Daily Archives: February 19, 2012
Rosenthal pointed out earlier this morning a significant dilemma the Steelers currently face. With receiver Mike Wallace’s three-year rookie contract expiring and the maximum tender for restricted free agents reduced from first-round and third-round compensation to first-round only under the new CBA, the Steelers may have to use the franchise tag in order to ensure…
By the end of the NFL Combine, where draft prospects are poked, prodded and paraded, they hope that teams conclude they've got what it takes.
Source: Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
With teams like the Steelers and the Texans facing the departure via restricted free agency of players like Mike Wallace and Arian Foster, respectively, in exchange for merely a first-round draft pick, the question becomes whether teams like the Steelers and the Texans would match an offer sheet signed with a new team by players…
Okay, I think I can anticipate the two most likely questions that are being asked about now:
When am I scheduled for drug testing?
Where can you get some of the same stuff that I must be using?
I understand and take no offense. But bear with me for a few minutes while I make my case, it may not seem so crazy at the end.
For this to make sense some prerequisites have to be established.
First, recent statements from Kevin Colbert and Art Rooney II have asserted the Steelers are in a retooling rather than a rebuilding phase. This is a team that has made the playoffs four of the last five seasons, won its division three of the last five seasons and played in the Super Bowl two of the last four seasons.
A number of players may be terminated, but these will mostly be for business rather than performance reasons. If you remember where people’s heads were at a year ago, there were seemingly huge and daunting problems, like the situation with the secondary. Those were solved with tweaks rather than infusion of talent. In this particular case, the additions of Cortez Allen and Curtis Brown were helpful, but the most important factors were probably the developmental evolution of William Gay, Keenan Lewis and Ryan Mundy; components that were already part of the toolbox.
With this in mind I think it’s unlikely that the team would trade up unless there was a really extraordinary opportunity involved.
Second, the idea that we absolutely must draft as many offensive linemen as we can, as high in the draft as we can, could be a misreading of the actual situation. With some luck in relation to injuries and some tweaking in terms of philosophy, the offensive line could look a lot better without a massive infusion of new talent - just like the defensive backs. How do you make the playoffs, win division titles and compete for championships with a terrible offensive line? Perhaps injuries undermining the stability and cohesion necessary for quality unit play are the culprit, not a complete lack of talent. There was also a lack of commitment to a balanced attack and pass plays taking 6-7 seconds to unfold can make any offensive line appear terrible.
We have drafted quality offensive linemen high in the draft in recent years with no real change in the accepted perception that the offensive line is a problem.
Third, NT Casey Hampton stays. NT Chris Hoke retired and DE Aaron Smith is likely to join him. Players, even great ones, don’t step right into this system executed by defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau and defensive line coach Johnny Mitchell and dominate. Parting company with a veteran like Hampton and suggesting a nose tackle can be drafted and fill his place immediate doesn't make sense, provided Hampton restructures his contract (a more likely event given his injury and age).
Fourth, no worries at running back. I’m not minimizing the value of RB Rashard Mendenhall or his injury situation. But If anything Mendenhall’s injury opens the door for the accelerated display and development of RBs Isaac Redman, Baron Batch, Jonathan Dwyer and John Clay. Colbert has said as much himself.
Fifth, no worries at receiver. The return of either WRs Hines Ward, Jerricho Cotchery, or both, increases depth. As Rebecca Rollett pointed out in a previous post, the alleged decline of Ward may have had more to do with a lack of opportunity rather than productivity, and may have been a possible factor in the exit of former offensive coordinator Bruce Arians.
The argument making the rounds is the No. 4 receiver must play special teams. This ignores the fact one of the top three receivers, Antonio Brown also is a key special teams player. But even if neither Ward nor Cotchery return, it's very likely the team retains WR Mike Wallace (a restricted free agent) and the draft and free agency pool are deep with receiving talent. Also, the team’s recent history with this position makes it unlikely that they will invest a high draft choice here.
So why a safety? This is, admittedly, a curious idea given the fact that we have two Pro Bowl caliber players as starters and quality backups.
SS Troy Polamalu has not been able to play a full schedule of games for each of the last three seasons. I am not arguing he is in decline, nor fragile in the conventional sense. He is vulnerable because his style of play and history points to a high likelihood of concussions.
The lawsuits and revelations of players like Tony Dorsett concerning head injuries was something I am convinced the NFL knew was coming down the pike.
Polamalu is at risk of being one hit away from being out of the picture for a considerable chunk of time, if not permanently (think Sidney Crosby). With Will Allen a likely cap casualty and Ryan Clark’s own health vulnerabilities, suddenly the situation at safety doesn’t look so solid. This may have been part of the motivation for obtaining S Myron Rolle, a player I am personally very high on based upon his character, if nothing else.
