Tag:Pittsburgh Steelers
Posted on: February 7, 2012 9:26 am
Edited on: February 7, 2012 10:09 am
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Report: Weslye Saunders suspended 4 games

Weslye Saunders also had problems coming out of the University of South Carolina. (US Presswire)
By Josh Katzowitz

At one point in time, tight end Weslye Saunders was talked about as a potential first-round draft pick, but ultimately, a foot injury and a troubled reputation caused him to go unselected in 2010. He landed in Pittsburgh and started six of 16 games this season, catching four passes for 29 yards and a touchdown.

Now, he’s apparently landed in more trouble, as Aaron Wilson of Scout.com is reporting that Saunders has been suspended for the first four games of 2012.

At this point, it’s unclear why Saunders has been suspended, but he’s had character concerns going back to his days at the University of South Carolina. During his senior year, he was suspended before the season began and then was kicked off the squad completely in mid-September 2010.

He was questioned by the NCAA about potential agent contact during a party in Miami in the spring of 2010. Gamecocks coach Steve Spurrier said Saunders was suspended for violations that were not connected to the NCAA inquiry.

Saunders was allowed by the school to participate in Pro Day in March of 2011 even though he had fractured his left foot.  He also admitted to lying to Spurrier about why he was late for practice and lying to NCAA officials.

"Fabricating a story, or not even telling the whole truth, is the same as telling a lie," he told the Charleston Post and Courier in March. "Being truthful is the biggest thing. A man is only as good as his word. That's what I've learned most."

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Posted on: February 6, 2012 7:21 pm
Edited on: February 7, 2012 2:26 pm
 

Steelers hire Todd Haley as OC

Haley's taking his old boss' old job in Pittsburgh. (Getty Images)
By Will Brinson

Todd Haley's going to have a new gig in 2012 and it's a pretty good one: he's headed to Pittsburgh to take over as offensive coordinator after Bruce Arians recently "retired" to take the Colts job.

“I am excited about the opportunity to come back home and work for a tremendous organization,” Haley said in a statement. “It is an honor to work with the Rooney family and Coach Tomlin and continue the success that has become synonymous with the Steelers. My father has so many fond memories both from his playing days and his time in the personnel department with the team, and I look forward to helping bring more championships to Pittsburgh and to being a part of one of the storied franchises in the NFL.”

When Haley was head coach of the Chiefs, his team never finished with a passing offense ranked any higher than 25th. And Haley topped out at ranking 18th in passing attempts in his first year in KC.

But while he was with the Cardinals, under former Steelers offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt, Haley slung the ball around like crazy. Arizona, at the time with Kurt Warner, finished second in passing attempts both seasons and was top 10 in the league in points scored both seasons.

Ben Roethlisberger, Mike Wallace, Antonio Brown and Emmanuel Sanders provide a much closer approximation to those Warner teams than Matt Cassell and Dwayne Bowe do.

We'd heard word that Haley was interviewing with the Cards, but also that Haley didn't want to take anything less than a coordinator job. Pittsburgh gives him a fantastically soft landing spot after a rough tenure with KC.

It also means that both Roethlisberger (unhappy with Arians departure) and Art Rooney (wanting more points) should be happy. So it's a great fit, as long as there aren't any big ego clashes and the Steelers don't bug Haley's cell phone. Allegedly.

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Posted on: February 2, 2012 2:26 am
Edited on: February 2, 2012 2:33 am
 

Brady-Eli third QB rematch in Super Bowl history

Quarterback rematch? That doesn't bode well for Brady. (Getty Images)
By Will Brinson

INDIANAPOLIS -- Fact: only twice before this year has a Super Bowl featured a rematch of quarterbacks. Eli Manning and Tom Brady will be the third such rematch, and it seems relevant to examine what kind of success the other guys had when they squared off the second time, in advance of Sunday's tilt.

Of course, we need to know who went head-to-head first. Terry Bradshaw of the Steelers and Roger Staubach of the Cowboys battled the first time, way back when the Super Bowl only got one Roman numeral (X). They met again in Super Bowl XIII. And Troy Aikman of the Cowboys met Jim Kelly of the Bills twice during the Fire Marshall Bill Halftime Era.

Full Super Bowl Coverage

If you know much about the NFL, you can make an educated guess as to how these sort of rematches play out for the guy who lost the first game. (A: Not well.) Bradshaw's one of only two quarterbacks with four Super Bowl wins; Joe Montana is the other. (Although a Brady win on Sunday would net him a fourth.)

And those Jim Kelly squads were great up until the "Big Game" -- four straight AFC Championships netted exactly zero Super Bowl wins. That, by the by, is a reminder of how fleeting these moments are, and why winning them matters more than anyone who doesn't play the game will every know.

Anyway, Super Bowl X took place on January 18, 1976 in Miami. Bradshaw's Steelers toppled the Cowboys 21-17. Bradshaw was nine of 19 (!) for 209 yards, two touchdowns and zero interceptions. Staubach was 15 of 24 for 204 yards, two touchdowns and three interceptions. The NFL presents a slightly different game these days, huh?

