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View Full Version : Did resigning Starks just become the #1 off season priority?



Oviedo
12-01-2008, 10:35 AM
I know there is a lot of emotionalism over Starks because of his perceived play and cap number but the fact is that since stepping in for Smith he has done a serviceable job at LT. The fact is that Smith is no longer a viable option at LT because of injuries which leaves the question about what to do at LT.

IMO you resign Starks. Starks seems to be getting better every game. The reality is that there is unlikely to be anyone available in free agency except for Jordan Gross better than Starks. Gross is probably in line to be one of the highest paid OL in the league so our chances of getting him are slim. Starks seems to be the best option because there is no rookie you will get in the draft who could possibly do better.

That raises the question: Who is the bigger off season priority Starks or Bmac?

You may hate to hear it, but IMO is is Starks.

Discipline of Steel
12-01-2008, 10:47 AM
I am glad FatMaxx is finally earning his keep but he better be willing to sign a Steeler friendly contract this year after being obviously overpaid. However, in my opinion, Kemo is just as important for us. Dude is sic as a road grader and I would like to see us return next year with a power running component to our O that has been missing during BAs 2 year tenure.

PS I can see us paying big for a new fixture at LT such as Gross.

MeetJoeGreene
12-01-2008, 10:52 AM
I was kind of thinking of this too. It may be that we re-sign Max.

Something I would never have considered a few short months ago

Oviedo
12-01-2008, 10:57 AM
I am glad FatMaxx is finally earning his keep but he better be willing to sign a Steeler friendly contract this year after being obviously overpaid. However, in my opinion, Kemo is just as important for us. Dude is sic as a road grader and I would like to see us return next year with a power running component to our O that has been missing during BAs 2 year tenure.

PS I can see us paying big for a new fixture at LT such as Gross.

I'll play devil's advocate here. You have an option to replace Kemo if he leaves--Willie Colon. If Starks leave what option does the team have at LT--none unless Hills really progresses at an astronomical rate in the off season.

I could see the team letting Kemo walk and keeping Starks at LT (resign or franchise tag) and plugging in Hills at RT to get experience.

Discipline of Steel
12-01-2008, 11:05 AM
OK, how about I meet you halfway? We keep Kemo, Starks, and buy Gross...drop Simmons and Smith. Only one new guy in the mix and all of our OL problems are solved.

If that doesnt leave us any money for BMac, then so be it, we can draft a new CB.

phillyesq
12-01-2008, 11:08 AM
I can't believe that I'm typing this, but I wouldn't mind seeing Starks resigned to a reasoanble deal. I still think that the Steelers need to focus on building the O-Line through the draft, but you can't expect rookies to fill the entire line from day 1.

I have mixed thoughts on Kemo. He is just devastating when he pulls, but he seems to have some issues with pass blocking -- especially picking up stunts.

As well as McFadden was playing earlier, I think that Starks could actually be the bigger priority. And that kind of depresses me.

Discipline of Steel
12-01-2008, 11:42 AM
Maybe FatMaxx time on the pine gave him just the type of attitude adjustment he needed. It must have been embarrassing for him to make all the money yet not be able to crack the 'much maligned' starting lineup. He ought to be eternally grateful to the Steelers right about now.

By the way, it looks like +1 for Tomlin in his handling of Maxx fragile psyche. Maybe Tomlin isnt so bad after all?

AkronSteel
12-01-2008, 11:46 AM
I say the team operates like this....

Let Smith and Max Go
Cut Kendall Simmons
Resign Kemo and Essex
Pursue Jordan Gross or Khalif Barnes in FA
Draft an OG and OT in the first 3 rounds of the draft

Then going into next year we have a line that looks like this:

LT: Gross/Barnes
LG: Kemo
C: Hartwig
RG: Stapleton
RT: Colon

The team then has Essex, Hills and the two rookies as depth. I just don't see resigning Max or Marvel. I think that we have witnessed already that we are better without Kendall Simmons. The team will have plenty of $$$ to pursue a FA OT if Marvel, Max and Kendall all come off the books.

Oviedo
12-01-2008, 12:12 PM
I say the team operates like this....

