• Roethlisberger on a Return to the Steelers in 2017: “I’m Leaning Towards It”

    It’s been a fear for Steelers fans since the moment it was brought up after the teams’ AFC Title Game loss to the Patriots, but it is sounding more and more like quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is “leaning towards” returning to play in 2017.

    The two-time Super Bowl winning quarterback stated the following at the Ignite Men’s Impact Weekend conference at Liberty University on Friday when asked if he’s coming back to the black and gold.

    “I’m leaning towards it.”

    Any casino online review would have had the longtime quarterback returning to the team, but when he said in January that he was not sure about coming back, fans were flat out terrified about the Steelers future without their leading passer.

    It seemed like a long shot all along that Ben wouldn’t come back for 2017, but at the same time, just the fact that he was even thinking about retiring was something the Steelers were not prepared for.

    The teams does have Landry Jones and he’s been inked despite being a free agent, but the team isn’t exactly comfortable with him being the full-time starter – at least not yet.

    Steelers General Manager Kevin Colbert has stated more than once that the team has to be aware long term about the quarterback position, but if they can get two to three more years out of Roethlisberger, it would at least prepare the team to grab a quarterback they can mold long term.

    Let’s see if that starts with this year’s NFL Draft, or if they are confident enough to keep the position in the hands of Ben again hoping that he’s back in 2018 as well.

  • How Do the Steelers Look at Landry Jones as Their Long Term Backup QB?

    The Steelers have an interesting decision to make with backup quarterback Landry Jones, who at times has come in and won games for the team (Arizona and Oakland in 2015), and then at times it seems has looked like a deer in headlights that fans can’t wait to jump on as nothing more than a bum backup QB.

    Jones is a free agent next month, and according to Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the powers that be with the Steelers think that the backup QB is “to be better than 80 percent of the other backups in the league,” and will bring him back to again serve under Ben Roethlisberger (provided he returns).

    It’s an interesting decision if the Steelers don’t at least look around the market for another QB, as with the injury history for Ben, one would think the team might want to be careful with how they treat the backup quarterback spot.

    One issue with looking for a higher profile backup QB is money. We know this team is going to have to shell out a lot of money for players like Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell, so spending even 2-3 million on backup just might not be in the cards for this team.

    So the next time you’re ready to boo Jones out of Heinz Field or another NFL stadium, remember that right now, he might just be the best backup option the Steelers have.

    At least that’s how the Steelers upper brass feels.

  • Mistakes Too Much to Overcome as Steelers Drop Second Straight 27-16 to Patriots

    New England Patriots v Pittsburgh Steelers

    In the end, not having their franchise quarterback along with too many field goals instead of touchdowns, combined with some odd play calling was enough to see the Steelers drop to 4-3 on the season.

    The Patriots did more than enough to pull away for a 27-16 win on Sunday at Heinz Field, and while Landry Jones was able to keep the team in the game, a costly first quarter interception and the inability to score touchdowns was a big part of the Steelers undoing.

    Jones’ first start of 2016 was a learning experience, as he made his share of mistakes, but also made some plays, enough to have the team down just four at the half at 14-10.

    He had the Steelers down 20-16 in the fourth quarter after a Chris Boswell 44-yard field goal with 14:49 to play, but the Patriots, as they usually do in Heinz Field, marched right down the field and put the Steelers hopes of a win away with LeGarrette Blount’s second score of the game to make it a 27-16 affair.

    The Steelers had chances early, as a first quarter fumble recovery by the Steelers was wasted as Jones thew a bad end zone interception to Malcolm Butler forcing a ball to Antonio Brown ended any chance of an early Pittsburgh lead.

    Tom Brady and the Pats marched down the field after the pick, as he neatly went 80 yards in 13 plays, hitting James White with a 19-yard TD pass to give the Patriots a 7-0 lead.

    New England went up 14 on their next drive, as this time they went 84 yards in 11 plays, with Blount going over from three yards out with 10:58 to play first half making it 14-0.

    The Steelers finally got things going, as Jones hit a big play to Brown from 51 yards to set up an eventual touchdown pass to Darrius Heyward-Bey from 14 yards out to make it 14-7.

    They had a shot to make it 14-10, but Chris Boswell missed a field goal, this also after a holding call on a touchdown pass would have tied up the game.

    In the third quarter, the Steelers did draw it to 14-13 after Boswell hit a 46-yard field goal at the 8:49 mark, but as New England usually does, they quickly respond.

    This time it was the passing of Brady, who quickly drove the team 75 yards in five plays, hitting Rob Gronkowski from 36 yards out to make it a 20-13 game after a missed point after.

    Again though the Steelers couldn’t convert seven, as they drove down the field in 12 plays, but had to settle for another Boswell field goal to make it 20-16.

    That’s as close as the Steelers would get, as the Pats put the game out of reach with a 75-yard drive right through the Steelers D, with Blount going over for his second score to make it 27-16.

    The Steelers did have a shot to get closer after recovering a fumbled punt, but after they couldn’t get a first on 4th-and-2, Mike Tomlin sent out Boswell for a 54-yard field goal attempt, which wasn’t even close, ending the Steelers last good chance of the day.

