Safety Mike Mitchell Heads a Long Steelers Off Season Surgery List

The Pittsburgh Steelers 2015 season only ended days ago, but the Steelers off season surgery list is already a long one. Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin addressed the media for the final time and confirmed that several Steelers are already schecduled to under go surgery.

Steelers starting free safety Michael Mitchell, whose shoulder has been ailing for weeks, will undergo shoulder surgery, as will punter Jordan Berry, who injured his shoulder in the Steelers playoff loss to the Broncos. Ryan Shazier and Matt Spaeth will have knee surgery, while David DeCastro and Marcus Gilbert will have their ankles operated on.

Mike Tomlin also indicated that Maurkice Pouncey, Le’Veon Bell, Senquez Golson, Shaun Suisham and Mike Adams – all of whom spent the entire 2015 season on the Steelers injured reserve list, are progressing well and should be able to participate in training camp. Tomlin also confirmed that Cortez Allen, Kelvin Beachum and Roosevelt Nix, who went on IR during the regular season, were also recovering according to schedule.

Interestingly enough, the name of Bruce Gradkowski has not surfaced yet along with other Steelers on the mend, which could be an oversight on an ominous sign for the backup quarterback’s future, or lack there of in Pittsburgh.

Could Allen and Suisham Become Salary Cap Casualties?

While this is good news for the players in question, some of them may not be back with the Steelers, even if they do recovery fully.

According to the site Over the Cap, the Pittsburgh Steelers are about 9.2 million dollars under the NFL’s projected salary cap for 2016. While the term “Steelers under the cap” hasn’t been heard in Pittsburgh very often since the 2011 Collective Bargaining Agreement was reached, the Steelers have the 6th least cap space of any NFL team.

  • The Steelers do not have a lot of veterans that they can cut to gain easy salary cap space.

However, cutting Shaun Suisham after June 1st could shave the Steelers 2.4 million dollars in salary cap space. Likewise, cutting Cortez Allen after June 1st could give the Steelers an extra 4.4 million dollars in salary cap space. Offensive tackle Mike Adams could also have already played his last game for the Steelers, although cutting Adams would not impact the Steelers salary cap much.

Please lend a hand by sharing this on Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp etc... Thanks.

Steelers Bye Week. Es esto todo lo que la ofensiva puede dar?

La llegada del Steelers Bye Week

Llegando noviembre a su final, también llegó la semana libre para los Pittsburgh Steelers. Diez semanas han pasado. 6-4 es el récord actual y en primera posición para ingresar al Wild Card en postemporada por la AFC.

Adelantando el fin de año, época propicia para rebobinar los sucesos del año y ponerlos en valor, nos parece que es este el momento ideal para analizar lo hasta aquí logrado. Y lo que todavía está por lograr.
Poner en blanco sobre negro lo bueno y lo malo. Lo dulce y lo amargo.

Como ha venido sucediendo en los últimos años, el equipo ha tenido que lidiar con un sinfín de jugadores lesionados, algunos de ellos en momentos críticos del campeonato, como fue la lesión de Le’Veon Bell sobre el final de la temporada 2014.

Los jugadores que están fuera de la temporada son varios y sus puestos son difíciles de reemplazar (cuando no insustituibles) sin perder un gran potencial. Tal es el caso del RB Le’Veon Bell (rodilla) quien salió del campo en la semana 8 en la derrota frente a los Bengals. Bruce Gradkowski ni siquiera inició la temporada regular, dando lugar a la contratación de Michael Vick para la posición de QB reserva. La lesión de rodilla de Shaun Suisham, también motivó un fichaje de urgencia.

El elegido fue Josh Scobee, quien a su vez fuera cortado luego de una actuación de pesadilla en la semana 4 vs. los Ravens, malogrando 2 goles de campo que hubieran significado la victoria de su equipo. Revolviendo el fondo de la bolsa de pateadores disponibles, dieron con el joven Chris Boswell: toda una incógnita. Pero esta movida, sin embargo, no pudo haber salido mejor. A tal punto que hay quienes dudan de que Suisham vuelva a recuperar su puesto de trabajo. Boswell, en 6 juegos vistiendo la negro y oro, convirtió 14 de 15 intentos de gol de campo, incluyendo uno de más de 50 yardas, con una efectividad del 98,3%.
Tres jugadores titulares de la línea ofensiva estan fuera: el T Mike Adams (sin fecha de retorno), el G Kelvin Beachum y el C Maurkice Pouncey (estos dos últimos, fuera por la temporada).

Pero hubo jugadores que se lesionaron y volvieron: Ben Roethlisberger (BB) dejó el campo contra Saint Louis en la semana 3 y retornó 5 semanas más tarde por una lesión en la rodilla (MCL), volvió a lesionarse en la semana siguiente (pie), y fue reserva de Landry Jones (LJ) vs. Cleveland, quien a su vez también se lesionó (tobillo izquierdo) y fue reemplazado por Ben quien tuvo una tarde impecable…
Sin hablar de Mike Vick (MV) y su desempeño errático y decepcionante, que dá para largo, así de movida fue la temporada de mariscales y lesiones por allí, por Pittsburgh…

La ofensiva de los Steelers en suspenso

La ofensiva de los Steelers es la número 10 en puntos anotados y la segunda en yardas por jugada detrás de Arizona.

