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Former Steelers LB Lawrence Timmons' faces uncertain future with Miami after disappearance

post-gazette.com - Steelers/NFL - Mon, 09/18/2017 - 7:26pm

DAVIE, Fla. — Miami Dolphins coach Adam Gase is declining to discuss linebacker Lawrence Timmons’ future with the team, which may be brief.

Steelers Nation Unite opens the season

Steelers.com Videos - Mon, 09/18/2017 - 6:00pm
Steelers Nation Unite was on hand for the Steelers' 2017 home opener against the Vikings.

Sights & Sounds: Steelers-Vikings Week 2

Steelers.com Videos - Mon, 09/18/2017 - 6:00pm
Check out the highlights from the Steelers' 26-9 win over the Vikings.

A fun night for female fans

Steelers.com News - Mon, 09/18/2017 - 5:20pm
Roosevelt Nix and Ryan Shazier shared their stories as a part of Ladies Night Out.

Ladies' Night Out

Steelers.com Videos - Mon, 09/18/2017 - 5:19pm
Steelers fans had a special night running drills, meeting players, and touring Heinz Field.

Five things to know about the Steelers' Week 3 opponent, the Chicago Bears

post-gazette.com - Steelers/NFL - Mon, 09/18/2017 - 5:15pm

The Steelers will visit Soldier Field to face the Bears Sunday in Chicago. Here are five things to know about the NFC North team still searching for its first victory this season

Defense is holding their own

Steelers.com Videos - Mon, 09/18/2017 - 4:02pm
Following another strong effort from the Steelers' defense, Missi, Bob and Tunch assess the victory vs. the Vikings.

Chalk Talk - Steelers vs. Vikings

Steelers.com Videos - Mon, 09/18/2017 - 4:02pm
Tunch breaks down a few key plays from the Steelers victory vs. the Vikings.

A Fitting tribute to Dan Rooney

Steelers.com Videos - Mon, 09/18/2017 - 4:02pm
The Steelers honored Dan Rooney at the home opener and we discuss the tribute on Steelers Live.

In 1 Minute: Vikings Recap

Steelers.com Videos - Mon, 09/18/2017 - 4:00pm
Here's everything you need to know about the Steelers 26-9 win over the Vikings - in 1 minute.

Pressure is making a difference

Steelers.com News - Mon, 09/18/2017 - 3:05pm
A solid defense has been a key in the Steelers fast start.

Steelers receivers battling for playing time behind Antonio Brown

post-gazette.com - Steelers/NFL - Mon, 09/18/2017 - 2:51pm

One of the biggest story lines of training camp was the quality depth the Steelers had at receiver and which players would make the cut. They kept six on the 53-man roster, and the division of labor through two games has provided a glimpse of how they’re currently viewed by the coaching staff.

Shazier: 'I think we can do better'

Steelers.com Videos - Mon, 09/18/2017 - 2:40pm
Ryan Shazier on the early performance of the defense.

AFC North Standings: Ravens and Steelers stay perfect as Bengals and Browns plummet

Behind the Steel Curtain - Mon, 09/18/2017 - 1:50pm

Time to recap what’s going on inside the wild and crazy AFC North.

Just when you thought the tides might be starting to turn in the AFC North, all is right with the world again...at least for now.

The Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens are both 2-0 and on a crash course for a head-to-head matchup in Week 4. At the same time, the Cincinnati Bengals are 0-2 in two home games and haven’t scored a touchdown yet this season. The Cleveland Browns also are 0-2, but at least they’ve scored a couple of touchdowns.

It’s time to recap what was going on outside the Steel City in the AFC North. But first, the current standings:

Current AFC North Standings

Pittsburgh Steelers — 2-0
Baltimore Ravens — 2-0
Cleveland Browns — 0-2
Cincinnati Bengals — 0-2

...

Baltimore Ravens — 24
Cleveland Browns — 10

Baltimore Ravens

The Baltimore Ravens have received terrible news after their 24-10 victory over the Cleveland Browns. Star lineman Marshal Yanda is out for the season.

John Harbaugh said Yanda suffered an ankle fracture.

This is dreadful news for the Ravens. With an offensive line already suffering multiple injuries and absences, their best player on the line has seen his entire season ended. The huge void that is Marshal Yanda is one that no other player in the NFL can fill, but Joe D’Alessandris and the coaching staff will try their best.

