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Oviedo
10-14-2009, 10:12 AM
Well the worse has occurred and Aaron Smith is out for the season. This is his second season ending injury in the past 4 years so we have to wonder what the future holds.

I think this will be interesting to watch play out. I'm glad if we get Sonny Harris back. Obviously the Panthers were very high on him.

What will be interesting is how well we can get these young players ready to play the 3-4 DE position. We always focus on Hampton leaving and replacing the NT position but it took Smith several years to become a full time starter and Kiesel even longer. This is the challenge of the 3-4 defensive line and restocking talent levels versus the much easier task of finding replacements for the 4-3 DL.

RuthlessBurgher
10-14-2009, 10:17 AM
Suddenly, re-signing Keisel before the start of the season looks like a much smarter, forward-thinking move than it did at this time yesterday.

And getting Harris back is a plus, because he will likely be replacing Kirschke next season and it will be good for him to have him in the system for the rest of this season, getting experience in the LeBeau 3-4.

Oviedo
10-14-2009, 10:22 AM
Suddenly, re-signing Keisel before the start of the season looks like a much smarter, forward-thinking move than it did at this time yesterday.

And getting Harris back is a plus, because he will likely be replacing Kirschke next season and it will be good for him to have him in the system for the rest of this season, getting experience in the LeBeau 3-4.

...or another piece for a rapid conversion to the 4-3 :stirpot

phillyesq
10-14-2009, 10:29 AM
Suddenly, re-signing Keisel before the start of the season looks like a much smarter, forward-thinking move than it did at this time yesterday.

And getting Harris back is a plus, because he will likely be replacing Kirschke next season and it will be good for him to have him in the system for the rest of this season, getting experience in the LeBeau 3-4.

Very good points, especially re: Keisel.

The rest of this season will be a big test for both Ziggy and Sonny. If both demonstrate that they can play, then DE won't be much of a need going into next season. If they struggle, then the team will know that they need to address that area. Although losing Smith is a huge loss, it does force the Steelers to find out what they have with these guys.

JTP53609
10-14-2009, 11:01 AM
aaron smith, one of those guys you never want to say is getting older because he is someone you dont want off your team, reality is, he is in his 11th year and that position is a grind, he has next year and maybe one more year if we are lucky,

Shoe
10-14-2009, 01:26 PM
Let's be honest: It was a gamble, going into the season with 3 30-year old+ starters... and we lost that gamble. And I'm gonna say it write now: our season now hinges on Hampton (and to a lesser extent, Keisel). If those guys don't step up their game, it's gonna have an overall *negative* effect on our defense.

Cuz no one we have on the bench is gonna replace Smith snap-for-snap. That means, maybe 5-10 plays per game, the replacement (whoever it is) is gonna get sealed on the edge; or he's gonna not get to the QB; or he's gonna slip & fall in pursuit...

...so Hampton's just gotta step it up. He's GOT TO dominate again. He hasn't done that this year, as far as I've seen. Last year either. He's just looked like a complacent, aging NT... it's time for him to step up and show us the high-motor, high-character he was touted to have when we drafted him.

RuthlessBurgher
10-14-2009, 01:33 PM
Let's be honest: It was a gamble, going into the season with 3 30-year old+ starters... and we lost that gamble. And I'm gonna say it write now: our season now hinges on Hampton (and to a lesser extent, Keisel). If those guys don't step up their game, it's gonna have an overall *negative* effect on our defense.

Cuz no one we have on the bench is gonna replace Smith snap-for-snap. That means, maybe 5-10 plays per game, the replacement (whoever it is) is gonna get sealed on the edge; or he's gonna not get to the QB; or he's gonna slip & fall in pursuit...

...so Hampton's just gotta step it up. He's GOT TO dominate again. He hasn't done that this year, as far as I've seen. Last year either. He's just looked like a complacent, aging NT... it's time for him to step up and show us the high-motor, high-character he was touted to have when we drafted him.

Not sure how you see our d-line situation as a lost gamble. We kept the starters from our Super Bowl winning defense, kept some veteran back-ups in case any of the starters got hurt, and draft two young d-linemen for depth since we did not have any youth here (including using our first round pick here). It doesn't seem like we lost a d-line gamble at all. It seems like we prepared ourselves well for such a situation. Now we can rotate Keisel, Kirschke, Eason, and Hood at DE, and we were able to bring back the promising Harris for some additional youthful depth. All is not lost.

Shoe
10-14-2009, 01:47 PM
Not sure how you see our d-line situation as a lost gamble. We kept the starters from our Super Bowl winning defense, kept some veteran back-ups in case any of the starters got hurt, and draft two young d-linemen for depth since we did not have any youth here (including using our first round pick here). It doesn't seem like we lost a d-line gamble at all. It seems like we prepared ourselves well for such a situation. Now we can rotate Keisel, Kirschke, Eason, and Hood at DE, and we were able to bring back the promising Harris for some additional youthful depth. All is not lost.