  • Sus pasadores completaron el 64% de los pases, alcanzando el 2do lugar en la Liga en yardas netas por intento de pase (7.4 yds)
  • Si analizamos a cada pasador por separado Big Ben lidera en porcentaje de pases completados con 66.8% (MV 60.6%; LJ 60.8%).

En yardas netas por jugadas de pase BB promedió 8.22 yds; LJ: 8.72 yds y MV 4.18 yds. con un rating de pasador de 97; 95.1 y 79.8 respectivamente.
Big Ben, además, está 2° en la liga en yardas ganadas por pase completo con 13,4 yds.

La ofensiva terrestre se vió privada de su jugador estrella en 4 de los 10 juegos disputados, sea por suspensión o lesión. Le’Veon Bell promedió 92,7 yds por juego (4,9 yds por intento).
Sin embargo, el ataque terrestre estuvo lejos de sufrir por su ausencia ya que DeAngelo Williams promedió 5 yardas por intento.

Lo destacable también es que este par de corredores tienen manos de tenazas y siempre dan al pasador opción de pase en jugadas rotas o de engaño: Bell atrapó 24 de 26 (0.92) pases lanzados, promediando 5,7 yds por atrapada y Williams capturó 13 de 18 (0.72); con 10,5 yds por atrapada. Y sólo Williams soltó un balón en 120 jugadas en donde tocó el ovoide.

Esta ofensiva demostró ser muy efectiva cuando avanza sin reunión previa a cada jugada. Promedia más de 11 yardas por jugada, 3.4 yds acarreando y 11.5 yds por pase, completan 79.7 % de los pases con un rating de pasador de 122.9

Los receptores fueron los que más sintieron la ausencia de Big Ben (o tal vez sería más correcto decir que sufrieron la presencia de Vick)

Aún jugando con 3 mariscales diferentes, Antonio Brown está 2° en yardas recibidas con 1141, y también 2° en yardas por juego 114.1. Martavis Bryant también 2° en la Liga en yardas por recepción con 20
Sin embargo queda la sensación de que, a pesar de estos números es una ofensiva que está en suspenso. Que no termina de tomar ritmo debido a los cambios del pasador.

Hay la sensación de que siempre puede ser mejor, que no alcanza su verdadero potencial.

Una de los déficits que hay que marcar en esta ofensiva es la conversión de 3ros intentos. Fue claramente deficitario y se transformó en una de las barreras de esta división. Uno de los posibles motivos es que el promedio de yardas por recorrer en 3er intento fue alto: 6.59 yds. En el 81% de las ocasiones la jugada resultó en pase, como es lógico. En esta situación se lanzaron 4 INT (el 40% de todas las INT se lanzaron en esta situación) y se logró el primer down o un TD en poco más del 40%. Sin dudas los Steelers muestran sus miserias en 3er down.

Fue una constante, durante las temporadas pasadas, el bajo porcentaje efectividad (que se me ocurre medir según el porcentaje de jugadas en las que se arriba a un TD o a 1er down, dentro de las 20 yardas del equipo rival)

  • Así por ejemplo durante la temporada 2013 los Steelers ranquearon en el puesto 23 en toda la Liga. No fue muy diferente en 2014 donde se ubicaron en el puesto 21.

Pero este año se observa una sensible mejoría: es uno de los equipos que más juega en este sector del campo (7° equipo en cantidad de jugadas en Zona Roja), 11° en cantidad de TD convertidos con 19 y N° 14 en porcentaje de jugadas que finalizan en 1er down o en TD.

De cara a los partidos que quedan por disputar en esta temporada, queda por definir para el resto de la temporada, quién será el QB suplente, si Mike Vick o Landry Jones.
Me resulta llamativo que aún habiendo cambios y necesidades de espacio en el roster, el nombre de Jones siempre haya permanecido intocable.

En un tercer lugar, es cierto, pero inamovible. Cuando ha entrado al campo por necesidad, ha sido capaz de ganar partidos. Creo que tiene la confianza del cuerpo de entrenadores, y que al día de hoy, es el mariscal suplente aún cuando Vick haya recuperado su forma física.

El Dr de Acero

Please lend a hand by sharing this on Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp etc... Thanks.

Mike Adams Season Ends as Steelers Do Not Practice Him

Sometimes things simply aren’t meant to be. Is that the case for the Pittsburgh Steelers and offensive tackle Mike Adams? Time will tell, but events are certainly trending in that direction. Mike Adams began training camp on the Steelers PUP list and Pittsburgh had until 4:00 pm Tuesday to begin practicing him, or place him on season-ending injured reserve.

