The 35-year-old Vick is a far cry from the star he once was, and he’s coming off a season in which he was largely disappointing when he played for the Jets. But he was the best veteran quarterback available to the Steelers when Gradkowski got hurt.
If Roethlisberger stays healthy, Vick may never see the field in Pittsburgh. But if Roethlisberger goes down, the Steelers know they have a backup with experience.
Vick struggles to stay healthy himself, especially because of his reckless running style. He's always had a strong arm, and given the talent around him should he see the field, the potential is there for him to put up fantasy numbers in this offense.
The bulky black brace Cards QB Carson Palmer wears on his left knee is about the only sign he is less than nine months removed from his second torn anterior cruciate ligament.
That and, well, the way head coach Arizona Cardinals coach Bruce Arians still sometimes shakes his head in disbelief that three weeks into training camp, Palmer isn’t just healthy, he’s better.
And maybe better than he’s been at any point since he made back-to-back Pro Bowls in 2005 and 2006 while playing for the Cincinnati Bengals.
“Carson is in great shape, mentally and physically,” Arians told USA TODAY Sports.
Plenty of coaches gush these sorts of platitudes about their quarterback this time of year. But it means something coming from a quarterback guru like Arians, who has tutored passers like Peyton Manning, Ben Roethlisberger and Andrew Luck.
The story said that through three weeks of training camp, Palmer has been among the Cardinals’ most consistent players, something that backs up numerous reports we've had here at 4for4. In a recent fully-padded practice, he zipped pass after pass across the middle of the field to Larry Fitzgerald, and nailed several deep touchdown passes to second-year receiver John Brown — all while playing against a secondary that includes stars Patrick Peterson and Tyrann Mathieu. Then, in his first live action since suffering the knee injury on Nov. 9, Palmer went 4-for-4 for 77 yards to lead the Cardinals to a touchdown in his one series of work in the preseason opener against Kansas City last week. All signs are pointing to Palmer having very nice, later-round value at the QB position, definitely something to note if you're waiting to draft at the position.
Sunday, August 16, 2015, 3:34pm
But having trusted veteran Bruce Gradkowski back allows the Steelers front office to exhale. The team activated Gradkowski off the physically unable to perform list on Sunday, meaning the shoulder injury has healed and the 10-year veteran can start practicing today. He should get some run next Sunday at Heinz Field when the Packers come to town for a preseason game.
Third-string quarterback Landry Jones has had a few bright moments in camp, but his 39-of-78 passing performance for 328 yards, one touchdown and one interception through two preseason games won't convince the Steelers they have a full-time backup. Pittsburgh is giving Jones every chance to earn a spot on the team or audition for another team.
Saturday, August 15, 2015, 11:05pm
Martavis Bryant is fast and big. And now he is physical.
The second-year wide receiver ran through a would-be hold attempt by Jacksonville Jaguars cornerback Davon House on the sixth play of Friday's preseason game that resulted in a 44-yard touchdown reception from Ben Roethlisberger.
Bryant, who caught three passes for 55 yards, attributes his new-found physicality to his offseason workouts that included learning mixed martial arts.
“My offseason workouts and me finishing strong and fighting through that contact,” Bryant said of how he was able to beat House. “Being physical is part of the game and if you are not physical, you aren't going to have success.”
Bryant appears to be ready to take his game to a new level after a rookie season in which he caught nine touchdown passes in 11 games. However, according to Roethlisberger, there is still work to be done. Bryant had an opportunity for another long play in the first half but couldn't keep his feet in bounds on a pass from Landry Jones. Ben put a bit of a damper on Bryant this season when he said he expected Markus Wheaton to be the big breakout WR this year. Meanwhile, we continue to rank Bryant as a mid-range WR2 after an impressive season last year. We feel the upside continues to be with Bryant.
