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Tag:James Farrior
Posted on: November 1, 2011 2:02 pm
 

Report: LaMarr Woodley to miss Ravens game

Woodley has been a one-man sacking crew for the Steelers the last month of the season. (US PRESSWIRE)

Posted by Ryan Wilson

Steelers linebacker LaMarr Woodley will not play Sunday night against the Ravens, a source tells the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's Gerry Dulac. Woodley injured his hamstring in the third quarter of Sunday's win over the Patriots. Until his departure, he had harassed New England quarterback Tom Brady all afternoon, sacking him twice.

Through the first four weeks of the season, Woodley had just 1.5 sacks but has been on a tear since. He's registered 7.5 sacks the last month, which coincides with how long linebacker James Harrison has been sidelined with an eye injury. Unfortunately for the Steelers, Harrison probably won't return to face the Ravens. He tweeted Monday that "Saw the doctor today. Looks like I won't be playing this weekend but at least I'm cleared for practice."

Exacerbating things for Pittsburgh: inside linebacker James Farrior could be out until mid-December with a calf injury, and Harrison's backup, Jason Worilds, has missed time with a quadriceps injury.

Woodley said after the Pats victory that he would play against Baltimore but that appears to have changed. While a source tell the Post-Gazette that Woodley's hamstring is "not good," he doesn't sound like a guy who will be sidelined for a while.


"Everybody counting me out," Woodley said from the training room Tuesday. "Don't count me out yet."

During his Tuesday press conference, head coach Mike Tomlin said that Woodley's status will be determined by how much he's able to practice this week.

There's a chance the Steelers could start rookie Chris Carter, second-year player Stevenson Sylvester and veterans Larry Foote and Lawrence Timmons. Timmons' natural position is inside, but he has replaced Harrison on the outside the last four games.  Not exactly the lineup you'd choose to face Baltimore, but if it's good enough for the Pats then it might be good enough for the Ravens, too.

The Steelers could also be without wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders, who Tomlin said Tuesday will need his knee examined. Sanders' knee is nothing next to the news he tweeted Tuesday morning: his mother had passed away.

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Posted on: October 30, 2011 10:44 am
 

Hines Ward, James Farrior out against Patriots

Pittsburgh will be without veterans Ward and Farrior when the Steelers face the Patriots Sunday. (US PRESSWIRE)

Posted by Ryan Wilson

After being listed as questionable heading into the weekend, Pittsburgh will be without veteran wide receiver Hines Ward and inside linebacker James Farrior Sunday afternoon when the Steelers host the Patriots.

In previous years, the loss of Ward would be a concern, but the Steelers have one of the deepest wide receiver corps in the league, and Mike Wallace has redefined what it means to be a deep threat in his two-and-a-half-year NFL career. In addition to Wallace, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has emerging talents in Emmanuel Sanders and Antonio Brown, and free-agent acquisition Jerricho Cotchery can handle Ward's role of underneath zone buster. Then there's tight end Heath Miller, who is as good a receiver as he is a blocker.

Farrior's absence, however, is troubling. Partly because he sets the defense from play to play, but also because the Steelers are already without James Harrison and his backup, Jason Worilds. Lawrence Timmons, for the fourth straight week, will replace Harrison on the outside. Farrior will be replaced by second-year linebacker, Stevenson Sylvester, who has made a name for himself on special teams but has very little NFL experience at inside linebacker.  Practice squad linebacker Mortty Ivy has been signed to the 53-man roster to add depth.

But the Steelers may try to game-plan around Sylvester. Defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau could chose to play more nickel and dime schemes to limit Sylvester's snaps, but more importantly, to encourage the Patriots to run the ball.

Ultimately, Pittsburgh's best chance to win rests with their offense. Not just Roethlisberger, who needs to play well, but also the running game. If Rashard Mendenhall can get going, that means longer drives and fewer snaps for Brady.

Fun starts at 4:00 p.m. ET.


The New England Patriots will travel to Heinz Field to square off against Ben Roethlisberger and the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday. Jason Horowitz and NFL.com's Pat Kirwan to preview this intense showdown. Watch the game on CBS at 4:15 PM ET.

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Posted on: September 16, 2011 2:58 pm
 

Ward doesn't see how Steelers are old

WardPosted by Josh Katzowitz

While many have wondered how the Steelers will deal with some older players not performing well, especially in the wake of their four-touchdown loss to the Ravens last week, Warren Sapp had no problem giving his honest opinion.

