STEELERS CB IKE TAYLOR “PISSED OFF” ABOUT TAKING PAY CUT
Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Ike Taylor told The Jim Rome Show that he was “pissed off” about taking a pay cut to stay with the team this season. He gave back $4.25 million in salary.
"I’m pissed off about it, still am pissed off about it and I’m going to be pissed off until the end of the season about it," Taylor said. "Did it hurt me? Hell yeah. Does it still hurt? Yeah, it hurts, but hopefully I can go in and bounce back this year, do what I need to do on the field and we will see what happens after."
Taylor added that he considered leaving the Steelers when asked to take a pay cut but noticed that other players who didn’t take pay cuts struggled after getting released.
"I didn’t want to leave Pittsburgh, point blank, period," Taylor said. "I’ve got a lot of relationships – I have a lot of friends, I gained a lot of business relationships in Pittsburgh. Just hearing from other guys coming from other teams and being on the team with Pittsburgh, they say it’s like no other; it’s like day and night, so I’ll listen." (Photo: Getty Images)
Steelers to use more “no huddle offense” this season:
The Pittsburgh Steelers turned to the no huddle offense out of desperation last fall more than anything.
Mired at the bottom of the AFC North and off to the franchise’s worst start in more than two decades, offensive coordinator Todd Haley decided it was time to speed things up and give quarterback Ben Roethlisberger a little more freedom in the process.
The positive results — a 5-2 run to end what became an 8-8 season thanks in part to a significant uptick in scoring — led Haley into a deep dive over the winter. The playbook he handed his players earlier this spring included a broadened section on the no huddle that could have the Steelers running it at any time — with various personnel packages — when the season begins in September.
Pittsburgh was 3-6 and facing Detroit in November when the Steelers opened the game in the no huddle as a way to tire out the Lions’ aggressive defensive line and limit how often they could substitute.
Roethlisberger immediately led a 68-yard touchdown drive and the lethargy and sloppiness that plagued Pittsburgh during September and October vanished. The Steelers averaged 28 points a game over the final seven weeks — up from 20 during the first nine — and came within a tiebreaker of securing an unlikely postseason berth. They did it while using the no-huddle about 40 percent of the time.
So Haley’s created more intricate no huddle packages despite losing wide receivers Emmanuel Sanders and Jerricho Cotchery to free agency. He expects opponents to adjust after the Steelers ended 2013 as the hottest team in the AFC over the second half.
Roethlisberger believes he can work out of the no huddle regardless of who is alongside him in the huddle. Last year Pittsburgh’s no huddle set primarily consisted of three wide receivers, one tight end and one running back lining up next to Roethlisberger in the shotgun. That might not be the case this time.
Roethlisberger pointed to the versatility of fullback/tight end Will Johnson and the flexibility of running backs Le’Veon Bell and LeGarrette Blount as proof the Steelers will not be predictable when they start to push the tempo.
While the 6-foot-1, 230-pound Bell and the 6-1, 245-pound Blount hardly appear to be built from the same mold — Bell likes to wait behind his blockers then use his quick feet to burst forward when he sees an opening, Blount is all bulldozer — their quarterback thinks they can be interchangeable.
Roethlisberger only wants whoever it is to be productive. So does Haley after the Steelers finished in the bottom quarter of the NFL in yards rushing (25th), yards per carry (29th) and rushing touchdowns (25th).
The key to improving those numbers will rely on the health of the offensive line and the ability to keep defenses guessing. It means doing different things from the same looks.
It’s why Haley implemented the entire offense so early in the offseason rather than start slowly to give the new faces a chance to catch up. There is no time for that now, not after consecutive 8-8 seasons.
The Steelers spent a significant part of organized team activities and minicamp continuing an evolution that began last November out of despair and ended with them discovering a new identity. It’s unusual to do so much so soon. But these are unusual times for a team in transition. (Photo: Charles LeClaire/USA TODAY Sports)
Steelers S Troy Polamalu hoping to stay and productive this season:
Pittsburgh Steelers safety Troy Polamalu is hoping his revamped offseason program will help him again this fall.
The 33-year-old Polamalu played nearly every snap in 2013 thanks in part to the regimen he put together with the teams trainer last spring. Sessions with a physical therapist also helped Polamalu strengthen the balky calf muscles that caused him to miss nine games in 2012.
The result was a productive season that ended with Polamalu making the Pro Bowl for the eighth time. He began minicamp on Tuesday hoping for a repeat in 2014.
The Steelers made a concerted effort to ease Polamalu’s load during the offseason. Pittsburgh lured safety Mike Mitchell away from Carolina in free agency and selected linebacker Ryan Shazier in the first round of the NFL draft.
The speed and athleticism of Mitchell and Shazier should allow Polamalu to remain in the secondary or blitz and not have to play linebacker when the Steelers switch to their nickel, dime and quarters defensive packages, something Polamalu did repeatedly in 2013. (Photo: Matt Freed/Associated Press)