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fordfixer
06-04-2009, 12:40 AM
Ward: 'We're Thin at WR'

Posted Jun 02, 2009 9:39PM By JJ Cooper

http://nfl.fanhouse.com/2009/06/02/ward ... t-wr/#cont (http://nfl.fanhouse.com/2009/06/02/ward-were-thin-at-wr/#cont)

Apparently Steelers fans aren't the only ones who are somewhat concerned about the team's lack of depth at wide receiver. Hines Ward is also noticing.

"We are thin at the wide receiver depth," said Ward. "Mike Wallace, Sweed those guys are going to have to help the team and contribute. If myself or Santonio goes down, one of those guys becomes the starter. You have to make sure you understand and help them so they understand. They are next in line. Over the course of 16 games anything can happen.

It's interesting that Ward did not mention Shaun McDonald when listing potential replacements. McDonald had almost 1,000 yards in receiving just two years ago, which makes him easily the most experienced backup wideout.

Limas Sweed definitely has more potential and Wallace is easily a faster deep threat, but if Sweed has a bad camp, its hard to believe that McDonald wouldn't be the team's No. 3 receiver heading into the season. Rookie wide receivers struggle generally--just ask Sweed--so it's hard to believe that Wallace, who had only 101 catches in college, can be counted on to catch more than 15 or so passes in his rookie year.

It would have been great to have seen the Steelers take a flier on Joey Galloway getting one more season out of his speedy feet--but instead he went to the Patriots for a very reasonable deal. But by signing McDonald, the Steelers aren't in as bad a shape as many people think.

Mel Blount's G
06-04-2009, 12:58 AM
Indeed it's interesting that he neglected to mention MacDonald. I hope this is some sly psycho-motivational techinique or something :|

stlrz d
06-04-2009, 01:31 AM
He did mention him...in the full story.

http://news.steelers.com/article/105566/



Ward helping out young receivers
Tuesday, June 2, 2009

By Teresa Varley
Steelers.com
Wide receiver Hines Ward watched the play unfold in the Steelers indoor practice facility during OTA’s and then walked over to first-year running back Stefan Logan and shared a little bit of advice. A few plays later, Ward did the same thing with another young teammate. And if you watch the Steelers practice long enough each day, you will see it repeated over and over again.

Ward hasn’t been taking part in the physical aspect of OTA’s, but he is definitely involved in the mental side, benefitting himself and some of the younger players on the roster.

“That is why I am here,” said a smiling Ward when asked if he felt like a coach. “I am the veteran guy on the team.”

Not just a veteran, but one at a position where the depth lacks experience with the black and gold. Behind Ward and Santonio Holmes are a handful of receivers, including Limas Sweed and Mike Wallace, two high draft picks the last two years as well as veteran Shaun McDonald, who signed at the start of mini-camp.

“We are thin at the wide receiver depth,” said Ward. “Mike Wallace, Sweed those guys are going to have to help the team and contribute. If myself or Santonio goes down, one of those guys becomes the starter. You have to make sure you understand and help them so they understand. They are next in line. Over the course of 16 games anything can happen.

“My job as a leader is to make sure those guys are prepared as possible, especially before training camp. Once training camp comes we don’t have the time to wait on everybody. We are preparing to start the season and make our quest for another great year. The stuff we are telling you now we shouldn’t have to tell you again.”

And that is why the number one thing he preaches in the wide receivers meeting room is write things down. He doesn’t want his teammates to forget something, but also feels that writing it is one more way for the information to get imbedded in their memory.

“I try to relate to those guys what I did,” said Ward. “I am a firm believer that whatever you write down it soaks into your brain. If you just look at a picture you will probably forget it because you see so many pictures and they run in together. In the receivers room I make the guys write the plays down and draw them up in their heads. At least you wrote it down and it’s somewhere in your brain. I told them day one don’t ever come in here without a pen and a notebook. Write everything down that you hear.”

It must be working so far because he likes what he has seen out of Sweed, who is showing more confidence and he knows that there is plenty of potential in Wallace.

“Limas is making plays,” said Ward. “He has a better grasp of the playbook. Mike is still raw. He is still learning different coverages. Each day he is starting to see the game. That is an encouraging sign when each week they get better and better.”

