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  • The Five Greatest Steelers To Throw A Pass In The NFL

    Bobby_Layne_Pittsburgh_Steelers

    The Pittsburgh Steelers have had some great passers in their rich history. From Pro Bowls to playoff wins to Super Bowls, the Steelers have had some great moments from the quarterback position.

     

    No.5 : Bobby Lane (1958-1962)

    Lane was a successful quarterback during a time when the Pittsburgh Steelers franchise was horrible. Yet Lane led the Pittsburgh Steelers to a 27-22-2 record. No other quarterback for the Steelers had a better record with at least 50 starts until Terry Bradshaw in the 70′s. Though Lane went on to play for the Detroit Loins, he is only one of two Steelers quarterbacks to make the Hall of Fame .

    odonnell-neil-pittsburgh-steelers

     

    No. 4:   Neil O’ Donnell (1991-1995)

    O’ Donnell will be best remembered for throwing two crucial interceptions against Dallas in Super Bowl XXX to cornerback Larry Brown. But when it came to accuracy, timing and spreading the ball around, very few quarterbacks did it better than O’Donnell. With a 39-23 record, O’Donnell won big games when needed. O’Donnell led the Pittsburgh Steelers to the playoffs in all his four years as a starter. O’Donnell was the quarterback that led the Pittsburgh Steelers back to the Super Bowl, something that had not been done since Terry Bradshaw was the quarterback.

     

    kordell-stewart-pittsburgh-steelers

     

    No.3: Kordell Stewart (1995-2002)

    Stewart clearly was the most athletic quarterback in the team’s history. Initially known as “Slash”, Stewart was once an MVP candidate for his outstanding play in the 2001-2002 season. Stewart was a key player in the  Steelers’ Super Bowl XXX run. Stewart led the  Steelers to two American Football Championship games. Stewart led Pittsburgh to a 46-29 record as a starter. The only quarterback with better records are Bradshaw and Ben Roethlisberger. Stewart would rank higher on this list had he won a Super Bowl.

     

    San Diego Chargers v Pittsburgh Steelers

     

     

    No.2: Ben Roethlisberger (2004-present)

    Since day one, Roelisberger has been a winner. Without question the toughest quarterback of all time in a Steelers jersey. His completion percentage is heigher than Bradshaw. This season Roethlisberger will pass Bradshaw in yards and touchdowns. Roethlisberger already has 2 Super Bowl rings. Being in his early 30′s, Roethlisberger has a chance to win two more rings. Roethlisberger has been a consistant player for the Steelers over the last ten years under both Bill Cowher and Mike Tomlin. Without a doubt -  a future Hall of Famer.

     

    terry+bradshaw+pittsburgh+steelers

     

    No.1: Terry Bradshaw (1970-1983)

    The number one pick in the 1970 draft, Bradshaw won 105 games in the regular season and had 14 playoffs wins. No other quarterback in Steelers history has done that. With his four Super Bowl rings, no other single quarterback in NFL history has more. Bradshaw helped produced two Hall of Fame receivers in Lynn Swann and John Stallworth. Not many quarterbacks can say that either.

     

     
  • Lawrence Timmons consummate leader for Steelers defense

    Lawrence_Timmons_Steelers_vs_Cleveland_Browns

    Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Lawrence Timmons has already been called a leader by many of his teammates. Heading into training camp this Friday at Saint Vincent College in Latrobe, Pennsylvania, Timmons will take a more defined approach in preparing his teammates on defense to prepare for a more successful 2014 season in the NFL.

    Possibly the most effective defensive player on the roster over the past four seasons, Timmons saw himself being relied on more and more to give leadership to a struggling squad. “With me being one of the older guys,” Timmons said recently, “I understand that if everybody does their job, everyone is going to make plays.” According to Timmons, he feels his job includes a lot more than just making plays.

