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fordfixer
04-30-2009, 11:04 PM
Posted on Thu, Apr. 30, 2009

http://www.philly.com/philly/wires/ap/n ... icamp.html (http://www.philly.com/philly/wires/ap/news/state/pennsylvania/20090430_ap_notmanyopenjobsassteelersopenminicamp. html)

Not many open jobs as Steelers open minicamp

ALAN ROBINSON

The Associated Press

PITTSBURGH - Unlike coach Mike Tomlin's first minicamp two years ago, there probably won't be much drama when the Pittsburgh Steelers begin their lone mandatory offseason practices Friday.

Only a couple of months into the job, Tomlin was greeted in 2007 by several players who openly wished another man had been hired for his job. One of them, All-Pro guard Alan Faneca, was engaged in a very public contract dispute in which he fired some sharp criticism at the Rooney family, the team's owners. Faneca later signed with the Jets as a free agent.

Not all the Steelers are happy today , absentee linebacker Larry Foote is about to become an ex-Steelers player , but Tomlin's biggest challenge now isn't winning his players over. It's trying to win another Super Bowl.

Just as he declined to carry over many of former coach Bill Cowher's practices and policies when he was hired, Tomlin hasn't studied other successful coaches and how they handled winning an NFL title.

"That's probably consistent with how I approach my business," Tomlin said. "I tend to coach from the gut and some of my life experiences. I was part of a Super Bowl champion as an assistant (in Tampa) and I remember the pitfalls that come with that and I'll probably rely more on that experience than I will things that happened in other locations. Every situation is different."

The Buccaneers won the Super Bowl during the 2002 season, only to go 7-9 and miss the playoffs the following season. Similarly, the Steelers started 2-6 and finished 8-8 in 2006, the season after winning the Super Bowl under Cowher.

If Tomlin wants to tap the knowledge of anyone associated with a post-Super Bowl letdown, he can find plenty of sources in his own locker room.

"When you've been there, it makes it difficult to respect and appreciate the journey, and we'll not take it for granted," Tomlin said.

Three months to the day since they beat Arizona 27-23 in the Super Bowl, the Steelers will be missing only two starters on Friday: Foote, the inside linebacker who will be traded or released; and cornerback Bryant McFadden, who signed with the Cardinals as a free agent. Backup receiver Nate Washington (Titans) also left via free agency.

Foote has started every game the past five seasons, but he effectively became a two-down player last season because 2007 first-round draft pick Lawrence Timmons played on passing downs. With Timmons ready to start, the Steelers will save about $2.89 million under the salary cap when Foote leaves.

Foote, who said he considers himself a three-down linebacker, asked the Steelers that he be allowed to move on so he can start elsewhere. He wouldn't mind playing for his hometown Lions, even if he would be going from the NFL's best team a season ago to its worst.

The Steelers' draft picks and undrafted rookie free agents also will attend the three-day minicamp, though none of them are expected to immediately push any holdover starters. First-round pick Evander "Ziggy" Hood could help in situational roles but, according to position coach John Mitchell, is "light years" away from playing as he switches from defensive tackle in college to defensive end.

Among those who could help as rookies are third-round wide receiver Mike Wallace and third-round cornerback Keenan Lewis, former high school teammates in New Orleans who find themselves reunited in Pittsburgh; fifth-round running back Frank "The Tank" Summers; and fifth-round cornerback Joe Burnett, who, like Wallace, also can return kicks.

"We are real happy with how this turned out," director of football operations Kevin Colbert said. "We think we got a lot of guys who can compete and add some depth and hopefully allow us to win some games."

Oviedo
05-01-2009, 07:44 AM
I think that Tomlin will keep this team hungry by letting about 8-10 players from last year's team know they are working for their careers. Expect 8-10 new faces who weren't on the Super Bowl roster to be on this team come the start of the season.

That is how you keep a team hungry versus letting seniority rule.

steelblood
05-01-2009, 09:37 AM
I think that Tomlin will keep this team hungry by letting about 8-10 players from last year's team know they are working for their careers. Expect 8-10 new faces who weren't on the Super Bowl roster to be on this team come the start of the season.

That is how you keep a team hungry versus letting seniority rule.

8-10 new faces. yeah, of course. Orpheus Roye, Anthony Smith, Foote, McFadden, Gary Russell, Mitch Berger, Jarret Retfosky, and Nate Washington. That is 8 right there that must be or have been replaced from the Super Bowl Roster. Marvel Smith and Simmons were not on the active roster for the Super Bowl, but the players that replaced them were simply depth players (Parquet and ?). I think 8-10 would be a pretty conservative figure since we are already pretty much there.

steelers43
05-01-2009, 11:05 AM
There should be room to purge some past depth or even starters. Camp should be an open competition for the following,

C
CB
DE
RG

and depth should be wide open for most of the roster. If we can infuse the team with younger, more promising players with upside, we will be a better team and have better special teams.

papillon
05-01-2009, 11:09 AM
I think that Tomlin will keep this team hungry by letting about 8-10 players from last year's team know they are working for their careers. Expect 8-10 new faces who weren't on the Super Bowl roster to be on this team come the start of the season.

That is how you keep a team hungry versus letting seniority rule.

8-10 new faces. yeah, of course. Orpheus Roye, Anthony Smith, Foote, McFadden, Gary Russell, Mitch Berger, Jarret Retfosky, and Nate Washington. That is 8 right there that must be or have been replaced from the Super Bowl Roster. Marvel Smith and Simmons were not on the active roster for the Super Bowl, but the players that replaced them were simply depth players (Parquet and ?). I think 8-10 would be a pretty conservative figure since we are already pretty much there.

That's good that there will be some turnover. It was complacency and staying with aging players in the 70s that doomed the Steelers in the 80s. If Tomlin can keep a hunger in the veterans by forcing them to compete for jobs it will make the Steelers a better team, now and in the future.

Pappy

steelers43
05-04-2009, 06:12 PM
More LB's, WR's, CB's, S's will make the roster this year and an OL or DL will suffer the axe. With the special team rule changes, we won't need big guys on special teams as much.

Special team touchdowns this year should go up tremendously.

D Rock
05-04-2009, 06:50 PM
More LB's, WR's, CB's, S's will make the roster this year and an OL or DL will suffer the axe. With the special team rule changes, we won't need big guys on special teams as much.

Special team touchdowns this year should go up tremendously.

what did they change...just making the wedge illegal?

no wedge means no roster spot held for the wedge buster...so like you said, that's one big guy who might be looking for a job come September.

steelers43
05-04-2009, 09:15 PM
More LB's, WR's, CB's, S's will make the roster this year and an OL or DL will suffer the axe. With the special team rule changes, we won't need big guys on special teams as much.

Special team touchdowns this year should go up tremendously.

what did they change...just making the wedge illegal?

no wedge means no roster spot held for the wedge buster...so like you said, that's one big guy who might be looking for a job come September.

Yep, that's the one. I think the rule that made 3 man wedges illegal will make the ST's faster and more athletic, thus requiring faster and more athletic players. Players with Ziggy speed may still make it onto the special teams units but more and more LB's, WR's, and TE/FB's will be there imo. IT will be interesting to see how it changes rosters.