Let Smith and Max Go
Cut Kendall Simmons
Resign Kemo and Essex
Pursue Jordan Gross or Khalif Barnes in FA
Draft an OG and OT in the first 3 rounds of the draft

Then going into next year we have a line that looks like this:

LT: Gross/Barnes
LG: Kemo
C: Hartwig
RG: Stapleton
RT: Colon

The team then has Essex, Hills and the two rookies as depth. I just don't see resigning Max or Marvel. I think that we have witnessed already that we are better without Kendall Simmons. The team will have plenty of $$$ to pursue a FA OT if Marvel, Max and Kendall all come off the books.

The problem with your line up is you still have Colon at RT. He is not a good RT and should be playing guard. Speed rushers playing out of a 4-3 defensive scheme eat him for lunch.

I think there is a greater liklihood we can afford Starks more than Gross or Barnes although Gross is my first choice. I'd feel better with:

LT: Gross/Starks/Barnes (in that order)
LG: Kemo
C: Hartwig
RG: Colon
RT: Free Agent or Hills

Back ups: Essex (resign), Stapleton. Draft OL starting in Rd. 2 and get OT and C/G.

AkronSteel
12-01-2008, 12:22 PM
I say the team operates like this....

Let Smith and Max Go
Cut Kendall Simmons
Resign Kemo and Essex
Pursue Jordan Gross or Khalif Barnes in FA
Draft an OG and OT in the first 3 rounds of the draft

Then going into next year we have a line that looks like this:

LT: Gross/Barnes
LG: Kemo
C: Hartwig
RG: Stapleton
RT: Colon

The team then has Essex, Hills and the two rookies as depth. I just don't see resigning Max or Marvel. I think that we have witnessed already that we are better without Kendall Simmons. The team will have plenty of $$$ to pursue a FA OT if Marvel, Max and Kendall all come off the books.

The problem with your line up is you still have Colon at RT. He is not a good RT and should be playing guard. Speed rushers playing out of a 4-3 defensive scheme eat him for lunch.

I think there is a greater liklihood we can afford Starks more than Gross or Barnes although Gross is my first choice. I'd feel better with:

LT: Gross/Starks/Barnes (in that order)
LG: Kemo
C: Hartwig
RG: Colon
RT: Free Agent or Hills

Back ups: Essex (resign), Stapleton. Draft OL starting in Rd. 2 and get OT and C/G.

Oh....I know brother but I am just being realistic. I just don't see the team replacing Colon at RT going into next year. He will sign his restricted tender and he will start at RT. I would love to see the team draft an OL to replace him.

I understand that the OT will be expensive but it really needs to be done. The funds should be there to pursue Gross with Smith, Starks and Simmons coming off the books. I really wouldn't mind Barnes, he is a solid LT.

To me....Kemo and Essex are givens! Kemo needs to be resigned because he has shown progress the entire year and is really one of the main reasons the running game is solid most of the time. Essex will come reasonable and is a very important cog because he can slide between guard and tackle, and perform well when doing so.

MeetJoeGreene
12-01-2008, 12:32 PM
I don't think we cut Simmons since we just re-signed him -- it might have too much of a cap hit.

steelblood
12-01-2008, 12:37 PM
Woooooo. Don't get ahead of yourself.

Starks proved last season that he is good in the slop. So far this year, he's had some great games in the slop. But, he's never proven that he can handle elite pass rushers in decent conditions (without TE or RB chipping/help STarks has no killer instinct and slow feet. There is a reason that we are constantly trying to upgrade from him.

Oviedo
12-01-2008, 12:42 PM
Woooooo. Don't get ahead of yourself.

Starks proved last season that he is good in the slop. So far this year, he's had some great games in the slop. But, he's never proven that he can handle elite pass rushers in decent conditions (without TE or RB chipping/help STarks has no killer instinct and slow feet. There is a reason that we are constantly trying to upgrade from him.

No slop yesterday since they were on Field Turf and he got it done.

papillon
12-01-2008, 12:48 PM
The field wasn't sloppy yesterday and Starks did a good job on Seymour, one of the better DTs in the league. I don't know if there is any acrimony between Starks and tomlin or Starks and the FO, if there is, he may not want to play for the Steelers. He was transitioned this year. Can he be franchised? And, what would it cost for one year?

