Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Picture of the Year: Round 1 Matchup 4

Short intro tonight as I have an exam and an interview for a summer internship position tomorrow (and a 10-page paper due on monday, woo!). Lots going on for me.

Santonio Holmes' diving touchdown from the Monday Nighter in Washington against James Harrison's sack against the Vikings in the preseason.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Picture of the Year: Round 1 Matchup 3

We're rolling along nicely with the head-to-head matchups here. Don't forget to vote for the earlier ones. All open polls are linked in the header. Matchup #1 is tied right now.

Today's matchup is the James Harrison Bowl. In one corner, we have James Harrison sacking Matt Cassel in the Patriots game. In the other corner, we have James Harrison in the Toronto Buffalo preseason game.

2009 Preseason Opponents

The NFL is in the process of making their schedule, and today they announced the preseason opponents and a few dates.

The Steelers 2009 Preseason schedule will feature:

Aug 13 8pm
Heinz Field

Date/Time TBD (Weekend of Aug 22)
FedEx Field

The egO Train rolls into town
Aug 29 7:30pm
Heinz Field

Date/Time TBD (Sept 3 or 4)

Now, you may be thinking "Why is the preseason important, besides getting reps for guys who won't play all that much?" Well, if you are, you weren't around last preseason (but we're glad you're here now!). You'll be seeing a lot more of this chart in the future, but this is just a reminder.

YearPreseason RecordRegular Season RecordResult
20083-112-4Won Super Bowl
20074-110-6Lost AFC Wild Card
20060-48-8missed playoffs
20053-111-5Won Super Bowl
20042-215-1Lost AFC Championship
20031-36-10missed playoffs
20022-210-5-1Lost AFC Divisional
20013-113-3Lost AFC Championship
20003-29-7missed playoffs
19991-36-10missed playoffs

As you can see, in years when we had a winning or .500 record in the preseason, we have also had a winning record in the regular season (including 2000 where we went 9-7 even though we missed the playoffs). Every year we missed the playoffs, we also had a losing record in the preseason.

It may not matter for other teams, but for the Steelers, the preseason is a pretty good predictor of how the actual regular season will go.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Offseason Blues?

Feeling down that there hasn't been football on in a while? Are you searching for something to do with your time now that the NCAA Tournament is almost over and your bracket is likely shot to shit? (Unless you're like me and have Michigan State and UNC in the title game. WOOOOOOO

Additional note: my early rounds were a joke with NDSU and Portland State both pulling upsets. I had WVU in the Sweet 16, Wake Forest in the Elite 8, and Duke and Memphis in the Final 4. It just happened that the two teams I had in the championship game are in the final 4. So...what was a pretty bad bracket might not end up being all that terrible. I don't really have much room to brag about my opening rounds.)

Anyways, if you're looking for a football fix, our friends over at NFL House have got you covered. On top of being a bunch of solid human beings, they are very knowledgeable about football, particularly scouting. Any information we could give you about potential prospects would be totally trumped by what they've got going on over there. It's a daily stop for me, as they are in the process of writing up scouting reports on all of the top prospects in the draft.

So if you're bored and really craving some football info, head on over there and check them out. They are definitely going to be a solid connection come draft time.

Yes, we are also aware we haven't posted a draft preview in a while. We hope to be able to get around to that, but grad school and jobs keep us pretty busy. We will definitely be taking an in-depth look at what the Steelers need as we get closer to draft day.

The NFL announced the compensatory picks for the 2009 Draft. The Steelers were awarded an extra pick in the 5th round. This gives the Steelers 9 picks in the upcoming draft. By round: 1st: 1, 2nd: 1, 3rd: 1, 4th:1, 5th: 2, 6th: 1, 7th: 2. Since the Steelers have these extra picks, they may be willing to use some of them in a trade to move up in the first or second round if a player falls who they are really high on. Remember, the last time we hoisted Lombardi, we traded up in the draft to get some dude from Ohio State.

Definitely worth the trade.

And if the offseason is getting you down or someone from another city is getting on you about Pitt or the Pens or the Pirates, just remember...

...we have more Super Bowls than them.

Picture of the Year: Round 1 Matchup 2

For today's matchup we move to the other side of the bracket (we'll be bouncing back and forth from one side to the other). Remember, all polls are open for 5 days, so if you haven't voted in an old one make sure you do that. All active polls are linked in the blog header.

Today's matchup is between the picture of Troy Polamalu from the Browns game in Cleveland and the picture of Hines Ward celebrating his touchdown in the Titans game.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Picture of the Year: Round 1 Matchup 1

And the tournament begins to determine the Picture of the Year! The pictures were seeded into the tournament based on what we thought were the "best" games of the season. Yes, this was arbitrary, but we're just rolling with it.

