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Troy Polamalu, David DeCastro Earn Top Grades From PFF For Play Against Bengals


Pro Football Focus has their initial grades up from the Pittsburgh Steelers Sunday night game against the Cincinnati Bengals and this time a defensive player has the top grade.

Safety Troy Polamalu, who was allowed to play more safety as opposed to linebacker against the Bengals, graded out as the top Steelers player (4.2). Polamalu not only forced a fumble in the game, but was credited by PFF as having there stops.

Linebackers Lawrence Timmons (3.1) and Vince Williams (2.3) also graded out well and it was mostly a result of their play against the run. Nose tackle Al Woods, who started the game in place of the injured Steve McLendon, also finished with a nice grade of (1.8).

At the bottom of the defensive grades was safety Will Allen (-2.0) as he was a liability in pass coverage and specifically on the touchdown pass to Bengals wide receiver Marvin Jones.

As far as the offensive grades go, guard David DeCastro (4.0) had the top grade and he was followed closely by tackle Marcus Gilbert (3.6).

Surprisingly, tight end Matt Spaeth graded out the worst on offense (-4.8), according to PFF, and that was predominantly because of his run blocking in the game. Also playing poorly in the run game was center Cody Wallace (-3.0).

We will have break downs of several players later on in the week per our usual schedule.

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About Dave Bryan

I am, I'm me. 40 something, retired and a life long Steelers fan.
  • steeltown

    Absolutely love that the middle of the Defense (Al Woods, V.Williams) had a good game, against a division rival to boot

    I think Al Woods is a keeper, he has been mostly productive when given playing time, he’s versatile and he should be moderately cheap to sign to a multi-yr deal

  • blackandgoldBullion

    Good point. That’s why I have been wanting to see the youngsters in the mix. At least it may make future decisions a little easier. For example if Hood wants too much money, you show him the door because you have seen various replacements play decent and have alot more upside potential.

    As a bonus, you can also still win games while you see what these guys have for your future. I remember many a team being totally out of the play-off picture, yet when young guys get in and are playing for a job, they somehow pull off upsets near the end. Sure, it would be nice to have a higher draft choice, but some teams that finish the season well often come out fast the following season.

    We can only hope for the same.

  • steeltown

    I think Al Woods, the emergence of Heyward and McLendon’s versatility make Hood expendable in the offseason

  • srdan

    I agree. Although it is hard to let go of a productive first Rd pick with high character. But you are right on. I am torn on this.

  • steeltown

    Tough decisions to make in the offseason

  • srdan

    I think we both agree that if in some way it helps them keep Worldis, Ziggy is gone.

  • dgh57

    Just as I figured if Troy is allowed to play more of his normal position he plays better!

  • Jeff

    Agreed. All Good points…. I think Todd Haley deserves a little credit for the direction of this offense, too…. *Runs and hides in corner*

  • steeltown

    Yea its a numbers game in my eyes… you look at all the positions or positions of need, we have Heyward, McLendon, Al Woods, Arnfelt, N.Williams and possibly Keisel back next season. Then you look at the OLB position, we do not have much depth there. Letting Hood walk via FA would not effect the Team greatly, like it would to let Worilds walk (especially after watching Woodley suffer yet another injury)

  • cp72

    I think signing Woods and Beachum to long term deals is a must. I think signing the two of them is more of a priority than either Sanders and or Hood. Both Sanders and Hood are gonna want money their production doesn’t merit.

  • steeltown

    Indeed.. this Teams needs more affordable yet effective players under contract like Beachum, Al Woods and Dwyer… in the same class as Cotchery, Will Johnson and Willie Gay (i.e. production without breaking the bank)

  • sean mcmartin

    The way some players are coming on, This will help the Steelers draft day.
    CB is huge. I still think Ike taylor would make a good safety if he is willing to tackle hard.

