AP Pro32 comments about Steelers

AP Pro32 comments about Steelers

NEW YORK (AP) Comments on the Pittsburgh Steelers by the AP Pro32 panel (ranking in parentheses):

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PITTSBURGH STEELERS (9)

Chris Berman (ESPN, 9) - Need Ben for Baltimore games.

Clifton Brown (Sporting News, 8) - Big Ben's injury is a big concern. They can only go so far without him.

Cris Collinsworth (NBC Sports, 9)

Rich Gannon (CBS Sports/SiriusXM NFL Radio, 9) - May drop quickly if Roethlisberger is out for an extended period of time.

Bob Glauber (Newsday, 10) - Steelers barely hold off 1-8 Chiefs at home, but not before losing Ben Roethlisberger to a shoulder injury. The timing couldn't be worse: Steelers face Ravens twice in next three weeks.

Rick Gosselin (Dallas Morning News, 9) - This was the worst weekend of the NFL season for quarterbacks with four of them knocked from games with injuries: Ben Roethlisberger of the Steelers, Jay Cutler of the Bears, Alex Smith of the 49ers and Michael Vick of the Eagles.

Clark Judge (CBSSports.com, 9) - Of all the injuries suffered by quarterbacks last weekend, it's Ben Roethlisberger's shoulder that worries me most.

Ira Kaufman (Tampa Tribune, 5) - Don't let Monday night's lapse against KC fool you - they'll be ready for the Ravens.

Pat Kirwan (SiriusXM NFL Radio/CBSSports.com, 7) - An ugly win over Kansas City is OK, but the loss of Roethlisberger would be a real problem. They overcame his four-game suspension once going 3-1 but I doubt they could do it again.

John Lynch (Fox Sports, 9) - It certainly wasn't pretty beating the Chiefs in OT. What might be even more ugly is the thought of playing without QB Ben Roethlisberger, who was injured and may miss some time.

Alex Marvez (Foxsports.com, 8) - The Steelers are in trouble if Ben Roethlisberger is forced to miss extensive time after injuring his shoulder Monday night against Kansas City.

Dan Pompei (Chicago Tribune, 9) - They beat the Chiefs without Big Ben, but the Steelers need their quarterback healthy to win down the stretch.

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AFC North: Griffin's mannequin pose gets thumbs up at Cleveland high school

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AFC North: Griffin's mannequin pose gets thumbs up at Cleveland high school

New Browns quarterback Robert Griffin III found a new way to use his body control Tuesday. He posed as a mannequin while pranking a high school classroom in Ohio. It was part of a good deed by the Browns, who donated $25,000 to North Ridgeville High School to be used for helmets.

While Browns teammate Cameron Erving spoke to the class, Griffin stood behind a curtain. After the curtain was raised, Griffin remained perfectly still, looking like a mannequin wearing a Ridgeville uniform and helmet.

“I had to tap into my inner mime,” Griffin told the Browns’ website.

When two students approached Griffin to remove the helmet, he startled them with a roar. Then Griffin removed his helmet to reveal his identity. The classroom erupted in applause.

The Browns’ website posted a video of Griffin’s performance here.

Things have been trending in a positive way for Griffin since coming to Cleveland from the Redskins. Not only did the Browns draft four wide receivers, they did not draft a quarterback until the third round when they took Cody Kessler of USC.  Griffin, Josh McCown, Austin Davis, Connor Shaw, and Pat Devlin are the other quarterbacks on the roster.

Griffin clearly has a chance to win the starting job. But with Tuesday’s mannequin act, Griffin won over some high school kids in Ohio.

  

Ravens like their draft class, and so did Vegas sports books

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Ravens like their draft class, and so did Vegas sports books

The Ravens liked their draft, and so did Las Vegas.

In mid-March prior to the draft, the Ravens had 40-1 odds to win Super Bowl 51, according to Bovada. After their 11-player haul in the draft, the Ravens’ Super Bowl odds have improved to 33-1, according to Bovada.

Here are the six teams whose Super Bowl odds improved most dramatically after the draft, according to Bovada:

Browns – 150-1 to 100-1

Redskins – 50-1 to 40-1

Jets – 50-1 to 40-1

Giants - 33-1 to 25-1

Raiders – 33-1 to 25-1

Ravens – 40-1 to 33-1

Despite quarterback Tom Brady’s four-game suspension being upheld, the Patriots remained the favorites for Super Bowl 51 (7-1), followed by the Seahawks (8-1), Packers (10-1), Steelers (10-1), and Panthers (11-1).

As for the AFC North, the Ravens still have their work cut out according to Vegas. The Steelers and Bengals (18-1) still have better Super Bowl odds than the Ravens.

So if you believe the Ravens are a better team after the draft, Vegas would agree. However, it remains to be seen if the Ravens will be improved enough to get back into the playoffs.

Ravens draft research includes digging into players' social media history

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Ravens draft research includes digging into players' social media history

Ten years ago, Ozzie Newsome didn’t have to worry about checking the Twitter posts of players he was thinking about drafting. Now, checking social media has become part of a general manager’s job, and part of a prospective draft prospect’s resume.

What better example than last week, when the infamous gas mask picture of Dolphins left tackle Laremy Tunsil appeared on social media less than an hour before the draft. The Ravens passed on Tunsil and took left tackle Ronnie Stanley with the sixth pick. Tunsil, who once looked like a sure top-five pick, plummeted to No. 13 where the Dolphins took him.

On the Ravens’ website, Ravens senior vice president Kevin Byrne wrote that he stopped by Newsome’s offense last Wednesday, one day before the draft, and saw him with a stack of papers in front of him.

When Byrne asked Newsome what he was reading, he responded, “Tweets from the college players. Some of these guys aren’t very smart. Part of our research.”

Researching social media will continue to be part of Newsome’s pre-draft process. Newsome isn’t active on social media, but he definitely reads it, now more than ever.