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Saturday, 2-Apr-2011 03:33 Email | Share | | Bookmark
3 Players the Steelers Can Realistically Trade up for



The Pittsburgh Steelers are an elite franchise and they build their team through smart draft selections.

The Steelers once again will be amongst the favorites for next year and unlike almost every team in the league, the Steelers do not have major pressing needs.

If the Steelers fall love in love with a player, they could trade up to acquire an elite talent in the draft.

Here are thre players the Steelers could trade up for.



NT Phil Taylor

Casey Hampton turns 34 in September and a successor will be needed, especially considering he is playing fewer snaps these past years.

Phil Taylor started his career at Penn State, but was suspended and kicked off the team. He came back in 2010 and dominated since.

At 335 pounds, Taylor carries his weight well enough and actually lost weight from the day of the combine to his pro day, showing his dedication to play football at his highest potential.

Taylor recorded 62 tackles and 2 sacks last season and manhandled opposing offensive lines.

He can bull rush, driving the lineman back, and is agile enough to move side to side. He even ran in the 5.18 range at his pro day.

Like Hampton, Taylor can occupy more than one blocker, freeing up edge rushes for James Harrison and Lamarr Woodley.

Taylor proved to be quick and had quick feet evidenced by his great workouts.

The Steelers could fall in love with a guy like Taylor, who could eventually replace the aging Hampton.



OG Mike Pouncey

First off, Mike Pouncey is not as good as his brother Maurkice, who is one of the best centers in the league. Mike though can solidify the right guard spot for the Steelers, their weakest offensive line spot.

Like his brother though, he is athletic and has quick feet allowing him to maintain balance when shifting side to side.

Unlike most college guards, Pouncey is quick out of his stance and is a strong lead blocker, sometimes making it to the second and third lines of defense.

If Mike ends up anywhere close to what Maurkice is, then the Steelers would have a solid piece to an improving offensive line.

He can even play center, so if Maukice ever suffers a serious injury, Mike could be plugged in at center.
DE Cameron Jordan

The 6'4,'' 287-pound Jordan is a the generic 3-4 defensive end. Jordan is a three down defensive lineman, as he could be another piece in improving an already elite pass rush.

At California, Jordan was a staple in the 3-4, recording 51 tackles, 6 sacks and a forced fumble.

He is very quick, running a 4.71 in the 40-yard dash and is disruptive in the run game, using his leverage to shed blcokers.

His instincts are one of his greatest assets and he is a disciplined and sound tackler. Jordan has a unique ability of reading and reacting quickly to make the correct play.

He has a relentless motor and one of the quickest first steps in a defensive lineman.

With long arms, Jordan can wrap up tacklers and can push offensive lineman out of the way.

Jordan could form a nice tandem with Ziggy Hood and the rest of the defensive ends in the Steelers defense. With Brett Keisel and Aaron Smith aging, the Steelers can take Jordan to add youth to the defensive line.


Tuesday, 29-Mar-2011 03:41 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Can the Colts Continue Their AFC South Dominance?



Since the creation of the AFC South in 2002, the Indianapolis Colts have won the division seven out of nine times. The only other team to win the crown was the Titans in 2002 and 2008. One of the things that will be key to that success is Peyton Manning.

Manning is a free agent, and the two sides have talked, but nothing got done before the lockout and they can't proceed on another contract. Despite the lack of forward progress on a deal, Indianapolis owner Jim Irsay has faith a deal will get done, despite his frustration that Manning is not already signed to a new deal.

"It should get done," Irsay said to USA Today. "I think it should have gotten done before all this. It takes two to tango. So, you would have to probably ask (agent) Tom Condon and get any feedback from him. It should get done and it will get done."

The one team that is standing in the way of the Colts' continued success is the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Jaguars made a great run at the division title last year, only to fall just a bit short. Indianapolis has always had some issues with Jacksonville and if the Jaguars can get a potent pass-rusher, then David Garrard and company are going to have a great chance to unseat the Colts next season.

However, in the end, its the Colts' crown to lose, and if Manning can carry Indianapolis to the division title with all of the injuries the team had last year, imagine what he can do with a healthier squad in 2011? That should be a frightening thought for every team in the AFC South and the rest of the NFL.

The dominance Indianapolis has displayed over the past decade is something that will continue as long as Manning is the man under center for the Colts.


Friday, 25-Mar-2011 07:18 Email | Share | | Bookmark
With No Football During Lockout, Baltimore Ravens Player Turns t


Baltimore Ravens safety Tom Zbikowski will be the first to tell you that football wasn't his lifelong passion.

First, there was boxing.

And with the NFL owners and players association locked in talks to sign a new collective bargaining agreement, the Ravens' season is on hold.

So Zbikowski is returning to the ring yet again on Saturday in Atlantic City.

"I didn’t think my football career would last this long," Zbikowski, 26, told Patch.com in an interview. "I figured I’d play two, three years and see how it would go in the NFL, and then I’d be back to boxing again."