...and the hits keep coming...

The Ravens received a second dose of bad injury news today after it was announced that LB Bam Bradley will be out for the season after suffering an ACL injury.

While Bam wasn’t a starting linebacker, losing young depth can be crucial in the long run. It stunts the player’s progression and keeps them from actively participating—this time for an entire year. Bradley was an undrafted free agent and many were excited about his special-teams contributions. He clearly made an impact, landing on the final, 53-man roster.

Through two games, the Ravens have forced 10 turnovers, including their brassy total of eight interceptions. This unit shut down the Bengals explosive offense in Cincinnati and then bullied the inexperienced Browns offense and rookie quarterback DeShone Kizer in Baltimore.

But the first true test for this team will come during Week 4 when Pittsburgh comes to town. Yes, these past two games have been extremely impressive, but the quality of competition needs to be taken into consideration when evaluating this unit.

Joe Flacco finished the day 25 for 34, with 217 yards and two touchdowns, as per ESPN. He also had one interception which was a terrible decision by Flacco, but Mike Wallace had stopped running on the play. Clearly, there was some miscommunication and Wallace lost sight of the ball while it was in the air.

Other than the play mentioned above, it was a great day for Flacco. He was sharp and he consistently extended plays. Flacco would scramble out of the pocket and find open receivers. Overall, the game plan was impressive. It was tailored to the strengths of Flacco and it worked to perfection.

Cleveland Browns

The Cleveland Browns first game of the season against Pittsburgh was competitive, but this week against Baltimore was just ugly. Cleveland fell by a final score of 24-10, dropping to 0-2 on the season. How did they get there?

The Browns received the ball to begin the game for the second week in a row. Although their first drive wasn’t as bad as in the opener (blocked punt for a touchdown), they still went three-and-out.

The Ravens got some traction on their opening drive, sparked by a 19-yard catch-and-run by WR Jeremy Maclin. After getting into Cleveland territory, QB Joe Flacco was sacked by OLB Christian Kirksey on third down to force a punt.

Cleveland moved the ball near midfield on their next drive, which included the 10,0000th consecutive snap of LT Joe Thomas career.

But after a false-start by WR Sammie Coates, the Browns faced a 3rd-and-12. QB DeShone Kizer then held onto the ball too long, leading to a strip-sack for OLB Terrell Suggs and a Baltimore recovery.

A migraine forced DeShone Kizer from the game, bringing in backup quarterback Kevin Hogan. All things considered, Hogan performed admirably.

On his first drive, Hogan looked comfortable in the pocket. The Stanford product found a wide-open Seth DeValve for a lengthy completion. DeValve’s 49-yard reception proved to be one of the longest of the day for the Browns.

A few plays later, Hogan rifled a beautiful pass to David Njoku for a 23-yard touchdown. This bullet beat two Ravens’ defenders in the back-right corner of the end zone and got the Browns on the board.

Entering the game following an injury and immediately leading your team down the field on a touchdown is impressive, so Hogan’s start is a reason for some optimism in Cleveland.

However, Hogan’s next two drives didn’t go well. His next drive resulted in a three-and-out, and the following drive ended in an interception. Drilled immediately after his throw, Hogan made an ill-advised decision that led to a Ravens touchdown at the end of the half.

Hogan orchestrated a drive in the third quarter which led to a field goal. Ten points on four drives aren't too bad by the Browns’ standards.

Kizer then re-entered the game to quell all thoughts of a quarterback controversy, but Hogan had proven his value as a backup signal-caller.

Houston Texans — 13
Cincinnati Bengals — 9

Cincinnati Bengals

The Cincinnati Bengals are a bad team right now as they enter Week 3 with an 0-2 record and zero touchdowns scored. As usually is the case with bad teams, a lot of negative reports are circulating about the organization.

The Bengals already have had several of these emerge, but the latest might be the most troubling of all. According to Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio, some Bengals players are ready to see a change at quarterback, but not necessarily a move from Andy Dalton to AJ McCarron.

Instead, some players think Colin Kaepernick is the answer.

The news here is that Dalton must really be losing the locker room if players think they’re better off having a free-agent plucked off of the street. One of the quickest ways for a team to implode is to lose all confidence in its starting quarterback, the presumed leader of the franchise (see: Jaguars and Blake Bortles).

