Tag:Pittsburgh Steelers
Posted on: August 10, 2010 9:58 am
Edited on: August 10, 2010 10:09 am
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Hot Routes 8.10.2010

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

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--The Steelers don’t have much depth at outside linebacker. Which is why they drafted Jason Worilds in the second round and Thaddeus Gibson in the fourth round. Still, through a combination of problems , Pittsburgh isn’t getting much production from those two.

--Ravens safety Dawan Landry has been flat-out hurting people in training camp. He busted Willis McGahee’s lip and he smashed Derrick Mason so hard that Mason sprained his ankle. Without crazy-man FS Ed Reed in the lineup for the time being, Landry is exactly what Baltimore needs in its shredded defensive back corps. 

--The Dolphins released a preseason depth chart, and there a couple of interesting decisions on there. For one, Joe Berger is ahead of Jake Grove for starting center. Brian Hartline is listed as a starting WR. Chad Pennington is fourth-string QB behind Tyler Thigpen and Pat White. ESPN.com cautions none of this means much of anything yet.

--Jets coach Rex Ryan admits he made a mistake last year placing Vernon Gholston at outside linebacker. Gholston has been an absolute bust since New York took him in the first round of the 2008 draft – come to think of it, maybe we should wait at least one more year before giving him the big ol’ bust label, though Gholston has been pretty bad – but Ryan says he’s really excited about Gholston’s prospects this season. 

--Dolphins CEO Mike Dee wrote a letter to Miami’s fans and posted it on the team’s web site , apologizing for canceling Monday’s practice at Sun Life Stadium. Take it easy, Mike. I don’t think fans will blame you for the weather. Still, a class move from Dee.

--What will it be like when the Patriots and Saints hold a joint practice today? The Boston Herald has the FAQ and the answers . There won’t be a scrimmage, but the two teams will work together in individual drills and some down-and-distance situations. 

--The Browns players have 17 active Twitter accounts, but after Brandon McDonald’s crude Tweets in the past, the Cleveland organization will be paying a watchful eye at how the rest of the Browns participate in the social media world. Mangini, though, admits that he doesn’t expect his players to stop using Twitter

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Posted on: August 7, 2010 3:33 pm
Edited on: August 7, 2010 3:40 pm
 

Ref tells Seahawks he messed up in Super Bowl

Referee Bill Leavy said he blew two calls in Super Bowl XL that could have impacted the game. Posted by Josh Katzowitz

There’s been something on referee Bill Leavy’s mind the past four years. On Friday, he finally apologized for it.

Leavy admitted to blowing two calls in Super XL that he said might have affected the outcome of Pittsburgh’s 21-10 championship victory against Seattle.

From the Seattle Times :

Speaking to Seattle-area reporters Friday about NFL rules changes this season, Leavy said he's still bothered by his gaffes.

"It left me with a lot of sleepless nights, and I think about it constantly," he said. "I'll go to my grave wishing that I'd been better. I know that I did my best at that time, but it wasn't good enough.

"When we make mistakes, you got to step up and own them. It's something that all officials have to deal with, but unfortunately when you have to deal with it in the Super Bowl, it's difficult."


As MLB umpire Jim Joyce discovered after ruining Armando Gallaraga’s perfect game earlier this year, apologizing is the key to absolution. Perhaps Leavy is hoping for some of that forgiveness or, at least, to lessen the weight on his conscience.

"It was a tough thing for me," Leavy said. "I kicked two calls in the fourth quarter, and I impacted the game, and as an official you never want to do that.”

Responded QB Matt Hasselbeck in another Seattle Times story: "I think all of the officials we have in the NFL are stand-up guys and Leavy is no different ... He's a great guy. He's actually a really, really good official. It's just one of those things where like I said sometimes you don't have your best days as a player and it's the same thing as a coach."

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Posted on: August 4, 2010 10:10 pm
 

Casey Hampton doesn't like training camp

Steelers veteran nose tackle Casey Hampton doesn’t like training camp. And he’s not shy about admitting it. “It's well-documented I really don't enjoy training camp," Hampton said, according to the Pittsburgh Tribune Review. C. Hampton (US Presswire)

Hampton signed a three-year, $21 million contract over the offseason. In the contract is a $1 million weight clause. There haven’t been any reports about his weight thus far, but the 300-and-whatever-pounder hasn’t practiced since Saturday, thanks to a sore hamstring. Hampton, who turns 33 in September, isn’t worried. "I'm in good shape. I'm going to be ready to go when it's time to go. I'm not trying to make the team right now. It's all about getting healthy and trying to stay healthy."

