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Pro Sports Wrap - Sports Personality of the Day:Patrick Marleau

1. LB James Harrison- Does everything well.
2. S Troy Polamalu- Hey there, thanks for reading.
3. QB Ben Roethlisberger- Where would this offense be without him? Yeah, that was a rhetorical question buddy.
4. LB Lawrence Timmons- Simply a beast in the middle.
5. CB Ike Taylor- Great shutdown corner who is their only worthy player at the position.

6. WR Mike Wallace- Trust me, I'm not underrating this monster of a deep threat.
7. LB LaMarr Woodley- He may be a little bit low, but that says more about the Steelers' defensive talent than Woodley's.
8. TE Heath Miller- His great blocking is really overlooked.

9. LB James Farrior- A very reliable veteran, and seriously grammar doesn't really matter in these rankings guys.
10. RB Rashard Mendenhall- I'm starting to think that this guy may be a little overrated.

11. DE Brett Keisel- Team's best DE with Aaron Smith getting older and Ziggy Hood proving that he is a bust.
12. S Ryan Clark- He hits hard.
13. WR Hines Ward- Can still make the plays when you need him to. And by plays, I'm talking about the plays that keep the chains moving; he ain't Mike Wallace that's for sure.
14. WR Antonio Brown- Young and restless, he would be a huge benefactor of a real offensive line.
15. T Willie Colon- Believe me, I also think I have him too low; but the only good offensive lineman on the Steelers has rarely been healthy, and I question his ability to contribute on a week-to-week basis because of his lack of health.

16. DT Casey Hampton- He can still clog up them holes.
17. RB Isaac Redman- Watch the breakout, cuz it's coming.
18. LB Larry Foote- Would probably start for at least 20 other NFL teams.
19. WR Emmanuel Sanders- He can catch and run. What else do you want? Juggling?

20. CB Keenan Lewis- Only because I like the upside, and Max Starks is not a viable option on this list. Oh yeah, and Maurkice Pouncey stinks. Don't believe me? I really think that you shouldn't be buying into the hype, because his rookie brother is already killing him.
Roasted the Titans yesterday


9/2011 WR Rankings

September 24th 2011 13:50
1. Larry Fitzgerald
2. Andre Johnson
3. Calvin Johnson
4. Reggie Wayne
5. Steve Smith CAR
6. Roddy White
7. Greg Jennings
8. Brandon Marshall
9. Kenny Britt
10. Mike Wallace
11. Miles Austin
12. Santonio Holmes
13. Marques Colston
14. Jeremy Maclin
15. DeSean Jackson
16. Vincent Jackson
17. Anquan Boldin
18. Mike Williams TB
19. Steve Smith PHI
20. Hakeem Nicks
21. Lance Moore
22. Sidney Rice
23. Santana Moss
24. Brandon Lloyd
25. Dwayne Bowe
26. Braylon Edwards
27. Johnny Knox
28. Dez Bryant
29. Wes Welker
30. Austin Collie
31. Mario Manningham
32. Steve Johnson
33. Earl Bennett
34. AJ Green
35. Percy Harvin
36. Jordy Nelson
37. Malcolm Floyd
38. Pierre Garcon
39. Nate Washington
40. Davone Bess
41. Hines Ward
42. Robert Meachem
43. Mike Thomas
44. Donald Driver
45. Lee Evans
46. Julio Jones
47. James Jones
48. Antonio Brown
49. Jordan Shipley
50. Derrick Mason
Musgrave must use him more

Week 3 Picks

Bengals over 49ers
Panthers over Jaguars
Lions over Vikings
Titans over Broncos
Browns over Dolphins
Eagles over Giants
Saints over Texans
Patriots over Bills
Ravens over Rams
Jets over Raiders
Chargers over Chiefs
Packers over Bears
Cardinals over Seahawks
Falcons over Bucs
Steelers over Colts
Redskins over Cowboys (To make this more interesting)

2011 Week 1 Preview: Ravens and Steelers

September 8th 2011 15:12
I have another week 1 game preview for you precious few faithful readers of this blog. It involves another tantalizing matchup between two Super Bowl contenders who just happen to be perhaps the biggest rivals in the NFL. This game already has division championship and bye week implications, because a Steelers- or Ravens- win would put the other team in a hole early on.

