Twitter Weekly Updates for 2009-08-02

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Favre to Remain Retired? HA!

Reports from all the usual sources confirm that Brett Favre will indeed remain retired this season.

I’m calling bullsh*t on that. Does anyone really know? Of course not, particularly The Fav-ruh.  He may have indeed claimed that his career is now complete, that the five year wait for his induction into the Hall of Fame can begin, but I’m not buying it.

Don't buy it until the season is over.

Don't buy it until the season is over.

Not until the season is over, at any rate.

Mr. Wake said it best on the MGS Forums:

My first thought was, if Farverer wore down over a full season last year as a Jest, what do you think will happen with him turning 40 this season, recovering from the biceps tendon surgery?

He doesn’t want to go to camp.

He doesn’t want to play the first 4-6 games, which no one much gives a fuck about.

He wants to come in when Kordell and Maddox — err, sorry, Tarvaris and Rosendipsh*t both shit the bed and the Vikes need a savior.  Fresh-armed yet hoary, the wily vet comes in and takes the Viqueens to glory.

Consider, GB will struggle with their new 3-4 defense but should be better on offense; Cutler changes the equation of Chicago, who now would seem to be the division faves; the Vikes may lose the Williams sisters and struggle on D, to say nothing of the QB issue.  Weeks 4-8, they get the Packers twice, the Ravens, and the Steelers.  They could start the season 3-0 and wind up 4-4 at the bye…

…which smells an awful lot like Farverer getting the call around week 7 pending a “mysterious” injury or rash of injuries to the starter and backup.  I’ll bet $37 that if the Vikes are no better than 0.500 by the bye, there will be injuries.  It’ll be the Childress Desperation Option.

So there you have it, an entirely plausible scenario in which The Mighty Fav-ruh unretires to become a marauding Viking savior.

Please Remain Calm

Are you kidding me?  Michael Vick a Steeler?  It’s a laughable proposition.  Allegorically speaking, it’ll be a cold day in hell before that happens.

According to Bloomberg.com, the betting site BetUs.com has the Steelers and Patriots as the most likely (4:1) candidates to vie for Vick’s services. I can believe the Patriots, it would fit with their modus operandi.

The Raiders, Cowboys and Ravens – none  would surprise if they took a flyer on Vick.

But the Steelers?  There’s only one team I can think of less likely to hire Vick:  the Atlanta Falcons.

Just say no to the birdman

Just say no to the birdman

Twitter Weekly Updates for 2009-07-26

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NFL Draft Disaster?

A made for TV event for more than a decade, the NFL Draft is moving to prime time.

This year the NFL tinkered with their draft presentation by reducing the time between rounds and moving the third round to the second day. I liked the reduction in time between picks as one assumes teams knew their man soon as the previous player was taken from the board. It made for better pacing and somewhat reduced the chatter one must endure from the draft experts. But moving round three to day two was going too far. Now third rounders aren’t a “day one pick” but just another guy from the second day.

Did selecting round three on day two throw you for a loop? Hold on to your hats folks, the NFL has blown up the draft. They’ve gone PRIME TIME baby! The draft will now be a three day extravaganza. Round one gets the spotlight Thursday night at 7:30 p.m. ET.

It’s the newest reality show, “Who’s the Next NFL Millionaire?” Wonder if Ryan Seacrest has the evening free? Or if Jay Leno’s new gig doesn’t work out …

The festivities will continue Friday night at 6:30 p.m. ET with the selection of rounds two and three. Those former day two picks (rounds 4-7) have been relegated to day three. They’re now an afterthought on Saturday morning at 10:00 a.m. ET.

This should give the NFL Network some extra programming to trot out in endless repeats over the summer. But will people watch the draft during prime time? Are the same people who spend Saturday and Sunday mornings and afternoons following the draft the same people who watch television on Thursday and Friday nights? Perhaps. Then again, the NFL may have reached too high this time.

What say you, gentle reader? Will you tune in during prime time for the NFL Draft?

You wanna see this guy in prime time?

You wanna see this guy in prime time?

Twitter Weekly Updates for 2009-07-12

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New Kids on the Block

Training camp is getting closer; can you feel it?  And it won’t be long thereafter that we’ll see some preseason games.  Soon we’ll see how the Steelers fared on draft day.  Of course, the full result won’t be known for a few years, but an idea about potential can begin to form.

