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To be Blount, this is a great pickup for Steelers

Written by Dan Gigler on .

ablountal

It's not often that I get to say I told you so -- mostly because I'm rarely right or prescient about anything -- but the Steelers' acquisition today of LeGarrette Blount is a terrific move, even if it comes four years late. 

During the 2010 NFL Draft, myself and former colleague Colin Dunlap were both hot on the idea of the Steelers taking a late-round flier on the punishing Oregon Duck back (nicknames: Blount Force Trauma and The Winnebago) to be an excellent, powerful compliment to the gamebreaking-though-contact-averse style of Rashard Mendenhall. 

Every team passed on Blount in the 2010 draft, as he was football Kryptonite in the wake of his season long 2009 suspension for knocking out cold a Boise State player who, I'm sorry, was begging for it, after getting in Blount's face after a fiercely contested game between the two teams in 2009.

Tennessee ended up taking Blount as a UFA, but was picked up on waivers by Tampa, where he saw his first pro action and scored a garbage time touchdown against the Steelers in September 2010. He went on to rush for 1,007 yards in only seven starts in 2010, only the second rookie UFA RB to ever pass the millennium mark.

After a pair of middling seasons on downright bad Tampa teams, he was traded to New England during the 2013 draft. He scored 7 touchdowns in 7 starts and showed flashes of absolute dominance late in the season, including 334 total yards against Buffalo (a team record: 189 rushing, 145 return) with two touchdowns, and a four touchdown, 166-yard rushing performance in the AFC Divisional Playoff against Indianapolis. 

Behind a young offensive line and a heady, fleet feature back in Le'Veon Bell who patiently picks his spots -- both of which got progressively better as 2013 wore on -- Blount's bruising style could be a nice additional wrinkle for a Steelers offense that has struggled mightily on the ground and in the red zone for much of the past few seasons (not to mention his ability as a kick returner). I love this acquisition for Pittsburgh.

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Il governatore Steelers

Written by Dan Gigler on .

Gov. Tom Corbett made a much publicized trip to the Vatican today, leading a delegation for a brief audience with Pope Francis, to persuade the head of the Holy See to visit Philadelphia in 2015, not to exorcise the place, but rather for the 8th World Meeting of Families

After his visit with Il Papa, Gov. Corbett, a Pittsburgh native and unabashed Steelers fan, followed the sage advice, "When in Rome, Do as the Yinzers Do" and made a brief stop at La Botticella, a.k.a. "the Steelers bar in Rome" (although now its fair to simply call it the Roman Pittsburgh bar, given its year-round devotion to all Pittsburgh sports).

Below he's pictured with tavern owner Giovanni Poggi (left). 

Gio Guv

Art Rooney Jr., Lawrence Timmons, Cardinal Wuerl, Dan Bylsma, Bishop Zubik and Steelers minority share owner Larry Paul have all previously visited La Botticella in recent years, as have seemingly every man, woman and child with a 412 connection when vacationing in the Eternal City. 

And based on Corbett's atrocious polling numbers, he should hope to meet a few of them, as he'll need every vote he can get. Even from Rome. 

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No like for Ike.

Written by Dan Gigler on .

ike 20131117mfsteelers02-5

Sports Illustrated's Doug Farrar today sharply criticized the Steelers decisions regarding cornerback Ike Taylor -- not that they didn't cut his salary enough, but that they kept him at all

" ... the decision to hold fast with cornerback Ike Taylor defies all available logic ... the question isn’t what Taylor’s worth — the question here is why he’s on Pittsburgh’s roster at all.

In 2013, per Pro Football Focus’ metrics, Taylor was the worst cornerback in the NFL — he allowed 71 receptions on 113 targets for a league-high 1,043 yards, six touchdowns and no interceptions. Opposing quarterbacks threw for a 110.6 passer rating against him, and his most recent season was no fluke — in 2012, he allowed 30 catches on 68 targets for 445 yards, five touchdowns and one pick.

Taylor has a close relationship with team president Dan Rooney, and from all accounts, he’s a great guy — smart, funny and a team leader. That said, a team known for its defense doesn’t hold on to such liabilities when they’re this obvious, and the tape matches the numbers." 

What do you think? Does Ike have anything left in the tank or should the Steelers have simply cut him?

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Another mock for Dennard.

Written by Dan Gigler on .

Add Sports Illustrated's Doug Farrar to the chorus suggesting the Steelers will take a hard look at selecting Michigan State's "No-Fly Zone" cornerback Darqueze Dennard with the no. 15 pick in the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft.

In his latest mock draft released yesterday, Farrar writes

After a few rocky drafts, Steelers GM Kevin Colbert has a plethora of positional holes to consider. A primary issue is at cornerback, where William Gay was the only pass defender to log an opponent passer rating under 88.1 — Ike Taylor, who had the most passing snaps of any Steelers’ cornerback, allowed a 110.6 passer rating and six touchdowns with no picks. Dennard may have a few holes in his game, but he’s got the athleticism and ball skills to be a considerable improvement right off the bat.

Farrar has Ole Miss WR Mike Evans and Notre Dame NT Louis Nix -- frequently discussed as Steelers first round targets -- both off the board just ahead of Dennard, which is consistent with other national writer's mocks to this point.

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Steelers, Travoltified.

Written by Dan Gigler on .

Inspired by Slate's John Travolta name generator, the folks at Uproxx decided to run the names of top athletes through it, often to hilarious effect. But why let them have all the fun? I did the same with a handful of current Steelers.  

Introducing, #7 in black & gold, Brian Ridgardser! 

trav bigben

trav troy

trav tomlin

trav rooney

trav pounce

trav AB

trav bell

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