  • He did not practice with the Steelers on Tuesday which means Mike Adams season ends.

Once considered a first round worthy draft pick, Mike Adams history with the Steelers has been rocky to say the least. Mike Adams failed a drug test at the 2012 NFL Scouting Combine, prompting Kevin Colbert and Mike Tomlin to remove him from their draft board.

Fortunately, Mike Adams agent Joe Panos has a good relationship with the Steelers, and set up a meeting between Adams and the Steelers. Adams entered rehab, fell out of the first round, and the Steelers drafted Adams in the second round of the 2012 NFL Draft.

While Mike Tomlin stopped well short of pronouncing Mike Adams as his starting left tackle, he signaled his intentions by moving Willie Colon to guard and making way for Marcus Gilbert to start at right tackle. The door was open for Mike Adams to grab the Steelers starting left tackle spot in training camp. Adams wasn’t up to the challenge, so the Steelers turned to Max Starks as they had so many times before.

  • Mike Adams got playing time in 2012 at right tackle as injures ravaged the Steelers offense line (sound familiar) and did a good job.

The Steelers went into training camp 2013 with Mike Adams at the top of the depth chart at left tackle. Adams held down the spot, but Kelvin Beachum most certainly pushed him for starting time. The Steelers nonetheless started Adams hoping to use Kelvin Beachum’s utility as a lineman who could play all five positions.

  • The Mike Adams experiment at left tackle was a disaster.

Per Neal Coolong of USA Today’s Steelers Wire, Mike Adams gave up 13 sacks and, for perhaps the only time in his career, Ben Roethlisberger appeared rattled by the pass rush. Adams was replaced by Beachum but has played well in the times he has been called upon to start due to injury.

Injury Costs Mike Adams Opportunity

Mike Adams back injury cost him an opportunity to redeem himself during 2015. There was no way he was beating out Kelvin Beachum for the starting left tackle spot, but he could have likely earned the number 3 tackle slot. Instead that role falls to Alejandro Villanueva, who has started since Beachum tore his ACL.

Still, Adams is in the final year of his rookie contract, and he is coming off of back surgery. Such a pedigree does not generally entice suitors to throw money at NFL free agents, so Adam’s phone will likely stay quiet.

Will the Steelers be one of the teams that calls? As Mike Adams season ends, that remains to be seen.

Please lend a hand by sharing this on Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp etc... Thanks.

Scratch 2 St. Vincent’s Sleepers, Steelers Cut C.J. Goodwin Ian Wild & 11 Others

Scratch two more St. Vincent sleepers. The Pittsburgh Steelers cut 13 players to get to the NFL’s mandated roster limit of 75, and leading the list were wide receiver C.J. Goodwin and safety Ian Wild. Both Goodwin and Wild had been touted as St. Vincent’s sleepers, for their better than expected performance at Steelers training camp in St. Vincent’s Latrobe.

  • However, neither will make the final 53 man roster.

Goodwin had drawn praise early in camp, and was widely expected to be the Steelers 6th wide receiver should the Steelers keep that many. However, as camp progressed he feel behind Tyler Murphy and Shakim Phillips, and not even Martavis Bryant‘s suspension could help Goodwin earn a roster spot.

  • Ian Wild came on late, and drew lavish praise from Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin.

Wild was listed as a safety, but also saw double duty as an inside linebacker. However, Wild could not do enough to impress coaches on special teams where Jordan Dangerfield as been a stand out. Wild’s departure also marks a bit of good, albeit temporary news for Steelers 7th round pick Gerod Holliman who looked good in “football in shorts” but whose name has not been heard during preseason.

Steelers Make 11 Other Cuts

The Steelers also cut 11 other players:

Tight End, Cameron Clear (waived/injured)
Tight End, Ray Hamilton (waived/injured)
Defensive End, Niko Davis (waived/injured)
Guard, Miles Dieffenbach
Wide Reciever, Kenzel Doe
Running Back, Braylon Heard
Defensive End, Joe Kruger
Defensive Tackle, Joe Okafor
Offensive Line, Collin Rahrig
Cornerback, Jordan Sullen
Offensive Tackle, Kevin Whimpey

The Steelers also decided to keep offensive tackle Mike Adams on the PUP list and officially placed second round pick Senquez Golson on injured reserve, ending the rookie’s season.

Please lend a hand by sharing this on Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp etc... Thanks.

Five Steelers Begin 2015 Training Camp on PUP list

It didn’t take long for some interesting news to start flowing out of Steelers training camp.

As reported by the Pittsburgh Post Gazette on Saturday, five players–starting center Maurkice Pouncey, back-up tackle Mike Adams, back-up quarterback Bruce Gradkowski, outside linebacker Shawn Lemon and rookie cornerback 2nd round pick Senquez Golson–will begin camp on the PUP (Physically Unable to Perform) list.