While Ward sees progress and potential, neither player has been guaranteed the back-up job to the starting wide receiver tandem, nor have them been guaranteed a roster spot. But he likes what he has seen from both and McDonald as well.

“Each day you see those guys get better and better and make plays,” said Ward. “Shaun is an experienced guy. Every time his number is called he is making plays consistently. It helps having a veteran guy like him. He has been in it before. It’s cool in the coaching sessions, but when you put the pads on and sweat and the battles you face in training camp takes a toll on you mentally and the veterans seem to shine a little more in training camp.”

Discipline of Steel
06-04-2009, 07:04 AM
Indeed it's interesting that he neglected to mention MacDonald. I hope this is some sly psycho-motivational techinique or something :|

You are right G, but I think he is trying to motivate Sweed and Wallace.

Oviedo
06-04-2009, 09:20 AM
[quote="Mel Blount's G":2pu288no]Indeed it's interesting that he neglected to mention MacDonald. I hope this is some sly psycho-motivational techinique or something :|

You are right G, but I think he is trying to motivate Sweed and Wallace.[/quote:2pu288no]

I'd have to agree that this is the veteran telling the young players that "I won't be here forever and now is your time to step up."

Signing McDonald was a shrewd move to both provide veteran experience and to push the younger WRs and let them know they have nothing for sure.

SteelCzar76
06-04-2009, 11:16 AM
Could it be motivation or actually a matter of Hines speaking the truth ? I view it as the latter. Because in all honesty, though Wallace is a speed merchant, he is extremely raw in terms of technique and ball skills,... and was by no means overly productive in college.

And though all of the feel good stories about Sweed's development sound good in theory,....it's no given that he will even contribute as much as a very mediocre Nate Washington. Some hate to admit it,...but there are plenty of examples of first year Wr's whom even in spite of the pro learning curve are at the very least productive.(especially when drafted within the 1st 3 rounds)

And finally let's be honest about Mcdonald,...the guy is no bum,....but exactly what degree of an impact should any expect from average journeyman # 3 quality Wr ?

I do not expect any great improvement in the passing game this season at all if we cannot begin to run the ball effectively once again. Thereby keeping defenses honest and limiting Roethlisberger's attempts to around 20-25 "intelligent" passes.

stlrz d
06-04-2009, 11:39 AM
Ced Wilson and Courtney Hawkins are two vet WRs who came in and helped us out. I'm sure other peeps can come up with more names as well.

RuthlessBurgher
06-04-2009, 12:10 PM
Ced Wilson and Courtney Hawkins are two vet WRs who came in and helped us out. I'm sure other peeps can come up with more names as well.

Terance Mathis capped off his career in the Black and Gold as well.

Oviedo
06-04-2009, 12:23 PM
I guess if you have a commitment to see the negative in everything you can insinuate that Hines was sending a warning about the lack of depth at WR. But the facts would indicate otherwise.

The only player we lost was the "great" Nate Washington who took with him 104 career receptions and 12 career TD catches. In return we sign Shaun McDonald who brings with him 220 career receptions and 11 career TD catches. I guess I don't see how we got that much worse given that Sweed will be in Year 2 and Wallace brings some real potential and probably better WR skills than Washington brought into the league.

I think that this year our WR corp will be as strong as it has been since we had both Burress and ARE working with Hines.

flippy
06-04-2009, 12:36 PM
Nate Washington dictates coverage help over the top.

McDonald is fine as a #3, but not having Nate tightens up what defenses can do against us.

McDonald doesn't have Nate's speed.

Oviedo
06-04-2009, 01:04 PM
Nate Washington dictates coverage help over the top.

McDonald is fine as a #3, but not having Nate tightens up what defenses can do against us.

McDonald doesn't have Nate's speed.

Won't dispute that but Nate never demanded double coverage because opponents knew he could be covered one on one despite his speed. Nate also wouldn't make the tough catch in traffic.

Point was the combination of McDonald, Sweed and Wallace will more than make up for Nate's 35 catches.

SteelCzar76
06-04-2009, 01:07 PM
Nate Washington dictates coverage help over the top.

McDonald is fine as a #3, but not having Nate tightens up what defenses can do against us.

McDonald doesn't have Nate's speed.

Though i admittedly never cared much for Washington, this is a very interesting point on your part Flip concerning speed and how it effects the opposition's defensive secondary's game planning.

