View Full Version : Steelers are second-oldest team in NFL

08-27-2011, 12:58 AM
Steelers are second-oldest team in NFL
August, 26, 2011
Aug 26
http://espn.go.com/blog/afcnorth/post/_ ... eam-in-nfl (http://espn.go.com/blog/afcnorth/post/_/id/31048/steelers-are-second-oldest-team-in-nfl)

By James Walker
Are the Pittsburgh Steelers too old?

That question comes up nearly every year in Pittsburgh. But the Steelers often prove their critics wrong with another playoff run.

NFC West counterpart Mike Sando did a great chart this week outlining the age of starters and backups on offense and defense. By that measure, the Steelers are the second-oldest team in the NFL.

Many of Pittsburgh's starters are 30 or older. That includes receiver Hines Ward (35), safety Troy Polamalu (30), safety Ryan Clark (31), linebacker James Farrior (36), cornerback Ike Taylor (31) and defensive ends Brett Keisel (32) and Aaron Smith (35). The Steelers have the oldest defense in the league, according to the chart. Pittsburgh's offense is ranked No. 13.

Will age catch up to Pittsburgh in 2011? Probably not. The reigning AFC champions have looked good in training camp and the preseason. Injuries are probably the only thing that could derail Pittsburgh from making the playoffs again this season.

The Baltimore Ravens, who cut several veterans and got younger this year, were No. 13. The Cincinnati Bengals were No. 22 and the Cleveland Browns were No. 29.

08-27-2011, 08:48 AM
I never saw this as a factor right into the playoffs and SB. I still see the D as a top 5 unit with prepared youth starting to sprinkle in.

Others are going to point out the plays where Rogers burned us but I think this is a result of good preparedness in creating mismatches, a QB playing allworld, and an Oline that did a decent job picking the blitz packages and holding off Wood & James for a split second longer.

My point is that I dont think age never showed up in a negative sense.

08-27-2011, 10:47 AM
My point is that I dont think age never showed up in a negative sense.

Injury did.

08-27-2011, 12:56 PM
Age and injury don't necessarily go together...

Look at Limas...or Baron Batch...

08-27-2011, 01:06 PM
Age and injury don't necessarily go together...

Look at Limas...or Baron Batch...

Age and injury DO go together... ask any of us who have aged!

The "age" I'm concerned about on our team (i.e. we could see slippage in their play) for this year are:
Ike Taylor

It's interesting though, because while we are old according to the article, we all know that we have lots of promising young guys waiting in the wings... a lot may not be ready yet, but they have promise.

08-27-2011, 10:52 PM
We're not old we're seasoned :lol: :lol:

09-06-2011, 02:17 AM
Dominating Steelers defense won't fall off in 2011

By Elliot Harrison - NFL.com
Sept. 4, 2011


James Harrison is one of nine Steelers regulars on defense who are more than 30 years old.

Pittsburgh Steelers defensive coordinator D!ck LeBeau, soon to be 74, told all who would listen that "age is just a number" during his Pro Football Hall of Fame acceptance speech last summer. Considering the antiquity of his current defense, he'd better be right.

For the purposes of 2011, he is.

Regulars on defense in their thirties

Name Position Age
James Farrior LB 36
Aaron Smith DE 35
Casey Hampton NT 33
James Harrison LB 33
Brett Keisel DE 32
Larry Foote LB 31
Ike Taylor DB 31
Ryan Clark DB 31
Troy Polamalu DB 30

First, the facts. Nine significant contributors on Pittsburgh's defense are 30 years old or older, or will turn the not-so-magical age this season. This has allowed some to conclude the Steelers' defense is an old, neutered dog. But all that noise will translate to a hill of beans once the real bullets start flying.

There are also many Steelers players, most notably James Harrison, who believe their aggressive defense has been singled out by the NFL as not playing within the rules.

After the league's 2010 midseason crackdown on helmet-to-helmet hits, there has been nothing in the play of Harrison, LaMarr Woodley or Ryan Clark that suggests a real lack of aggression. On 99 percent of NFL plays, the game is too fast for players to think about holding up on leveling a ball carrier.

