Cotchery, Foster, Heyward And Woodley Receive Top Grades From PFF For Play Against Patriots

The grades are in from Pro Football Focus and according to their breakdowns, Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Jerricho Cotchery and guard Ramon Foster were the top offensive players in the Sunday loss to the New England Patriots while defensive end Cameron Heyward (3.0), linebacker Lamarr Woodley (2.7), defensive end Brett Keisel (2.1), linebacker Vince Williams (1.9) and nose tackle Steve McLendon (1.5) all graded out in the green on defense.

Heyward registered a sack to go along with two quarterback hits and two hurries in the game, while Woodley registered one hit and three hurries. For Heyward, it was his best game dating back to the regular season finale last year against the Cleveland Browns.

As far as those players that didn’t grade out well, there weren’t any surprises as Troy Polamalu, Ryan Clark and William Gay were all way below the line against the Patriots.

Offensively, Kelvin Beachum and Fernando Velasco were in the red for the Steelers. Beachum allowed one sack, two hits and five hurries in the game while Velasco allowed three hurries to go along with his block in the back penalty.

  • steeltown

    Its evident we need to draft DBs, we have no young talent outside of Shamarko and Cortez… Golden and Green seem more like depth players..

    CBs and another Safety have to be high on the scouting list, as well as OL, DL and TE.. I would mention WR and LB as well but it seems we always draft those positions, so I left those out

  • Caesar

    Might be easier to just start naming the positions the Steelers DON’T urgently need to draft more talent for.

  • steeltown

    Not urgently needed: QB, RB, FB, ILB, C, OG, LS, Kicker

    Everywhere else either lacks talent or depth IMO

    I added ILB because I think next season between Timmons, V.Williams, Foote, Spence, K.Wilson, Garvin etc. we have talent there

  • IndPA67

    Dreadful play from the safeties. Ryan Clark needs to get on with his life’s work. He and Troy just appear to be worn down by time. Too bad, but it happens to every player eventually. They need a boulder for a NT. I think McLendon would be a good 3-4 DE, along the lines of Kimo.

  • My Draft projected needs:


    WR (Sanders will get a stupid offer)
    TE (someone who can threaten the seam)
    CB (2)

    S (2)
    ILB if they flip Jones inside (if) they will need another outside linebacker.

    They need someone at every spot listed

  • steeltown

    They need OLB regardless.. C.Carter is non-existent, Worilds is UFA and there are no young up and comers on the practice squad.. and I think between Velasco and Foster LG is not a need, we need Tackles

  • Yeah but I would do this if it was me

    Round 1 LT
    Round 2 CB
    Round 3 S comp (Wallace)
    Round 4 OLB then comp OLB

    You are probably looking at a 1-2 year rebuild


    I have a suggestion and I think it’s a good one. One word. One name. COWHER! He’s been thinking about coming back to coaching for a while. If we don’t win our next 8 straight and make the playoffs this season, I think next season would be a perfect time for Cowher to return to Pittsburgh. The way the Steelers operate, I doubt very highly that they’ll fire Tomlin, but I think getting Cowher back would really change our players’ mindset. He’d also handle removing certain broken parts on the sideline better than Tomlin. Just sayin’. We all know Cowher has been watching the Steelers closely from a different point of view other than coaching for a while. (Once a Steeler, always a Steeler). I think he may have realized a few things from watching and having that very long break from coaching. No matter which part of the organization he would join to help out, he would be a great asset. Would be nice.

    – Steel Maniac

  • cencalsteeler

    I think this is the point where we find out if Tomlin is a coach or a players coach. He needs to bench Clark. Ike’s best days are behind him and this will be more apparent when Megatron comes to town. The sad truth is he’s all we got.

  • StarSpangledSteeler

    I feel your pain. We need help everywhere. But we have to prioritize. I view the following as our top draft needs (in order):

    1) LT
    2) TE
    3) CB
    4) S

    Drafting an elite LT has a trickle down effect. It allows you to move Adams/Gilbert/Beachum to RT theoretically strengthening two positions at once. It improves the run game, helping Bell perform better. It improves the passing game, helping Ben get sacked less. It gives the WRs and TEs more time to get open. LT is our biggest need right now.

    I put TE above WR because a tight end actually IS a receiver. If you draft one of the good ones (Jimmy Graham, Gronkowski, etc) you get a tall fast receiver who can go up and get the ball even when covered. Then you still have Brown and Wheaton who can run the other quick separation patterns.

    If we draft a kid like Kyle Fuller (Va Tech) and out him out there with Cortez Allen, you’ve got two tall strong fast CBs who can match up in man press. Jam the WR at the LOS, then run with him down field and make a play on the ball. If you have that, you don’t need your safeties to be elite.

    Having said that, Clark is so slow he looks like a LB out there. We need a set of fresh legs who can actually get to the deep pass in time to break it up.