    Timmons was a number one draft pick in 2007 and has spent much of the Steelers’ summer workouts mentoring a young linebackers corps. Ryan Shazier, 2014′s number one draft pick and last year’s top pick, Jarvis Jones top that list. One of the things both young players can gain is simply by recognizing that Timmons’ consistent play during the past two 8-8 seasons helped him to lead the team in tackles, alter momentum in the Steelers’ favor and tie for the most interceptions on the team. Teams could hardly ask for more from a veteran.

    While Timmons may shoulder some of the responsibility for helping the Steelers get back to playoff form in 2014, it will all begin in training camp. He has the respect of other veteran defenders. He is taking extra time with the younger guys who will one day step into his shoes and position. “We have all the potential in the world to get things back on track,” admitted Timmons. “We’ve brought in some quality players like Mike Mitchell and Cam Thomas who will make us stronger and deeper…some of the new guys like Arthur Moats got a few more reps that will help him adjust to the schemes.” Timmons feels that Shazier taking reps with the first-team defense has also helped the young player put all the pieces together to becoming a big factor in Dick LeBeau’s defense.

    Timmons spends much of his offseason training hard to avoid injuries that could hamper his ability to play effectively and he credits that workload with helping him give more to his teammates. “I have to take care of my body so I won’t let down my teammates…I know where we want to go,” Timmons said. “I want to be a model citizen for this team because we’re very young right now. It’s why I do the things I do and why I carry myself a certain way.”

    Timmons’ 460 tackles in the past four season ranks best among Steelers defenders and includes a team-high 135 combined tackles (in 2010) and 93 in 2011. Although Timmons is well-respected for his serious take on the game, his teammates understand that he isn’t as vocal as some players because he always wants to lead by example.

    In a recent article here on  SteelersGab.com, Timmons was ranked the number three most critical player for the Steelers in 2014. Despite never having been to a Pro Bowl, Timmons remains a critical piece of the Steelers defense and a consummate leader.

    (Article originally posted on Examiner.com under a different headline by author)

     
  • Dan Rooney Sr. Honored with Lifetime Achievement Award In Colorado

    Dan Rooney Sr.

    Congrats to Steelers Chairman Dan Rooney Sr., who Monday was honored with the Global Sports Summit’s Lifetime Achievement Award at the annual event in Aspen, Colorado.

    Each year the award is given to a team owner who has made a lasting contribution to their team, league and community through their leadership and commitment over an extended period of time.

    No one can argue that about the impact that Rooney has had on the Steelers franchise. He has been the driving force behind the Steelers – the best and only NFL franchise that has won six Super Bowls.

    “He can legitimately claim that he has been there from the beginning and grew up in the business and has had a tremendous passion for the NFL and the Steelers his entire life,” said his son, Steelers’ President Art Rooney II.

    “That’s been something that his passion shows, and he has been an inspiration to me and everybody in the organization for many years. My dad was born a year before the franchise was born so he always jokes that was his first birthday present, when my grandfather bought the franchise.”

    Rooney always seems to be giving, as he was the United States Ambassador to Ireland from 2009-2012, and returned to the franchise and is still around the headquarters often.

    “He’s probably one of the few people who that the reality of him is even more impressive than the reputation,” said Steelers Coach Mike Tomlin. “He’s very hands on. He’s a people person. He has the experience of a lifetime and he brings that to our building on a day-to-day basis.”

    Congrats again to Mr.Rooney!

     
  • Six things to watch for at Steelers 49th training camp

    Saint_Vincent_College_Pittsburgh_Steelers_Training_Camp

    The Pittsburgh Steelers will descend on Latrobe, Pennsylvania on July 26th for their 49th annual training camp at Saint Vincent’s College and practice on Chuck Noll field.  Every summer Steelers fans flock to the locale hoping to get their first look at the next Steelers team to play that upcoming regular NFL season.  This year, there are six things that Steelers fans should keep an eye on at camp that may help determine where the team is headed in 2014.

