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fordfixer
12-25-2009, 01:46 AM
Expect changes for Steelers in 2010

Pasquarelli By Len Pasquarelli
ESPN.com
http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/columns/s ... id=4770597 (http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/columns/story?columnist=pasquarelli_len&id=4770597)

Steelers defenseGeorge Gojkovich/Getty ImagesAlthough the Steelers' defense ranks sixth in the league, it has been vulnerable this season -- especially in the fourth quarter.

Under terms of a revamped stockholder model, nearly a dozen new partners of Pittsburgh Steelers chairman Dan Rooney and president Art Rooney II will have prized spots in the owner's box at Heinz Field for the 2010 season.

They are almost certain to look down on a Steelers team that has undergone change on the field and the sideline.

Only one season removed from a Super Bowl XLIII championship, the Steelers enter the final two games of the season a .500 team and unlikely to qualify for the playoffs for the first time since 2006. More important, however, Pittsburgh (7-7) appears to be a flawed club, one that is aging (particularly on defense) and requires some fresh parts and maybe fresher thinking.

"Everybody probably understands in their hearts that there's going to be some change," acknowledged standout nose tackle Casey Hampton, for nine seasons the centerpiece of the Steelers' renowned 3-4 defense but a veteran expected to move on in free agency. "That's just the way it is."

Hampton, 32, is part of a defense that began the season with starters who averaged 28.9 years of age, and five them are 31 or older. Only two starters for Sunday's matchup against Baltimore, linebackers LaMarr Woodley and Lawrence Timmons, are younger than 28. And it is a unit that has played a significant role in six defeats in which the Steelers led or were tied in the fourth quarter.

Despite ranking sixth in the league in defense and first against the run, the Steelers have not been as dominant as in the past. Although their 40 sacks rate as the second most in the league, the Steelers have been unable to knock offenses off the field, and only one team has fewer interceptions than Pittsburgh's eight. Pittsburgh cornerbacks have zero interceptions.

"We're accustomed to being [a defense] that closes out games," said free safety Ryan Clark, another veteran who might exit as an unrestricted free agent. "But that hasn't been the case this season."

The absence of whirling dervish strong safety Troy Polamalu, around whose unique abilities renowned defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau constructs many of his schemes, has been cited for many of the unit's shortcomings. Polamalu will miss his 10th game Sunday because of a knee injury.

But the failures reach beyond one man and one unit.

Several stalwart players -- including Hampton, tailback Willie Parker and kicker Jeff Reed -- are likely to depart through free agency or management's choice. Special-teams coach Bob Ligashesky, whose unit has been deplorable and has surrendered four kickoff returns for touchdowns, could be replaced. Coach Mike Tomlin -- who declared weeks ago that Pittsburgh would "unleash hell" in December but whose team lost the first two games of the month -- must regain locker room confidence and control. During a five-game losing streak that scuttled a 6-2 start to the season, Tomlin threatened to make lineup changes. There were no significant maneuvers, however, until this week, when Tomlin benched starting cornerback William Gay.

Offensive coordinator Bruce Arians has come under fire despite an attack that ranks eighth in the league. The offense is no longer the grind-it-out Steelers, with about 58 percent of the snaps pass plays.

"It's probably hard for people to wrap their heads and their fingers around, but this offense is changing," said quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who last week threw for a franchise-record 503 yards against Green Bay. "It's not a run-it-first team anymore."

Yet the problem is not that Pittsburgh hasn't entirely been able to run the ball at all, but rather that the Steelers haven't been able to run when they want to. And that is pretty much unthinkable for traditional Steelers fans.

Not qualifying for the Super Bowl tournament is anathema to Steelers fans and the Rooney family. That's why, despite losing seven games by an average of just four points, there will be changes for 2010.

Len Pasquarelli is a senior writer for ESPN.com.

