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fordfixer
04-29-2010, 12:49 AM
Steelers' Tomlin fully sold on 3-4 defense

By John Harris, PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Thursday, April 29, 2010
http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsbu ... 78630.html (http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/steelers/s_678630.html)

The transition from staunch supporter of the 4-3 defense to 3-4 convert has been smooth and painless for Steelers coach Mike Tomlin.

Three years later, it's easy to forget that when Tomlin replaced Bill Cowher, he favored a four-man defensive front with a Cover-2 emphasis in the secondary.

Consider Tomlin entering his fourth season as a true believer in the 3-4 taught by defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau converted.

When describing 2010 draft picks Jason Worilds and Thaddeus Gibson, college defensive ends who will play outside linebacker in the Steelers' 3-4, Tomlin said, "Outside linebacker is their position or job description. We value that here in Pittsburgh. We believe that's a formula for winning football. They are big guys that can run."

Still entertaining thoughts the Steelers will eventually become a 4-3 team under Tomlin?

Considering that three of the Steelers' top seven draft picks were selected to play linebacker, and that none of them played traditional middle linebacker or outside linebacker positions in college, it's safe to suggest the 3-4 is here to stay.

"Watching some of the guys that played there before me, or now currently, I think I fit perfectly," said Worilds, a second-round pick from Virginia Tech. "With the types of rushes they have, those guys on the edge, I see myself in their mode. LaMarr Woodley, James Harrison physical, explosive types of edge rushers."

Linebackers coach Keith Butler said the Steelers project Worilds as a stand-up 3-4 linebacker even though he starred at defensive end.

"He's not a guy that you expect to stand up," Butler said. "A lot of guys you stand up early kind of struggle with opening their hips and dropping in pass coverage. He was able to do things that we wanted him to do that we think he can do in this system. It was a matter of us projecting him in this system, and I think he's a good fit for us."

Butler had similar good things to say about Gibson, a fourth-round pick who recorded four sacks, two pass breakups and one interception last season at Ohio State.

"He played some defensive end like a lot of the guys we take at outside linebacker," Butler said. "He stood up some at Ohio State. They do some similar things to what we do. It's not like we're seeing him at the position for the first time."

With their third selection in the fifth round, the Steelers took Utah outside linebacker Stevenson Sylvester, an edge pass rusher who will move inside.

Sylvester weighs 231 pounds after playing around 222 last season. Butler said the Steelers aren't concerned about Sylvester's smallish frame because their defensive scheme will keep blockers away from him.

"He, like a lot of inside linebackers this (size), struggles with big guys. But what we do in our system for our guys I think will help him," Butler said.

"Our inside linebackers are not 250-pound guys, with the exception of Lawrence Timmons. Lawrence looks like he weighs 210, but he's 250. (Larry) Foote is about 235 or 240. (Keyaron) Fox is about 240. James Farrior is 230, 235. I'm not concerned about his weight."

The Steelers also signed free-agent defensive end Lindsey Witten of Connecticut (6-foot-4 1/2, 250 pounds), who recorded 11 1/2 sacks as a senior. Witten is a natural for the Steelers because he's attempting to make the conversion to outside linebacker in the NFL.

hawaiiansteel
04-29-2010, 02:25 AM
does this mean we're not moving to the 4-3? :stirpot

Mister Pittsburgh
04-29-2010, 07:29 AM
does this mean we're not moving to the 4-3? :stirpot

I think we are moving to the 1-6. Only defensive lineman we have under 30 is Hood.

RuthlessBurgher
04-29-2010, 10:12 AM
does this mean we're not moving to the 4-3? :stirpot

I think we are moving to the 1-6. Only defensive lineman we have under 30 is Hood.

Nick Eason is 29.

Sonny Harris is 23.

Doug Worthington is 22.

Steve McLendon is 24.

Scott Paxson is 27.

Cordarrow Thompson is 22.

Add in Ziggy, and that would make 7 d-lineman that are under 30.

NW Steeler
04-29-2010, 10:36 AM
:owned

Oviedo
04-29-2010, 10:48 AM
does this mean we're not moving to the 4-3? :stirpot

I think we are moving to the 1-6. Only defensive lineman we have under 30 is Hood.

Nick Eason is 29.

Sonny Harris is 23.

Doug Worthington is 22.

Steve McLendon is 24.

Scott Paxson is 27.

Cordarrow Thompson is 22.

Add in Ziggy, and that would make 7 d-lineman that are under 30.

Add in:

Hood is 23

Kiesel is 32

Hoke is 34

Smith is 34

Eason is 30

Hampton is 32

Of the total group the average age is about 27.4 years which isn't bad, but the issue is who is on the final roster and who is on the practice squad. The only two "young guys" likely to be on the final 53 are Hood and Harris.

I also expect that DL will get attention early in the next draft. We are OK age wise.

