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fordfixer
02-28-2009, 01:14 AM
Steelers laying it on this line again

By John Harris, TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Saturday, February 28, 2009

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsbu ... 13834.html (http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/steelers/s_613834.html)

With the Steelers, you never know.

That's because we want the Steelers to be something they're not: spontaneous, impulsive, predictable.

That's never going to happen.

The Steelers are methodical, patient and unpredictable.

Until Friday, I had no idea what the Steelers were thinking about free agency, even though the answer was staring me in the face.

Offensive line, offensive line, offensive line.

All of the key moves made by the Steelers since winning Super Bowl XLIII have been fixated on maintaining and improving the offensive line with in-house candidates.

Maybe the most scrutinized offensive line in franchise history.

Count me among those not excited about keeping this offensive line intact for the 2009 season.

A little change never hurt. But the Steelers make their own rules.

In the Steelers' case, different is better.

So, different it is.

Yesterday's announcement regarding left guard Chris Kemoeatu wasn't a free-agent signing as much as it was a trade Kemoeatu for Kendall Simmons.

A day after releasing Simmons, who signed a four-year, $24 million extension prior to the 2007 season, the Steelers re-signed Kemoeatu to a five-year, $20 million deal.

Kemoeatu, who nearly replaced Simmons in the lineup a year ago, just turned 26.

Right guard Darnell Stapleton, who will earn $460,000 next season, is 23.

Right tackle Willie Colon, who signed a one-year, $2.198 million contract as a restricted free agent Wednesday, turns 26 in April.

Left tackle Max Starks, who will receive $8.451 million as the team's franchise player, turned 27 last month.

Center Justin Hartwig, who will earn $1.75 million next season in the final year of his contract, is 30.

Like it or not and some Steelers fans don't like it at all this is a young offensive line with plenty of room for improvement and thumbs-up approval from the front office and coaching staff.

Like it or not, the Steelers will defend their Super Bowl title with the same offensive line.

Ben Roethlisberger had no comment.

Try looking at this from the Steelers' perspective.

It's an offensive line that helped win Super Bowl XLIII, featuring three new starters (Hartwig, Stapleton and Kemoeatu) and two first-time starters (Kemoeatu and Stapleton).

If 2008 was the lowest point for an offensive line still getting to know each other, what's ahead for 2009?

The offensive line, surprisingly young and cost effective, should get better with another year of playing together.

That's the Steelers for you.

Patient, never impulsive.

Thirty-one other teams wouldn't mind having the Steelers' so-called problem.

Ozey74
02-28-2009, 01:30 AM
Damn! We have alot of young people on the OL. I'd like to see someone jump leaps & bounds from last year to next.



:tt2

RuthlessBurgher
02-28-2009, 01:42 AM
Damn! We have alot of young people on the OL. I'd like to see five guys jump leaps & bounds from last year to next.



:tt2

Fixed that for you. :wink:

TallyStiller
02-28-2009, 02:00 AM
People were absolutely pummeling the Giants' O line for years... right up until they rode them to the SB XLII victory. Lots of upside in most of these players. The only one who is a known commodity at this point is Hartwig - at 30, he won't get any better than he is now. None of these other guys has had more than a season or two as an NFL starter. We've done well to keep them intact. Hopefully they can keep Essex on a sensible deal to be the top backup so they have the luxury of slowly developing anybody we draft for depth... Also frees us up to draft BPA in April. Makes a DL, CB or even a WR or LB MUCH more likely.

Mister Pittsburgh
02-28-2009, 02:09 AM
Would still like to draft OL, maybe Mack, Unger, Wood.

AkronSteel
02-28-2009, 02:10 AM
I don't know! I really can't decide what I think of the moves that were made to retain this offensive line. I'm not real pumped about Kemo resigning but really what else was out there that was going to be a significant improvement? The guarantee is low so it makes it flexible in the future.

Max had to be resigned because we were not going to get a chance at Gross and obviously they are not real keen on Barnes, and Marvel is finished with that back. Honestly the guy played pretty darn well this year. I really just hope that a long term deal is worked out that is more cap friendly right now!

Colon.....not real sure why they tendered the highest level for him? I really don't think the guy will be playing RT for us for long.

Overall they probably did the right thing in securing some experience and continuity up front but I really just don't wanna watch this same OL do what they did this year to the Franchise, errr., Big Ben! I hope that reinforcements are acquired on draft day that are true prospects! I would like to see at least one of each position drafted. There would be nothing wrong with getting some fresh stiff competition in here for camp!

