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soon as Steelers All-Pro center Maurkice Pouncey went down with a broken fibula, early in the Steelers’ preseason win over Green Bay last Sunday, the issue of shortening the preseason schedule came quickly to the forefront once again. Just a short time later, Stephon Tuitt and backup quarterback Bruce Gradkowski left the game with injuries as well. On the surface, that logic seems to make sense, but in reality it makes no sense at all. These kinds of injuries can happen at anytime, anywhere. A lot of people, who are all for shortening the preseason, are proposing to take two of these games and expanding the regular season to 18 games. That is still the same amount of games being played and it does nothing to prevent injuries that can happen at any time. To prevent injuries that happen during the last week of training camp, should training camps be shortened by two weeks as well? How far does this logic go? If the NFL never would’ve went from a 14 to a 16 game schedule, then Le’Veon Bell never would have injured his knee. The truth is, if it would have been the number four center on the depth chart who got injured, instead of Pouncey, the reaction would have been, “oh well, he wasn’t gonna make the team anyway”, if anyone would have even noticed at all.
Football always has been and always will be a contact sport, and injuries, whenever they occur, are part of the game and the cost of doing business in the NFL. It’s always unfortunate to lose a player the caliber of a Maurkice Pouncey, whether it’s in the third preseason game or on the eighth offensive play in the first game of the regular season. As much as fans seem to despise preseason, that’s where you find and develop the depth on your roster to replace the injured. How important is preseason? Terry Bradshaw was once asked about the importance of preseason and he thought it was as important as the foundation that your house is built on. Two preseason games is not nearly enough to give veterans the work they need or to see what a team might have in the way of late round draft picks or with the undrafted rookies and camp invites. Four games seems to be the minimal amount of time needed to piece together the final 53-man roster. The only change that really needs to be made with preseason football is to quit charging regular season prices for the tickets.
Steelers Sign Vick And Legursky
In the wake of injuries to center Maurkice Pouncey and quarterback Bruce... [Read More]
In about two short weeks the Pirates will look to bolster their roster by calling up a few extra players. There is no doubt they will call up someone, but the questions of who and how many are sure to be prevalent. There is no real way for us to know what they are planning, but we can try our best to formulate a guess. The best place to start is to look at how they have treated the call ups during the last two years while they have been in the thick of contention.
Call Ups: LHP Kris Johnson, RHP Kyle Farnsworth, RHP Brandon Cumpton, C Tony Sanchez*, RHP Jared Hughes*, OF Andrew Lambo*, LHP Jeff Locke*
Activated from DL: OF Travis Snider, OF Starling Marte, RHP Jason Grilli
Added in Late August: C John Buck, OF Marlon Byrd, 1B Justin Morneau, RHP Stolmy Pimentel
The Pirates brought their roster total up to 35 players thanks to 7 call ups and 3 players returning from the disabled list but if you look at the names they "called up" you will see the players marked with a * really didn't fit the usual description. The four players marked with an * were on the roster into late August when they were removed for a matter of just a few days to make room for the final four players listed. Three of the four were acquired via waiver trades and the 4th, Pimentel, was surprisingly added on 8/31 to make him postseason eligible.
Basically the Pirates opted to add 1 catcher, 4 other position players and 5 pitchers
Call Ups: RHP John Holdzkom, C Tony Sanchez, LHP Booby LaFromboise, RHP Casey Sadler, IF Chase d'Arnaud, RHP Gerrit Cole*, LHP Jeff Locke*, OF Gregory Polanco*
Activated From DL: RHP Charlie Morton, RHP Stolmy Pimentel
Added in Late August: 3B Brent Morel, OF Andrew Lambo, OF Jose Tabata
Once again the call ups can be deceiving. Cole, Locke and Polanco were all with the team late into August when they were "optioned" to the minors to make room for other players. This time there were no trades but position players were added in the final few days of August to give the Pirates a deeper bench.
Once again the Pirates essentially added 1 C, 4 other position players and 5 pitchers
There is no guarantee the Pirates will follow the same template this year but it does give us a starting point. Now lets look at who may be available to be recalled.