    Infused youth, infused speed

    The Steelers have been making a transformation over the past few years by adding young players who possess the ability to increase the overall tempo of play on the field.  With only four players remaining on the team who have two Super Bowl rings (Ben Roethlisberger, Heath Miller, Ike Taylor and Troy Polamalu), the youth movement is fully underway in Pittsburgh.  The fact that Dri Archer keeps being brought up as an elusively quick offensive weapon and that rookie linebacker Ryan Shazier is putting up 40 times in the low 4-second plus range, it’s a trend that has Steelers faithfuls excited to see it all in action at Latrobe.  This will put the veterans on notice to pick up their own tempo in order to stay competitive.  Thing to watch:  How quickly the offense and defense get off the snap and execute.

    Strong, healthy offensive line

    The Steelers have the potential to put their best offensive line on the field in nearly six years.  Under the tutelage of line coach Mike Munchak, the interior will be one to be dealt with by any NFL team.  Surrounded by guards Ramon Foster and David DeCastro, Maurkice Pouncey will have help on the inside that hasn’t been available and has the potential to be able to hold back nearly any NFL defense.  Everyone is entering camp healthy, and if they can remain that way, the squad will simply have to iron out the progress of their tackles.  Kelvin Beachum has shown over the past couple of seasons that he is an asset on the o-line, and has great footwork and hands to add to a technique that has been appreciated.  Marcus Gilbert and Mike Adams will compete for a starting spot on the right side of the line and it will be fun to watch the two of them show their individual strengths during camp.  Thing to watch:  Young guys that are in camp for the first time in 2014 who will push the projected starters to perform at an appropriate level to earn the starting position.

    Running game improvement

    The statement of Art Rooney II just keeps coming to the forefront – get back to better use of the rushing game.  While it was attempted, improvement over the past three seasons actually declined.  When Le’Veon Bell recovered in 2013 after suffering from a foot injury, he got off to a slow start and then gave the Steelers enough of an impression to hand him the starting spot and get rid of those players that were not helping them.  The running game will be bolstered by LeGarrette Blount and Archer, but speed won’t be the only thing to improve.  Balance will be the key to keeping the offense moving in the right direction.  Thing to watch:  How the running backs, including those who have been brought into camp to push the projected starters, utilize their blockers and get involved in play-action plays and short-yardage passing situations.  Don’t rule out bubble screens in a Todd Haley offense just yet.

    Opening up the field with the no-huddle offense

    When the Steelers were allowed to use more no-huddle offensive plays at the end of the 2013 NFL season, the team was able to win six out of eight games.  It was evident that the offensive line got on the same page and protected Roethlisberger.  It was the first time in the quarterback’s career that he went seven games with only seven total sacks over the same period.  Add the fact that Roethlisberger had better ball control and only tossed two interceptions.  When the receivers and running backs who can block as well as rush and catch get on the same page, the Steelers seem to find a rhythm that can keep opponents on their heels.  What to watch:  The Steelers have been communicating better and spent a lot of time during spring practices running the no-huddle offense.  It should come as no surprise to see them work out the final wrinkles.

    Untested defense with new faces revamping system

    The Steelers have only had the offense outperform the defense twice in their last 22 seasons.  Bill Cowher saw it in his first and last season with the team.  Mike Tomlin has yet to witness it.  2014 could be the year that a switch could happen once again.  If Dick LeBeau and company have their way, they’ll get the newcomers on their as-yet untested defense pumped up to keep that from happening.  Over the past three seasons, the Steelers have seen their defense lose Casey Hampton, Aaron Smith, LaMarr Woodley, James Farrior, James Harrison, Brett Keisel, Larry Foote and Ryan Clark.  They also fell from a number one ranking in 2012 to number 13 on defense in the NFL in 2013, something that has to be remedied, and quickly.  The biggest reason for their decline was a susceptibility to be burned on big plays and a lack of sacks and turnovers.  Polamalu, Taylor and Timmons will need to lead by example and help Cam Heyward, Jarvis Jones and rookie linebacker Ryan Shazier pick up the defensive schemes and do it quickly.  Shazier is projected to become the first rookie to start in an opening game since Kendrell Bell, but it isn’t a guarantee.  If Stephon Tuitt can grasp the system, he may join Shazier.  Mental mistakes that plagued the defense last season will need to be addressed by being more communicative on the field.  What to watch:  The defensive backs were one of the most picked-on corps on the Steelers defense last season.  Taylor and Cortez Allen can improve their coverage skills while pushing Shamarko Thomas and young players to step up and become more physical.  If the defense can return to their punishing, disruptive form and create pressure on the quarterback as well as turnover opportunities, training camp should indicate how far the Steelers have moved to get their ranking to a much better level in the NFL in 2014.

