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Steelers Pregame Notebook: Thoughts And Analysis Week 1

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Some random pregame notes about the Steelers, the Broncos, seventh-grade gym class and other wannabes in the AFC North.

  • How weird will this game be to Hines Ward? He's had a lot of memories of Denver over the years. An AFC Championship win, That gut-wrenching fumble at the four-inch line, the last game of his career...and his first regular season broadcasting assignment.
  • OLB Chris Carter is gonna have a helluva time tonight with Broncos LT Ryan Clady. Maybe offensive line coach Sean Kugler can give him some help. Kugler was Clady's line coach at Boise State in 2007 when Clady earned first team All-America status and was the 12th overall pick in the following year's NFL Draft.
  • I woke up this morning thinking back to seventh grade. In gym class that year, my buddy Jake DRILLED Meghan in the face with one of those Tachikara playground balls. It knocked her off her feet. I've been laughing about this all morning. No clue what that means. I didn't mind, she was running against me for Student Council President. I think the fact the school declared the race a tie might have been caused by my rolling on the gym floor in hysterical laughter after that may have had something to do with it.
  • Before I get lambasted for glorifying such actions let me clarify...If Jake hit the biggest, strongest kid in the class in the face and it knocked him off his feet, I would have laughed just as hard. Outside of that, it was junior high, what did you expect? Anyway...
  • For all the "Manning in, Tebow out" news we got this week, let's remember the Steelers host Tebow's Jets next week. That sideshow masquerading as a football team invades Heinz Field for the first time since the Steelers defeated them for the AFC Championship at the end of the 2010 season.
  • Peyton Manning is at 399 career touchdowns, and 298 interceptions. Get a standing ovation for a phenomenal achievement in the first half, and silence the crowd with a dubious distinction in the second half. Ready? Go.
  • Speaking of Manning, he's 2-2 against the Steelers in his career. The epic playoff loss, the whipping his running game put on Pittsburgh in that regular season, a prime time beatdown in 2002 and the fluky regular season win in 2008. Translation: in the three seasons the Steelers have played against Manning, they've advanced to the Super Bowl in two of them and won a playoff game in the third.
  • As Steelers fans, how many different ways have we heard the media describe the reason why Ryan Clark won't play in Denver? There's "his" sickle cell trait. There's "the" sickle cell trait. There's "a" sickle cell trait.There's just the plain "sickle cell trait." For the super-brief, there's "sickle cell." For the long-winded, there's "sickle cell blood disorder." Whatever you want to call it, I'm just happy Tomlin made it clear Clark wouldn't play, even if he wanted to. Tomlin wouldn't allow it. That's a leader who cares about his charges.
  • Anyone else annoyed by the Geico commercial with "All Pro linebacker" Brian Orakpo? In which season was he All-Pro? I really don't remember it happening...ahem.
  • Lots of talk surrounding the Ravens' No Huddle offense. Judging by the reactions of many people, it appears the plan is to completely forego a huddle and center their entire game plan around what Joe Flacco sees in presnap. It's interesting how the Ravens would have added no new offensive personnel coming of a season in which their offense was a middle-of-the-pack unit in scoring, and determine their quarterback who had seven games rated under 74 last year needs to decide which plays they run.
  • This really is not me taking a free shot at Flacco, I think he's a capable passer. I just think there are lots of people who need to question why the Ravens would decide to do something that drastic when the only quarterback who's exclusively run a no-huddle offense as their entire game plan is Jim Kelly.
  • I'm sorry, Joe Flacco ain't no Jim Kelly. The Ravens will employ a no-huddle package the same way about a dozen other teams (including the Steelers) have, but anyone who thinks they're going to go no-huddle all year is smoking something. We'll watch Monday night and find out.
  • p.s. I love how excited Cincinnati is about Vontaze Burfict. Love it. The more distracted they are with him, the less likely they'll be to bring in a super athletic guy to play that position.