When they two matched up again three years later, Bradshaw was substantially more effective in his second win, going 17 of 30 for 318 yards, four touchdowns and one pick in a 35-31 win. Staubach was no slouch either, completing 17 of 30 passes too. He only threw for 228 yards but did have three teeters and a pick.

Aikman and Kelly squared off for the first time in Super Bowl XXVII, a 52-17 blowout for the Cowboys. (Michael Jackson performed both "Billie Jean" and "Black and White" at this game, which is equal parts awesome and ... aging.)

Kelly suffered an injury in this game, so Frank Reich led the Bills with 194 passing yards, one touchdown and a pick. Kelly threw two picks despite leaving early; the Bills coughed up an awkward nine turnovers in the loss. As you would imagine, that could have eliminated the need for the Cowboys to produce eye-popping stats, but Aikman threw for four touchdowns anyway.

When the two met a year later at the Georgia Dome, the result was different, but still the same. Aikman threw for 207 yards and no touchdowns, while Kelly produced 260 yards and zero touchdowns as well. A series of field goals and/or rushing touchdowns provided the scoring and neither quarterback was particularly effective, from a statistical sense.

So which direction does 2012 take? Logic (and a 55-point over/under in Vegas) says the former. Brady and Manning should see more success than Kelly and Aikman saw in their rematch.

Even though the Giants pass rush is ferocious, neither defense is absolutely elite, while both offenses are the definition of potent. Regardless, the short history of quarterback rematches in the Super Bowl doesn't exactly favor Brady. Then again, shattering NFL playoff trends isn't exactly something new for the Patriots signal caller.

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Posted on: January 31, 2012 5:13 pm
Edited on: January 31, 2012 5:16 pm
 

Keisel 'grateful' Butler returning to Steelers

Follow all of CBSSports.com's Full Super Bowl Coverage (Ryan Wilson, CBSSports.com)

By Ryan Wilson

INDIANAPOLIS -- The Colts hired Chuck Pagano as head coach last week and Pagano, who spent the 2011 season as the Ravens defensive coordinator, promptly began filling out his staff. He added the recently "retired" Bruce Arians as offensive coordinator, and it appeared that Steelers linebackers coach Keith Butler would be his defensive coordinator only to announce a day later that he was staying in Pittsburgh.

On Tuesday, we asked Steelers defensive Brett Keisel about what Butler means to the organization.

"He's a legendary coach," Keisel told CBSSports.com before stopping himself. "Well, he might not be legendary -- he's a great coach … someone who really takes care of the linebackers. Not a lot of people could control James Harrison and LaMarr Woodley but he finds a way to get those guys coached up and I'm very grateful he's coming back."

Keisel was laughing when he called Butler great but not legendary (he's in Indy pimping Head & Shoulders' "Be Legendary" campaign so he's used the word a lot this week), but it's clear that Butler, who joined the Steelers in 2003, is an integral part of the defense's success.

"I was devastated yesterday when I heard (that he might be headed to Indianapolis)," Keisel said. "I was surprised that the Steelers were going to let him go (to the Colts). I knew that when Arizona wanted him to come down last year, (Pittsburgh) didn't even let him take the interview. But everything worked out, he's staying with us, and I'm very happy about it."

Conventional wisdom is that Butler will succeed defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau who, at 74, says he has no intentions of retiring anytime soon. Either way, it's good news for the Steelers, who let Arians walk earlier this month and are still in the market for his replacement.

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Posted on: January 30, 2012 8:34 pm
 

Report: Keith Butler will return to Pittsburgh

By Josh Katzowitz

There was talk Sunday that new Colts coach Chuck Pagano, already ready to hire former Steelers assistant Bruce Arians as his offensive coordinator, wanted to nab Pittsburgh linebackers coach Keith Butler to take over the Colts defensive coordinator job.

Indy's offseason


Butler, though, has turned down Pagano.

That’s according to the Pittsburgh Post Gazette, which writes that Butler will return to the Steelers as the linebackers coach.

It’s clear that Pittsburgh values Butler, because last offseason, when the Cardinals wanted to interview Butler for their defensive coordinator job, the Steelers denied Arizona’s request.

[CBSSports.com's Full Super Bowl Coverage]

Butler is assumed to be the heir to Steelers defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau, and ultimately, that job is better  than the one in Arizona, and if LeBeau plans to coach only a season or two more, staying in Pittsburgh to wait him out probably makes sense for Butler.

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Posted on: January 29, 2012 2:56 pm
Edited on: January 29, 2012 3:16 pm
 

Report: Pagano looks at Butler, Caldwell at PIT

Chuck Pagano reportedly is looking at Keith Butler to be his defensive coordinator (US Presswire).By Josh Katzowitz

Man, new Colts coach Chuck Pagano must have some serious respect for one of the teams his old ballclub hates the most. That would be the Steelers, and Pagano, the former Ravens defensive coordinator, reportedly will pluck another Pittsburgh assistant to be a coordinator for the Colts.

