Monday, January 22, 2007
It's Official: Mike Tomlin is the Next Steelers Head Coach.
Tomlin will become the 16th head coach in Steelers history after coaching as defensive coordinator with the Minnesota Vikings in 2006. Today's press conference will take place at Steelers headquarters at the UPMC Sports Performance Complex on the South Side.
Sunday, January 21, 2007
The Grimm Truth: Tribune-Review takes down story.
With Prisuta's story removed, it seems more and more likely that Mike Tomlin will, in fact, be named the new head coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers tomorrow.
Update: The Next Steelers Head Coach / My Head Hurts.
"At this point and time, the Steelers have not concluded a contract agreement with a new head coach, nor do we expect to do so today. There will be no other announcements from this office today.
Enjoy Championship Sunday!"
The actual article can be seen here. However, if the Steelers expected the rumor mill to take the day off, they were sadly mistaken. First, Jay Glazer of foxsports.com published a report just after noon that the Steelers and Tomlin had commenced contract negotations, then the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette posted a similar article, also claiming that Tomlin would fly to Pittsburgh tomorrow for a formal announcement and press conference.
Just after 8:30pm tonight, Jay Glazer updated his article, claiming the sides were closed to a 4-year deal in the neighborhood of $10 million dollars, roughly the same amount that Cam Cameron agreed to with the Miami Dolphins.
Meanwhile, on the Russ Grimm front, Mike Prisuta at the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review is holding on to his "breaking" story that Grimm will be named the Steelers new head coach tomorrow.
One thing seems certain after the Chicago Bears advanced to Super Bowl XLI earlier today, putting Ron Rivera's second interview on hold for at least two more weeks - and that is either Tomlin or Grimm will be named at the new Steelers coach either Monday or Tuesday.
Saturday, January 20, 2007
Tomlin AND Grimm Both Named as Next Steelers Head Coach!
Mike Tomlin AND Russ Grimm.
If you don't believe me, then read the conflicting reports by SI, ESPN, and the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, all who claim getting the inside scoop by infamous, unnamed "sources". Although, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, quoting Dan Rooney, says a decision has not yet been made. In this day of journalistic one-upmanship, it comes as no surprise that people are willing to "break" a story, even if there are no substantive facts or "named" sources to base it on.
What is sad about the three stories is that fact that they are all incorrect. That is, unless the Rooneys have already made up their mind just one day before the third candidate, Ron Rivera, could be made available for a second interview (assuming the Chicago Bears lose to New Orleans in the NFC Championship). I, for one amongst many here in the Burgh, don't see the methodical and patient Rooney family making a decision about the next head coach until the outcome of the game is known.
And even after the NFC Champion is crowned, there is still no guarantee that the Steelers will rush to name Tomlin or Grimm the next head coach before interviewing Rivera after Super Bowl XLI in two weeks. Especially since neither candidate is a finalist for any of the other head coaching vacancies remaining in the NFL (who wants to coach in Oakland, anyways?). So, I ask you: what exactly is the rush to name the new head coach today?
As Steelers fans, most of us haven't been sleeping well during this seemingly endless search for our new coach, so the last 24 hours have been nothing short of a mind-boggling. One thing is for sure, sometime within the next week or two, we will finally know who or man is. Until then, we can all speculate as to who it will be - and, unfortunately, some have chosen to push this speculation further than we might have ever imagined.
Friday, November 17, 2006
The Friday Five: Week 11 - Steelers @ Browns
For those of you going to the game, keep a lookout for Cleveland's finest - the Bone Lady (pictured here) and consider the following Friday Five questions:
- Can Willie Keep it Fast? Fast Willie has been on fire lately, coming off of last week's 213 yard rushing performance - the 2nd best ever in team history and best-ever for a home game. Can he keep it up? Currently, he is #4 rusher in the NFL with 871 yards, only behind names such as Tiki Barber (971) LaDanian Tomlinson (932) and Larry Johnson (891). With the possibility of rain or snow on Sunday, Fast Willie might need to put on some all-weather tires in order to keep his up his record pace.
