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The Offical Pittsburgh Steelers Thread


 
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 09-03-2006, 09:04 AM         #201
flex001  OP
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Imagine it.

The Miami Dolphins vs. the Pittsburgh Steelers opening the 2006 NFL season on national television with a shootout. Both quarterbacks – Daunte Culpepper and Ben Roethlisberger – operating almost exclusively in the no-huddle. Both offenses moving up and down the lawn inside Heinz Field. Nick Saban and Bill Cowher – two NFL coaches with their roots on defense – overseeing the kind of fireworks on the North Shore usually only seen as part of a Pittsburgh Pirates promotion.

The very notion seems ridiculous on its surface, especially when you consider that the Dolphins' passing attack was ranked 16th in the NFL last season, and the Steelers were 24th.

But during this preseason, both the Dolphins and the Steelers have utilized the no-huddle offense, and they have used it successfully.

The Steelers used it during a first quarter touchdown drive against the Minnesota Vikings in the second game of the preseason. The Dolphins used it through the entire first half of a preseason game against the Panthers in Carolina during the third week of the preseason. On both occasions, the teams' respective quarterbacks made the no-huddle work.

"Daunte is a big guy, and he's hard to bring down," said Coach Bill Cowher. "He has a very strong arm, and you can just see the confidence he exudes. And more importantly, the confidence he inspires in the players around him.

"Everybody talks about Carson Palmer coming back from his injury, but Daunte's comeback is just as impressive based on what he went through and the fact he's been out there throughout training camp."

During the game against the Panthers, Culpepper completed 14-of-19 for 130 yards in a limited appearance. The Dolphins scored only three points, and that reflected some problems in the red zone.

"They'll take Ronnie Brown out of the backfield and give you some empty looks," said Cowher. "They went with the no-huddle against Carolina in Carolina a couple of weeks ago; they ran it almost the entire first half. They ran their whole offense from the no-huddle.

"Certainly, they won't be intimidated by coming into Pittsburgh, and I can see them attempting to (run the no-huddle) here. I'd like to think our fans will be very loud and make it somewhat difficult for them, but they think the can do (the no-huddle) on the road as well."

The Steelers' version of the no-huddle is referred to as "Texas," and it was used on the team's opening offensive possession in the second preseason game. Roethlisberger completed 3-of-4 for 30 yards, including a 16-yard touchdown pass to Cedrick Wilson.

"We worked on (the no-huddle) with Ben last year," said offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt. "We worked on it in training camp this year and Ben has expressed interest in wanting to do some of that, and that's the key. When he wants ownership in that, then that's when you can take that step and start doing some of those things."

After a 20-yard run on a reverse by wide receiver Nate Washington, Roethlisberger hurried his team to the line and ran off four consecutive plays before the Minnesota Vikings could stop the momentum. The drive traveled 55 yards in 2:32 and ended in the end zone.

"Ben has progressed," said Whisenhunt. "The work he did in the spring was fantastic as far as understanding what we're trying to get done, and even anticipating things. It's nice to see him do that in a game. This is the first time he's done it for us. He's done the two-minute drill, but not the no-huddle drill. It was something we wanted to look at, give him some opportunities, and he did a very good job with it."

As does Culpepper, and he has the cast to make it work. Chris Chambers caught 82 passes for 1,118 yards and 11 touchdowns in 2005, and Marty Booker – the other starting wide receiver – averaged 17.6 yards per catch. Complementing this duo is tight end Randy McMichael, who caught 60 passes and scored five touchdowns last season.

And journeyman Gus Frerotte, not Culpepper, was the Dolphins quarterback for all of this.

"They have some good weapons around him," said Cowher about Culpepper. "Ronnie Brown is a good back, who catches the ball as well as any back in the National Football League; heck, he was the second pick in the draft. This kid is the real deal. Then you have Randy McMichael, a Pro Bowl type tight end; Chris Chambers and Marty Booker as wide receivers give him a lot of good weapons."