Oviedo
12-25-2009, 12:49 PM
4-3 defense is coming in 2010 :stirpot

LDE-Lamar Woodley
LDT-Aaron Smith
RDT-Ziggy Hood
RDE-Brett Kiesel

OLB-Lawrence Timmons
MLB-James Farrior (rookie will be drafted in first two rounds to understudy)
OLB-James Harrison

CB-Ike Taylor
CB-Joe Burnett or Rookie/Free Agent
SS-Troy Polamalu
FS-Keenan Lewis Or Taylor Mays (I hope)

Mister Pittsburgh
12-25-2009, 03:10 PM
4-3 defense is coming in 2010 :stirpot

LDE-Lamar Woodley
LDT-Aaron Smith
RDT-Ziggy Hood
RDE-Brett Kiesel

OLB-Lawrence Timmons
MLB-James Farrior (rookie will be drafted in first two rounds to understudy)
OLB-James Harrison

CB-Ike Taylor
CB-Joe Burnett or Rookie/Free Agent
SS-Troy Polamalu
FS-Keenan Lewis Or Taylor Mays (I hope)


CB-Ike Taylor
CB-Joe Burnett or Rookie/Free Agent
SS-Taylor Mays (Rookie takes over at SS)
FS-Troy Polamalu (Move him to FS to extend his career and keep him healthy)

I don't like how the above article doesn't mention how although our offense is ranked 8th in yards, we are ranked 15th in points. In 2008 our offense was ranked 11th in yards and 20th in points. This shows me that Arians learned nothing in 2008 as far as how to score from the redzone. We struggled hard in the redzone and still do. His offense is pretty decent between the 20's but very average once we hit the redzone.

Our offense is too inconsistant. We will go 3 and out for an entire half, sometimes 3 quarters of football.....and then score quick and dominate for bursts.

Oviedo
12-26-2009, 09:21 AM
4-3 defense is coming in 2010 :stirpot

LDE-Lamar Woodley
LDT-Aaron Smith
RDT-Ziggy Hood
RDE-Brett Kiesel

OLB-Lawrence Timmons
MLB-James Farrior (rookie will be drafted in first two rounds to understudy)
OLB-James Harrison

CB-Ike Taylor
CB-Joe Burnett or Rookie/Free Agent
SS-Troy Polamalu
FS-Keenan Lewis Or Taylor Mays (I hope)


CB-Ike Taylor
CB-Joe Burnett or Rookie/Free Agent
SS-Taylor Mays (Rookie takes over at SS)
FS-Troy Polamalu (Move him to FS to extend his career and keep him healthy)

I don't like how the above article doesn't mention how although our offense is ranked 8th in yards, we are ranked 15th in points. In 2008 our offense was ranked 11th in yards and 20th in points. This shows me that Arians learned nothing in 2008 as far as how to score from the redzone. We struggled hard in the redzone and still do. His offense is pretty decent between the 20's but very average once we hit the redzone.

Our offense is too inconsistant. We will go 3 and out for an entire half, sometimes 3 quarters of football.....and then score quick and dominate for bursts.

The ultimate move of Troy to FS probably won't happen next season but drafting Mays would give a perfect replacement to move to SS.

If you are worried about the offense, what about someone who has the potential to make a "splash" play every time he touches the ball. CJ Spiller in Round 1?

I'd still prefer Taylor Mays.

Mister Pittsburgh
12-26-2009, 11:45 AM
I think a scat back type RB could be had in the mid rounds if we scout for one and really study this years crop of RB. Not entirely sure if Spiller fits the scat type mold but I just couldn't see them dropping another first rounder on a RB.

I am not entirely unhappy with our crop of RB even after Parker leaves. I would start Mendenhall and play him every down, mixing Moore in here and there to give him breathers. They brought Isaac Redman back and signed him to the practice squad so they must see something there. I think he ran with a lot of power in the preseason and didn't easily go down. If they get him on a good conditioning and lifting program he could be a real nice short yardage back to grind out some tough yards. He fell forward almost every carry he had in the preseason.

They also have this RB Justin Vincent who they have kept around for a second straight year on the practice squad so he must be doing something right. I didn't see him play in college though so have no real opinion.

If I were them I would draft a RB in the middle rounds and bring him in to camp to compete.