On Saturday, it was Pagano surprisingly yanking Bruce Arians out of his so-called retirement in order to make him the offensive coordinator, and a day later, ESPN’s Adam Schefter has reported that Pagano will hire Steelers linebacker coach Keith Butler as defensive coordinator.

A word of caution, though: according to the Pittsburgh Post Gazette, Butler will interview the job Tuesday and said it’s “not a done deal.”

And in a switcheroo that only a Kirk Cameron fan could love, NFL.com’s Jason La Canfora reports that Caldwell will interview for the open Steelers offensive coordinator spot vacated by Arians.

Steelers coach Mike Tomlin and Caldwell spent one season together in 2001 with the Buccaneers when Tomlin was the defensive backs coach and Caldwell was the quarterbacks coach.

In Pagano’s case, the possible decision to hire anybody from the Steelers defensive coaching staff is probably a smart move -- especially considering Pittsburgh has been a top-ten defensive team in yards allowed every year since 2000.

Indy's offseason
Butler has been in Pittsburgh the past nine years, and he’s credited with helping mold James Harrison, James Farrior and LaMarr Woodley. Like Arians and Pagano, Butler worked in Cleveland in 2001, so Pagano knows what kind of coach he’s getting.

As PFT reminds us, Butler wanted to interview for the Cardinals defensive coordinator job last year but the Steelers denied him the chance. Now that Butler’s contract is up, though, it sounds like Butler -- who is largely considered the heir to Steelers defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau -- is ready for a promotion.

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Posted on: January 28, 2012 2:17 pm
Edited on: January 28, 2012 2:55 pm
 

Report: Bruce Arians hired as Colts OC

AriansBy Josh Katzowitz

Only a scant few days after former Steelers assistant Bruce Arians supposedly retired from coaching,it sounds like he has a new job.

According to a tweet from XTRA 910’s Mike Jurecki, Arians “is likely to become the next coordinator of the Colts.” Later, ESPN's Adam Schefter wrote that Arians has agreed to the job and will fly to Indianapolis on Monday to "to review and sign [the] contract."

So much for retirement, eh?

Well, it sounds like that’s not exactly what happened at the end of Arians’ tenure in Pittsburgh, especially since reports have emerged that Arians’ expiring contract would not have been renewed and that team president Art Rooney II didn’t give Arians a reason why the team was letting him go.

But the release of Arians might cause Pittsburgh more problems, because an obviously-displeased quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said he will march up to Rooney’s office and figure out why Arians wasn’t retained.

Pagano, the Ravens defensive coordinator, matched wits with Arians twice last season, and Baltimore held Pittsburgh to a combined 27 points in dealing the Steelers two losses.

The two also coached together with the Browns from 2001-03, so there should be plenty of familiarity between the two.

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Posted on: January 27, 2012 11:05 am
Edited on: January 27, 2012 2:44 pm
 

Ben wants meeting with Rooney over Arians release

Roethlisberger and Rooney are going to have a meeting, apparently. (Getty Images)
By Will Brinson

Former Steelers offensive coordinator Bruce Arians left the team under suspicious circumstances: first he was retiring, then he was fired, then he said he "wasn't offered a contract" ... it was all really weird and awkward. And it's not making Ben Roethlisberger happy.

And Roethlisberger, apparently, is going to march right up to Art Rooney II's office and ask him what's going on.

"When I get back, I'm going to go up to Mr. Rooney's office and ask him what he wants from me, what he wants from this offense, because I think that's a viable question for him," Roethlisberger told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review on Thursday in Honolulu. "He's our owner and our boss, so I really would like to know kind of what he wants and where he sees our offense going because I'd like to tell him where I see us going."

Rooney previously cited the points scored by the Steelers in 2011 as an issue with Arians. And the owner has a fair point, as the Steelers only ranked as a top-10 unit once under Arians, which was during his first year in 2007 when they were ninth in the NFL in scoring.

However, Football Outsiders ranks the Steelers as a top-10 unit in DVOA every year of Arians tenure but one. And there's little question that under Arians, the Steelers moved from a traditional ground-and-pound stereotype that people attach to Pittsburgh to a full-on aerial assault.

"We feel like we are really close to being an elite offense," Roethlisberger told the Tribune-Review. "For your leader to be gone is kind of a shocker, but you've got to be ready for whatever the Rooneys and coach [Mike] Tomlin decide it our next step."

Roethlisberger has consistently defended Arians over the past, and the T-R notes that he was taking him to Hawaii as one of his guests for the Pro Bowl until things got murky with his contract situation.

Ben's job is certainly safer. But he's not exactly doing himself any favors with the way he's phrasing his "request" for a meeting with Rooney.

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com