  • Obviously, being a perennial Pro Bowl player, Pouncey’s name is the most notable on the list with a foot issue, but according to head coach Mike Tomlin, it’s “very minor.”
  • Next up on the notable list would have to be Adams, the team’s second round pick in 2012, who has yet to live up to his hype or the chance the Steelers took on him, when it appeared nobody wanted to touch him in the days leading up to the Draft, thanks to some character issues (he failed a drug test at the NFL Combine that February). In June of 2013, Adams was involved in an incident on Pittsburgh’s South Side, where he was attacked by three men and stabbed. After a horrendous start in the regular season, Adams was eventually replaced at left tackle by Kelvin Beachum. Now, for Adams, in the final year of his rookie contract, even his spot as a back-up might be in jeopardy, as he’s expected to miss four weeks while still recovering from offseason back surgery. Here’s another quote from Tomlin, courtesy of the Pittsburgh Post Gazette: “We got it evaluated and decided to put it behind us,” Tomlin said. “He’s been dealing with it the majority of the offseason.”
  • The reason for Gradkowski’s name appearing on the list is due to shoulder fatigue. This could be something to be concerned with; then again, it could just be a reason to get someone like Landry Jones more reps.
  • As for the rookie Golson (shoulder), according to Tomlin, it’s a wait and see approach in-terms of the seriousness of his injury: “We’ll see. He’s not good enough to go. I’ll give you an update when I get it.”

Players who begin training camp on the PUP list cannot participate in any activities, but they can remain on the list until the beginning of the regular season and can be activated at a later time.

Please lend a hand by sharing this on Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp etc... Thanks.

Steelers Roster Needs After 2015 Draft

The 2015 NFL Draft has come and gone and in the process the Steelers have potentially given themselves their pass rush and secondary direly needed shots in the arm. Wide receiving and defensive line depth also got a boost, as did tight end.

  • But doubling down at cornerback and outside linebacker, forced the Steelers to put other needs on hold.

While these needs were less immediate they nonetheless equal important opportunity costs that the franchise must address and/or pay at some point.

Steelers 2015 Draft, Kevin Colbert, Mike Tomlin, Bud Dupree, Cornerback,

Kevin Colbert and Mike Tomlin Discuss Steelers 2015 Draft

Offensive Line Gets No Love in Steelers Draft

A unicorn graced the presence of Steelers Nation in 2014. For almost the first time during Mike Tomlin’s tenure, the Steelers offensive line experienced stability.

The Steelers lost no starters for the season, and the impact of week-to-week injuries remained limited. No one told stories of Mike Munchak playing musical chairs his lineman during games. Oh yeah, and the Steelers offense broached historic highs…. Coincidence?  Not on your life.

  • Can such luck endure from season-to-season?

We’ll see as 2015 unfolds. Looking beyond 2015, Kelvin Beachum, Ramon Foster and Mike Adams are both entering the final years of their contracts. That doesn’t mean they’ll leave Pittsburgh, but the Steelers certainly did not select their replacements in the 2015 NFL Draft.

Health Miller’s Replacement will Have to Wait

To be fair, it’s possible that Jesse James could develop into Heath Miller’s replacement. Late round draft picks can and do blossom into soild starters or even stars (see William Gay, 5th round pick, and Antonio Brown, 6th round pick.) But you don’t project to replace a player like Heath Miller in the 5th round.

Josh Harris Breathes a Sigh of Relief

Steelers reserve running back stood as one of the players with the most to lose heading into the 2015 NFL Draft. Running back might not have been on the Steelers draft need list, but it was on their draft want list. Le’Veon Bell, DeAngelo Williams, and presumably Dri Archer have roster spots locked up as does Will Johnson. Barring injury that might be the Steeler final 2015 depth chart. But with Le’Veon Bell looking at a 3 game suspension, the Steelers will certainly start the season with another back on their roster.

  • With a year of practice squad experience and a handful of games, Josh Harris now has the inside track on that slot.

Any running back the Steelers drafted, even on drafted late, would have placed a bullseye on Harris’ back. Josh Harris roster sport remains safe, for now.

Defensive Line Depth Still a Potential Issue

The Steelers defensive line depth was a liability going into the 2015 NFL Draft, but the Steelers addressed that in the 6th round by drafting L.T. Walton.

But a sixth round pick’s hold on a roster spot is tenuous at best, and as the cases of Josh Mauro and Nik Williams show, stuffing them on the practice squad puts them at risk.

The NFL Draft is All about Opportunity Costs

None of this is to suggest that Kevin Colbert and Mike Tomlin erred in not addressing these positions earlier or more often in the 2015 Draft. Opportunity costs form the fundamental nature of the NFL Draft – choosing Casey Hampton in 2001 also meant passing on Reggie Wayne.

With very few exceptions (see picking Sam Bowie instead of Michael Jordan or yes, Gabe Rivera over Dan Marino) team’s drafts are defined by who they picked and not who they passed on. And in that light, the Steelers 2015 Draft Class adds players to the Pittsburgh’s roster who have the potential to fill vital needs. But the team still has needs it must fill, some of which it is already attempting to do via its 2015 undrafted rookie free agent class.