If he can be franchised for one year and draft an LT in the first round to groom for the future, I'd spend the money for one year. This would allow the Steelers to keep the line that appears to becoming more and more of a cohesive unit together next year as well.

Hartwig is performing above expectations I would say.
Stapleton for the most part is playing good football.
Kemo is playing very well in the run game and getting better in pass protection.
Starks seems to be getting better with each start.
Colon may be the weak link, but, he looked solid yesterday and picked up a few stunts and blitzes nicely yesterday.

As usual, for the Steelers, there is no reason to panic in the off season they will have options going into the draft.

Pappy

Discipline of Steel
12-01-2008, 02:11 PM
I don't think we cut Simmons since we just re-signed him -- it might have too much of a cap hit.

They have plenty of 'cap hit' space after FatMaxx's 'cap hit' this year disappears. Now Simmons has to disappear.

RuthlessBurgher
12-01-2008, 03:28 PM
McFadden is in the mold of a Steeler CB, the kind that can cover a WR but doesn't mind getting his nose a little dirty in support of the run as well. He could be a very good to great corner for us, so he should be our top priority in the off-season.

While LT may be a more important position overall because he protects the blind side of the franchise QB, Max is only serviceable there. He will never been called a very good to great left tackle, and therefore should not be our top priority in the off-season.

Just because Max has exceeded expectations, it was not very difficult to do, since the expectations we had were that he would be embarrassingly imcompetant. Instead, he has shown to be somewhat adequate. If he wants to sign here as an insurance policy, in case a starter goes down, I'm fine with that. He provides solid depth...a contingency plan if things go wrong, not a building block at the most important position along the o-line. But I do not want to rely on him as our starter going into next season if that could be avoided.

steelblood
12-01-2008, 03:28 PM
Woooooo. Don't get ahead of yourself.

Starks proved last season that he is good in the slop. So far this year, he's had some great games in the slop. But, he's never proven that he can handle elite pass rushers in decent conditions (without TE or RB chipping/help STarks has no killer instinct and slow feet. There is a reason that we are constantly trying to upgrade from him.

No slop yesterday since they were on Field Turf and he got it done.

Please. It wasn't Heinz Field slop, but the sheets of sleet and rain last night negated the pass rushers speed moves that Starks (and Colon for that matter) normally struggle with. Also, the Pats best pass rusher (Thomas) didn't even play and Seymour is struggling with an injury. Last night did not prove that Starks is a legitimate LT.

buckeyehoppy
12-02-2008, 04:45 AM
Starks proved last season that he is good in the slop. So far this year, he's had some great games in the slop. But, he's never proven that he can handle elite pass rushers in decent conditions (without TE or RB chipping/help STarks has no killer instinct and slow feet. There is a reason that we are constantly trying to upgrade from him.

Please. It wasn't Heinz Field slop, but the sheets of sleet and rain last night negated the pass rushers speed moves that Starks (and Colon for that matter) normally struggle with. Also, the Pats best pass rusher (Thomas) didn't even play and Seymour is struggling with an injury. Last night did not prove that Starks is a legitimate LT.

Maybe Max's supporters will have my attention if he can shut down Trevor Pryce straight up in a game that doesn't have the weather conditions that Foxborough had on Sunday.

What Max's supporters are asking the Steelers to do is to throw another contract at him and assume that he will stop being the head case he already is. And if anyone thinks that Max is going to come at a "home team discount" then you have another guess coming. He'll want the kind of money that Gross or Barnes will want and both of those guys are an upgrade over Max (especially Gross).

Plus, Carolina and JAX both have viable backup plans to replace Gross and Barnes. Otah could move to LT for Carolina and Spencer or Pashos could do the same in JAX. That said, if the Steelers really wanted to make a play for either one would their current teams want to get into a bidding war to keep them?