Jeez.....just watched this. Would be damn tough to pass that up if it were sitting there but I think we need defense. Steelers know best though. They do a good job.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Wf0kC-w9lU

papillon
12-26-2009, 11:52 AM
Here's how the Steelers will draft this year:

Round 1: BPA
Round 2: BPA
Round 3: BPA
Round 4: BPA
Round 5: BPA
Round 6: BPA
Round 7:BPA

UDFA - BPA

:tt2 There's a lot of precedent showing that I'm probably right.

Pappy

Mister Pittsburgh
12-26-2009, 12:01 PM
http://walterfootball.com/draft2010.php

This mock has us going FS in the first and ILB in the second. I could live with that. Not sure on the players they have us taking though. I think we have a fairly young offense. Our line has played solid for the most part this season. I would like to get a much stouter center for the line. Hartwig isn't a horrible center but we could do a lot better. He couldn't hold Hartings jock, lets put it that way.

Shoe
12-26-2009, 03:53 PM
Here's how the Steelers will draft this year:

Round 1: BPA
Round 2: BPA
Round 3: BPA
Round 4: BPA
Round 5: BPA
Round 6: BPA
Round 7:BPA

UDFA - BPA

:tt2 There's a lot of precedent showing that I'm probably right.

Pappy

I agree with the Pap's intricate draft strategy. :wink:

Jooser
12-26-2009, 04:55 PM
Here's how the Steelers will draft this year:

Round 1: BPA
Round 2: BPA
Round 3: BPA
Round 4: BPA
Round 5: BPA
Round 6: BPA
Round 7:BPA

UDFA - BPA

:tt2 There's a lot of precedent showing that I'm probably right.

Pappy


YES SIR! :Agree

SteelTorch
12-26-2009, 07:00 PM
4-3 defense is coming in 2010 :stirpot

LDE-Lamar Woodley
LDT-Aaron Smith
RDT-Ziggy Hood
RDE-Brett Kiesel

OLB-Lawrence Timmons
MLB-James Farrior (rookie will be drafted in first two rounds to understudy)
OLB-James Harrison

CB-Ike Taylor
CB-Joe Burnett or Rookie/Free Agent
SS-Troy Polamalu
FS-Keenan Lewis Or Taylor Mays (I hope)

You're right, going to a 4-3 is going to solve all our defense's problems. It's going to make our linemen controll the LoS, our cornerbacks cover better and catch interceptions, and our linebackers get more pressure.

:HeadBanger

Jooser
12-26-2009, 07:48 PM
Just get rid of all the idiots.

-Joos

Lebsteel
12-26-2009, 07:57 PM
4-3 defense is coming in 2010 :stirpot

LDE-Lamar Woodley
LDT-Aaron Smith
RDT-Ziggy Hood
RDE-Brett Kiesel

OLB-Lawrence Timmons
MLB-James Farrior (rookie will be drafted in first two rounds to understudy)
OLB-James Harrison

CB-Ike Taylor
CB-Joe Burnett or Rookie/Free Agent
SS-Troy Polamalu
FS-Keenan Lewis Or Taylor Mays (I hope)

You're right, going to a 4-3 is going to solve all our defense's problems. It's going to make our linemen controll the LoS, our cornerbacks cover better and catch interceptions, and our linebackers get more pressure.

:HeadBanger

Torch, the 4-3 is not the ultimate solution for our defensive woes, as you so sarcastically pointed out, but it is Tomlin's preferred defense AND it may allow some of our younger players to play their natural positions. Timmons would play OLB, Woodley at DE, and Hood at DT. These three are the future of our Defense and it makes sense to utilize them at a position where they can excel.

Oviedo
12-26-2009, 09:26 PM
4-3 defense is coming in 2010 :stirpot

LDE-Lamar Woodley
LDT-Aaron Smith
RDT-Ziggy Hood
RDE-Brett Kiesel

OLB-Lawrence Timmons
MLB-James Farrior (rookie will be drafted in first two rounds to understudy)
OLB-James Harrison

CB-Ike Taylor
CB-Joe Burnett or Rookie/Free Agent
SS-Troy Polamalu
FS-Keenan Lewis Or Taylor Mays (I hope)

You're right, going to a 4-3 is going to solve all our defense's problems. It's going to make our linemen controll the LoS, our cornerbacks cover better and catch interceptions, and our linebackers get more pressure.