Thanks for visiting. Click here for more on the Steelers and the 2015 NFL Draft.

Please lend a hand by sharing this on Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp etc... Thanks.

Steelers Draft Doran Grant in 4th round, Cornerback from Ohio State

Day 3 of the 2015 NFL Draft saw the Pittsburgh Steelers draft Doran Grant cornerback out of Ohio State. With the addition of Senquez Golson in the 2nd round, Doran Grant marks the second cornerback taken by the Steelers in this draft.

OSU is becoming a popular source of Steelers draftees, as indicated by Pittsburgh Post Gazette writer Ed Bouchette:

In addition to Doran Grant, the Steelers drafted OSU products Ryan Shazier in 2014, Mike Adams in 2012, Cameron Heyward in 2011, and Thaddeus Gibson in 2010.

Like fellow cornerback Senquez Golson, Doran Grant made Steel City Insider Jim Wexell’s list of “ass kickers” who remained available to the Steelers after they drafted Bud Dupree in the first round. Wexell described Grant as “durable, a team captain, can support the run and went through the rigors of a national championship run.”

At 5’10” grant remains on the short side for a typical Steelers cornerback, but he does possess 4.44 speed and was ranked by Scout.com as the 13th best cornerback in the draft and 102nd best player overall. In fact, Jim Wexell was some what prophetic in his draft predictions suggesting:

The Steelers of course drafted both men.

Video Highlights of Doran Grant

I guess agents don’t go all out to put together YouTube video highlight packages of defensive players the way the do for offensive stars. Nonetheless, the magic of YouTube gives us this on Doran Grant from OSU’s 2014 matchup vs. Cincinnati.

The film shows an aggressive corner who can both cover down field and make plays closer to the line of scrimmage, which is something the Steelers need.

How Doran Grant Fits into Steelers Secondary

This is the Steelers second draft double dip at cornerback since they famously took Rod Woodson and Delton Hall in the first and second rounds of the 1987 NFL Draft. The last time the did a draft double dip at cornerback was in the 2011 NFL Draft when they took Curtis Brown in the third round and Cortez Allen in the fourth round.

  • Doran Grant looks to provide immediate depth at cornerback, and will have a chance to push for a slot in the team’s dime or perhaps even nickel defense.

He also might bring some additional position flexibility to the Steelers secondary.

Steelers secondary coach Carnell Lake described Doran Grant as a solid physical cornerback with decent speed, and reminded reporters that Grant played as a true freshman, and then each year thereafter. When asked if the Steelers drafting 2 cornerbacks who are both shorter than 6’ tall, Carnell Lake denied any change in franchise philosophy, admitting that this was as much a case of availability.

Welcome to Steelers Nation Doran Grant.

Please lend a hand by sharing this on Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp etc... Thanks.

Steelers 2015 Draft Needs at Offensive Tackle

With the 2015 NFL Draft 9 days away, Steel Curtain Rising’s pre-draft analysis of the Pittsburgh Steelers draft needs analysis has covered the offensive line positions of center and guard and today the focus is on tackle.

Analyzing Steelers Depth at Offensive Tackle – The Starters

A quick look at the Steelers depth chart at offensive tackle reveals one player who is doing what he was drafted to do, and another two who appear to have been switched at birth.

The Pittsburgh Steelers drafted Marcus Gilbert in 2011 in the second round of the 2011 NFL Draft with the idea that they would bring him along slowly. When Willie Colon found himself a casualty of the Debacle in Baltimore on opening day 2011, the Steelers turned to rookie Marcus Gilbert as his replacement.

Gilbert started 13 games that season including the playoff loss to Denver. He returned to his starting role in 2012, but injuries limited him to 5 games. Gilbert was back in 2013 starting 16 games, although he was challenged for his spot early in the season.

The person who mounted that challenge to Gilbert in early 2013 is Kelvin Beachum, the Steelers 2012 7th round pick. Going into his sophomore season, Beachum appeared to be carving a role for himself as the team’s 6th lineman, showing himself able to play all five positions on the line. Of course, the opening day disaster at Tennessee saw Beachum thrust into the role as starting center.

  • He didn’t stay there long, as Mike Adams struggled at left tackle, and ultimately was replaced by

Beachum, who has held down the starting role since. While Beachum isn’t the second coming of Tony Boselli, he does continue the Steelers tradition of solid play at left tackle in the vein of John Jackson and/or Max Starks.

Analyzing Steelers Depth at Tackle – the Back Ups

The Steelers once considered Mike Adams as a first round player, but surpsied many in 2012 by taking him in the second round after he failed a drug test. The Steelers hopped Adams would show enough in camp in 2012 to win the starting role, but ultimately he didn’t, and Pittsburgh brought Max Starks back for a final season.

  • Adams did get the starting nod in 2013, and he was a complete disaster.

