The Pittsburgh Steelers’ season is over, but if you think the news surrounding the black-and-gold is over — think again. For the drama-filled Steelers, things are just heating up, and this is where the daily links article comes in. You might have missed some key news, and we fill you in and give you the latest, and sometimes greatest, news surrounding the Steelers.
Today in the Black-and-gold links article we take a look at how now departed outside linebackers coach, Joey Porter, and just what went wrong between his marriage with the Steelers as a coach. Was the lack of production from players like Bud Dupree Porter’s fault? Or was it more of Dupree not being able to take the coaching and implementing it onto the field?
With the Steelers yet to hire Porter’s replacement, it will be telling the kind of production the outside linebackers put up under the tutelage of another coach.
Let’s get to the news:
By: Chris Carter, DKPittsburghSports
The decision to not bring Joey Porter back in 2019 is a direct result of his failure to develop a dynamic pass rush from the outside linebackers.
Sure, T.J Watt had a huge year with 13 sacks, the most any Steelers linebacker has recorded since LaMarr Woodley’s 13.5 in 2009. But one has to wonder if that had anything to do with Porter, considering the lack of progress in his other outside linebackers.
Let’s examine that question, as well as the 2018 grades on all the Steelers’ linebackers:
Porter joined the Steelers in 2014, a year after they drafted Jarvis Jones with the 17th pick in the first round, and a year before they drafted Bud Dupree with the 22nd pick in the first round.
Jones proved to be a complete waste of a pick, recording six sacks in 35 starts over four seasons and never solidifying a contributory role to the team. He has been out of the NFL since the Steelers let him go after the 2016 season.
Being fair to Porter, Jones was responsible for his own failure in the NFL. Pinning it on Porter would ignore the fact Jones isn’t in the league anymore.
Dupree is another matter, though, as he was never a traditional pass rusher at Kentucky and was going to be a project when it came to technique. His athleticism made him stand out in his draft class, but he lacked the traditional bend and proper hand techniques to consistently win edge battles.
Porter never really developed that in Dupree in their four years together. Dupree became a better run defender as he kept his outside shoulder free and was much more accountable than Jones or Jason Worilds at that aspect of his job.
But the Steelers’ best years have been when they get to the quarterback, and that still hasn’t become a strength for Dupree. His 5.5 sacks in 2018 were only a half sack short of his best season in 2017 — he also drew a holding penalty against the Browns at Heinz Field that resulted in a safety on a play where he had Baker Mayfield dead to rights were it not for the hold.
Even though his progress isn’t what the Steelers expected from a first-round pick, if any of it was from his work with Porter, it would be a credit to the coach.
Unfortunately for Porter, that wasn’t the case. After the Steelers beat the Panthers 52-21 at Heinz Field in November, I asked Dupree about an improvement in his pass rush that I noticed in recent games. He had a sack in back-to-back games that followed the safety he forced against the Browns, making three straight games he impacted with his pass rush. His response was telling.
“Coach Tomlin just turned me loose,” said Dupree after his two tackles for loss and a sack against the Panthers. “He told me to do what I do best and what I do best is speed. I’m fast, I’m big, I just run over people or I run past people. He just told me to cut loose and it’s working out.”
(For more, click the link in the headline above...)
By: The Associated Press via the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
Mike and Maurkice Pouncey were among the first players off the AFC Pro Bowl practice field Thursday.
They were trying to hustle to the locker room to shower, change and get on the road.
They had people waiting. More than 50 of them, actually.
“This is our family vacation,” Los Angeles Chargers center Mike Pouncey said.
The tattooed twins grew up about 30 miles west of Disney World, won a national championship two hours up the road at Florida and have made a combined 11 Pro Bowls in 15 seasons. But they’ve haven’t practiced or played on the same field so close to home since their high school days in Lakeland, Fla.
So they decided to go all out for friends and relatives at the Pro Bowl. They rented a spacious, nine-bedroom house for the week, secured two luxury suites for the NFL’s annual all-star game Sunday and doled out dozens of more tickets.
“It means so much,” Pittsburgh Steelers center Maurkice Pouncey said. “It’s bigger than our family. It’s a community in Florida here that’s supported us for so long. We couldn’t be happier to have them out here and soaking it all in.”
While the Pounceys appear to have the largest entourage on hand, they are hardly alone in treating the Pro Bowl as a family affair. Warm weather, VIP access to theme parks and a lax practice environment create an ideal vacation spot for those closest to the players.
Retiring Buffalo Bills defensive tackle Kyle Williams, who said he has no second thoughts about giving up the game after 13 seasons, brought his mom, his mother-in-law, his wife, their five kids, plus a niece and a nephew to town.
“The opportunity to come out and kind of a last hooray so to speak with the game and being able to share the week with my family and go to Disney, do the whole thing, bring them to practice. It’s kind of a cherry on top. It’s a great way to go out.”
Williams rented “the whole corner of the 15th floor at the hotel” for his group. They arrived a day early to make the first of two trips to Disney World. They also plan to visit Universal Studios.
“It’s a big week,” Williams said. “Eighty degrees in January is hard to beat.”
(For more, click the link in the headline above...)
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