Tag Archives: Michael Vick

The Loss of Suisham: A Sign That Steelers’ Luck is Changing for the Better?


Peter Diana, Post-Gazette

by Ivan Cole

What an odd thing to suggest, right? Hang with me for a bit as I attempt to make a case for the past year’s journey of Shaun Suisham standing as a symbol of an important change of fortune for the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2016.

One of the weaknesses, an occupational handicap if you will, of being fans and observers of the game is our incessant focus upon the urgency of the moment. Every roster move, no matter how mundane, every injury, no matter how minor, can become infused with deep and lasting meaning. Sometimes such is true, often it is not.

I have sat at training camp and listened to fans become frustrated because Ben Roethlisberger threw a poor pass. In training camp. In August. An ominous sign pointing to our diminished prospects of getting to the Super Bowl, right?

This doesn’t mean that small occurrences can’t have outsized meanings. The trick is to discern what may really be meaningful, and what can be confidently dismissed as being, well, ridiculous. Read more

What’s So Special About 30 Points per Game?


Charles LeClaire, USA Today Sports

If you pay even the least attention to offseason Steelers news, you’ve probably read that the offense intends to achieve the Holy Grail of 30 points per game this season.

Last season the offense did in fact manage 30 points or more per game for six games in a row later in the season, and the ultimate figure of 26.4 was considerably higher than the old standard of 20 points per game.

Why has the desired number changed so much? This should be pretty obvious—the stifling defense of old is no more. Under the old Dick LeBeau defenses you could pretty much count on winning the game if the offense managed to put up 20 points, or that was the theory. Read more

5 Smoldering Questions On the Pittsburgh Steelers, Week 8

via newOK

Once again we are Hombre-less, and Ivan, Steeler Fever and I have attempted to fill his very large shoes.

(1) Fever asks: We are at the halfway point of the 2015 NFL season and our Pittsburgh Steelers stand at 4-4 coming off consecutive losses at Kansas City and home against the Cincinnati Bengals. How do you think they will end this season? Please state how you see the Steelers regular season record playing out and how far you believe they will advance in the playoffs, if you see the team making the playoffs at all.

(2) Landry Jones has been viewed as a total bust essentially since the pick was announced in April of 2013. Yet he had a very impressive college career. His draft profile noted he is a “prototypical NFL pocket passer with NFL size,” and lots of other nice things.  Read more

Game Recap: Turbo-Charged Defense Pulls Out a Win for the Steelers

USA Today Sports/Charles LeClaire

I had a dress rehearsal last evening, and I don’t have cable, so I had to head out after rehearsal to a local hostelry, where I got a refreshing drink, (club soda and lime, sorry, I’m a wuss,) ordered dinner, and waited to see what would happen. I got to the bar just after the beginning of half time, and from the score at that point (3-7, Chargers) it looked as if I hadn’t missed much.

The patrons surrounding me were a tad on the morose side by the time the third quarter began, having come (correctly) to the conclusion the Steelers couldn’t get a ball in the end zone. All Bell All the Time is great for a while, but eventually you have to convince the other team that you are actually capable of completing more than the (very) occasional pass.

But the defense, who I assumed must have been playing very well indeed to have held the Chargers to a single touchdown, soon took matters into their own hands—or, more precisely, the football. Jarvis Jones, who ended the game with four tackles and a sack, also forced a fumble which was recovered by one of our other “busts,” Shamarko Thomas. Read more

Staying Out of 2nd and 98

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Peter Diana photo

Steeler Nation, viewed as a whole, could be said to be bi-polar. One week we’re going to the Super Bowl—the next week we are going to be just bad enough to miss the playoffs and still not get a top-of-the-first-round draft pick.

But when you begin talking to individual fans the general attitude varies tremendously, from the “Black and Gold colored glasses” wearers to the Bob Labriola “I live in my fears” type of fan. Some fans even appear to be downright annoyed when their alleged team does well, disappearing from the commenting flow when there isn’t enough to gripe about.

Steeler fans aren’t any different than any other fans this way, of course. As many of you know I also follow the Pittsburgh Pirates, and the gloom and doom on BucsDugout is palpable as it seems about 97% of the commenters there are convinced the Pirates can’t possibly beat the Cubs in a one-game elimination match, assuming Jake Arrieta pitches it. And you can bet that he will, unless some of his major organs shut down between now and tomorrow evening. Read more

Game Recap: Ravens at Steelers

via Post-Gazette, Peter Diana photo

Well, that was interesting. The whole experience was rather surreal, between the equipment failures (mine) and the execution failures (the Steelers’.)

I did my usual thing of setting the game to record while I did useful things, and then sat down about an hour into the recording to watch. This way I can fast-forward through the commercials, which I hate to sit through with my stomach churning. When I started to watch, on my computer—I don’t have a TV—the sound had completely disappeared from my iMac.

I called in the jumbo set, brain-wise—I asked my husband to look at it. There was no obvious reason for the problem. But if I did a reboot I would lose the part of the game that was recording while I did so. This meant I had to watch it in silence.

It’s actually very peaceful that way, except for one thing—whenever they have sideline interviews or put graphics up on the screen or whatever, you can’t tell what happened in the ensuing play. It’s very annoying, and the peaceful part was spoiled by the comments and suggestions I felt compelled to make to the unheeding producers.