    Solid play and a bit of old trickery

    Where the Steelers used to be a savage beast to fear on any given gameday, solid play will be consistently reaffirmed during camp.  The team will need to make big plays on their end and stop giving up the same to opponents.  What to watch:  Dick LeBeau returning the Steelers defense to blitz packages that are able to get into the opposing offense’s backfield and disrupt quarterbacks and the offense being creative with the plays they select to gain more first-down and scoring opportunities.  While everyone loves a splash-play or trickery, this year the tricks may be old ones that work.

     
  • Howard Jones: Steelers OLB Turning Hype And Skill Into Promise

    Howard_Jones_Steelers_Combine_2014

    Name: Howard Jones
    Height: 6’4″
    Weight: 238
    Age: 24
    College: Shepherd
    Experience: Rookie
    Position: OLB
    Jersey Number: 34

    Howard Jones turned quite a few heads in college. Considered a “wow” player, Jones does things many players dream of. After going undrafted in May, there is some young and experienced competition in his way. Training will tell a major story for Jones.

    Jones is coming off an impressive career at the Shepherd. With 34 sacks and 46 starts Jones clearly was a player offenses had to double-team with extra linemen, tight ends and running backs. Standing at 6’4″, Jones will be an asset in the NFL of today in pass coverage. His height will help the Pittsburgh Steelers against tight ends like Dennis Pitta, Jordan Cameron,Tyler Eifert, etc. The fact that Jones was of the few Division 2 players invited to the NFL combine shows how he had impacted college football on a different level. Jones did not disappoint at the combine, running a 4.6 flat in the forty yard dash – above the average for an outside linebacker in speed. The Pittsburgh Steelers know a thing or two about developing undrafted linebackers. Ask former All-Pro James Harrision.

    During his time at Shepherd University, Jones was asked to play on both sides of the ball, undergo major weight changes and play three different positions.  Recruited out of high school to play wide receiver, Jones saw time at defensive end and outside linebacker later where he broke school records for all-time sacks with 34.5.  Jones impressed at mini camp earlier this year to make it to training camp. His competition, though, comes in many different forms.

    His main competition is at outside linebacker with Chris Carter and Jordan Zumwalt. Carter has under-achieved in his three seasons with the Steelers, but he has shown consistency on special teams.  Jones must show his skills on special teams if he is to make the roster. Carter only has two starts, so he doesn’t have a ton of game experience over Jones. The second man to be in Jones’ way to a roster spot is Zumwalt. The Pittsburgh Steelers spent a draft pick on Zumwalt in 2014, so they are invested in him. Zumwalt already has an understanding of the defense and can play multiple positions, though he too must earn his starting position.  Jones must display pass rush, special teams and Steelers toughness to make the roster opening day.  Jones’ journey to Pittsburgh will only be complete if he is able to display speed and explosiveness off the edge in training camp that unseats Carter or at least gains him a spot on the scout team.

     
  • Black and Gold links of the week: July 20, 2014

    NFL: Pittsburgh Steelers-Training Camp

    Black+Gold+Links+SteelersGab+Feature+Logo

    With the Pittsburgh Steelers’ 49th training camp at St. Vincent’s College approaching in just a few days, we take a look at the links across our site and the web that have been trending and giving the most information as to where the Steelers will focus in Latrobe beginning on July 26. From positional battles to the most critical players for the team in 2014, there has been a lot going on. Our coverage throughout training camp will focus on Steelers players and positions where competition is at a premium.