From a schematic standpoint, signing Bryant McKinnie and Lee Evans were two of the best offensive additions that they could have made in the offseason. Even though I think Jared Gaither is the better player, McKinnie is a solid left tackle when he keeps his weight in check. Derrick Mason, as old as he is, is an underrated player who is one of the better possession receivers in the league. That being said, the Ravens didn't need another possession receiver- they have Anquan Boldin. No, they needed to get a deep threat, and they got their man.

We all know about Joe Flacco's arm, but he hasn't had the chance to show his arm quite yet. Evans was in a messy situation in Buffalo, and he now has the chance to show his talent. The problem is that the rest of the receivers around Flacco just aren't all that good. Tight end Dennis Pitta could be something, but all he really is right now is a "what if" guy.

The McKinnie move was extremely important, because of Michael Oher. If you don't know who that is, then I strongly suggest that you lift up the rock you have been living under. Oher had a strong rookie campaign at right tackle because of his run blocking ability, but he was an enormous liability at left tackle. It seems ironic that the movie is called "The Blindside", because Oher wasn't helping out Flacco very much at LT. I expect a nice rebound year from him, and that's mainly thanks to McKinnie.

Over on the other side, the Steelers have a weak secondary. Nobody is going to call Polamalu and Ike Taylor bad players, unless if you're a Ravens fan, but Ryan Clark is really the only other solid starter in the secondary. Their lack of depth at corner is a travesty for a team with such a prolific front seven.

About that, I really want to watch this Steelers defense go at the Ravens offensive line. It is a matchup that will be a lot closer than what a casual fan might think, because guys like Ben Grubbs, Matt Birk, and Marshal Yanda can really play some ball. And oh by the way, Andre Gurode and Jah Reid are their backups. Yeah, that's a really damn good line.

Even with Vonta Leach paving the way, this isn't a game meant for Ray Rice. The way the Ravens win is if they can effectively spread the ball around and shred the secondary. The thing is, they just don't have that many offensive weapons as far as receiving threats go.

Alright, it's time to switch sides. They say everything starts up front, so let us start up front. I honestly think Maurkice Pouncey is an overrated player, and that Haloti Ngata is going to be a monstrous problem for the Steelers line. There is no way that they handle him or Terrell Suggs. One thing here, Suggs gets more snaps as an end, not OLB. Willie Colon is the only offensive lineman on the Steelers who I can call "good", and this front seven will just eat these guys up.

Passing the football effectively is the easiest way to win games, and the Steelers have the advantage in this respect when you compare their passing offense with the opposition's pass defense. It baffles me that Domonique Foxworth and Chris Carr are not listed as starters, because they are the only proven corners on this roster.

There is no doubt that Jimmy Smith has the potential to be a great cornerback, but let's not forget that potential doesn't usually get fulfilled at first. Plus, I doubt he ends up being as consistent as Carr, and he most likely won't be as good as Foxworth this season. Smith is a real wild card, and I would suggest starting Foxworth. And Cary Williams is starting? Really?

If not for those roster management gaffes- either that or the depth chart I am looking at is wrong- the Ravens would be suited to face the Steelers receivers. Ed Reed is not a guy you want to mess with, and Bernard Pollard is a solid player in the box. However, you should never ask him to cover. The depth chart I am reading also says that Tom Zbikowski is starting over Pollard, and that also doesn't make much sense.

Antonio Brown, Heath Miller, Mike Wallace, Jerricho Cotchery, Emmanuel Sanders, and Hines Ward are six legitimate weapons whom the Ravens must keep up with. I see Miller ending up with a huge day, business as usual for Wallace- which means he gashes the Ravens with a couple of deep catches, and one of the other wideouts having a solid game. As for the Ravens receivers, I think this could end up being a big day for Lee Evans if he can seize the moment.

I am focusing so much on both team's passing offenses, because this is the way that these teams will win. This game is going to be fought in the trenches and in the air. With that being said, both teams are almost evenly matched save for a few key differences. I think the Steelers are stronger defensively and have the better receiving game, so I see them winning the game on a classic late game drive by Ben Roethlisberger.

Score: Steelers 24 Ravens 20

MVP: Heath Miller

The towel wins

The Steelers are obviously in good shape with another Super Bowl appearance under their belts. However, there are still some weaknesses on this roster that need to be patched up.

