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hawaiiansteel
03-30-2010, 02:48 PM
The Time Is Now for These Five Steelers to Step Up
by Nick DeWitt Correspondent



No. 1 Bruce Arians, Offensive Coordinator

You can point to two dropped touchdowns by Limas Sweed and say that the Steelers would have made the playoffs and had 11 wins if not for his inability to squeeze a football in the endzone.

But what you can't ignore or blame on Sweed is that the Steelers struggled to score from the red zone. They also failed miserably for a second straight year to score in goal to go situations.

Play selection hasn't been that great either, and for that we look at Bruce Arians, favorite target of fans and analysts.

Steelers' President Art Rooney II says that there was never any conversations about letting Arians go, it seemed as if he was holding back the truth about the situation.
What we do know, however, is that this is Arians' last chance. He's in the final year of a contract and he's got to be on shaky ground. The Steelers went out and got him some new weapons in free agency and will probably get a couple more in the draft.

Fail now, and he's a goner.


No. 2 Ike Taylor, CB

He's not on as thin of ice as Arians or his defensive backfield mate William Gay, but Taylor isn't going to get many more second chances.

Twice since he was hired, Mike Tomlin has benched Taylor in favor of less proven players to send a message about Taylor's work ethic and effort on the field.

Taylor wasn't very good last year, getting burned routinely by faster receivers and failing to live up to his old reputation of covering the opposition's best.

It's crazy to think he's slowing down, but he isn't good in coverage and looked a step slower in 2009. He has terrible hands, which showed once ball-hawking safety Troy Polamalu went out for most of the season.

Taylor likely will get one more chance at starting even if the Steelers select a corner early in the draft, but he will be on a short leash. Tomlin showed no hesitation to let Joe Burnett and Keenan Lewis play late last season.


No. 3 William Gay, CB

If anyone could challenge Bruce Arians as the lightning rod for scrutiny in 2009, it was William Gay.

Bryant McFadden, who started at corner for the Steelers in 2008, was let go in favor of Gay, who had played well in limited opportunity. The decision was widely ignored. McFadden, after all, was never viewed as an essential piece.

Oh how things have changed.

Gay was awful. He got burned by fast receivers, out-foxed by elusive ones, and outplayed by everyone. He probably couldn't cover the NFL's worst receiver in a phone booth.

He quickly became the focal point for a failing defense. Of all the weaknesses exposed by the loss of Polamalu, the weakness of cornerback play, particularly Gay's, was the most obvious.

He hasn't been cut, but he also hasn't been endorsed by management. He could be on the outside looking in if the team drafts a player like Kyle Wilson or Earl Thomas, or if Joe Burnett and Keenan Lewis step up and take his job.

This is most definitely his last chance.


No. 4 Willie Colon, RT/Max Starks, LT

Maybe I'm cheating a bit by pairing these two together, but its a veritable tie which one has been more disappointing.

Starks signed a big contract and then became the easiest route to the offensive backfield. His turnstile ways forced Ben Roethlisberger to leave the pocket far too often.

Colon doesn't get the same heat thanks to a smaller contract, but he's also disappointing. He makes dumb penalties (false starts at home), doesn't rub-block well, and also is wildly inconsistent.

The Steelers have made no secret that they'd like to upgrade their line and improve their running game and pass protection. These two will not be able to start on an improved unit unless they clean up their play.

Colon is more likely to go first, as Starks (who played well on the right side before) could slide into his spot and someone else into the spot on Ben Roethlisberger's blind side.



No. 5 Ben Roethlisberger, QB/Jeff Reed, PK

You can't fault either of these players for on-field performance.

But in Pittsburgh, that alone won't suffice. This team has a long-held and hard-earned image for being one of the more upstanding franchises in the NFL, content to disabuse themselves of malcontents and troubled souls.
Bam Morris was emerging as a force at running back until a Super Bowl week drug arrest in 1995. He was gone immediately.

Cedrick Wilson ran into legal troubles in 2007 and was gone immediately as well.
The Steelers haven't shown the same speed with handling Reed, who has been twice arrested for charges stemming from public drunkenness. The team usually will give players a second chance, but Reed is now on number three.

The team used it's franchise tag on him, but they will be quick to dispose of him should he run into further legal troubles. He seems to have turned the corner and learned his lesson, so we can only hope he stays clean.

I've been loathe to write about Roethlisberger's situation simply because I don't think it's news. It does not, yet at least, relate directly to anything going on during a game. It doesn't have any direct connection to the organization either. That's what I'm tasked to write about.

But Roethlisberger is also on strike two. The team seems content to see if this too ends up being nothing more than empty allegations (I'm not making any decisions on that until I see the case). If it is, they will likely give Roethlisberger a speech about the team's ideals and how they will not hesitate to part with a star who abuses their image.
If these are not empty allegations, well, Pittsburgh would likely go through a losing season before they would keep someone with that kind of reputation.