I'm just kinda talking overall.
*I think* our guys were all over-30 last year too... which I'd deem as a gamble, to think all could make it through a season unscathed. (BTW, the "gamble" worked last year too, so it's not like it was totally being out there on a busted draw.) And of course, I'm talking in a vacuum; we DO have to address the rest of the areas on the team as well.

Ideally though, you probably wanted to address this area last year (i.e. a guy like Ziggy sitting and waiting during '08, and so ready for '09 when Smith went down)

Oviedo
10-14-2009, 02:24 PM
Let's be honest: It was a gamble, going into the season with 3 30-year old+ starters... and we lost that gamble. And I'm gonna say it write now: our season now hinges on Hampton (and to a lesser extent, Keisel). If those guys don't step up their game, it's gonna have an overall *negative* effect on our defense.

Cuz no one we have on the bench is gonna replace Smith snap-for-snap. That means, maybe 5-10 plays per game, the replacement (whoever it is) is gonna get sealed on the edge; or he's gonna not get to the QB; or he's gonna slip & fall in pursuit...

...so Hampton's just gotta step it up. He's GOT TO dominate again. He hasn't done that this year, as far as I've seen. Last year either. He's just looked like a complacent, aging NT... it's time for him to step up and show us the high-motor, high-character he was touted to have when we drafted him.

Not sure how you see our d-line situation as a lost gamble. We kept the starters from our Super Bowl winning defense, kept some veteran back-ups in case any of the starters got hurt, and draft two young d-linemen for depth since we did not have any youth here (including using our first round pick here). It doesn't seem like we lost a d-line gamble at all. It seems like we prepared ourselves well for such a situation. Now we can rotate Keisel, Kirschke, Eason, and Hood at DE, and we were able to bring back the promising Harris for some additional youthful depth. All is not lost.

Obviously we would be looking at a different situation if Orien Harris or Ryan McBean could convert to 3-4 DEs. They couldn't and that is the risk with the 3-4. It is a risk that college DT can convert to 3-4 DEs. That is obviously harder than we have expected.

I think the front office made the conscious decision when Tomlin got here to rebuild the LB corps first. They did that with Timmons and Woodley. Then then focused on building the defensive backfield with Gay, Keenan Lewis and Joe Burnett.

There was a clear hope that they could get Hood this year and give him at least one or two years to develop which seems to be the minimum for the 3-4 DE psoition if you use Smith and Kiesel as use cases.

Mister Pittsburgh
10-14-2009, 03:15 PM
I wouldn't look at how long it took Smith & Kiesel to start and say it should take a first round pick the same amount of time. Those guys were mid to late round picks. Kiesel was skinny as hell when we took him. Took a few years to add bulk. Hood is already over 3 bills and a first rounder. We should be fine.

phillyesq
10-14-2009, 03:15 PM
Let's be honest: It was a gamble, going into the season with 3 30-year old+ starters... and we lost that gamble. And I'm gonna say it write now: our season now hinges on Hampton (and to a lesser extent, Keisel). If those guys don't step up their game, it's gonna have an overall *negative* effect on our defense.

Cuz no one we have on the bench is gonna replace Smith snap-for-snap. That means, maybe 5-10 plays per game, the replacement (whoever it is) is gonna get sealed on the edge; or he's gonna not get to the QB; or he's gonna slip & fall in pursuit...

...so Hampton's just gotta step it up. He's GOT TO dominate again. He hasn't done that this year, as far as I've seen. Last year either. He's just looked like a complacent, aging NT... it's time for him to step up and show us the high-motor, high-character he was touted to have when we drafted him.

Not sure how you see our d-line situation as a lost gamble. We kept the starters from our Super Bowl winning defense, kept some veteran back-ups in case any of the starters got hurt, and draft two young d-linemen for depth since we did not have any youth here (including using our first round pick here). It doesn't seem like we lost a d-line gamble at all. It seems like we prepared ourselves well for such a situation. Now we can rotate Keisel, Kirschke, Eason, and Hood at DE, and we were able to bring back the promising Harris for some additional youthful depth. All is not lost.

Obviously we would be looking at a different situation if Orien Harris or Ryan McBean could convert to 3-4 DEs. They couldn't and that is the risk with the 3-4. It is a risk that college DT can convert to 3-4 DEs. That is obviously harder than we have expected.

I think the front office made the conscious decision when Tomlin got here to rebuild the LB corps first. They did that with Timmons and Woodley. Then then focused on building the defensive backfield with Gay, Keenan Lewis and Joe Burnett.

There was a clear hope that they could get Hood this year and give him at least one or two years to develop which seems to be the minimum for the 3-4 DE psoition if you use Smith and Kiesel as use cases.

I really don't see going into this season with the older starters as a gamble. Who would the Steelers have gotten rid of, and who would have been brought in as a replacement?