  • TheBlitz

    I agree they need a nose guard. Our run defense is awful.

    I’m one of those who thouhgt Ta’amu was coming along well and looked good in preseason. I didn’t like that he was cut. He looked like he would be an impact player at some point.

    People around town were probably happy he was gone but after the south side incident I thought from what was reported in the media he was on his best behavior and should have been given a second chance because from what I see this season Fangupo doesn’t seem to be the answer and they have to go draft casey’s replacement next year.

  • steeltown

    Totally agree.. I would throw NT in there as well and slide McLendon out to DE with Heyward

  • steeltown

    Its time to give C.Allen the reigns again opposite Ike Talyor, he has the intelligence and physical ability. I like WillieG but there is no reason why C.Allen plays less than half the snaps against New England

  • cencalsteeler

    Agree. From today on, it’s time to start building for 14. Put your future out there and start giving them reps. This way, you go into the offseason with an idea of where you need to go and which positions need to be addressed.

  • Virdin Barzey

    I can’t disagree too much with your assessment. I think we are good at TE, WR once we get rid of 88 and Wheaton comes on board as a starter. Cotch showed that he still has something left in the tank. Plus I think Heyward is going to be fine.

    The amazing part about this season is the veterans have all looked bad at some point including Ben, Pola, Clark, Timmons, etc. You expect the young guys to buy in when the veterans themselves look awful?

  • steeltown

    If Wheaton, Moye and J.Brown all exceed expectations, then I’ll concede to the notion that we don’t need WR depth, but I believe even if/when Spaeth returns we still need a young high pedigree TE to learn and play with Heath Miller because Paulson is not a game changer and D.Johnson cant stay healthy.

    I think Heyward is going to be great, but Hood and Woods are UFAs next year and we also could use a true NT

  • steeltown


  • How about in place of

  • And there it is folks. Cowher never had a losing season (1998-1999 & 2003) Who wanted Shaun Andrews instead of Ben. How is his career going oh yeah its over. Yeah baby Billy the chin started 2006-2-6 same as this years team but baby he has it all figured out sitting behind a desk.

    Heavy Heavy dose of sarcasm for the illiterate

  • Good points but as much as they go 3 wide they are going to need a third maybe a big wr with a blend of size and speed. No that is not derrick moye moves like he is delivering a refrigerator. But good post

  • Brandon James

    Been trying to really understand whats going on so far, and all there really is to look forward to is the draft. I think anyone can look at the 2013 draft and call it the most influential tomlin draft to date. If 5 players from that draft turn around to be starters (Which is a high possibility) One more solid draft can easily be a turnaround, but I see it being done in 2. The next draft is looking like this:

    R1) LT/WR
    R2) LT/WR
    R3) Safety
    R4) CB
    R5) NT

    The lack of a Strong big physical receiver is evident on this team. One thing I would love to see done is Ziggy Hood move to NT with Mclendon on the edge, his lateral quickness and ability to beat his man makes him a much better edge setter and pass rusher, with Ziggy being much more of a powerful mass.

    Also, anyone else want to see a move from velasco or pouncey to guard while they other stays at center? Decastro,Velasco,Pouncey makes me excited for the 2014 line.

  • steeltown

    Mostly agree… I sure hope they re-sign Velasco in the offseason

  • Dom

    You can’t blame them, A lot of the younger fans can’t even remember Cowher’s bad days and it’s all blurred out by the SB win and the lording he gets on TV.

  • Dom

    Ike’s here for next year.

  • Dom

    Why would we need a WR in the first two rounds, move safety and CB up a round and then maybe take a WR –
    Otherwise I agree.

  • Chad H

    How would they rate the coaching staff?
    How do you rate this coaching staff?
    Yes we need players on both sides, but when are you going to start holding anyone from the coaching staff accountable?
    A HC is responsible for who stays who goes who starts who gets pulled.
    I have many other reasons why I never felt MT was not a good coach but there is no point in arguing those with you.
    At some point start looking at the HC.

  • steeltown

    I can agree with that.. we usually select some highly talented WRs in the 3rd Rd anyway

  • Chris Wilkes

    There’s probably 5 OTs that will be selected in the first 20 picks, and I think we HAVE TO draft one of them. We can’t afford to go out and get one in free agency, and we definitely can’t afford to go into another season thinking we can have one of our current players play LT. CB has to be addressed as well.

  • dgh57

    I don’t see Ziggy on the team next year because (1)he wasn’t signed to a extension before the season started, (2) he has lost his starting job, and (3) we have DE’s on the PS in Arnfelt and N. Williams.

  • Kevin Gobleck

    Do ya have any idea on how Wallace and Lewis are doing (draft pick wise) ???

  • This is how I look at it Tomlin/Colbert/Scouting Dept/to a lesser extent Khan are responsible for whom is on the field.