I want to see how (DL) Ziggy Hood does with pads on.  Stick him in there on 3-man and 4-man fronts.  Inside, outside, can he stand up to an NFL offensive line?

And that begs the question, “Will the Steelers field an NFL offensive line?”  Ha ha. You’re right, that’s actually not funny.

Maybe draftee (OL) Kraig Urbik will have something to say about that.  We’ll find out in camp.

I want to see (WR) Mike Wallace return some kicks.  And as a wide out can he get open down field against his old friend, (CB) Keenan Lewis?

Perhaps (CB) Joe Burnett will make a statement on punt returns and kick returns.  Does he want the job more than Wallace? We’ll find out in camp.

And I’m dying to see (RB/FB) Frank Summers during the goal line drills.  Oh man, somebody could get hurt!

Does anyone think (DL) Ra’Shon Harris might be looking at Ziggy Hood and wondering, “What’s he have that I don’t?  Eff the practice squad, I wanna dress on Sundays!” Go ahead, Ra’Shon, make it hard on the coaches, they love having problems like that.

Is (TE) David Johnson the next late rounder fated for the scrap heap?  Does he have a chance at the practice squad or even better? Perhaps he wants Heath Miller’s job! Better show us something in camp, David.

And, finally, there’s PSU (C) A.Q. Shipley.  I’m rooting for this guy, the underdog, the undersized 7th rounder who’s arms are too short for the NFL.  Oh, you know he’s just dying to prove somebody wrong.  Watch out defenders, I’m guessing this guy may play a little after the whistle.  Yeah, baby!

I don’t want to wish my life away, but camp cannot get here soon enough.  Gotta see what those new kids on the block can do for our Steelers.

Tougher Than They Look?

Everyone remembers the schedule for last season. The toughest doled out in decades, some said. Fact is, it was the NFL’s toughest last season; opponents had a combined record of 153-103 (.598) with half the games against 2007 playoff teams and twelve against teams with .500 or better records the prior season. Yes, it was a real murderer’s row of thugs and low-lifes, plus several teams not named the Ravens.

Few thought the Steelers would fare well against such a task in Tomlin’s second season at the helm. The team suffered a wild card round playoff loss the prior season, their second home loss to the Jaguars in less than three weeks. Their humbling finish to 2007 provided naught to suggest they were prepared for the test ahead in 2008.

Happily, we know how that turned out. Most likely we wear a goofy smile when pondering back to February 1, 2009.

What does the 2009 schedule promise for the World Champion Pittsburgh Steelers? Surely it’s tougher, doesn’t the Superbowl winner always have the toughest schedule? Not so fast people. Remember, there are only two strength of schedule (SOS) games per season. The remaining fourteen are comprised of six against divisional opponents and eight against the rotating AFC/NFC head-to-head division matches of the year.  Remember the 18-0 Patriots of a few years back?  Cream puff schedule, as it turns out, but one of the toughest SOS ratings.

How did the Steelers fare in the SOS department? Twenty-ninth in the league; as in, twenty eight teams have tougher schedules. Their opponents had a combined record of 110-144-2 (.434) last season. Wow, that sounds like a bunch of dogs. Do they somehow get to play the Browns and Bengals an extra two times each? Nope, they play the NFC North and the AFC West, neither was strong in 2008. The Chargers won the West with an 8-8 record while at 10-6, the Vikings were the sole playoff representative of  the North.

A closer look to the north and the plans of  “the Favre” could change perceptions a bit.  Last season Denver seemed on the verge of getting it together.  But the coaching staff has changed and their “star” QB, Jake Cutler, has long since exited, to their detriment.  But where did Cutler go?  Ah yes, to the NFC North and the Chicago Bears.   While Cutler frequently resembles a petulant pre-schooler more than an NFL QB, he’s a solid player, certainly better than they’ve had in a Bears’ uniform in recent decades.  He could propel them from mediocre to playoff hopefuls and the Bears should be an improved team.

In Green Bay, the Packers started off strong but ended up as duds.  If they’ve shored their weaknesses they may challenge for a wild card spot in the post season.  Aaron Rogers will have a year of starting QB experience under his belt and should be improved.  Their defense couldn’t possibly be worse.  Look for an improved team on the frozen tundra.

