Tag Archives: Senquez Golson

Pittsburgh’s Goin’ to the Super Bowl, Part 2: Cornering the Market

imageAs promised in Part 1,  we will look at one position group per post to assess where the Steelers currently stand. As you can probably guess from my title, I’m beginning with the cornerbacks.

This has been a position of need for years. Steeler Nation has decried, year after year, the lack of a high-round pick being spent upon the secondary, and in particular on the corners. It was not always thus, but it’s been a long time since the last high-round pick was spent on a corner—all the way back to 2015.

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The AFC North Injury Report (Unofficial)

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Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Matt Freed photo

This may seem like an odd subject for a post, but the whole question of injuries has a strange fascination for me. I suspect it is connected with the cognitive dissonance, you might say, I feel in regards to the subject at large, particularly in terms of head injuries.

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2016 Pittsburgh Steelers First Quarter Report, Part 1

steelers.com

steelers.com

by Ivan Cole

I have been doing these quarterly reports for several years now, and the first quarter is always the most challenging in the sense that the analysis has to cut through at least three powerful areas of bias.

The first is the notion that the past equals the future. The tendency is to believe that teams are either going to simply pick up where they left off, the previous season, or even during the preseason, not recognizing that the landscape both within the teams and among their opponents has changed, often significantly.

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Scouting for Steelers: It’s an Ill Wind

via Steelers.com

I first ran across the old expression “It’s an ill wind that blows nobody good” in a Laura Ingalls Wilder book, back in my teenage days. It took me a bit to figure out what on earth it meant, but I finally did. It is particularly apropos for the Steelers at the moment.

The news that Bud Dupree is going on IR was not something any of us wanted to hear. But it did result in one minor consolation—Steven Johnson, the linebacker I hated to see go, is back in the black and gold, only about 24 hours or so after he first parted ways with the Steelers.

And for that matter there was some good news in terms of the practice squad. The Steelers didn’t lose Travis Feeney, who I personally think has a lot of upside but also a long way to go. Running back Brandon Brown-Dukes, who Tomlin liked well enough to give a nickname, is back, as is fellow RB Cameron Stingily. I wondered if the fumble he had on his sole carry in the Carolina game would doom him, but fortunately the coaching staff is a bit more far-sighted than we are.

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5 Smoldering Questions, Pre-Season Halftime Edition

Charles LeClaire/USA Today

by Hombre de Acero

We’ve reached the mid-way point of the Steelers 2016 preseason campaign ,and while this year’s training camp and exhibition contests might have been short on drama, there is still plenty going on in Pittsburgh. Two more games await before we can prepare to discuss one that matters, but before the Steelers can test their mettle against the Saints this corner of Steelers Nation must struggle with these 5 Smoldering Questions.

1. With a nod to Homer, Ivan and all of our other Steelers Nation expats colonizing Greater Washington DC, our first question starts with an homage to the late, great WMAL/WTEM sports radio personality Ken Beatrice, who routinely apologized to listeners for “not going to law school to bring you the sports news.”

The Steelers 2016 preseason seems to be defined as much by what is happening off of the field as opposed to on the field. So, with that 75 word intro, we begin with a double header:

a. What do you think of Le’Veon Bell’s inadvertent admission that he continued to use marijuana even after he’d been busted for driving under the influence?

b. Was James Harrison right to agree to be interviewed by Roger Goodell’s cronies on the basis of a now recanted report for Al Jazeera?

2. Senquez Golson is declaring that he will play in 2016. Given that the number of times Golson has practiced can be counted on one hand, do you think it would be wise for the Steelers to try to play him, even if he beats the odds and his health will allow him?

3. Both Ladarius Green and Mike Tomlin have said that it is Green’s ankle and not his headaches that are keeping him on the PUP. Yet, Ed Bouchette has said that Green is in the NFL’s concussion protocols. Leaving aside, for this installment of the Smolderings at least, the mess this is creating at tight end, who do you believe?

4. The Steelers surprised many by inking Vince Williams to a 3 year deal? The terms of that deal will detail the Steelers’ intentions, but those have yet to leak out. So, with that said, Do you think this spells the beginning of the end for Lawrence Timmons in Pittsburgh, and if so has the Steelers brain trust made the right call?

5. Bruce Gradkowski has a groin issue that will keep him out for a few weeks. Dustin Vaughan broke his thumb. Many “faithful” in Steelers Nation have taken to the barricades over Landry Jones preseason performances thus far. The Steelers have signed Bryn Renner, who has been on five NFL rosters without throwing a pass.

Kevin Colbert, Mike Tomlin and Todd Haley invite you into a conference about the Steelers backup quarterback options. What do you tell them?

There you go folks. Remember to use a sharp Number 2 dark pencil, and bear in mind any machine errors caused because you used a Faber Castel will count against you. This is an untimed exercise.

Steelers ‘X’ Factors for 2016: Defense

Matt Freed—Post-Gazette

by Ivan Cole

Here’s Part II of my off-season speculations. (For Part I click here.) As noted in the previous article, the rules are simple:

The players I select could be in the conversation as key factors in the team’s success, but are probably not at this time. They can be anyone from established superstars to non-drafted newcomers (admittedly a tougher call, but a good part of the fun). This exercise is undertaken with the understanding that injuries and unanticipated personnel moves could radically alter the assumptions and landscape of the discussion, and that the conversation will evolve as the season progresses and more information is forthcoming.

As usual, please feel free to add your thoughts below. Read more

Turnovers, Takeaways, and the Steelers 2015 Draft

via WTAE

by Rebecca Rollett

Back in 2012 I read the following comment in an article by John Dudley of the Erie Times-News: 

Through six weeks [of the 2012 season] the Steelers rank dead last in the league in takeaway-giveaway ratio at minus-10. The offense has turned the ball over 12 times and the defense has forced only two turnovers, one interception and one fumble. They have ranked lower than 24th in turnover ratio only once in franchise history, when they finished 27th in 2006.

This seemingly innocuous quote inspired a ridiculously long series of articles, bristling with statistics and game recaps. It did not, however, result in the Steelers improving in this category.

By 2013 this was old news. The Steelers just weren’t taking the ball away nearly enough. Part of the problem was perhaps that the bar was set way too high in 2010. The Super Bowl team had a +17 ratio of takeaways to turnovers, which was the highest by far in the past 10 seasons, and good for No. 2 in the league.

I thought it would be interesting to revisit this issue in light of some of the guys the Steelers drafted in 2015. But I also thought it might be instructive to compare what was happening with the Steelers with the rest of the league. First, though, let’s look at the Steelers from 2005—2014. Read more