Especially when one considers that despite what some would like to believe,....the fact is Sweed like Mcdonald,... does not posses high end straight line speed at all.

Sure,..Wallace is the exception here,....but again,.. he has the skill set and technique of almost a High School player.

So how exactly could anyone make a case for us "improving" in terms of the passing game this season based solely upon our WR corps ?

RuthlessBurgher
06-04-2009, 01:26 PM
Wallace has more speed than Washington, but for this year, he likely won't see the field much except for kick returns and punt coverage and the like.

I think if they went 4 wide, they could send Santonio and Sweed deep, and have Hines and McDonald short over the middle.

SteelCzar76
06-04-2009, 03:22 PM
Point was the combination of McDonald, Sweed and Wallace will more than make up for Nate's 35 catches.

So you would consider the inefficiency of needing three players to equal the mediocre productivity of one (Washington) to be the upgrade that we need to equal the effectiveness passing that we had with Antwan, Plex and Hines ? :lol:

Not bustin your ballz here,..but that makes as much sense as saying Sweed's ineffectiveness is completely a matter of the dreaded "rookie learning curve" when the the following receivers and many more were productive to varying degrees their rookie seasons,..

Andre Johnson

Antonio Bryant

Anquan Boldin

Dwayne Bowe

Desean Jackson

Larry Fitzgerald

Marques Colston

Anthony Gonzalez

Eddie Royal

Santonio Holmes

Brandon Marshall

Calvin Johnson

Lee Evans

Michael Clayton

Reggie Wayne

Roy Williams

Randy Moss

Musin Muhammed

Chad Johnson

Lavernaues Coles

Roddy White

Greg Jennings

Terrell Owens

Tory Holt. :lol:

ikestops85
06-04-2009, 04:07 PM
Nate Washington dictates coverage help over the top.

McDonald is fine as a #3, but not having Nate tightens up what defenses can do against us.

McDonald doesn't have Nate's speed.

Though i admittedly never cared much for Washington, this is a very interesting point on your part Flip concerning speed and how it effects the opposition's defensive secondary's game planning.

Especially when one considers that despite what some would like to believe,....the fact is Sweed like Mcdonald,... does not posses high end straight line speed at all.

Sure,..Wallace is the exception here,....but again,.. he has the skill set and technique of almost a High School player.

So how exactly could anyone make a case for us "improving" in terms of the passing game this season based solely upon our WR corps ?

I can tell you how I think they will improve. At the start of last year many thought Holmes was going to have a breakout year. The fact was for the first 2/3s of the season he was, yes I'll say it, BAD! He had game changing drops (i.e New England game) and he looked lost figuring out when he was the hot receiver on a blitz. In fact I think he was hit in the back several times because he never looked for the ball. Hines had some of the same problems last year but not to the extent that Tone did. Throw in some drops by Washington and Sweed, the occasional brain fart from Ben, and key holding calls against the line and that makes for an inconsistent passing offense.

The great thing about them last year was most often, when they really needed a score, those mistakes disappeared ... and they won the SB.

This year I think they will improve just based on the fact that they have more experience playing with each other (hmmm, that sounds kinda wrong but you know what I mean), that Holmes we be that breakout receiver this year, that Hines fully realizes he has to use more of his veteran experience instead of athletic ability, that the reason for Sweed's drops were due to his wrist injury and being a rookie ... both things that are in the past, and that we picked up MacDonald who has shown he can be a dangerous receiver when given the chance.

I truly believe that this squad has the talent, not just to beat everyone, but to dominate them in the same fashion that the *'s did 2 years ago and the reason I feel that way is because the offense will get it's act together for 60 minutes a game instead of the 15 minutes a game which they did last year.

flippy
06-04-2009, 05:11 PM
Nate Washington dictates coverage help over the top.

McDonald is fine as a #3, but not having Nate tightens up what defenses can do against us.

McDonald doesn't have Nate's speed.

Won't dispute that but Nate never demanded double coverage because opponents knew he could be covered one on one despite his speed. Nate also wouldn't make the tough catch in traffic.

Point was the combination of McDonald, Sweed and Wallace will more than make up for Nate's 35 catches.

Both games I was at this season, Nate changed the defense when he was in the game and they put a safety over the top on his side of the field. Teams respected him as a deep threat more than they did Santonio.