And speaking of Green Bay, what of “the Favre?”  If his shoulder allows, his (still yet to occur) signing in Minnesota could put the Vikings over the top.  A solid QB will do wonders for Adrian Peterson and that offense.  And a stud running back would make life easier for a grizzled veteran such as “the Favre.” Depending on what happens in Minnesota, the Vikings could be a force.

So, the NFC North could be much tougher than a glance at the 2008 final standings would suggest.  Did I forget to mention the Lions?  No.

Things don’t appear to be so sunny for the AFC West.  As mentioned before, the Broncos haven’t improved in the short term and another down year is likely.  But what of the Raiders, Chiefs and Chargers?

The Raiders will return Tom “Larry” Cable who replaced the elfin Lane Kiffin during the 2008 season.  They’ve been picking high in the draft lately, but look who’s making those picks.  They’re a mess, don’t expect much from the Raiders.

The Kansas City Chiefs are another team in the midst of a regime change.  But rather than loose a QB, they signed the Brady-esque phenom, Matt Cassel.  The league should find out in short order if Cassel was a product of the system or if he can really play. Todd Haley left the SB XLIII runners up for his first head coaching gig, we’ll learn how effective his offense is sans Kurt Warner and Larry Fitzgerald.  The Chiefs are an enigma at this point, but there’s really only room for improvement at this point.  But a serious challenge to the Steelers?  Not so much.

That brings us to the San Diego Chargers.  This team has been going in one direction since Norv Turner took the reigns, the wrong direction.  While they made the playoffs with a paltry 8-8 record, they gave the Steelers two interesting games.  The first ever 11-10 final (after a mistake by the referees overturned a late defensive TD by the Steelers) and a 35-24 playoff match in which the only Chargers’ offensive play of the third quarter resulted in an interception.  Let’s say the Chargers are what we think they are.

And the AFC West is what we think it is:  a sorry division.

So, are the Steelers’ 2009 regular season opponents tougher than they look?  Yes and no.

Twitter Weekly Updates for 2009-07-05

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Talk of Repeat? Slow Down Say Farrior, Taylor.

It’s a question they’re all asked and a challenge each Superbowl winner must face, can they pull off a repeat?  The last team to accomplish the goal was the New England Patriots in Superbowls 38 and 39.  Prior to that the Denver Broncos started the recent AFC domination in the late 1990’s with back-to-back wins.

The Steelers bungled their opportunity to repeat by missing the playoffs entirely following a Superbowl XL win.  It was a strange year, the last of the Cowher era and a difficult one for Ben Roethlisberger.  After narrowly escaping death in a motorcycle accident, he endured an appendectomy and a serious concussion.  The team dug a deep hole and gelled too late, winning 6 of the final 8 to finish with a .500 mark.

But there are young players who expect to go back to the big game.

“We’re not wondering will we make it back, if we’ll make it back,” said Holmes, the Most Valuable Player in Super Bowl XLIII. “We look forward to going back to the Super Bowl.”
Tribune Review

Santonio Holmes (Tribune Review)

Santonio Holmes (Tribune Review)

Not so fast, say James Farrior and Ike Taylor, two of the XL veterans who want to make sure the post Superbowl collapse doesn’t happen again.

“We definitely feel like we have a great opportunity ahead of us,” linebacker James Farrior said. “We can’t get too far ahead of ourselves. We’ve just got to focus on the job at hand and take it through the proper steps, and we feel we can have another good season.”
Tribune Review

Ike Taylor guaranteed the Steelers won’t take the 2009 regular season for granted. He started on the Super Bowl XL championship team and recalls the heartbreak he experienced when the Steelers finished 8-8 and out of the playoffs the next season.
Tribune Review

Hopefully, the assumptions of younger veterans will be reeled in by those who’ve been there before.  One expects Coach Tomlin’s presence will play a large role in that area.  When camp wraps, those expecting the Superbowl will be echoing the “one game at a time, one play at a time” mantra drilled into their heads by Tomlin.  They’ll be ready for the rigors of a 16 game season and if things go well, the playoffs and beyond.

Best to leave Superbowl expectations to us fans.  Who among us hasn’t already ticked off the wins on the schedule?  How many losses did you have?  Yeah, me too.

To Superbowl XLIV and victory!