Apr 24

Little to Complain About With Steelers 2014 Schedule

afc northAs I wrote yesterday, the annual release of the NFL schedules doesn’t do a whole lot for me. There’s just too much that can happen between now and the start of the season for me to get too giddy about anything.

What I look for when the schedule comes out is the pattern of the Steelers’ schedule. When are the road games? When is our bye week? Who and where do we play before and after the bye and so on.

Unlike previous years where the Steelers received little help in terms of scheduling in several areas, this season’s schedule offers little to be upset about.

The team has three home games and three away games in the first six weeks. Three of those contests are divisional games; Cleveland at home in the opener, at Baltimore in week two and at Cleveland in week six.

A trip to NFC South Champion Carolina awaits the Steelers in week three giving them back to back prime time games.

Three straight games at Heinz Field dot the middle of the schedule while the team never plays more than two in a row on the road.

The “4th Quarter” of the season features two games against the Cincinnati Bengals. In week 14 the Steelers play in Cincy while the Bengals come calling in the finale.

Games at Atlanta (week 15) and home with the Kansas City Chiefs (week 16) wrap up the final four games.

Read the rest of this entry »

Apr 23

NFL Schedule Release Means…. Very Little

Fort Pitt BridgeLike hamsters in the wheel, here we go again. The National Football League will announce the schedules for all 32 teams tonight and as usual, we will slop it up like pigs on the farm.

In reality, what does the release of the schedule really mean? Not a whole hell of a lot when you really look at it. Remember last year when the schedule came out for our beloved Steelers?

Like you, I penciled in wins over Tennessee in the opener and Minnesota over in London. What we couldn’t predict of course was the fact that the team entered the 2013 season having lost all four preseason games.  Read the rest of this entry »

Apr 22

The Never-Ending Battle Among Steelers’ Fans; Offense or Defense?

Steelers' fansEvery fan base has its optimistic groups and pessimistic groups. Every fan base has a group that believes the team should go in one direction and those that believe the team should go in another.

The Pittsburgh Steelers’ fan base has groups like this but it also has a group that that couldn’t be more divided; those who believe offense is the answer and those who believe defense is the only way back to greatness.

This debate is not for the faint of heart. It gets heated and it gets ugly and neither side is willing to back down. Read the rest of this entry »

Apr 22

SteelCityBlitz.com 2014 First Round Mock Draft (picks 21-24)

Chris and I are back with selections 21-24 of the 2014 Mock First Round Draft. Chris has the odd numbers and I have the even.

(See picks 17-20)

21. Green Bay – Jimmie Ward, S, Northern Illinois

Ward is a guy that’s been climbing draft boards lately. The Packers don’t have many needs, so they can afford to take a chance on a guy like Ward. Depth is needed along their front 7, but they need someone now on the back end of their defense.

22. Philadelphia Eagles – Marqise Lee, WR, USC

Eagles’ Head Coach Brian Kelly has some familiarity with Lee having coached against him in college. While he doesn’t bring the big size, Lee is very polished and extremely competitive. With DeSean Jackson in Washington, the Eagles needed to add another receiver to compliment Jeremy Maclin and Riley Cooper.

23. Kansas City – Brandin Cooks, WR, Oregon State

The Chiefs were a surprise breakout team last season thanks to some really incredible play from Jamaal Charles and their defense. If the Chiefs are going to be a team that nobody wants to play in January though, they have to scare people with their passing game too. Alex Smith is a solid quarterback, but he’s not the type of guy that’s going to go win games without any help. Dwayne Bowe is just no consistent enough, the Chiefs have to find Smith a more reliable pass catching target.

24. Cincinnati Bengals – Ryan Shazier, OLB, Ohio State

The speed and disruptive ability of Shazier will be a welcome sight in Cincinnati. Shazier led the Buckeyes in tackles for two straight years and gets sideline to sideline extremely well. With James Harrison more than likely done in Cincy, the Bengals need a guy with some youth and ability to cover as well as get to the passer. Early on, I anticipate him needing some protection from a solid defensive end which the Bengals have on each side. Shazier could hold down this spot for many years for the Bengals.