It almost sounds as though this game between the Steelers and Dolphins could turn into an aerial display, but the reality is that it's unlikely. The Steelers have run the football over 60 percent of the time in each of the past two seasons, and Saban just doesn't seem to be a Mike Martz-type of coach.

"They're tough, physical teams," said Cowher about the characteristics that have come to be a.ssociated with Saban. "They're very sound in what they do. You know they're not going to beat themselves. You have to be patient against them. They're going to play hard, and you know that.

"Nick is a good coach. He has a lot of expertise on the defensive side, but he has a lot of offensive weapons. Mike Mularkey is down there now, so is Dom Capers. They'll give you a lot of things to prepare for, from an offensive standpoint with their defense, and the same thing on the other side of the ball."

Even the no-huddle.

 09-04-2006, 02:18 AM         #202
flex001  OP
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Sunday, September 3, 2006
By Teresa Varley
Steelers.com



Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger underwent an emergency laparoscopic appendectomy on Sunday and is resting comfortably in the hospital after an "uneventful" surgery.


Roethlisberger arrived at the team's practice facility on Sunday morning, was feeling ill and was sent to see the team doctors, who performed the surgery.



"The surgery went well," said head coach Bill Cowher. "He is obviously going to be out this week and we will go week-to-week from there."



Charlie Batch will start on Thursday in the team's season opener against the Miami Dolphins at Heinz Field.



"This is why Charlie is here," said Cowher. "We will rally behind him. Everybody else will do so as well. Charlie is fine.



"It's a situation that can happen to any football team. You can go out there and have a starter go down, whether it's an ankle or something of that nature. That's the nature of this business.

"Adversity is not what knocks you down; it is how you handle it and how you respond to it. This football team with its veterans has been down this road before, facing challenges and adversity."



The Steelers will bring in another quarterback, but it's uncertain if that player will serve as a back-up to Batch or be placed on the practice squad. The Steelers re-signed rookie quarterback Omar Jacobs to the practice squad on Sunday.


"I am not going to elaborate at this point," said Cowher. "We will a.ssess the back-up as the week goes on. That is the situation we are being dealt and we are not asking for any pity nor are we going to make any excuses. It's the hand we are dealt and we are going to get ourselves ready for Miami accordingly."

 09-04-2006, 05:33 AM         #203
flex001  OP
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PITTSBURGH — The Steelers signed eight players to their practice squad today, giving them a total of nine practice squad players, including one who is part of the NFL's International Player Development Program.



Each of the practice squad players participated in the team's training camp, including TE Jon Dekker, DE Orien Harris, RB Cedric Humes, QB Omar Jacobs, FB John Kuhn, CB Anthony Madison, DE Shaun Nua and OT Brandon Torrey. Wide Receiver Marvin Allen, who is part of the NFL's International Player Development Program, will remain on the Steelers practice squad through the entire 2006 season.


Last edited by flex001; 09-04-2006 at 05:36 AM..

 09-04-2006, 05:34 AM         #204
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PITTSBURGH — The Steelers announced today that cornerback Ike Taylor has signed a five-year contract that will keep him with the team through the 2010 season. Financial terms of the deal were not released.



Taylor, a four-year veteran, led the NFL with 25 defensed passes in 2005 and finished fifth on the Steelers with 96 tackles (72 solo), while also recording one interception and a forced fumble. Two of his biggest plays in 2005 season came when he recorded key interceptions in both the AFC Championship Game and Super Bowl XL.



Originally drafted by the Steelers in the fourth round (124th overall) of the 2003 NFL Draft, Taylor (6-1, 191) became a full-time starter in 2005 and regularly drew the a.ssignment of covering the opponent's top receiver. Taylor had several of his strongest performances in the 2005 postseason, recording 20 tackles (17 solo), two interceptions and five defensed passes in four games.

 09-04-2006, 05:35 AM         #205
flex001  OP
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Safety valve: Ryan Clark was named the Steelers starting free safety, taking the spot that was vacated when Chris Hope signed with Tennessee this off-season.