The Steelers should definitely be in play for Gross and Barnes. If they can sign one of them, re-sign Essex and draft an OT in the first three rounds then they will have all the flexibility in the world to get a CB in the same time frame because signing a FA LT will lessen the importance of taking an OT in the first.

Oviedo
12-03-2008, 11:42 AM
Starks proved last season that he is good in the slop. So far this year, he's had some great games in the slop. But, he's never proven that he can handle elite pass rushers in decent conditions (without TE or RB chipping/help STarks has no killer instinct and slow feet. There is a reason that we are constantly trying to upgrade from him.

Please. It wasn't Heinz Field slop, but the sheets of sleet and rain last night negated the pass rushers speed moves that Starks (and Colon for that matter) normally struggle with. Also, the Pats best pass rusher (Thomas) didn't even play and Seymour is struggling with an injury. Last night did not prove that Starks is a legitimate LT.

Maybe Max's supporters will have my attention if he can shut down Trevor Pryce straight up in a game that doesn't have the weather conditions that Foxborough had on Sunday.

What Max's supporters are asking the Steelers to do is to throw another contract at him and assume that he will stop being the head case he already is. And if anyone thinks that Max is going to come at a "home team discount" then you have another guess coming. He'll want the kind of money that Gross or Barnes will want and both of those guys are an upgrade over Max (especially Gross).

Plus, Carolina and JAX both have viable backup plans to replace Gross and Barnes. Otah could move to LT for Carolina and Spencer or Pashos could do the same in JAX. That said, if the Steelers really wanted to make a play for either one would their current teams want to get into a bidding war to keep them?

The Steelers should definitely be in play for Gross and Barnes. If they can sign one of them, re-sign Essex and draft an OT in the first three rounds then they will have all the flexibility in the world to get a CB in the same time frame because signing a FA LT will lessen the importance of taking an OT in the first.

Gross, Barnes and Starks will be the top OT free agents. The question is which can you reasonably assume that you can get. IMO you have a greater chance of resigning Starks than getting Gross. Gross will likely become the highest paid OT in the NFL. If nothing else you can tag Starks for a year while you develop an option.

Gross is my first choice, but need to be a realist about competing for him.

I do agree with resigning Essex and drafting an OT in Round 2. I doubt we get someone who can step in at LT given we will be drafting very late in Round 1 so get someone who will actually play, e.g. DL as part of rotation.

SuperSize
12-04-2008, 04:06 PM
Okay, for my first post on this board, I get to post on my current favorite topic. I think that keeping Starks is the ONLY option out there for 2009. There is nothing available in FA or in the draft that is an improvement on Starks. I know people keep throwing Gross's name into this equation, but I have two comments on that. One, how much do you think that would cost, and two, why do you think he would be an upgrade over Starks?

You must base your critique of Starks on the most recent sample, which is the games he has played this year. He has played very well, and not just in slop, and not just against poor teams. His play has been pretty consistent.

And for people saying they would like to see him signed at a REASONABLE price, you might want to consider what you feel reasonable is, because a starting LT on the FA market will bring whatever the market says it will, and it won't be cheap.

Starks isn't Tony Boselli or Anthony Munoz, but he is more than adequate, and I hope he is here next year.


Pete

RuthlessBurgher
12-04-2008, 05:07 PM
Okay, for my first post on this board, I get to post on my current favorite topic. I think that keeping Starks is the ONLY option out there for 2009. There is nothing available in FA or in the draft that is an improvement on Starks. I know people keep throwing Gross's name into this equation, but I have two comments on that. One, how much do you think that would cost, and two, why do you think he would be an upgrade over Starks?

You must base your critique of Starks on the most recent sample, which is the games he has played this year. He has played very well, and not just in slop, and not just against poor teams. His play has been pretty consistent.

And for people saying they would like to see him signed at a REASONABLE price, you might want to consider what you feel reasonable is, because a starting LT on the FA market will bring whatever the market says it will, and it won't be cheap.

Starks isn't Tony Boselli or Anthony Munoz, but he is more than adequate, and I hope he is here next year.


Pete

Welcome, Pete!

