A little of this and that this morning, but mostly Me & You, including another possible change in the Steelers roster, brought to you by a Tweet.
--- Butler native Matt Vensel works for the Baltimore Sun and is in Pittsburgh covering the Steelers for his newspaper this week. Here’s one of his stories on the Steelers reaction to Terrell Suggs’ fast recovery from a torn Achilles tendon:
--- And here is Vensel’s blog:
--- YOU: Ed, LB McFadden from the practice squad tweeted last night that he will get a chance Sunday against the Ravens. Doesn't seem like an announcement Tomlin would be thrilled about given its not been officially made. Any truth to it? If he is in, who is out?
ME: Chris Carter suddenly appeared on the team’s injury list yesterday with what was described as an abdomen injury. Carter, who started for an injured James Harrison the first three games of the season, plays on special teams. If he cannot go, they may need another linebacker to fill his spot on special teams. Here is McFadden’s tweet:
“Want to thank everybody for believing in me! Getting my chance Sunday against the Baltimore Ravens! Definitely want togive the PS boys a S/O”
--- YOU: Ed, you mention Danny Amendola having a similar injury to Ben this morning in your article on the free PG site. How much playing time did Danny miss?
ME: He missed four weeks, three games (they also had their off week) before he returned to play this past Sunday.
--- YOU: Do you think the resigning of Brian Dixon by the Ravens was coincidental or a deliberate move to keep him off the Steeler roster?
ME: It’s Dennis Dixon and, no, I don’t believe his signing was coincidental. I believe they did it to prevent the Steelers from signing him to their practice squad after the Ravens became aware of the injury to Ben Roethlisberger. It serves a twofold purpose: It leave the Steelers without a third arm in practices, and it prevents Dixon from spilling any kind of information to the Steelers had he signed with them because Dixon had previously been on the Ravens practice squad before he was cut.
--- YOU: Why are they wearing these uniforms again? Who decides this? Is it the team or the league? Is it just a way to try to make more money by getting people to buy something different? There is a reason they are the old uniforms and not the current ones. They stink! This is not buddy league. Burn them and do not even mention them again.
ME: The Steelers decided to wear their 1934 throwback uniforms for two home games before this season began and they will wear them for the second time Sunday night vs. Baltimore. You don’t like them, I don’t like them but that has no bearing on it. This will be the final time they wear them – unless they bring them back again in 2014.
--- YOU: You heard from more than one player that committing to one running back was better for the team and the results back it up. With all of that, they go back to running back by committee for KC and have an average-to-mediocre running game. With Mendenhall back, I assume that fixes it for the Ravens game assuming he stays healthy. If he doesn’t (he seems injury prone) or if, as you predicted, he doesn’t return next year, do you see Tomlin making a choice of a starter who gets spelled every once in a while or do you think he’s married to the committee? Seems to me he never gave either back a chance to be the hot hand in the KC game.
ME: After saying he would go with the hot hand before the Kansas City game, Mike Tomlin decided to alternate his two top healthy backs, Isaac Redman and Jonathan Dwyer, for the game against the Chiefs (Redman’s fumble did not alter that plan). So, I have no idea how he will operate with his backfield this week.
--- YOU: Since you have started covering the Steelers is this by far the worst injury year for this team?
ME: I’d have to go back through my medical records, which would take some time. There have been other years in which they were hit hard. It’s been awhile, though, since they’ve lost their quarterback for a significant period other than through his four-game suspension in 2010. One good thing is after some early injuries, they’ve been able to keep their line mostly intact.
--- YOU: Take all the Pittsburgh-native, emotional-connection stuff out of it and just look at the stats, not to mention the windup. Which quarterback would you choose to start on Sunday?
ME: I would choose Byron Leftwich because he has been my second-team quarterback all season and why would I suddenly start my No. 3 quarterback who has not yet dressed for a game over my No. 2 quarterback?
--- YOU: A popular meme this week seems to be that Leftwich is not as good a
fit for the new Haley offense as Roethlisberger or Batch. One of the
things Haley has said is that he wants to build his offense around the
tools available. Obviously the playbook is not going to change in one
week, but with Leftwich starting for at least one game, and likely
more, should we be expecting the play calling to change, and see more
down field shots while Roethlisberger is out?
ME: Some seem to think that because Byron Leftwich has such a strong arm that they will throw deep more often with him at quarterback. Ben Roethlisberger can chuck it too. Arm strength has nothing to do with it. As Leftwich pointed out yesterday, there will be some changes because of the quarterback’s style and you won’t see him scrambling away from a pass rush and delivering the ball to the other side of the field. That’s just not him. He’s more of a pocket passer.
--- YOU: Your 11-5 prediction might be exact. I am sure you have pointed this out, but those losses in the conference to Tennessee and Oakland will put the Steelers at huge tie breaker disadvantage. I am assuming they will split with the Ravens and finish 5-1 in the division. Long way to go.
ME: After seeing them play against Kansas City, I would not assume anything at this point, not 11-5, not 5-1 and not the playoffs.
--- YOU: If (according to a source) Steelers players were quoted after the game as saying that "the Chiefs were calling out our plays before we snapped the ball", can the pounding Ben took be properly attributed to Todd Haley's tendencies being known by the Chiefs?
ME: The Steelers two quarterbacks were sacked once in that game. I did not see them getting pounded, other than on that one sack that drove Roethlisberger out of the game.
--- YOU: When a player is moved from the 53 man roster to the practice squad
(e.g. Ta'Amu) does that change his compensation, or is it a non-issue
for him? Presumably it does alter the number used for salary cap
purposes. And either way, it is undoubtedly not the greatest of
Ta'Amu's current worries; I'm just curious.
ME: It cost Ta’amu $17,241 each week by going from the 53-man roster to the practice squad. They pay each practice squad player $5,700 each week, including the bye week. Ta’amu’s rookie wage was $390,000. Divided by 17 weeks in the season, that comes to $22,941 a week. He earned it last week, but now will be paid the lower amount on the practice squad.
--- YOU: Can you update me/us on DeCastro ?
Can they put Ben on this revocable IR ?
ME: David DeCastro is eligible to practice at any time now, but has not. Once he starts practicing, the Steelers have three weeks to decide whether to take him off IR or keep him there the rest of the season. No, Roethlisberger is not eligible for that for many reasons, including the fact only one player per year can go on it and DeCastro is that player in 2012.
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