As mentioned by Oviedo, the Steelers tried to build depth at DE; they just didn't have a whole lot of success. You can argue that they should have drafted a DL last year, and there is certainly some merit to that argument, but at the time, everybody was quite pleased with Mendenhall and Sweed.

Going into the season, they had Kirshke, a solid vet with some age and injury issues, and Eason, a younger vet who improved last year. They added Ziggy to the mix, and now Sonny Harris as well. Injuries can happen at any position, and I think the Steelers were as well equipped on D as they could have been.

RuthlessBurgher
10-14-2009, 03:23 PM
Let's be honest: It was a gamble, going into the season with 3 30-year old+ starters... and we lost that gamble. And I'm gonna say it write now: our season now hinges on Hampton (and to a lesser extent, Keisel). If those guys don't step up their game, it's gonna have an overall *negative* effect on our defense.

Cuz no one we have on the bench is gonna replace Smith snap-for-snap. That means, maybe 5-10 plays per game, the replacement (whoever it is) is gonna get sealed on the edge; or he's gonna not get to the QB; or he's gonna slip & fall in pursuit...

...so Hampton's just gotta step it up. He's GOT TO dominate again. He hasn't done that this year, as far as I've seen. Last year either. He's just looked like a complacent, aging NT... it's time for him to step up and show us the high-motor, high-character he was touted to have when we drafted him.

Not sure how you see our d-line situation as a lost gamble. We kept the starters from our Super Bowl winning defense, kept some veteran back-ups in case any of the starters got hurt, and draft two young d-linemen for depth since we did not have any youth here (including using our first round pick here). It doesn't seem like we lost a d-line gamble at all. It seems like we prepared ourselves well for such a situation. Now we can rotate Keisel, Kirschke, Eason, and Hood at DE, and we were able to bring back the promising Harris for some additional youthful depth. All is not lost.

Obviously we would be looking at a different situation if Orien Harris or Ryan McBean could convert to 3-4 DEs. They couldn't and that is the risk with the 3-4. It is a risk that college DT can convert to 3-4 DEs. That is obviously harder than we have expected.

I think the front office made the conscious decision when Tomlin got here to rebuild the LB corps first. They did that with Timmons and Woodley. Then then focused on building the defensive backfield with Gay, Keenan Lewis and Joe Burnett.

There was a clear hope that they could get Hood this year and give him at least one or two years to develop which seems to be the minimum for the 3-4 DE psoition if you use Smith and Kiesel as use cases.

I really don't see going into this season with the older starters as a gamble. Who would the Steelers have gotten rid of, and who would have been brought in as a replacement?

As mentioned by Oviedo, the Steelers tried to build depth at DE; they just didn't have a whole lot of success. You can argue that they should have drafted a DL last year, and there is certainly some merit to that argument, but at the time, everybody was quite pleased with Mendenhall and Sweed.

Going into the season, they had Kirshke, a solid vet with some age and injury issues, and Eason, a younger vet who improved last year. They added Ziggy to the mix, and now Sonny Harris as well. Injuries can happen at any position, and I think the Steelers were as well equipped on D as they could have been.

Yes, I think we are much better equipped to handle the loss of Smith now than we were a few seasons ago. There are legit options (both experienced as well as very promising youngsters) there to fill in, which is not the case at some other positions (like, say, if Max Starks went down, for instance).

http://ny-image2.etsy.com/il_430xN.81883302.jpg

pfelix73
10-14-2009, 07:16 PM
I wouldn't count too much on the Harris kid playing much at this point.

Something they were talking about on the radio today was to move Timmons to DE and play Fox in Timmons spot, which I think is absurd. What does Timmons weigh? 240? Woodley is bigger.

According to the reports- Nick Eason played in Smith's spot today at practice- not Kirchske. I'd say it would be best to rotate Eason and Hood in there along with Kirschke if need be, just like the staff has been talking about. But what about this scenario? Moving Woodley over into Aaron's spot and Timmons to OLB in Woodley's spot then bring in Fox.

:tt1

RuthlessBurgher
10-14-2009, 08:33 PM
I wouldn't count too much on the Harris kid playing much at this point.

Something they were talking about on the radio today was to move Timmons to DE and play Fox in Timmons spot, which I think is absurd. What does Timmons weigh? 240? Woodley is bigger.

According to the reports- Nick Eason played in Smith's spot today at practice- not Kirchske. I'd say it would be best to rotate Eason and Hood in there along with Kirschke if need be, just like the staff has been talking about. But what about this scenario? Moving Woodley over into Aaron's spot and Timmons to OLB in Woodley's spot then bring in Fox.

:tt1

I agree that the idea of moving Timmons down to 3-4 DE is absurd, and the subsequent idea of moving Woodley down to 3-4 is just as absurd. There are 5 DE candidates on the roster right now. Their names are Keisel, Kirschke, Eason, Hood, and Harris. End of story.