And now that Steelers receiver Hines Ward has had a chance to respond, Ward decided he wouldn’t respond to Sapp in such harsh tones.

On Showtime’s “Inside the NFL” this week, Sapp said, “The Pittsburgh Steelers. I have three things: old, slow and it’s over. It’s just that simple. James Harrison told us that he was 70-to-75 percent. It looked more like 40 percent to me if you are looking at the ballgame I was looking at. And Hines Ward, Mercedes Sapp can cover Hines Ward right now. You have to be kidding me ... Mercedes is my 13-year-old daughter. She will cover Hines Ward in a heartbeat.

"And Troy Polamalu, Ed Dixon runs this crossing route. Troy Polamalu is trying to grab him to have a pass interference and he can’t even get close enough to grab him. [It] looked like he was dragging a wagon behind him. Touchdown Baltimore. Pittsburgh Steelers done."

Mr. Ward, your retort, please?

Ward's Getting Old?
“I don’t have a reaction to that,” Ward told 93.7 The Fan in Pittsbrugh, via sportsradiointerviews.com. "He can bring his 13-year old daughter out there and see if she can cover me if she wants to. I don’t have a reaction to that. People are always going to say something. As far as the team being old? I don’t see how the team is old. I think I am the oldest guy on the offensive side. Ben Roethlisberger is the second oldest guy on the offensive side. Defensively? You got Aaron Smith, James Farrior and Brett Keisel. We just re-signed some of our youngest guys. If you look at our team, we are not as old as people want to portray us. What does that matter anyway?

“I love Warren. He was my ‘Dancing with the Stars,’ guy before me. It’s his opinion. Everyone is entitled to their opinion and it is not going to change. There are guys older than me like Brian Dawkins. Donald Driver is older than me. Age doesn’t matter. Age is something for somebody to put out there just to make an excuse.”

Ward also realizes that he's open to criticism, and at this point in his career, he has to be used to it. Even if a former star player is the one making it.

“That’s your job,” Ward said. “That’s what makes news. Your job is to criticize and make stuff. As players we hear it, but it doesn’t validate anything. The Steelers are not going to keep me around if they do not think I am productive. We don’t just keep guys around to just keep guys around. That’s just an excuse when people start looking at the age and that stuff. If you look at our young guys…look at our wide receivers? I’m out there with second and third year guys all the time. Our whole offensive line…we are really not old up front. Rashard Mendenhall is still young and in his prime. When people say stuff like that I just laugh because when they were old one day, somebody said that about them. But now they are in a position to say that. I don’t get caught up in it.”

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Posted on: September 14, 2011 10:42 am
Edited on: September 14, 2011 10:43 am
 

Top Ten with a Twist: Comeback players

M. Stafford, if he stays healthy, could be a candidate for comeback player of the year (US Presswire).

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

Some had disappointing seasons last year only to find themselves in a brand-new setting this year. Some had worn out their welcome in one city and were rewarded with a new home in a new part of the country. Some were injured, and some just flat-out stunk.

But this is a new season, and it’s never too early to make predictions about the 2011 comeback player of the year, especially since two-time winner Chad Pennington is out for the season and won’t be eligible for his third award until 2012.

You won’t find Albert Haynesworth on this list, because a man who duped one organization out of tens of millions dollars only to find himself holding a golden parachute to the league’s most respected franchise doesn’t need another reward if he potentially plays well (or, unlike in Washington, plays at all). But pretty much everybody else is eligible for a spot on our latest Top Ten with a Twist: Potential Comeback Players of the Year.

10. Kevin Kolb: I originally wasn’t going to put him on this list, because simply put, I’m not entirely sure he’s going to live up to his $63 million ($20 million guaranteed) contract in Arizona. But after his 18 of 27, 309-yard, two-touchdown performance in the Cardinals win against the Panthers (all while getting sucked into the “Cam Newton is awesome” maelstrom), it’s at least a possibility Kolb will play like Arizona believes he can. Kolb supporters point to an impressive two-game stretch he had in 2009 for why he’s worth all that money. I’m more interested in his 130 quarterback rating from Sunday and where he can go from there.

