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fordfixer
07-31-2010, 12:45 AM
Reconstruction of Steelers' offensive line shifts into high gear
Steelers sign No. 1 pick Pouncey; line's reconstruction is in high gear
Saturday, July 31, 2010
By Ray Fittipaldo, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10212/1076701-66.stm

LATROBE -- For the second consecutive day, the Steelers signed an offensive lineman who could end up being a starter by the time the regular season begins. One day after veteran free agent Flozell Adams agreed to a two-year contract, the Steelers signed their first-round pick Maurkice Pouncey to a five-year deal.

Adams, a 13-year veteran who was released by the Dallas Cowboys this spring, drove from Chicago to Saint Vincent's College Friday in time to join the rest of his teammates on the first day of camp. He was excused from taking the conditioning test along with several other veteran players.

Pouncey was expected to report to camp Friday night and will take the conditioning test at 6 a.m. today before the first of two scheduled practices.

The biggest story line of training camp will be the quarterback derby as coach Mike Tomlin searches for a temporary starter in place of the suspended Ben Roethlisberger. But no less important to the overall well-being of the team is the offensive line, which suffered a crucial blow in June when starter Willie Colon was lost for the season after rupturing his right Achilles tendon.

Adams was signed to take Colon's place on the right side. If Adams wins the starting job at right tackle, it would keep continuity with the other four spots on the line.

Starting left tackle Max Starks volunteered to move back to his old right tackle position when he heard about Colon's injury, but Tomlin wanted to keep as many players in the same position as possible.

"My mentality is we have an issue at one position, and that's right tackle," Tomlin said Friday. "And I'm not going to make it an issue at two positions unless I absolutely have to. Max has played above the line and played pretty well for us at left tackle.

"We're searching for someone to step in and step up for Willie Colon at right tackle. Someone will show themselves, and we'll go on and play great. Who that is? We'll see."

Adams, who signed a two-year contract worth $7.5 million but without a signing bonus or any guaranteed money (he will make $2.5 million this season), will be competing with Jonathan Scott, who signed as a free agent in March. Veteran swingman Trai Essex will stay at right guard and compete with Pouncey for the starting position.

"There's always competition," said Essex, who started all 16 games last season at right guard. "I'm used to competition year in and year out. It makes the team better. You need that competition to get the best out of yourself."

Adams, who did not speak with reporters Friday, made five Pro Bowls while with Dallas, most recently in 2008. He has never played right tackle and will be attempting to learn on the go in the coming weeks.

When asked about Adams making the transition from the left side to the right, Tomlin said: "I'm not going to assume that it is [going to be difficult] and I'm not going to assume that it isn't. Over the next couple of weeks, we'll provide information in that regard and then we'll adjust accordingly, if need be.

"It's exciting to acquire a guy of his stature in the game," Tomlin added. "But more important than his resume, in the talks we've had over the last several weeks, he is a guy who wants to be here.

"This is a guy who has made some money and received just about every accolade you can get. The fire still burns. He wants to be a part of a world champion. He's committed to fitting in. Those are things that make you excited aside from what you know he is capable of."

Starks, too, was excited that he would not be switching positions again. He started all 16 games last season at left tackle and started 15 others there in the previous two seasons.

"Consistency is one of those things you always relish," Starks said.

"For an offensive lineman, consistency is what builds championship teams. The less moving parts that you have, the more efficient and more cohesive your unit is going to be. I think that's a great system.

"When you try to flip-flop guys and try to get best five on the field, put one here, move this one over ... now you're getting into a lot of jumbling, and you're breaking up that chemistry that we already started. Having just one addition to the line, it allows for the cohesiveness in the middle [to] stay consistent."

NOTES --Tomlin said Byron Leftwich will be with the first team when practice begins today. During the summer, the coach had indicated that he would have a starter in place by the time camp opened. "We'll do like we've done the majority of the spring. Byron Leftwich will get a good number of snaps followed by Dennis Dixon. We're going to be somewhat non-rhythmic. We're not going to lock ourselves down to a prescribed rotation." ... Tomlin confirmed Friday that the team will bus from Latrobe to Canton, Ohio, next Saturday for the Hall of Fame induction ceremony of defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau. The team will practice in the morning, is scheduled to leave Latrobe at 2 p.m. and return that night. "What a great opportunity to have a field trip for a team," Tomlin said. " It's a guy we all love and admire. It's a very special day for him, and, by no means, do we intend to miss it." ... Tomlin also said two players will start camp on the physically-unable-to-perform list: linebacker Andre Frazier (knee discomfort) and rookie offensive lineman Chris Scott (foot).

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10212/10 ... z0vESz9vkj (http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10212/1076701-66.stm#ixzz0vESz9vkj)

RuthlessBurgher
07-31-2010, 11:11 AM
Adams, who signed a two-year contract worth $7.5 million but without a signing bonus or any guaranteed money (he will make $2.5 million this season)

Well, that answers the compensation question. $2.5 million this year is quite reasonable. And, basically, we have a team option for next year (assuming that there is football next year) for $5 million. Since there is no signing bonus or guaranteed money as a part of the deal, this two year deal won't count at all against future caps (once a salary cap is reinstated) if we choose not to bring him back for another year. I was a little worried about what a 2 year deal might do to our salary cap in the future, but those worries are totally relieved now.

Basically, if we are able to re-sign Colon to a long-term deal after this season, we let Hotel walk...thanks for your 1 year of service at $2.5 million while Colon was hurt. If we are not able to re-sign Colon, and Adams performs well this year in his stead, then we have the option of keeping Hotel for another year at $5 million while we get our long term plan (drafting a RT of the future early in the next draft) in place.

Sugar
07-31-2010, 11:24 AM
"It's exciting to acquire a guy of his stature in the game," Tomlin added. "But more important than his resume, in the talks we've had over the last several weeks, he is a guy who wants to be here.

"This is a guy who has made some money and received just about every accolade you can get. The fire still burns. He wants to be a part of a world champion. He's committed to fitting in. Those are things that make you excited aside from what you know he is capable of."

That's the most important thing in the whole article, IMO.

Ozey74
07-31-2010, 11:26 AM
Flozell has alot of incentive this year to play well. If he proves he is worth it, hopefully can find a way t keep him & Willie. Pouncey might be ready to start at C next year and in 2011 our line can have a line up of Starks -Kemo -Pouncey -Colon --Adams. Not too shabby of a line, IMO.


:Beer

Shoe
07-31-2010, 12:03 PM
Flozell is a bum. It's a stopgap measure I know, but I don't like the fact that Dallas--a team on the verge of a championship run, would jettison this old bag of bones. It doesn't bode well for his current playing ability IMO. Hope he proves me wrong.

stlrz d
07-31-2010, 06:38 PM
Flozell is a bum. It's a stopgap measure I know, but I don't like the fact that Dallas--a team on the verge of a championship run, would jettison this old bag of bones. It doesn't bode well for his current playing ability IMO. Hope he proves me wrong.

The Cowboys couldn't pay him what he wanted as a LT.

Ozey - Several folks in the Steelers organization have said many, many times that Colon is not a guard and never will be a guard.