Apr 21

At 15, the Steelers are Facing a Drastically Changing Landscape

FullerThe National Football League Draft really is a living, breathing organism. In the weeks leading up to its’ annual birth, it consistently changes and is gone over more times than the federal budget.

In what has to be one of the more unpredictable drafts in recent years, the 2014 version is shaping up to be a full-out guessing game throughout the first round.

The Houston Texans are torn over Jadeveon Clowney and Khalil Mack with the first pick. There is rampant speculation they’d like to trade down and maybe, this is all just a smokescreen because they may like someone else altogether at number one. Read the rest of this entry »

Apr 21

SteelCityBlitz.com 2014 First Round Mock Draft (Picks 17-20)

Chris and I are back with selections 17-20 of the 2014 Mock First Round Draft. Chris has the odd numbers and I have the even.

See Picks 13-16

17. Baltimore Ravens – Zack Martin, OT, Notre Dame

Marc took the guy that I was ready to pick here, Calvin Pryor. The Ravens, somewhat surprisingly, have quite a few holes and could go a number of directions here. I’m going to say signing Steve Smith lets them hold off at WR in round 1. Hageman is possible as well with Arthur Jones gone. With Oher leaving though, there’s a big hole at right tackle. The Ravens gave a lot of money to Flacco, so keeping him clean is a top priority.

18. New York Jets – Odell Beckham, Jr., WR, LSU

The Jets desperately need playmakers at receiver and while Marqise Lee might be a little more “pro ready” than Beckham, the upside is better with the LSU Tiger. Beckham also returns kicks which is another need for Gang Green.

19. Miami Dolphins – Cyrus Kouandjio, OT, Alabama

I think this pick will come down to Zack Martin and Kouandjio. In this case it’s easy with only one of them available. It appears that the knee issues with Kouandjio have been cleared up. This is certainly a risky pick, but the Dolphins offensive line has been blown up in the wake of the Incognito/Martin debacle.

20. Arizona Cardinals – Kyle Fuller, CB, Virginia Tech

The Cardinals add Fuller who has been climbing draft boards recently to the point where he could be the second CB taken. With Patrick Peterson on the other side, Fuller will offer a strong compliment. He doesn’t have blazing speed but he does have incredible football smarts which he uses to make up of this lack of speed.

Apr 18

SteelCityBlitz.com 2014 First Round Mock Draft (Picks 13-16)

Chris and I are back with selections 13-16 of the 2014 Mock First Round Draft. Chris has the odd numbers and I have the even.

See Picks 9-12

13. St. Louis Rams – Haha Clinton-Dix, S, Alabama

This Rams need help in their secondary and Dennard and the top two safeties are still on the board…. However I think their bigger need is at safety. TJ McDonald is more of an in the box defender, which is why Clinton-Dix is a better compliment than Calvin Pryor.

14. Chicago Bears – Timmy Jernigan, NT, Florida State

The Bears gave up a lot of yardage in the running game last year and Jernigan will help shore that up. Aaron Donald is a possibility here but I think his lack of height worries some. Jernigan is probably better suited to play nose in a 3-4, but Chicago is primarily a 4-3 team. That said, the Bears expect to use multiple fronts this season and Jernigan’s two-gap ability should come in handy. He has incredible strength and good feet and should compliment the additions on the outside of the D-line.

15. Pittsburgh Steelers – Darqueze Dennard, CB, Michigan State

Let me start by saying I’m predicting the direction the Steelers would go. If I’m in the war room, I’m advocating Eric Ebron here. Dennard playing off-man and getting a lot of flags in the NFL still worries me, but I think that’s the direction the Steelers go. Dennard does fit the range here though. The best case scenario would be to drop down a few spots and see if Ebron or Dennard is still on the board. If not, Roby, Fuller, Beckham Jr, Hageman, Benjamin, etc. wouldn’t be a bad second option.

16. Dallas Cowboys – Calvin Pryor, S, Louisville

With Anthony Barr off the board, the Cowboys decide to add to the secondary in this first round rather than address the pass rusher spot. Pryor is a big-time hitter and is willing to throw his body around. His attitude and swagger will be welcome in Big D by a fan base and defense that has lacked both. While he can sometimes get out of control, with proper coaching he should be a day one starter for the Cowboys.

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