Bryant stretched out his body and got both feet in bounds on a touchdown catch to the corner of the end zone, but that wasn't the spectacular play. Ben Roethlisberger threw a 50-yarder Bryant's way, with safety Will Allen converging and corner Cortez Allen in tight coverage. No matter. Bryant set his feet and leaped over Allen for the grab, with Allen a half-step off. Not to overhype Bryant, who was relatively raw as a rookie in 2014 and couldn't handle much more than go routes, but once he masters every nuance of the offense, the potential production is scary.
WR Markus Wheaton is out with a hamstring injury so the team was happy to have Bryant back. Of course, Roethlisberger made some waves when he earlier said he expects Wheaton to bust out this year and he would be used in two-receiver sets, then slide to the slot in three receiver sets. We haven't really changed our thoughts on Bryant and he remains ranked 18th on our WR list, making him a very good WR2 option.
When Ben Roethlisberger speaks, Pittsburgh listens. So when the two-time Super Bowl champion predicts a breakout star, it's worth paying attention.
Most of the Steelers talk heading into the 2015 season has been about Antonio Brown, LeVeon Bell and Martavis Bryant, but Roethlisberger believes a different player will steal the headlines offensively this season.
"I think Markus Wheaton is our breakout player of the year," Roethlisberger said on Sirius XM NFL Radio. "I want that. I want him to have that pressure. Because when we're in two wide receivers, he's our No. 2. And we're asking him to play outside. And we go three wide receivers, we ask him to move inside."
Wheaton, a third-year pro out of Oregon State, has recorded 59 receptions for 708 yards and two touchdowns in his first two seasons.
It was widely believed Bryant, not Wheaton, would line up opposite Brown to start the season in two-wide sets. But it appears Bryant will miss some time with an infection in his elbow. This could cause a bit of a rankings shakeup among the Steeler WRs and is definitely something to watch during camp and heading into the season. Bryant was our 18th ranked WR while Wheaton wasn't even getting drafted in 12-team leagues. Bryant also put up fringe WR2 numbers while only playing 60-percent of the snaps.
"To me, I think Markus Wheaton is our breakout player of the year... I want him to have that pressure... When we're in two wide receivers, he's our No. 2, and we're asking him to play outside. And when we go three wide receivers we're asking him to go inside, so he's playing multiple positions. And it's new for him. He's always been an outside guy and we're asking him to play in the slot when we have three wide receivers, and that's a completely different ballgame."
While these comments might slow down the Martavis Bryant hype train a bit, we're not worried. Roethlisberger mentioned Bryant first when talking about the receiver group (other than Antonio Brown) and the Steelers play a ton of three-WR so Bryant will be on the field plenty in his sophomore season. The breakout is still on. Wheaton is a solid late-round pick, especially in PPR drafts. By most accounts, rookie Sammie Coates hasn't had a great offseason, so Wheaton's snaps should be safe. Bottom line: We're still targeting Bryant in the 5th/6th round.
Roethlisberger: It will be big. He’s put the work in. He looks good. He’s picking everything up. Last year we just kind of put him in there and gave him a couple of things to do, which he did really well at. Now we’re asking him to do more. We’re asking him to move around a little bit, front side, back side, and to know things better. I’m going to count on him in the no-huddle. Last year he’d ask everyone what to do. Now we feel more comfortable with him knowing what to do. Hopefully he’ll be able to translate that into playing faster.
Big Ben later went a little further talking about Bryant, saying he was in for a lot of deep ball stuff, and that was kind of his go to pattern. But Roethlisberger added the team can now start using him in some different areas, use him coming underneath as well as catching the ball and running after the catch. We think there is upside for Bryant who ranks 18th among our WRs this year in what is expected to be a high-powered offensive attack from Pittsburgh. Bryant put up WR2 numbers without playing 60-percent of snaps last year, thanks to his high TD rate.
The Steelers set team record in points, first downs, and yards per game, powered by the superstar trio of Roethlisberger, Le'Veon Bell and Antonio Brown. The quarterback -- who reported to training camp with teammates on Saturday -- sees no reason why Pittsburgh can't top those numbers.