That’s what Dalton has been for seven years now, but today he’s facing what’s easily his greatest adversity as an NFL player. How well he responds to this and his play in Week 3 against a tough Packers team will go a long way to determine whether these rumors die down and his teammates remain on his side.

There are already reports that head coach Marvin Lewis faced a “near mutiny” after losing to the Texans in embarrassing fashion. It looks like changing offensive coordinators has stemmed the tide for now, but it’s hard to say if that actually makes this offense better.

If the Bengals continue to have clunkers and fail to reach the end zone, the howling in the Queen City for a new quarterback will only grow more shrill. Given the baggage he carries, don’t expect Kaepernick to get even a sniff of acknowledgment from the Bengals. But McCarron might be closer to taking over than we realize.

Cincinnati Bengals fans screaming for change finally saw one of their wishes fulfilled Friday afternoon when the Bengals announced the firing of offensive coordinator Ken Zampese.

Quarterbacks coach Bill Lazor, a former offensive coordinator with the Miami Dolphins, now takes over the play-calling duties for a group that became the first pro team since the 1939 Philadelphia Eagles to start the season with two home games in which they failed to score a touchdown.

How did fans react to the firing and what do you think? Should this be just the beginning of wholesale changes?

Home opener memorable for trip winner

Steelers.com News - Mon, 09/18/2017 - 1:30pm
A longtime fan scored an unforgettable trip to the home opener as part of a Steelers Nation Unite sweepstakes.

Is the Steelers defense good, or are their opponents lousy?

post-gazette.com - Steelers/NFL - Mon, 09/18/2017 - 1:19pm

The question of the day for the Steelers’ third-ranked defense: Are you that good or have the first two opponents been woefully undermanned?

The Steelers slow start could be just what the doctor ordered

Behind the Steel Curtain - Mon, 09/18/2017 - 12:55pm

Believe it or not, but the Steelers not coming out of the gate guns blazing could actually be a blessing in disguise.

The Pittsburgh Steelers are brimming with potential, especially on the offensive side of the football, but after two weeks of NFL action there is certainly a lot left to be desired on both sides of the football.

The offense just doesn’t seem in rhythm, and the defense, although impressive, is leaving some plays on the field.

In other words, the team still has a lot of room for improvement on all fronts.

Fans are frustrated, especially with the offense, and rightfully so, but at the same time, what if the team not coming out of the gates ‘guns blazing’ is actually a good thing? What if their slow start could be a very good recipe for late season success? It may sound crazy, but could actually be just what the doctor ordered.

  • Reality Check

Despite an improved performance in Week 2, the Steelers offense certainly got a reality check the past two weeks simply based on the fact they can’t just show up and expect to hang 30 on the opponent. The team will put in the work to improve, but it is easy to read all the press clippings and videos of people saying how great you are. The past two weeks have been anything but smooth for the offense, and that should lead to cleaner, and crisper, performances in the future.

  • Plenty of tape to dissect

You won the game...hooray! But there were also plenty of gaffes along the way. Coaches always love an ugly win, for the reason they have plenty of film to show the team regarding their up-and-down performance. Those games where everything seems to go right are times when players can get a very elevated perception of themselves. For both the offense and defense, there is plenty left to work on after 2 weeks in the regular season.

  • Still not the best from all the players

Week 1 was rough for a lot of players, but was mainly shrugged off as another preseason game. Week 2 was a step in the right direction, but it is crazy to think how we still haven’t seen the best from players like Le’Veon Bell, Ryan Shazier and even Martavis Bryant. As they all round into form, it will be one ridiculously dynamic football team which takes the field every week.

  • Penalties remain an issue

What might be the biggest surprise of the 2017 season is the amount of penalties the Steelers are racking up. For the second week in a row, the team has tallied double-digit penalty totals, and this is a trend which needs to be stopped immediately. Penalties will always occur, but those back-breaking penalties after a big gain (see the Steelers’ first drive after converting on 3rd down by an Antonio Brown penalty for covering the tight end resulted in a punt) need to stop.

.....

I analyze these acquisitions in further detail in the podcast in the player above. So give this 14-minute show a listen! It should be noted the above podcast was recorded prior to the team’s Week 2 game vs. the Vikings, but the main points certainly still apply.

Want more content like this? Check out the Pittsburgh Steelers page as a part of the VSporto family of networks. You can also find the VSporto Steelers feed on iTunes by clicking HERE.

