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Old 08-12-2013, 03:59 AM   #1
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Default Despite numerous injuries at position, tight ends still expected to perform for Steel

By Mark Kaboly

Published: Sunday, August 11, 2013, 6:39 p.m.
Updated 5 hours ago

A newly constructed sign bearing the Mike Tomlin-minted motto “The Standard ... Is the Standard” is posted near the entrance of the Steelers' locker room for everybody to see and, the coach hopes, believe.

Even so, when it comes to Steelers' tight ends, Tomlin may be starting to question the validity of his catchphrase — and for good reason.

• Heath Miller is on the physically unable to perform list, and the date of his return from December knee surgery is unknown.

• Matt Spaeth, who was supposed to pick up some of the slack until Miller's return, is out at least a couple of months after having foot surgery Saturday.

• David Johnson had cleanup knee surgery two weeks ago on the surgically repaired knee that kept him out all of last year and remains on the PUP list.

• Jamie McCoy, who's been on the Steelers' practice squad for three years, has a sore right wrist that kept him out of Saturday's 18-13 preseason loss to the Giants.

That leaves the position in the hands of David Paulson, Michael Palmer, Nathan Overbay and Peter Tuitupou for the foreseeable future.

“It must be something we are drinking in the room or something,” McCoy said. “It seems like every week somebody has a nagging injury or something.”

But, as the sign says, the standard is the standard, and for the Steelers, that standard is Miller: 71 catches, 8 touchdowns, the franchise quarterback's favorite target and the reigning team MVP.

“I'm not going to discount the guys that are working,” Tomlin said. “We'll continue to work with those guys. Obviously, we've got some guys down at the position that we need to get back, and we will when they're healthy. Meanwhile, we're focusing on the ones that are working and making sure they have the mentality that's geared toward improvement on a daily basis.”

Tomlin's words lend support to what they already have.

His actions speak much differently.

The Steelers added three tight ends within a span of just over a week, including two in one day, and continue to scour the waiver market.

Tomlin was so cognizant of not risking any more injuries to the position that he decided to sit McCoy and instead allowed a tight end the team picked up 36 hours prior — Palmer — to start, play more than a dozen snaps and help protect quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.

“We were kind of laughing about it on the field because I had the playbook for about 36 hours,” Palmer said. “I have enough experience that I know how to play the game. It is just more of putting me in the right position and the right spots.”

Right now, the choices are limited.

Paulson is penciled in as the starter but has only 316 snaps and seven receptions on his resume. Palmer played three years for the Falcons but averaged only 13 snaps per game.

To put that into perspective, Miller missed only 10 snaps last year before tearing his ACL late in a Week 16 game against Cincinnati.

The uncertainty at the position has become an issue for an offense that likes to use its tight ends in a variety of ways.

“It's been tough to keep bringing in new guys that are not familiar with the offense, but that is the game of football,” backup quarterback Bruce Gradkowski said. “You are going to have injuries, and the next guy has to step up. We have talented tight ends here, and I'm real confident in them.”

After all, the standard is the standard.

Read more: http://triblive.com/sports/steelers/...#ixzz2bkA4vapt
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Old 08-12-2013, 06:15 AM   #2
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Default Re: Despite numerous injuries at position, tight ends still expected to perform for S

Tomlin was so cognizant of not risking any more injuries to the position that he decided to sit McCoy and instead allowed a tight end the team picked up 36 hours prior — Palmer — to start, play more than a dozen snaps and help protect quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.

"The Standard" is now 8-8?

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Old 08-12-2013, 07:13 AM   #3
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Default Re: Despite numerous injuries at position, tight ends still expected to perform for S

Quote:
Originally Posted by Killer View Post
Tomlin was so cognizant of not risking any more injuries to the position that he decided to sit McCoy and instead allowed a tight end the team picked up 36 hours prior — Palmer — to start, play more than a dozen snaps and help protect quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.

"The Standard" is now 8-8?

Run Ben Run
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At 8-8, "The Sub-Standard" was "The Standard."
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Old 08-12-2013, 07:17 AM   #4
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Default Re: Despite numerous injuries at position, tight ends still expected to perform for S

Tomlin has ordered a sign be put up outside the locker room with his "The Standard ... is The Standard" quote?