- Will Troy Rebound? After suffering another concussion last week, Polamalu went through an entire practice on Thursday for the first time this week and has been medically cleared to play on Sunday. With a history of concussions (he missed four games with as a freshman in 1999 at USC, and had as many as 4 other concussions during high school), the chances of suffering another one could impact the Steelers decision to sign him for the long-term. The question Stillers Nation ponders is: with Troy's history, should he take another week off? We know it's a do or die situation to make the playoffs every Sunday between now and the end of the season, but giving Troy's head time to heal wouldn't necessarily be a bad thing and would also give Anthony Smith some valuable playing time.
- Pressure or No Pressure? Browns QB Charlie Frye has been sacked 34 times so far this year and he is on pace (unfortunately for Browns fans) to break Tim Couch's franchise record of 54 sacks in a single season. He's spending a lot more time on his kiester than he would like to. Lucky for him that he is facing the Steelers this Sunday, who've had their fair share of problems putting pressure on the QB lately (see the Broncos & Saints games). If the Steelers lack of pressure continues, it could be a long Sunday for fans of the Black & Gold. One other battle to keep an eye on this Sunday is for the Turnover Champion - Frye with 17 (12 INTs and 5 Fumbles) leads Big Ben (14 INTs & 1 Fumble) by only two giveaways.
- A Taste of Reuben? After not practicing either Wednesday or Thursday, Browns RB Reuben Droughns is officially listed as questionable on the team's injury report with a sprained foot. That bodes well for the Steelers, who suprisingly had a tough time tackling the bull-headed Droughns when the two teams met last year. Coach Romeo Crennel is confident that Droughns could still play, but if he is unable to go, backups Jason Wright and Jerome Harrison would both carry the load.
- Weather or Not? The weather on Sunday could be a factor - especially if the prediction for rain and, possibly lake effect snow, holds true. Temps at kickoff are predicted to be in the high 30s, with rain turning to snow. This game has the possibility of turning into a mud bath, which won't bode well for either team's offense. And if the weather is really nasty, scoring for both teams could be kept to a minimum.
Head coach BILL COWHER is 17-5 vs. CLE. Cowher is former Browns LB (1980, Â82); assistant coach (1985-88). PIT has scored 38 points or more in 3 of past 5. ... QB BEN ROETHLISBERGER is 24-9 (.727) in career as starter & has passed for 10 TDs in past 5 games. Roethlisberger is 3-0 vs. CLE, completing 39 of 57 (68.4 pct.) for 591 yds w/ 2 TDs vs. 2 INTs for 99.4 passer rating. In past 3 games, Roethlisberger has passed for 998 yds; needs 275 yds for most in team history in 4-game span (HOF BOBBY LAYNE, 1,272, 11/23-12/13/58). ... RB WILLIE PARKER rushed for team-record 213 yds last wk vs. NO on 22 carries for 9.7 avg. w/ 2 TDs. PIT record for most rush yds in 2-game stretch is 301 (JEROME BETTIS, Oct. 5-12, 1997). Last wk, Parker became 1st player since HOF BARRY SANDERS (10/12/97) to post 2 rushes of 70+ yds in same game. ... In past 2 games vs. CLE, WR HINES WARD has 15 catches for 229 yds w/ TD in each. Of those 15 catches, 13 were for 1st downs. ... Since start of 2004, LBs JOEY PORTER (21.5) & CLARK HAGGANS (19.5) stand tied for 2nd & 4th, respectively, among NFL LBs in sacks. In past 2 meetings, Porter has 4.0 sacks, INT, & FF. ...