9. Chris Johnson: You might not know this, but last year, Johnson had a disastrous season. When you compare him to 2009, his performance declined by more than 600 yards and he scored three less rushing touchdowns. If that’s not the sign of a guy who has already become much less effective … wait, what’s that? Johnson still rushed for 1,364 yards and 11 touchdowns last season? Oh, never mind. But here’s the thing with Johnson. He keeps proclaiming that he’s going to rush for 2,000 yards, and while he did it in 2009, he fell woefully short last year. And yes, he won’t make it 2,000 in 2011 either. But he’ll also be better than last year, particularly since he now should be completely happy with the money he’s making.

8. Bob Sanders: We all know Bob Sanders can’t stay healthy. Not after missing 64 of 112 career games with the Colts. And because we’ve barely seen the guy (only nine times in the past three seasons) we always seem to lose sight of the fact that Sanders was once a premier safety threat  mentioned in the same breathe as Troy Polamalu and Ed Reed. One good sign for Sanders’ return to respectability: he didn’t have to spend this offseason rehabbing an old injury. But Sanders also is 30 now, where the aches and pains increase rather than diminish. In his first game with San Diego, he accumulated six tackles. But at least he didn’t leave the game with an injury. Which, with Sanders, is pretty good news.

7. Tim Hightower: You’ll recall that Hightower had a bit of a fumbling problem as the No. 2 running back behind Beanie Wells in Arizona -- he had eight lost fumbles combined in the past two seasons -- and though Hightower had good production in place of the injured Wells, the Cardinals decided they’d rather have Wells than Hightower. The Redskins, who were saying goodbye to Clinton Portis, went after him, and their interest was rewarded this week when Hightower looked solid, rushing 25 times for 72 yards and a score. Just as important, though, is his pass protection and his versatility (he’s a pretty good receiver as well). Just as long as he doesn’t fumble, he could be a really good addition for Washington.

6. Steve Smith (Eagles version): We still don’t know how healthy Smith is, but the fact that he was active for the first game -- much to the chagrin of the Giants, I imagine -- is awfully impressive, considering he was coming off microfracture surgery on his knee. He wasn’t targeted by Michael Vick, and he didn’t play all that much. But the fact he was out there at all was pretty ridiculous. Smith probably won’t be healthy enough to produce the stats that would give him a legit shot at the comeback player of the year, but he’s already gone to extraordinary lengths to return this soon, so why not?

Henne5. Steve Smith (Panthers version): Aside from all those Panthers fans who now have hope, receiver Steve Smith has to be one of the biggest Cam Newton fans around. For a guy who wanted out of Carolina as soon as possible (and as receiver, why would he want to try to field passes from Jimmy Clausen?), the infusion of Newton into this offense was the main reason Smith exploded for eight catches, 178 yards and two touchdowns. Considering he only accumulated 46 catches for 554 yards and two (!) scores in 2010, a little Newton in his life apparently has gone a long way.

4. Chad Henne: Despite Miami fans chanting that they wanted Kyle Orton (who now has to hear the chants of “We want Tebow” in Denver) in the preseason, the popular storyline out of south Florida is that Henne finally will turn himself into a legit starting quarterback. Henne was a major storyline in the offseason -- coach Tony Sparano said “we’ll see” about Henne’s chances of starting and receiver Brandon Marshall laid out in detail why Tyler Thigpen was a better player until Henne began to make believers out of his teammates, who voted him offensive captain. It’ll continue to be a storyline as long as Henne plays the way he did against the Patriots (30 of 49 for 416 yards, two touchdowns and a garbage-time interception) in one of the best performances of his pro career.

3. Rex Grossman: Based on the way he played against the Giants on Sunday, I thought about putting Grossman higher on the list. But I just don’t see him as a top-15 quarterback -- this season or any other. Maybe if he got to play against the Giants shell of a defense every week. But until that happens, I don’t see him taking home the hardware. That said, Grossman surprised many people this week -- including, I imagine, John Beck -- and didn’t look like the same quarterback who was Donovan McNabb’s two-minute offense replacement. At least, he played like a legitimate starting quarterback.

2. Bryant McKinnie: Surely, McKinnie would be the first comeback player of the year award winner to have weighed 400 pounds (allegedly) and gotten released from his old team for it (not to mention earning $75,000 for getting down to a trim 372). But McKinnie, as the new left tackle for the Ravens, helped set the tone last Sunday when, on the first play of the first Ravens drive, he dispatched Steelers linebackers James Farrior and James Harrison, allowing Baltimore running back Ray Rice a 36-yard gain. Baltimore ended up beating Pittsburgh by four touchdowns, and don’t think McKinnie wasn’t a big reason for that. If he keeps it up, perhaps McKinnie can make history as the first offensive line ever to win the award.

