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Thursday, November 07, 2013

Thursday news, notes

This is a big week for the Steelers. At 2-6, they don't have a lot to hang their hats on.

They've been within a touchdown of the lead or a tie entering the fourth quarter of each of their games this season, only to fall short six times.

But watching the Thursday night game, I was reminded that, at 2-6, you're not necessarily out of the playoff race.

In 2012, Washington started its season 3-6, then won its next seven games.

That's why the Steelers aren't making sweeping changes. Right now, they're two games out of a playoff spot in the AFC and three games off the lead in the AFC North.

As we saw Monday night when Green Bay lost Aaron Rodgers for six weeks to a broken collarbone, you never know what might happen with your future opponents or division rivals.

@ A lot is being made this week of the fact that both of Buffalo's starting guards were with the Steelers.

Kraig Urbik was a third-round draft pick of the Steelers in 2009.

He was terrible in camp as a rookie that season and was barely passable in 2010 but was going to make the roster.

Unfortunately for the Steelers, Ben Roethlisberger was suspended for the first four games of 2010 due to the Milledgeville, Ga., incident.

Pittsburgh planned to go into the season with two quarterbacks, Byron Leftwich and Dennis Dixon, to ride out the first month without Roethlisberger. But Leftwich was injured in the preseason finale and the Steelers had to keep a fourth quarterback, Charlie Batch, on the roster.

That meant that somebody had to go that the Steelers had planned to keep. That somebody was Urbik.

Doug Legursky is the other starting guard and he left Pittsburgh as a free agent before this season. The Steelers liked Legursky as a center, but not as much as a guard.

The Steelers felt they would be better served with Kelvin Beachum, who they felt could play all five spots on the line, being their top backup. He's now their starting left tackle.

@ Ike Taylor was back in practice today as he tries to return from a concussion.

Vince Williams was cleared as well, but was limited.

That's bad news for him. Mike Tomlin usually keeps rookies who don't get a full week of practice on the sidelines because he feels they need as much practice as possible to play.

If Williams doesn't play, Stevenson Sylvester will get the call.

@ Beachum and Marcus Gilbert were also out again today.


Steve-O said...

Watching tonight's game I'm reminded that the Steelers could've drafted Cordarellle Patterson. I'm not disappointed with Jarvis Jones but I think Patterson will emerge as a future superstar. Imagine if he had a QB like Ben throwing to him, not mention what he would've meant to our special teams.... Sigh

Dale Lolley said...

Patterson had all kinds of red flags. Why don't we wait a while before we talk about rookies.

Shane said...

Thanks for the background on why Urbik was cut. What a shame.

marc said...

dale, i believe you said mike adams is the best run blocker on the steelers' line. is that just your opinion, or is that the consensus amongst coaches? also, if that is truly the case, then why not find a spot for him on the right side since they are having difficulty opening up running lanes?

you can't fault them on urbik. they were in a pinch and he was low man on the totem pole because he hadn't really proved anything to them yet. so be it. good for him he latched on with another team.

looking ahead a bit though, what are the plans for ILB next season? doesn't appear there is anyone on the active roster who is a capable long term starter.

Anonymous said...

Dale, with the issue at ILB do you think the steelers would take a look at Dan Connor? He just got release by the giants and they actually brought him in for a visit back in march. Guy's no more than a 2 down LB, just like Vince Williams is billed as, but actually has experience and success doing so, against the run mainly

Dale Lolley said...

Connor was placed on season-ending IR with a neck injury in September.

Gilbert has done a good job at RT. You don't bench him because Adams failed at LT. They're using Adams as the extra TE because of his blocking abilities.

marc said...

well, this gets back to the original thinking before the season. they apparently thought adams was a better LT than gilbert. now that adams has failed, and levi brown is gone, they feel beachum at LT gives them a better o-line than moving gilbert over there and putting your best run blocker at RT. is that correct? is gilbert worse than beachum at LT?

also, using adams as the extra TE to block doesn't tip your hand? it would be interesting to find out how many run/pass plays they run when adams comes in as the extra blocker.

while adams failing to perform at LT has thrown a wrench in the works, i feel they have totally "effed" up the o-line situation by completely and miserably mis-evaluating adams ability to play the position.

and here's the biggest problem. if their best 5 linemen include beachum then adams as a 2nd round pick is a total waste. if their best 5 linemen don't include beachum, then why the heck is he on the field.

Anonymous said...

I think the coaching staff knew it would take Adams two years in the league to get settled. Injuries didn't help him any.
I think he was very raw but had the ability. The staff liked what the kid had/has as potential, but they also didn't know that they would loose so many lineman the 1.5 years he was here.. IMO

Dale Lolley said...

I've kept a running total in my mind when they've line up Adams at TE. They've kept it split pretty evenly.

Adams has the ability to play LT. But his confidence was obviously shaken in that Minnesota game. They're building him back up.

I might add, that as I reported here throughout camp, there were some within the organization who thought Beachum was among their best five linemen in camp.