Clark had a strong preseason and beat out fellow veteran Tyrone Carter and rookie Anthony Smith for the job.



"I don't know if Ryan won it as much as his demeanor makes him the best guy," said Cowher. "So he's going to start. I told a lot of the players, the roles that they have that I'm asking them to embrace at this time it is very important that they take a very unselfish approach and understand that those roles can change. The only prerequisite that I use is to do whatever is in the best interest of this football team to win week-to-week. That is the basis of all those decisions."



Clark signed with the Steelers this off-season after spending the last two seasons with the Washington Redskins.



On the run: Verron Haynes will be the team's second running back behind starter Willie Parker. But who will be number three might be a decision that comes on game day when only three running backs are likely to dress and the decision will be made between Duce Staley and new addition Patrick Cobbs.



"The one and two roles are certainly Willie Parker and Verron Haynes," said Cowher, "and then we'll see where we are with Patrick and Duce as it relates to the game-day roster. That's always a tricky thing."



Injury Update: Questionable: Jerame Tuman (hamstring), Hines Ward (hamstring) and Chukky Okobi (knee) knee. Probable: Willie Colon (hamstring), Chidi Iwuoma (concussion), Mike Logan (ankle) and Max Starks (knee).

 12 years ago '06        #206
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* in the Macauly Calkin Home Alone pose*

NOOOOOOOOOOO!


WTF!....Big Ben is str8 jinxed this year...Don't worry bout Cholly Batch tho, that n*ggas aight.

 09-05-2006, 03:30 AM         #207
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PITTSBURGH — The Steelers signed four-year veteran quarterback Brian St. Pierre to their practice squad, the team announced today.



St. Pierre (6-3, 230) was originally drafted by the Steelers in the fifth round (163rd overall) in the 2003 NFL Draft. He then spent time on both the active roster and the practice squad for Pittsburgh before being waived on Sept. 3, 2005. St. Pierre was signed to the Baltimore Ravens' practice squad on Sept. 22, 2005, before being signed to the active roster on Dec. 8.



St. Pierre, who was waived by the Ravens on Sept. 2, 2006, has played in one career game, which was the Steelers' season finale against the Buffalo Bills on Jan. 2, 2005.



To make room for St. Pierre on the practice squad, the Steelers released fullback John Kuhn. Kuhn (6-0, 255) spent part of the 2005 season on the team's practice squad and was signed to this year's practice squad on Sunday, Sept. 3.

 09-05-2006, 01:18 PM         #208
flex001  OP
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Former Steelers running back Jerome Bettis might have retired from football, but he is still going to have a very busy first week of the NFL season.


Bettis will be a part of a ceremony on Wednesday, Sept. 6 to unveil his locker in the Coca-Cola Great Hall at Heinz Field.


The locker will be unveiled in a ceremony beginning at 5 p.m. with gates opening at 4:30 p.m. The ceremony is open to the public.


After the ceremony it will be off to an autograph signing for Bettis. He will sign copies of the Pittsburgh Steelers: Road to XL DVD at the Giant Eagle store at Robinson Town Center from 6:30-8:30 p.m.


On Thursday Bettis will be a part of NBC's Football Night In America pre-game show that will be broadcast from Heinz Field prior to the Steelers-Dolphins game.


Bettis will then host the Inaugural Jerome Bettis Caring for Kids All-Star Event on Friday, Sept. 8 at Heinz Field.


Quarterback Charlie Batch will be presented with the first Jerome Bettis Award for Humanity and Community Service. This annual award will presented to a Pittsburgh individual who demonstrates the image of the award title. Batch was chosen because of his commitment to his hometown of Homestead, PA by bringing to the area programs for the children through his Best of the Batch Foundation and upgrading basketball courts and football fields for the kids to use.

 09-06-2006, 09:56 AM         #209
flex001  OP
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Quarterback Charlie Batch got plenty of work during the preseason, but he certainly didn't expect to get that kind of work on Thursday night in the team's season opener against the Miami Dolphins.


