Woodley elevating his game in second half of the season


By Mike Bires One reason why the Steelers can be dangerous if they get into the playoffs _ and that’s still a big if _ is the possibility of Troy Polamalu lining up again at strong safety. But another reason is LaMarr Woodley’s continued rise toward stardom. Right outside linebacker James Harrison, the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year in 2008, received nationwide claim the past two seasons for the havoc he’s wreaked on opposing defenses. But last year in the playoffs, Woodley, the Steelers’ left outside ‘backer, had a six-to-one edge over Harrison in sacks. “He’s been that kind of guy since he’s been here,” Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said of Woodley. “His rookie year, he came on late in the year. Late last year, he was playing good football. He’s a guy that’s on the rise at the appropriate time and that’s what makes him a good player.”Read More »

NFL: Greg Jennings contract will be a starting point in Santonio Holmes contract talks


Off-season Look ahead A top priority for the Pittsburgh Steelers this off-season will be signing star wide receiver Santonio Holmes to a long-term extension. Holmes is currently in the fourth year of a five-year, $8.11 million contract he signed in July of 2006 as a rookie. Coming off a sensational 2008 playoff run, the reigning Super Bowl M.V.P. is having a career year in 2009. After somewhat of a slow start, Holmes has 78 receptions for 1,243 yards and 4 touchdowns through 15 games, all career highs. The former first round pick draws the oppositions top cornerback tandem on a weekly basis as Holmes is establishing himself as a top 10 wide out in the league. Is Holmes in line to receive the second largest contract in team history? According to sources, word from Holmes camp is that a starting point in contract talks will be the deal that GreenRead More »

Steelers end five game losing streak with winning score as time expired


By Dale Grdnic PITTSBURGH — What a difference 10 days made for the Pittsburgh Steelers. After scoring just six points and no touchdowns against the Cleveland Browns and their league-worst defense, the Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger threw for a team-record 503 yards to out-gun the Green Bay Packers and their second-ranked defense 37-36 Sunday night at Heinz Field. In a game that lasted 3 hours, 38 minutes, Roethlisberger needed every second to find rookie wideout Mike Wallace at the side of the end zone for the winning score as time expired. But the Steelers’ playoff hopes are not dead yet.

Tomlin must fix dissension in the locker room


Steelers lack a team concept There continues to be signs that there is a locker room divide among the Steelers veterans. It’s a problem for the Super Bowl champions that is not going away. According to former NFL executive Michael Lombardi, “Too many players have their own agendas and not enough of a team concept. There’s a problem among the players, and the Hines Ward/Ben Roethlisberger problem has not gone away despite the Ward apology. Expect changes.” Hines Ward questioning the courage and toughness of Ben Roethlisberger has had a reeling effect on this team. As NBC analyst Rodney Harrison {former teammate of Brady’s} said two weeks ago, “If Tom Brady had a hangnail, never would any of the guys question Tom Brady.” How to fix the dissension in the locker room falls on the shoulders of head coach Mike Tomlin. I’m a strong Mike Tomlin supporter but he didRead More »

Post-Cleveland Judgements


The Pittsburgh Steelers chances of earning a playoff berth took another serious blow Thursday night as the Steelers lost their 5th straight game in what has become a stunning collapse for a team that had the look of being another Super Bowl contender, through the first eight weeks of the season. The AFC playoff picture is bunched up and even if the Steelers found a way to turn things around and win out, which appears very unlikely, their conference losses (6) has them needing Jacksonville to lose 3 games, Baltimore to lose 2 games and the Jets losing 2 games for a chance to clinch the 6th seed. JAX 7-5 (Miami, Indy, at New England, at Cleveland) BAL 6-6 (Detroit, Chicago, at PIT, Oakland) Miami 6-6 (at Jacksonville, at Tennessee, Houston, PIT) NY Jets 6-6 (at Tampa Bay, Atlanta, at Indy, Cincinnati) PIT 6-7 ( Green Bay, Baltimore, at Miami)Read More »

Steelers playoff hopes sacked by lowly Browns


Steelers lose fifth straight game Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin promised changes following the Steelers embarrassing 27-24 loss to the Oakland Raiders in week 13 but Thursday night it was more of the same as the Steelers playoff hopes were dashed by the 2-11 Cleveland Browns. The Browns handed the Super Bowl champions their fifth straight loss, defeating the Steelers 13-6 for their first win against Pittsburgh since 2003. The win for Cleveland was their Super Bowl, while barring an foreseen miracle, the Steelers title defense is all but over before the playoffs even started. After a 6-2 start, the Steelers stunning collapse in the second half of the season has happened at the hands of three of the worst teams {Oakland, Cleveland, Kansas City} in the AFC, who have a combined record of 9-28. “We’ve found new and different ways to not rise up at critical moments andRead More »

Steelers being exposed as losing streak reaches four


The Steelers losing streak extended to four games Sunday afternoon as the Steelers suffered yet another stunning loss, this time to the Oakland Raiders and a journeyman quarterback who didn’t have a job at the start of the regular season. Raiders quarterback Bruce Gradkowski threw 3 fourth quarter touchdowns including a 11 yard touchdown pass to Louis Murphy with nine seconds remaining as the Raiders stunned Pittsburgh 27-24. The Steelers went ahead 24-20 on Ben Roethlisberger’s 11 yard touchdown pass to Hines Ward with 1:56 remaining, only to have Gradkowski and the Raiders go 10 plays and 88 yards for the game winning score. The loss puts the Steelers (6-6) in serious danger of missing playoffs, after winning the Super Bowl for a second time in four seasons. The offense stumbled for the most part in the first three quarters but delivered in the fourth quarter when it counted andRead More »

Ravens beat Steelers 20-17 in OT


Post-Game Reaction Under the circumstances, Dennis Dixon put on a good performance throwing a 33 yard touchdown pass to Santonio Holmes, and running for a 24 yard touchdown to put Pittsburgh up 17-14 in the fourth quarter with less than 6:24 remaining in the fourth quarter. In regulation, Dixon did everything the Steelers could have expected and surprisingly put the Steelers in position to win the game but the Steelers defense was unable to hold off the Ravens from tying the game.

Yo, Mendenhall: Less poems, more playbook


Among big-time athletes, the least excusable sin is stupidity. Balls get dropped, old guys lose sprints to the sticks, babies get kissed, but fans forgive and forget if the effort’s there. When it comes to donning the stupid helmet like Kelso, though, wounds don’t heal. Three recent examples: *Rashard Mendenhall was nailed to the Steelers’ bench Sunday because HE DOESN’T KNOW THE PLAYS. That’s the basis of Mendenhall’s job. If you haven’t memorized your section of the playbook after 17 months, you’re lazy, illiterate, drug-addled or just plain stupid. Mendenhall was once robbed at gunpoint. The perps either stole his brain or playbook, possibly both. *Santonio Holmes didn’t read blitz, didn’t break his route properly and Ben Roethlisberger threw a pick-six. This is Holmes’ fourth NFL season. Holmes is a Super Bowl MVP. He can’t be asleep at the wheel. Hines Ward is a career overachiever partly because he alwaysRead More »