Hopefully these two guys have put their troubles behind them by the time the season begins.

http://bleacherreport.com/articles/3682 ... -up#page/2 (http://bleacherreport.com/articles/368244-the-time-is-now-for-these-five-steelers-to-step-up#page/2)

RuthlessBurgher
03-30-2010, 03:09 PM
http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_1-RuUXCFKNQ/Swb24O7WpRI/AAAAAAAAAA4/eILycOMTp_o/s1600/bleacherreport.png


content to disabuse themselves of malcontents and troubled souls

http://www.funnyforumpics.com/forums/WTF/1/WTF-Orangutan.jpg

aggiebones
03-30-2010, 03:23 PM
Arians - agreed. Though I think we already have enough knowledge about him. I'd have fired him.

Taylor? Why does he need to step up? He's been the no.1 CB for a 2 time Super Bowl champ. He had a bad year and has a ceiling of production. After all, he was a FOURTH round pick. Be thankful we have gotten what we have out of him. He's done very well for us. Troy is the top DB we have and when he is out, everyone else suffers. He has horrible hands and that will not change. I'm not sure why people think that will improve.

William Gay - a 5th round pick? Does anyone think he will be a star? Again, Troy is the top DB, Ike is second best and then Clark. Gay has to produce or be gone, sure, but he's not some budding star. His peak is mediocrity. If he became a star, that would be incredible.

No. 4 Willie Colon, RT/Max Starks, LT
Clark is a guard. They should draft a tackle and move him back inside and then offer him a guard contract. He'd probably be a terrific guard. Again, he was a 3rd rounder. Don't expect him to be a top 5 RT in the league. Starks is a bit of an enigma to me. I watched him close in training camp and his demeanor is weak. There is talent there, but I imagine it will always be better in the playoffs when things matter more. Still, not sure he will reach some great peak.


My personal picks:
Troy:
He needs to get his sheet in gear and be ready for the season. He is in shape every training camp, but his muscles are not trained for battle. He is the true stud of this team. He needs to get it together, so the other adequate players around him can perform their jobs.

Holmes:
Needs to stop sniffing glue and become the talent he should be. He has the talent and draft pedigree to be expected to be a 100catch 100 yard receiver. He has the support group at WR with him. Wallace has shown deep ball, Ward/Miller can take the punishment across the middle. He and Ben need to work on their timing routes to pick up some easy 5-8 yard plays on 1st and 3rd down.

Lebeau:
He's the Hall of Famer that needs to start closing out games. His defense is faltering late under his direction. Arians and Ben had to bail him out late in the Super Bowl after multiple blown coverages. I don't have the answer for these collapses, but I'm sure he is digging deep in the offseason to fix them.

Mendenhall and Woodley need to become stars this season. Harrison is not going to sustain his recent successes. Woodley needs to become the wrecker that he is. I think he's close. I think he can take over the superstar mantra on that defense at least of the front 7. Mendenhall needs to make the leap.

SteelAbility
03-30-2010, 04:21 PM
Arians - agreed. Though I think we already have enough knowledge about him. I'd have fired him.

Taylor? Why does he need to step up? He's been the no.1 CB for a 2 time Super Bowl champ. He had a bad year and has a ceiling of production. After all, he was a FOURTH round pick. Be thankful we have gotten what we have out of him. He's done very well for us. Troy is the top DB we have and when he is out, everyone else suffers. He has horrible hands and that will not change. I'm not sure why people think that will improve.

William Gay - a 5th round pick? Does anyone think he will be a star? Again, Troy is the top DB, Ike is second best and then Clark. Gay has to produce or be gone, sure, but he's not some budding star. His peak is mediocrity. If he became a star, that would be incredible.

No. 4 Willie Colon, RT/Max Starks, LT
Clark is a guard. They should draft a tackle and move him back inside and then offer him a guard contract. He'd probably be a terrific guard. Again, he was a 3rd rounder. Don't expect him to be a top 5 RT in the league. Starks is a bit of an enigma to me. I watched him close in training camp and his demeanor is weak. There is talent there, but I imagine it will always be better in the playoffs when things matter more. Still, not sure he will reach some great peak.


My personal picks:
Troy:
He needs to get his sheet in gear and be ready for the season. He is in shape every training camp, but his muscles are not trained for battle. He is the true stud of this team. He needs to get it together, so the other adequate players around him can perform their jobs.

Holmes:
Needs to stop sniffing glue and become the talent he should be. He has the talent and draft pedigree to be expected to be a 100catch 100 yard receiver. He has the support group at WR with him. Wallace has shown deep ball, Ward/Miller can take the punishment across the middle. He and Ben need to work on their timing routes to pick up some easy 5-8 yard plays on 1st and 3rd down.

Lebeau:
He's the Hall of Famer that needs to start closing out games. His defense is faltering late under his direction. Arians and Ben had to bail him out late in the Super Bowl after multiple blown coverages. I don't have the answer for these collapses, but I'm sure he is digging deep in the offseason to fix them.