  • DrakePirate

    What I think is crazy is how well the OL has protected Ben the last several weeks especially considering the patch work line that has been put out there, almost makes no sense … does this mean that they are grasping the system better or the OL coaching has improved ?? On the other hand the blocking for the rushing offense is still its usual dismal self.

  • DrakePirate

    Let Sanders walk, very average and too many drops … definitely sign Beachum, dwyer and Woods is looking Worthy .. .really looking forward to seeing more of him the next couple weeks … and please sit Will Allen, absolutely no upside to letting him play … bring in Thomas pleeeez

  • DrakePirate

    Hood might be expendable, but it would be nice to keep him … how much u think he would cost, is $1-1.5 mil doable ?

  • steeltown

    He’ll command more than that, unless there are no takers on the open market, but someone will grab him remember this guy has never missed a game in his career. Someone will pay.

  • NW86

    Agreed – but Beachum is already under contract at the league minimum for 2 more years. In fact, the CBA wouldn’t even allow them to start talking extension until March 2015.

  • DrakePirate

    so how much u think he will be offered on the open market … anything more than 2 obviously he would be expendable … i honestly dont think Ike will command more than 3 mill and Troy could get 4 mill at most, look what happened to Reed this year … so i think both sides would be smart to do a deal for around 3 mil each … lets see what the front office decides. One thing I am SURE about is both players want to finish their careers in Pittsburgh and are willing to take a much lower salary to stay !

  • NW86

    I’d say Ziggy would be offered somewhere between $2-3M/yr on the open market. At $2M, I’d say he’d be worth keeping.

  • DrakePirate

    Many on here are saying we need to draft D heavy this year, but I just dont see it … for arguments sake what do u see as our top priorities … my preference is for a 2 year approach, take care of the Offense this year and Def next year … course not saying all offense or defensive picks just prioritize i mean … what say you ?

  • DrakePirate

    agreed 2 mill keep him, not sure we can afford any more than that.

  • steeltown

    On Offense, we could use a LT (of course) and a young TE that has potential to learn and be great under Miller and Spaeth. But, more than anything we need defensive backs big time, we need to draft two CBs and another Safety.. Ike Taylor and Clark are fading fast, we need to start grooming and another OLB (unless Worilds is retained) then maybe just mid-late Rd guy for depth.

  • steeltown

    somewhere between $2-4MIL per season

  • Jeff

    Kind of bummed I missed that jag bengals’ fan trolling on a few articles earlier…. I woulda loved to be part of chasing him off this board haha…. Maybe it’s time to grow up…. Nah, I’ll wait till “tomorrow”

  • DrakePirate

    I dont like drafting CBs & S’s in the 1st Rd unless they are a near cant miss … much like Patrick Peterson was or Reid this year … otherwise id rather hit and miss with 3rd and 4th rounders .. I agree we need CBs probably two good ones …( I dont see any cant miss CB or Safety’s in this years draft unfortunately) but I do see some pretty good TE’s and WRs as well as other positions. I’m completely sold on Cortez (really like him) if we can get 2 more and let Ike go after another year or so .. we should be in pretty good shape

  • Elijah Stevenson

    Who do you believe stays next season ? I think we should keep Jason and let Woodley go

  • DrakePirate

    I agree they are the biggest priority, but unfortunately they also seem to be the hardest to successfully predict and we are especially bad at it … kudos for Cortez, but those are usually far and few between and unfortunately i dont see any standouts in next years draft at either safety or CB, except maybe that Oregon CB as a nickel back … so how do we fix that issue … i say cut clark and slash IKE & Troys salaries in half and pick up a decent FA CB .. if there will even be one out there or thats possible … i dont know unfortunately I dont see us getting much better in the secondary for at least a couple more years

  • sean mcmartin

    at least Two good CB’s .Also Ike can be a safety he is big enough and normally plays 10 yards off the ball as a CB. He can help with the run defense..

  • DrakePirate

    Young TE would be easy to pick up in draft a LT might be another story .. im a little gun shy after the last 2 tackle picks ..

