Tag Archives: Pittsburgh Steelers

New England Patriots: Is The “New” AFC East To Be Feared?

For the last few seasons in the NFL the AFC East has been the New England Patriots and a bunch of other guys.  Right now they are the only NFL conference without a loss. Yup, 4-0 while beating some formidable foes to get things started.  Many were predicting the Steelers were back, but the Patriots took care of that notion. The Colts had Luck on their side, but that was all as the rejuvenated Bills put them in their place.

The Dolphins didn’t exactly impress in their 17-10 win over the clueless Washington Redskins and the Jets…well, they destroying the Browns, who haven’t won an opener in about 320 years!  Both still have a lot to prove to the skeptics.

Last year the Jets (Raiders), Bills (Bears) & Fins won their openers while the Pats lost (to Miami). One of the few times the Patriots have been on the bottom of the pack!

After game one in 2014
After game one in 2014

While the NFC South has been an embarrassment, the teams in the AFC East have slid under the radar.  2015 could be different! While the beasts in the east are nowhere near the NFC West (Seattle, St.Louis, Arizona & SF), Miami, NY & Buffalo have all taken a step up, while the Patriots remain the favorite.

Strength Of Schedule

Here’s where I throw out a bunch of mean nothing statistics. You can browse over this paragraph in the reading room when you have nothing else to do (well, you’ve got something to do, but you know what I mean). It can certainly be misleading, but, based on strength of schedule, courtesy of CBSSports.com,  the Patriots (#22*), Buffalo (#19*), Jets (#18*) and Miami (#17*) all have relatively easy schedules. (* represents strength of schedule with #1 [Pittsburgh] hardest and #32 [Atlanta] easiest) Yes, they do play each other twice so, theoretically, with the division stronger it could mean more in-conference losses for each and that will be important if tie-breakers decide who’s in and who’s out at the end of the regular season.

Whew, now that that’s out of the way, let’s look at the match-ups.

This year’s common opponents:

The AFC East matches up with the relatively weak AFC South (Tennessee, Indy, Jacksonville & Houston) and, with Indianapolis’ poor/soft showing in their opening loss to the Bills, they all could run the table. The Colts looked incredibly soft in Buffalo, but you know they’ll play better with Andrew Luck at QB. Look for a lot of shootouts in their games as they still can’t stop anyone.

Eli Manning - I pooped my pants

It’s another story when the AFC East plays the NFC East, with possible powerhouses Dallas and Philly (yeah, I know, they didn’t look good on the road in their opening loss to the Falcons), the always tough Giants (Eli doesn’t make those same “dumb” decisions against the Pats)  and the helpless Redskins.

If all goes well, that schedule might give the AFC East teams as many as 6-8 wins. If they split games against each other their win total climbs to 9-11. Now, I know that’s a big leap after one game, but, hey it could happen and no one would be shocked…except Patriot and Colt fans.

Uncommon opponents

  • The Patriots beat the Steelers (whatever happened to the Steel Curtain? It’s turned to tin) and have the always tough Broncos in Denver coming up. Manning’s arm still looks dead, but playing the game at home is definitely to their advantage. The Bronco’s offense will be different under Head Coach Gary Kubiak and Peyton will have to adjust to the short, clock killing style Kubiak likes.
  • Miami faces Baltimore’s tough defense at home and the enigmatic Chargers on the road
  • The Jets have it easy beating Cleveland at home and the Raiders (who have no home advantage) on the road
  • Buffalo has the most difficult twosome, pairing off with Cincinnati at home and the powerful Chiefs in KC (my sleeper team this year).

Let’s face it, after one game no one knows what will shake out down the road. The only thing that seems certain is its great to have football back and lawsuits set aside for a while.

Please, don’t bet the family jewels (if you have any) on what I write, ’cause basically I’m just like you…A longtime fan who thinks he knows more than he does!

Follow me on Twitter @SnowdonBob

New England Patriots: Get Used To It

After watching the Patriots win the 1st game of the 2015 season, and listening to all the whining after the game, I started thinking of various things Patriots fans need to get used to.

