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fordfixer
07-17-2009, 11:53 PM
Fri Jul 17, 2009 5:09 pm EDT
Offseason Progress Reports: Pittsburgh Steelers

By MJD

http://sports.yahoo.com/nfl/blog/shutdo ... nfl,177299 (http://sports.yahoo.com/nfl/blog/shutdown_corner/post/Offseason-Progress-Reports-Pittsburgh-Steelers?urn=nfl,177299)

It's too early for '09 season previews, and too late for '08 season reviews. What's an NFL blog to do in the never-ending quest to overcover the bejeezus out of the NFL? Offseason progress reports. Let's go in alphabetical order. Today, the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Free agents lost: CB Fernando Bryant(notes), LB Larry Foote(notes), RB Verron Haynes(notes), LB Mike Humpal(notes), QB Byron Leftwich(notes), CB Bryant McFadden(notes), LS Jared Retkofsky(notes), RB Gary Russell(notes), G Kendall Simmons(notes), S Anthony Smith(notes), OT Marvel Smith(notes), WR Nate Washington(notes)

Free agents gained: WR Jayson Foster(notes), WR Shaun McDonald(notes), CB Keiwan Ratliff(notes)

Drafted: DT Evander Hood(notes), OT Kraig Urbik(notes), WR Mike Wallace(notes), CB Keenas Lewis, CB Joe Burnett(notes), RB Frank Summers(notes), DT Ra'Shon Harris(notes), C A.Q. Shipley(notes), TE David Johnson(notes)

The Steelers machine, as evidenced by their sixth world championship back in January, is not broke, and thus, was not fixed. I don't know if any crop of free agent signings has ever better illustrated the "ain't broke, don't fix it" maxim better than Jayson Foster, Shaun McDonald, and Keiwan Ratliff.

The machine did lose a few parts, though, as it was pushed pretty snugly up against the salary cap. Bryant McFadden, Larry Foote, Kendall Simmons, Marvel Smith and Nate Washington all received significant playing time last year, and Byron Leftwich was probably the league's best backup quarterback. They're all off to less green pastures.

Really, though, Leftwich is the only one who isn't easily replaced. Larry Foote's a quality player, but you know the Steelers. There's some anonymous linebacker who's been riding pine and playing special teams for the past three years who will step in this season and make the damn Pro Bowl. I can't tell you who he is, but he's there. The Steelers always have that guy.

They don't have another Leftwich, though. He's gone to Tampa Bay, and Charlie Batch(notes) is again back in the black and gold. Batch is okay, but he's no Leftwich. Realistically, though, no team can expect to keep a quarterback of that caliber as a backup for too long.

The Steelers, obviously, have to be in a pretty good shape for me to be picking on backup quarterback as their a roster problem. I mention it, though, because another roster deficiency -- the offensive line -- makes the use of a backup quarterback a little more likely.

I know, I know ... everyone thought the line was a problem last year, too, and the Steelers only went on to win the Super Bowl. That doesn't mean they're perfect. They gave up 49 sacks last year, and only three teams were worse: the 49ers, Lions, and Bengals. That, plus Ben Roethlisberger's(notes) propensity to hold onto the football like Christopher Walken held on to that pocket watch in Pulp Fiction, means that Large Benjamin's going to take a lot of hits.

Any improvement on the line is going to have to come from within, unless they plan on converting Shaun McDonald to guard. The Steelers did draft a tackle by the name of Kraig Ubrik in the second round, and my guess is that he'll be asked to contribute at some point in 2009. There's also 7th-round pick A.Q. Shipley, who I believe owned and operated a dry goods store in 1895.

Progress: How much progress can you make after winning a Super Bowl? The Steelers didn't lose anything that can't be replaced, and another year of continuity and togetherness should just make them better. And who knows, perhaps the Super Bowl will be the springboard that gives Santonio Holmes(notes) the confidence to take his game to another level. Overall, expect the Steelers of 2009 to look a lot like the Steelers of 2008, though I expect their competition within the AFC North to be better, too.

Minus 1 game. 12-4 last year, 11-5 this year.

Acero
07-18-2009, 12:14 AM
There's some anonymous linebacker who's been riding pine and playing special teams for the past three years who will step in this season and make the damn Pro Bowl. I can't tell you who he is, but he's there.

That's where I stopped reading. I have no need for Steelers "insight" from a guy who doesn't know about Lawrence Timmons.