"We want to start fast and we want to be able to put 30 points on the board in every game," Roethlisberger told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on Sunday.
Roethlisberger has strong belief in his supporting cast, from Bell and Brown, to an improved offensive line, the story said. Roethlisberger is now 33, but he's coming off his two best statistical seasons of his career. We're buying in on the Steelers this year, too, as Big Ben jumps to sixth on our QB list and is looking like a great option to target in the middle rounds of drafts. Brown is our top WR, and despite a suspension, Bell is among our best RBs.
You’ve heard about the 30-30 club. Pittsburgh's Ben Roethlisberger and Le'Veon Bell could redefine it. 30-20.
Less than 30 sacks for Roethlisberger, more than 20 carries a game for Bell.
These are modest goals that can vault the Pittsburgh Steelers' offense from a high-yardage attack to possibly the league’s most potent one.
Last season felt like a breakthrough for Pittsburgh’s offense, not only because of its 6,577 total yards -- second in the NFL behind the Saints -- but for Roethlisberger’s best sack rate since 2005. His 33 sacks in 16 games symbolized progress for a quarterback who’s been sacked nearly twice as much as Tony Romo. Romo has 242 sacks in nine seasons as starter, and Roethlisberger has 419 sacks in 11 years.
Less hits will equal a longer career for the 33-year-old Roethlisberger. And though Todd Haley’s offense protects quarterbacks with a quick passing game, the Steelers’ running game can make that transition easy for Roethlisberger, the story added. It doesn't hurt that Bell has emerged into one of the better do-it-all backs in the league and the addition of DeAngelo Williams as a backup should help the run game. This news could make Bell a bit more attractive to fantasy owners, even with a looming suspension to start the season.
Monday, June 29, 2015, 8:22am
Pittsburgh TE Heath Miller is a No. 3 or 4 option for the offense but nothing more.
He might’ve been a 1,000-yard receiver as a 25-year-old in Haley’s offense. Miller’s scoring rate is concerning. After 27 touchdowns in his first five years, Miller has 16 in his last five, for an average of 3.2 per year. He surpassed three scores in one of those five seasons.
The Steelers placed a waiver claim for tight end Tim Wright, according to ESPN’s Field Yates. When coupled with reported interest in second-round tight end Maxx Williams during the draft, the Wright claim indicates the franchise is at least exploring tight end alternatives.
The story went on to say Miller isn’t an elite tight end but he’s still very solid. He can put up 600 yards in this offense at age 32. And the truth is the Steelers still need him. He’s a safety valve for QB Ben Roethlisberger. In fact, we predict Miller for 588 yards and just under 3 TDs for 2015. However he's ranked 20th on our list and likely won't get a lot of draft attention in typical leagues. With Antonio Brown, LeVeon Bell and Martavis Bryant, that's a strong core of talent to monopolize the red zone touches.
Saturday, March 14, 2015, 9:37am
Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger opted out of the Pro Bowl as a precaution, but the decision is not related to a larger problem with his knee, his agent said in an email to ESPN.com Friday night.
"Ben was instructed by team doctors to avoid strenuous activity due to inflammation in his knee, thus he will not play in the Pro Bowl," agent Ryan Tollner said. "His knee will not require surgery and he looks forward to an otherwise healthy offseason to improve with his teammates."
Roethlisberger should be good to go for OTAs and minicamp.
HC Mike Tomlin said that QB Ben Roethlisberger may have offseason surgery to clean up his knee.
This is not ominous news given the timeframe. Roethlisberger should be fine for minicamp/OTAs if he's simply having his knee "cleaned up."
Friday, January 2, 2015, 5:04pm
Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger (not injury related, probable) took full practice reps again Friday and is probable for Week 18. No worries here. Big Ben should be a quality start against a shaky secondary.
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