We need Sweed to be ready to dictate to defenses.

The other thing that was still very true even last year in the games I saw was the only Pittsburgh WR that consistently got separation was Washington.

flippy
06-04-2009, 05:15 PM
Does anyone think Ben holds the ball so long because his WRs don't get open consistently?

SteelCzar76
06-04-2009, 05:20 PM
I can tell you how I think they will improve. At the start of last year many thought Holmes was going to have a breakout year. The fact was for the first 2/3s of the season he was, yes I'll say it, BAD! He had game changing drops (i.e New England game) and he looked lost figuring out when he was the hot receiver on a blitz. In fact I think he was hit in the back several times because he never looked for the ball. Hines had some of the same problems last year but not to the extent that Tone did. Throw in some drops by Washington and Sweed, the occasional brain fart from Ben, and key holding calls against the line and that makes for an inconsistent passing offense.

The great thing about them last year was most often, when they really needed a score, those mistakes disappeared ... and they won the SB.

This year I think they will improve just based on the fact that they have more experience playing with each other (hmmm, that sounds kinda wrong but you know what I mean), that Holmes we be that breakout receiver this year, that Hines fully realizes he has to use more of his veteran experience instead of athletic ability, that the reason for Sweed's drops were due to his wrist injury and being a rookie ... both things that are in the past, and that we picked up MacDonald who has shown he can be a dangerous receiver when given the chance.

I truly believe that this squad has the talent, not just to beat everyone, but to dominate them in the same fashion that the *'s did 2 years ago and the reason I feel that way is because the offense will get it's act together for 60 minutes a game instead of the 15 minutes a game which they did last year.






Well said Ike and you make some very valid points. And i agree that Santo is only going to get better,..however i do not see Hines having any more huge seasons statistically, though he will still be a key factor when it's crunch time.

And there are a few other intangibles in terms of WILL we be dominant as opposed to simply possessing the "ability" to be so in my honest opinion. Intangibles such as,....

Will the O-line play more consistently ? Will we be able to run the ball effectively ?

Will Roethlisberger suddenly become an exceptional, consistently accurate cerebral passing QB and or fail to go ape sh#t throwing interceptions at times giving away 3-4 games a season ?

Will Sweed indeed turn the corner, as in effect his poor play was simply a reflection of inexperience, as opposed to being a matter of the facts that he was not fast, a poor route runner, had inconsistent hands and concentration, gave very little after the catch when he did hang on to the ball, and had difficulty getting separation going all the way back to college ?

Sure,..some of the these thing may change,...but let's just say i am not so sold on the odds of ALL of them changing at once. Which is what i feel it would take for us to actually become dominant offensively.

fezziwig
06-04-2009, 07:16 PM
Does anyone think Ben holds the ball so long because his WRs don't get open consistently?



yes

Mel Blount's G
06-04-2009, 07:56 PM
I'm calling S'tonio to have a huge year. :tt1

Btw, I thought McDonald was a semi-speed demon that could replace Nate's field-stretching, deep threat? Sounds like ya'll feel he's not as fast? Also, I agree that Sweed has much developing to do and something to prove after those drops last year but I wouldn't think he would have to develop all that much just to replace Nate Washington? I mean, sweed did pull away (i.e. get separation) on those dropped ball routes....

stlrz d
06-04-2009, 10:36 PM
Point was the combination of McDonald, Sweed and Wallace will more than make up for Nate's 35 catches.

So you would consider the inefficiency of needing three players to equal the mediocre productivity of one (Washington) to be the upgrade that we need to equal the effectiveness passing that we had with Antwan, Plex and Hines ? :lol:

Not bustin your ballz here,..but that makes as much sense as saying Sweed's ineffectiveness is completely a matter of the dreaded "rookie learning curve" when the the following receivers and many more were productive to varying degrees their rookie seasons,..

Andre Johnson

Antonio Bryant

Anquan Boldin

Dwayne Bowe

Desean Jackson

Larry Fitzgerald

Marques Colston

Anthony Gonzalez

Eddie Royal

Santonio Holmes

Brandon Marshall

Calvin Johnson

Lee Evans

Michael Clayton

Reggie Wayne

Roy Williams

Randy Moss

Musin Muhammed

Chad Johnson

Lavernaues Coles

Roddy White

Greg Jennings

Terrell Owens

Tory Holt. :lol:

Hines had 15 catches for 246 yards and 0 TDs as a rookie...seems to me he turned out ok. ;)

I'm too lazy to pour through rosters but I'm sure there are more examples of WRs who didn't do much as rookies and later blossomed.