CLE has won 2 of past 3, plays next 3 at home & is 3-1 (.750) on season when leading after 3 qtrs. ... Browns are 7-3 (.700) under head coach ROMEO CRENNEL when scoring 20 pts or more. ... QB CHARLIE FRYE (180) tied for 4th most completions in AFC. Frye completed 16 of 22 last wk for career-best 72.7 comp. pct. ... RB REUBEN DROUGHNS has rushed for TD in 5 of past 8 Nov. games. ... TE KELLEN WINSLOW tied for 2nd in NFL w/ 56 catches, leading all TEs by 12 catches (44, TONY GONZALEZ, KC). Winslow needs 3 catches Sunday to surpass HOFer OZZIE NEWSOME (58, 1983) for most by a Browns player in 1st 10 games of season. WR BRAYLON EDWARDS has TD catch in consecutive games. ... CLE tied for 6th in AFC w/ 10 INTs, led by S SEAN JONES. Jones tied for 2nd in NFL INTs w/ 5. Browns have INT in 3 of past 4 games. Rookie DE KAMERION WIMBLEY has 5.5 sacks & needs 1.0 more to set club record for most by rookie (6.0, MICHAEL DEAN PERRY, 1988). CLE Defense has sacked QB Roethlisberger 2 times in each of past 2 at home.
Friday, November 03, 2006
The Friday Five: Week 9 Preview: Broncos @ Steelers
Needless to say, it’s been a rough year around town and Week 9 brings us the consistently good Denver Broncos, who are very familiar with the World Champs. They don’t have to remember too far back (see January 2006 AFC Champioinship game) to find the motivation necessary to pull off a win.
Going into another “must win” game (the last one didn’t turn out so well), five questions that need to be answered include:
- Is the season already over? With a loss in Week 9, the Steelers could find themselves at 2-6 and while not quite mathematically eliminated from the playoffs, too much would have to happen around the conference in order for them to become the 6th and final seed at 10-6 (assuming they ran the table).
- Can we get some plus with that minus? With a turnover differential of -5, the Steelers are in pretty horrific company with similarly inept 2006 performers including: Buffalio (-8), Cleveland (-8), Oakland (-9), San Fran (-9), and Houston (-9). If the Steelers want to win a third game this season, they had better start holding on to the ball a little better than they have thus far. Since the Chin became head coach in Pittsburgh, the Steelers are 98-11 when their opponent loses the ball more often in a game than they do, and 22-57-1 when they lose the ball more than their opponent.
- Can Ben give 100%? As a follow up to last week’s #1 question, Stillers Nation still does not believe Big Ben is 100% ready to go full throttle because of the numerous setbacks he’s had since his motorcycle crash this past summer. Case in point, last week the Steelers were driving and instead of running the ball into the endzone for a TD where he most likely would have taken a shot or two, Ben instead elected to throw the ball. Why? Maybe because he thought he couldn’t score or maybe he through he could hit the open receiver. But in any case, ask yourself this: how many times has been been forced out of the pocket this season versus taking a sack? And those times he has run away from the sack, how many times has he elected to throw the ball instead of tucking it and running for positive yardage? Fact is, the injuries he suffered are a cause for worry, especially if he suffers another concussion. Although we don’t think he should be pulled in favor of Charlie Batch, how would the rest bode for Ben’s future?
- 3rd down and inches: Najeh or Duce? The real question is: will Duce even dress this Sunday? Why shouldn’t he? How much worse would the 3rd down game be if he took a few snaps? It not like the Steelers did a great job last week with Verron and Najeh. With that said, suit Duce up, put him in, and make him earn some of that $1.5MM early Christmas gift money he received from the Rooney’s.
- Will stupidity cost us (again)? If interceptions and fumbles weren’t enough, week after week come the bonehead personal foul and unsportsmanlike penalties on offense, defense, and special teams. If it’s not an end-zone celebration, it’s taunting. If it’s not taunting, then it’s a horse collar tackle. Dumb mistakes at some of the most inopportune times have cost this team at least 2, if not 3 games this year. Let’s hope that nonsense is behind us.
Head coach MIKE SHANAHAN (135) needs win to tie HOF coach HANK STRAM (136) for 17th most in NFL history. Under Shanahan (since 1995), DEN is 31-11-0 (.738) in Nov. -- best such record in league during span. ... QB JAKE PLUMMER has won 3 consecutive regular season starts vs. AFC North & is 7-4 (.636) vs. division in career. ... RB TATUM BELL has 100+ rush yds in all 3 on road this season, with 341 yds on 66 carries (5.2 per att.). Bell (4.5) owns 5th best yds/carry avg. in NFL among players w/ 100+ rushes. Rookie RB MIKE BELL rushed for season-best 136 yds & 2 TDs on 15 carries last wk vs. IND for most rushing yds in game by rookie on season. ... WR JAVON WALKER has attained 28 receiving 1st downs on 33 catches. WR ROD SMITH (821) needs 7 catches to surpass LARRY CENTERS (827) for 11th most in NFL history. ... Rookie DE ELVIS DUMERVIL has 5.0 sacks & FR in past 3 games. CB CHAMP BAILEY has INT in 3 of past 4 games. ...