With Ben Roethlisberger out for the game after an emergency laparoscopic appendectomy, Batch will be the starter against the Dolphins and after three solid days of practice with the first team he is ready to go.


"It's one of those deals where you never know what can happen at any given time," said Batch "That's why you always have to be ready."


Batch's teammates have no doubt that he will be ready when it's time for kickoff and have plenty of confidence in him.


"He had a great preseason," said center Jeff Hartings. "That was the best I've ever seen him throw the ball. We don't like our backup quarterback to have to play, because that means something happened to our starter. But this team has been through so many things together."


* * *

Hines Ward has been hampered by a hamstring injury throughout the preseason, but it will take a lot more than that for him to miss Thursday's game.


"You know I'm not missing this game," said Ward. "Yes, I will be playing."


* * *

Quarterback Brian St. Pierre is happy to be back with the Steelers and is hoping that is stay isn't a short one.

"There's a lot of what-ifs that can happen," said St. Pierre. "I'm just happy to be here. Hopefully, it's an opportunity for me to stick and be here because I'd like to."


* * *
Pre-game activities for Thursday night's game will begin at 8 p.m. and all fans are encouraged to be in their seats at that point so they may enjoy all of the festivities. In addition to a concert by Rascal Flatts and the National Anthem being sung by Martina McBride, there will be plenty of other activities that Steelers fans will not want to miss.

 09-07-2006, 08:38 AM         #210
flex001  OP
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STEELERS LT MARVEL SMITH VS. DOLPHINS DE JASON TAYLOR: The Dolphins believe their defensive line is a team strength, and Taylor is the most outstanding player on that unit. Since 2000, Taylor has recorded 76 sacks, and don't believe for a second that he's a one-dimensional player. Taylor may own the quickest first-step in the NFL, and Smith will have to be on top of his own techniques to survive. Certainly, the Steelers will be able to help Smith, both with an extra blocker and with the play-calling, but there are going to be occasions where Taylor will know he's in a pure pass-rush situation. Those will be trying times for Smith, even as good as he is.



STEELERS QB CHARLIE BATCH VS. DOLPHINS QB DAUNTE CULPEPPER: These guys won't go against each other during the game, but their respective performances will have a lot to do with the outcome, especially when it comes to protecting the football. Nobody expects this game to develop into a shootout, and that means it could be close throughout. In those kinds of games, turnovers can be the difference, and if either quarterback commits a bunch of turnovers early it could take his team right out of contention. This is a different Batch than the Steelers ever have had – he's confident, relaxed, comfortable that he can execute the offense in a game situation. Culpepper is coming off major knee surgery and will be geeked to show the world he's back. While both of these guys are veterans, controlling their emotions still could be a factor early.



STEELERS NT CASEY HAMPTON VS. DOLPHINS C REX HADNOT: Miami wants to run the football, especially in a game on the road against the defending champions. Ronnie Brown is a former No. 2 overall pick, and he should be more comfortable now that he has a season of experience in the league. Against the Steelers, running the football doesn't happen unless somebody blocks Hampton, and it typically requires more than one person. If Hampton is making Hadnot's life miserable, Brown's life will turn out to be miserable as well.



STEELERS WR HINES WARD VS. DOLPHINS CBs WILL ALLEN AND TRAVIS DANIELS: Out the entire preseason with a balky hamstring, Ward practiced for three straight days and is ready to go. Early in the game, don't be surprised to see Batch go to Ward because he knows how dependable he is, and if the two hook up a couple of times everybody on the Steelers sideline will feel more comfortable. The Miami secondary is not a team strength in the first place, and Daniels was listed as doubtful on the team's final injury report before the game.