Some are good and some are a pain in the arse (early English phraseology), but they all come with being a fan of the most dominant franchise now playing in the NFL. I know that will be referred to by the naysayers as an arrogant statement, but it’s a fact!

That said, here’s my short list:

  • Get used to winning football games in the NFL (Check that off under the good category)
  • Get used to going to the playoffs every season and having a legitimate chance to go to the Super Bowl.

Other owners, coaches, players and fans may hate the Patriots for consistently beating up on their team, but hey, it’s a fact they need to get used to (you’d think they would already be there, wouldn’t you).

  • Get used to someone finding something in every game to claim the Patriots cheated and their team would have won if the game was played on an even playing field (Pick one: Coach, Owner, ESPN, Sportswriter of opposing team).

There are hundreds of examples available to choose from, but here are the most laughable:

  1. The always whining Colts complaining about deflated footballs after losing to New England 45-7 in the AFC Championship game last January. I’m sure they would have been more competitive if the Patriot’s hadn’t deflated their balls (pun intended).
  2. This week’s “two fer” special: Pittsburgh’s multiple excuses for losing the opener despite trailing the entire game.

(A) Head Coach Mike “The Tripper” Tomlin going off after the game about the headset issues in Foxboro

(B) Ben (I don’t know the rules, but this has to be illegal) Roethlisberger complaining because the nasty Patriots shifted while he was calling cadence on the 1-yard line causing his teammates to jump offside. We all know quarterback’s never try to draw teams offside with their cadence, right!

Don’t you just love Big Ben’s intelligent, well thought out, quotes after the game

C'mon guys, you all know the Patriots are cheating again (Photo: CBSSports.com)
C’mon guys, you all know the Patriots are cheating again (Photo: CBSSports.com)

“I thought that there was a rule against that,” “Maybe there’s not. Maybe it’s just an unwritten rule. … We saw it on film, that the Patriots do that. They shift and slide and do stuff on the goal line, knowing that it’s an itchy trigger finger-type down there.”

So, let me get this straight, the Steelers watched it on film prior to the game, knew it was coming…yet still fell for it. Damn those “cheating” Patriots.

So, did this respected franchise apologize for their lack of knowledge about who controls game time communications (the NFL) and their QB’s lack of knowledge on NFL rules…hell no! This is all they said:

“We have provided information to NFL representatives regarding issues that occurred Thursday night at Gillette Stadium with our coach-to-coach headset communications system,”  “The problem was addressed during the game and we did not have further problems in the second half. We did not file a formal complaint, nor do we plan to do so.”

3. Philadelphia owner Jeffrey Lurie’s statement that the Patriot’s 24-21 Super Bowl XXXIX victory over his inept team was “suspect.”

You know, he’s right, about that. His QB, Donovan McNabb, barfing during the game was obviously because the Patriots injected him with “sick stuff” prior to the game. And his Eagle coach’s terrible clock management at the end of the game just had to have something to do with the Patriots filming them…right!

Lurie’s comment, “there’s always been talk about (cheating) from the time the game finished and continued on until now. But I’ve moved way on since then.” Moved on? Moved on? Sure doesn’t sound like anyone’s moved on to me.

Raven's Coach John Harbaugh outcoached by Bill Belichick (Photo: turtleboysports.com)
Raven’s Coach John Harbaugh outcoached by Bill Belichick (Photo: turtleboysports.com)

I’m sure you readers can come up with many more. John Harbaugh’s lack of knowledge of the NFL Rule Book immediately comes to mind when he accused the Patriots (inaccurately) of using illegal formations in last years Raven’s playoff loss to New England. Tom Brady hit the nail on the head when he replied “Maybe those guys gotta study the rule book and figure it out…”

This is just a small sampling of the ridiculous ones, I’d like to hear your favorites. Drop them in the comments box and I’ll be sure to check them out.

So, Patriot’s fans, the excuses will continue as long as New England wins and other teams lose. GET USED TO IT. The big question is, would you rather have no complaints and the Patriots lose (you’ll notice none of these complaints arise when the Pats lose) or continue to win-win-win and just shrug it off when the losers whine and complain about how they didn’t really lose?

To me, that’s a no brainer. I’ll always be happier with a win, despite all the sore loser’s comments.