Shawn
04-29-2010, 10:50 AM
Pwnage. :lol:

ramblinjim
04-29-2010, 12:05 PM
I like the idea of a 2-5

Casey and Hoke up front with Smitty, Hood, Keisel and Harris rotating in and out:

Jimmy Hate, Timmons, Foote, Farrior, Woodley behind them

with:

Worilds, Fox, Stevenson, Witten, Gibson rotating in and out.

phillyesq
04-29-2010, 12:23 PM
does this mean we're not moving to the 4-3? :stirpot

I think we are moving to the 1-6. Only defensive lineman we have under 30 is Hood.

Nick Eason is 29.

Sonny Harris is 23.

Doug Worthington is 22.

Steve McLendon is 24.

Scott Paxson is 27.

Cordarrow Thompson is 22.

Add in Ziggy, and that would make 7 d-lineman that are under 30.

Add in:

Hood is 23

Kiesel is 32

Hoke is 34

Smith is 34

Eason is 30

Hampton is 32

Of the total group the average age is about 27.4 years which isn't bad, but the issue is who is on the final roster and who is on the practice squad. The only two "young guys" likely to be on the final 53 are Hood and Harris.

I also expect that DL will get attention early in the next draft. We are OK age wise.

I think the DE has a good mix of veterans and young players. While Eason has gone from terrible to a reliable and valuable backup, I'd love to see Sonny Harris and Worthington play well enough that he is pushed off the roster.

Hoke and Hampton are both getting up there in years, but with Hampton signing the 3 year extension, I think it made sense that the Steelers didn't spend a high pick on a NT this year. When the Steelers add Hampton's eventual successor, it will likely mean that Hoke is displaced from the roster. Given how well he has played when called upon, I'm in no rush to do that. I think the Steelers can wait until next year or even the year after to address NT in the draft.

Mister Pittsburgh
04-29-2010, 12:56 PM
does this mean we're not moving to the 4-3? :stirpot

I think we are moving to the 1-6. Only defensive lineman we have under 30 is Hood.

Nick Eason is 29.

Sonny Harris is 23.

Doug Worthington is 22.

Steve McLendon is 24.

Scott Paxson is 27.

Cordarrow Thompson is 22.

Add in Ziggy, and that would make 7 d-lineman that are under 30.

Yeah, lets hope one or two of those guys actually pan out. I got owned? Because I didn't count the practice squaders and career backups..... :roll:

Oviedo
04-29-2010, 01:07 PM
[quote=hawaiiansteel]does this mean we're not moving to the 4-3? :stirpot

I think we are moving to the 1-6. Only defensive lineman we have under 30 is Hood.

Nick Eason is 29.

Sonny Harris is 23.

Doug Worthington is 22.

Steve McLendon is 24.

Scott Paxson is 27.

Cordarrow Thompson is 22.

Add in Ziggy, and that would make 7 d-lineman that are under 30.

Yeah, lets hope one or two of those guys actually pan out. I got owned? Because I didn't count the practice squaders and career backups..... :roll:[/quote:1m46k7c1]

If Worthington and Thompson can both make the final 53 that would be great for the future. In reality though I would think Worthington probably has the better shot at that because he just has to be better than Eason or Harris. Both probably end up on the Practice Squad if they show potential.

aggiebones
04-29-2010, 01:44 PM
What?
Nick Eason is 29.

Sonny Harris is 23.

Doug Worthington is 22.

Steve McLendon is 24.

Scott Paxson is 27.

Cordarrow Thompson is 22.



Of these guys, 1 makes the team. MAAAYBE 2.

Slapstick
04-29-2010, 03:14 PM
With the way that Hampton and Hoke have been playing, a 23 year old rookie might be 30 by the time he sees the field... :D

Mister Pittsburgh
04-29-2010, 08:44 PM
What?
Nick Eason is 29.

Sonny Harris is 23.

Doug Worthington is 22.

Steve McLendon is 24.

Scott Paxson is 27.

Cordarrow Thompson is 22.



Of these guys, 1 makes the team. MAAAYBE 2.

Maybe I am wrong here, but one would think they must see something in Sonny Harris to bring him back into the fold....

Oviedo
04-30-2010, 09:45 AM
What?
Nick Eason is 29.

Sonny Harris is 23.

Doug Worthington is 22.

Steve McLendon is 24.

Scott Paxson is 27.

Cordarrow Thompson is 22.



Of these guys, 1 makes the team. MAAAYBE 2.

I think the only guys on that list that you can really rule out are Paxson and McLendon. Both are likely just career practice squad players or emergency filler.

They are high on Harris and tried to keep him last year but Carolina saw enough that they put him on their 53 man roster. When they cut him we jumped on bringing him back. To me that indicates he has something they like.

Eason has vastly improved over the past couple of years and is a solid back up, but that is all he will ever be.

Why don't we let Worthington and Thompson actually put on a uniform and participate in a couple of practices before we write them off.

Then again, with the number of defensive linemen we have can a switch to the 4-3 defense really be that far away :stirpot