    Five critical Steelers players in 2014 – SteelersGab

    Brendon Kay Player Profile – SteelersGab

    In Open AFC North, it’s anyone’s game – Trib Live

    Despite fulfilling promise to mother, Steelers’ Tomlin not yet satisfied – Trib Live

    AFC North training camp preview: 3 things to watch – NFL.com

    Players making the leap to fantasy stardom in 2o14 – NFL.com

    Getting to Know: Adam Podlesh – Steelers.com

     
  • Five critical Steelers players in 2014

    Pittsburgh+Steelers+Training+Camp

    The 2014 NFL season hasn’t begun yet, but even as training camp is nearly here, the Pittsburgh Steelers have five players that will absolutely be critical to the team’s overall success.  We rank them in order of how important their play is to the overall welfare of a Steelers team that desires to break free of two recent mediocre seasons.

     

    1.  Ben Roethliberger

    ‘Big Ben’ has had plenty of critics in his emergence into the NFL in 2004 and much of his time under the microscope has been during seasons where the Steelers have struggled.  While even Roethlisberger has admitted personal errors on and off the field, his level of maturity and leadership has increased.  This was especially illustrated in the second half of the 2013 NFL regular season when Roethlisberger rallied the team and jump-started an offense that had been putting few points on the scoreboard and lost to teams that hadn’t given the Steelers that much trouble in nearly eight seasons.  Roethlisberger patched things up with offensive coordinator Todd Haley and as their communication improved, so did offensive production.  Roethlisberger isn’t a spry rookie, but he’s become a a wily veteran that the Steelers would be lost without in 2014.

    Pittsburgh Steelers v Cincinnati Bengals

    2.  Antonio Brown

    Brown is coming off of a year in which he became the go-to receiver and had big numbers to show for it. Quieting the detractors that said he was too short to be effective as a number one receiver in a league that expects receivers to be like Calvin Johnson, Brown kept things alive by making 110 receptions for 1,499 yards and eight touchdowns. Brown isn’t expected to slow down his productivity and could post even higher numbers in 2014 as teams focus on Lance Moore and Markus Wheaton, especially in slot positions. Brown is the type if receiver who runs great routes and comes back to make the play when his quarterback is looking for someone to get open. That was something that a couple other recently I departed Steelers wideouts did poorly. While Brown won’t be expected to carry the weight of the entire success of the team on his shoulders, his hands will do the most talking when he hauls in the ball for positive gains.

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    3.  Lawrence Timmons

    The veteran linebacker saw his sack total go down in 2013 to 3.0 compared to 2012 (6.0), but the number of tackles made increased to 126. Timmons added two interceptions and one forced-fumble. With safety Troy Polamalu forced to play more coverage to assist a struggling defensive backfield, Timmons became the guy to slide around and create confusion for opposing offenses. While focus has been mainly on Jarvis Jones and rookies Stephon Tuitt and Jordan Zumwalt, Timmons’ leadership on defense becomes that much more important.  Timmons leads by example and isn’t afraid to get into the fray and mix things up to create big plays.  With depth issues at defensive end, Dick LeBeau and Joey Porter will be counting on Timmons to push the linebackers and entire front seven to play smarter and harder in 2014.

    Le+Veon+Bell+Pittsburgh+Steelers+v+Baltimore

    4.  Le’Veon Bell

    Bell’s coming out party is over. After a rookie season in 2013 that saw him outperform and take over for three other running backs with a lot more NFL games under their belts, the Steelers felt comfortable turning the starting job over to him this upcoming season.  Playing in 13 games, Bell rushed for 860 yards and eight touchdowns behind a struggling offensive line.  His yards-per-game average on the ground was 66.2 with 48 first downs. Bell also helped out with 45 receptions for 399 yards.  Bell only lost the ball once all season and that came during a bone-crusing hit in the shoulder and helmet on a scoring play that, at the time, appeared to have been violent enough to end a player’s career. Bell passed his physical tests and got right back to it. For the Steelers to be successful, they will count on Bell to improve his sophomore season and set the tempo in the rushing game.