1. Matthew Stafford: The Lions quarterback scared the daylights out of just about everybody when he hobbled to the sideline with an apparent injury in Detroit’s season-opening win against the Buccaneers. For a guy who’s missed 19 games the past two years with various ailments, that was not a moment for the weak at the heart. But it was only cramps, and during Detroit’s victory, Stafford showed that he still has the talent to be a top-five quarterback. And considering most of the comeback players of the year happen to be quarterbacks, that doesn’t hurt his chances either.

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Posted on: August 23, 2011 9:40 am
 

Lawrence Timmons deal a perfect Steelers signing

Posted by Will Brinson

The first first-rounder that Steelers coach Mike Tomlin ever drafted -- Lawrence Timmons -- is going to end up staying with the team for a long time, as the team announced the linebacker signed a six-year, $50 million extension on Tuesday morning.

That's a hefty contract, but it's also a deal that has the Steelers fingerprints all over it, in three specific ways.

One, Timmons is a stud, but he's not a "known stud," if that makes sense.

Lacking the household-name cache of a James Harrison or the awards and public recognition of other members of the defense, Timmons comes at a pretty solid value for under $10 million a year through his prime. It's pretty standard practice for the Steelers

It's also standard practice for the Steelers to sign "their guys." As we detailed before last year's Super Bowl, the Steelers aren't exactly fond of constructing a roster made of expensive free agents. They draft well and develop those players even better -- Timmons and LaMarr Woodley (their second-round pick in 2007) both signed big deals this offseason and are now locked in for the foreseeable future at linebacker.

Additionally, the Steelers signed Timmons in for the remainder of his prime -- he was set to become a free agent right around the time he turned 26. Now Pittsburgh has the rights to Timmons and Woodley until they turn 32.

If this sounds familiar, it should. Both James Harrison and James Farrior signed deals that brought them to their early 30s. The Steelers then signed those two linebackers to an additional deal, taking them to the likely end of their respective careers.

Timmons will get one more good contract when he hits his 30s. Depending on how he's producing at that point, it might come from the Steelers.

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Posted on: August 8, 2011 10:30 pm
 

VIDEO: Steelers on set of next Batman movie

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

Taking a break from sweating in the hot sun in western Pennsylvania while at training camp, about 12 Steelers spent last Saturday morning at Heinz Field spending time under the hot lights of Hollywood and pretending to play football.

As the Pittsburgh Tribune Review writes, Ben Roethlisberger, S Troy Polamalu, WR Hines Ward, LB James Farrior, C Maurkice Pouncey, TE Heath Miller, DE Brett Keisel* and S Ryan Clark all participated in the shooting for “The Dark Knight Rises,” the new Batman movie scheduled to drop next summer.

*Yes, but what about Keisel’s beard?

“You put the uniform on, you sit around a long time, guys with the cameras come and get you and you go on the field and do our little part," said defensive end Aaron Smith, who, with his teammates, played for a club called the Gotham Rogues. "Batman was not on site when I was there. Saw a bunch of football guys."

It’s unfortunate that Batman was not at Heinz Field that day (perhaps, Christian Bale was indulging in some Primanti Bros.?), but to ease that pain, there is video of part of the day’s events (though if you can tell what’s going on in the shot, you’re a better person than me).

So, why did producers set up Pittsburgh for the shot and, specifically, use the Steelers as the Rogues? According to the AP, the executive producer, Thomas Tull, is a member of the team’s ownership group. See? It's always about who you know.


H/T to Yahoo! Sports’ Shutdown Corner.

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Posted on: February 7, 2011 12:41 am
Edited on: February 7, 2011 12:43 am
 

Packers WRs fight back after drops (VIDEO)

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

DALLAS – The drops were beginning to frustrate Packers QB Aaron Rodgers, and they were really beginning to annoy WR Greg Jennings.

Over and over again, Green Bay’s receivers dropped very makeable catches from Rodgers, stalling drives and killing momentum. Jordy Nelson (nine catches, 140 yards, one touchdown) had a fantastic night, but he dropped a few. James Jones (five catches, 50 yards) recovered pretty well, but he flubbed a potential touchdown catch. Brett Swain blew one as well that bounced off his hands and his legs before it hurt the turf.