PIT has lost 3 of 5 games by 1-possession scores. ... Under head coach BILL COWHER, PIT is 129-30 (.811) when out-rushing opponent. ... QB BEN ROETHLISBERGER is 4-1 (.800) in career Nov. starts, 2-0 at home. Roethlisberger is 12-3 (.800) in career as home starter. ... RB WILLIE PARKER stands 3rd in AFC w/ 6 TDs (5 rush, 1 rec.). Parker has rushed for 2 TDs in each of past 2 at home. ... For Oct., WR HINES WARD tied for 4th among NFL players w/ 360 rec. yds on 25 receptions (14.4 avg.) & 4 TDs. In last year’s AFC Championship, WR CEDRICK WILSON caught 5 passes for 92 yds & 1 TD; did not catch more than 4 passes in any other game in ’05. ... G ALAN FANECA has not missed start since ’01. ... Defense limited OAK to 17 net pass yds last wk & ranks No. 6 in NFL in yds allowed per game (276.7). LB CLARK HAGGANS leads team w/ 5.0 sacks & needs 1.0 more to record at least 6.0 in 4 of past 5 seasons. S TROY POLAMALU tied for 4th in NFL w/ 3 INTs.
Tuesday, October 31, 2006
Two Players Dropped/Added to Steelers Roster
With the opening of these two spots, it came as no surprise that the Steelers signed a linebacker and a fullback to the 53 man roster. Third-year veteran LB Marquis Cooper (see photo) was claimed off waivers from the Minnesota Vikings. Cooper was originally drafted in the third round of the 2004 NFL Draft by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He played in 26 games over the past two seasons (14 in 2004 and 12 in 2005) with the Bucs. Although Cooper was with the Minnesota Vikings in 2006, he was only active for one game (10/01/06 at Buffalo) before being waived yesterday.
John Kuhn, the second year player from Shippensburg, will move from the Steelers' practice squad to the regular roster. Kuhn originally signed with the Steelers in 2005 and also spent part of last season on the team's practice squad.
Monday, October 30, 2006
Are You Kidding Me? A Very, Very, Very Painful Loss....
What makes this loss even more painful are the long-term effects it will have on the remainder of the Steelers dismal 2006 season. Although it will not be known for sure until later in the week, it appears as if both FB Verron Haynes and rookie LB Arnold Harrison will be out for the rest of the season with knee injuries. And to make matters even worse, starting C Jeff Hartings could be out for what Coach Cowher says "an extended period of time". Which leads to the speculation that if this injury is serious enough, it could be the last time we see Hartings in a Steelers uniform.
More troubling than the 3 injuries was the continued hesitancy of Big Ben to scramble out of the pocket and run the ball when the opportunity presented itself, as it did during the play that ultimately resulted in a 100 yard interception for the back-breaking touchdown. While we completely understand Ben's reluctance to run into traffic and possibly take a serious blow to the head, maybe he (or the coaches) should have realized that rushing him back into yesterday's game could create situations where his full capabilities could not be utilized.
Finally, the lack of control Coach Cowher has over his players continued, even after last week's promise (for the second time this season) that "this would not happen again". Although the back-to-back personal fouls resulting in 30 yards did not end in a Raiders TD, they did come away with a FG.
Next up are the AFC West leading Denver Broncos, who will surely be out for revenge after last January's loss to a much different Steeler team in the AFC Championship game. And a week later, the surprising NFC South leading New Orleans Saints come to Heinz Field. All in all, this season is turning into a bigger disappointment than anyone could have possibly imagined a mere 8 weeks ago. With the way the Steelers have been playing, the 7th loss of the season (something we haven't seen since the 2003 season) could be here before Thanksgiving.