I also believe, vulnerabilities aside, that the Steelers are uniquely qualified to exploit an opportunity to invest in a safety.
This is where the drugs kick in.
I don’t have the background to suggest specific players to select in this regard, but I can tell you in fairly precise terms the type of player the Steelers should seek and why.
In the 1990s Dick LeBeau’s Blitzburgh revolutionized defensive football in part through the utilization of undersized defensive ends as pass rushing linebackers. In Super Bowl XLVI, the Giants established defense could still be relevant, in spite of the fears and concerns of many it couldn't offset the current offensive revolution.
With one draft pick the Steelers can usher in a defensive counterrevolution causing tears and the gnashing of teeth from
Select an athletic, undersized, intelligent linebacker as a safety. This is not a new idea. Many younger fans may not know that current defensive backs coach
So what are the benefits?
Two. Imagine a six defensive back package with three corners and three safeties, two of which are linebacker/safety hybrids (
Three. Ryan Clark. We make much, and rightfully so, about the chemistry between Polamalu and Clark, but in doing so we sometimes underestimate
Four. It buys time for the development of replacement inside linebackers and takes pressure off of Lawrence Timmons, another multi-faceted player whose own emergence has been stunted by having to compensate for injuries among the linebacking corps.
Finally, by adding a complimentary player, Polamalu's career could be extended, maybe even enhanced.
Pretty good drugs, huh. Where is the Super Bowl this year?
This is the sixth part in a collaborative effort from the editorial staff at BTSC, providing some arguments behind possible positional directions the Steelers may go with their first round pick - currently scheduled for the 24th overall. These will be posted each day this week, and will not be distributed based on order of preference.
Source: Behind the Steel Curtain
BTSC's Draft Forum has discussed the avenues the Steelers may take with the running back position as well as comparing the value of an offensive lineman with a nose tackle in the 2012 NFL Draft and free agency.
As the NFL Scouting Combine draws near, our esteemed panel has been discussing individual prospects and the level of interest teams may have in them.
We start off with Texas A&M QB Ryan Tannehill. The Steelers are highly unlikely to draft a quarterback in the first round (read: not happening), but Tannehill is being talked about as a potential mid-to-late first round prospect, and could be the target of a team trading up or down with Pittsburgh. We turn to our forum to answer some questions.
Background: We have highlighted the possible benefits of the Steelers trading down from the 24th overall pick. We know that teams have traded up or back into the first round to select a quarterback 14 times in the past 10 drafts, and five of those 14 picks came within three slots of where the Steelers are drafting this year. Obviously, each draft is unique; but it's tough to dismiss those occurrences as anomalies.
Question: Texas A&M's Ryan Tannehill has been largely overshadowed by the hype of Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III. I see him as a talented project, but one who will likely draw a first-round pick nonetheless. What is your opinion on Tannehill as a passer, and do you feel he'd be available at 24? If he's there, what do you think the odds are of the Steelers trading down with someone who wants him?
Quarterbacks generally go higher than expected. Tannehill will probably benefit from a desperate team buying into the inflation of his position. Can you tell I don't love him as a prospect? His arm strength and accuracy are subpar, he lacks extensive experience at QB, and his decision making is not superb either. That being said, he is an athletic kid who has a pass first mentality. That is all the rage in the NFL right now and I think a team will gamble on him before the 24th pick. If he is still alive at 24 and someone wants to trade with us, I think we should take it unless someone high on our board fell a lot deeper than they should have.
- John Stephens
While many outlets disagree in terms of his arm strength and accuracy, Tannehill's main issue at this point is the broken foot that kept him out of the Senior Bowl and will keep him from working out at the combine this coming week.
The hype exists, whether or not it is actually founded on anything yet (his purportedly rising stock could largely be due to the typical politicking for certain players done through the media this time of year). The reality though is that teams are likely to only see Tannehill throw once - at Texas A&M's Pro Day on March 7 - and they would really have to love him to take him higher than 24.
Source: Behind the Steel Curtain
After discussing Texas A&M QB Ryan Tannehill as a possible target by another team (trading into the Steelers spot at 24th overall), the BTSC Draft Forum is now moving onto players the Steelers may draft themselves.
First up is Cordy Glenn, the mammoth G/T prospect out of Georgia.
The 6-foot-5, 346-pound Glenn fits the Steelers' desire to bring in offensive linemen who can play more than one position. His height and length make some see him more as a tackle, while his bulk and explosiveness seem to fit the profile of a guard.
For better or worse, the Forum's impression of him is mixed.
I just don't think he is a 1st rounder at the moment. I've only seen one game of him at G and he looked kind of awkward moving around in that role. He was shaky in pass protection and he couldn't stay on his man when he was run-blocking. I actually think he may make a better RT than G, being that he looks a lot better run-blocking when playing OT. Maybe after the combine I will think he is a 1st rounder, but he is a high 2nd to me now. Would rather have a pure G like Kevin Zeitler in the 2nd.
