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    Default Armed and ready in Pittsburgh

    Armed and ready in Pittsburgh

    Posted Oct. 11, 2010
    By Dan Arkush




    Not only does it appear the Pittsburgh Steelers have survived the suspension of two-time Super Bowl-winning QB Ben Roethlisberger with flying colors.

    The pro football experts around the league whom PFW talked to this past week, in advance of Roethlisberger's return to action from his four-game hiatus for violating the league's personal-conduct policy, agree that, because the Steelers' organization remains in a league of its own, the odds that Roethlisberger will be sporting a third Super Bowl ring four months from now are looking more than a little favorable.

    There were many leaguewide observers who had predicted that Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin would have a hard time keeping the Steelers ship on a steady course with Roethlisberger's off-the-field indiscretions creating a bad vibe in Steelers Nation that would linger well into the season.

    In the tough AFC North with a Ravens team predicted by many to be a legitimate Super Bowl contender and the defending division champion Bengals having appeared to be poised to take advantage of Roethlisberger's absence the loss of Big Ben for a quarter of the season had created what looked like a potentially insurmountable hurdle.

    But lo and behold, there were the Steelers, a mere half-minute away from going 4-0 without Roethlisberger before losing to the Ravens 17-14 in Week Four.

    Credit the "Steelers Way" for keeping the curtain from closing prematurely on Pittsburgh's 2010 season.

    "How many teams do you think could be 3-1 against a tough schedule without their starting quarterback?" one envious NFL team executive told PFW. "They are one of the few. It all starts with the Rooney family. They are so consistent in their approach.

    "They adjust so well to what they have. Whether it's the quarterback or (star SS Troy) Polamalu or the linebackers, they plug and play.

    "(Director of football operations) Kevin Colbert does a great job of building championship teams. He is very underrated. They fill needs as well as anyone in the league. That is why they are so competitive, year in and year out."

    Especially on defense, where recent Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee Dick LeBeau continues to work his magic at the age of 73 as the Steelers' stellar defensive coordinator. After five weeks, the Steelers rank fifth in total yards allowed, rank first in both rushing yards allowed and average gain per rush and with Polamalu contributing a pair of interceptions and feeling fully healthy again after an injury-plagued 2009 campaign are tied for second in turnover differential with a plus-7, behind the Jets at plus-8.

    "They knew how important LeBeau was," the executive said. "They lost (Ken) Whisenhunt and (Russ) Grimm, but they were not going to lose LeBeau. He carries them.

    "Philosophically, (LeBeau) runs a very different defense than Tomlin was running in Tampa Bay and Minnesota. The base is very different, but Tomlin has not looked to change anything. That was the best move he made, and I don't think he had a lot of choice in the matter.

    "There is no one better at creating matchup havoc with overloaded gaps (than LeBeau). They disguise their blitz packages so well it's very difficult to maintain protection."

    On the offensive side of the ball, an old-school commitment to the run also reaped big-time dividends. With third-year pro Rashard Mendenhall averaging 102.8 yards per game the third-best average in league behind Minnesota's Adrian Peterson and Houston's Arian Foster the Steelers rank ninth in rushing yards and 17th in time of possession despite being last in passing yards.

    "Without Ben, the Steelers got back to Steelers football establish the run first and play great defense," said one pro scout. "They have had to scale back the offense. They have not been playing with a quarterback they could trust. He (Roethlisberger) might have done the team a big favor. I thought he was solely winning games with his arm last year."

    Now once again armed and ready, an understandably humbled Roethlisberger returns to action Sunday against the lowly Browns a 2010 debut that figures to fortify his confidence moving forward.

    By all accounts, Roethlisberger has worked diligently during his suspension to retain the form that led to a team-record 4,328 passing yards last year. During his suspension, he worked almost daily with his personal QB coach, George Whitfield, on his footwork, timing and throwing.

    After having to separate from the team on Sept. 2 under the terms of the suspension, Roethlisberger threw almost daily to a collection of receivers at high school stadiums. In his first practice back with the Steelers last Tuesday, Roethlisberger looked sharp and showed no rustiness or lack of rhythm.

