Steelers – Tuesday: Under the Microscope


STEELERS – TUESDAY PITTSBURGH — Considering how their careers have gone and how last season ended, Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Cortez Allen and outside linebacker Jarvis Jones should be champing at the bit to face the New England Patriots in the opener Thursday night at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass. “I’m just excited about playing and excited about going against the defending Super Bowl champs,” Allen said. “So, it’s a big test for us and a big opportunity. (And) if you don’t embrace it, you’re in the wrong sport. You want to go against the best, and you want to be in these types of situations. It’s fun to battle against top competition like this.” There has been some talk this week that Allen has been supplanted in the starting lineup by Antwon Blake. Allen deferred to Steelers coach Mike Tomlin and the defensive coaching staff when asked his opinion onRead More »

DeAngelo Williams not shy about making it known how productive he used to be


Steelers – Monday PITTSBURGH — For those who believe the Pittsburgh Steelers are in trouble with running back Le’Veon Bell missing the opening two regular-season games, don’t be too concerned. Veteran DeAngelo Williams and newly acquired Jordan Todman should have the Steelers well-armed, or legged, as the case might be. “This is not his first rodeo, by any stretch,” STEELERS UPDATED DEPTH CHART

Steelers – Sunday: Shakeup in the Secondary


STEELERS – SUNDAY PITTSBURGH — Apparently the Pittsburgh Steelers 53-man roster wasn’t set in stone, and neither was the starting secondary. When final cuts were made Saturday, Steelers draft picks Doran Grant (fourth-round cornerback) and Anthony Chickillo (sixth-round linebacker) were on the 53-man roster, but after the club signed running back Jordan Todman and defensive end Caushaud Lyons both were jettisoned. And after starting at strong safety the majority of the preseason, it appears that third-year player Shamarko Thomas has been replace by veteran Will Allen. Mike Mitchell solidified his spot at free safety. “I don’t think it affects what we do defensively at all,” Mitchell said Sunday. “Will’s an extremely capable guy, and Shamarko is an extremely capable guy. I think our defense is our defense, and we just move the pieces around. (And) what’s comforting is that I’ve played with both guys.” Mitchell was paired quite often withRead More »

Redshirt freshman Qadree Ollison has monster day


PITT – YOUNGSTOWN STATE ANALYSIS PITTSBURGH — The University of Pittsburgh might have won the battle against Youngstown State, barely, 45-37 Saturday at Heinz Field, but it lost the war when star running back James Conner injured his right knee late in the first half. Conner tallied 77 yards on eight carries and scored two touchdowns with a long run for 40 yards, but he didn’t play a down in the second half for precautionary reasons. “James is fine,” Pitt coach Pat Narduzzi said. “We were just being cautious. I think we have a strong stable of backup backs. You can look at Qadree Ollison and the way he came in. Chris James was banged up a little bit. So, it’s good that we have a strong stable of backs.” The game was close at that point, but an 89-yard kickoff return by sophomore Avonte Maddox and 71-yard scoring runRead More »

Steelers – Friday: 53 Talk


STEELERS – FRIDAY PITTSBURGH — The Pittsburgh Steelers didn’t officially release their final cuts to reach the 53-man roster limit by the Saturday deadline, but a handful of players were noticeably absent Friday afternoon. The Steelers made one move, though, as punter Brad Wing was traded to the New York Giants for a conditional seventh-round pick next year. Wing, who punted in all 16 games last season, was beaten out by fellow Australian Jordan Berry, a first-year player from Eastern Kentucky. “We’ve been here together the last 4-5 months, spending every day with each other,” Berry said Friday. “So, we had a pretty good working relationship. He’s also a pretty good bloke, so he’s great to hang out with. … I’m glad he landed somewhere else, but I’m obviously happy that I won the job.” Kicking at usually tough Heinz Field Thursday night, Berry sealed the job by booming fiveRead More »

Pitt Talk: Conner to be more involved in passing game, Pitt players’ feel they are playing for each other on defense


