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fordfixer
02-05-2009, 12:55 AM
Pittsburgh Steelers: Looking Ahead, the Drive for Seven Begins!

http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1195 ... r-7-begins (http://bleacherreport.com/articles/119525-looking-ahead-the-drive-for-7-begins)


Often, you will hear the saying, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it!" But in today's NFL, if you don't improve, you fail.

As we begin preparation for the 2009 season, it is time to fix what is not broken.

QB - Many people think that we are set at quarterback. Yes, we have the $100 Million Dollar Man starting, but in the NFL every team needs quality at depth. Byron Leftwich is sure to head to greener pastures (maybe NY Jets), but will Charlie Batch return?

If not, is Dennis Dixon ready to take a step up in the depth chart? Only time will tell.



RB - "Fast" Willie Parker had a down year, with injuries and inconsistency (which can partially be blamed on the O-line). Mewelde Moore stepped up and showed everyone he is a VERY reliable back up and third down back.

If Rashard Mendenhall can return from a broken shoulder and Carey Davis and Gery Russell can continue to improve, our backfield could be set!



WR - Hines Ward and Santonio Holmes are a fantastic one-two punch. There are many people disappointed in second rounder Limas Sweed, but not me. He reminded me of a young Plaxico Burress (remember in Plaxico's rookie year against Jacksonville when he spiked the ball after a great catch?).


With a year of seasoning, Limas is going to be set to challenge Nate Washington for the third receiver job.



TE - Heath Miller is the all-around tight end. He can block, he can catch, he can run after the catch. Matt Spaeth is great as the second TE.



O-Line - How do you think Alan Fanaca is feeling right now? Big injuries to Kendall Simmons and Marvell Smith showed that this is the weakest part of the team. They did pull it together enough when we needed it, but there HAS to be improvement. Smith and Max Starks are both going to be gone.

Simmons is going to be back, but unless there is a drastic upgrade, we can forget about winning No. 7 in '09.

With Jordan Gross of the Panthers and Vernon Carey on the free agent market, signing one of them, and drafting a tackle, will make this line one of the best in years!



D-Line - Talented, but ageing. Casey Hampton is a BEAST. Aaron Smith and Brett Keisel are the perfect combination for 3-4 DE. They are getting a little long in the tooth, and a young stud is needed to groom for replacement. This is still a strength.



LB - This is the strongest position on our team, and every other team in the league. Woodley and Harrison coming off the outside is a better combination than anyone has had in a LONG time. Combined, they had more sacks than any combination of Steeler linebackers ever, and that is a talented list.

Farrior re-signed last off season, and Lawrence Timmons is set to take over the other ILB spot. I love Larry Foote, but the reality is he is probably the odd man out, unless he would stay as a backup, he would probably be a starter on most other NFL teams.



CB - Ike Taylor gets nowhere near the credit he deserves. Yes, in the fourth quarter of the Super Bowl Larry Fitzgerald got the best of him, but Ike held him for three quarters, which is more than most corners can do.

Deshea Townsend is getting up in age, but still holds his own against some of the best. The priority for the Steelers this offseason needs to be re-signing Bryant McFadden. He is a perfect compliment to Ike, and would be a great No. 2 who already knows the defense.



S - After LB, this is the strongest unit on the team. Troy Polamalu is the total package at safety. He excels in pass coverage, blitzing, stopping the run. He is ALL WORLD! Ryan Clark is so overlooked because of Troy; he does not get the credit he deserves. I can tell you this, Wes Welker and Willis McGahee will never forget Ryan Clark.



K - Jeff Reid is becoming Mr. Dependable. Always good when needed. Anyone that can kick in Heinz Field like JR deserves all the credit in the world.



P - Daniel Sepulveda is going to come back from the torn ACL from last year. He is a LB in the body of a kicker. He isn't afraid to hit.



Coaches - Mike Tomlin has done in two years what took Bill Cowher 14. He has the intensity of Cowher, which is perfect for this team. Dick LeBeau has said he is coming back, which means our D should not miss a beat, and Bruce Arians has a bond with Big Ben that should make our offense even better.



Most teams right now are trying to figure out what they need to do to take the next step. We are just a player or two from doing the two-step all the way to our seventh Lombardi!

steeler_george
02-05-2009, 07:19 AM
Pittsburgh Steelers: Looking Ahead, the Drive for Seven Begins!

http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1195 ... r-7-begins (http://bleacherreport.com/articles/119525-looking-ahead-the-drive-for-7-begins)


Often, you will hear the saying, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it!" But in today's NFL, if you don't improve, you fail.

As we begin preparation for the 2009 season, it is time to fix what is not broken.

QB - Many people think that we are set at quarterback. Yes, we have the $100 Million Dollar Man starting, but in the NFL every team needs quality at depth. Byron Leftwich is sure to head to greener pastures (maybe NY Jets), but will Charlie Batch return?

If not, is Dennis Dixon ready to take a step up in the depth chart? Only time will tell.

Ben, Dixon, Batch or a FA

RB - "Fast" Willie Parker had a down year, with injuries and inconsistency (which can partially be blamed on the O-line). Mewelde Moore stepped up and showed everyone he is a VERY reliable back up and third down back.

If Rashard Mendenhall can return from a broken shoulder and Carey Davis and Gery Russell can continue to improve, our backfield could be set!

Great Depth, but wondering do we really have a power back? Is Davis/Russel expendable? Anyone trade bait here? Do we find a better FB option?