But if one's MO is to preach doom and gloom then I guess one will always scratch around to find something to preach about.

Crash
06-05-2009, 03:14 AM
Does anyone think Ben holds the ball so long because his WRs don't get open consistently?

That's part of it. A BIG part of it is because Ben won't throw it, if the hot route isn't looking for the ball. He'd rather take a sack instead of just chucking it.

But MOST of the sacks happen when the OL is beaten before Ben is even finished with his drop back. Watch DVDs, watch tapes of games, Kendall Simmons was the absolute king of it.

Oviedo
06-05-2009, 08:20 AM
Does anyone think Ben holds the ball so long because his WRs don't get open consistently?

That's part of it. A BIG part of it is because Ben won't throw it, if the hot route isn't looking for the ball. He'd rather take a sack instead of just chucking it.

But MOST of the sacks happen when the OL is beaten before Ben is even finished with his drop back. Watch DVDs, watch tapes of games, Kendall Simmons was the absolute king of it.

Miller and/or Spaeth are open on just about every play they are released into a pattern. Ben just doesn't want to take the short completion when he thinks he can get something bigger out of it. When Ben makes those throws on a consistent basis he will take this offense to the next level because it will help the WRs by forcing safeties to cheat up. It will help the OL by requiring them to maintain their blocks for a shorter period of time. And it will help Ben by keeping him healthy. We still under utilize the TE too much in our offense. If Heath got the opportunities that Jason Witten does we would have a near unstoppable offense.

papillon
06-05-2009, 09:14 AM
Does anyone think Ben holds the ball so long because his WRs don't get open consistently?

No, I think he holds the ball too long looking to make a big play rather than take 4, 5 or 6 yards that defenses sometimes give him.

Pappy

stlrz d
06-05-2009, 10:40 AM
Does anyone think Ben holds the ball so long because his WRs don't get open consistently?

That's part of it. A BIG part of it is because Ben won't throw it, if the hot route isn't looking for the ball. He'd rather take a sack instead of just chucking it.

But MOST of the sacks happen when the OL is beaten before Ben is even finished with his drop back. Watch DVDs, watch tapes of games, Kendall Simmons was the absolute king of it.

I wish I had a hot,willing 22 year old female for every time I've posted that and someone has said that's not the case.

I'd be far too busy having fun to argue with someone on the internet!

:Boobs

But in all seriousness, that happens a lot...and it's amazing that we have a guy who is athletic enough to get away while still keeping his eyes down field and who has the strength to make some incredible throws from some very awkward positions.

SteelCzar76
06-05-2009, 08:03 PM
Hines had 15 catches for 246 yards and 0 TDs as a rookie...seems to me he turned out ok. ;)

I'm too lazy to pour through rosters but I'm sure there are more examples of WRs who didn't do much as rookies and later blossomed.

But if one's MO is to preach doom and gloom then I guess one will always scratch around to find something to preach about.

Your correct Stlrz, (Hines)..there are also many examples of players having a rough time of things their first year and yet go on to have great careers.

The point of my post wasn't "Doom and Gloom" but in fact was and remains as such,...knowing and properly addressing ones weaknesses is often the greatest measure strength possible. And more often than not will determine ones success and or failure regarding any task or goal.

There is no opponent,....outside of ourselves. Fear and or excuses profit a man absolutely nothing.

fezziwig
06-07-2009, 03:43 PM
Does anyone think Ben holds the ball so long because his WRs don't get open consistently?

That's part of it. A BIG part of it is because Ben won't throw it, if the hot route isn't looking for the ball. He'd rather take a sack instead of just chucking it.

But MOST of the sacks happen when the OL is beaten before Ben is even finished with his drop back. Watch DVDs, watch tapes of games, Kendall Simmons was the absolute king of it.

Kendall was the worse. Has any other team even showed intrest in him ? Myself, I don't know any team could with Kendall being let go from possibly the worse NFL O-line in the league as some feel and say.