    Clearly, the stage is set for Steelers offensive coordinator Bruce Arians to open up his entire playbook again.

    "Big Ben creates plays," said the pro scout. "He is a little bit of a bonehead and he hangs on to (the ball) too much, but he can wing it now. The guy has won two Super Bowls. Having him back will be a huge boost to their offense.

    "He'll beat you with his arm. He is tough. He gets the (crap) knocked out of him behind that line. It is not very good. But he still finds a way. Remember the TD he threw last year to beat Green Bay? He is clutch. It was a perfect back-shoulder throw, just like the one he threw to Santonio Holmes in the Super Bowl."

    After the Browns game, Roethlisberger and the Steelers face a pivotal four-game stretch, with three straight road games at Miami, New Orleans and Cincinnati and a Nov. 14 home game against the always-tough Patriots.

    With three-quarters of their season left and their big gun back in action, the Steelers' shot at Super Bowl glory is as good as any team's. Taking into account the Steelers' pedigree, it really was foolish to have thought otherwise.

    http://www.profootballweekly.com/201...-in-pittsburgh

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    Default Re: Armed and ready in Pittsburgh

    "You only have one life, and you will not get out alive. Make the most of your time and have no regrets." - Me.

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    Default Re: Armed and ready in Pittsburgh

    After watching some of the worst football I can remember the last 4 weeks I honestly believe the Super Bowl is ours for the taking.

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    Default Re: Armed and ready in Pittsburgh

    Quote Originally Posted by LasVegasGuy View Post
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    After watching some of the worst football I can remember the last 4 weeks I honestly believe the Super Bowl is ours for the taking.
    Not that it means any more than a pile of horse****, but we are atop the Power rankings with Balt at #2... The AFC looks weak at this point, and my betting tickets from Bally's for the division, AFC title, and Super Bowl are starting to look pretty good at the moment...
    "You only have one life, and you will not get out alive. Make the most of your time and have no regrets." - Me.

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    Default Re: Armed and ready in Pittsburgh

    Quote Originally Posted by NKySteeler View Post
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    Not that it means any more than a pile of horse****, but we are atop the Power rankings with Balt at #2... The AFC looks weak at this point, and my betting tickets from Bally's for the division, AFC title, and Super Bowl are starting to look pretty good at the moment...
    I can't remember, 4 weeks of any season, where alot of teams looking like ****. The Ravens got lucky facing us without Ben otherwise they lose that game and the people who create the power ranking must feel the same way. As for the Jets, the defenses are comparable but at the end of the day I would rather have Roethlisberger then Sanchez in crunch time.

    And then what is up with Dallas, Minny, San Diego, Indy? Barring a catostrophic meltdown or the injury bug we have to be the team to beat.

    Man, that Ravens game still ****es me off. Now they hold the tiebreaker against us and the Jets. WTF! It would have been better for us to win that game and lose to the Falcons or Bucs.

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    Default Re: Armed and ready in Pittsburgh

    Quote Originally Posted by LasVegasGuy View Post
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    Man, that Ravens game still ****es me off. Now they hold the tiebreaker against us and the Jets. WTF! It would have been better for us to win that game and lose to the Falcons or Bucs.
    They still gotta play the Pats, Dolphins, Falcons, and us again... Lots more can happen.
    "You only have one life, and you will not get out alive. Make the most of your time and have no regrets." - Me.

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    Default Re: Armed and ready in Pittsburgh

    Quote Originally Posted by NKySteeler View Post
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    They still gotta play the Pats, Dolphins, Falcons, and us again... Lots more can happen.
    Yes too soon to get all crazy about it.

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    Default Re: Armed and ready in Pittsburgh

    Quote Originally Posted by LasVegasGuy View Post
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    Yes too soon to get all crazy about it.
    I know I'm looking at it thru rose-colored glasses, but I see it this way...