The age thing as the "it" factor in professional football is a bit overstated, particularly in Sixburgh's case. Players take care of their bodies far better than those of yesteryear, so while crossing 30 might be huge for a running back, it doesn't necessarily affect a defensive lineman as adversely.

Did anyone see 34-year-old Shaun Ellis single-handedly destroy the Patriots in last year's divisional playoff? Or the 33-year-old John Abraham channeling his inner John Abraham to collecting 13 sacks in 2010?

Top five run defenses in 2010

Team Rush yards allowed per game
Steelers 62.8
Bears 90.1
Jets 90.9
Chargers 93.8
Ravens 93.9

Pittsburgh left defensive end Aaron Smith is 35 years old and coming off a torn triceps. He's also one of the smartest players to play the position. As in, ever. His backup, Ziggy Hood, could start for 75 percent of the teams in the league. At the other end, Brett Keisel had one of his best seasons in 2010. Casey Hampton is a plugger in the middle, which contributed to Pittsburgh's ranking as the best run defense in the league. Throw in that the organization took highly touted defensive end Cam Heyward (who looks pretty good) with its first-round pick, and the line should be more than OK.

So tap the brakes with the comparisons to "The Golden Girls." The Steelers ain't that old, and they sure as hell aren't going soft.

Much of this age talk came after Aaron Rodgers and Jordy Nelson played Nerf football with the Steelers during Super Bowl XLV. Safeties Clark and Troy Polamalu looked slow, and the pass rush wasn't getting there. But that was one game against a club that made the defenses in Philadelphia and Atlanta look absolutely silly, too. And let's not forget that Pittsburgh was still in position to win that game in the end, partially due to the defense tightening up.

This preseason, the defense has shown few signs of being a bunch of old weaklings. About the only vulnerability has been in the secondary, where Matt Ryan completed several big plays on Pittsburgh's back four.

But even that hiccup doesn't pass inspection, as Atlanta's quarterback completed 22 of 42 passes and averaged a paltry five yards per attempt. Oh, and that was against two backup corners, as starters Ike Taylor and Bryant McFadden were nursing injuries.

The previous week, LeBeau's defense dominated the Eagles, who many consider to be the most explosive offense in the NFL. Everyone's favorite fantasy quarterback, Michael Vick, looked downright awful, went 5-of-12 passing with three picks. Ouch. The Eagles' first unit managed just 71 yards in the first half.

So before you start counting down the days until LeBeau's veteran group crumbles faster than a Miss Teen USA monologue and prematurely hands the AFC North to a Ravens team that has proven it can't get over the hump, tap the brakes, turbo.

Age is just a number.

http://www.nfl.com/news/story/09000d5d8 ... er_experts (http://www.nfl.com/news/story/09000d5d821e1681/article/dominating-steelers-defense-wont-fall-off-in-2011?module=HP11_writer_experts)

09-06-2011, 09:08 AM
We are a veteran group, but there is lots of talented youth on this team.

The offense is really in good shape.

We have 3 talented young receivers. Most (if not all) of our Olinemen are under 30 years old. At TE, Heath is in his prime and Saunders is a promising rookie. Mendenhall is in his prime and Redman is also a younger player. Ben is in his prime.

Batch and Ward skew our age on offense because they both are very old.

This defense will definitely go through a transition period in the next few years. But, the building blocks are there. Woodley and Timmons are signed long term. Heyward and Hood are 1st rounders at DE. We have young corners who we are hoping to develop.

The question marks are...
ILB - can Sylvestor replace farrior? I think/hope so.
NT - McClendon is likely not a long term replacement for Casey, we will need to draft one
FS - Mundy is a stop gap at best. Clark is smart, but getting older and an avg athlete.
SS - Troy will not play forever. I wouldn't be surprised to see him retire in two years if injuries persist.
OLB - Not sold on Worilds yet and Harrison likely won't play out his contract here even if his back holds up.
CB - Will Keenan Lewis step up? Will Cortez Allen develop? I see curtis brown as a great nickel back, but nothing more.

