Tag Archives: Dri Archer

Meet the New Steeler: Brandon Brown-Dukes


Erie Times-News/Jack Hanrahan photo

I’ve always felt that having a hyphen in your name makes you just that little bit more special, so rookie running back Brown-Dukes (hopefully soon to be known as BD, which is easier to type] is next up. (According to Jim Wexell, Mike Tomlin calls him “Mercyhurst.” I still prefer “BD”)

Like so many of the UFDAs, BD comes from a small college, but few of them have his distinction of coming from a Western PA college—Mercyhurst College in Erie, PA. Excuse me, Mercyhurst University. But that’s a rant for another day… He was a late signing, as the Steelers called him to fill a spot in the rookie mini-camp when it was already underway. When he talked to the Steelers, he was about to head to Rochester for a job with a tire distributor.*

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Evaluating the Steelers’ 2016 Draft Picks: WR DeMarcus Ayers


Photo: Jon Shapley, staff, Houston Chronicle

Unlike the majority of the Steelers’ picks, Ayers wasn’t even on my radar in the lead-up to the draft. This was hardly his fault, of course, so let’s remedy this right away! Once again I’ll begin with the material from the NFL scouting report and continue on from there.

The NFL evaluators graded Ayers at 5.02 and projected him as a UDFA. I’m not going to get crazy with the numbers like I did yesterday, but I’ll just note that there were 16 guys graded lower than Ayers who were picked up in the 4th, 5th, and 6th rounds.
Ayers declared for the draft a year early, which led to the following comment in the “Sources Tell Us” section:

“Should have gone back to school and worked on his craft. Right now I don’t think he can distinguish himself enough from others at that same position. I need to see those system guys transcend the scheme and I didn’t see it.” — NFL personnel director

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Great Expectations, Abundant Disappointments? Steelers Third Round Draft Picks in the 21st Century

Historically, the Pittsburgh Steelers have done quite well at identifying talent and drafting good players. Naturally there have been a number of less-than-optimal outcomes. And despite what many people think, this did not begin with the Mike Tomlin era. Troy Edwards, anyone? Or Ricardo Colclough?

In recent years the Steelers have continued to draft some fine players. But the third round, a round in which the Steelers have drafted players such as Joey Porter, Max Starks, and Hines Ward, has seemingly been less impressive in recent years.

But have the Steelers really been that good at drafting in the third round in the 21st century? Despite a few major successes, the Steelers were right around the league average during the first decade of the 21st century. The release of Dri Archer, a player for whom many had high hopes and many more felt was a wasted draft pick, has started another round of the refrain “Tomlin doesn’t know how to draft.” This in turn prompted me to look back at the Steelers third round picks since 2000. (Ward was, of course, drafted in 1998 and won’t be considered further.)  Read more

5 Smoldering Questions On the Pittsburgh Steelers, Week 9

Post-Gazette, Matt Freed photo

by Hombre de Acero

Nine weeks into the NFL’s 2015 season find the Steelers record at 5-4 following a last minute victory against the Oakland Raiders. The Steelers won the game but again lost the services of Ben Roethlisberger, adding drama and intrigue to this week’s match up against historic franchise rival the Cleveland Browns.

1. You Are Mike Tomlin: Ben Roethlisberger is out this week, meaning Landry Jones must start. No one knows the status of Michael Vick. If Vick should be unable to suit up and the Steelers need to activate Tyler Murphy whose roster spot do you sacrifice? Read more

Massacre at Arrowhead: Steelers at Chiefs Game Recap

Post-Gazette: Peter Diana photo

Okay, so it wasn’t really a massacre. “Massacre” would be what the Dolphins did to the Texans in the first half (the score was 41-0 at the beginning of the 3rd quarter. And you have to say for Houston, they came back in the 2nd half and made it a game. Sort of.)

While the Steelers never led in this game, it never felt as if it was totally out of reach until quite near the end.

Homer J. had a lot to say this week. Here’s a amalgam of our observations. Homer begins with a host of questions:

Mike Tomlin says he chooses not to live in his fears. Sadly, Homer doesn’t have that luxury. With Roethlisberger and Vick out, and with the offensive line being a bit of a patchwork, my fears center around Landry Jones.

Kansas City has a fierce outside pass rush, and I’m relatively confident that Alejandro Villanueva can do a decent job, but the big concern is whether Cody Wallace is able to hold the center of the line so that Jones is able to step up in the pocket when the rush comes from the outside.

Also, the offensive line needs to establish a decent running game.