Disclaimer: This article is written by a lifetime Patriot fan, through the good years and the bad. Please hold off on the hate mail. Thanks

Follow me on Twitter @SnowdonBob

Steelers Accuse Patriots With: Failure to Communi-gate

at Gillette Stadium on September 10, 2015 in Foxboro, Massachusetts.

The National Football League season has finally returned. New England fans eagerly packed into Gillete Stadium to witness the celebration of a championship season and hopefully the start of another.  The reigning and defending Super Bowl Champion New England Patriots defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers on September 10th and despite a close score of 28-21, it was never really that much of a contest.

First and foremost, Running Back Dion Lewis looked incredible in his official Patriot’s debut. Lewis had such a strong showing that even a late goal line fumble could not deter this burgeoning superstar’s night. Malcolm Butler proved that even though he is not the caliber cornerback that Darrell Revis is, he is definitely no slouch either. Butler covered the NFL’s number one ranked wide receiver Antonio Brown last night quite admirably. The OffenIsive line held up well despite the absences of centers Bryan Stork and Ryan Wendell. Quarterback Tom Brady was terrific, and with the help of tight ends Rob Gronkowski and Scott Chandler scored four touchdowns and earned a passer rating of 143.8. The reigning champs were really cooking on all four burners; they even decided to cheat by placing the radio version of the football broadcast into the Steeler coaches’ headsets.

Wait, what? If you are confused and in total disbelief by the latest allegations that the New England Patriots have cheated then you haven’t been paying attention. In a world where The Patriots admittedly cheated in 2007 and are accused of cheating in the debacle known as Defaltegate in 2015, it should come as no surprise that a loophole has been created for any team willing to leave their dignity at the door. The Pittsburgh Steelers played like absolute garbage juice and it showed on the field but they had an ace up their sleeve (thanks to Roger Goodell, ESPN and Sports Illustrated.

On Tuesday, September 8th, both ESPN and Sports Illustrated coincidentally released horribly defaming articles filled with unsubstantiated circumstances and allegations about the New England Patriots ranging from 2001-2007. Goal Line Gazette columnist Bob Snowdon covered these two articles here https://goallinegazette.com/2015/09/08/new-england-patriots-espn-the-nfls-propoganda-machine-strikes-again/ in great detail so If you missed it please take a gander. With ESPN focusing on Spygate and the cover up and Sports Illustrated  delving into every urban legend about the Patriots and their supposed cheating ways, it isn’t surprising that the Steelers  took their opportunity to play the cheaters card.

Let the excitement commence, after nearly a whole week we have new “gate”, call it Radio-gate, Headset-gate, Communi-gate or more accurately Sour Grapes-gate.  Now legitimately there was interference on the coach’s headsets but there are two major factors that are being ignored in order to perpetuate the dishonest folklore thrown on New England’s football team. To start, both coaches received interference on their headphone sets as Gillette Stadium is known to do, putting both teams at a disadvantage. In full disclosure, The Pittsburgh Steelers have insisted VIA their website that their head sets cleared up once the officials went to check the Patriots head sets.  The Steelers want us to believe The Patriots stopped fiddling with their feed once the “authorities” were called to investigate.  The Steelers accusation would be plausible if The Patriots were responsible for the head set communications at Gillette Stadium. Sorry conspiracy theorists, the National Football League is responsible for all headset communications.  In the League’s defense they did come forth and validated that they and they alone, are responsible for headset transmissions. When questioned about the headsets after the game by reporters, Coach Mike Tomlin made it very clear that he was upset and this type of thing always happens in New England.

at Gillette Stadium on September 10, 2015 in Foxboro, Massachusetts.

To make matters worse, later in the evening the Patriots conducted a legal goal line shift which caused the Steelers offense to jump off sides. Pittsburgh Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was very upset and  was seen pleading with officials, later during an interview he implied that it was something he knew New England had used before but was unsure if it was legal.  So both Coach Tomlin and his Quarterback are blatantly calling the Patriots out for cheating in two circumstances in which they had done nothing wrong. In essence, this is the work of a cowardly team that didn’t have the guts to say that they played poorly but instead took a ride on “easy way out” train. The Indianapolis Colts may have started this whole mess but at least they owned up to the fact that the Patriots were the better team during the AFC championship.  The Pittsburgh Steelers will unfortunately have to play fifteen other teams this season who are not in the middle of cheating controversy, so it will be interesting to see what excuses they decide to use for their overall ineptitude.