STEELERS CB IKE TAYLOR VS, DOLPHINS WR CHRIS CHAMBERS: Imagine these statistics – 82 catches for 1,118 yards and 11 touchdowns, and the quarterback was Gus Frerotte. That's how good Chambers is, and he always seems to play so much taller than his listed height of 5-foot-11. Taylor recently signed a contract extension that should ease his mind as he was due to enter a season after which he could've become an unrestricted free agent. Taylor is a big, physical cornerback, and going against Cincinnati's Chad Johnson three times last season should help him in this match-up against Chambers.



STEELERS DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR d*ck LeBEAU VS. DOLPHINS OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR MIKE MULARKEY: These guys just missed working with each other in Pittsburgh on two different occasions, and it'll be Mularkey's first time calling plays against a Steelers team during a game at Heinz Field. On many occasions, coaches have to be like players in that they cannot afford to try to do too much, they cannot afford to force things that may not be there. LeBeau is the epitome of cool, but he's a cold-blooded competitor at heart. And Mularkey would love to stick it to the Steelers on a national stage such as this.

 09-07-2006, 10:55 AM         #211
WillyHBonnie  OP
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They're probably going to lose tonight with Ben out and Batch in... I can't wait to see what the New and Improved Dolphins do.

 09-07-2006, 11:10 AM         #212
flex001  OP
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 WillyHBonnie said
They're probably going to lose tonight with Ben out and Batch in... I can't wait to see what the New and Improved Dolphins do.
the dolphins are goin fold big time! haha
batch is a good qb n he will prove that tonight!

 09-07-2006, 05:51 PM         #213
flex001  OP
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Offense
Position First Team Second Team Third Team
SE 80 Cedrick Wilson 10 Santonio Holmes
LT 77 Marvel Smith 79 Trai Ess3x
LG 66 Alan Faneca
C 64 Jeff Hartings 56 Chukky Okobi 62 Marvin Philip
RG 73 Kendall Simmons 68 Chris Kemoeatu
RT 78 Max Starks 74 Willie Colon
TE 83 Heath Miller 84 Jerame Tuman 87 Tim Euhus
RB 39 Willie Parker 34 Verron Haynes 40 Patrick Cobbs
22 Duce Staley
FB 35 Dan Kreider
QB 07 Ben Roethlisberger 16 Charlie Batch 02 Brian St. Pierre
FL 86 Hines Ward 85 Nate Washington 81 Sean Morey
15 Willie Reid


Defense
Position First Team Second Team Third Team
LDE 91 Aaron Smith 93 Rodney Bailey
NT 98 Casey Hampton 76 Chris Hoke
RDE 99 Brett Keisel 90 Travis Kirschke
LOLB 53 Clark Haggans 97 Arnold Harrison
LILB 51 James Farrior 54 Rian Wallace
RILB 50 Larry Foote 57 Clint Kriewaldt
ROLB 55 Joey Porter 92 James Harrison
LCB 24 Ike Taylor 21 Ricardo Colclough
FS 25 Ryan Clark 23 Tyrone Carter 27 Anthony Smith
SS 43 Troy Polamalu 31 Mike Logan
RCB 26 Deshea Townsend 20 Bryant McFadden


Special Teams
Position First Team Second Team Third Team
P 17 Chris Gardocki
PK 03 Jeff Reed
LS 60 Greg Warren
H 17 Chris Gardocki
KR 21 Ricardo Colclough
10 Santonio Holmes 15 Willie Reid
24 Ike Taylor
PR 21 Ricardo Colclough 10 Santonio Holmes 15 Willie Reid

 09-07-2006, 05:52 PM         #214
s0uThSiDe  OP
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ayo is hines ward playing tonight i need to know for my fantasy team...

 09-08-2006, 07:29 AM         #215
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Tight end Heath Miller's 87-yard touchdown reception from Charlie Batch was the longest Steelers reception in Heinz Field history. It also was the longest in team history since 2001, when Kordell Stewart hit Bobby Shaw for a 90-yard touchdown.

Miller caught the pass in stride around the Steelers 32-yard line and took off running for the touchdown.

