by a defense which appeared to be as much of a surprise in the opposite direction. Folks were fully engaged in one of the favorite pastimes of Steelers Nation—hating on offensive coordinator Todd Haley. A few individuals were grumbling within the unit. There were suggestions that some players were losing one or more steps, while others had reached the ceiling of their capabilities. Had that juggernaut Steeler offense, led by the Killer B’s, been just a mirage, a tease?

Read more

On Second Thought: Giddyup, Let’s Go (Steelers)

by Homer J.

“Oh, it’s lovely weather for a victory together with you.”

Playing on the road in winter conditions can be too much, even for heavily favored teams performing at their best.

Napoleon was on a big winning streak when he took on the Czars in a big road game in Moscow. The weather, as they say, was a factor. The Czar’s field generals, General Mud, General Frost, and General Snow wore down the plucky little Corsican. The home team won the battle in the trenches, and humiliated the heavily-favored French, sending them limping home in defeat. Tchaikowsky wrote a song about it, or something, and they still play it on the 4th of July. 

Read more

5 Smoldering Questions: The High Flying Edition


Jared Wickerham/AP Photo

First I should note that “High Flying” refers to the Jets rather than, say, to any substances we sincerely hope our players are completely eschewing, at least until they retire…

1. Vince Williams has played in 55 NFL games (excluding the preseason, which scarcely counts) as of today. But as a starter his career has been checkered. He started 11 games his rookie year (2013,) three games in 2014, none in 2015, and of course the past two games this season. Here are his stats as a starter:

  • 2013: 33 total tackles, 0 sacks in 11 games (avg. 3 tackles per game)
  • 2014: 13 total tackles, 0 sacks in three games (average 4.3 tackles per game)
  • 2016: 25 total tackles, two sacks in two games (average 12.5 tackles per game)

This is a remarkable difference. Just for completeness, his average number of tackles as a non-starter in 2015 was 2.9 per game. He had a half sack. Any theories on what happened?

2. One of the beat writers (I think it was Ed Bouchette) noted that after one of his many drops Mike Tomlin was seen calming Sammie Coates down. It makes me think of Limas Sweed, another large, gifted receiver who had trouble holding onto the ball. My impression back in the day was that Limas Sweed was in Tomlin’s doghouse, and of course he was eventually cut. Do you think the difference in the treatment the two guys received (or appear to have received) is because of a difference in the receivers or a difference in Mike Tomlin?

3. Speaking of receivers, if you were the offensive coordinator and you were forced by some unfortunate circumstance or other to cut either Darrius Heyward-Bey or Markus Wheaton, who would get the ax and why? And no, you can’t answer “Eli Rogers.”

4. The offensive line for last Sunday was composed of a still-developing left tackle (Alejandro Villanueva,) a left guard who is still recovering from a sternum injury (Ramon Foster,) Maurkice Pouncey, David DeCastro, and a journeyman offensive lineman who has mainly played center or guard making his first NFL start at right tackle (Chris Hubbard.) Nothing we saw of Hubbard in the preseason would lead one to believe he was an even adequate right tackle. The Jets front four is very well-regarded. Considering all of the above, which option or options makes the most sense?

  1. The Jets’ defensive linemen are not as good as advertised.
  2. Mike Munchak is a genius
  3. Todd Haley is a genius.
  4. Other?

5. Be honest now. If the fake field goal had worked, would you have loved it or still been mad?

Don’t forget to show your work.

On Second Thought: Steelers vs. Jets


Via Steelers.com

Ivan and Homer J both have plenty to say about the game, as you might suspect. Homer’s is in the form of ongoing game notes, ending with a report card, and Ivan wrote a commentary. So I’m going to interleave the two in some sort of hopefully sensible fashion. Ivan’s commentary will be in italics, Homer J’s notes in bold. His Report Card will be in plain text, because that would be an awful lot of boldface…

Here we go. Is this a trap game? The big question is whether Hubbard at right tackle will mean Ben will have to run for his life all day….

Read more

Scouting for Steelers: the “Either-Or” Guys, Part 3


via Steelers.com

Hopefully this post isn’t moot by the time it publishes, because this is the time of the year when the Turk is the busiest man in the organization.

I wrote that on Friday, completely forgetting that the Steelers had to cut down to 53 by yesterday late afternoon. I’m going to leave the rest of the post anyhow, because I think the information is interesting, but I’m going to insert here my 53-man prediction, with the actual results following. Results which differ from the prediction are marked in pink, because I like pink. Afterwards you can read the rest of the original article if you fancy it.

Read more

Battle of the AFC North Semi-Finale: Assessing the 2013 7th Round Draft Picks and UDFAs

via Steelers.com

Two weeks ago I started a series revisiting the 2013 draft for the Steelers. You can read about the first-round picks here, the second-round picks here,  and the third and fourth round picks here. The 5th and 6th round picks are here:

Let’s get right to the players. I’m going to list the seventh round draft picks here and deal with the undrafted free agents later.