Jennings wanted to say something, but he knew he couldn’t harp on the negative – on the, “What the hell are you guys doing out there” aspect. Still, receivers coach Jimmy Robinson urged his No. 1 guy to say something, especially with team leader Donald Driver out for the game.

“As one of the head guys, you understand that guys sometimes have to pull themselves out of the hole,” Jennings said. “When you have a drop, you have to be able to bounce back. All I said was, ‘We have to be great. Period. We have to be great. We can’t afford to have that in a game of this magnitude.’ The guys responded and we made the plays down the stretch. Ultimately, we got the job done.”

For much of the second half, though, the receivers were shaky. And on the Packers first drive of the fourth quarter, the carelessness struck again. With the Packers leading by four, Rodgers faced a third-and-seven after Nelson dropped another pass. But with the Packers desperately needing to continue the drive and put points on the board, Rodgers zipped a throw to Nelson.

Nelson easily made the catch, gaining 38 yards, and the Packers eventually scored a touchdown to take an 11-point lead.

“I can say for Jordy on that drive, for him to make a play on the very next play after he dropped one, it erases that drop out of your mind,” Jennings said. “When you can do things like that, it makes the game a lot easier even though you just made the ultimate boo-boo in our profession.”

The Packers prevailed without their emotional leader, as Driver – who injured his ankle in the first half and never returned – watched the second half from the sidelines. Without Driver, the Packers needed some kind of spark to kick-start an offense that failed to gain a first down in the third quarter.

Jennings helped provide it by fooling Steelers S Troy Polamalu.

After the Steelers cut the lead to four points in the third quarter, Green Bay’s defense forced a fumble from Pittsburgh RB Rashard Mendenhall, and after driving deep into Steelers territory, Jennings found himself running toward Polamalu, who was playing in a Cover-2.

Two weeks ago, while playing the Bears in the NFC championship game, Jennings cut inside against that defensive scheme and continued on his post route. That played worked a few times against Chicago, but against Pittsburgh, Jennings tried something different, cutting outside on a corner route and catching a wide-open touchdown pass.

“They were definitely playing for the post,” Jenning said. “We had gashed Chicago a couple times, and I’m sure they saw that in their film preparation where if they show a Cover-2 look, I’m going to be bend it into the post. But we kept the corner route on, and I was able to get behind him. (Polamalu) just dropped me. He completely dropped me.”

As a result, the Packers dropped the Steelers. And, at the same time, alleviated some of the annoyances created by a couple wide receiver drops.

“I,” said Rodgers with a laugh, “am not frustrated any more.”

Below is video of Jennings discussing his 31-yard catch on third-and-10 on the Packers final fourth-quarter drive.




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Posted on: February 6, 2011 11:23 am
 

Timmons better than anybody

Posted by Andy Benoit

The most gifted linebacker in Pittsburgh is not named James Harrison. And he’s not named LaMarr Woodley. Or JamL. Timmons (US Presswire) es Farrior. The most gifted linebacker in Pittsburgh – and perhaps the entire NFL – is named Lawrence Timmons.

The fourth-year pro from Florida State enjoyed a breakout campaign in 2010. Originally drafted to play outside linebacker, Timmons’ initial development was slow, if not non-existent. But he started to progress after coaches moved him inside. Despite having just average awareness in coverage, he handled nickel duties in ’08 before assuming a fulltime starting role in ’09. He had 12 sacks his first two years inside.

Because his sack total dropped to three in ’10, Timmons suggests that teammate James Farrior is actually Pittsburgh’s best inside blitzer (Farrior had six sacks). But that’s either false modesty or naivety. No player can match Timmons’ downhill explosiveness or fluid athleticism.

It’s not just blitzing and rushing the passer, either. “I feel like I should have had more sacks, but as far as stopping the run and playing in coverage, I think I did very well,” Timmons says.

Timmons’ instincts improved each week. That’s vital considering his greatest trait, besides blitzing, is using his lateral agility to slip blocks.

Don’t be surprised if the 24-year-old is at the front of the “Patrick Willis/Jerod Mayo/Ray Lewis” discussion next year.

“Lawrence is as fast as any linebacker playing,” says Steelers defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau. “I think the sky is the limit for this guy.”

[More Super Bowl coverage]

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com