--Andy Benoit

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Posted on: August 4, 2010 5:16 pm
 

AFC North Preview, Podcast Style

Just like Monday, it's preview time, podcast style. Wednesday's edition features the AFC North.

Anyway, Josh and I run through the division, asking the hard questions: Has the Ravens dominant side of the ball shifted? What will happen with the circus in Cincinnati? Can the Steelers contend with Big Ben suspended? And why does Cleveland still have sports teams?

That's, right: all that and more, all for the low, low price of clicking a play button. Got a question you want answered on the show? Hit us up on Twitter (@CBSSportsNFL ) or email will.brinson [at] cbs [dot] com .

We'll be running out a few of these a week, so there's plenty of time. Oh, and also, be a friend and subscribe either by RSS or iTunes below.

If you can't view the podcast, click here to download .
Or, make it easy on yourself and  Subscribe via iTunes .


-- Will Brinson

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Posted on: August 4, 2010 12:37 pm
 

Polamalu's knee no longer a factor

T. Polamalu will make a major impact on Pittsburgh's defense if he's completely healthy (Getty). During a podcast I taped today with Will Brinson – it should be up on the blog later this afternoon – we had a lengthy conversation about the Steelers and how dependent they are on Troy Polamalu to return to strength after playing only five games last year due to a knee injury.

Without him in the lineup last year, Pittsburgh was forced to use Tyrone Carter at the strong safety spot. The experiment did not go well – and really, it’s not fair to expect the undersized Carter, who’s now a free agent by the way, to replicate Polamalu’s talent and production – and the Steelers secondary only recorded 10 interceptions while finishing 16th in the NFL in passing yards allowed per game.

Now, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette , Polamalu is healthy and ready to return and cause havoc for opposing offenses. His knee no longer should be a factor.

"It took a little longer than I anticipated," Polamalu told the paper. "I'm fine now. It just took longer in the offseason. There's no way I could have played in the Super Bowl or anything like that. Maybe I was just fooling myself to work toward something like that."

Polamalu never had surgery to repair the damage to his knee ligaments, because the recovery was too uncertain. He decided to let the knee heal on its own, and now, he’s healthy enough to practice. But what about actually playing in a game?

"It's a whole other story when you have to play,” he said. “You really can't say how confident you are until you really have people falling on you and your legs.

“Exploding off it hasn't been a problem at all. You can simulate that through training. But you can't really simulate people falling on it and people around your legs. But I honestly don't think that's a huge problem at all."

If Polamalu is healthy – and Will and I discussed this – the Steelers will have a better chance of competing for an AFC North title, particularly when it comes to dealing with the newly-retooled passing offenses of the Bengals and Ravens. If he’s not as healthy as he wants – or he reinjures himself – this season could go downhill pretty quickly in Pittsburgh. Yes, Polamalu is that important.

--Josh Katzowitz

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Posted on: August 2, 2010 3:45 pm
 

Jeff Reed displeased with Steelers

We’ll find out if it’s possible for a kicker to become a distraction. Steelers kicker Jeff Reed didn’t mince words in a recent ESPN.com article. Reed was hoping to get a long-term contract this past offseason. Instead, he got slapped with a $2.814 million franchise tag. The Steelers told Reed they wanted to get a long-term deal done, but the injury to offensive tackle Willie Colon (which led to the signing of Flozell Adams) changed the circumstances.
J. Reed (US Presswire)
"All I can do is play this year out and that's pretty much it," Reed said. "I was very optimistic last offseason and that didn't get me anywhere."

Reed, 31, took a shot at the Steeler organization by bringing up Sebastian Janikowski’s four-year, $16 million contract in Oakland.

"Janikowski's a great kicker but ... he definitely doesn't have any rings and percentage-wise, I'm better. That's the kind of things you take into account. I wasn't asking for that kind of money, but it doesn't matter. Bottom line is this isn't Oakland, and they're going to pay who they want to pay here."

Reed has been with the Steelers since 2002. He has made 83.3 percent of his field goal attempts (ninth best percentage of all-time) and is the league’s most accurate kicker over the last three seasons.

--Andy Benoit

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Category: NFL
Posted on: August 1, 2010 11:35 am
 

Jeff Reed thinks Steelers have let him down

J. Reed is upset with the Pittsburgh organization (Getty). I’m not sure what to think about Steelers kicker Jeff Reed.

On one hand, Reed has been known to stay out late in bars and take unfortunate pictures, and the next time he receives a ticket for public intoxication and disorderly conduct, it won’t be the first. In effect, he’s often embarrassed the Steelers organization. Not Ben Roethlisberger embarrassed, but annoying in the way a fly buzzing around your head is annoying.