It's refreshing to have a new poster talking football right off the bat instead of focusing on the drama of the Trib shutdown. You will see that this place is a great place for reasonable intelligent discussion of out favorite team. And although I don't necessarily agree with your take on Starks, I won't insult your mother because of it. :mrgreen:

I personally think he can be a useful cog as a short-term fill-in type of guy, but relying on him as the guy to protect Ben's blind-side for the long term is darn close to a worst-case scenario in my eyes. If we can't get a veteran starter like Gross, I wouldn't necessarily mind it if we extended Max for a year or two as a stopgap for the rookie stud LT I hope we trade up for in the first round this year.

SuperSize
12-04-2008, 05:13 PM
RB,

I don't think the 1-2 year fill-in plan is likely, due to the fact that re-signing Starks is gonna be expensive, like it or not. To make it cap friendly, it will have to be at least 4, maybe 5 yrs.

I do have two questions I'd like someone to answer.

1. How has Starks protected Ben's blindside so far this year?
2. Why do people think Jordan Gross is such a big upgrade?


Pete

steelblood
12-04-2008, 06:28 PM
You must base your critique of Starks on the most recent sample, which is the games he has played this year. He has played very well, and not just in slop, and not just against poor teams. His play has been pretty consistent.



Hmmm. Let's look at the facts.

Max didn't have to face Houston (Mario Williams), Baltimore, or Philadelphia.

Max has faced...
Washington (not a good pass rushing team/no Jason Taylor)
Cincinnati x2 (poor pass rushers)
NY Giants (very good pass rushing team - slowed down by Heinz slop)
Indy (great speed rushers neutralized by terrible Heinz conditions/weather)
New England (average at best pass rushing team without A. Thomas and Seymour slowed by injury)
San Diego (poor pass rushing team)

Don't get me wrong, I appreciate what Max has done. He has steadied things nicely and excels in bad weather. However, we aren't seeing a formerly slow-footed tackle finally figure out how to stop speed rushers. Let's be realistic.

Flasteel
12-04-2008, 06:43 PM
Okay, for my first post on this board, I get to post on my current favorite topic. I think that keeping Starks is the ONLY option out there for 2009. There is nothing available in FA or in the draft that is an improvement on Starks. I know people keep throwing Gross's name into this equation, but I have two comments on that. One, how much do you think that would cost, and two, why do you think he would be an upgrade over Starks?

You must base your critique of Starks on the most recent sample, which is the games he has played this year. He has played very well, and not just in slop, and not just against poor teams. His play has been pretty consistent.

And for people saying they would like to see him signed at a REASONABLE price, you might want to consider what you feel reasonable is, because a starting LT on the FA market will bring whatever the market says it will, and it won't be cheap.

Starks isn't Tony Boselli or Anthony Munoz, but he is more than adequate, and I hope he is here next year.


Pete

Good post Pete (primarily because I agree with it). However, I think we need to consider the entire body of work Max Starks brings to the table, not just his most recent. Granted, much of that includes his play at right tackle where he had one good season ('05) and one poor season ('06). His play on the left side includes four solid starts last year as well as the six or seven this year...again all pretty good.

A lot of folks keep trying to make excuses such as fiels conditions or whatnot, but I believe Max is better suited on the left side and he has yet to show that he can't handle the job. I say the next four games and the playoffs will be the acid test and if he maintains his level of play, there is no way we should let him walk.

Lebsteel
12-04-2008, 07:04 PM
I am glad FatMaxx is finally earning his keep but he better be willing to sign a Steeler friendly contract this year after being obviously overpaid. However, in my opinion, Kemo is just as important for us. Dude is sic as a road grader and I would like to see us return next year with a power running component to our O that has been missing during BAs 2 year tenure.

PS I can see us paying big for a new fixture at LT such as Gross.

Totally agree with your thoughts. Max was paid twice his worth this year, so if he's not willing to accept that, then let him and Marvel move on and let's sign someone like Gross to take his place.

SuperSize
12-04-2008, 07:41 PM
You must base your critique of Starks on the most recent sample, which is the games he has played this year. He has played very well, and not just in slop, and not just against poor teams. His play has been pretty consistent.



Hmmm. Let's look at the facts.