  • DrakePirate

    we never seem to do what other teams do and transfer our fading CBs to Safety’s .. I wish we did … Rod Woodson should have never left when he did … many teams have been successful doing this, but somehow it doesnt seem to be our style

  • Joe Longo

    We need secondary help.

  • Dan

    We certainly have improved in many areas since September. If training camp was 3 months long we’d be in good shape.

  • Virdin Barzey

    Yup. Unfortunately the back of the defense is the complete opposite. We will see the full exposure this coming week with Rodgers.

  • MC

    I owe Al Woods an apology. I was on here earlier in the year saying that I don’t think Woods can start and play a whole game productively but he certainly proved me wrong against the bengals. Hope he solidifies himself even more going foward.

  • MC

    I hope this silences some of the Polamalu critics out there (talking about the ones who want the steelers to flat out cut him after this year).
    He’s been healthy all year however he has been playing out of position. First game without a explosive play isn’t a coincidence that Troy was playing his normal safety spot.
    Sure he most likely isn’t going to be worth his salary next year but i wouldn’t put it past Troy to give the team a bit of a discount.
    He’s not the same player he was, but the effort is still there and that is something we can’t just cut from this team.

  • MC

    i like the idea of drafting one side of the ball heavy one year and then the opposite side the next year. However I feel defense should come first next draft, just my opinion.
    I would draft a safety, CB and NT high. Add in a couple LB’s especially if Foote isn’t coming back and a DE if Hood goes.
    On offense I would probably only take a big body WR and some O lineman next draft and focus on offense heavily the year after.

  • DrakePirate

    we have a lot of leverage with troy as opposed to Worilds who he have no leverage with … Worilds will leave to make extra $$$ but Troy will take pretty much any decent offer to stay and end his career in pitt .. we will not have to over pay him. I would think 3-4 mil per season for 2 yrs would do it.

  • sean mcmartin

    rod woodson and lake might be able to coach ike up for a new role..

  • CrazyTerry

    Troy doesn’t deserve more than half his salary next year regardless of this one game. ANd Lebeau needs to cut the ILB experiment with Troy.

  • Kelly A

    Perhaps these facts may convince you why the 2014 draft should be focused on defense. Since the 2012 draft (the draft I call the ‘hospital draft’), the Steelers have drafted a total of 8 defensive players. Of the 8 defensive players they’ve drafted since that time, only 3 have an active role on the Steelers; Shamarko Thomas, Jarvis Jones, and Vince Williams. Allow me to give you a run down of the other defensive players they drafted and their current statuses:
    ————————————————————————————
    a) Sean Spence – Suffered a serious knee injury which kept him on IR for almost 2 years.

    b) Alameda Ta’amu – Released and is currently playing with Arizona

    c) Terrence Frederick – Was released before the preseason in 2012. Currently on the Giants practice squad

    d) Nick Williams – On IR

    e) Terry Hawthorne – Proved to lack work ethic and was released
    ————————————————————————————

    All in all, the Steelers have not built a stable corp on defense due to the fact that many of the defensive players they drafted, have not materialized into a players they could use. With all this noted, the Steelers should focus this draft on defense.

  • DrakePirate

    Yes we do … but not much out there in the first 2 rounds !

  • DrakePirate

    This is exactly why I DONT want to focus on the Def in the draft … we have made sooo many poor choices lately … i think we have much better odds getting a top TE, WR or OG the first couple rounds … that said, if I had confidence in their defensive picks, especially secondary I would be all for it … somehow i feel they will screw it up! Who are some of your favorites in the draft for defense ??

