Can LaMarr Woodley put together a full season?

LaMarr Woodley has been an outstanding player for the Steelers.  Since he has come into the league he has been a great pass rusher.  He has shown that he is a force to be reckoned with when the defense steps on the field.  The real question though is can Woodley put together a full season?

Woodley has two speeds.  Great and unstoppable.  Woodley is great all season long.  He is unstoppable when he has to be.  You can see that in his stats for the playoffs.  When the game is on the line and it means something this guy is completely unblocakable.  Woodley has 11 sacks in 8 career playoff games.  He owns the record for most consecutive games with a sack in the playoffs and most consecutive games to start a playoff careers with a sack.  He knows when to turn it on.

If you go through Woodley’s career you can see when he turns it on each season.  In his rookie season Woodley only got to play off and on.  When he came in he made plays.  He made his most noise in his first playoff game.  He had two sacks in  limited time on the field during that playoff game versus Jacksonville.  That was the start of the Woodley era in Pittsburgh.

When he came out for his second season he rolled out of the gates like a ball of fire.  He had 9.5 sacks in his first 8 games.  He was a complete monster.  Woodley faded though as the season went on.  You could see it was his first full season and he hit the wall.  He was not used to being the starter for that long.  He had not yet played as a starter and he struggled the second half of the season.  Woodley did turn it back on when the playoffs came though and had 2 sacks in each of the Steelers games on the way to winning the Super Bowl.  Woodley found that next gear when the playoffs started.

The next season Woodley flipped the script.  He came out of the gates slow.  He only had 2 sacks in the first 8 games.  Both were against Detroit.  So Woodley on made a sack in one game to start the season.  Game 8 though Woodley lit a fire and went wild on opponents.  He had 11.5 sacks in the last 8 games.  He had at least a half a sack in each game to finish out that season.  He was totally dominant and it was fun to watch.  It was still half of a season but Woodley realized what he had done in the year before and understood when he should start to turn it on.

In 2010 it looked like Woodley tried a different approach.  All out for a few games and catch his breath for a few games.  He had 3 multi sack games but also had 8 games where he did not record a sack.  You can see the pattern in his play.  Woodley played well but it was not consistent.  He was not the force he can be on the field.  He showed that this last season.

This past  year Woodley was unreal.  He started a little slow with 1.5 sacks in his first 4 games.  Once James Harrison went down with injury Woodley turned that switch on again.  Over the next 4 games Woodley had 7.5 sacks.  He was unstoppable and could not be kept away from the QB.  Even when he did not get a sack he was deep in the backfield causing havoc.  He could not be slowed down.  He was easily on his way to a defensive player of the year award.  By far the best defensive player in football.  He lead this team through that tough time.

Woodley then went down with a hamstring injury and never really recovered the rest of the season.  He played in 2 other games but only sparingly.  The injury held him down the rest of the season.  It kept him down in the playoffs as well.  Woodley for the first time did not record a sack in a playoff game.  The injury ended his streak and completed a record.

Now that we have seen that from Woodley and we know he can do it I would love to see it for a full season.  Woodley knows what it takes now that he is in his 6th season.  He will know how to push so that he can go all year and still put up those same stats.  If he plays the way he played during the middle of the season all year then he will be the best defensive player in the game.  He will be the unstoppable force we all know he can be.

We love you Woodley.  Let’s see that beast for a full year and show the NFL how dominant you really are.


Kevin Colbert says Wallace will not be traded

Rumors have been flying from all around of whether or not Mike Wallace would be traded.  Since the signing of Antonio Brown the other day there was a question as to whether or not Wallace would be with the Steelers this upcoming season.  Well it seems as if that question has been answered.  Kevin Colbert says no to that option.

“Mike Wallace is not available for trade.”

Wallace is still a valuable option for this team.  Colbert knows that but he also knows that the team has all the leverage.  Wallace can hold out until week 10 and become an unrestricted free agent but he will lose money by doing that.  He still will be available to be franchise tagged by the team at the end of the season.  Wallace is not going to be able to make his decision next year either.  It is up to the team what Wallace is going to get to do.  He should start playing nice because the team has all the power.

Colbert may say that Wallace is not up for auction but he will not turn away calls.  Colbert is one of the best GMs in the business.  He will not turn away a big deal if one comes up.  He will do his due diligence on the subject. If someone comes in with an offer he can not refuse then Wallace will be for sale but as of right now he is not on the market.

Ed Bouchette believes the Steelers would not get much more then a fourth round pick for Wallace if he was traded.  If that was the case then the Steelers should keep Wallace this year and let him leave next year.  That will give them a 3rd round compensatory pick most likely. That is always up in the air though.  I do agree with Ed though on the fact that it would be best for both sides.

I believe Bouchette is wrong in this instance.  He is comparing to Santonio Holmes.  That is a horrid comparison.  Holmes was going to be suspended and the Steelers just wanted to be rid of him.  That is not the case with Wallace.  He is a top talent.  Going off of trades in the last few years you should get much more for Wallace then a fourth round pick.  That is just a joke.