We all know how great Ben Roethlisberger is, and they are deep at quarterback. Dennis Dixon is a decent player, Byron Leftwich is startable, and Charlie Batch is a good veteran backup. The Steelers have arguably the best group of QBs in the league. The Philadelphia Eagles are close with Kevin Kolb, Michael Vick, and Mike Kafka. The Packers are also in contention with Aaron Rodgers, Matt Flynn, and Graham Harrell.

Rashard Mendenhall is a good power rusher, and Mewelde Moore is one of the premier third down backs in the game. He racks up yards after contact and played really well in the Super Bowl. At receiver, Mike Wallace is the best deep threat in the game. Their receivers play well off of eachother's strengths and weaknesses. Hines Ward is a possession receiver that plays the short game. Heath Miller is a solid blocking tight end that is a nice red zone target as well as another short range receiver. Emmanuel Sanders and Antonio Brown are speedy downfield receivers. Overall, it is a solid core that suits Roethlisberger.

Willie Colon was missed last season, and he is a huge upgrade over the completely inept Jonathan Scott at left tackle. Colon is a solid player, and he is the best offensive lineman on the Steelers. Chris Kemoeatu is a great run blocker who has incredible strength. He does a great job of pulling defensive linemen and creating holes. I would say he is the second best OL on Pittsburgh. Rookie center Maurkice Pouncey is overhyped, but he is still a great leader- especially for a young player- and he will definitely be a good player for years to come.

Trai Essex is a poor guard, and Flozell Adams is a decent run blocker but horrible in every other part of his game. Adams is too old and is only a decent run blocker because of his size. The O-Line has no depth, and the Steelers sorely need to draft a guard and maybe a tackle too.

Defense has always been a strength in Pittsburgh, and it all starts with Dick LeBeau's amazing blitz packages in his 3-4 defense. Aaron Smith is still one of the better run stopping ends in the league, and that's very important for a 3-4 end. Brett Keisel put together a nice year in 2010, and fellow 2010 starter- because Smith was out for the year- Ziggy Hood was also solid. Nick Eason is a capable backup too.

James Harrison is a stellar pass rusher, and he plays a rugged style that makes him pay far too much fine money. However, Harrison is the best linebacker in the league because of his pass rushing ability and his decent run D. LaMarr Woodley completes the dynamic edge rushing duo. He is very explosive and is a nightmare for opposing quarterbacks.

James Farrior is actually still a solid player, even at this stage in his career. Farrior's leadership and excellence are vital, and he is the one that mentored Lawrence Timmons. Farrior still gets the tackles; he always has. Lawrence Timmons had an incredible year last year and was the second best linebacker in 2010; behind teammate James Harrison. Timmons is going to be a star in the NFL for a while. Jason Worilds and Larry Foote are solid backups.

The biggest problem with the Steelers lies with their cornerbacks. Ike Taylor is a top cover corner that excels in zone coverage, but he's the only person on this roster worth starting at the position. Teams almost always throw it away from him because their other corners are just so bad. Bryant McFadden is a physical corner, but he gives up far too many catches and repeatedly gets burned. Nickel corner William Gay is poor. The only good thing I have to say about is that he's fast, and pretty much every cornerback in the NFL is fast. Fourth corner Anthony Madison is terrible and can't cover at all.

Ryan Clark and Troy Polamalu make up one of the five best safety tandems. Clark is a vicious hitter that is excellent in run support, but he is one of the worst safeties in coverage. Polamalu is one of the biggest superstars in football, and his meaning to the Steelers cannot be expressed in words. He is such an athletic and instinctive player that can do it all. Polamalu can blitz, intercept, and he is the guy that the scheme revolves around. Antonio Brown is a good returner and so are backup returners Antwaan Randle El and Emmanuel Sanders. Shane Suisham is one of the worst kickers in the league, and punter Jeremy Kapinos is subpar.

Mike Tomlin is one of the best coaches out there, and his players love to play for him. He does a great job of motivating and managing. We already talked about LeBeau, and both of them help make up a really good coaching staff. With all that being said, I see the Steelers going deep in the playoffs again next season. What about you? Leave your input in the comments section.
Pittsburgh's Main Man

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