Patriots Take Advantage Of Steelers Mistakes And Get The Victory

The 2015 National Football League regular season has finally begun, and it began Thursday night when the New England Patriots defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers 28-21. The game started out with the two teams struggling to score. On the first series of the game, Pittsburgh took the ball down the field but were stopped inside the thirty-yard line. Steelers kicker Josh Scobee missed his first of two field goals on the night, the first being a forty-four yard attempt.

The unfortunate part of the series for the Patriots was that second-year defensive lineman Dominique Easley went down with a hip injury and did not return to the game. It would be tough for the team to lose him for a significant period of time, seeing how well the Steelers ran the ball on the Patriots Thursday night.

On offense, the Patriots and Tom Brady moved the ball up and down the field with ease all night long. Tom Brady finished 25 of 32, for 288 yards, and four touchdown passes. He was sharp as he has ever been, and with the victory he surpassed Brett Favre as the winning quarterback with one single franchise with 161 wins. All the off field noise and distractions did not seem to bother him one bit.

The real story of the night offensively for the New England Patriots was the play of Rob Gronkowski. He is without a doubt the most dominating offensive weapon in the game. He finished the game with five receptions, for 94 yards, and three touchdowns. Gronkowski just makes it so easy for Tom Brady, all he needs to do is put the ball high in the air in the end zone. In addition, the Patriots received a contribution from another tight end, Scott Chandler who had a three-yard touchdown reception.

Patriots.com
Patriots.com

The Patriots received big time offensive contributions as well from Julian Edelman, and the surprise player of training camp Dion Lewis. Lewis finished with 69 yards on 15 carries. He did however fumble the ball inside the five yard line at a key moment in the fourth quarter. Luckily it was recovered by Rob Gronkowski and the Patriots scored a few plays later.

Even though Julian Edelman did not play at all in the preseason, and was sidelined for much of camp with an ankle injury, he did not show any rust on Thursday night. Edelman brought in 11 catches, for 97 yards. He was as always, the spark plug in the Patriots offense catching short passes and consistently getting yards after the catch. Fans need to pray that he stays heathy, because it will be nearly impossible to replace that production.

The Patriots defense started out fast and with energy, but tailed off greatly as the night went on. The front seven was decent and got to the quarterback when they needed to. Nevertheless, DeAngelo Williams ran for 127 yards, mostly right through the middle of the defense. In addition, the secondary was as expected, inconsistent.

Malcolm Butler was manned up for the vast majority of the game against Antonio Brown, who is an absolute freak. That is no excuse for poor play from Butler, he should be expected to take on top tier receivers as the teams number one corner. He did fight hard against Brown and had a few flashes, but for the most part he just seemed out matched and out talented.

Patriots.com
Patriots.com

Antonio Brown finished with nine catches on eleven targets, for 133 yards, and a touchdown. The secondary certainly will be a work in progress, and one main takeaway from the week one victory is that they did not give up many points and made stops when they had to.

In conclusion, the Patriots made a statement win on Thursday night while putting all the distractions from outside behind them and focusing on, “Doing their Job.” Tom Brady was phenomenal, and the offense with two rookie lineman, looked like the best in the league. The defense is for sure a work in progress but nothing is perfect in week one.

Now the team has a nice break over the weekend, and they will need it because Ralph Wilson Stadium will be raucous next Sunday when the Patriots travel to take on Rex Ryan and the new look Buffalo Bills. You can almost bet on that game being much tougher than Thursday nights game. Winning the first game is nice, now its on to Buffalo.