On the other hand, Reed has been a solid player for Pittsburgh, converting 83.3 percent of the attempts he’s made.

Reed is competent, fun and a ittle bit reckless. Oh, and he seems pretty pissed at the Steelers, who are paying him $2.8 million this year.

He talked to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on Saturday, and he came across as awfully upset.

"I'm really disappointed ... extremely ... little bit bitter," Reed said. "That's probably not a good choice of words. I'm not here to burn bridges. I got to play football. I'm not happy, but I'm happy to be with all these guys and be a part of the organization.

"It's one of those things, life is not really fair. I've experienced that a few times in this league. I honestly feel that if you perform, no matter if you kick at Heinz Field or a dome, as a kicker, you deserve to get compensated for it."

More than not getting the contract he wants, Reed also feels he was misled by the only organization he’s known during his eight-year career.

From the Post-Gazette:

What's more, he believes he was misled by unspecified members of the organization about their intention of wanting to sign him to a multi-year deal.

"I'm not going to point anyone out or any statement out, but, yeah, I was told one thing and another thing happened," Reed said Saturday after practice at Saint Vincent College in Latrobe. "I understand business moves, but I'm not a big fan of lying."


Though Reed is getting paid like a top-five kicker – that’s because he was designated the team’s franchise player – he hasn’t necessarily performed like one. Reed – who, simply put, has weaker-than-average leg strength – might be a top-10 guy (I’d put him in the top-15), and he’s probably getting paid a little more than his market value.

So, Reed’s attitude doesn’t sit well with me. And I think there’s a pretty compelling reason why Pittsburgh hasn’t given him the long-term deal he wants. I don’t think his comments Saturday will do much to help his cause, but still, Reed provides a refreshing change of pace when compared to most other NFL kickers. He might be an annoyance to some, but hey, points given on the sheer value of filling up a reporter's notebook.

--Josh Katzowitz

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Category: NFL
Posted on: July 31, 2010 9:12 pm
 

Steelers fans cheer Roethlisberger

B. Roethlisberger and B. Leftwich at Pittsburgh practice today (AP). All Ben Roethlisberger wants from the Steelers fan base is a second chance (or, more accurately, a fourth chance. That’s what he told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette for today’s editions.

Roethlisberger mentioned how nervous he was driving to camp, simply because he didn’t know the reaction he’d receive after another turbulent offseason that resulted in a (for now) six-game suspension to open this year.

"I am hoping and praying that I get a warm reception,” he told the paper Friday afternoon. “I hope people want to give me another chance and that they will give me that chance to prove to them ... It would tear me apart if (booing) happened at home. On the road we are used to it anyway. I can block that out; but it touches my heart because I love Pittsburgh.”

Those prayers seemed to work.

From the Associated Press :

What Roethlisberger didn't expect was this: Waves of cheering supporters wearing his No. 7 jersey and knocking over temporary security fences to get the autograph of a player whose vulgar off-field behavior led the NFL to suspend him for six games.

Roethlisberger, so disliked in Pittsburgh a few months ago that he wondered if he'd ever regain a sliver of his previous support, was greeted warmly by an enthusiastic crowd estimated at 10,000 on Saturday at Saint Vincent College. He heard few, if any jeers, and many fans appeared to go out of their way to embrace him.

There were cheers when Roethlisberger and wide receiver Hines Ward arrived on the practice field together, and more when the quarterback found Antwaan Randle El on a pass route.

Pumped up by the response, Roethlisberger couldn't recall throwing a single incompletion during a nearly two-hour practice.

"I was nervous, scared, anxious, a lot of emotions," Roethlisberger said.


Roethlisberger, after practice, signed and gave away both of his shoes. Even Ward – no stranger to criticizing Roethlisberger – had nice things to say.

"For many years, people didn't know what was really going on with Ben," Ward said. "He's starting to open up and be more personal with guys. Today he was talking to everybody. I really think he understands the situation. I think you could really see the excitement in him, competing and playing football again. ... He's working on trying to improve himself."

Roethlisberger worked out with the first team today, but that could change Sunday. It sounds like Roethlisberger, Byron Leftwich and Dennis Dixon will rotate with the different teams.

--Josh Katzowitz

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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