But I managed to see more than enough to make me feel that a) it was pretty unrealistic to think the offense would have a lot of continuity on one walk-through practice, since you have to at least pretend like you’re going to pass from time to time, b) this defense is really on its way, and c) it’s actually pretty entertaining to just see the various Harbaugh faces, without the commentary to go with them. Happy. Sad. Happy. Mad. It’s reminiscent of a Dr. Seuss book. I was hoping to end at “sad” but alas it wasn’t to be.

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Game Recap: Steelers at Rams, Pas de Trois

AP photo/Billy Hurst: The Fire Heard Around the NFL…

I write this with the sort of heavy heart I usually have when chronicling a Steelers loss. In fact, I didn’t feel this bad when they lost to the Patriots.

2015 was supposed to be the year the offense carried the defense. And make no mistake, there are still a lot of playmakers on this team. But part of the “playmakerliness”, if I may be allowed to coin a term, is predicated on the chemistry between Roethlisberger and his receivers.

It was heartening to see Bell ripping off a few good runs against a very good defensive front. And all of a sudden we might be seeing the sort of two-back look a lot of people were hoping for but Tomlin nixed. But given that everyone is going to key in on the run, it might not be a successful strategy.

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The Case for the 2015 Pittsburgh Steelers

via Post-Gazette/Bob Donaldson photo

by Ivan Cole

Let’s begin by making it clear what this article is not about. As I remind people from time to time, I don’t do predictions for the most part, and I am not starting to do so today. What follows is a ‘What if’ based upon the potentialities that exist when this particular snapshot of the 2015 Steelers is taken. The premise is an optimistic one; what factors could lead Pittsburgh into the post season and possibly a championship.

If I had the energy and the temperament I could also go in the opposite direction and outline how the Steelers could crash and burn, but the line for that type of analysis is quite a bit longer and if you think its necessary to have that discussion you can easily find it elsewhere, don’t you think?

Is there any reason for you to pay one bit of attention to anything I have to say? 2010 may well have been my finest hour doing this sort of thing. Maryrose pointed out to me at that time that I had scooped the Steeler media and blogging establishment by suggesting in the face of quarterback Ben Roethlisberger’s four game suspension by the league that the answer for his short term replacement might be Charlie Batch.

Those of you who were around will recall that at the time all the conversation revolved around Byron Leftwich vs Dennis Dixon. Batch was considered by just about everyone as the odd man out who was unlikely to even make the 53 man roster. He hadn’t even received any playing time in the preseason to that point. Turns out I was right, but so is the proverbial broken clock twice a day. All I can say that I get lucky from time to time.

The spooky factor

Beware the September panic

The Front Office

The Offense

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Steeler Nation and The Standard of Expectation

via Pittsburgh Magazine

 by Rebecca Rollett

Long ago, in a galaxy far away (or at least 2011 seems like that at times) I wrote an article about then-rookie running back Baron Batch after he tore his ACL in a “meaningless preseason game” and was out for the season. I ran across it a few days ago when looking for something else, and it contains some thoughts which are perhaps worth re-examining.

This week the Steelers signed free-agent quarterback Michael Vick. I think it is safe to say that seldom have so many tweets gone forth, so many teeth been gnashed, and so many statements made which may perhaps later be regretted over the signing of a 35-year old back-up quarterback.

So what on earth do these two things have to do with one another? I may be wrong, but I think the reactions to these two otherwise entirely unrelated things tell us something about ourselves, if we’re only willing to look.

“The Standard is the Standard.” How many times have we heard this said, seen it written? And what standard are we talking about, anyhow? The typical place this phrase is employed is in regards to the loss of a player. It is often followed by something having to do with the “next man up.” In other words, the coaching staff has a level of expectation for how well the team performs, and the assumption is, whoever you put into the vacated spot is expected to fulfill the obligations of the position in the same manner as the player before him. Read more

The Heart of Hypocrisy? The Can of Worms Opened by the Michael Vick Signing

via EllenTV

by Ivan Cole

Reader Alert from Ivan: What follows is a rant, pure and simple. 

So, some members of Steelers Nation in their righteous outrage take umbrage to the team signing Michael Vick as a backup quarterback.

The most difficult thing about this is figuring out where to begin. Let me start with Chris Kemoeatu.

HBO’s Real Sports is running a feature this month about the former Steelers guard and how his brother, former Baltimore Raven Ma’ake donated one of his kidney’s to save his younger brother’s life.

Touching stuff on one level. But those of us who are blinded by the stars in our eyes and the vision of the Steelers (or any NFL team) being a pure and pristine paragon of virtue at risk of being sullied by the presence in their midst of a convicted dog killer might not want to play close attention to some other aspects of this piece.

It seems that Chris Kemoeatu needed a new kidney in part because of the impact of the ingestion of massive amounts of pain killers upon kidneys that were already damaged in his youth. According to Kemoeatu, Pittsburgh’s team medical staff approved of the practice and of him continuing to play even though his kidneys were operating at only 3 percent. It was made clear in the report that there wasn’t anything particularly peculiar or venal in the behavior of Steelers’ medical staff relative to that of the rest of the league. Just common practice.

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