Tag Archives: Heath Miller

Then and Now: The 2015 and 2016 Steelers

11292015-HAWKShighlights01We are coming up to the stretch run. Five more games to play, the division in sight but not in hand, and the Steelers are (perhaps) rounding into form. It sounded vaguely familiar to me, and I thought I would have a quick look at the situation a year ago.

One year ago the Steelers were 6-5, having just lost to the Seattle Seahawks. The team had been highly inconsistent during the season, but having to start a couple of backup quarterbacks is generally not a recipe for success. The defense, who had been showing signs of getting it together, gave up five touchdowns to Russell Wilson. The Steelers offense put up 30 points. The remarkable thing is they did so in a game in which they turned the ball over four times. But 30 points weren’t enough to counter a meltdown of massive proportions by the defense. Read more

5 Smoldering Questions: Bengals at Steelers Edition


Gene J. Puskar/AP Photo

As noted last week, Hombre is unavailable for an indefinite amount of time, rather like Ladarius Green. Unlike Green, he can come back before six weeks are up, but may or may not, depending on how his fingers are doing and whether he is still having headaches. Or not, depending on who you ask…

My attempt is not to replace him, because like Heath Miller, you can’t hope to do so. You can only hope to keep things going and throw a few good blocks in the process.

1. Is there a solution to the refereeing issues we’ve been seeing in the past few seasons in particular? Is it full-time referees, like pretty much every other professional sport has, or fines for poor performance? Or do we just have to accept that they are human beings who can’t catch everything?

2. Ben Roethlisberger called Sammie Coates out after the interception last Sunday in which Coates stopped running, allowing Dre Kirkpatrick to get the ball instead. Coates responded with some great catches. Ben did the same thing with Martavis Bryant last season, with similar results. I just read that Sammy Watkins in Buffalo is prone to inconsistent effort as well. Is there something in the mental makeup of tall, quick receivers which causes this, or is this merely coincidence?

3. What was your favorite play (or aspect) of Sunday’s game?

4. Are you concerned that the low sack totals (you could argue that the Steelers don’t have a single one yet) and high yardage given up is going to be inconsistent with winning efforts in the games to come? Do you think it is likely to change for the better?

5. Who is the player who is, for you, the most pleasant surprise so far? Who is the player in whom you are most disappointed?

You know the drill. Show your work, feel free to look at other people’s answers, and be sure to color in the little circles completely with a No. 2 pencil.

Training Camp Battles: Tight Ends


Gene J. Puskar/AP Photo

Although it would seem that running backs or wide receivers would be next in the progression, I think the tight end situation poses the most interesting questions just now. The retirement of Heath Miller, who I believe the Steelers thought would play this year, and cutting of Matt Spaeth, who failed his physical after knee surgery in the offseason, has left a gaping void, and as we know nature abhors a vacuum.

The Steelers lost no time after the start of free agency in signing Ladarius Green, but it is troubling that there is still “no timetable for his return” from the PUP list. So since it just wouldn’t do not to have a veteran presence, the Steelers re-signed David Johnson, who is back after two years with Green’s old team, San Diego.

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Meet the New Steeler: WR Canaan Severin


Virginia Sports.com

There has been a fair bit of buzz about Canaan Severin since the Steelers signed him as a UDFA this spring. I am predicting he will be one of this year’s camp darlings. He’s got everything to achieve this status, as far as I can tell—he wasn’t drafted, he’s tall, he’s fast, and there are some seriously impressive catches on his 2015 highlight reel:

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A Blast from the Past: Third Round Part 2

Charles LeClaire/USA Today Sports Sean Spence takes the field during his rookie training camp.

The 2012 third round pick was someone we were all pretty excited about by partway through his first training camp. Sean Spence was fast, and he was a football player. Before that, though, some of us had concerns about him. The first knock on him was his size, the second his intelligence, the third his character. All of these except possibly the first are ironic in retrospect. Here’s what I wrote immediately after he was drafted:

Mike Tomlin said in the post­-draft presser, “he encompasses a lot of football character things that we value.” But there were some concerns. Reportedly, he got a 12 on the Wonderlic, and he was suspended for one game in college for “receiving improper benefits.” The NCAA violation was already an issue with the second round pick. In Spence’s case it was not a big deal. It does, however, call into question his intelligence, which was already reeling from the blow of getting a 12 on the Wonderlic.

