Tag Archives: Joe Haden

Fresh Eyes: Part II

Screen Shot 2019-08-19 at 9.27.16 AMSteven Nelson and Sean Davis: Karl Rosen photo, Steelers.com

by Ivan Cole

The Disclaimer. It has always been my standard practice when discussing the possibilities of any new season to caution that all is subject to change based upon the potential impact of an unavoidable factor in the NFL dynamic: Injuries. 

Usually I have spoken of this in the manner of those commercials where a narrator in rapid fire fashion attempts to slip past you the possibility that in addition to the wonders provided by the product they are selling, there is also a chance that it could kill you. In this segment there will be a deeper dive into the Disclaimer, providing a more specific set of arguments and information related to just how injuries might play out as anything from an annoyance to a derailment of the 2019 Steelers’ championship aspirations. 

Question # 2: Who do we not want to see on a long-term injury report?  Read more

Some More Random Thoughts on Steelers v. Bengals

Photo via Steelers.com/Karl Rosen

By Ivan Cole

Unlike Rebecca I saw the game in real time. These are the things that impressed me about this performance:

Meanness.

Rebecca and some others might have not have understood my comments in a previous post about Pittsburgh lacking a certain quality of meanness. I think this is because we often conflate ‘mean’ with ‘dirty’. This is, I believe, the Bengal’s fatal flaw. Cincinnati, as usual, was the dirtier team. Pittsburgh was the meaner team. What the highlights did not adequately convey was, despite the closeness of the score, how thoroughly the Steelers beat the Bengals up. The difference could be most clearly seen when comparing the play and effectiveness of Vance McDonald, who connects with Ben Roethlisberger through Bible studies and cancer survivor James Connor with that of Vontaze Burfict. Burfict played dirty. McDonald and Connor played mean. The result was a parade of Bengal players forced to the sideline, the locker room, and concussion protocol without roughness or unsportsmanlike penalties, while, despite threats and Cincinnati’s best efforts, the Steelers came through relatively unscathed. Read more

Pittsburgh Steelers 2017 Fourth Quarter Report: Part Four

675C85CD-837D-430D-8714-83337356E10CPhoto via Steelers.com

By Ivan Cole

Defense

Spent some time in the last segment reminiscing about the good old days when Steelers fans thought of the offensive line as the problem children. That mantle has been passed on to the defensive secondary. So, there has been some disorientation with how things have been playing out throughout this season. How is it possible that the problem child could be among the league leaders through much of the season in the virtual blink of an eye? Conversely, why are they giving up so many big plays?

Taking that second question first: I thought there was so much distain for the bend-but- don’t-break zone driven philosophy. We wanted more man principles. Well, as they say, be careful what you ask for. They’re getting off the field quickly now. Just kidding, sort of.

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Pittsburgh Steelers Fourth Quarter Report, Part 1

E07A5A20-E908-4AEC-BE40-8DADA9353D3BPhoto via Steelers.com

By Ivan Cole

A different approach

Of course, the great news is that though the regular season is concluded, this is not the end. This is the key objective and measure of success for every professional football franchise. The team met, indeed, exceeded comfortably the standard that allows for participation in overtime—the fifth quarter playoffs–the penultimate goal for the Pittsburgh organization.

Nonetheless, I believe this to be the proper time to assess this team’s journey. I feel this approach is merited for three reasons:

While the ultimate goal is to win the Super Bowl, realistically, success in the regular season is the variable over which you can exercise the most control in preparation and performance. Failure in this area renders playoff concerns irrelevant. Plus, there are factors in the playoff equation that often defy common assumptions from the beginning of the team building process. For example, who would have asserted six months ago that it would be Jacksonville, as opposed to Houston, who would be breathing down the Steelers’ neck in the playoff chase?

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On Second Thought: Steelers @ Colts

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Photo via Steelers.com

Last Sunday virtue was its own reward, something that seems to happen rather infrequently. [It generally seems that no good deed goes unpunished…]  I’m visiting my aged mother, and we went to church. She always goes to the 11 o’clock service, and so we went to the 11 o’clock service, even though that’s when the Steelers game began, out here in the beautiful southwest. (Not that the Steelers’ game was broadcast anyhow, here in Cowboys/Broncos territory.)

And after church my mother always goes out to lunch with some old friends. When I say “old friends,” I mean people she has been friends with since 1959. We had a nice lunch, and drove back home. I finally then allowed myself to check the score, because I knew I would have to wait the rest of the day before the game would be available on GamePass. The game was over, and the Steelers had won. Little did I know how much drama (and trauma) had occurred during those three hours. Read more

Steelers Suffer YFL Setback [Steelers @ Colts]

Photo via Steelers.com

By Homer J.

Many thanks to Homer for getting this to me. I had to wait all day to be able to watch the game on Gamepass, as I am currently languishing in a place where the Steelers game is not necessarily the one they broadcast. Obviously a backwater. And I don’t know what’s happening in that photo—I presume JuJu has heard the groans of the denizens of the Yinzer Football League and fainted dead away…

The Steelers suffered a major setback in the YFL competition due to lack of style point, but move to 7-2, one game closer to clinching the division title. Yinzer fans respond with weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth… Read more

At the Half: Pittsburgh Steelers 2017 Second Quarter Report

39E21EF9-52D9-4E47-8280-5880303CA198Photo via Steelers.com

By Ivan Cole

The last time I attempted to write something for Going Deep was right after the Jacksonville game. The piece was sullen and dark, involving terms like “hubris” and “ego”, but before I could get very far I was struck down. Maybe it was the spirit of Dan Rooney (more about him in a separate post). Whatever the source I have been on the Physically Unable to Perform list (PUP, writing only) from then until now. Just in time to reflect (as opposed to just reacting) on the second quarter of the season.