Max didn't have to face Houston (Mario Williams), Baltimore, or Philadelphia.

Max has faced...
Washington (not a good pass rushing team/no Jason Taylor)
Cincinnati x2 (poor pass rushers)
NY Giants (very good pass rushing team - slowed down by Heinz slop)
Indy (great speed rushers neutralized by terrible Heinz conditions/weather)
New England (average at best pass rushing team without A. Thomas and Seymour slowed by injury)
San Diego (poor pass rushing team)

Don't get me wrong, I appreciate what Max has done. He has steadied things nicely and excels in bad weather. However, we aren't seeing a formerly slow-footed tackle finally figure out how to stop speed rushers. Let's be realistic.


Hmmm, what about these facts...

You don't want to give Starks credit for having good games against the NYG & Indy because of the conditions at Heinz Field. The conditions are the same for both teams, Starks just played better under those conditions, and that's good, seeing the Steelers play at least 8 games there every year.

You say Seymour was slowed by injury...what player isn't feeling the effects of some injuries at this point of the season? Seymour is a perennial Pro Bowl player who was a non-factor last Sunday because Starks took him out of the game.

Look, we can break down every game & every play, but the bottom line is that Starks has played well against the teams on the Steelers schedule, against the players those teams put on the field, in the weather conditions that the games were played in. That's all he can do.

And nobody has yet answered my question as to why they feel Jordan Gross would be an upgrade.


Pete

SteelerOfDeVille
12-04-2008, 08:07 PM
glad y'all are catching up... i said weeks ago that i'd tag max again if i had to... but, it was over on that other board (i think) so there's no proof

Chadman
12-04-2008, 09:32 PM
Max Starks was benched because he ballooned out in weight & lost his foot movement as a result.

Last season, he reported to camp at 320 lbs & when given his chance at LT, played well.

If Starks can retain a weight of around 320lbs, he's a solid to good LT...and certainly good enough to keep around.

Keep in mind- he's 27 years old & Ben's good mate. Don't you want your best mate blocking for you?

TonyRomo
12-04-2008, 11:03 PM
I know there is a lot of emotionalism over Starks because of his perceived play and cap number but the fact is that since stepping in for Smith he has done a serviceable job at LT. The fact is that Smith is no longer a viable option at LT because of injuries which leaves the question about what to do at LT.

IMO you resign Starks. Starks seems to be getting better every game. The reality is that there is unlikely to be anyone available in free agency except for Jordan Gross better than Starks. Gross is probably in line to be one of the highest paid OL in the league so our chances of getting him are slim. Starks seems to be the best option because there is no rookie you will get in the draft who could possibly do better.

That raises the question: Who is the bigger off season priority Starks or Bmac?

You may hate to hear it, but IMO is is Starks.

I'm sorry, but don't the Steelers employ some of the worst Offensive lineman in the Business? You guys can't rush for a yard when you need one. You routinely lead the league in sacks allowed. Sorry, but you will see a real left tackle this week.

SteelStallion
12-04-2008, 11:09 PM
McFadden is in the mold of a Steeler CB, the kind that can cover a WR but doesn't mind getting his nose a little dirty in support of the run as well. He could be a very good to great corner for us, so he should be our top priority in the off-season.

While LT may be a more important position overall because he protects the blind side of the franchise QB, Max is only serviceable there. He will never been called a very good to great left tackle, and therefore should not be our top priority in the off-season.

Just because Max has exceeded expectations, it was not very difficult to do, since the expectations we had were that he would be embarrassingly imcompetant. Instead, he has shown to be somewhat adequate. If he wants to sign here as an insurance policy, in case a starter goes down, I'm fine with that. He provides solid depth...a contingency plan if things go wrong, not a building block at the most important position along the o-line. But I do not want to rely on him as our starter going into next season if that could be avoided.

I've thought the same thing. Give the guy credit. He's playing very well at LT against quality opponents. In fact, is he playing the best of the five? Maybe.

Flasteel
12-04-2008, 11:24 PM
glad y'all are catching up... i said weeks ago that i'd tag max again if i had to... but, it was over on that other board (i think) so there's no proof


LIAR!!!!


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