PITTSBURGH — After four straight 6-6 regular seasons and just a 1-3 bowl mark during that stretch, the University of Pittsburgh football program needed a serious change. Enter former Michigan State defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi. He makes his Panthers debut against Youngstown State Saturday at 1 p.m. at Heinz Field, and the pressure got to him earlier in the week. “Had to go out and see Rob (Blanc, Pitt’s athletic trainer) yesterday to get some Tums,” Narduzzi said. “That’s normal game week for a football coach, get Tums to make yourself feel good.” There’s a lot for Narduzzi to feel good about this year, especially on offense, with second-year starting quarterback Chad Voytik, wideout Tyler Boyd and running back James Conner leading a possibly explosive offense. However, Tyler Boyd was suspended for the YSU game due to an offseason DUI arrest, so other wideouts such as Dontez Ford, Zach Challingsworth,Read More »

Steelers – Tuesday: Bryant talks suspension, Brown grateful for contract


STEELERS – TUESDAY PITTSBURGH — Martavis Bryant was humble and contrite Tuesday, but after reportedly failing four NFL drug tests for marijuana it remains to be seen if the Pittsburgh Steelers second-year wideout has a problem that he can’t beat like he did opposing secondaries for eight touchdowns during his rookie season. Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said during his press conference earlier in the day that Bryant “has issues that he’s dealing with that are bigger than football,” and the club prepared for this by drafting speedy Sammie Coates in the third round this past spring. Tomlin and Bryant, who faces a four-game suspension for the multiple violations of the NFL’s substance abuse policy, will discuss the player’s situation Friday. Bryant can return after the Oct. 1 game against the Baltimore Ravens. He can attend team meetings, but won’t get paid for the missed games, can’t practice with the teamRead More »

Steelers – Monday: The safety tandem that could save or doom the Steelers defense


STEELERS – MONDAY PITTSBURGH — They might not be Butch and Sundance, but Pittsburgh Steelers safeties Mike Mitchell and Shamarko Thomas are as close as they need to be. At least that’s what Mitchell believes. Thomas, a third-year player who has been tapped to replace legendary Troy Polamalu, has been torched quite often during this preseason. And Mitchell has been absent as well with two injuries. “I just try to take everything in stride,” Mitchell said Monday. “You can’t get too high or too low. I can only control the things that I can control. I can’t ask myself why. I know that there wasn’t anything I could have done to prevent (the injuries). So, I just try to keep my head down, stay focused, stay positive and keep working.” While his injuries could have potentially been serious and nagging, Mitchell believed he is on the right track going intoRead More »

Steelers – Thursday: Players react to the suspension of Martavis Bryant


 STEELERS – THURSDAY PITTSBURGH — The Pittsburgh Steelers offense took another hit Thursday, as second-year wideout Martavis Bryant faces a four-game suspension, pending appeal, for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy. Bryant, the club’s fourth-round pick, tallied eight touchdowns on 26 catches and a 21.1-yard average in just 10 games. He developed into an explosive offensive component for quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who also will be without injured center Maurkice Pouncey (at least two months) and suspended running back Le’Veon Bell (two games) for the opener Sept. 10 at New England. “We’re just excited for the guys who are going to be there,” No. 1 wideout Antonio Brown said. “There are going to be some opportunities for other guys, so we all have to be ready to play. … Adversity is a part of the game and a part of being in this league, but you have to be highly professionalRead More »

Steelers – Wednesday: Vick comes off humble and contrite in meeting with media


STEELERS – WEDNESDAY PITTSBURGH — In many ways, Michael Vick isn’t the player or person he was early in his NFL career, a cocky quarterback who terrorized opposing defenses with athleticism and arm strength and the catalyst in a dog fighting ring that led to the now 35-year-old spending 23 months in a federal prison. Vick appeared to be humble and contrite, as he addressed the media after his first practice Wednesday with the Pittsburgh Steelers. And on the field, the player who started 112 games during a 12-year NFL career that began in 2001 in Atlanta, moved on to Philadelphia after the legal problems and ended with the New York Jets last year. After veteran Bruce Gradkowski was placed on injured reserve for hand and shoulder injuries, the Steelers needed a backup to Ben Roethlisberger and gave Vick a call. “He can still throw,” Steelers offensive coordinator Todd HaleyRead More »