    Cortez+Allen+Indianapolis+Colts+v+Pittsburgh+Steelers+Interception+2012

    5.  Cortez Allen

    Yes, Ike Taylor got bumped from a higher ranking for a couple of reasons. Allen played better overall in 2013.  In 14 games at cornerback, Allen had 51 total tackles, 13 pass defensed, two interceptions for a return of 43 yards and a touchdown.  Taylor played in 16 games and had more total tackles but went without an interception, surprising many considering he was targeted a ton by opposing quarterbacks looking for one-on-one situations the wouldn’t have dared in the recent past.  Allen has an age advantage as well – being younger than Taylor but with veteran experience that will be counted on to improve the overall quality of the entire defensive backfield in stopping big receivers in 2014.  Carnell Lake has big expectations at the corner position and Allen will be called on to step up and make the necessary plays.

     

    Who do you think should be in the top ten of most critical players for the Steelers during the 2014 season? Join us in discussing our top five and more by clicking here and adding your opinion at gridironchatter.com.

     
  • Brendon Kay: Scrambling Into Competition One Pass And Rush At A Time

    Brendon+Kay+Cincinnati+v+Connecticut+NCAA

    Name: Brendon Kay
    Height: 6’4″
    Weight: 228
    College: Cincinnati
    Experience: Rookie
    Position: QB
    Jersey Number: 8

    Brendon Kay is heading into training camp as the number four quarterback on the Pittsburgh Steelers depth chart. Usually walk-on quarterbacks don’t have much of a chance, but this year Kay has a great chance to advance for several reasons. Kay brings much momentum into training camp. In his senior season at the University of Cincinnati, Kay passed for over 3,000 yards with 22 touchdowns and only 10 interceptions. Kay standing at 6’4″, 228 pounds, clearly has the size the Pittsburgh Steelers crave at quarterback. Kay ran a 4.64 in the yard dash before being signed as an un-drafted rookie free agent on May 10. The mobility is there for Kay which will only help his chances. To top it all off scouts praised Kay for having excellent arm strength. Now it comes down to beating his competition; a player with great success from the University of Oklahoma

    Landry Jones is the man Brendon Kay must out-perform in order to make the team. Last season, Jones struggled in training camp and the preseason. In this offseason, however, Jones has shown improvement. With Jones having a year of  experience in the Steelers offense over Kay, Jones at this point and time, has a better understanding of the playbook. Both Kay and Jones must continue to improve to read defenses from under center.

    The advantages that Kay has over Jones is his arm strength, mobility and size. The advantages that Jones has over Kay is a quick release and real-time experience.

    With many Pittsburgh Steelers fans disgruntled with Jones from the moment he was drafted in 2013, Kay has a great opportunity to show he is better suited to back up Ben Roethlisberger and Bruce Gradkowski. After playing very little in his first two collegiate seasons, Kay displayed a never-quit altitude and finally became a starter for his junior and senior seasons.  If he makes the team, Kay will have to wait for his opportunity to shine, but it won’t keep him from giving Jones a run for the third spot at quarterback.

    Personal Highlights

    Played in 30 games with 16 starts over his final two seasons at Cincinnati, completing 354-of-541 (65.4%) passes for 4,647 yards.  Carried the ball 129 times for 503 yards and eight rushing touchdowns.  Played high school football at Marine City High (Marine City, Mich.) for head coach Tony Scarcelli where he was a three-year captain.  Playing quarterback, kicker and punter, was named Macomb Area Conference Gold Division MVP his junior and senior seasons, leading his team to the 2007 Michigan Division 4 State Championship game.  Selected to the Detroit Free Press Dream Team and Lansing State Journal Catch 22 honors…a Detroit News All-Metro East honoree twice.  Was recognized as Post Huron Times Herald Player of the Year twice.  Played in the 2007 Michigan East-West All-Star game.  As a senior…connected on 133-of-202 passes for 2,083 yards and 27 touchdowns, adding 561 yards and 15 touchdowns on the ground.

     

     
 
 
 
 
 

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