  • DrakePirate

    agreed, and I think he will accept a modest salary … I would be very much in favor of 7.5/2yrs … he is still playing decent and that gives us time to groom shamarko more and pick up another top Safety … Ike should be happy with 5-6mil/2yrs … i would say 1 yr but he keeps in tremendous shape and i think we could use him at least as a 3rd CB the second year, granted we find a suitable replacement in the draft or FA

    Ryan Clark, not to return at any price … cut him (thanks very much for a great career)

  • walter mason

    I would say let Woodley go but the problem is that we paid him into the future with something called restructuring. Its no wonder he can sit back and laugh (about his poor play) These are his own words. He has been already paid whether he plays or not. Its called dead money if we cut him now. We cant possible force him to return any money. But a Comp pic might help.
    Restructuring (paying for future years) should not be legal in the NFL..

  • steeltown

    Not a chance in letting Woodley go, far too much dead money involved and I doubt any other Teams will take on his contract in a trade after 3straight yrs with injury

    I do hope we find a way to keep Worilds though.. I’d let Sanders and Hood walk and cut Foote if needed to keep Worilds, we have NO depth at OLB

  • Chad H

    Move Troy to FS and bring in Shark at SS. Then grab a CB in 1st or 2nd rd.

  • Kelly A

    No offence, but that’s not for us to decide. The fact is that the defense is aging and changes are needed. Even if you do not have confidence in their picks, they need to focus on defense in the draft; they’re not going to neglect them because we are not confident in the choices. Furthermore, I’m not sure how you can assess they’ve made poor choices in the first place. For instance, Jarvis Jones is a first year player whom is playing in a complicated defense; many Steelers defensive players in the past have not been able to start on this defense in their first year. Believe it or not, they have done an exceptional job on drafting on defense this year; just because it is not manifesting itself right now, doesn’t mean that they’re “poor choices” (ie: Jason Worilds). One thing about this franchise, they draft for long term gain on defense; not short term gain.

    With that noted, this draft has a plethora of talent coming up on defense and the Steelers would be foolish not to pass up on an opportunity to take at least 4 defensive players in that draft. For instance the defensive backs in this draft are going to be sensational:
    —————————————————————————

    Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Alabama

    Deone Bucannon, Washington St.

    Dion Bailey, USC

    Craig Loston, LSU

    Ty Zimmerman, Kansas St.

    Ahmad Dixon, Baylor

    Terrence Brooks, Florida St.

    Tre Boston, North Carolina

    Marqueston Huff, Wyoming

    Josh Shaw, USC
    ————————————————————————-
    This is just a small sample of defensive players coming up. I won’t be surprise if 90% of the teams in this year’s draft takes one defensive player. So this team needs a younger defensive corps in order to compete for the division and possibly a Superbowl in the future.

  • CrazyTerry

    3M/year is too much for Ike at this stage in his career. He should be getting what Gay got in the offseason at most as that is where I place Ike’s declining skills – at the same level as where Gay was perceived at last offseason. Gay has outperformed that, of course.

  • CrazyTerry

    No one will pay Hood much money., you can keep Hood as a backup at the minimum. As long as Colbert doesn’t bid against himself again.

  • CrazyTerry

    The D is in trouble long term if these guys are your starters. Al Woods had some good moments, but I don’t trust him as a full time starter yet. Williams is backup at best.

  • steeltown

    Its far too early to tell whether Williams is a “backup at best” and I mentioned nothing about starters or backups, but quality depth is needed

  • DrakePirate

    I don’t see many of those being 1st rnd picks .. like i said, id rather stick with taking care of the offense first !

  • sean mcmartin

    IMHO I think troy should take a pay cut next year, If you count all the games he sat out hurt he got paid for at least 16 games he didn’t suit up for. Troy seems like he is the type to retire or take a pay cut. The Steelers and Coach cliche cannot botch this one. Could they?

  • Elijah Stevenson

    But in the last couple of years he only played 34 games

  • Elijah Stevenson

    Your definitely right

  • Joeybaggadonuts

    If released after 6/1 he only counts $5M toward the cap…I like Lamar when healthy and he is a team guy but needs to lose some Lbs….

  • HopalongCassidy

    Not worth even close to 4 mil per year. 2 mil is almost too much.

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