Tag:Pittsburgh Steelers
Posted on: September 8, 2010 9:48 am

Hot Routes 9.8.10: Well, how big a boy are you?

Posted by Will Brinson

Originally I was going to try and get a full post out of Suh and Larry (via Suh's Twitter account, seen right) and the whole "big boy" thing was aimed at Deuce (see: No. 2 below). Then I realized that it was something the Cable Guy might say and that I definitely don't have 300 words in my brain that revolve around that picture.

We will, however, accept captions in the comments or via twitter (@CBSSportsNFL) , where you may also send tips for the Hot Routes.
  • Deuce Lutui will get loose at right guard for Arizona , despite heavy concerns (literally) about his weight keeping him from performing at an expected level. Said Lutui, it's "not the first time I've been called fat. It's one of those things, as a big boy, you have to live with."
  • My buddy RJ Bell of Pregame.com points out that the Colts are expected to be favored in 15 of their 16 games this year (the lone exception being their game at New England), while the Lions are only expected to be favored in ONE game, when they play the Rams in Week 5 at home. These expectations, remember, don't judge future performance (necessarily) ... just expectations.
  • So, there's apparently a chance that Tim Tebow might not play in Jacksonville, as according to the Denver Post , he and Brady Quinn are still battling it out for the No. 2 quarterback spot. There might be a full-on revolt at Everbank Stadium if that happens.
  • Hue Jackson, the Raiders offensive coordinator, helped get T.J. Houshmandzadeh from Seattle to Baltimore. Weird .
  • Big Blue View takes a look at the 2009 Giants draft class and decides that it might be nice to take a mulligan on that one, even if Hakeem Nicks is pretty talented. Unfortunately, well, you know how mulligans work in the NFL.
Posted on: September 7, 2010 10:00 pm

Tomlin won't say if Big Ben will be starter

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

Given the chance today, Steelers coach Mike Tomlin declined to say whether QB Ben Roethlisberger would be given his starting job when he returns from his four-game suspension.

"I'm going to dodge that one and not artfully," Tomlin told Sirius NFL Radio. "I'm not going to back myself in corner."

That’s probably best. After all, there’s no sense at this point in telling Dennis Dixon that, no matter what he does or how he plays or if he leads the Steelers to a 4-0 record, that he’ll immediately give up his starting spot when Roethlisberger returns.

But honestly, does anybody buy this? Is there any chance Roethlisberger isn’t starting at quarterback for Pittsburgh on Oct. 17 against Cleveland?

I’m going with no.

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Posted on: September 6, 2010 4:21 pm
Edited on: September 6, 2010 4:22 pm

Dixon wins Steelers QB job

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

Dixon With two of his four quarterbacks either on the NFL’s suspended list or on the team’s injury report, Pittsburgh coach Mike Tomlin had only two choices left for his starting quarterback: Dennis Dixon or veteran Charlie Batch.

According to Bob Pompeani of Pittsburgh TV station KDKA, Tomlin – without Ben Roethlisberger or Byron Leftwich available – has chosen to go with Dixon.

You might remember that Dixon performed decently in his lone start last season against the Ravens (though my expectations must have been really low for him that game, because I just looked at his stats line and it’s really not all that impressive – 12 of 26 for 145 yards, one touchdown and one interception while rushing three times for 27 yards and a score), but he was stuck behind Leftwich with Batch Roethlisberger suspended the first six games of the season.

  However, after Leftwich injured his MCL, it came down to a competition between Dixon and Batch. Although it was thought by some that Batch could be named the starter, Tomlin made the right call.

Batch is 35 and doesn’t have much of a future in Pittsburgh. The same can’t be said of Dixon.

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Posted on: September 4, 2010 3:20 pm

Some starting quarterback news

Posted by Andy Benoit

Busy day with all the cuts, but we’ll take a quick second to get squared away on two pieces of quarterback news:

1. The Rams, as expected, have named Sam Bradford their starter. A.J. Feeley is the backup. Keith Null has been released.
2. More unexpected is that the Steelers seem to be learning towards starting Charlie Batch in Week 1. Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette is reporting that Batch could go from No. 4 to No. 1 on the depth chart. (How many times in the history of quarterbacking has that happened?)