"It seemed like a long time to get there," said Miller. "I was running as fast as I could. I tried to take a peek at the screen (and) I saw them inching up on me.

"It was just a play we run a lot. The safety jumped out on Hines (Ward), and there was really nobody out there to cover the corner route."

* * *

Wide receiver Hines Ward played in his first game since Super Bowl XL because of a hamstring injury and looked like he had no ill effects from the injury.


Ward had five receptions for 53 yards, including a seven-yard touchdown reception.



"It felt good," said Ward of the hamstring. "Was it 100 percent? No. But it was probably about 90 percent. It was very encouraging to miss all of camp and come back and play the full game, and going out there and making some huge third down conversions. I'm excited to be back and out there competing with my teammates. I'm just glad to be out there."



Linebacker Joey Porter sealed the Steelers win when he intercepted a Daunte Culpepper pass and returned it 42-yards for a touchdown, giving the Steelers a 28-17 edge.



After the interception, Porter went over to the sidelines and kissed head coach Bill Cowher.


"That's my guy, right there," said Porter. "There are no other words to say it. I try to tell you guys that me and him are close. It is what it is."


Porter also sacked Culpepper, recording his 54th career sack and moving him ahead of Greg Lloyd into fifth place on the Steelers all-time sack list.


Wide receiver Nate Washington's 27-yard touchdown reception was his first NFL touchdown. It was special for the second-year player.



"It felt real good," said Washington. "I didn't really know how to celebrate. It felt real good (just to get) a chance to go out and do those things and perform like they hope I can. They have great faith in me. Hopefully, I can show up every Sunday for them."





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1st Downs 15 20
Rushing 3 6
Passing 12 11
Penalty 0 3
3rd-Down Conversions 5-13 7-15
4th-Down Conversions 0-1 1-1
Punts-Average 6-36.7 5-46.6
Return Yards 153 122
Punts-Returns 3-79 3-5
Kickoffs-Returns 4-74 3-75
Int.-Returns 0-0 2-42
Penalties-Yards 6-63 1-10
Fumbles-Lost 1-0 1-1
Time Of Pos. 24:33 35:27
Total Net Yards 278 339
Total Plays 58 66
Average Gain 4.8 5.1
Net Yards Rushing 38 143
Rushes 18 38
Avg. Per Rush 2.1 3.8
Net Yards Passing 240 196
Comp.-Att. 18-37 15-25
Yards Per Pass 6.0 7.0
Sacked-Yards Lost 3-22 3-13
Had Intercepted 2 0
Touchdowns 2 4
Rushing 2 0
Passing 0 3
Other 0 1
Extra Points 2-2 4-4
Field Goals 1-1 0-1
Red Zone Efficiency 2-3-66% 1-2-50%
Goal To Go Efficiency 1-2-50% 1-2-50%
Safeties 0 0


Last edited by flex001; 09-08-2006 at 12:55 PM..

 09-08-2006, 12:57 PM         #216
flex001  OP
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Here We Go Steelers Here We Go!!

 09-08-2006, 01:46 PM         #217
flex001  OP
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hahaha
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 09-10-2006, 11:41 AM         #218
flex001  OP
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PITTSBURGH - The Steelers added size and experience to their backfield today when they signed veteran running back Najeh Davenport to a one-year contract. Financial terms of the deal were not released.



Davenport (6-1, 247), a fifth-year veteran from the University of Miami, spent his first four NFL seasons with the Green Bay Packers. In 39 games, Davenport has rushed for 1,068 yards and seven touchdowns on 217 carries (4.9 avg.). He also has caught 17 passes for 107 yards (6.3 avg.).



Originally drafted by the Packers in the fourth round (135th overall) of the 2002 NFL Draft, Davenport missed most of the 2005 season after breaking his ankle on Oct. 9 against New Orleans. The 27-year-old Davenport, whose first name is pronounced "NAH-jay", set a personal best with 178 rushing yards on Nov. 29, 2004, against the St. Louis Rams.