:HeadBanger

Torch, the 4-3 is not the ultimate solution for our defensive woes, as you so sarcastically pointed out, but it is Tomlin's preferred defense AND it may allow some of our younger players to play their natural positions. Timmons would play OLB, Woodley at DE, and Hood at DT. These three are the future of our Defense and it makes sense to utilize them at a position where they can excel.

There you go using rational arguments and logic when emotionalism is called for.

You hit the nail on the head why I think CONSIDERING the 4-3 should be on the table. It not only suits many of the young players we have but also IMO gets the next generation of young players into the mix sooner. It is still about the looks and schemes you run out of the 4-3 but you would in many cases eliminate the one to two year "redshirt" our version of the 3-4 seems to require.

steelblood
12-26-2009, 10:25 PM
4-3 defense is coming in 2010 :stirpot

LDE-Lamar Woodley
LDT-Aaron Smith
RDT-Ziggy Hood
RDE-Brett Kiesel

OLB-Lawrence Timmons
MLB-James Farrior (rookie will be drafted in first two rounds to understudy)
OLB-James Harrison

CB-Ike Taylor
CB-Joe Burnett or Rookie/Free Agent
SS-Troy Polamalu
FS-Keenan Lewis Or Taylor Mays (I hope)

You're right, going to a 4-3 is going to solve all our defense's problems. It's going to make our linemen controll the LoS, our cornerbacks cover better and catch interceptions, and our linebackers get more pressure.

:HeadBanger

Torch, the 4-3 is not the ultimate solution for our defensive woes, as you so sarcastically pointed out, but it is Tomlin's preferred defense AND it may allow some of our younger players to play their natural positions. Timmons would play OLB, Woodley at DE, and Hood at DT. These three are the future of our Defense and it makes sense to utilize them at a position where they can excel.

There you go using rational arguments and logic when emotionalism is called for.

You hit the nail on the head why I think CONSIDERING the 4-3 should be on the table. It not only suits many of the young players we have but also IMO gets the next generation of young players into the mix sooner. It is still about the looks and schemes you run out of the 4-3 but you would in many cases eliminate the one to two year "redshirt" our version of the 3-4 seems to require.

I think this is a very good argument.

Still, I think we'd need to add another run stopping DT and a really disruptive pass rushing DE to be effective.

Also, I think Harrison would need to move to DE in nickel and dime situations.

Lebsteel
12-26-2009, 11:00 PM
4-3 defense is coming in 2010 :stirpot

LDE-Lamar Woodley
LDT-Aaron Smith
RDT-Ziggy Hood
RDE-Brett Kiesel

OLB-Lawrence Timmons
MLB-James Farrior (rookie will be drafted in first two rounds to understudy)
OLB-James Harrison

CB-Ike Taylor
CB-Joe Burnett or Rookie/Free Agent
SS-Troy Polamalu
FS-Keenan Lewis Or Taylor Mays (I hope)

You're right, going to a 4-3 is going to solve all our defense's problems. It's going to make our linemen controll the LoS, our cornerbacks cover better and catch interceptions, and our linebackers get more pressure.

:HeadBanger

Torch, the 4-3 is not the ultimate solution for our defensive woes, as you so sarcastically pointed out, but it is Tomlin's preferred defense AND it may allow some of our younger players to play their natural positions. Timmons would play OLB, Woodley at DE, and Hood at DT. These three are the future of our Defense and it makes sense to utilize them at a position where they can excel.

There you go using rational arguments and logic when emotionalism is called for.

You hit the nail on the head why I think CONSIDERING the 4-3 should be on the table. It not only suits many of the young players we have but also IMO gets the next generation of young players into the mix sooner. It is still about the looks and schemes you run out of the 4-3 but you would in many cases eliminate the one to two year "redshirt" our version of the 3-4 seems to require.

