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mesaSteeler
01-25-2011, 07:33 AM
Seven-step drop: Underdog Steelers?
January, 24, 2011
Jan 24
1:30 PM ET
http://espn.go.com/blog/afcnorth/post/_/id/23835/seven-step-drop-underdog-steelers
By James Walker
Here are seven notes and observations in the AFC North:

* Early projections have the Green Bay Packers favored by approximately a field goal over the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl XLV. Expect this to be motivation over the next two weeks for Pittsburgh, which traditionally thrives in the underdog role. I'm a little surprised Pittsburgh will head to Arlington, Texas, as the underdog despite being No. 2 seed. The Packers are playing well as a No. 6 seed, but I think these are two evenly-matched teams. Pittsburgh (14-4) also has been more consistent than Green Bay (13-6) over the course of the season.

Steelers defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau isn't under contract next season, fueling retirement rumors.

* On Sunday ESPN's Chris Mortensen and Adam Schefter reported Steelers defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau's contract expires after the season. This may present a scenario where the Hall of Famer coaches his last game in the Super Bowl. LeBeau, 73, said three seasons ago after turning 70 that he's coaching on a year-to-year basis. There was speculation he could retire after Pittsburgh's previous Super Bowl win following the 2008 season. That likely will start up again next week in Arlington. Expect this call to be totally up to LeBeau, who has been the NFL's top defensive coordinator for a long time and may take some time in the offseason to make his decision. LeBeau loves coaching his current group, and Pittsburgh will re-sign him to an extension in a heartbeat if LeBeau wants to continue coaching. Also, don't believe the hype linking LeBeau to Arizona. That's a pipe dream, at best.

(Allow me to rephrase; On Sunday two toilet sniffing, media *****s, desperate for attention quoted "unnamed sources named Haubaugh and Ryan in a desperate attempt to distract Steelers." This so called "story" is still garbage. - mesa)

* Here is an interesting note: The Dallas Morning News reports Cowboys legend Roger Staubach will present the Lombardi Trophy to the winning team following Super Bowl XLV. It's well-documented that the Hall of Fame quarterback had heated rivalries with Pittsburgh in the 1970s, including two Super Bowl losses in '76 and '79. It's already gut-wrenching enough that Pittsburgh, which owns one more Super Bowl title (six) than Dallas (five), can extend that lead on the Cowboys' home turf with a win over the Packers. But for Staubach to potentially hand over another championship to a team he loathed in his playing days would make for another awkward moment for the Cowboys organization. (Now this would be SWEET! - mesa)

* In non-Super Bowl news, quarterback Carson Palmer made big headlines by requesting a trade from the Cincinnati Bengals. Team owner Mike Brown responded by saying he's not going to trade Palmer, which creates an interesting offseason standoff. But you also have to wonder how badly things really are behind the scenes in Cincinnati if Palmer wants out. Palmer is one of the nicest, most honest and optimistic players I've been around in seven seasons covering the NFL. Even when the Bengals have awful years, Palmer is the one player who remains positive that things will get better. But every player has a breaking point and it appears Palmer, 31, has reached his. Cincinnati has yet to make any significant changes that were thought to be in the works after a 4-12 season, and you wonder if Palmer sees where things are heading.

* But ... let's say Bengals ownership caves in to Palmer's demands. Let's look ahead to what type of trade value Palmer would have on the open market. For starters, heís not the same Pro Bowl quarterback he once was, but Palmer remains a better option than a lot of players. The contract could be an issue, as Palmer is slated to be one of the NFL's highest-paid players at $11.5 million next season. I also think it hurts Cincinnati's leverage that itís now public that Palmer is unhappy and wants out. All things considered, I think the Bengals may be able land a second-round pick and perhaps another late-round pick for Palmer.

* The Cleveland Browns are still suffering for their poor draft in 2009. That's one key reason the team remains in rebuilding mode. Last week I talked to an NFL scout about Cleveland's three second-round picks. The scout said they had a late-round grade on linebacker David Veikune, who was released by the Browns this season, and Brian Robiskie was described as a receiver who can't separate and has a low ceiling. The scout did believe Mohamed Massaquoi could be productive in the right situation and the right system. But Cleveland's lack of offensive identity isn't helping Massaquoi develop.

* The Baltimore Ravens' quick work to get kicker Billy Cundiff signed to a five-year extension is a good sign. The Ravens have several big free agents, including defensive lineman Haloti Ngata and punter Sam Koch, and they aren't waiting for a new collective bargaining agreement to get started. Cundiff's contract as a kicker was easier than most. So don't expect a much larger deal like Ngata's to be completed any time soon. But the Ravens potentially could get some lesser free agents signed in the next few weeks.

wutchy
01-25-2011, 11:14 AM
This talk about LeBeau retiring is funny. What would be do, sit in a rocking chair on his front porch? He has a job that gives him time off for months at a time. During that time off he may look at draft prospect film, but watching TV ain't exactly working.
He has his system down pat. He "works" from august to January of February every year.
He looks for draft prospects in february, march and april. May is mini-camp where he helps the young guys learn the system. June he can go fishing. July, he gets ready for work. His work is something he loves. RETIRE FROM WHAT?

OX1947
01-25-2011, 11:31 AM
I usually do not get into the cliche "no one believed in us" garbage, but I sense the feeling that people think the Steelers will lose this Super Bowl. I'm still trying to figure out how they are underdogs.

billym99
01-25-2011, 12:47 PM
I usually do not get into the cliche "no one believed in us" garbage, but I sense the feeling that people think the Steelers will lose this Super Bowl. I'm still trying to figure out how they are underdogs.

I get the same feeling, but I think it's normal when you have a team with a (perceived) explosive offense like GB. Always seems to me that teams that have been able to throw up huge numbers on the score board can generate more hype. And this is more perception then anything, GB really didn't have huge offensive numbers this year, good numbers but nothing like NE.... "How can the Steelers contain Aaron Rodgers and GB's explosive receivers", how about like the Eagles and Bears did! Of course the Eagles couldn't stop the run (which PIT will), and Chicago couldn't find the end zone.

I figured this game would open around 1/2 point for either team. I see it as having potential to be a very close game.

OX1947
01-25-2011, 01:54 PM
Packers have played two overrated football teams the last two weeks. The Falcons had a horrid secondary. And Jay Cutler is a walking slapdick who ruined that team when the defense held them in for all 4 quarters.