- Parris Brantley (a.k.a. StoneColdSteel)
It's worth mentioning that Glenn started 50 games along the offensive line at Georgia, tied for the most in school history with Clint Boling (4th round pick by Cincinnati in 2010). Of those 50 starts - 28 came at left guard, 18 at left tackle and four at right guard. Some feel he's best suited to the the interior of the offensive line.
Cordy Glenn to me is going to be an NFL guard. His absolute ceiling would be RT, but he'd need a lot of work on his mechanics. I think he lacks the natural elite athleticism to be a LT. He has the strength to keep rushers out of the pocket face to face, but he can struggle when blocking in space. He does great work with his hands, but lacks quick footwork in pass protection. In run blocking, Glenn has great lower body work that allows him to get a great push. If you compare him to Decastro he is probably a bit stronger, but DeCastro's technique and mechanics are far superior. Anyway, I think he would automatically be the best guard on the Steelers and with coaching could be one of the better OGs in the league. Definitely worth the pick at 24.
- John Stephens
Others feel he is more of a tackle prospect.
I know everyone is projecting Glenn at Guard, but I can see him playing OT in the NFL. Glenn played LT this past season at Georgia, and played well enough to be selected All SEC first team, making him one of the top offensive lineman, in the best conference in college football. Glenn moves better than Marcus Gilbert, has longer arms, and is a couple of pounds heavier than Gilbert was when he entered the draft. I watched Glenn play against LSU this past season, and he had no problem holding off the pass rush, against the best defense in college football.
Glenn has great feet, is able to stay low in his stance, and has good balance when engaging defenders. The same skill set he was able to display playing at LT, would also apply to LG. Add to that, that Glenn was able to play at a high level, against some of the best defenses college football has to offer, and I don't see how a team can go wrong drafting him in the first round.
- Greig Clawson
It's hard to see a player as big and versatile as Glenn falling out of the first round, and it seems likely he'll land somewhere in the 20s if he tests well at the 2012 NFL Combine (Feb. 22-28).
His footwork will likely keep him away from the highly-coveted left tackle position, but that isn't to suggest he could not play there. Branden Albert had really only played guard at the University of Virginia, since left tackle was locked down during his collegiate career by D'Brickashaw Ferguson (4th pick overall in 2006) and Eugene Monroe (8th overall in 2009). Albert was very highly rated at guard, but wanted to prove his position flexibility and ended up being selected 15th overall by Kansas City in the 2008 NFL Draft. He has since played every snap of his professional career at left tackle.
Glenn's versatility is key. If he could not only develop into a starting guard but also a quality back-up tackle, the Steelers would have more flexibility should heavy casualties again ravage the offensive line.
Source: Behind the Steel Curtain
Jeremy Staat, who had a brief career with the Steelers before joining the Marine Corps and serving in Iraq, is calling his trek the "Wall-to-Wall Cross Country Bicycle Ride." With 66 scheduled stops that include seven military bases, he and Wesley Barrientos, an Army veteran of Iraq, hope to bring attention to veterans' issues.
Source: Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
Since my last post on Mike Wallace, as it relates to trying to protect him via free agency, I have had a few questions about how the Steelers can possibly fit Wallace underneath the cap by the start of the new league year if they indeed were to place the franchise tag of $ 9.4 million on him.
Let's assume that the Steelers tender all of their other restricted free agents and exclusive free agents except for Jamon Meredith at the lowest levels, which I fully expect they will do, and assume they give Wallace the franchise tag that is estimated to be about $ 9.4 million. With the current players Read more [...]
Source: Yardbarker: Pittsburgh Steelers
PITTSBURGH (93-7 The Fan) – Post-Gazette Steelers’ beat writer, and 93.7 The Fan Steelers’ Insider, Ed Bouchette, joined the Fan Morning Show on Tuesday to talk about the reports that former Kansas City Chiefs head coach Todd Haley has been offered the Steelers’ Offensive Coordinator job.
Ed says that himself, and fellow PG beat writer, Gerry Dulac cannot confirm that Haley has been offered the job. However, he thinks it would be a good hire, and that Haley would be a good fit for the Steelers saying he has “no problem with that hire.”
As for who made or will make the decision on Haley, Ed says that it will be up to Coach Tomlin as it has been in the past. Ed thinks that Tomlin’s track record for hiring assistant coaches has been very good.
We also get Ed’s thoughts on the Hall of Fame inductees for 2012. And he tells us whether or not he thinks Jerome Bettis is next.
For the interview, click below:
Source: CBS Pittsburgh » Steelers