I think this is a very good argument.

Still, I think we'd need to add another run stopping DT and a really disruptive pass rushing DE to be effective.

Also, I think Harrison would need to move to DE in nickel and dime situations.

That's why I've been thinking someone like Jerry Hughes, DE TCU or Brandon Graham, DE Michigan may be on our first round radar. Both are very disruptive pass rushers and would fit the mold of a 4-3 DE.

Chadman
12-27-2009, 01:36 AM
Depending on who signs or doesn't sign in FA early, the Steelers would likely look for NT, FS, LB, CB or OL.

Unless CJ Spiller is on the board- then you simply have to weigh the impact of a player like Spiller vs 'Need'.

Spiller also acts as the KR/PR & 3rd down back option...could be a RB committee similar to the Panthers Williams/Stewart combo.

Imagine 15-20 touches for Mendenhall, 10-15 touches for Spiller per game....add in KR/PR opportunities....and this isn't even including Ben...

Oviedo
12-27-2009, 08:11 AM
Depending on who signs or doesn't sign in FA early, the Steelers would likely look for NT, FS, LB, CB or OL.

Unless CJ Spiller is on the board- then you simply have to weigh the impact of a player like Spiller vs 'Need'.

Spiller also acts as the KR/PR & 3rd down back option...could be a RB committee similar to the Panthers Williams/Stewart combo.

Imagine 15-20 touches for Mendenhall, 10-15 touches for Spiller per game....add in KR/PR opportunities....and this isn't even including Ben...

I agree. Spiller could add a Joe Cribbs/Percy Harvin/Darren Sproles element to the team. The guy has scored a TD in something like 15 straight games.

Lebsteel
12-27-2009, 11:23 AM
Depending on who signs or doesn't sign in FA early, the Steelers would likely look for NT, FS, LB, CB or OL.

Unless CJ Spiller is on the board- then you simply have to weigh the impact of a player like Spiller vs 'Need'.

Spiller also acts as the KR/PR & 3rd down back option...could be a RB committee similar to the Panthers Williams/Stewart combo.

Imagine 15-20 touches for Mendenhall, 10-15 touches for Spiller per game....add in KR/PR opportunities....and this isn't even including Ben...

I agree. Spiller could add a Joe Cribbs/Percy Harvin/Darren Sproles element to the team. The guy has scored a TD in something like 15 straight games.

Spiller would be a good option if we had that luxury. I don't think we do because our defense is getting old and it shows. We need a playmaker on defense. This is our draft to do it and I think there will be several good players available when we pick. Unfortunately, I think we need to go BPA on defense.

NorthCoast
12-27-2009, 11:34 AM
Depending on who signs or doesn't sign in FA early, the Steelers would likely look for NT, FS, LB, CB or OL.

Unless CJ Spiller is on the board- then you simply have to weigh the impact of a player like Spiller vs 'Need'.

Spiller also acts as the KR/PR & 3rd down back option...could be a RB committee similar to the Panthers Williams/Stewart combo.

Imagine 15-20 touches for Mendenhall, 10-15 touches for Spiller per game....add in KR/PR opportunities....and this isn't even including Ben...

I agree. Spiller could add a Joe Cribbs/Percy Harvin/Darren Sproles element to the team. The guy has scored a TD in something like 15 straight games.

Spiller would be a good option if we had that luxury. I don't think we do because our defense is getting old and it shows. We need a playmaker on defense. This is our draft to do it and I think there will be several good players available when we pick. Unfortunately, I think we need to go BPA on defense.

In the words of a 4-time Superbowl winning coach "you have to not lose before you can win". In other words, strong, fundamentally sound defense defines a winning team. I don't think we can rely on a 'try to outscore them' strategy. Draft defense 1-3.

frankthetank1
12-27-2009, 01:04 PM
spiller would be a great pick, he has amazing speed. the steelers always go bpa so going offense if the right guy is still available is very possible. i just wish they would go heavy on the defensive side of the ball in the draft.