The first matchup features the picture of Hines Ward from the Colts game against the Mewelde Moore stiff-arm from the Giants game.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Picture of the Year: Miscellaneous Pictures

So I've been slacking a little on this, but we've got the whole off-season to run this, and it's going to be a long long summer after the draft with nothing to talk about, so the more we get to relive the greatness of the 2008 season, the better.

The 24th and final entry in the bracketed tournament will be one of the "miscellaneous" pictures that I accumulated over the past season. Remember, click the pictures to enlarge.

The bracketed tournament will start tomorrow!

Monday, March 23, 2009

2009 First Game Announced

Mark your calendars.

Circle the date.

The 2009 Pittsburgh Steelers will open the regular season at home on...

Thursday, September 10


This follows with the tradition that NBC started when they purchased the contract for Sunday Night Football that the defending Super Bowl Champion got to open the next season by playing at home.

Reportedly, Baltimore was busy getting their diapers changed that night.

Here are the rest of the Steelers opponents in 2009 (in no particular order):


Thursday, March 19, 2009

Picture of the Year: Super Bowl

Doesn't it just seem like yesterday we were hoisting the Lombardi Trophy? It does to me. SIXBURGH BABY!!!

Remember, you can click the pictures to enlarge them. There's some that are worth it. Trust me.

Bracket Challenge: Last Chance!

Games start at noon tomorrow, so sign up and compete against us!

If you're interested, go HERE

Group ID: 168535

Password: pittsburgh

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Ian's 2009 Mock Draft v1.0

Well, I'm going to take a shot at this here. I'm doing it right now with no trades, but there obviously will be trades. But predicting those is better saved for another day.

I used some basic draft lessons/rules of thumb from previous drafts to break ties/hard decisions. Here's some numbers. Over the past five years, the distribution of players drafted in the first round:
O-Line: 26
C- 3, G- 5, T- 18
QB: 18
WR: 23
RB: 19
TE: 8
DB: 36
LB: 19
D-Line: 42
DE: 24
DT: 18

The trend over the last two seasons was to heavily draft positions such as offensive tackles, defensive ends, and defensive backs. Last season, we saw no wide receivers taken in the first round and then a slew of them go in the second. I think most teams will go for help along the lines or in the secondary unless they have a glaring need at another position. Due to this, a lot of running backs and wide receivers fell towards the bottom or out of my mock draft.

Matthew Stafford (QB-Georgia)

Stafford is the best quarterback in this draft and Detroit would be smart to take him. With Daunte Caulpepper signed, Stafford could ease his way into the lineup behind a shaky offensive line, which will need to be addressed later in the draft.

Jason Smith (OT-Baylor)

The Rams cut Orlando Pace this offseason and have a glaring hole on the left side of the line that needs to be filled. Smith is the best lineman in the draft that hasn't had a complete breakdown and should go to the Rams at #2.

Eugene Monroe (OT-Virginia)

Yes Kansas City needs help on the defensive front as well, but the more pressing issue is finding someone to block for Matt Cassel so he doesn't have a repeat of the Steelers game in every game.

Aaron Curry (LB-Wake Forest)

At this point, someone might try to trade up for Curry, but he will be a good replacement for Julian Peterson.

Everette Brown (DE-Texas)

Close call between Brown, Orakpo and Jenkins, but Brown gets the nod for now as he looks to be a better 3-4 outside linebacker/pass rush threat.

BJ Raji (DT-Boston College)

Raji will probably be gone at this point as it's likely someone will try to trade up to snatch him, but the Bengals need to stop the run, and drafting a DT is a great start.

Michael Crabtree (WR-Texas Tech)

Al Davis loves speed. An offensive lineman makes more sense, but JaMarcus Russell needs someone to throw to, so the Raiders take Crabtree, the best receiver in the draft.

Malcom Jenkins (CB-Ohio State)

The Jags need help on the defensive side of the ball and while CB might not be the #1 need on the team, Jenkins is too big of a value to pass up here. This is a likely spot for someone to try to trade up to in order to take Mark Sanchez.

Brian Orakpo (DE-Texas)

Green Bay is switching to a 3-4 and needs some young talent that can pressure the quarterback. Aaron Maybin may get a look here, but his raw skills will take some work and Green Bay is looking to win now.

Michael Oher (OT-Ole Miss)

Oher has been falling in some mocks, but he should remain a top 5 tackle in this draft. He has the size to be a great left tackle with some work, and San Francsico could use some improvements up front.

Brian Cushing (LB-USC)

Cushing will be an excellent addition to the Bills linebacking unit which already boasts former Butkus Award winner Paul Posluzny. The Bills are a good candidate to trade down to get TE Brandon Pettigrew.

Mark Sanchez (QB-USC)

Will he still be here at this point? Probably not, it is more likely someone trades up to get him, maybe even Denver. With the Jay Cutler controversy, Denver obviously wants someone else under center. Look for Cutler to be moved on draft day.