Paul Zeise: The Steelers offense is still off — but not for long

post-gazette.com - Steelers/NFL - Mon, 09/18/2017 - 11:19am

The Steelers believed their offense could average 30 points per game.  They have fallen way short of that mark through the first two weeks of the season. They only scored 21 points against the Browns last week and 26 against the Vikings Sunday for an average of only 23.5 points per game.

Steelers offense still a work-in-progress after 26-9 romp over the Vikings

Behind the Steel Curtain - Mon, 09/18/2017 - 10:45am

The Pittsburgh Steelers offense remains a work-in-progress, yet they are still undefeated.

Ugly wins are trending right now in the NFL.

Don’t buy that? Well Sunday’s 26-9 Steelers win over the Minnesota Vikings might be considered ugly, in terms of the end result. Hours before the game, Vikings quarterback Sam Bradford, who came off a career game the prior week at home vs. New Orleans, was placed on the inactive list due to an injury of his left knee.

That meant Case Keenum was thrown into battle, hurting the Vikes plans, and it showed as the norsemen could only muster 2 scoring drives all day. The Steelers defense put up another solid performance and looks much improved from last season.

But that story is for another day. Everyone knows this team will live and die by its ability to score, and to do so in bunches. The weapons Pittsburgh possesses, in all its forms, did show progress against a very stout Vikings defense that is only going to get better.

As I’ve stated in the past, this football team is at its best when the offensive tempo is set by it’s once-in-a-lifetime quarterback. Take a look at the only two touchdown drives the team had in the 1st half. The arm of Ben Roethlisberger gets unleashed, and with the return of Martavis Bryant, good things are going to keep happening.

There is no mistaking the need to have Roethlisberger and the passing game set the tone early in games. Today was no exception. After a 3-and-out to start the game, the Steelers put together the games first scoring drive. A 22-yard pass interference call aided the drive, as Xavier Rhodes got beat down field by Antonio Brown. Had he not held Brown, it could have been worse.

The black and gold would run the ball for a series of 1st downs until Ben hooked up with a streaking Bryant down the middle of the field for a 27-yard touchdown pass which was a thing of beauty. Bryant one-on-one with any defender is a mismatch, and he’s going to get plenty of good matchups all season with No. 84 across from him.

That’s what makes this offense so potent, and the possibilities are exciting to envision.

Speaking of matchups, the matchup problems this team will give opponents all season have to be frustrating to plan against. Consider how Le’Veon Bell is still warming up into being 100-percent game ready. Losing six weeks of prep time has shown the first two games. I did like how Bell ran in the 2nd half, not that his play in the 1st was bad, as the Vikings came to play on the other side.

What I noticed about Bell in the last 30 minutes was his cutting, and being more decisive while hitting holes the line opened up. Perhaps we will get a good look at the superstar fans have grown accustomed to seeing in the coming weeks. What I’m hoping for is some improved pass catching numbers out of the backfield. Bell caught four balls for just four yards. That number should only increase as the season progresses. So far, Bell has caught just seven passes in two games. Expect that to play a factor as the season moves along.

The trend of Antonio Brown being held in check by a Mike Zimmer defense continued. Xavier Rhodes did a very good job against his old high school teammate, holding Brown to five catches for 62-yards. Now his total grabs lead the team, so that was a positive, but in the end, the amount of attention he gets will only free up the other wideouts.

3rd down continues to be an issue. 3 for 13 vs. Minnesota won’t cut it as the games get more important. In fact, over the 1st two games, the Steelers are just 8 for 26 in that statistical category.

Normally, I’d be all over the four 2nd half field goal drives as a sign of problems with the offense, but I’m going to let it slide. If this team’s achilles in the past was settling for 3 and not 7, it sure won’t be this campaign with the players they have.

The team is just two weeks into this 2017 season and it’s still too early to hit any panic buttons. With another week of practice, and the 0-2 Chicago Bears up next, the progress will only gain momentum on what is a 2-0 start for the season.

Ugly is in, baby.

And its never looked so good.

John Phillips is the author of this article and has covered Pittsburgh sports for over 20 years, both in radio and television. JP hates Twitter, so go check him out at https://www.facebook.com/john.phillips.161009

Team win, 2-0, and lots of love

Steelers.com News - Mon, 09/18/2017 - 10:10am
A look at what was said after the Steelers defeated the Vikings.

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