IT would be both wrong and unfair to pin 2013’s 0-4 start on Mike Adams shoulders. But he was a prime contributor, unable to offer Ben Roethlisberger even the most basic of protections, to the degree that some wondered aloud of Roethlisberger wasn’t losing his ability. The benching served as motivation for Adams, and Adams has done well in spot duty, including four starts.

  • Still, as Adams enters the fourth and final year of his rookie contract, word is the Steelers interest in bringing him back is low.

Behind Adams, the Steelers depth consists of Mitchell Van Dyk (who? yeah that’s what we asked), and Alejandro Viallnueva, a former Army Ranger who did a year on the Steelers practice squad in 2014.steelers, draft, needs, priority, 2015

Priority Status of Offensive Tackle for Steelers in 2015 NFL Draft

There’s no such thing as having “too many good tackles” in the NFL.

The position is simply too vital to a team’s success as the first four games of 2013 revealed. The Steelers have two solid starters and one good backup. Kelvin Beachum will be a free agent next year. The Steelers must decide if he’s their future at left tackle, or if they want a player to more closely fits the prototype for the position.

Moreover, the way the draft is breaking down, tackle could easily be the best available player by the time the Steelers get to pick at number 22. The priority status for tackle for the Steelers in the 2015 NFL Draft must be considered Moderate High.

Thanks for visiting. Click here for more on the Steelers and the 2015 NFL Draft.

Please lend a hand by sharing this on Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp etc... Thanks.

Steelers Pre Draft Visits 2015 – Randy Gregory Tops List

April is almost upon us.

And that means its time for the NCAA’s top prospects to begin their rounds of visits to prospective NFL teams. Each NFL team is allowed to host 30 collegiate prospects at their facility prior to the draft. Visits from nearby by schools do not count against the limit, hence, the Pittsburgh Steelers can workout players from Pitt in for pre-draft visits, as Pitt is local (heck, the Steelers share a facility with Pitt you can’t get much more local than that.)

The Steelers approach to providing information about these visits has been “interesting” to say the least. In some years they’ve announced the visits. Other years they’ve begun announcing the visits only to mysteriously stop the announcements.

  • Information leaks out anyway.

Beat journalists from the Post-Gazette, Tribune Review and free lancers like Jim Wexell are on site and observe the visits first hand. Or coaches and/or scouts leak the information. And if neither of those two work, agents leak the information.

Thus far the Steelers have extended pre-draft invitations to:

Randy Gregory, Defensive End, Nebraska
Kyle Emmanuel, Linebacker, North Dakota State University
Cameron Clear, Tight End from Texas A&M
DeVante Parker, Wide Receiver, Louisville
Shane Ray, Defensive End, Missouri

The presence of Randy Gregory is of course interesting, as Gregory failed a drug test for marijuana at the recent NFL Scouting Combine. Historically the Steelers have stayed away from players with off the field issues like that, although 2012’s 2nd round pick Mike Adams also failed a drug test, but worked himself back into Kevin Colbert and Mike Tomlin’s good graces.

Note, these visits have only been announced, and have not been conducted yet and it is hardly unknown for agents to leak that their clients are visiting a certain team, only for those visits to never materialize.

Steel Curtain Rising will do its best to keep you abreast of the visits ahead of the 2015 NFL Draft.

Please lend a hand by sharing this on Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp etc... Thanks.

Watch Tower: Steelers Security Chief Jack Kearney vs. ESPN’s Outside the Lines

Today the Watch Tower focuses its light firmly on ESPN’s Outside the Lines report on the Steelers Security Chief Mr. Kearney.

To read the The Watch Tower analysis of ESPN’s Steve Fainaru and Mark Fainaru-Wada’s piece either click on a critique of a specific element of their story, or scroll down to read it all:

OTL Attempts to Peer Behind the Steel Curtain

The Pittsburgh Steelers work hard to maintain an image of integrity. And while the Steelers don’t deserve the saintly status that many fans (including this site at times) seek to confer on them, they do run one of the cleaner shops in the NFL.

  • An ESPN Outside the Lines Report on Steelers Security Chief Jack Kearney will challenge that notion.

The full report will not air until Sunday January 25, but ESPN released a detailed teaser on ESPN.com. If the teaser is any indication, this promises to be an interesting piece of journalism.

Steelers Nation Meet Steelers Security Chief Jack Kearney

The Steelers list approximately 75 non-football employees in their 2014 Media Guide. But you won’t find Jack Kearney’s name. That’s because as Steelers Security Chief Jack Kearney is supposed to keep a low profile and until now he’s largely done a good job.

  • In 26 years of actively following the Steelers, the term “security chief” or “head of security” only came up once.

And that was in an article detailing how imposers claimed to be players from the Steelers in order to swindle people out of their money. An article discussed the matter, and quoted Kearney.

Perhaps the Steelers don’t list him because they prefer to keep the focus on football. Regardless of reason, since taking the job in 2001 Steelers Security Chief Jack Kearney has remained in the shadows.

That is about to change thanks to ESPN’s “Outside the Lines.”