    Tomlin is responsible for putting the players on the field who give the team the best chance to win. He also shares in draft player evaluation with Colbert and the Scouting department.

    I can’t really give a proper evaluation right now because there are eight games to go. I was ready for them to fire Cowher in 1998-99 and again in 2003. But 2004 15-1 2005 Superbowl. That is why I am not as quick as some people to jump the gun. It is not as if we are watching the Bucs or Jaguars where they are just getting blown out every week. and guys are getting suspended by the league and talking to the media. So it is not as if we are watching a lack of institutional control. Then yes fire the coach the inmates can not run the asylum.

    The reason I back Tomlin is the same reason I back Ben. I have seen the so called green grass we make fun of Cleveland for their laundry list of quarterbacks we were on our way to building our own before Ben. I don’t want them becoming the Jaguars firing coaches every three years or every other year, parading guys in and out like Cleveland. Yeah there winning now but that rooster has crowed before and they went right back. What would happen if they fired him and the new guy couldn’t hack it then what?

  • steeltown

    A few months ago I would’ve bet money that Hood would be offered a multi-yr deal… im not so certain anymore


    Wow, sounds like our front 7 were on fire, because Worilds must have graded out half decent too, seeing as he actually got to the QB….
    in reality of course we know our front 7 was gashed to pieces and we failed to get any meaningful, game changing pressure on Tom all day.
    Just shows, there’s lies, damn lies and statistics

  • steeltown

    Lewis has 23tckls, 3INTs and FF through 8games with New Orleans if he continues that performance he should bring a decent comp pick. Wallace I think will bring a decent comp pick regardless, his TD production is down but I bet he hits 1,000yds

  • Kevin Gobleck

    Good cause we will need all the draft pick we can get

  • cencalsteeler

    True. But, hopefully he is not our #1 guy at that point, whether he is traded or taking on a different role, whatever that may be.

  • I will never forget signing Kent Grahm to start. Look up his stats as a steelers qb if your bored turrible.

  • Bob Graff

    One more time , Here are the problems, too many nonproductive aging players [just get rid of them] poor drafting [if they can’t play at an NFL level get rid of them] poor coaching [if they can’t win get rid of them] This would mean a bunch of players and coaches would no longer be working here next year but it needs to happen. This team has drafted horrible over the last 5 years and it has left this team thin on talent everywhere. Then we are paying players for what they did 4 years ago, that is something the Steelers of the past would never do [or anyone else]. THINGS NEED TO CHANGE this current team as it is built and coached will never win in the NFL.

  • Beat Baltimore & New York so they did win

  • Bob Graff

    By win i meant 9-7 or better

  • If they go 4-12 I am not upset. Taylor Lewan

  • Dan

    Don’t forget we lose traded 3rd rounder to Cleveland. So hopefully our comp picks will be good and plentiful.

  • Kelly A

    To continue on that point, the Steelers need to draft or acquire TALLER DBs. WIth the Wide Receivers in today’s NFL getting taller and stronger, they need DBs that can match them, as well as have the height and strength to stop them. The Steelers once had a 6’3 DB called Mel Blount and he part of the reason the Steelers we a dynasty in the 1970s. So if this Steelers team is going to get DBs, they need to go between 6’1 – 6’3.

  • CrazyTerry

    Does PFF account for SITUATIONAL play in their grades? I didn’t see Foster rise up when we need a freaking yard on 3rd down conversions. PFF grading is better than no info. But what i saw from the OL yesterday across the board was situational faillures in the run game. I have a hard time grading any of the OL guys well considering they were going against an injury ravaged Pats front 7.

  • Brandon James

    It all is relative to be honest, last years draft you could have taken a #1 receiver in the 3rd round because of all the depth, So I don’t want to say we have to take a certain position in any round, I am just going off our needs. Its clear we need a playmaker on offense.

  • CrazyTerry

    So Lewis has as many INTs as our entire secondary combined??? And when you cinlude the INTs by Mundy and Will Allen, those three have more INTs than the entire Steelers team/. Funny, how the same players get turnovers once they leave the Steelers system. Keep in mind Will Allen didnt play much after the first game and still has an INT.

  • Arthur Branch

    I am with you Dr. Doom. That 2006 season set the steelers up for the Superbowl runs. Now it is time to rebuild again with draft picks that are not in the late 20’s. We got some decent guys this year next we should do even better.

  • Arthur Branch

    You can hate Tomlin as much as you want. Just have to realize that coaches with talented teams do not make it to the Superbowl. Look at the Bronco’s from last year. You have to tip your hat to any coach that can take a group of men to the Superbowl not once but twice. The scouting department is what this team needs to improve.