This makes about 4-6 important defensive roles that we will need to replace in the next 1-3 years.

I think we can do that.

09-06-2011, 01:30 PM
Mike Tomlin: Please keep talking about Steelers age

Posted by Gregg Rosenthal on September 6, 2011


It’s hard not to notice that the Steelers defense is a little long in the tooth.

The topic of over-30 Pittsburgh defenders grew in recent weeks as James Harrison struggled to get into regular season shape. Nine Steelers defenders will be over 30 this season. Steelers coach Mike Tomlin has heard the talk and implored the media to “keep talking” about how old the defense is.

“You’re making my job easy,” Tomlin said with a smile at his Tuesday press conference, via Steelers.com.

Tomlin was extremely confident that he didn’t have to worry about Harrison. He joked that Harrison may be “sandbagging” everyone by saying he’s only 75-80% healthy. Asked about backup linebacker Jason Worilds, Tomlin steered the conversation back to Harrison.

“I expect James to be James ,” this week, Tomlin said.

If James is truly James, he’ll have a good time making new Ravens tackle Bryant McKinnie look like Bryant McKinnie.

http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/20 ... elers-age/ (http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2011/09/06/mike-tomlin-asks-media-to-keep-talking-about-steelers-age/)

09-06-2011, 02:14 PM
The Steelers are old on paper, but every year they draft players to replace aging veterans and they develop those players for 2-3 years. Once the aging vet can't be a full-time starter any longer they are asked to take a vet minimum to be a backup or are released and the player groomed to replace the veteran is inserted into the lineup.

The Steelers very rarely "rebuild", what they do is "replace" piece by piece, so that, in any one year there isn't an overhaul of the offense or defense that leads to a bad season. For the most part this has worked beautifully, occasionally, the bad year creeps in, but typically only lasts for a year while the Steelers figure out what to do.

The defense is aging, but Hood and Heyward are going to see substantial time this year, I have to think that Harrison will see reduced snaps and possibly Farrior as well. But, what they won't do is change all 4 players wholesale for extended periods of time. That's why players are drafted, developed and then put into the lineup and called "busts" along the way.

As long as a veteran is contributing why replace him? Just for the sake of replacing him? That's stupid and what the perennial bottom feeders do as a plan, not the Steelers.


09-09-2011, 07:06 PM
The Old Man of the 'D'

Friday, September 09, 2011
By Gerry Dulac, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette


James Farrior, by the numbers. Age: 36. College: Virginia. Years pro: 15. Acquired: As a free agent in 2002. Career: Has been in on 1,361 tackles, including 33.5 sacks.

At an age when most players already have retired, James Farrior continues to grow in stature, even if he might be shrinking in size.

When he came to the Steelers as a free agent from the New York Jets in 2002, Farrior was an outside linebacker who weighed 240 pounds. But the Steelers wanted him to play inside linebacker in their 3-4 defense, and they wanted him to play the Buck position, which meant he was responsible for running to the ball and making tackles.

Taking on blockers? That was a role left to Casey Hampton, a 340-pound nose tackle in front of him, whose job, if at all possible, was to keep guards and centers away from Farrior.

"The guys up front do a good job keeping guys off us," Farrior said. "Every now and then, we got to wrestle and tussle with the linemen. But, most of the time, we're just running."

So Farrior decided he needed to weigh less to run more, so he lost approximately 10 pounds after his first season with the Steelers. But, as he got older and the grind of a season took its toll on his body, Farrior kept finding it difficult to maintain his body weight.

A couple of years ago, even some of his teammates used to tease him that he looked more like a safety when December rolled around and playoff time approached. At one point, Farrior was playing inside linebacker at a lithe 218 pounds.

Most teams prefer size, too, but Farrior and Larry Foote, his backup at inside linebacker, disprove that notion.