The Steelers made room on their roster for Davenport by releasing rookie running back Patrick Cobbs, whom the team acquired in a trade from the New England Patriots on Sept. 1.

 12 years ago '06        #219
yumflip 4 heat pts
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Sundays blow w/o a Stiller game...guess I'm watching the fantasy scoreboard today.

 09-10-2006, 11:52 AM         #220
flex001  OP
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lol yeah but atleast we got to shut up a couple haters on thursday everyone sayin we was goin lose becuz we didnt have ben.... and then batch sh*tted on them haha no one is fu*kin with us this year... we might go 15-1 maybe not take an L

 12 years ago '05        #221
bezee 
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 flex001 said

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PITTSBURGH - The Steelers added size and experience to their backfield today when they signed veteran running back Najeh Davenport to a one-year contract. Financial terms of the deal were not released.



Davenport (6-1, 247), a fifth-year veteran from the University of Miami, spent his first four NFL seasons with the Green Bay Packers. In 39 games, Davenport has rushed for 1,068 yards and seven touchdowns on 217 carries (4.9 avg.). He also has caught 17 passes for 107 yards (6.3 avg.).



Originally drafted by the Packers in the fourth round (135th overall) of the 2002 NFL Draft, Davenport missed most of the 2005 season after breaking his ankle on Oct. 9 against New Orleans. The 27-year-old Davenport, whose first name is pronounced "NAH-jay", set a personal best with 178 rushing yards on Nov. 29, 2004, against the St. Louis Rams.



The Steelers made room on their roster for Davenport by releasing rookie running back Patrick Cobbs, whom the team acquired in a trade from the New England Patriots on Sept. 1.


nice pickup right there

 09-10-2006, 11:41 PM         #222
ill800  OP
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 flex001 said
lol yeah but atleast we got to shut up a couple haters on thursday everyone sayin we was goin lose becuz we didnt have ben.... and then batch sh*tted on them haha no one is fu*kin with us this year... we might go 15-1 maybe not take an L
LOL
you guys looked like sh*t against the dolphins. and the dolphins are a sh*tty team.

 09-15-2006, 05:52 PM         #223
flex001  OP
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Thursday, September 14, 2006
By Teresa Varley
Steelers.com

Running back Najeh Davenport took part in his first practice with the Steelers on Wednesday and got a crash course on the game plan and terminology so that he will be ready to play on Monday night against the Jaguars if needed.

"That's the plan," said Davenport, of the possibility of playing on Monday. "It's going to take some learning, but right now they are teaching me the game plan and we will go from there.

"The terminology is the only thing. Once you get the terminology down you can go in and out of a system. We did some things in Green Bay they do here. It's just the terminology. "

Davenport signed with the Steelers last Friday after missing most of last season with an ankle injury. He played four seasons with the Green Bay Packers and brings a lot of versatility and experience to the backfield.

"We will see what he is able to pick up and how comfortable he is," said head coach Bill Cowher. "I think he is a proven big back and I think we are looking for that.

"I have watched him run; I think he fits what we are looking for. He is a young guy. He could also play some in the kicking game. He has played third down, he has played fullback. I think he gives you a lot of versatility. I think he is the one guy that was out there that fits what we were looking for at this point, with the makeup of our roster."

His size is definitely an advantage. The Steelers have the speedster in Willie Parker, but are looking for someone who can bring more of a physical aspect to the backfield.

"I am a big back," said Davenport, who is 6-1, 247 pounds. "I have halfback skills and a fullback body. There aren't too many people like that. This is a great opportunity for me."

Davenport is not certain what role he will play on the team, but he is willing to do whatever is asked of him.

"My role is whatever you need me to do, I am going to do it, special teams, what have you," said Davenport. "Whatever they need me to do. Whenever they want to give me the ball and take some carries, I will gladly take them. I'm just happy, ecstatic to be on the field."