Mack would be great but I don't see him being there when we pick, heck he might go in the top 20! None of the four tackles that are legitimate first round talent are going to be available either. I like some of the guards but I think you can probably get just as good a prospect in the 2nd or 3rd round as you can in the first. I think the team is probably thinking that CB or DL will be the first round pick and then we can build OL depth from rounds 2-6. They probably don't feel there will be any worthy OL prospects available that will be able to come in and start right away. Plus with BMac leaving and Deshea getting up there in age and being a FA next year, CB is all the sudden a huge need position!

RuthlessBurgher
02-28-2009, 02:34 AM
Would still like to draft OL, maybe Mack, Unger, Wood.

Agreed. These deals solidify our o-line for the upcoming 2009 season, but the fact is that 3 out of the 5 starters will have their contract expire after the '09 season unless an extention is worked out in the mean time (Starks, Colon, Hartwig). O-line is still a large need. If you want an o-lineman who may be able to start for you in 2010, you draft him now.

steeler_george
02-28-2009, 03:56 AM
I don't know! I really can't decide what I think of the moves that were made to retain this offensive line. I'm not real pumped about Kemo resigning but really what else was out there that was going to be a significant improvement? The guarantee is low so it makes it flexible in the future.

Max had to be resigned because we were not going to get a chance at Gross and obviously they are not real keen on Barnes, and Marvel is finished with that back. Honestly the guy played pretty darn well this year. I really just hope that a long term deal is worked out that is more cap friendly right now!

Colon.....not real sure why they tendered the highest level for him? I really don't think the guy will be playing RT for us for long.

Overall they probably did the right thing in securing some experience and continuity up front but I really just don't wanna watch this same OL do what they did this year to the Franchise, errr., Big Ben! I hope that reinforcements are acquired on draft day that are true prospects! I would like to see at least one of each position drafted. There would be nothing wrong with getting some fresh stiff competition in here for camp!

Mack would be great but I don't see him being there when we pick, heck he might go in the top 20! None of the four tackles that are legitimate first round talent are going to be available either. I like some of the guards but I think you can probably get just as good a prospect in the 2nd or 3rd round as you can in the first. I think the team is probably thinking that CB or DL will be the first round pick and then we can build OL depth from rounds 2-6. They probably don't feel there will be any worthy OL prospects available that will be able to come in and start right away. Plus with BMac leaving and Deshea getting up there in age and being a FA next year, CB is all the sudden a huge need position!

Great analysis... I think Kemo signing was decent, he showed flashes last year of being a mueller. Let's just hope he can learn how to do that on a consistent basis.



Would still like to draft OL, maybe Mack, Unger, Wood.

Agreed. These deals solidify our o-line for the upcoming 2009 season, but the fact is that 3 out of the 5 starters will have their contract expire after the '09 season unless an extention is worked out in the mean time (Starks, Colon, Hartwig). O-line is still a large need. If you want an o-lineman who may be able to start for you in 2010, you draft him now.

Now we can go after the BPA in each round, but I think if we can pick up any one of those 3 we are there. We still need a replacement for either Stapleton (not starting matterial yet more of a reserve) at G or if we move Colon to G a T.

flippy
02-28-2009, 08:52 AM
I like it.

We're not drafting OLine high in the draft. Oline should be drafted for the most part on day 2. Lets focus on getting DL, CB, or WR on day 1.

And this line got better as the year progressed.

Chadman
02-28-2009, 09:04 AM
Can't understand why people were so keen to sign Khalif Barnes- dude gave up 7.5 individual sacks this season, one of the highest for starting LT's in the NFL.

Change for change's sake...

MaxAMillion
02-28-2009, 10:38 AM
I wouldn't call it a full thumbs up when the FO was willing to let Kemo walk. I still think the OL is mediocre and I expect a couple of early picks used on the OL. Otherwise you can count on Ben continuing to play injured and/or missing games.

I don't believe the FO is willing to risk their 100 million dollar QB behind the current OL. I expect changes this year and going forward with the OL. If nothing else, a new RG should be in place for next year.

Jooser
02-28-2009, 03:09 PM
I guess the jury is still out on these guys. The problem I have is that even though they improved at keeping Ben off his back late in the season, we still couldn't run the freaking football worth a damn. We have to find a way to improve in this area or our offense is going to stay luke-warm....

WoodleyofTroy
02-28-2009, 03:34 PM
I like it.

We're not drafting OLine high in the draft. Oline should be drafted for the most part on day 2. Lets focus on getting DL, CB, or WR on day 1.

And this line got better as the year progressed.

So what happens when an OL is BPA over DL, CB, or WR, at #32...would you still feel this way?