Don Ryan/AP photo
Because the 2012 third-round pick (Sean Spence) was such an interesting one, and because there was so much to say, I saved the (also interesting) 2013 third round pick for this article. Said pick would be wide receiver Markus Wheaton.
It has frequently been noted just how successful the Steelers have been with bargain-basement wide receivers in recent years, and how odd it is that they seem to have been so inept at choosing what is in essence an equivalent defensive position in defensive backs. And it is truly odd, and rather unfortunate. But I suppose we can at least be happy they have been so successful with receivers.
Ken Blaze/USA Today Sports
In this series we have been revisiting the Steelers’ draft picks from 2010-2013. Links for the previous articles can be found at the end of this one.
The third-round pick in 2010 was one of three pro-bowlers the Steelers chose that year. WR Emmanuel Sanders became part of a group who dubbed themselves “Young Money,” and they were correct. Mike Wallace disdained the money the Steelers offered him, correctly assuming he could make more in free agency. Emmanuel Sanders was allowed to walk by the Steelers because they already knew what they had in Antonio Brown (although perhaps even they didn’t foresee just how good he would get.) Sanders was able to command a nice contract with the Broncos, and ironically is the only one of the trio who has a Super Bowl ring.
The Bye Week for the Steelers in 2011 was rather late, as it didn’t arrive until Week 11. As Hombre de Acero wrote on that long-ago day in mid-November:
The Steelers bye week has arrived at long last. 7-3 is a good place to be at the bye (although it would be better if two of those losses were not to the Ravens.)
His questions that week were about how people felt about Jason Worlids after an extended look, whether Hines Ward’s career stats should be taken in consideration in game-planning, and special teams angst, a popular and recurring theme. But this is the question which caught my eye, and is actually very funny in retrospect:
Neal Coolong suggested that the Steelers were developing an unhealthy relationship with Antonio Brown. Do you fear that Roethlisberger might start leaning too heavily on Brown because of his phenomenal pass catching ability?
SA Today Sports/Charles LeClaire
On October 26, 2011, Hombre de Acero wrote:
The 2011 NFL season is 7 weeks old, with Week 8 rapidly approaching. The Pittsburgh Steelers are 5-2 and riding high on a three-game win streak. But all three wins have come against less than stellar competition. The Steelers took care of business and are now set to begin the “varsity section” of their schedule starting with this week’s game against the Patriots. Which brings us to this week’s 5 Burning Questions:
But rather than debate the present, Hombre first speculated about the “top-flight nose tackle” the Steelersi n his created scenario, drafted in the spring of 2012. Which as we all know didn’t happen. Nor did Hombre necessarily think it would. But it is interesting to reflect how far the team has evolved in one year under Defensive Coordinator Keith Butler that hardly anyone is talking about how we ought to look for a Casey Hampton type.
AP Photo/Jack Dempsey
The last time the Steelers played the Broncos seems like a very long time ago, but it has actually only been about a month. Despite the fact the Broncos were playing with their back-up quarterback, Brock Osweiler, at Heinz Field, many had this down on their calendars as a Steelers loss. The main reason for this was the more-than-adequate offense coupled with a ferocious defense.
The rematch is, of course, in Denver. It features a Broncos team at close to full strength, Peyton Manning back under center, and a whole lot of question marks on the Steelers’ side. As Mark Kaboly of the Tribune-Review tweeted:
I’m guessing that if any of us had known this on September 8th, the day after Fitzgerald Toussaint was signed to the Steelers’ practice squad, we would have been completely shocked to discover it was a second playoff game in which this scenario might take place. And it doesn’t look very good when you lay it out that way.
So despite the come-from-behind win over the Broncos in December it is hardly surprising Denver is favored by a touchdown. In fact, the surprising thing is that they aren’t favored by more. Yet. Should it become evident that Antonio Brown can’t play, I’m guessing that will go up. [UPDATE: Antonio Brown has been ruled out.]. And if it looks as if Ben Roethlisberger can’t play, I’m guessing you will hardly be able to find anyone who is taking the Steelers.
Which is just how our guys like it. They like to be the underdogs—to be overlooked. So there’s that. But I haven’t got a lot of good news otherwise.
via CBS Sports
by Hombre de Acero
Denver brought the NFL’s best defense into Heinz Field. For 30 minutes the Broncos got the best of Pittsburgh, but the Steelers rallied to win 34-27. The win improves the Steelers’ record to 9-5 and momentarily gives them the sixth seed in the AFC Wild Card race. But historic rivals Baltimore and Cleveland stand in Pittsburgh’s way….
Before Pittsburgh can confront its demons in Charm City and on the Mistake by the Lake, Steelers Nation must first resolve these 5 Smoldering Questions.
1. The win over Denver was dramatic by any measure. Just how important are you ready to say it is with two weeks to go in the regular season?
via Denver Post/ Steve Nehf
Another Sunday, another ferocious defense. I hope Capt. Villanueva, The Big Ragu, Dr. Wallace, David DeCatastrophe, and Marcus Gilbert (pronounced “Jeel-ber”) have been eating their Wheaties or whatever their breakfast of champions may be, because there are some nasty pass-rushers on the Broncos.
But before I get into too many more details, there’s something we all need to see, in honor of both the game and the holiday season, from St. Myron of Cope:
If that doesn’t warm the cockles of your heart, you’d better order in a new supply of cockles, folks. Read more