ESPN’s OTL Swings the Hatchet at Steelers Jack Kearney

The crux of the ESPN piece on Steelers Security Chief Jack Kearney is that his dual roles as a member of the Allegheny Sheriff’s department and Steelers Security Chief create a conflict of interest.

Indeed, ESPN’s Steve Fainaru and Mark Fainaru-Wada discovered that Kearney’s nick name is “The Cleaner” because he is “the longtime point man on messy Steelers business.”

Every organization of any consequence is going to have someone who acts, officially or unofficially, as designated a trouble shooter. It’s a role you see in popular media ranging from “good guys” like George Clooney’s character in Michael Clayton, to pleasantly humored “bad guys” such as “Mr. Wolf” in Pulp Fiction.

Steve Fainaru and Mark Fainaru-Wada make no bones about which category they place Steelers Security Chief Jack Kareney into:

Kearney earned his colorful nickname by using his authority to smooth over and manage a variety of thorny legal issues involving the Steelers, according to an “Outside the Lines” examination of court documents and police records, and interviews with law enforcement officers, lawyers and players.

And just what are those “thorny legal issues?” Continuing from the same paragraph:

Sheriff’s deputies are prohibited by policy from holding off-duty positions with “any potential for a conflict-of-interest,” but on numerous occasions, Kearney has acted on the Steelers’ behalf: expediting gun permits for players, providing damage control on a domestic violence case and delivering 24-hour assistance that sometimes blurs the lines between law enforcement agent and protector, according to multiple sources in and out of the sheriff’s office.

That’s pretty harsh, and Steve Fainaru and Mark Fainaru-Wada are only getting started.

Deconstructing OTL vs. Jack Kearney – The Case of Cedric Wilson

Steelers Nation remembers the Cedric Wilson incident because of Dan Rooney controversial explanation of why the Steelers cut Wilson but treated James Harrison differently.

  • However, Fainaru and Fainaru-Wada have unearthed Kearney’s role in the incident, suggesting he acted questionably.

So what exactly did he do?

When Wilson’s name first got into the papers it was because his girlfriend fired a gun at the wall which led to a stand off with police. Kareney learned of the incident, called Wilson who was in route to Memphis and convinced him to return to Pittsburgh. Wilson himself confirms “Jack pretty much advised me to come back, like this was an issue of mine that needed to be dealt with.”

  • The Watch Tower fails to find anything unethical about that

Two weeks later Wilson was in the press again, as he was alleged to have stormed into a bar and punched his girlfriend, after which, “That night, according to two sources, Kearney tried to contain the damage by asking people familiar with the incident not to divulge that Wilson had been with other Steelers players before the incident occurred.”

  • Again, the Watch Tower fails to see how such actions suggest an abuse of power, authority, or position.

If no other Steelers were involved why should their names be connected? But no publicly reported evidence indicated a connection then, nor did OTL uncover any link now.

In the case of Cedric Wilson, the Watch Tower is forced to conclude that Fainaru and Fainaru-Wada hatchet swung and missed.

Deconstructing OTL vs. Jack Kearney – The case of Richard Seigler

One of the most serious charges Fainaru and Fainaru-Wada level against Kareney is that he interfered with the arrest of former Steeler Richard Seigler. Again, OTL’s dynamic duo mince no words:

Kearney clashed with federal marshals in 2007 after they sought to execute an arrest warrant on a Steelers linebacker. [Emphasis added]

That’s a pretty serious allegation, but the Watch Tower fault’s Fainaru and Fainaru-Wada defense of it.

The Marshals contacted the Steelers to arrange the arrest and a public relations staffer informed Kearney even though the PR staffer was not supposed to. The question which the Watch Tower asks but OTL fails to is quite simple:

“If the US Marshal were giving advanced notice that the Steelers they were going to arrest a player on the South Side, why would they call the Steelers PR department in the first place?”

  • Seriously, anyone with elementary understanding of law enforcement should be asking that question. Fainaru and Fainaru-Wada fail mightily here.

Regardless, Seigler was absent the next morning, and as OTL explains:

Gallagher said some marshals believed the Steelers, instead of following the agreement, had tipped off Seigler, turning what was lined up to be an easy arrest into a daylong search that required additional resources and manpower.

Fainaru and Fainaru-Wada clearly want the reader to believe that Kearney that person, despite the fact that:

  • Kearney supplied them with Seigler’s address
  • He then supplied them with an alternate address when Marshal’s couldn’t locate him
  • Kearney denied under oath that that he had contributed to the delay in making the arrest
  • William P. Mullen, Allegheny County’s Sheriff found no evidence of misconduct on Kearney’s part
  • Joseph A. Rizzo, another Allegheny deputy, also said under oath that Kearney did nothing wrong

Credit Fainaru and Fainaru-Wada for doing their research and constructing a clever narrative that appears to call Kearney’s role into question. But quite frankly, the evidence they marshal to support their claim falls flat.

