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Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Costly win

The 23-20 win by the Steelers Monday night over Baltimore was a costly one as rookie running back Rashard Mendenhall and right guard Kendall Simmons were lost for the season.

Mendenhall, the team's top draft pick, suffered a fractured shoulder against the Ravens. He was starting in place of Willie Parker, who was out with a knee injury.

Simmons, meanwhile, suffered an Achilles tendon injury. He was replaced during the game by second-year pro Darnell Stapleton, but it's likely that veteran Trai Essex will likely be the starter at right guard the remainder of the season - though that decision has yet to be made.

Fullback Carey Davis suffered an ankle injury in the fourth quarter and did not return. He was on crutches following the game and his return looks like it will be a ways off as well.

There was some good news, however. Linebacker Andre Frazier, who was taken off on a stretcher and back board after being hit hard on the opening kickoff was walking around the locker room following the game and looks like he's OK. It was announced that Frazier had a spine injury, but it appears it's nothing serious.

© Ben Roethlisberger gave a motivational speech at halftime after the team played a listless first half. It's a big moment in the leadership progress of Roethlisberger.


Patrick said...

this win is costly indeed, but i think as far as confidence and team building goes, this was a huge win.

Dale, it is rather obvious Gary Russell will be activated, but who else might the Steelers consider for a back? Shaun Alexander, Cedric Benson, Davenport returns, a trade possibly? I don't think the Raiders would ever do it, but nothing surprises me with them, Michael Bush sure would look nice in Black n Gold...... (I'm dreaming, I know)

big win for the Steelers regardless, next week will be just as brutal

Anonymous said...

I would love to see Davenport come back. I always had a soft spot for the big fella, loved his stiff arm . I think we're paying him a million anyways this year, he might as well play a bit and earn it.
How would that work anyways if we resigned him? Could we get some of that mill back somehow? Or would we just have to bite it and give him a new one year?

adamg said...

I could see Verron Haynes being resigned. He already knows the Steeler system, he can pass protect, catch the ball out of the backfield and isn't a bad runner at all. I think Sean McHugh would be fine at fullback. Even though McHugh looks physically like a TE because of his height and weight, he's really a FB and, IIRC, from his days at PSU, he actually prefers to be a fullback. That move would certainly free up Miller to run pass routes instead of being wasted as a blocker in the backfield.

I'm not sure Simmons is such a huge loss. Maybe it was just me, but I thought the OL played better with Stapleton in there. I can see why the coaches are high on him.

I was critical of BR during the game, but all props to him for convincing the coaches to go to the no huddle and calling his own plays at the line. I'm not sure what BR having to do that says about the coaches, though. Those two passes to Holmes for the TD and Ward for the big gainer were BR at his best.

Dale Lolley said...

I'd say Davenport would be the natural call. He was here through OTAs and is a Tomlin favorite.

McHue looked good in the backfield. He completely blew up Bart Scott - I believe – on one play.

As for Simmons vs. Stapleton, I don't think Stapleton will be starting. I think it will be Essex.
Stapleton's not a guard. Too small - in stature. That's fine at center, but he has to have some reach at guard and he doesn't.

Patrick said...


I wanted to ask in my previous post some others questions.

1) Do you think Colon could move to guard and Starks to Tackle (get some use out of that 6.8 million)? I don't see it happening on a short week, but maybe over the bye if Essex doesn't perfom well.

2) Any idea what Carey Davis's status is? I think with McHugh, Davis could be injured/waived. Though I guees if he doesn't have a serious injury we could use all the RB help we could get, I just think it would free up a roster spot.

3) How did Stapleton play in replace of Simmons? Hard to judge on TV. The O-line seemed better though, not great, but better.

Anonymous said...

Any chance Colon moves to Guard and Starks goes to Tackle? I think this might be the best option.

adamg said...

On 1250, it was just reported that Davenport is in town working out at the South Side. I guess if looks to be in shape, he'll be signed.

Dale, what's your take on Ben having to lobby the coaches to go to the no huddle? It's scary to me that Arians wasn't the one who called the change to the no huddle.

Jamie said...

McFadden continues to look like he is playing very well - and consistently making the play he needs to make.

Arians is overmatched right now - it looked like there was very little change to the play calling in the 1st half from the Philly game - nothing to slow down the aggressive blitz. Good coordinators are able to adjust to what the defense gives them.

It looked like the couple plays the Steelers backed off the pressure allowed Flacco the time to make plays down field - even with the Ravens only sending two receivers out.

Timmons needs to be on the field more. Between Timmons, Harrison and Woodley we have three very athletic linebackers along with rotating Farrior and Foote in and out. The strength of the team.

BoJangles said...

One thing I LOVE about Tomlin is his dedication to signing players who can play multiple positions. I love McHugh in the H Back role and I think he can play big dividends in the future. I'm also one of the few who believe the Mendenhall/Simmons injuries are blessings in diguise. Did b you see what Moore is capable of out of the backfield? We haven't seen that since Haynes pre knee injury. And also, I remember making a point about Troy making the switch to FS in the near future a few months ago and I got bashed. Troy played GREAT in centerfield last night. I believe he had one of the best pure coverage games of his career. Now i'm not sayin a switch should ever be made, but Troy is capable of laying back while the D still thrives. Not only did Ben/Tomlin adjust yesterday. LeBeau and his defense did as well. Props to both.

Dale Lolley said...

Ben has always lobbied to go no-huddle. He wants to do it all the time.
The coaching staff - any coaching staff - has always been reluctant to do it all the time because they like to eat clock.
If you go no-huddle and go three-and-out, you're not giving your defense much of a blow.

Anonymous said...

I was turned off by Ben saying immediately after last night's game that the offense stunk in the first half and that he told Bruce and Tomlin to turn over the playcalling to him. I guess it worked, but the arrogance level of the franchise quarterback is starting to reek. I hope it can be chalked up to the night's worth of mutual smack talking...

adamg said...

I don't blame BR for pushing to go the no huddle. The OC should be able to recognize when to change the tempo of the game. I don't think it says too much about Arians that he evidently can't figure that out.

Anonymous said...

Anyone notice that #86 failed to read the blitz on sack #1 when he was the hot route?

I guess that was Ben's fault also.

Anonymous said...

Now Ben is arrogant for making a suggestion to the coaching staff?


This team is 3-1, just won a big game despite being loaded with injuries and someone actually is bashing an OFFENSIVE CAPTAIN for making a suggestion to try and get back in the game?

It's 2008...not 1978. Terry Bradshaw (who also called his own plays) isn't coming back.

Robert said...

I think the clock starting ticking on Bruce Arians as our OC. Ben called a better game than he did after they went no huddle.

I think he just can't deal with the blitzing schemes of teams like the Eagles and Ravens..the adjustments just aren't there.

I'm still in his corner but he's going to need a Herculean effort to keep his job if Ben absorbs the 60+ sacks he's headed for this year.

Dale Lolley said...

He called a better game? He called a quarterback run on second down. That may have been the worst call of the game.
The hurry-up puts the defense on its heels. It takes them from an attack mode to a react mode.

adamg said...

IIRC, BR got 3-4 yds on that QB draw and managed to be the hitter rather than the "hittee" for a change.

Dale Lolley said...

Doesn't make it a good call. QB keepers unless you're Mike Vick or Vince Young aren't going to get much and open your QB up to uneccessary hits.

adamg said...

If BR is going to take hits, I'd rather he be the one to initiate contact rather than being blindsided on a sack.