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Piling it on: Ivan’s Addenda

By Ivan Cole

Photo of JuJu Smith-Schuster’s TD via Steelers.com

You’re all in luck this week. A couple of wins in a row does seem to have a remarkable effect on our creative juices…

I would highlight in neon and strobe lights Homer’s last two paragraphs. [Here they are, so you don’t have to go look them up:]

We are so damned spoiled that the Steelers can win by 17 points against a very good team with one of the best defenses in the game, and we still carp and moan like the worst bunch of yinzers.

Life is good.

We beat a playoff team by 17 points. The Steelers are 2-0 with, (knock on wood) no serious injuries or distractions. And Steeler Nation is bitching their asses off. We are a textbook case of the decadence and fragility that is the consequence of privilege. Begs the question as to whether we are no longer capable of enjoying ourselves.

Having said that, keep in mind that I am a card carrying citizen of Steeler Nation, and am not immune. Here are some thoughts: Read more

5 Smoldering Questions on the Pittsburgh Steelers, Week 2

photo via Steelers.com

By Not-Hombre de Acero

Hombre is off pottering around the world somewhere, and thus the Smoldering Mantle falls on my shoulders this week. It’s a pretty hot place to be. So let’s get this started:

1. One could scarcely even ask this question in an ordinary year, but with the big flurry of horse-trading in which the Steelers engaged just prior to the season, it’s reasonable to ponder this. After watching last Sunday’s game, if you could upgrade any one player with a modest free-agent signing, who (or which position) would it be? [For the purposes of this question we’ll assume such a player would be available to be signed.]

2. And, in a similar vein, from what you’ve seen so far, do you think the trades/signings the Steelers made just prior to the season are going to be a success? Specifically, do you prefer Haden to Cockrell, McDonald to David Johnson (since that was the effective result,) and Wilcox to, I suppose, Golden?

3. I’ve heard theories as to why the offensive line seemed to be quite effective in pass protection but not in run blocking last Sunday, including it being a silent conspiracy to punish Bell for missing training camp. Do you have any thoughts on this?

4. A number of people have been upset about the massive number of penalties the Steelers took in the first game. Do you think this was due to any of the things I’ve heard expressed, as listed?

A. Mike Tomlin runs an undisciplined team.

B. Referee bias

C. Just another problem with Le’Veon Bell’s holdout (although it wasn’t technically a holdout)

D. A result of the cutting of padded practices and meaningful pre-season games (if I may be allowed to posit the latter.)

E. Other (Please elucidate.)

5. When looking at the league-wide scores in Week 1, it struck me how few really close games there were. There were only two decided by 3 points—Steelers @ Browns and Chargers @ Broncos—and only one other decided by less than a touchdown (Falcons @ Bears.) The average difference was 10 and a half points, with the high being Colts @ Rams (in which the Rams won by 37 points. Really!)

And, curiously, four of the six games decided by more than two touchdowns were a win by the visiting team. Including, of course, the Chiefs embarrassing the Patriots. (That was unnecessary but oh so satisfying to point out…)

So do you find it worrisome that the Steelers were on the bottom end of this scale against the Browns? Or do you think it’s a matter of what Mike Tomlin calls September football?

Bonus question: Since I’m really into the trade questions, here’s a more-than-usually frivolous one—if you could trade Antonio Brown for the entire 70s Steel Curtain defensive front, just for this year, would you do it, and why or why not? If so, how would you deal with the penalties they would certainly incur?

The Case for the 2017 Pittsburgh Steelers: Part Three—Defense and Special Teams

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via Steelers.com—This is one happy man…

by Ivan Cole

Editor’s note: Ordinarily I would have put up a post today with an opponent preview, but the truth is, nobody knows who the heck the Cleveland Browns are at the moment. The one thing we can be sure of (I think) is that they would like to make a statement on Sunday. They will have at least one fewer playmaker than expected to do so, though, as Myles Garrett, their top-of-the-first-round pick, the man who asserted that one of his top priorities was to “chop down” Ben Roethlisberger, got injured in practice and is almost certainly out, at least for this week. Hopefully this doesn’t give the offensive line a false sense of security. So instead of reading my wholly unsupported speculations about what the Browns will look like on Sunday, you get the privilege of reading more of Ivan’s brilliant writing:

Where things currently stand

I have been asserting throughout that everything about this season, from the outcome to the methods that might be resorted to achieve it would deviate from what many of us had come to view as normal. Usually by Labor Day the deal is mainly done with the 53-man roster and practice squad set. But in the interim between my setting down these words and the time they reach your eyes significant changes could well have occurred. So, with the understanding that this may still be a work in progress rather than a definitive preview of the 2017 season let’s bring a few things spoken of previously up to date.

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