WR - Hines Ward and Santonio Holmes are a fantastic one-two punch. There are many people disappointed in second rounder Limas Sweed, but not me. He reminded me of a young Plaxico Burress (remember in Plaxico's rookie year against Jacksonville when he spiked the ball after a great catch?).


With a year of seasoning, Limas is going to be set to challenge Nate Washington for the third receiver job.

Ward, Holmes, Limas, ________. Is Washington history or does he stay if he goes need to draft/FA a WR.

But with Miller/Moore in the line up do we actually need and legit 3rd/4th Wr?

TE - Heath Miller is the all-around tight end. He can block, he can catch, he can run after the catch. Matt Spaeth is great as the second TE.

Need to sign Miller long term and pick up another TE along the season.


O-Line - How do you think Alan Fanaca is feeling right now? Big injuries to Kendall Simmons and Marvell Smith showed that this is the weakest part of the team. They did pull it together enough when we needed it, but there HAS to be improvement. Smith and Max Starks are both going to be gone.

Simmons is going to be back, but unless there is a drastic upgrade, we can forget about winning No. 7 in '09.

With Jordan Gross of the Panthers and Vernon Carey on the free agent market, signing one of them, and drafting a tackle, will make this line one of the best in years!

This worries me...where to begin? So many options, which is the best route draft, new FA, resign our own?

D-Line - Talented, but ageing. Casey Hampton is a BEAST. Aaron Smith and Brett Keisel are the perfect combination for 3-4 DE. They are getting a little long in the tooth, and a young stud is needed to groom for replacement. This is still a strength.

I think need to insert youth here, but is still capable, even with contracts expering next year.

LB - This is the strongest position on our team, and every other team in the league. Woodley and Harrison coming off the outside is a better combination than anyone has had in a LONG time. Combined, they had more sacks than any combination of Steeler linebackers ever, and that is a talented list.

Farrior re-signed last off season, and Lawrence Timmons is set to take over the other ILB spot. I love Larry Foote, but the reality is he is probably the odd man out, unless he would stay as a backup, he would probably be a starter on most other NFL teams.

I see us drafting another player here, high middle rounds. Foote is likely gone.

CB - Ike Taylor gets nowhere near the credit he deserves. Yes, in the fourth quarter of the Super Bowl Larry Fitzgerald got the best of him, but Ike held him for three quarters, which is more than most corners can do.

Deshea Townsend is getting up in age, but still holds his own against some of the best. The priority for the Steelers this offseason needs to be re-signing Bryant McFadden. He is a perfect compliment to Ike, and would be a great No. 2 who already knows the defense.

Signing Mac would be great, but I think he is expendable. Need a real play maker here. Regardless if he is signed, look for a CB to be drafted.

S - After LB, this is the strongest unit on the team. Troy Polamalu is the total package at safety. He excels in pass coverage, blitzing, stopping the run. He is ALL WORLD! Ryan Clark is so overlooked because of Troy; he does not get the credit he deserves. I can tell you this, Wes Welker and Willis McGahee will never forget Ryan Clark.

Need depth here, with 2 hard hitting safties depth is important...Smith is gone, look for FA pick up or a Cb rookie that will be able to play both CB/Safety for depth.

K - Jeff Reid is becoming Mr. Dependable. Always good when needed. Anyone that can kick in Heinz Field like JR deserves all the credit in the world.



P - Daniel Sepulveda is going to come back from the torn ACL from last year. He is a LB in the body of a kicker. He isn't afraid to hit.



Coaches - Mike Tomlin has done in two years what took Bill Cowher 14. He has the intensity of Cowher, which is perfect for this team. bad word LeBeau has said he is coming back, which means our D should not miss a beat, and Bruce Arians has a bond with Big Ben that should make our offense even better.



Most teams right now are trying to figure out what they need to do to take the next step. We are just a player or two from doing the two-step all the way to our seventh Lombardi!

Chachi
02-05-2009, 08:39 AM
No mention of Bruce Davis or Tony Hills.

Are these 2 recent picks really that bad as to not even merit a mention in improving the team next year?

Oviedo
02-05-2009, 09:28 AM
No mention of Bruce Davis or Tony Hills.

Are these 2 recent picks really that bad as to not even merit a mention in improving the team next year?

I think that both you mention are in the mix particularly Hills who could be the answer at RT. Also we have a number of players on IR/Practcie Squad who could push people off the roster and challenge for playing time--see bold. See below:

Injured Reserve:
Batch-probably past his time. Should go into coaching.
Clement, DT-probably just a body, but could make Eason or Roye expendable
Dekker, TE-good bye
Harrison-in the mix for OLB
Humpal-may make Foote expendable as a cap casualty
Mendenhall-no brainer, major impact
Sepulveda-no brainer, major impact
Simmons-not likely to go anywhere, starter or back up
Marvel Smith-likely gone unless he signs for vet minimum
Greg Warren-likely gone

Practice Squad:
Marv Allen, WR-gone
Dallas Baker-maybe stays if Nate leaves as the #4
Legusky-just a body
Roy Lewis, CB-could be a factor when Bmac leaves and Anthony Smith is cut
Mundy-will make the 53 as primary back up to Ryan Clark; will probably be better that Tyrone Carter very soon
Nance-just a job because of buddy Big Ben
Sherrod, TE-likely just a body
Justin Vincent-just a body
Donovan Woods-may be a factor and push someone off the roster. Look very good in pre season