Recent trades involve Anquan Boldin and Brandon Marshall.  Boldin got a big contract and was traded for a third and a fourth round pick.  Brandon Marshall has been traded twice.  He brought in 2 second round picks plus a big contract to Miami.  Then when traded to Chicago he brought in two third round picks and the Bears still have to pay out Marshall’s big contract.  So what Ed is saying does not make sense.  Wallace is better then both of these guys.  So he should not be traded for less than a second if not more.

This situation is going to get sticky.  Wallace does not want to give in and the Steelers will not back down.  It could get worse before it gets better.

 


Mike Wallace on the trade block?

With the extension of Antonio Brown the Steelers will not give an extension to Mike Wallace according to Ed Bouchette.  The Steelers have grown tired of Wallace and have moved their interest to the team.  If Wallace is not going to receive an extension they could franchise him next season and keep him on the roster even if he does not want to be.  Bouchette also believes that will not happen.

That means Wallace plays this season and then becomes a free agent or he is up for the highest bidder.  I saw this coming months ago and thought the Steelers should have gotten rid of him around draft time.  I would rather have Wallace on the team and would love to keep him here but greed was always going to come into play.  Wallace asked for Fitzgerald money.  There are only 3 players at the WR position who deserve that money.  They are Larry Fitzgerald, Calvin Johnson and Andre Johnson.  Wallace needs to realize what he is really worth and get a deal done.

If he does not want to then it is time to trade him for all he is worth.  Get the best deal possible and move on.  Wallace is not going to play hard this year without the money.  He has shown that by his attitude. He is the one holding up the negotiations not his agent.  This deal is not going to get done.  It is time to get what you can for him and start the 2013 season fresh.  The Steelers have won before with Hines Ward being the only name receiver on the team.  They played with Cedric Wilson and Antwan Randle El and still won a title.  The receivers they have now are better then that.

I do not know how this will play out but I just want what is best for the team.  Wallace would be the best option but the money is not for the salary cap.  We have replaced receivers before and moved on.  Plaxico Burress, Santonio Holmes, Yancy Thigpen, you name and we have gotten past it.  I am not a Wallace hater but a Steeler fan.  I want what will help this team move forward.  Receivers can be replaced.  Get what you can and move forward.

Update: Wallace turned down 5 years and $50 million.  If he isnt willing to take $10 million a year he is just greedy.  Let him walk.


Antonio Brown signs extension in the midst of Wallace hold out

There has been many a worry this week about the wide receiver who was going to sign an extension with the Steelers.  Many were worried if Mike Wallace would sign his deal and report to camp on time.  That did not happen and the Steelers stopped negotiations with Wallace until he returned.  While Wallace was missing camp the other big receiver for the Steelers signed his extension.

Antonio Brown the Steelers MVP and one of the breakout players of the year in the NFL was given an extension.  Brown signed a five year $42.5 million deal with the team.  This was the same deal that was said to be given to Wallace earlier in the week.  Those reports were retracted and Wallace was not signed.  It makes it seem as if Brown signed Wallace’s deal when Wallace wouldn’t.

Brown is an up and comer.  He is about to become one of the better receivers in this league.  He is a playmaker who knows how to get open and make the big play.  The question is now if Wallace will show up to camp and sign his deal.  That could have a big affect on Brown.  Brown became a big name when teams started taking away Wallace.  If Wallace does not show up it could cost Brown some statistics.

I am glad to have Brown here.  Especially at this deal.  It is a team friendly deal for the next few years.  When the cap is expected to rise is when Brown’s contract numbers go up.  That is a good thing for both sides.  Brown deserved this deal and I am happy for him.

Now lets get Wallace in the mix and be done and ready for this year and beyond.


Chris Carter has a large oppurtunity in front of him at Training Camp

Steelers second year outside linebacker is being given a great oppurtunity at Steelers camp.  He is the starting outside linebacker right now as camp begins.  Starter James Harrison and back up Jason Worilds are both on the PUP list and there is no timetable give for their return.

Carter will get the reps with the first team in Harrison’s position until either Harrison or Worilds returns from injury.  This will give Carter some good experience and the repetitions he needs to develop.  As a second year guy behind what you know is one of the best at his position you can not ask for much more.

This is perfect for Carter.  He was drafted in the fifth round of the 2011 draft as a project.  His potential had many teams interested in him but the Steelers picked him up.  Carter was not expected to contribute to the team right away.  He was expected to sit on the bench and learn behind Woodley and Harrison with the potential to become a starter down the line.  He had to make the switch from Defensive End to Linebacker.  A tough transition for anyone. 

That is what he did last year.  He sat back learned and played special teams.  Now with a full offseason under his belt and the two guys who were in front of him injured the Steelers will get to see how much Carter progressed from his rookie season until now. 

This will be a very important training camp for Carter.  He has a very high ceiling once he is comfortable playing linebacker.  His pass rush ability is undeniable.  I can not wait to see how he looks running with the first team.


