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SteelerNation1
09-08-2009, 12:53 PM
I read this on another site, so I don't take credit for it. I thought it was very interesting however.


Like many of you I was hoping that the Steelers could hide Sonny Harris on the Practice Squad and was disappointed when Carolina claimed him. There are some on this board saying that Kirschke should have been cut to make a spot for Harris. I wanted to see just how feasible an idea this was. There aren't a lot of traditional stats for defensive players outside of tackles and turnovers, so I turned to my copy of the 2009 Football Outsiders Almanac. What I found surprised me.

Despite the perception of him as 'merely' a backup, last season Kirschke played the second most snaps of any Steelers DL.

A. Smith led the Steelers defensive lineman by making 63 plays, TK made 44 and Keisel made 43. This was due, in part to the fact that Keisel missed a few games due to injury. But the real question is; How well did he play?

The answer is very well. In fact, he and Keisel played at almost the same level; TK had 31 Stops, BK had 34, TK had only 5 Defeats, BK had 12, TK had 2 Sacks, 5 hits and 2 Hurrys (total 9 QB pressures); BK had 1 Sack, 0 hits, 1 Hurry (total 2 QB pressures). Against the run TK had a Stop 71% of the time, while BK had one 88% of the time. Against the pass TK had a Stop 67% of the time, while BK had one 44% of the time. So Kirschke was slightly better against the pass and Keisel slightly better against the run.
But given that TK was the first DE sub and played most of the rotation snaps, he was a vital part of the Steelers D. When you take into account how good the D was last season and how big a part TK played in it, it would be pretty much asinine for the Steelers to cut him, especially for a guy who wouldn't even dress on gameday.

It wouldn't make any sense to cut Eason for him either, as Nick also played rotation snaps and performed very well, especially on passing downs; 1.5 sacks and 3 Hurries on just 18 plays. And his Stop rate was 100% against 6 screen passes. Eason is only 29 and could easily be a solid contributor for 6 or 7 more years, since 3-4 DEs can play well into their late 30s with no problems.

It sucks that we lost Harris, although we may get him back at some point. Carolina wants him to play as a 4-3 DT which he may not be good at, we'll see.

aggiebones
09-08-2009, 01:18 PM
"Eason is only 29 "

Don't you mean ALREADY 29 and yes, he is a contributor. But did Sonny have considerably more upside. I'm not sure and I'm not in the evaluating room, but I think Eason is not the future.

SteelerNation1
09-08-2009, 01:19 PM
"Eason is only 29 "

Don't you mean ALREADY 29 and yes, he is a contributor. But did Sonny have considerably more upside. I'm not sure and I'm not in the evaluating room, but I think Eason is not the future.
Ask yourself this. Which player Eason/Kirschke or Sonny gives us a better chance to win SB44 THIS YEAR???

ramblinjim
09-08-2009, 01:41 PM
good stuff. interesting stats. Count me in the group that referred to Kirschke as only a backup. Perhaps we go DL in the first round again next year and keep some of these older guys around.

BigLebowski
09-08-2009, 02:47 PM
"Eason is only 29 "

Don't you mean ALREADY 29 and yes, he is a contributor. But did Sonny have considerably more upside. I'm not sure and I'm not in the evaluating room, but I think Eason is not the future.
Ask yourself this. Which player Eason/Kirschke or Sonny gives us a better chance to win SB44 THIS YEAR???

Exactly, I would prefer Eason or Kirschke starting even over Hood, if god forbid, one of our DE's got hurt.

I agree that Sonny is better long term, but we are defending super bowl champs. We must defend it at all cost. I don't want a Ray Rice breaking a long TD to win the game because a rookie was out of his gap.

SidSmythe
09-08-2009, 03:43 PM
Our O-Line reminds me of the mid 90's when we had depth in guys like:
Bill Johnson
Kevin Henry
Oliver Gibson

Buckner, Steed & Seals all got a lot of rest b/c these guys could come in the game in a pinch and hold their own. Especially in the DIME Package.

jj28west
09-08-2009, 06:39 PM
Thanks for sharing. Another good example as why I am only a fan that plays fantasy football while Tomlin and the FO are defending the highest honor in professional football.

My biggest memory of Kirshke was when he looked winded trying to chase down Romo as Romo finally found TO in the back of the endzone. Interesting & not so obvious facts in that post.

RuthlessBurgher
09-08-2009, 07:04 PM
good stuff. interesting stats. Count me in the group that referred to Kirschke as only a backup. Perhaps we go DL in the first round again next year and keep some of these older guys around.

If we go DL in the first round again, it would likely be a NT candidate if we aren't able to re-sign Big Snack. Start Hoke in 2010 and hopefully the rook will be ready to roll in year 2. Perhaps Alabama's Terrence Cody, the 6'5" 380 lb mountain of a man. Normally, you prefer your NT's to have a lower center of gravity, but I still don't see how Cody wouldn't command consistent double teams no matter what.

fezziwig
09-08-2009, 07:35 PM
Nice read and thanks for bringing it to the board. I think it was Tomlin that said, we have first string back ups on this team. When he said that, I quickly thought of Hope and Travis. What is Travis's background ? What round pick was he if any and what team or teams had he played for prior to us ?

As hard as it is to say, it was probably the better move of allowing Harris to depart. We are Super Bowl ready and have proven players that you know can get you there. Now is not the time to try and build or make things a new.

RuthlessBurgher
09-08-2009, 09:13 PM
Nice read and thanks for bringing it to the board. I think it was Tomlin that said, we have first string back ups on this team. When he said that, I quickly thought of Hope and Travis. What is Travis's background ? What round pick was he if any and what team or teams had he played for prior to us ?

As hard as it is to say, it was probably the better move of allowing Harris to depart. We are Super Bowl ready and have proven players that you know can get you there. Now is not the time to try and build or make things a new.

You mean Chris HOKE, not Chris HOPE. Chris HOPE's new team will be on the receiving end of a beating this Thursday.

Regarding Kirschke, he came into the league as an undrafted free agent with Detroit, played 6 years for the Lions, 1 year for the Niners, and this will be his 6th year here already.

fezziwig
09-08-2009, 10:19 PM
Thanks and your right, I meant Hoke. Seems to me we have done okay picking up good Lion players . Having the success we have had with Lion players, IMHO, it must be coaching/FO rather than talent that gives those guys their poor record.

flippy
09-09-2009, 09:54 AM
I think this is why the steelers have ziggy behind arron and plan to get him into the rotation a bit. we gotta keep aaron fresh to extend his career.