But how much does the Wonderlic really matter?  It is a multiple choice intelligence test given at the combine, and is used by employers. It is designed to test the capacity of prospective employees for problem­ solving and learning. A score of 20 (out of 50 questions) indicates average intelligence, correlating to an IQ of around 100. Read more

Rookie Indoctrination—The Steelers’ Culture of Service


via Steelers.com

I’ll admit it—I’m a little under the weather. Or perhaps it is the weather that is a little over me. I’m in a very nice part of the world at the moment, but it isn’t very nice in this part of the world. I feel as if I’ve scarcely seen the sun for weeks, and when one has just survived another Pittsburgh winter one tends to feel entitled to some good weather.

And I’ll be honest—I’ve hit a bit of an off-season wall. There is plenty of stuff to write about, but my enthusiasm for figuring out what it might be and actually doing so is at a rather low ebb. Hence I found myself listlessly perusing the video section on Steelers.com, looking for some sort of inspiration. And boy did I find it.

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Meet the New Steeler: TE Ladarius Green


Photo: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Way back when, I profiled OT Ryan Harris, and promised posts on the other new guys as well. But somehow life, and the draft, intervened, so it is only now I’m continuing the series. Since Green was probably the biggest free agent signing, he’s up next.

From the alacrity with which the Steelers moved when Green became available, and the enthusiasm with which they pursued him (Mike Tomlin even went to visit him personally) it seemed pretty clear that not only did the Steelers want a No. 1-type tight end, they wanted Green in particular. Read more

A Blast from the Past: Mop-Up Duty

via Week 17 Legend a Ryan Clark tackle showing classic form

The December 28 2011 edition of 5 Burning Questions certainly began on a more cheerful note than that of the previous week. A 27-0 shutout, even of a bad team, will do that for you. (In fact, some might argue that the fact the Rams weren’t a very good team made them actually happier, as it showed the Steelers were capable of beating the teams they “should” beat.) But as Hombre said,

…even such a victory as this has left us with plenty of material for this week’s installment of the 5 Burning Questions.

The question which intrigued me the most was this one:

3. Michael Bean spelled out a number of individual milestones that players can reach in the Cleveland game (click here for Michael’s list). All these milestones are understandably important to individuals in question. But which individual milestones, if achieved, will tell you that the team is headed in right direction with the playoffs starting?

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5 Smoldering Questions: Free Agency Edition

via stillcurtain.com

by Hombre de Acero

The Steelers are in their second week of free agency, yet already the South Side has seen a whirlwind of action as Steelers Nation doesn’t know whether its saying bye or saying hello…. While Kevin Colbert and Mike Tomlin have many more chess pieces to move before it is all over, enough of the board has been set for 2016 for Going Deep Steelers to pose 5 Smoldering Questions on Free Agency and the Steelers 2016 Off Season thus far.

1. If there was ever a spot in Steelers Nation that appreciated Heath Miller’s contribution to the Pittsburgh Steelers it was this site. Numbers might never do Miller justice as a player, but perhaps they can reveal what he meant to the Steelers:

Heath Miller Stats vs. Rest of Steelers

The graphic at left ranks Heath Miller’s performances vs. the rest of the players during his time with the Steelers who got over 100 targets. As you can see, only Le’Veon Bell has a better targets-to-catch ratio. Heath Miller was a close to a sure catch as you can get in the NFL.
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My Two Cents.

imageFinally, some real Steeler news with the advent of the free agent signing period. The worst part of the silly season is over, at least until the draft is over . . . .

My favorite signing so far is the three year contract for “Big Play” Willie Gay. Aside from being the team’s most consistent cornerback, he is as mentally tough as any player on the roster.

Once the favorite whipping boy of more critical fans. Gay not only survived the torrent of catcalls for his ouster, he has improved to the point where keeping him was critical to the continued improvement of the secondary. Ike Taylor might have had a lot to do with Willie’s mental toughness. . . .

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