Currently On The... [Read More]
A tackle. That was all. Steelers K Shaun Suisham went to make a play in Sunday Night's Hall of Fame Game, and suddenly, his season came to a crashing end. He will undergo season ending ACL surgery this week, which will in fact close his season out. The team placed Suisham on injured reserve Monday. Let's hope the Steelers' kicking game and special teams do not follow in similar fashion. In his five years as Steelers' K, Suisham has converted 87.8% of his kicks and has never missed an extra point. At the apex of his professional career, Suisham has put together three consecutive seasons of 90+% success on field goals - 90.3% (2012), 93.8% (2013), and 90.6% (2014). As a result, his loss should be a concern for Pittsburgh. In 2014, the Steelers ranked 4th in the NFL in FG success rate at 90.6%. That is above the league average of 84.0%. Factor in Suisham made the game-winning kick against the Cleveland Browns in Week 1, and his reliability is even more valuable. The question is, who do the Steelers turn to? What can they expect from replacements? I can tell you it will be difficult to find a reliable kicker who is going to compare. Reports mention Jeff Reed, a former Steeler. Is anyone really serious? Reed hasn't played in the league since 2011. Nonetheless, the team is going to have to dig deep. In my opinion, kickers are underrated commodities. Sure, any team can pick one up. But what happens when they miss a kick in a tight game situation? As fans, it will be interesting to watch what the team decides. My hope is Pittsburgh catches a diamond in the rough, that they find a player who craves this opportunity and makes the most of it by excelling and getting the job done.
Here we go, Steeler Nation, the first significant story line of the preseason for your team. Kevin Colbert and Mike Tomlin will have to rise up.
So far, the 2015 version of the annual Steelers training camp has been combative and physical. The Steelers are looking to return to their physically intimidating roots and if early camp practices, which include goal line drills and backs on backers, is any indication, their opponents this season better stand by for pain. The early list of camp casualties seems to be growing by the day, as Jarvis Jones (bicep contusion) and Ryan Shazier (back soreness) recently joined Ramon Foster, Antwon Blake, Josh Harris, Shamarko Thomas, Mike Mitchell and Markus Wheaton, who are all suffering from minor ailments that range from stingers and shoulder injuries to hamstrings. Martavis Bryant, who has been rather impressive to this point, will also be out for ten days due to an elbow infection.
Despite these injuries the message remains the same, the Steelers’ defense is looking to return to beating teams into submission this season. So much so that Mike Tomlin has been getting involved with helping to coach the defense for the first time since he has been named head coach of the Steelers. I’m sure his previous lack of involvement had everything to do with Dick LeBeau being the defensive coordinator and not wanting to get in his way. With first time defensive coordinator Keith Butler running the show now, Tomlin (a former defensive coordinator himself) has found the perfect opportunity to incorporate his cover-2 background into Keith Butler’s philosophy, which should help maximize the talent on that side of the ball.
For the last quarter of a century, the Steelers’ defense has been built around the linebackers, but the success has always started up front with guys from Joel Steed and Ray Seals, Casey Hampton and Aaron Smith to Cam Heyward and Stephon Tuitt. A new defensive approach like the one Keith Butler is bringing could allow a guy like Daniel McCullers to step up and be the new force in the middle. In the past, the biggest issue for young players was the difficulties in picking up Dick LeBeau’s scheme. To get young talent on the field quicker, Keith Butler has simplified the playbook and pared it back. He believes players who react to what they see are faster than those who have to think about what they see before they can react, and the defense has a lot of young players who can bring the business very quickly and very hard. Getting Tuitt and McCullers to that point will give the Steelers a very physical and formidable defensive line... [Read More]
| Jul 29, 2015 - 11:41 AM
Have fun out there in Social Media and in the break rooms at work because the 2nd best team in baseball suddenly got run by the most incompetent Front Office in MLB.
That is how it is every July.
Every "know-it-all" basement GM comes out and whines and cries about the Pittsburgh Pirates not doing this or that. It's been an ongoing epidemic for years, yet despite all of this, a miracle has happened in Pittsburgh...
..the Pittsburgh Pirates have qualified for the Playoffs for the past 2 seasons.
Meanwhile, all of these other teams continue to make these big trades and aren't any better than the Pittsburgh Pirates have been.
What big trade did the San Francisco Giants and St.Louis Cardinals make the past 2 seasons?
There's a collective internet erection occurring for the Pirates to trade for Phillies pitcher Cole Hammels.
It's not going to happen.
That's not how this Front Office operates and to continuously whine about it not happening is borderline stupidity and ignorance. It's like waiting for Donald Trump to say something sensible. It won't happen. Don't expect it. Don't complain.
What we can and should expect from the Pittsburgh Pirates is to see the middle/long relief get stronger by addition. We should expect perhaps bench depth. We shouldn't expect the Front Office to trade it's future prospects for 1 player. It's not a proven guarantee for winning, just ask Ray Shero and the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Do you think Cole Hammels out duels Madison Bumgarner last year? The best teams in MLB couldn't win with their best against Madison Bumgarner.
So, relax Pittsburgh and Pirates fans. Stop crying and whining every single year at the trade deadline for a MLB The Show-esque type trade. Show some faith in a front office and an owner that have brought this organization back from the depths of hell, to being the 2nd best team in MLB that competes annually for the Playoffs.