Zbikowski was still in college in June 2006 when he embarked on his professional fighting career at New York's Madison Square Garden. His 49-second knockout of Robert Bell was the undercard of a major event featuring then-WBO junior welterweight titleholder Miguel Cotto.

Zbikowski's exploits at Notre Dame spoke volumes about his prowess on the gridiron. As a senior he ranked among the nation's premiere defensive backs as a candidate for the Jim Thorpe Award.

After graduating in 2007, he was drafted in the third round and 86th overall by the Ravens in 2008. Zbikowski saw action as a special teams player initially, but then he overcame back and foot injuries to start in six games last season.

"I thought [boxing] would begin again right after college, to be honest with you," said Zbikowski, who compiled an amateur record of 75-15 and lives near the Inner Harbor when he's in town. "I thought I would just get my college education, play a little college ball, and back to the ring for me, and obviously my career in football has been extended longer than that."

On Saturday night, at the Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, Zbikowski will fight in his second bout since the lockout started. He is scheduled to fight Caleb Grummet (0-0-1) of Lake Odessa, Mich., on the undercard of a main event featuring WBA and IBF featherweight (126 pounds) beltholder Yuriorkis Gamboa of Cuba, against WBA interim-super featherweight (130 pounds) titlist Jorge Solis of Mexico.

The 6-foot-tall Zbikowski is coming off yet another first-round knockout that he registered on March 12 at the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas.

Against Grummet, Zbikowski will be in his first fight under legendary trainer Emanuel "Manny" Steward, known for his work with notable champions such as Thomas Hearns, Lennox Lewis, Cotto, and current heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko.

Zbikowski, who will compete as a cruiserweight (200 pounds) for the first time after having previously fought as a heavyweight, spoke to Patch.com in this exclusive Q&A on Thursday.


Tuesday, 22-Mar-2011 08:44 Email | Share | | Bookmark
NCAA women's basketball results, March 21


Courtney Vandersloot had 29 points and 17 assists to propel No. 11-seed Gonzaga to an 89-75 victory over third-seeded UCLA on Monday night in Spokane, Wash.

Vandersloot, playing in front of a raucous home crowd, became the first player in Division I history (man or woman) to record 2,000 points and 1,000 assists in her career. She made sure her college career would last at least one more game, across town at the Spokane Arena in the Sweet 16 on Saturday night.

Vandersloot's 17 assists were one shy of tying the most ever in an NCAA Tournament game.

Kayla Standish matched her career high with 30 points to lead Gonzaga (30-4). Darxia Morris led UCLA (28-5) with 20 points.

Tennessee 79, Marquette 70:

Meighan Simmons scored 18 points and the host Lady Vols survived to reach the Dayton Regional semifinals. ...Tennessee (33-2) led by as many as 11 points in the second half, but Marquette cut its deficit to 63-62 with 6:15 left. ... The Lady Vols answered by scoring the next six points to regain control.

North Carolina 86, Kentucky 74:

Italee Lucas scored 22 points and Jessica Breland added 18, helping the Tar Heels advance to face Stanford. ... North Carolina's superior size trumped the Wildcats' quickness, as the Tar Heels reached the Sweet 16 one year after losing in the first round without Breland, who missed last season while fighting cancer.

Notre Dame 77, Temple 64:

Natalie Novosel and Devereaux Peters each scored 17 points as the Irish (28-7) won in Salt Lake City. ...

Duke 71, Marist 66:

Freshman Chelsea Gray scored all of her 13 points in the second half to help the host Blue Devils (31-3) rally from an 11-point deficit.

DePaul 75, Penn State 73:

Keisha Hampton scored 19 of her 26 points in the second half. including two free throws with 4.9 seconds left, to help the visiting Blue Demons (29-6) come back from 14 points down.

Ohio State 67, Georgia Tech 60:

Jantel Lavender scored 21 points for the Buckeyes (24-9), setting an NCAA record with her 135th straight double-figure scoring game. ... Lavender had been tied with Oklahoma's Courtney Paris at 134.


Saturday, 19-Mar-2011 01:36 Email | Share | | Bookmark
DerrickWilliams Will be a Rich Man Very Soon


Arizona forward Derrick Williams will be a top 5 pick in the June NBA draft, if he comes out. He will.
Williams scored 22 points with 10 rebounds but it was his one block that saved 5 seed Arizona's 77-75 win against 12 seed Memphis.
The Tigers nearly pulled off the impossible play with 5 seconds remaining to tie the game.
Down 3, the Tigers were fouled and Joe Jackson made the first free throw to cut it to two. He missed the second intentionally, and teammate Wesley Witherspoon came up with the rebound and immediately went up for the game-tying layup. But Williams blocked it, and replays show it looked clean.
These plays never work, but it would have had Williams not come up with the block.


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