    Jones was 29-for-47 for 281 yards with the touchdown and pick, but overall the offense had too many mishaps, and there wasn’t enough rhythm, and they had to settle for too many field goals.

    That may work against teams like the Browns, but not against Brady and New England.

    About the only good news is that the Ravens and Bengals are still a game each out, as the Ravens lost to the Jets on the road, and the Bengals beat the Browns at home.

    The Steelers are on the bye and will come back to play the Ravens in two Sunday’s on the road in Baltimore.

  • First Half Thoughts From the Steelers Trailing the Patriots 14-10 at Heinz Field

    held Landry Jones

    The way the first half looked, the Steelers appear to be lucky only down 14-10, as they trail the Patriots after being down early 14-0. Landry Jones settled into a nice groove late in the half, a14nd it looks like the game could come down to the wire if the Steelers can continue to play tough D in the second half.

    Here’s some first half thoughts on what the Steelers have been able to and not able to do against the Patriots.

    * Jones is doing the job, overcoming an early first quarter interception that could have been a huge lift after the Steelers got a turnover that could have given him an early lead. The backup to Big Ben is 14-for-20 for 179 yards with a TD and pick, and while he had some ugly moments, overall he’s put the team in a position to have the lead or at least a tie, but a flag on what would have been the tying TD was called back. He needs a duplicate effort in the second half.

    * The D held Pats TE’s Rob Gronkowski and Martellus Bennett to just one catch, and have done a nice job against them. The D needs to do the same in the second half, and while other Pats pass catchers have done the job, holding those two in check has been a key reason New England’s offense went from unstoppable to just average after scoring the first 14 points of the game.

    * Having some pressure on Brady has been a monster key as to why he started and looked like he wouldn’t miss a pass, to just throwing 13-for-18 for 123 yards with a TD and no picks. If the Steelers can find a way to pressure him and get a sack or two, that would be great. He’s been able to escape pressure and even run for a couple of first downs which was ugly to say the least, but at the same time, if Brady is running, he’s not throwing downfield, which means the secondary is doing a good job. The Steelers do need to find a way to stop Julian Edelman who has seven grabs.

  • Steelers Gab 2016 Week 7 NFL Preview – New England at Pittsburgh

    Tom Brady

    Sunday’s battle between the Steelers and Patriots at Heinz Field was supposed to be a preview of the AFC Title game in January hopefully to be played right back in Pittsburgh.

    Instead, with Ben Roethlisberger going under the knife Monday morning, today’s game between the Steelers and Patriots simply doesn’t have the same feel, and for good reason.

    No one thinks the Steelers, with Landry Jones at quarterback, can win. Jones started two games last season for the injured Roethlisberger, and while he barley played the second one (the famous Cleveland game in which Ben came in and buried the Browns), he had some good moments, and some bad.

    He’s going to need a ton more good today, as the Steelers look to find a way, any way, to slow down a ticked off Tom Brady and a New England team that look sadly like the team to beat in the AFC.

    With that, today we break down what the Steelers have to try to do – and if there’s any shot they can do it.

    1. Success in the Run to Set Up the Pass – Early

    If the Steelers offense is going to have success, they have to be able to use BOTH Le’Veon Bell and DeAngelo Williams, and be able for those two to find a way to get chunks of yards early in the game. The Pats are 12th in the NFL, allowing 92 yards per game on the ground, and the Steelers easily have to go over that mark if they want a chance to win. Look for Todd Haley to try to use his two backs, and then go to some safe play-action for Jones to try and build his confidence, which could also go a long way in getting the crowd in the game for the Steelers.

    2. Safeties Have to Play Well

    Martellus Bennett and Rob Gronkowski are both players that can pick apart a defense, and if the Steelers don’t play close attention to the both of them, it’s going to be a long day. Gronk and Brady and just getting to know each other again, and it appears Bennett is the one who is reaping the rewards of Gronk’s injury with a big early part of 2016. Mike Mitchell and Robert Golden will both need to have big games against these two horses, and also make sure when they do make catches to bring them down and not let them run free. Let’s not forget what happened in the opener last season when Gronk went off for a huge night against the Steelers.

    3. Find Anyway You Can to Disrupt Brady

    Last season in their game Brady was just on target, hitting for 288 yards and four TD’s, and while the Steelers did get to him a little, this season the pass rush has been one word – awful. 8 sacks in 6 games isn’t going to get it done, and while this team lingers to get to the QB, it’s a big reason even last week an average QB like Ryan Tannehill was able to sit back and pick them apart with some big plays downfield. Keith Butler needs to get more sacks from this group, either by rotating pass rushers, or by scheme, and as if today didn’t look bad enough, give Brady time and this could get ugly early.

    Prediction – The Steelers without Ben just don’t have the horses to compete with the Pats. It will be one of those days you hope the team can simply hang in, and if they are in the game in the fourth quarter maybe they can make a play or two to pull off the upset. With Ben this would have been a lot of fun, without him, it looks like just another day where Brady and his mates march into Pittsburgh and beat up the Steelers, as Brady will walk away today with an all-time mark of 7-2 against the Steelers. New England 34 Pittsburgh 14


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