Week 1: Patriots vs. Steelers Preview

There’s no better way to start the 2015 NFL season than pitting two classic franchises against each other on Thursday Night Football. The Pittsburgh Steelers will have their hands full defending the reigning New England Patriots, but don’t expect this to be a blowout by any means. Let’s break it down and see what each team is bringing to the table.

via nydailynews.com
via nydailynews.com

New England Offense vs. Pittsburgh Defense

Two words: Tom Brady. Need I say more? The return of the veteran quarterback has been the talk of the NFL, and people are expecting a huge game from him. Brady will be throwing to familiar receivers Edelman and Amendola, though Edelman may have limited receptions due to his ankle issues. Brady’s most important weapon, Rob Gronkowski, is healthy and ready to play week 1 (a rarity for the monstrous tight end). The suspension of LeGarrette Blount and the recent loss of center Bryan Stork will hurt what run game the Patriots had, but it’s safe to say Brady will be airing it out all game long regardless.

And why wouldn’t he? The Steelers have an extremely weak defense right now. It’s going to be target practice for Brady against a secondary riddled with injuries and stitched together by backups and low round draft picks. The only defensive back who may pose a threat is Brandon Boykin, a strong slot corner who will most likely be working against Edelman and Amendola. The defensive front is just as bad for the Steelers. Their only redeeming player is the impressive pass rusher Shaq Mason. Should the left guard be able to contain Mason, though, Brady will have a clean pocket to throw from all night.

186737022-ben-roethlisberger-of-the-pittsburgh-gettyimages

Pittsburgh Offense vs. New England Defense

Leading the Steelers is Ben Roethlisberger, another veteran quarterback who can still throw with the best of them. Roethlisberger has one of the best receivers in the game in Antonio Brown and should be giving him plenty of targets all night long. The suspension of Martavis Bryant, however, will limit the talent Big Ben has to throw to. Top running back Le’Veon Bell is also suspended and will be replaced by Deangelo Williams. Williams won’t have any trouble running the ball, but don’t expect an overly productive run game. This is especially true because of the loss of Maurkice Pouncey, the Steeler’s best offensive lineman.

Even with a strong passing attack the Steeler’s offense is outmatched by the Patriots defense. New England may have the most stacked defense in the league, and this comes after losing three of their starters at the end of last season. While there are still many questions waiting to be answered about the Pats secondary, it’s safe to say the front seven will be dominating this game. Pass rushers Ninkovich and Jones will be getting to Roethlisberger, while run stoppers Easley and Brown should be negating any rushing attempts. Add to the mix the best linebacker squad in football and Big Ben and the Steelers are looking at a very rough Thursday night.

I see this game being close for a while until the Patriots pull away late in the third quarter. The Steelers will no doubt have a great offensive night, but the strength of the Patriots defense coupled with Brady’s rage being thrown at Pittsburgh’s secondary is enough to turn the tide. Regardless of the outcome, football fans should be ready for a great opening game to 2015 NFL season.

 

Keys To The Game On Defense For The New England Patriots

via zimbio.com
via zimbio.com

The New England Patriots are in full game preparation mode for their Thursday night opener against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Gillette Stadium. The Steelers were an 11-5 team last season and won their division with the third spot in the AFC playoffs. However, an injury to Le’Veon Bell in week seventeen lead to the Steelers falling short to the Ravens in the wild card round. Don’t let their early round exit fool you, the Steelers were a dominant team at times in 2014, mainly offensively.

The Ben Roethlisberger lead offense finished the season second overall in total offense, behind the New Orleans Saints. Pittsburgh will have one of the most dangerous offensive players in the game on Thursday night with Antonio Brown. The young inexperienced secondary, and defense as a whole will certainly have their hands full Thursday night. Here are my keys to the game defensively for the Patriots on Thursday night.

186737022-ben-roethlisberger-of-the-pittsburgh-gettyimages

Contain Ben Roethlisberger: One of the main reasons for the Steelers being one of the most consistent teams in the league over the past ten years is Ben Roethlisberger. His uncanny size for a quarterback at 6-5, 241 pounds makes him very difficult to knock off balance and sack. He can shake off defensive lineman and roll out of the pocket and make big throws. As Bill Belichick said in his press conference this week he touched upon Roethlisberger’s size.

“Very hard to take down, very difficult to get down. On top of that he’s got great vision, very good accuracy downfield. He doesn’t have to step into the throw, or have a clean pocket. Guys hanging all over him, falling down. He’s as good as anyone we play at that.”