A little self-aggrandizement there - is he planning to start hanging pictures of himself around the building next?
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Old 08-12-2013, 09:27 AM   #5
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Default Re: Despite numerous injuries at position, tight ends still expected to perform for S

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is he planning to start hanging pictures of himself around the building next?
Hardass Mike will whip these boys into shape....even if he has to sit them out of all the preseason games

I can't blame him - this is the thinnest Steelers team we've had in decades for depth
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Old 08-12-2013, 09:42 AM   #6
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Default Re: Despite numerous injuries at position, tight ends still expected to perform for S

trade for Leonard Pope. Maybe Carey Davis is fat enough to play tight end by now
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Old 08-12-2013, 09:50 AM   #7
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Default Re: Despite numerous injuries at position, tight ends still expected to perform for S

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Tomlin has ordered a sign be put up outside the locker room with his "The Standard ... is The Standard" quote?

A little self-aggrandizement there - is he planning to start hanging pictures of himself around the building next?
Do you think he put it up as a Tomlin quote like GB has Lombardi quotes?

"The standard...is the standard"
- Mike Tomlin

I bet it's just the phrase like a teacher might put up in a classroom

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Old 08-12-2013, 10:55 AM   #8
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Default Re: Despite numerous injuries at position, tight ends still expected to perform for S

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trade for Leonard Pope. Maybe Carey Davis is fat enough to play tight end by now
Anybody know how much Pope was asking in the first place? Seems like it was a no brainer to keep him. Heath was already hurt and Pope knows our system and is 6'10.

We had a kid on our high school basketball team that was 6'11 and our coach used to always tell us that if we were ever trapped that we could always "get the ball to tall". A guy that is 6'10 is "open" in a lot of situations. Hopefully we pick him back up, I like Paulson but we can't have only one TE.
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Old 08-12-2013, 11:43 PM   #9
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Default Re: Despite numerous injuries at position, tight ends still expected to perform for S

Gerry: Don't expect Steelers to sign experienced TE

MONDAY, 12 AUGUST 2013 WRITTEN BY HENRY GORMAN

When the Baltimore Ravens signed veteran Dallas Clark Sunday to help their tight end position, a large groan likely emanated from people who hoped the Steelers would do the same thing to replenish their injury-depleted position.

But it appears the Steelers don't have any such plans to sign a veteran tight end.

The recent spate of injuries at the position has left the Steelers with David Paulson as their No. 1 tight end, and that is not about to change anytime soon.

The Steelers are not planning to add a tight end other than players such as Michael Palmer and Nathan Overbay to their roster because they plan on getting Heath Miller, Matt Spaeth and David Johnson back at various points this season.

Miller remains on the physically unable to perform list after having offseason surgery to repair several ligament tears in his knee, including the anterior cruciate ligament. The Steelers have not set a timetable for his return, but he appears to be on a schedule similar to the one Rashard Mendenhall was on last year when he came back from offseason ACL surgery.

Matt Spaeth, reacquired in free agency to be Miller’s backup, had surgery Monday to repair a Lisfranc sprain in his foot – an injury that will sideline him at least eight to 10 weeks.

And No. 3 David Johnson, who missed all of last season after tearing his ACL in training camp, is also on the PUP list after having arthroscopic surgery less than two weeks ago to clean up some cartilage.

Johnson, though, said he expects to return soon and hopes to play in one of the preseason games.

If all goes according to plan, the Steelers will take Miller off the PUP list before the start of the regular season and have him practice for at least three weeks before activating him and letting him play in a game. If they do not take him off the PUP list before they finalize their 53-man roster, Miller cannot return until the seventh week of the season.

The Steelers did that last year with Mendenhall. They took him off the PUP list in training camp but he didn’t play until the fourth game against the Eagles. He also had a bye week in between.

This year, the Steelers bye comes the week after their fourth game in London against the Minnesota Vikings. So it is conceivable Miller will return at least by the Oct. 13 game against the New York Jets, if all goes well.

https://plus.sites.post-gazette.com/...experienced-te
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