"You look back, we had three solid guys who were able to go in, step in, if needed," Batch told Bouchette. "Now we're down to two. Over the weekend, they'll determine what's going to happen. Either way, I'll be ready to go.

"I feel good, I really do. Did the reps at training camp happen? No, but we're not in training camp anymore. Right now we're getting ready for Atlanta and we have the weekend and another seven days to get ready for them. At that point, whatever happens, happens. But either way, over this weekend, we'll start the preparation of getting the game plan together. I'll be ready to go either way."

Batch has always been a stable veteran. He’s basically Dennis Dixon minus the athleticism but also minus the callowness.

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Posted on: September 4, 2010 12:19 am

Don't expect Leftwich to play at all

Posted by Andy Benoit

Thursday, Byron Leftwich’s people tweeted that the Steeler quarterback tore his MCL. Turns out, as Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported, Leftwich merely sprained his MCL. He’s still out 2-4 weeks, though.

This means Dennis Dixon will start the season opener (assuming Charlie Batch doesn't capture the job). If Dixon starts Week 1, and you’re the betting type, you’d be wise to put your money on Dixon starting the next three games, as well. MCL injuries sometimes have a way of healing slower than expected (the Steelers learned this last season with Troy Polamalu).

Plus, keep in mind, if Leftwich has a bum knee, he’ll be very limited in his conditioning these next few weeks. (And it’s not like he’s a naturally chiseled man to begin with.) It’s he Leftwich will be in true football shape once his knee is healthy.

If that’s not enough, the playing styles of Dixon and Leftwich are about as similar as the singing styles of Taylor Swift and Ozzy Osbourne. The Steeler receivers would have a tough time adjusting their rhythm if Leftwich suddenly replaced Dixon in, say, Week 3 or 4.
When your throw in the fact that Leftwich barely claimed the top job to begin with, it makes the most sense for the Steelers to just keep their wagon hitched to Dixon.

Then again, maybe not….take a look at this:

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Posted on: September 3, 2010 5:18 pm
Edited on: September 3, 2010 7:02 pm

Notable cuts from Friday

Posted by Andy Benoit

With teams having to trim their rosters to 53 by Saturday, we’re seeing some familiar names showing up on the cut lists. Here are some of the headliners so far…
B. McCray (US Presswire)
Cody Brown, OLB, Cardinals

He was a second-round pick just one year ago. Second round! But injuries and bankrupt playmaking skills led to his quick release. This speaks volumes about Brown. The only other backup outside linebacker on Arizona’s roster who was even drafted is Will Davis (sixth-round pick 2009).

Bobby McCray, DE, Saints

No surprise here – the Saints cut him once already in June. They brought him back in July, but anyone who has dated their ex-lover knows how scenarios like these generally play out. McCray still has quickness off the edge – any team looking for pass-rushing help should give him a look.

Damione Lewis, DL, Patriots

Lewis has spent his entire career as a 4-3 defensive tackle. At 32, he was trying to make the transition to 3-4 defensive end. The Patriots are fairly thin on the edges up front after the loss of Ty Warren, but obviously not thin enough to keep the ex-Panther/Ram. Lewis started 31 games over the past two seasons. Don’t be surprised if he becomes one of those regular mid-season veteran acquisitions (ala Darwin Walker, Hollis Thomas or Grady Jackson).

Monty Beisel, ILB, Cardinals

This one is a true shocker. Beisel is by no means a star, but the Cardinals are by no means stable at inside linebacker. Obviously, they feel good about second-round rookie Daryl Washington. And, they must feel a lot better about Paris Lenon then those of us who have watched the fairy-footed veteran on film the past few years. The Cardinals are counting on Washington and Lenon to start, as inside linebacking mainstay Gerald Hayes is on PUP with back problems.

One would think Beisel would have started ahead of Lenon – or, in the very least, would have provided veteran experience off the bench. Instead, it looks like the Cards are prepared to roll the dice with former undrafted free agents Pago Togafau and Reggie Walker.

Jason Hill, WR, 49ers

Hill, a third-round pick in 2007, was a developing possession receiver, but he never quite developed rapidly enough. The Niners have recently grown fond of Dominique Zeigler, which made Hill expendable. Also, the Niners said goodbye to backup running back Michael Robinson. This suggests that Brian Westbrook will make the final roster.

