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Breaking Down the Inside Linebackers for the 2014 Pittsburgh Steelers Roster

July 7th, 2014 at 10:03 PM
By Mark Mihalko

There will definitely be a different look to the Pittsburgh Steelers inside linebackers in 2014. Gone is veteran Larry Foote, who missed almost the all of 2013 due to injury. While Lawrence Timmons returns, the cast of players next to him will be different.

'Tiny Steelers?' photo (c) 2009, Andy - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/
Starting opposite Timmons will likely be rookie first round selection Ryan Shazier. He was one of the more interesting linebacker prospects that the Steelers brought in for a visit during the pre-draft process. Athletic and smart, he has been a consistent team-leader on defense and has the look of a player that can make an impact in the NFL. At 6-1, 237-pounds, Shazier put on a show at his Pro Day, recording a blazing 4.38 40-yard dash and a solid 42-inch vertical. More importantly, these demonstrations of raw athleticism are backed up by production on the field, where he shows tremendous closing speed, quickness off the edge as a blitzer, fluidity, and a relentless motor with a high football acumen.  

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Breaking Down the Defensive Line for the 2014 Pittsburgh Steelers Roster

July 5th, 2014 at 9:46 PM
By Mark Mihalko

As America continues to celebrate Independence Day this weekend, it is time to stop, remember, and appreciate those who have served our country and protected our freedom. Too often, those men and women who defend our freedom are overlooked and forgotten, especially when comparing it to the appreciation and gratitude fans show their favorite sports team. To those men and women who dedicate their lives to serving our country, we say Thank You!

'Winding Up' photo (c) 2006, Joey Gannon - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/
The Pittsburgh Steelers will have a different look up front on their defense this upcoming season. Gone are former starters Brett Keisel and Ziggy Hood, and the team will have at least one new starter as they enter the 2014 campaign. Steve McLendon, who was signed to a multi-year contract in 2013 will return to the nose tackle position. While Mclendon is not the same space-eater that Hampton was, he is more athletic and should be more disruptive, especially in the passing game.

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Pittsburgh Steelers Linebacker Chris Carter Has a Lot to Prove Entering Training Camp

July 4th, 2014 at 11:31 PM
By Mark Mihalko

Much of the recent Pittsburgh Steelers news has centered on the linebacking corps has mostly focused on rookie first round pick Ryan Shazier. Rightfully so, with his linebacker lineage, he may be able to transition into the Pittsburgh Steelers' system quicker than others, potentially even earning playing time early in his career. While Shazier is the defensive player, many will be watching the competition between rookie Jordan Zumwalt and Fourth-year linebacker Chris Carter may be the one to watch in training camp.

'Chargers @ Steelers' photo (c) 2012, Fido - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/
Of those two, Carter may have to most to prove moving forward, especially considering he is entering the final year of his rookie contract and must show enough to possibly earn another deal. To this point, he has had an up and down career to say the least.

Carter is an interesting player, who has battled nagging injuries throughout his career. However, the 6-1, 246 pound fifth round selection from Fresno State has solid athleticism, and is an explosive edge rusher that could play a huge role by developing into a viable back-up at the outside linebacker position. Blessed with a non-stop motor, he has enough size and speed to be a valuable asset in pursuit. However, he is not the biggest linebacker, and had a problem setting the edge against larger offensive linemen, but that flaw can be corrected with some added technique and weight room work.

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Breaking Down the Safeties for the 2014 Pittsburgh Steelers Roster

July 3rd, 2014 at 10:53 PM
By Mark Mihalko

The breakdown of the potential 2014 Pittsburgh Steelers defense may be a challenge, as every position has seen both addition and subtractions in an attempt to get younger and faster. One position that will definitely have a different look is safety, where the team parted ways with one veteran and made an early free agency splash to land his replacement.

'Cleveland Browns vs. Pittsburgh Steelers' photo (c) 2013, Erik Drost - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/
With Ryan Clark gone and free agent signee Mike Mitchell in place next to Troy Polamalu, the unit definitely added some athleticism and speed to the back end. The 6-1, 207-pound free safety is coming off a solid season with the Panthers and at 26 had his best season in the NFL.

The biggest question will be how well Mitchell will fit next to Polamalu, as the two have only worked together during minicamp. Polamlu had another solid season and could thrive with a physical presence beside him. This will definitely be a position to watch in training camp, as the defense must have those two players in sync with eachother to be successful.

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Breaking Down the Offensive Line for the 2014 Pittsburgh Steelers Roster

June 25th, 2014 at 9:52 PM
By Mark Mihalko

The breakdown of the potential 2013 Pittsburgh Steelers offense is nearly complete. With the skill positions wrapped up, all that remains is potentially the most important part of he unit, the offensive line. This season, the line will be undergoing some schematic changes, including the move toward a more zone-based scheme, which should actually fit their athletic make-up better than a man-based scheme. How they adapt in camp will be a huge sign at the overall success of the offense.

'Chargers @ Steelers' photo (c) 2012, Fido - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/
There have not been many changes this offseason, with the return of Maurkice Pouncey to the fold after missing the majority of 2013 with a torn ACL. In fact, other than the addition of offensive tackle Wesley Johnson (Vanderbilt) in the draft, everything will be status quo.

Of course, the major question is who will man the left tackle position with Kelvin Beachum opening camp in that role. In 2013, Mike Adams failed miserably early on, and Beachum became a settling force up-front once he entered the starting line-up.

The biggest battle in camp should come from Mike Adams and Marcus Gilbert at the right tackle position. Both Adams and Gilbert had somewhat disappointing seasons in 2013 and must improve to be part of the long-term solution for the franchise

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