  • Bob Graff

    Being a comic book fan i know better than to argue with Dr. Doom. I am not upset at all i am just giving an opinion on a message board. I just feel like a great organization like the Steelers needs an infusion of fresh thinking and ideas. What they have done over the past few years is make mistakes with there personnel . Now we as fans have to watch there below average work. I watched the Steelers in 1969 go 1-13 at pitt stadium and in 1970 they won 5 games there was a big difference everyone in the league knew this team was coming. The Steelers might win 5 games this year but the difference is everyone knows this team is going down hill fast.

  • Jollyrob68

    Could of grabbed two Safeties instead of grabbing Landry.

  • Jollyrob68

    Paulson needs to get stronger but he’ll get better. Never a #1 but serviceable depth.

  • Jollyrob68

    Everytime I watch Ziggy he’s using his strength but not attacking like his rookie year. I see him as a NT on running downs. Have McClendon rotate with Keisel and ziggy on passing downs. plus rotate Al woods.

  • Chris Ranieri

    I’ve been thinking the same thing regarding Velasco/Pouncey. Drafting a LT high along with retaining both of these guys will only make our OL better. Wonder what the FO thinks.

  • Chris Ranieri

    Agreed. Wish M Wheaton was healthy right now so he could be getting these valuable reps.

  • All positions on the OL are immediate. Including Center. Pouncey has a hard time staying healthy. Castro is good, Foster wouldn’t start for 30 out of 32 NFL teams.. But i will agree with the rest of your assessments

  • Foster is garbage.. If Velasco and Beachum can play Guard opposite of DeCastro i would be cool with that.

  • He’s neither.

  • Fivesevenzero Sports-Radio

    I agree pass rush needs to improve. OLB is extremely important position in a 3-4

  • joed32

    He’s never said he was thinking of getting back into coaching. Just the opposite he always talks about how much he enjoys what he’s doing and how happy he is.

  • steeltown

    Between Pouncey and Velasco we have some of the best C depth in the League, when considering OG between Velasco, DeCastro, Foster, Beachum, Embernate etc we have some talent and decent depth… we need Tackles

  • steeltown

    Beachum has allowed more sacks in less snaps than Foster has, he’s not garbarge he’s just not flashy, he can play every position along the OL except LT… every Team needs players like Foster… would I take a higher pedigree over him, yes, but we cant have 1st or 2nd Rd picks at every position

    In the end, you might be happy to hear that Velasco, Pouncey, DeCastro could possibly be our interior next season

  • Steeler Wheeler

    Are you serious? Velasco is a center, Pouncey probably needs to go play LT. For 5 years Foster and for two years Beachum have said a prayer every day thanking the lord the Steelers organization has been too inept to find a sutable replacement for them. You actually listed an injured UDFA as talented depth????

  • Chad H

    I partially agree. However I am one of those that believe the team was built when Tomlin came in. Give credit to GM or Cowher I don’t care either way. MT was not given free reign of the team, he had babysitters. Most of the coaching staff stayed in place and no major changes his first three years. Haley was a Rooney move so I don’t fault him for that. Locker room trash talk has now gone on for 3 years and a decline in player development. The HC has a lot more say in who stays and who goes than you give him credit for. Letting a developing NT leave to AZ without proving SM could handle the load and command a double team, which he cant. Bringing in an OL coach who never proved anything at a lower level and give you feed back on who starts, that’s a mistake. Buying off on a pot smoking lazy piece of shit to pick him in the 2nd rd.
    It seems to me your evaluation on MT is based solely on W and L’s. Start evaluating him on every aspect. This is why I never said he was great during the good years. Because my evaluation wasn’t complete and now it is and I don’t like what I see or hear.

  • Chad H

    Any given Sunday my friend that happens at levels of any sport. I agree that are scouting department may need an overhaul.
    My biggest point about Cowher during good and bad years was he never lost control of the locker room. Never lost control of his players. The B.S. that has been coming out of the locker room for 3 years implies that MT does not have control of his players and IMO is a poor leader.

  • CrazyTerry

    I am done with Tomlin. But don’t overrate Cowher. His final year was a joke. he took a good team and they went 8-8. He probably took years off of Ben’s career with the way he used Ben that year(and I am not forgetting how Tomlin has made similar mistakes with Ben’s injuries). The team was coming off a nice win inthe opener with Batch and they rush Ben back. Ben gets hurt again in ATL and Batch does well in relief and they rush Ben back for the disastrous OAK game. Let’s not forget the way Cowher handled the Kordell, Jim miller, Tomzack season opener one year. Or the inability to fix special teams his whole tenure.

  • steeltown

    Velasco can play C or OG, as can Pouncey

    Have no idea what you mean by Pouncey at LT???

    You can hate on Foster and Beachum all you want, but for an undrafted player and a 7th Rd pick they’ve played admirably so far in their careers. The potential of Embernate to become a backup to Decastro or be a swing OG next season is pretty high

  • me either just want this season to end.

  • The offense produced over 460 net yards had to be doing something right