Steelers place 6 players on PUP List to start camp

The Steelers have started off this years training camp with 6 players on the Physically Unable to Perform List.  The Steelers do not have to list official injuries until week 1 of the regular season.  Many of the players were expected to be on this list.  There are no surprises here.

Players on PUP List:

  1. James Harrison
  2. Max Starks
  3. Casey Hampton
  4. Rashard Mendenhall
  5. Jason Worilds
  6. Damon Cromartie-Smith

Steelers pulling the plug on Wallace contract talks?

Ed Bouchette reported today that Mike Wallace would not be reporting to camp on time.  He is now also reporting that the Steelers may be planning to cut off talks with Wallace.  This is a sign of bad news.  It seemed as if sides were getting better and it was expected that Wallace would sign his tender and come to camp out of good faith and the two sides would continue negotiating.

After not arriving at camp today apparently the Steelers will be taking a different approach.  They will cut off talks and let Wallace decide what he wants to do.  The ball is now in Wallace’s court.  If he does not show up to camp and sign his RFA Tender of $2.74 million then the Steelers will not negotiate.  The Steelers do not negotiate during the regular season either so if Wallace does not get to camp soon he will not receive a long term deal.

The more reports you see out there the more you think Wallace is just being given bad advice.  From the reports of Larry Fitzgerald money to now not reporting to camp.  Whoever is telling Wallace what to do is just hurting him right now.  The longer Wallace is out of camp the less chance there is of him getting a deal.

Ike Taylor explained it best when he let Wallace know that this is the Pittsburgh Steelers.  They do not negotiate on your terms.  They do it on theirs.  You have to choose.  Taylor told Wallace, “Football does not need you: you need football.”

All in all I still think Wallace will report before the start of the season and will play out this year and then try this again next season.  Where he will have no leverage again because the Steelers can place the franchise tag on him.  Wallace is doing the only thing he can do right now which is hold out.  The Steelers just decided to use their leverage now as well.

Its a staring contest.  The Steelers will not blink.  This is now in Wallace’s hands.

 


Brett Keisel arrives to training camp on a tractor

Keisel arrived at camp today.

Click the link under the main video for Players Move In, after you watch his interview.

Also, keep an eye out for April O’Neil and The Show at training camp next Thursday sporting their BB&G shirts.
Photo from @MarkKaboly_Trib  on  Twitter.


Pirates pick up Left Hander Wandy Rodriguez from the Astros

The Pirates made a move yesterday to add depth to their pitching rotation.  In a four player deal the Pirates traded for Houston Left Hander Wandy Rodriguez.  Rodriguez is 7-9 this season with a 3.79 ERA. 

The Pirates gave up three of their top 16 prospects in the deal.  Pitchers Rudy Owens and Cotton Cain are headed to Houston a long with the Pirates Outfielder Robbie Grossman.  Grossman is the 7th ranked prospect in the Pirates organization and was the Minor League Player of the Year for the Pirates last season.

The Pirates did make out well financially in the deal as Houston will pay part of Rodriguez’s salary for each of the next 3 years.  The Pirates only owe $1.7 million this season.  $8.5 million of the $13 million next season and $7.5 of the $13 million if Rodriguez signs a player option in 2014.


Steelers Report to Training Camp Today

Today is the day when all the fun begins.  The Steelers will arrive in Latrobe today at St. Vincent College for the start of Training Camp.  It is a day that most of us have waited for since the team lost to Denver in the playoffs.  It left a bad taste in the mouth of players and fans alike.

The Steelers come into training camp with many new faces.  Gone are Hines Ward, James Farrior and Aaron Smith.  New leadership will have to be built during this training camp.  Young guys will emerge as starters for the first time.  First round pick David DeCastro could be one of those new faces.

The only person left to sign is Mike Wallace.  With all the reports floating around of his signing it is inevitable that day is coming soon.  The rest of the team is in tact and ready to go.  There are a few injuries to overcome before the start of the season but this team has done that before.

Now it is time for the team to start its journey.  The fans will line the hills of St. Vincent College and watch their beloved team take the field for a new season.  It is that time of year again.  It is football season and it couldn’t have gotten here fast enough.

GO STEELERS!


Steelers, Tomlin come to terms on contract extension

The Steelers have given a three year contract extension to Head Coach Mike Tomlin good through the 2016 football season.  Tomlin has been with the Steelers for five seasons, including two Super Bowl appearances and only missing the playoffs once.  Tomlin is 55-25 in his 5 years as head coach and 5-3 in the playoffs.  Financial information on the extension has not yet been released, but here is what Coach had to say about the extension via steelers.com:

“I am excited that I will continue to be the head coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers for years to come,” said Tomlin. “I am grateful to the Steelers organization for the opportunity I have been given over the past five years to work and live in this great city, and I am excited to continue to work to bring another championship to the Steelers and the city of Pittsburgh.”