The Patriots will need to contain him and keep him inside the pocket, because when he gets outside and finds open receivers down field he unleashes it. Players such as Chandler Jones, Jabaal Sheard, and Jamie Collins will be essential in keeping Roethlisberger contained. He won’t take off and run like an Andrew Luck, but he still needs to be kept in tact. Jamie Collins played a key role in keeping Andrew Luck inside the pocket twice last season.

186902879-new-england-patriots-player-kyle-arrington-gettyimages

Bracket Brown: Antonio Brown is without a doubt one of the top three wide receivers in the National Football League. He is extremely fast and is lethal when he gets into the open field. Pittsburgh uses him in the slot as well as on the outside. All Patriots fans should be expecting the Steelers to target Antonio Brown early and often, given the very unproven Patriots secondary.

Last season the Bill Belichick had the pleasure of having two very solid cornerbacks, and they were able to double cover elite wide receivers with ease, with Devin McCourty or Duron Harmon shading over the top. This season, and on Thursday night it will be very different. The team can still double team Antonio Brown, but they will be more vulnerable when matching up with Marcus Wheaton one on one. However, Malcolm Butler and Tarell Brown should be able to get the job done this week because the Steelers only have one dangerous wide receiver.

Bend And Don’t Break: The Patriots defense does not have much talent at the cornerback position leaving them vulnerable against a pass happy offense like Pittsburgh’s. With Le’Veon Bell suspended, the Steelers will be chucking the ball all over the gridiron. The Patriots may play a bit of zone coverage as well, because the first few weeks are a feeling out period.

That means yards will be given up. The main point for the Patriots is they need to get off the field, particularly past the fifty yard line, and when they are in the red zone. Make Pittsburgh settle for field goals not touchdowns, because the Patriots offense should be able to answer.

Be Afraid NFL, Brady’s Back and he’s pissed

With the NFL season about to start we can all finally focus on football and not any faulty or biased news going against the Patriots. The man happiest about all of this, Tom Brady. Brady and the whole “DeflateGate” BS scandal has been the news headline for the past seven and a half months and is all that has been talked about. The NFL and ESPN have set out to ruin Brady’s name and his legacy with all of the false information that has been put out and I guarantee that Brady is pissed, and I love it. This is not the guy you want to make mad, when he’s angry he is unstoppable, and on a whole different level and there in no one who can beat him. Now with the season about to be underway Brady can focus on one thing, getting ring number five. I’d like to thank the league in advance for creating this monster who is going to be on the field in 2015 and who is going to lead the Patriots to back to back Super Bowls. (Again)

via gillettesgallerygods.wordpress.com
via gillettesgallerygods.wordpress.com

When the world doubts Brady he pretty much gives them the middle finger, goes out drops 50 points and just dominates and teams should learn this by now and be scared to play Brady and the Patriots. Last years Patriots team struggled out the gate going 2-2 to start the season and suffered an embarrassing loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. In the first four games Brady passed for only 791 yards with four touchdowns and two interceptions. Critics started coming for Brady saying that he and the Patriots were done and in the words of Trent Dilfer “just not good anymore”. Brady made them eat their words and think twice about what they said going 4-0 over the next four games passing for 1,268 yards and 14 touchdowns with no interceptions. Against the Bears alone Brady looked like he was going to pass for 10 touchdowns passing for five touchdowns and 354 yards only a little into the third quarter before being taken out of the game. Brady finished the year with over 4,100 yards, 33 touchdowns and 9 interceptions in the regular season and his fourth Super Bowl championship.

via titletownsoundoff.com
via titletownsoundoff.com

Brady’s anger, determination and leadership is what lead his team throughout the season and ultimately to the Super Bowl they ended up winning in February. And this anger was only due to people saying that he was no longer an elite quarterback and not at the top of his game, nowhere near what people were saying about him this offseason. He was made out to be a cheater in the public eye and that he was tarnishing the game of football when he did nothing wrong and Judge Richard Berman ultimately agreed with Brady and his team, that he did nothing wrong with no evidence from the league and the Wells Report. The last time something like this happened was in 2007 with the “SpyGate” scandal and Brady played with a vengeance setting many records.