Kris Brown, K, Texans

Texans newcomer Neil Rackers has won the team's kicking competition. Brown was the last original Texan.

Ladell Betts, RB, Saints

Half of you realize this is probably the end of the road for Betts. The other half of you are still surprised to learn that he’s been on the Saints roster these past few weeks.

Anthony Becht, TE, Cardinals

The long-armed veteran is a reliable blocker, but with younger, more athletic options Ben Patrick and Stephen Spach both healthy, Becht became expendable.

Kraig Urbik, G, Steelers

Maybe you don’t recognize this name. That’s precisely the problem. Urbik was a third-round pick last season. With the Steelers being resoundingly mediocre at right guard, it was expected that Urbik would push for playing time right away. Instead, he did absolutely nothing.

Al Afalava, S, Bears

Afalava saw time as a starting sixth-round rookie last season, but he did nothing to stand out. The Bears are crowded in the secondary anyway. Still, we’re talking about a young player with starting experience getting cut.

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Posted on: September 3, 2010 1:06 pm
Edited on: September 3, 2010 1:13 pm

Ben wept to teammates, gets support from Rooney

Posted by Will Brinson

Ben Roethlisberger -- even before his suspension was reduced to four games today -- knew how costly his off-the-field actions were to the Pittsburgh Steelers. So much so that he had a pretty emotional (and tearful) moment with his teammates following the Steelers' final preseason game.

According to Steel City Insider's Mike Prisuta (subscription, FYI), Roethlisberger "wept" while speaking with his teammates -- for the last time until over a month from now --on Thursday night.
“He broke down,” wide receiver Hines Ward reported late Thursday night in the bowels of Heinz Field.

“The reality sets in. He’s feeling the pain because now it’s hitting home.”
This is the exact attitude -- a repentant one -- that prompted Roger Goodell to reduce Roethlisberger's suspension, and it seems as if it could be the type of thing that really galvanizes the team.

Art Rooney, at the very least, is supportive of his franchise quarterback.

“Commissioner Goodell informed us today that Ben Roethlisberger’s suspension has been reduced to four games," Rooney said in a statement issued by the team. "Ben has done a good job this summer of growing as the person that he needs to be, both on and off the field. I am confident that Ben is committed to continuing in this positive direction. As a team, our focus is now on preparing for the regular season and getting off to a good start on opening weekend."

It's fun to make sarcastic comments about Ben's behavior and to question whether or not he legitimately grew as a person in the offseason. That being said, seeing the comments from the commissioner, his teammates, his owner and now the emotional outpouring from Roethlisberger himself is pretty impressive.

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Posted on: September 3, 2010 11:10 am
Edited on: September 3, 2010 11:27 am

Roethlisberger's suspension reduced to 4 games

Posted by Will Brinson

Ben Roethlisberger met with Roger Goodell this morning -- not at the NFL's offices, reportedly in order to avoid the press -- and his suspension was reduced to four games.

The NFL released this statement, after the news was initially reported by Jason LaCanfora on Twitter .

NFL spokesman Greg Aiello released a statement from the NFL in which Goodell warned Ben that the reduction in suspension is "contingent on Roethlisberger continuing to adhere to the program established by our advisors and avoiding any further violations of the Personal Conduct Policy."

Additionally, Roethlisberger cannot "e at the team’s practice facility, attend games, represent the club publicly in any way, have contact with any member of the coaching staff or other football operations personnel, or engage in any team football-related activities or discussions with teammates away from team facilities."

"You have told me and the Steelers that you committed to making better decisions," Goodell told Roethlisberger, according to the NFL. "Your actions over the past several months have been consistent with that promise and you must continue to honor that commitment."

There was some speculation that Roethlisberger would seek a three game suspension to bring him back in time for the Steelers' home game against the Ravens in Week 4, although that notion was refuted earlier this morning .

It's impossible to say whether or not Big Ben did ask (until we hear a comment from his camp or Goodell's office), but it's clear that Goodell believes his behavior warranted a reduction in suspension.

The Steelers certainly welcome the news: Byron Leftwich suffered a second degree MCL sprain meaning Charlie Batch will likely make the roster and Dennis Dixon will likely start in Week 1 for Pittsburgh.

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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