Tag Archives: Darrius Heyward-Bey

Fresh Eyes: Part III

Screen Shot 2019-08-19 at 1.58.44 PMTevin Jones; Karl Rosen photo, Steelers.com*

by Ivan Cole

Question # 3: Will the road to a championship in 2019 run through the Steelers wide receivers room? 

A week or so ago this would be a somewhat over the top question, but not by much. If you subscribed to the idea that the losses of Le’Veon Bell and Antonio Brown would be critical factors in the ability of the Steelers to compete then there is some relevancy here. Additionally, the circumstances for the receivers would be different those for the running backs, who have already had to cope with the absence of Bell. This brought to bear a series of complex questions concerning how this group, with JuJu Smith-Schuster as the centerpiece, would respond. 

And then Darryl Drake passed away.  Read more

Pittsburgh’s Goin’ to the Super Bowl: Ask and Ye Shall Receive


The title seemed appropriate to celebrate the news of Antonio Brown’s massive extension. And no, he didn’t get a new hair style, although I suspect he will, just to mark the occasion—he got a nice fat contract.

I expect if you are a betting sort of person you can find a site someplace in which you can lay down money on the odds of him committing even more outrageous and extravagant hi-jinks, now that he has $19 million in guaranteed money to tide him over, besides all the rest of it. We can only hope his post-season heart to heart meeting with Mike Tomlin at a downtown steakhouse included some equally extravagant promises of future good behavior. But in the end I expect what they mainly care about is future performance.

Because of this news it seems appropriate to address the wideouts. So let’s get this out of the way first. We just looked at the defensive backs and pondered why it is that the Steelers, who have come up smelling like roses in drafting later-round wide receivers, have generally smelled like something else in their drafting of defensive backs. goffthesloth left a very interesting comment on that post, which I quote in its entirety: Read more

5 Smoldering Questions: Post-Thanksgiving, Pre-Giants


via Steelers.com

by Hombre de Acero

For the first time in 66 years the Steelers snapped their Thanksgiving curse. They did so in authoritative fashion, to the tune of a 28 to 7 victory over the Indianapolis Colts. Two convincing wins in five days, albeit over struggling teams, has led some to suggest that the Steelers have turned a corner, an important one.

The New York Giants figure to offer stiffer test this week at Heinz Field.  But before taking on that challenge, this corner of Steelers Nation must first answer 5 Smoldering Questions on the Steelers. Read more

On Second Thought: Patriots at Steelers

Via Steelers.com

via  Steelers.com

I’m afraid I haven’t had the time to have many second thoughts about the game. I’m getting ready to catch a plane and all that entails, and there just wasn’t time to review the tape. But I do have a few more thoughts, in a sort of “Good News, Bad News” format.

But first, here is a link to Hombre de Acero’s writeup of the game. He gives lots of stuff to chew on, and some really interesting perspectives. Do check it out.

And now, here’s the Bad News (which I always like to get out of the way as soon as possible.)

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Flopping in Miami: Steelers at Dolphins


(AP Photo)

This is another of those game recaps nobody wants to write. It’s easy and fun to write about a win, but I find with a loss, especially one as disheartening as this one, it’s difficult to force oneself to focus on the task at hand, being as one would prefer to forget the whole thing. So this will be one of those “highlights and lowlights” sort of posts, and we will leave the heavy hitting for Tuesday.

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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.

Steelers vs. Chiefs: The “Righting the Ship” Edition


Jason Bridge/USA Today Sports

I admit it. I was nervous about this game. I was nervous about the Kansas City defense taking out critical Steelers offensive players such as Ben Roethlisberger. (In fact they did manage to take out Darrius Heyward-Bey, who had a touchdown pass and a special teams play which pinned Kansas City at about the 2 yard line. And Marcus Gilbert left with an ankle injury.) I was also worried about Marcus Peters, their second-year corner who leads the universe all-time in interceptions.

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Character (Ac)Counts: Scouting for Steelers


Keith Srakocic, AP photo

I’ve gotten a bit behind on my reading. How far behind? I just got around to the May 9 edition of ESPN Magazine. I clicked on an article which seemed vaguely interesting  [no more paper subscriptions for me!] and struck gold.

The article in question is called In the age of analytics, putting the focus back on scouting.”  As you might suspect from the use of “analytics,” it’s about baseball. But bear with me.

The article is written about the Midwest Territory scout for the Minnesota Twins, Mike Ruth. As it begins he has shown up to a voluntary workout at Tulane, a week before official practices begin. As he stands in the cold, nearly alone except for a few university people, who should show up but a scout he recognizes immediately, because he is from another small-market team, the Pittsburgh Pirates.

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Training Camp Battles: Wide Receivers


Jason Bridge/USA Today Sports

Links for the other articles in the series can be found at the bottom of the page.

Before last Friday’s game I would have said that the wide receiver situation was entirely straightforward. Antonio Brown is the unquestioned No. 1, and Markus Wheaton is the No. 2, as he’s better on the outside than in the slot anyhow. The No. 3 is Sammie Coates, and the Nos. 4 and 5 are Eli Rogers and Darrius Heyward-Bey, in whichever order.

After Sammie Coates had a seriously disappointing game, has this changed? Actually I don’t think so, unless he continues to struggle in game action. My guess is, like quite a few of the youngsters, he was trying too hard. In camp he makes it look effortless. Obviously, if he can’t translate the stuff he does on the practice field into game action, that’s another story. But he already has a nice track record in admittedly a very small sample size, in not only NFL games but playoff games.

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Week 3 of Dancing With the Stars: Antonio’s Rubicon?

Week 3It’s Week 3, and things are heating up. Antonio Brown slipped from tied for second place (along with about five other people) in Week 1 to being in sole possession of fifth place. In other words, only four up from the bottom.

The buzz before the broadcast was that AB’s oldest son would join him for his Week 3 dance, and his son is a pretty cute kid. I’ve watched him run sprints with the players at training camp under the proudly beaming face of papa, and I’m guessing he will be quite the little showman.

But let’s see what actually happened. First, back to 2011.

Hines Ward: Samba

It was “Story Night,” and Hines’ “story” honored his mother. Hines requested a black and gold costume and pulled out a Terrible Towel to twirl at the end.

Instead of the current 2-hour format, at that time there were two one-hour shows on back to back nights, will the second night being the results show. On that occasion, when the judges gave their results, they stood up and twirled Terrible Towels as well.

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