In 2007 Brady passed for over 4,800 yards and set the record for most passing touchdowns in a season in NFL history with 50. Brady played with a vengeance and anger this season that I think will be even worse this season. During this season Steelers safety Anthony Smith made the idiotic claim of guaranteeing a victory against the Patriots. This surely made Brady mad because he threw at Smith time and time again and made him look foolish on the field.

via nydailynews.com
via nydailynews.com

Brady was never referenced as having a role in “SpyGate”, unlike “DeflateGate” has been referenced solely as Brady being involved. During the preseason you could tell Brady didn’t look like himself on or off the field and I think it had a lot to do with everything that was going on. Though the NFL is appealing Judge Berman’s decision to lift Brady’s suspension, this is all pretty much behind Brady and he can focus on doing the thing he loves most playing football. He doesn’t have to worry about having to go to court hearings and having to fight the league he has been apart of the past 16 years about something he had no involvement with. He can go out and focus on playing football each and every week and being the best he can and dominating his opponent, because even though he no longer has to think about “DeflateGate” he is going to take all the anger and emotions he has had about it over the past several months out on the football field and it all starts against Pittsburgh. The Banner is going to be raised, Gillette Stadium will be electric and Tom Brady will be under center playing quarterback and would not surprise me if he goes out there and throws for 400-500 yards and four or five touchdowns. He is going to show no mercy on Pittsburgh or any other opponent this season and the rest of the 31 teams in the NFL should be worried.

Stopping Gronk? Good luck with that Pittsburgh

The Steelers were ranked 27th in pass defense last season and they plan on improving that this season, and according to two Steelers players they plan on doing that in week one by stopping Rob Gronkowski. Yes they seriously think they are going to stop Rob Gronkowski.

via fansided.com
via fansided.com

Steelers’ linebacker Ryan Shazier and safety Mike Mitchell said that the Steelers have a game plan to stop Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski in Thursday’s opening game. The two said that they are going to be physical with Gronkowski and not give him an easy welcoming into the 2015 season. The fact that these two could even say this is just foolish. Gronkowski is the best tight end in the league without question, and when healthy might be the most dominating player in the league at any position. You’re going to be physical with Gronkowski? Gronk is 6’6 and 265 pounds of all muscle while Shazier stands 6’2 229 pounds and Mitchell is 6’ 210 pounds, so if you think you’re going to be able to be physical and stop Gronkowski you can have fun with that because it won’t happen.

via zimbio.com
via zimbio.com

Gronkowski has played well against every team he’s played against; one team in particular he has dominated against has been the Steelers. In three games against Pittsburgh, Gronkowski has 309 receiving yards and four receiving touchdowns. Saying you are going to stop Rob Gronkowski is a lot easier said than done. Last season Gronk showed his dominance throughout the whole season by staying healthy and not missing anytime. In 2014 he recorded 82 receptions, 1,124 yards and 12 touchdowns. He is a defensive nightmare for opposing teams with his size, strength, speed, catching ability and his ability to block and be physical. Not many in the league are able to match up against Gronk defensively and he has shown time and time again that he just cannot be stopped. Gronkowski will have a great game against Pittsburgh, like he always does, and will go on to have another fantastic and possibly his best season yet in New England.

via sportsofboston.com
via sportsofboston.com

These guys should think next time before they want to make claims like this and talk before playing against the Patriots. Back in 2007 Steelers safety Anthony Smith guaranteed a victory against the undefeated Patriots. It didn’t work out too well for Smith whose Steelers were badly beaten 34-13, and Smith was embarrassed multiple times during the game by having Brady just constantly throw at him, constantly beating him. Like the Patriots and Tom Brady didn’t have enough fire and anger entering the 2015 season these two are just adding more fuel to the fire. I’m looking to see Brady and Gronk dominate once again and beat the Steelers, and also hope to see Gronk “throw someone out the club” like he did last year to Colts safety Sergio Brown, quite frankly just because its fun to see.

FANTASY ALERT: Martavis Bryant to Miss First Four Games

at EverBank Field on August 14, 2015 in Jacksonville, Florida.