Deconstructing OTL vs. Jack Kearney – Expediting Gun Permit Approvals

OTL also cites cases where Steelers Security Chief Jack Kearney managed to expedite the processing of gun permits for Steelers.

This is one of the few cases where Fainaru and Fainaru-Wada actually get someone on the record. Gail Carter explained how Kearney would reduce standard 2 week wait times down to 15 minutes, often coming in at the end of the day.

  • This is one criticism OTL’s which is both legitimate and substantiated

Based in Buenos Aires, the Watch Tower has seen more than his fair share of cases where “knowing someone” speeds up a long and arduous process; it’s nice when it works for you, but ultimately bad for society as a whole.

Note, however, that Carter clearly indicated that all legal background checks were followed, so Kearney was only helping players jump to the front of the line. While the Watch Tower agrees this is unethical and undesirable it is hardly a damming offense.

Deconstructing OTL vs. Jack Kearney – The Mike Adams Stabbing

OTL’s most detailed allegation involves Mike Adam’s 2013 stabbing, where a series of incidents “made clear the conflicts that many believe are unavoidable.” At issue are the fact that:

  • The police called Kearney first
  • Kearney spoke with Adams in the hospital – even before detectives did
  • Adams story changed the morning after the incident
  • Kearney moved Adams car to the Steelers parking lot
  • Kearney participated in the manhunt for one of men who was allegedly involved in the incident

OTL relies on Beth Pittinger, executive director of Pittsburgh’s Citizen Police Review Board – which does not oversee the sheriff’s office – to address the decision of the police to call the Steelers. Pittinger declares:

Steeler security, even if it wasn’t a deputy sheriff, should never have been contacted by the city cops. It just seems unseemly. It seems shady. It seems suspicious.

That’s one person’s view and someone who has some qualifications to speak on the subject. But Pittinger fails to say why the police calling the Steelers to inform them of Adams arrest is “shady.”

Had you or I been stabbed on the South Side, the police probably wouldn’t have called our employers. But when someone’s been injured and needs to go to the hospital, calling a next of kin or someone close to the victim is common place, and as Steelers Security Chief, Jack Kearney would be a logical, and easy call to make, especially if Adams condition prevented him from supplying another name.

  • That’s a highly relevant angle to the story that Fainaru and Fainaru-Wada ignore.

Fainaru and Fainaru-Wada also fail to provide any journalistic evidence that there was something untoward about Kearney’s visit to the hospital.

  • Who wouldn’t rush to the hospital if you heard that a friend or coworker had been stabbed?
  • Did Kearney break a rule or law in talking to Adams? OTL neither claims that nor offers proof
  • Did Kearney’s conversation with Adams lead him to alter his story?

Again, Fainaru and Fainaru-Wada can offer no “sources” to claim he does. Yes, it is a little eye brow raising, but how many stories change after blood alcohol content drops from .190 to normal?

Fainaru and Fainaru-Wada really want you to think Kearney’s driving Mike Adam’s car back to the Steelers parking lot is ominous, implying that he tainted evidence, but Kearney’s boss Mullen indicates that “the crime scene was released by the investigating supervisor.” In other words, Kareney was legally free to move the truck.

  • Again, if the evidence really was vital to the case, then OTL should find fault with the Pittsburgh police and not Kearney.

On the charge that Kearney’s participation in the man hunt for one of the alleged attackers, OTL is on solid ground, there does appear to be a conflict of interest. Kearney should not have participated, although they fail to cite any evidence that he acted inappropriately during the man hunt.

OTL vs. Steelers Security Chief Jack Kearney – Sensationalistic, Shoddy Journalism

Steve Fainaru and Mark Fainaru-Wada are no amateurs. Both are co-authors of the New York Times best-seller League of Denial alleging the NFL’s cover up of head trauma. The Watch Tower is not familiar with that book or with their other work, but clearly these are not amateur journalists.

  • But they’re guilty of shoddy journalism in covering Steelers Security Chief Jack Kearney.

That’s harsh, but justified. Fainaru and Fainaru-Wada have done their research. They’ve exposed an important, previously unknown figure from one of the NFL’s most popular franchises. They’ve found his “finger prints” behind the scenes in several incidents that Dan Rooney and Art Rooney II clearly wish had not happened.

  • But they’ve found very few people to speak on the record.

And as we’ve shown, most the examples they cite to impeach Kearney’s credibility wilt under the Watch Tower’s bright lights. Some of the criticisms they’ve leveled at Kearney should be aimed at others. In other cases they fail, intentionally or unintentionally, to ask common sense questions.

ESPN’s OTL’s story on the Steelers Security Chief Jack Kearney will doubtlessly generate good ratings and continued Google hits for days to come. But that doesn’t lend any credibility Fainaru and Fainaru-Wada’s conclusions.

As both Steelers Security Chief and deputy sheriff Jack Kearney might have taken some questionable actions, but he doesn’t appear to be the seedy, corrupt character OTL wants you to think he is.

Please lend a hand by sharing this on Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp etc... Thanks.