Michael Johnson (DE-Georgia Tech)

Johnson had an awesome Pro Day and is being talked about as one of the top D-Ends in the draft. Washington needs help getting pressure on the QB and Johnson gives them a great compliment to Haynesworth on the line.

Vontae Davis (CB-Illinois)

The Saints secondary has been weak over the past few years and Davis is an immediate upgrade at CB. We all know their offense can score, but unless they can stop anyone, this is no better than an 8-8 team.

Chris "Beanie" Wells (RB-Ohio State)

Steve Slaton emerged as a stellar back last season and Wells would give them the power to go with Slaton's speed. This would keep both Slaton from absorbing too much contact and enable him to prolong his career at running back. This pick could also be traded.

Aaron Maybin (DE/LB-Penn State)

The Chargers weren't the same without the Juicer last year, and they get another pass-rusher with pure talent for Ron Rivera to work with. Another candidate to trade down if a big name is still on the board.

Josh Freeman (QB-Kansas State)

Assuming the Jets don't land Jay Cutler, Jeff Garcia, or Byron Leftwich, they need a quarterback, particularly one that can stay for the long term.

Jeremy Maclin (WR-Missouri)

While the Bears have other needs, I don't see them passing on Maclin at this point. They could go LB or OT or DB, but Maclin finally gives their offense a deep threat.

Rey Maualuga (LB-USC)

I doubt Maualuga falls this far, but if he does the Bucs will probably grab him as the steal of the draft thus far. If Maualuga drops past San Diego, look for someone to try to trade up for him.

Eben Britton (OT-Arizona)

Detroit gets a franchise quarterback and a franchise offensive lineman in the first round of the draft. All in all, not a bad few hours with the first pick in the second round still waiting for them to add some beef on defense.

Brandon Pettigrew (TE-Oklahoma St)

It isn't much secret that the Eagles could use some help at the tight end position. LJ Smith is not the answer and Pettigrew is versatile enough to be a solid blocker.

Alex Mack (C/G - California)

Guards usually start to make their way off the draft board at this point, and Mack's versatility puts him up there with Max Unger of Oregon as the top two interior linemen. The Vikes look to shore things up and give AP the room he needs to cut back.

Alphonso Smith (CB-Wake Forest)

New England isn't going to run the ball next year, which means to beat them, you're going to have to throw. I wouldn't be surprised if they try to trade up for Maybin though, he's the kind of player Parcells would love to have.

Peria Jerry (DT-Ole Miss)

Tyson Jackson also gets some consideration, but he is more of a 3-4 end, so the Falcons take Jerry to help in run defense.

Robert Ayres (DE-Tennessee)

Parcells finds a defensive end he can mold into a stellar 3-4 outside linebacker. Joey Porter isn't going to be around forever, so it wouldn't be a surprise to see the Dolphins draft a DE/OLB. Watch out for them in the Maybin sweepstakes as well.

Darius Butler (CB-UConn)

They may take a linebacker, but they cut Samari Rolle and Chris McAllister this offseason, which means they need help at corner.

Tyson Jackson (DL-LSU)

This is way too far for Jackson to fall, and he will very likely go higher, but it's no secret that the Colts need help on their defensive front and will probably take the best DT available unless someone else falls to them.

William Beatty (OT-UConn)

With two picks in the first round, Philly may very well trade one. But for now, I have them finding their replacement to Tra Thomas along the offensive line. Moreno and McCoy also get looks here, but they shore up the O-line first.

Darrius Heyward-Bey (WR-Maryland)

DHB has the size to replace Burres, better jumping ability and arguably better hands. This is a good pick for the Giants and DHB will be a good addition to Manning's receiving corps.

Clay Matthews (LB-USC)

The Titans have two aging D-Ends, but with no premiere talent available here, they add depth at linebacker with a solid player who is always around the ball.

Knowshon Moreno (RB-Georgia)

The Cards choose Moreno over McCoy for his open-field maneuverability. Arizona made moves on defense in free agency, so look for them to address the RB situation in the draft.

DJ Moore (CB-Vanderbilt)

Moore is a CB and had a stellar career returning kicks, filling two needs for the Steelers. If Moore drops past #20, look for the Steelers to try to trade up to get him. I doubt he falls all the way to #32, but with the loss of Bryant McFadden and the aging Deshea Townsend, the Steelers would do well to add depth to their secondary. Max Unger (OL-Oregon) also gets a look here, but the Steelers go with Moore who can provide an immediate boost to their return game, which was last in the league last season.

Next Best (Top Ten Best Available)
Max Unger (OL-Oregon)
Larry English (DE/LB-Northern Illinois)
James Laurinitis (LB-Ohio St)
LeSean McCoy (RB-Pitt)
Donald Brown (RB-UConn)
Kenny Britt (WR-Rutgers)
Percy Harvin (WR-Florida)
Hakeem Nicks (WR-UNC)
Evander Hood (DT-Missouri)
Duke Robinson (OG-Oklahoma)