Gather ‘round kids, it’s story time. Let me tell you a story about a guy who loved to play fantasy football. This guy was in a very high-stakes league, with a lot of money involved. His league-mates were impatient, and loved to have their draft extremely early. So, at the end of July, they drafted. This guy was a very-well prepared fantasy player, and was very happy with his draft. His quarterback was Ben Roethlisberger. Many mocked this selection. He defended it adamantly, believing the Steelers to have the most dynamic offense in the league. The Steelers boast possibly the top back in the league, Le’Veon Bell, who is a dynamic runner who is also arguably the best receiving running back in the NFL. They have Antonio Brown, perhaps the best receiver in the league, who while undersized, is an extremely versatile receiver who can play against all types of coverage. He has the perfect compliment in Martavis Bryant. Bryant was a rookie a year ago, but is the ultimate deep threat, catching eight touchdowns as a rookie and averaging well over 20 yards a catch. This guy also had Bryant on his team, believing he got a steal to put in his flex spot. He sat and laughed as Kelvin Benjamin and Jordy Nelson both suffered season-long injuries. While he felt sorry for the players, he felt it was what his league-mates deserved for rushing the draft. Now karma has struck, and Martavis Bryant will miss the first four games for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy.

If you haven’t guessed by now, that guy is me, and I’m still a little sour about it. For a long time now, we knew Le’Veon Bell would not be on the field to start the season. His three game suspension has been reduced to two, however, and it looks like it shouldn’t by too big of a deal for anyone. Now Bryant is out for the same amount of time as Tom Brady, the first quarter of the season. Think about this: on opening night in New England, Le’Veon Bell, Tom Brady, and Martavis Bryant will all be on the sideline. The NFL might think they’re doing what’s best for them, but what they’re really doing is self-inflicting themselves with wounds that will probably drop viewership, and therefore cost them money.

The Bryant suspension is not definite at this point. He is appealing, and as we all know, appeals of NFL suspensions can take forever. Tom Brady appealed in the middle of May, had his appeal hearing at the end of June, and still


it wasn’t ruled on until the end of July. Oh yeah, and the “crime” he’s being punished for occurred in January.

In 2014, there were a multitude of rookie receivers that burst on to the scene. Amidst the rise of Odell Beckham Jr., Mike Evans, Kelvin Benjamin, and Sammy Watkins, among many others, Bryant kind of got lost in the shuffle. All he did was catch 26 passes for 549 yards, 8 touchdowns, and his deep threat helped open up even more for the already dynamic Antonio Brown. As it stands right now, Bryant will miss games against the Patriots, 49ers, Rams, and Ravens.

Quarterback Michael Vick signs with Pittsburgh Steelers

 

Quarterback Michael Vick last played for the New York Jets.

After a brief stint with the New York Jets, free agent quarterback Michael Vick has signed with the Pittsburgh Steelers. The deal is for one year, and only worth roughly $1 million.

Vick had was drafted first overall by the Atlanta Falcons in the 2001 draft, and became a franchise quarterback, leading the team to a conference championship game in 2004. He was released from the team when he was arrested for dogfighting in 2007, and served 21 months in prison followed by 2 months house arrest. He made his return by playing for the Philadelphia Eagles. Vick did lead the Eagles to a playoff spot in 2009 and again in 2010, but never was able to lead them into deep playoff runs or stay healthy and consistent. In 2013 the Eagles chose not to resign Vick, who had been replaced by Nick Foles as starting QB.

Looking like his career may end, Vick was given the gift of a 1 year 5 million dollar contract by the New York Jets in 2014 to mentor the struggling Geno Smith. It proved to be an effort in futility for the Jets, in week 10 Vick was named their starter over Smith, and he pulled off their second win of the season. He had only started three games, and only competed 52.9% of his passes for 604 yards, throwing only for three touchdowns and two interceptions.

Michael Vick’s role with the Steelers is unknown, but it is a given that he is going to be a veteran backup to franchise quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. The signing could make sense as the other quarterbacks on the Steelers roster, Bruce Gradkowski and Landry Jones, are either injured or have yet to prove their worth. Other than being a backup, Vick could provide more versatility when it comes to the possibility of more attempts at two-point conversions, especially with the extra point distance being pushed back.