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Newz Forum: FOOTBALL: Pittsburgh Steelers Preview 2004

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posted on Sep, 12 2004 @ 05:34 PM
The longest current tenure among all NFL head-coaches belongs to the Steelers' Bill Cowher, who has amassed an impressive 115-76-1 record in his 12-years, including eight postseason appearances. However, his run may be coming to an end, as last year, the Steelers struggled to a 6-10 mark, and it doesn't look like they'll be much better in 2004. Despite having a solid defense, their running-game was atrocious, as evident by ranking dead-last in the AFC with only 93 RYPG. They made an effort to improve that this off-season, signing free-agent Duce Staley, but if he has to share carries with aging RB Jerome Bettis, then he won't be of much help.

As for their passing, QB Tommy Maddox followed up his break-out season from 2002 with mediocre numbers, not to mention an AFC-leading 17 INTs. He's expected to post better numbers than that, especially since WR Hines Ward has established himself as a real threat, so if he doesn't improve, rookie QB Ben Roethlisberger could take over. The defense is okay, and the special teams has been upgraded by the addition of P Chris Gardocki, but this is just a very unspectacular team that won't be going anywhere.



Notable Additions: CB Ricardo Colclough (2nd Rnd pick 2004 Draft), QB Ben Roethlisberger (1st Rnd pick 2004 Draft), DE Travis Kirschke (Free Agent San Francisco 49'ers), RB Duce Staley (Free Agent Philadelphia Eagles), WR Sean Morey (Free Agent Philadelphia Eagles)

Notable Subtractions: TE Mark Bruener (Houston Texans), DE Rodney Bailey (New England Patriots), LB Jason Gildon (Buffalo Bills - Released), CB Dwayne Washington (Jacksonville Jaguars)

Notable Returnees: LB Clark Haggans (Starter), FB Dan Kreider (Starter), S Mike Logan (Backup)

The presence of Roethlisberger officially puts two-year starter Maddox (3414 passing yards, 18 TD, 17 INT) on the clock. Maddox will get the nod this season, unless the team's fortunes dip sharply with him at the controls. With Charlie Batch likely out for the season with a knee injury, Pittsburgh picked up Kurt Kittner (391 passing yards, 2 TD, 6 INT with Atlanta) to serve as the third quarterback. Brian St. Pierre, the team's fifth-round pick last season, will have to beat out Kittner or settle for a spot on the practice squad.

Pittsburgh's biggest offseason signing was that of running back Duce Staley (463 rushing yards, 36 receptions, 7 TD with the Eagles), who will be counted on to bolster the league's second-worst rushing offense of a year ago. Jerome Bettis (811 rushing yards, 7 TD) is slowing, but will still see some carries. Cowher's team is thin at running back behind Staley and Bettis, with second-year players Verron Haynes and Dante Brown competing with undrafted free agent Willie Parker (North Carolina) for a spot on the depth chart. Haynes also has a chance to back up Dan Kreider at fullback. Hines Ward will be Hines Ward: the hardest working wide receiver in football. On the other hand this might be the "Swan Song" for Plaxico Burress, so look for a him to finally live up to his potential. Randle El is fun wrapped in a jersey. Every play that he is involved in, even the ones that net negative yardage, arepositively exciting to watch. Hopefully, the Steelers can get the ball into his hands a lot more this year...although I hope it is not due to Plaxico's ubiquitous mid-season disappearing act.

The Steelers certainly lost some winnable games during their 6-10 campaign of 2003, but they were also drilled by two or more touchdowns five different times. From a personnel standpoint, Cowher's team doesn't look to have gotten much better, though they've certainly gotten younger following the dismissal of veteran players like Gildon and Alexander. The offense is solid but unspectacular, the defense should be okay within the front seven and a liability in the secondary. And in an improved division, there is little to suggest that Pittsburgh will be able to win consistently enough to reach the playoffs. Nine or 10 wins are a remote possibility if the team gets some giant breaks, but it will probably be more like seven or eight.

[Edited on 13/9/04 by TRD]

posted on Sep, 21 2004 @ 07:03 PM
Rookie steps in for injured Maddox

For the Pittsburgh Steelers, the future is now.

Starting quarterback Tommy Maddox will miss at least six weeks with ligament damage in his right elbow, forcing first-round pick Ben Roethlisberger into the lineup at least temporarily.

"I've got to be the leader now," Roethlisberger said.

Maddox was injured in the third quarter of Sunday's 30-13 loss after getting hit by cornerback Gary Baxter.

"Tommy had the MRI and right now it looks like he has a non-surgical injury to his elbow," Steelers coach Bill Cowher said Monday. "He will not be able to throw for six weeks and then at that point he will be able to start throwing and we will see where he is."

Maddox plans to seek a second opinion from elbow injury specialist Dr. James Andrews, an orthopedic surgeon in Birmingham, Ala. Unless Andrews' diagnosis differs from those of the team doctors, Maddox will not throw or practice for six weeks but could resume playing sometime in November.

"It's the best-case scenario," Cowher said.

Roethlisberger replaced Maddox on Sunday and completed 12-of-20 passes for 176 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions. One of his interceptions was returned for a touchdown.

Co-captain Alan Faneca sounded less than thrilled when he discussed the prospect of a rookie leading the charge against the Dolphins.

"Exciting?" Faneca replied to a question with disbelief in his voice, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported. "No, it's not exciting. Do you want to go work with some little young kid who's just out of college?

"Everybody's got to do a little more," the All-Pro offensive guard told the newspaper. "Everybody's got to help out, got to do a little more, do a little extra, take that extra step, put the extra work in this week and rally around him and help out.

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posted on Sep, 22 2004 @ 09:22 AM
the o-line may not like him but that will change Ben just needs to feed them some more.

Hopefully he can step up, they have a solid running game to take the pessure off of him

posted on Oct, 14 2004 @ 09:15 PM
A pleasent surprise in Western Pennsylvania, the Steelers have climbed back to respectability, and lead thier division with a reocrd of 4-1. Big Ben appears to be the heir apparent to Terry Bradshaw. That's a bit early to say, but if it is the case, I certainly hope that the guy can keep hi s trap shut better than Terry.


posted on Nov, 7 2004 @ 06:46 PM
Jerome Bettis led a dominant running game and Ben Roethlisberger remained perfect as the Pittsburgh Steelers cruised past Philadelphia 27-3 to end the Eagles' unbeaten start to the season.

After ending the New England Patriots' NFL-record 21-game winning streak with a convincing 34-20 victory last Sunday, the Steelers were even better in this one as they became the first team in league history to beat teams that had been at least 6-0 in consecutive weeks.

Bettis rushed for 149 yards on 33 carries en route to his 55th career 100-yard game.

Roethlisberger, the Steelers' first-round pick who has taken the NFL by storm, threw touchdown passes of 20 yards to Hines Ward and two yards to tight end Jay Riemersma in the opening half.

posted on Nov, 8 2004 @ 12:02 PM
the steelers look unstoppable

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