Jan 27, 2011
We are rolling out a new feature here at FantasyGuru.com, bringing you all the news you need to know on a daily basis in the Fantasy Guru Daily. We will do so on our blog, so readers can chime in. 4-5 days a week, we’ll round up the most important nuggets of the day and provide some commentary, starting with some Super Bowl-heavy editions to take you up to the big game next week.
Kemoeatu declares Pouncey out … The shorthanded Steeler offensive line will be even more shorthanded in the Super Bowl, as rookie Pro Bowl C Maurkice Pouncey is unlikely to play against the Packers, at least according to G Chris Kemoeatu after practice Wednesday. Pouncey suffered a high ankle sprain in the 1st quarter of last Sunday’s AFC title game, and he was replaced by Doug Legursky, who has started four games at LG this season. The loss of Pouncey, the Steelers’
1st-round pick in 2010, is a big blow to an offensive line that’s been missing starting tackles Max Starks and Willie Colon. In the regular season, Pouncey and Colon’s replacement Flozell Adams were the only members of the line to start all 16 games. In two postseason games, the Steelers have allowed 8 sacks and average 3.2 yards per carry, while they allowed 43 sacks (8th most) and averaged 4.1 yards per carry in the regular season. Legursky will see a lot of Packer NT B.J. Raji, who made headlines last week with his 18-yard INT return for a touchdown. While the Steeler defense led the league in sacks in the regular season, the Clay Matthews-led Packer defense finished 2nd, just one behind.
Smith holding out hope … The Steelers have played without DE Aaron Smith since late October when he suffered a torn triceps. But he continued to practice on a limited basis Wednesday and is still hoping to play in Super Bowl XV. He’s been limited in practice for about two weeks, and if he actually plays, he’ll join the defensive line rotation behind Ziggy Hood, who has started 12 games with 4 sacks in the last six games. Obviously, it wouldn’t hurt the Steeler defense to have the veteran Smith back on the field, although the defense has continued to perform at a high level without him. Him participating would simply be an added bonus to a defense that has 7 sacks in two postseason games and led the league in sacks (48) and run defense (62.8 YPG) during the regular season.
Shot on Rodgers draws fine … Bear DE Julius Peppers was fined $10,000 for a helmet-to-helmet hit on Packer QB Aaron Rodgers in the NFC title game. There were rumors that Rodgers suffered another concussion because of the hit, but he denied them and said he was okay after the hit. Obviously, that’s good news for any Packer fan worried about Rodgers’ health. Something tells me that Rodgers would fare better against the Steeler defense than Matt Flynn.
Ward dodges retirement question … Veteran Steeler WR Hines Ward said he hasn’t thought much about retirement, although he told a group of students last April that he would retire if the Steelers won another Super Bowl. The 34-year-old Ward was passed by the speedy Mike Wallace as the team’s top WR target and endured an up-and-down season that saw him put up 59 catches for 755 yards and 5 TDs after back-to-back 1000-yard seasons. The 59 catches were his fewest since 2000, and while he had four 100-yard games, he had no more than 54 yards in any of the other games. Ward signed a four-year contract extension in 2009 that runs through 2013.
LeBeau denies Arizona rumors … With the contract of Steeler DC Dick LeBeau set to expire, rumors have indicated that he could land in Arizona with former Steeler OC Ken Whisenhunt. But LeBeau shot down that talk on Wednesday, saying that if he returns to coaching in the 2011 season, it will be with Pittsburgh. The Hall of Famer’s Steeler defense led the league against the run and in sacks, while finishing 2nd in total yards allowed.
- Raven WR Derrick Mason had two surgeries Wednesday to repair a sports hernia and his broken right finger. Mason already had surgery on his finger during the season.
- Bear RB Matt Forte will enter the final year of his rookie contract and could be in line for an extension after rushing for 1,069 yards in a surprising run-first Mike Martz offense.
- Saint QB Drew Brees is on the verge of a contract extension, but RB Reggie Bush has a more uncertain future, although he has said he’s willing to take a pay cut. Bush is in line to make $11.8 million in 2011, which is a bit steep for a guy who often plays the role of offensive decoy.
- Jet CB Antonio Cromartie doesn’t care what fellow players think about his harsh union comments. Too bad Cromartie couldn’t also be in the Pro Bowl so he and Ray Lewis could enjoy each other’s company.
- Titan RB Chris Johnson still wants to run for 2500 yards in a season. He would have needed a 30-game season to do that in 2010 — don’t think the new CBA is going to go that far.