"They're not big, but they hit hard," Hampton said. "That's what people don't realize -- how hard they hit."

As he enters his 15th NFL season, Farrior is at the same weight he has played the past couple of seasons -- 225 pounds, even though he is listed at 243 pounds in their media guide.

Just don't tell anybody.

"I like them to think I'm big," Farrior said.

Farrior is big -- a spiritual leader and captain of one of the best defenses in the league who is as active as he is ageless and resilient. He has led the team in tackles in six of his nine seasons with the Steelers, including four of the past five, and has started 100 consecutive games since missing two games in the middle of the 2005 season.

Last season, he finished second to inside partner Lawrence Timmons in tackles, but he offset that with six sacks, tying his career high. It was a remarkable performance for a player who will turn 37 in January and, according to coach Mike Tomlin, "is genetically blessed."

"You take it year by year," Farrior said. "As long as you still have it in your heart, you keep going. I've talked to older guys and retired players, and they said they knew when it was their time [because] they felt like they couldn't go anymore. That's when they called it quits."

Since free agency began, Farrior is arguably -- and likely without question -- the best signing the Steelers have made. He is the unquestioned leader of their defense, on and off the field, and his personality ranges from calm and methodical at times, to child-like, boisterous and downright giddy at others.

It is that youthful exuberance that inspires those around him, but also keeps Farrior playing at a level that not even his coaches expected after the 2009 season.

"He just loves the game," Hampton said. "He don't play his age. He keeps himself in great shape."

Playing at an age when most players have either retired or had their careers cut short by injury is nothing new in the NFL.

Former center Jeff Van Note was 40 when he was still starting for the Atlanta Falcons, the team that had drafted him 18 years earlier. When he was 40, Bruce Matthews was a starter for the Tennessee Titans, the only franchise for whom he played in a 19-year career.

"I don't know, it's something inside, something mental, that keeps him going," Foote said. "He loves the game. He loves to play. I always joke with him -- I don't think he's going to miss the football when he quits; he's going to miss the fraternizing with the boys. I think that's what keeps him going."

Foote is right.

"That's definitely part of it, just being around the guys in the locker room," Farrior said. "The stuff we do off the field together, being in the locker room before a game, feeling that energy, that's something you can't get anywhere else."

Then Farrior added, "I still got the love of the game. I feel like this is the best job in the world for me, and there's nothing else I'd rather be doing. I think about what I'll be doing after football and I don't really want to think about that right now."

Neither do the Steelers.

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/11252/11 ... z1XUYGBF00 (http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/11252/1173166-66-0.stm#ixzz1XUYGBF00)

09-10-2011, 02:08 PM
Although we are the second oldest team in the league, I don't think that things look particularly bleak in the coming years.

Consider that on offense, we have plenty of young depth already in place when old man Ward retires. After Hines, guess who is the 2nd oldest guy on our offense? Ben Roethlisberger. Ben is no where near retirement, but rather just reaching the prime of his career at 29 years of age. We don't need to worry whatsoever about our offense getting old any time soon.

On defense, we have plenty of studs over 30, though. Aaron Smith, Casey Hampton, Brett Keisel, James Farrior, James Harrison, Troy Polamalu, Ryan Clark, and Ike Taylor are the foundation behind some all-time-great defenses. What happens when all of these guys retire over the next several seasons? What are we left with?

Ziggy Hood-Steve McLendon-Camerson Heyward
LaMarr Woodley-Stevenson Sylvester-Lawrence Timmons-Jason Worilds
Curtis Brown-Ryan Mundy-Keenan Lewis-Cortez Allen

Is that defense awful? Not by any means. Sure, we could probably use some upgrades with early picks in the secondary (it will be quite difficult...if not impossible...to replace a Polamalu, and it remains to be seen how our rookie CB's will ultimately pan out) and a starting nose tackle (McLendon seems more like a Hoke-like versatile back-up d-lineman than a potential full-time starter at NT), but we'll have several drafts with which to continue adding new young hungry talent. I think our future appears to be in good hands.