 09-15-2006, 05:55 PM         #224
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Friday, September 15, 2006
By Teresa Varley
Steelers.com

Nate Washington knows how to make an impression. He did so when he came in as a rookie free agent last year, making the team's practice squad from Tiffin University.

He showed enough progress to be placed on the active roster, and against the Denver Broncos in the AFC Championship game made a key third-down reception for his first catch of the season. He also turned defender in that game, knocking down a potential interception.

During training camp it became obvious fast that Washington would be an impact player this year.

But, it was against the Miami Dolphins in the season-opener that he made a huge impression on the Steelers faithful. Washington scored the Steelers first touchdown reception of the season, and the first of his career, when he pulled in a 27-yard strike from Charlie Batch.

"It meant a lot to me," said Washington of the touchdown reception. "I was really happy to be able to go out there and score a touchdown. For them to have confidence in me coming in and for me to make plays for them, it worked out for me."

After scoring the touchdown Washington did what is normal, spiked the football. He didn't think to keep the ball, something that he could hold onto as a memento. But others did. The ball was put aside for him, and now he plans on having it painted with the information from the catch and the game.

"I was so excited I didn't know how to celebrate or what to do so I ended up spiking it," said Washington. "When I got to the sideline I thought about it. That is one I am definitely going to keep."



And while he will keep it and have a special place for, he won't get too caught up in the one touchdown. He knows he has a ways to go.



"I am not in a position yet to relax," said Washington. "I have a lot of things to still prove, not only to myself but to the rest of the guys out there and the fans. That's what I am trying to do right now, prove myself as a guy they can count on."



After the departure of Antwaan Randle El this off-season, the Steelers drafted two wide receivers, Santonio Holmes in the first round and Willie Reid in the third round. Washington knew there were those that doubted if he could step in and help with the departure of Randle El, but he proved them wrong.



"With a guy like Randle El leaving last year and the contribution he had to the team, people wondered," said Washington. "Me being a guy that didn't come from a Division-1 school and not much known about me, I am sure there were a lot of things going through people's heads. Hopefully I can fill that void."



One thing that Washington brings to the table that Randle El did as well is speed and it helps to balance the team's offensive attack.


"I can stretch the field a little bit," said Washington. "We have a great corps of guys. We rely on each other. It's like a brotherhood out there. If someone goes down, we keep rolling. We all bring different things to the group."

 09-15-2006, 06:00 PM         #225
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Thursday, September 14, 2006
By Teresa Varley
Steelers.com

Ben Roethlisberger was back in his comfort zone on Wednesday, that being the football field.

Roethlisberger returned to practice, just 10 days after having an emergency laparoscopic appendectomy.

"It feels normal," said Roethlisberger. "Everything feels like there's nothing wrong. Obviously the first priority is discomfort; what's going to be comfortable? I wear rib pads anyway so we'll see how that feels putting those on."

It's has been a tough go for Roethlisberger the past few months. He suffered injuries in a motorcycle accident in June, worked his way back so that he didn't miss time during training camp, and then a few days before the season-opener had the appendectomy.

Roethlisberger will look for any way to get his luck to change, including placing a 'half full' bottle of water in his locker that was given to him by teammate Brett Keisel who said it was good luck.

"I've got that black cloud over my head," said Roethlisberger, who is still listed as questionable on the injury report. "I've been through a little bit the last couple of months, but it's just another thing. Things happen for a reason, and I'm taking that approach. That's why I'm going to get back as soon as I can."

Many of Roethlisberger's teammates were impressed with his performance in practice.

"He did pretty well," said wide receiver Hines Ward, who sat out practice to allow his hamstring to rest. "He threw the ball well, he went through it. From what I saw, he felt fine.

"He practiced, so that's the encouraging thing. He went out there and threw the ball around, got in with the first group and did a great job. He threw some great balls and receivers made plays. He's taking steps in the right direction."

And Ward thinks the right direction will include playing against Jacksonville on Monday night.

"Ben surprises everyone," said Ward. "He has a high tolerance for pain. He's going to f!ght through whatever."

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