RuthlessBurgher
07-18-2009, 12:40 AM
And Verron Haynes was a free agent loss? Jesus Tap Dancing Christ! He had some decent years for us from 2002 to 2006. He cut before the 2007 season and was re-signed as an injury replacement for the very last game of that season (remember when Willie got hurt when he was leading the league in rushing going into the 15th game and all that we had behind him was Dump Truck Davenport?). Verron hasn't played a down for us or anyone else since (although he is supposed to go to camp with the Falcons this year). Even, though he only played in one meaningless game since Mike Tomlin has been our coach (a game in which some starters sat because playoff seeding was already clinched), he's a huge free agent loss. Perhaps someone saw him in Pittsburgh passing bad checks to pay off his Aston Martin and assumed that he was still on the team. They might as well list Will Blackwell, Duval Love, and Eric Ravotti as free agent losses while they are at it.

Acero
07-18-2009, 01:15 AM
Oh snap! An Eric Freakin Ravotti reference!! nice!


And on the same day we get a Jerry Olsavsky sighting!

By the way, is Erric Pegram going to report to camp this year?

NKySteeler
07-18-2009, 06:10 AM
The Haynes error was big... Granted.

.... But I don't think the author was referencing Timmons with the defense statement. Timmons hasn't been on ST for the last three seasons. Three seasons back would put him at FSU.... I sort of took it as he was trying to be "cute" in making a general summation that we always seem to have a LB come out of nowhere and make a big splash and suprise people, and who knows who that might be... Well, I could be wrong.

Mister Pittsburgh
07-18-2009, 08:23 AM
There's some anonymous linebacker who's been riding pine and playing special teams for the past three years who will step in this season and make the damn Pro Bowl. I can't tell you who he is, but he's there.

That's where I stopped reading. I have no need for Steelers "insight" from a guy who doesn't know about Lawrence Timmons.

Ha! I swear I was going to type that exact sentence. :Cheers

NorthCoast
07-18-2009, 10:54 AM
There's some anonymous linebacker who's been riding pine and playing special teams for the past three years who will step in this season and make the damn Pro Bowl. I can't tell you who he is, but he's there.

That's where I stopped reading. I have no need for Steelers "insight" from a guy who doesn't know about Lawrence Timmons.

I took it as a facetious comment.....I would guess he scanned the roster but honestly, Timmons hasn't done enough yet to attract national attention. maybe that changes this year....

birtikidis
07-18-2009, 11:19 AM
does he realize that Urbik was drafted in the 3rd(not the 2nd) and that he's a guard?

RuthlessBurgher
07-18-2009, 11:35 AM
And why does he list WR Jayson Foster (who has only been on NFL practice squads) and not WR Brandon Williams (who has played in actual NFL games) on their list of free agent signings? Foster has already been cut, by the way. In addition to Ratliff, McDonald, Williams, and Foster, they could also have listed RB Stefan Logan, FB Ryan Powdrell, K Piotr Czech, and P Dirk Johnson (also Powdrell and Johnson have also already been cut).

Acero
07-19-2009, 10:50 PM
...honestly, Timmons hasn't done enough yet to attract national attention. maybe that changes this year....

I beg to differ.
http://www.nfl.com/videos/nfl-game-high ... riots-2008 (http://www.nfl.com/videos/nfl-game-highlights/09000d5d80cf3a8f/Steelers-Defense-Highlight-WK-13-vs-Patriots-2008)

That is one of many TImmons highlights... or am I being a homer?

SanAntonioSteelerFan
07-20-2009, 01:10 AM
...honestly, Timmons hasn't done enough yet to attract national attention. maybe that changes this year....

I beg to differ.
http://www.nfl.com/videos/nfl-game-high ... riots-2008 (http://www.nfl.com/videos/nfl-game-highlights/09000d5d80cf3a8f/Steelers-Defense-Highlight-WK-13-vs-Patriots-2008)

That is one of many TImmons highlights... or am I being a homer?

Nice one :tt2

Did they overturn the call, BTW, anyone know?

costanza2k1
07-20-2009, 01:19 AM
Day by day the internet his growing with bloggers turned analysts. Most of them just regurgitate articles by actual news columnists. Both Yahoo and CBS now have bloggers acting as analysts for them. Even James Walker from ESPN has been caught copying stuff from the discussions in the comments sections word for word and passing them off as his own. I have to admit I used to get all bunched up about all this stuff, but the diehard fan in me wants any and every bit of Steelers info I can soak up so I just deal with it.