Mendenhall and Woodley need to become stars this season. Harrison is not going to sustain his recent successes. Woodley needs to become the wrecker that he is. I think he's close. I think he can take over the superstar mantra on that defense at least of the front 7. Mendenhall needs to make the leap.

Why? We put up all kinds of yards, right? :roll: :P

NW Steeler
03-30-2010, 04:58 PM
No. 2 Ike Taylor, CB

Tomlin showed no hesitation to let Joe Burnett and Keenan Lewis play late last season.



Did I watch a different team last year? Because I never saw Keenan Lewis play last year in a regular season game.

hawaiiansteel
03-30-2010, 05:22 PM
No. 2 Ike Taylor, CB

Tomlin showed no hesitation to let Joe Burnett and Keenan Lewis play late last season.



Did I watch a different team last year? Because I never saw Keenan Lewis play last year in a regular season game.



true, Keenan Lewis was out with a back injury.

Chadman
03-30-2010, 07:39 PM
Mr Nick DeWitt,

Chadman would like you to, in future, please consider some facts before opening your mouth, or in this case, putting to paper your random thoughts.

For example..


Tomlin showed no hesitation to let Joe Burnett and Keenan Lewis play late last season.

Obvious fail- Keenan Lewis didn't get on the field last season, and Joe Burnett took the field after William Gay was removed from the starting line-up. This had nothing to do with the play of Ike Taylor.


Taylor wasn't very good last year

Quality journalism here as the same could be said for the entire Steelers team. To single out Taylor is, well, not well thought out.



He hasn't been cut, but he also hasn't been endorsed by management. He could be on the outside looking in if the team drafts a player like Kyle Wilson or Earl Thomas, or if Joe Burnett and Keenan Lewis step up and take his job.

This is most definitely his last chance.

All this in regards to William Gay is pure speculation. To say it is 'most definately his last chance' is not only premature, but idiotic. In fact, it sounds eeirily familiar to the Bustamalu topics of years past.


No. 4 Willie Colon, RT/Max Starks, LT

really? These two? And yet, the Steelres are reportedly looking towards drafting Interior OL. And, statistically, Hartwig & Essex were near the bottom in every catagory for OL last season, while Colon was placed 3rd overall. well done.


Colon doesn't get the same heat thanks to a smaller contract, but he's also disappointing. He makes dumb penalties (false starts at home), doesn't rub-block well, and also is wildly inconsistent.

Going to assume 'rub-block' is in fact, run-block. Of course, that would be Colon's strong point...it's pass blocking he falls down in...oh well...

DeWitt seems a French name.

De is 'The' in French.

Witt could be 'wit' evolved over time.

The Wit.

Seem to have forgotten the f#*K bit before Wit....

frankthetank1
03-30-2010, 08:38 PM
Starks signed a big contract and then became the easiest route to the offensive backfield. His turnstile ways forced Ben Roethlisberger to leave the pocket far too often.

i must be in the minority who thinks that starks is a solid LT. besides the green bay game i thought he had a pretty good year. i would attribute ben leaving the pocket more to wr's not getting open or ben holding onto the ball forever. they pay starks a lot but i think its pretty standard for a starting tackle. at first i hated the contract but starks has turned into a pretty solid player imo

RuthlessBurgher
03-30-2010, 10:13 PM
Starks signed a big contract and then became the easiest route to the offensive backfield. His turnstile ways forced Ben Roethlisberger to leave the pocket far too often.

i must be in the minority who thinks that starks is a solid LT. besides the green bay game i thought he had a pretty good year. i would attribute ben leaving the pocket more to wr's not getting open or ben holding onto the ball forever. they pay starks a lot but i think its pretty standard for a starting tackle. at first i hated the contract but starks has turned into a pretty solid player imo

No, most informed Steeler fans recognize that Max is a solid LT. Not elite or spectacular, mind you, but solid. People who tend to spew "thoughts" (if you can call them that) on Bleacher Report are not necessarily informed Steeler fans.

hawaiiansteel
03-30-2010, 11:35 PM
Max Starks is the least of our worries on the OL - bigger worries are:

1) C Jeff Hartwig - mediocre at best, needs to be replaced soon.

2) RG Trai Essex - in the last year of his contract, adequate at best.

3) RT Willie Colon - we can keep him this season and next using the RFA tag, might prove difficult to re-sign after that.

flippy
04-01-2010, 02:43 AM
I keep thinking this thread is about the whole team needing to produce.

I'm tired of not winning back to back SuperBowls like we did in the 70s. Not only do we not repeat now, but we don't even make the playoffs after winning the SuperBowl. This trend must change and it must change now.

We've become a 2 man team - Ben + Troy. If either is injured or has an off day, we're a very average team.

The whole darn team needs to perform better. Not just a couple of players.