Will the week of practice produce a little better coordination between Jones and Antonio Brown? Read more

Afternoon of the Living Dead: A Discussion of the Steelers / Bills Preseason Game

AP Photo, Gary Weipert, via WKBN

Although we aren’t focused on current news on this site and aren’t really capable of “rapid reactions,” it did occur to me that we could have a Round Robin sort of game recap/commentary by utilizing the wonders of the interwebs. So this week we have comments from Clark, perhaps better known as PaVaSteeler, Mike, aka Homer J, and myself.

Ivan may also chip in some comments, which I will add in an update. He was mercifully spared watching the actual game because he was attending a board meeting of a group devoted to making life better for victims of human trafficking, which just goes to show that good deeds do actually go unpunished on rare occasions.

This is a test. If it were a real discussion, you would need to go to your basement and weep amongst your Steelers paraphernalia, because the Steelers would have just frittered away one of only 16 regular-season games in a most unseemly fashion.

Please let us know whether you enjoy this format, and if so whether you would like to participate. I suppose we could just have game threads, but frankly one doesn’t see people at their best or most coherent at those times, and I would just as soon avoid them.

If you wish to take part you may contact me via my website, Choral Music on the Edge. There is a “contact me” link on the top of the left sidebar. I haven’t yet figured out how to put a contact form on this site which doesn’t require a phone number and opening hours. And now, down to the business at hand.

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Steelers Training Camp 2015: Everything Belongs to Ben*

via Steelers.com

Ivan Cole and Rebecca Rollett finally made it out to Latrobe for training camp yesterday afternoon to continue their patented series on what’s happening.

As usual they will cover both the footbally stuff (mainly Ivan,) the sartorial, crowd, and what you might call beefcake issues (Rebecca,) and jointly take you to camp in a way no one else can.

As for the title of this article, it refers back to the “Ben’s Battleship” article, and to the picture you will see below, which was taken yesterday afternoon on site at St. Vincent’s. 

The Opening Salvos

There are traditionally a number of contests in which the players amuse themselves, I presume, as well as the assembled masses before practice formally begins. Shortly after we arrived we noticed Ben Roethlisberger and Maurkice Pouncey locked in mortal combat.

Actually, they were taking turns throwing a ball from a goodly distance towards the goal posts. This contest, which we also observed last season, is apparently a competition to see who could bounce the ball off the crossbar. Ben won.

Meanwhile several of the receivers and defensive backs were taking punts from the JUGS machine. This competition, definitely a fan favorite, requires the receiver to catch a ball, then secure it and catch another while not dropping the first one.

I have seen this contest every time I have been at camp. But Marcus Wheaton came up with a variation. He caught one ball, and then as the next one was coming in he gently tossed the first one in the air, secured the catch of the second ball, and then re-caught the first ball. Read more

Ben Roethlisberger’s Battleship: The New-Look Steelers

USA Today Sports, photo Charles LeClaire

I wrote an article in the 2012 off-season titled “Rooney’s Battleship, or, The Persistence of the Steeler Way.”  Something reminded me of this the other day, and I thought it was time to revisit the idea.

As you can surmise from the title, it had to do with the passing down through the years of a certain approach to the business of running a football team.

The “battleship” part comes from an old philosophical question called the Ship of Theseus.  It was first posed in Greek myth, and Plutarch wrote about it over 2000 years ago: Read more

Steelers Training Camp for Fans, Part Three: Why Drafts Will Never Be Perfect

TE Randy Grossman won four Super Bowls with the Steelers in the 1970's, finishing with 119 receptions for 1,514 yards and 5 TDs.

via Steelers.com

by Ivan Cole

One of the big goals I had in the early years of my life was to attend and graduate from college. Running parallel with my ambition was the fear that somehow I might not be good enough.

So many seemingly capable people were flunking or dropping out of school that it gave me reason to wonder if I had what it took to survive and thrive in that sort of environment.

After years of successful undergraduate and graduate study, as well as working as a college administrator I am always struck with how different my belief as an outsider of how and why students failed was so at odds with what was actually the case. Yes, for some the depth and complexity of the curriculum was too much for their best efforts. But just as often, perhaps more so, failure might come because they would not haul themselves out of bed and go to class.

Contemplating the Limitations of the Player Selection Process

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If You Haven’t Got Anything Nice to Say…

via Beautifully Invisible

by Rebecca Rollett

…come sit by me. Or so the late lamented Mae West was heard to say. I don’t know if Ms. West was a sports fan, but she would have fit right in with some of the sites I’ve seen.

I love reading about the Steelers and interacting with those who love them too. But I encounter wince-worthy comments on a regular basis. There seems to be an unspoken rule that once someone makes more than x dollars per year (“x” presumably being more than about 5 times the commenter’s annual salary) he becomes public property and may have his name bandied about at will. And since pretty much every guy on an NFL roster makes what seems like a lot of money to most of us, it would appear they are all fair game. Read more

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