    All we gotta do is beat Cleveland this week and the Rats lose at New England... Then we have one less loss, and just win when the Rats have their bye in week #8 (at Saints)... Their "tiebreaker" against us only matters if we're tied...

    We will play better with Ben back...

    ... But my big concern is our defensive secondary giving away pass completions... Ray Horton is a cancer IMO, but I know that I am in the minority, so I'll only mention it 2 or 3 times a week...
    "You only have one life, and you will not get out alive. Make the most of your time and have no regrets." - Me.

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    Default Re: Armed and ready in Pittsburgh

    Quote Originally Posted by NKySteeler View Post
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    Not that it means any more than a pile of horse****, but we are atop the Power rankings with Balt at #2... The AFC looks weak at this point,
    I was having a beer-induced conversation with my buddy (who happens to be a Browns' fan) last night during the NY/GB game. We were able to agree on two things:

    1.) Nobody in the NFC stands out.... AT ALL!
    2.) Balt, Pit, and NYJ have seperated themselves, from the rest of the AFC... and for that matter the league.
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    Default Re: Armed and ready in Pittsburgh

    Quote Originally Posted by LasVegasGuy View Post
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    Man, that Ravens game still ****es me off.
    Me too brother!!! It was a tough way to lose, especially given division-cushion factor. We could've used that win...BIG TIME!

    We all know that this quarter of the season is going to be BRUTAL and a true test...of course after we do work against CLE

    Three straight road games (@MIA, @NO, @CIN), two of which in prime time, then home vs NE... We will see just how "Armed and Ready" we are after this stretch?...

    Oh yeah, not to get too far ahead...We need to first crush the Stains
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    Default Re: Armed and ready in Pittsburgh

    Quote Originally Posted by NKySteeler View Post
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    Not that it means any more than a pile of horse****, but we are atop the Power rankings with Balt at #2... The AFC looks weak at this point, and my betting tickets from Bally's for the division, AFC title, and Super Bowl are starting to look pretty good at the moment...
    Nky...
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    Default Re: Armed and ready in Pittsburgh

    Updated: October 13, 2010

    Ben Roethlisberger ready for debut

    By James Walker
    ESPN.com


    PITTSBURGH -- Coming off a four-game suspension for violating the NFL's personal conduct policy, Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger says he has a mix of emotions heading into Sunday's game against the Cleveland Browns.

    "I'm excited. But I'm not to the peak of my excitement yet, that will probably come later," Roethlisberger said before Wednesday's practice. "I'm anxious, excited, a lot of emotions. But, like I said, a lot of it is under wraps right now because we're focusing on practice."

    Walker: Balancing Act

    The Steelers must be careful not to abandon their successful running attack just because quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is back, ESPN.com's James Walker writes.

    The Steelers (3-1) are off to a fast start even without their No. 1 quarterback. Pittsburgh used great defense and a power running game with tailback Rashard Mendenhall to record wins over the Atlanta Falcons, Tennessee Titans and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

    Their one defeat came against the Baltimore Ravens.

    It is now Roethlisberger's job to keep Pittsburgh's momentum going. The Steelers need his arm because they are last in the NFL in passing, but they have to be wary not to sway too far in that direction.

    "I think we will be very balanced, and we're going to take what they give us," Roethlisberger said of the Browns. "If they're loading up the box, we will try to throw it. If they're sitting back, we will run the ball."

    Last year Roethlisberger threw for a career-high 4,328 yards along with 26 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. He was chosen as an alternate for the Pro Bowl but turned it down to rest his shoulder.

    Roethlisberger hopes he gets a warm reception in his first game back this year in Heinz Field. Many Steelers fans were upset with Roethlisberger's off-field conduct and subsequent suspension. But the city of Pittsburgh is feeling good about its football team, and even more optimistic now that Roethlisberger is returning.

    "Hopefully a lot of cheers," Roethlisberger said when asked about the fans. "In the preseason there was a lot of it. So I hope nothing will change."

    James Walker covers the AFC North for ESPN.com

    http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/news/story?id=5681334

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