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hawaiiansteel
10-10-2011, 08:25 PM
Ed: Which Starters Should Become Backups?

Monday, 10 October 2011 Written by Ed Bouchette at PG+


Good morning,

You saw a typical NFL game at Heinz Field on Sunday. Just when you think you have a team figured out, it confounds you again. The confounding about this schizophrenic Steelers team began for me in the opener. If you recall, I predicted they would beat Baltimore and could not understand why the Ravens were favored.

Since then, we've all been waiting for the Steelers to play up to their hype, or at least what we remembered them being from last season. They did not, not even in their 24-0 victory against Seattle, not until yesterday. I'm not saying we have them figured out by any stretch, but we saw what could happen and we saw it with many of their missing players.

And that brings me to an exercise. Of all the starters, and a backup, who missed yesterday's game against Tennesse, and of all those who replaced them, are there any of the starters you'd prefer to see now as backups and their replacements as starters?

You can vote and express your reasons in either the comments section or the chat box or whatever they call that thing you all have taken to. I won't tally them but if one of you energetic members wants to, go ahead.

Here are your choices. Think of it as the revival of You Are Mike Tomlin:

-- Rashard Mendenhall returns as a starter, or do you stay with Isaac Redman (or, if you prefer, Jonathan Dwyer).

-- Mewelde Moore returns as a backup or are you dressing Dwyer now.

-- Chris Kemoeatu back at left guard or do you prefer Doug Legursky.

-- And if you put Kemo back at left guard, do you go with Ramon Foster or Legursky at right guard.

-- Max Starks at left tackle or Jonathan Scott (this one lready is answered but the ruse was they wanted Scott's ankle to fully heal).

-- Aaron Smith back at left defensive end, or do you prefer either Ziggy Hood or Cameron Heyward. This has a Part B to it, because you can offer up any combination of those three.

-- Casey Hampton back at nose tackle or should we see more of Chris Hoke.

-- James Harrison back at outside linebacker in several weeks or Lawrence Timmons.

--

Onto Me & You:

-- YOU: I too was surprised by the Steelers performance because of all the injuries. Perhaps this shows that, when my fellow fans blame LeBeau and Arians, even after a win, it's a bit over the top. Woodley woke up yesterday. Does this mean LeBeau waved smelling salts under his nose before the game? And when you get a chance, can you find out what happened on that interception prior to the half? Other than one or two blown coverages by the Steelers secondary, that interception was one of the few bad plays in an otherwise great performance.

ME: And, don't forget the blocked punt and the inability to cover an onsides kick. Ben was supposed to spike the ball and kill the clock. He thought he saw something and, while I originally thought it was Hines Ward, others said it was Antonio Brown he was throwing to.

-- YOU: When Chris K. is healthy enough to play, does Legursky or Foster start at RG? Why is Legursky currently playing LG when he is the starting RG?

ME: Let's see how the vote goes. Foster is better suited at right guard and Legursky at left. Plus, Foster may now be the starting RG even if Kemo returns, but you can still vote on that one.

-- YOU: The Steelers seemingly have excellent depth at RB, any reason why it would not make sense to have more or a running back by committee considering the line and the varying performance by each guy? Throw the 76 yard run by Dwyer out, and I still

ME: I still believe you have to stick with one back so he can get a feel for the game.

-- YOU: Ed, the running game used a lead blocker frequently against the Titans. Does Arians have 100% control of a decision like that, or is it possible that Tomlin tells Arians to do that, after seeing its effectiveness against the Texans? Do you think that Ben, Tomlin, and/or Arians will see the effectiveness of short dropbacks and quick passes and use that more often? Ben seemed to be limping quite a bit on/off the field, I think he only makes those quick passes b/c he knew he was limited. I'd be curious to see what he does if those same plays are called and he's healthy enough to scramble.

ME: Tomlin has total control but he gives his coordinators a long leash. I would hate to see a steady diet of those short passes, which in Pittsburgh we used to derisively call the "dink and dunk.'' It worked yesterday, but then so did the 40-yard TD pass to Mike Wallace.

-- YOU: Marx Starks looked like Alan Faneca on Sunday.... What do you attribute such a performance, and why in the world wasn’t picked up after the steelers cut him?

ME: It's a mystery wrapped in an enigma.

-- YOU: Any word on how serious Gilbert's injury is?

ME: MT said none of the injuries were serious and that Gilbert's right shoulder injury is the same one he injured previously.

-- YOU: What changed in the Steelers run defense this week?

ME: Chris Hoke played the stretch run a little differently, which prevented them from cutting it back.

-- YOU: Great win today, which is what can happen if we protect Ben. Dwyer
had an outstanding game, but to nitpick, he seemed to do the
Mendenhall dance on several plays. Redman, in my opinion, should be
our starter for the remainder of the season. What is your analysis of
Dwyer and Redman today?

ME: I prefer Redman.

-- YOU: What is the league's logic behind changing the QB rule this year in regard to the dressing the third QB? Last year's rule seems to make a lot more sense than forcing a team to dress one less position player if they want a third QB available.

ME: Actually, the league liberalized it. Instead of dressing 45 plus a designated No. 3 QB, they allow teams to dress 46. It's the coaches who have decided not to dress the No. 3 QB and go with an extra position player or special teams player.

http://plus.sites.post-gazette.com/inde ... um=twitter

SanAntonioSteelerFan
10-10-2011, 08:48 PM
Ed: Which Starters Should Become Backups?

Monday, 10 October 2011 Written by Ed Bouchette at PG+


Good morning,...

-- YOU: What is the league's logic behind changing the QB rule this year in regard to the dressing the third QB? Last year's rule seems to make a lot more sense than forcing a team to dress one less position player if they want a third QB available.

ME: Actually, the league liberalized it. Instead of dressing 45 plus a designated No. 3 QB, they allow teams to dress 46. It's the coaches who have decided not to dress the No. 3 QB and go with an extra position player or special teams player.

http://plus.sites.post-gazette.com/inde ... um=twitter

That's very interesting, that's more flexibility than I thought we had.

LouSteel
10-10-2011, 09:21 PM
Here are your choices. Think of it as the revival of You Are Mike Tomlin:

-- Rashard Mendenhall returns as a starter, or do you stay with Isaac Redman (or, if you prefer, Jonathan Dwyer).

Start Redman. He's running hard. Mendy can sit until he proves that he's hungry.

-- Mewelde Moore returns as a backup or are you dressing Dwyer now.

Dwyer didn't do anything special on his big run -- just followed an excellent block by Legs (we'll talk about that later ;)). I like Moore better here. He's been solid.

-- Chris Kemoeatu back at left guard or do you prefer Doug Legursky.

Legs, without hesitation. Kemo is good at seek n destroy on pulls, but is absolutely clueless in pass protection. Legs is a bit of a dropoff in run protection, but his mental strength in pass protection more than makes up for this.

-- Max Starks at left tackle or Jonathan Scott (this one lready is answered but the ruse was they wanted Scott's ankle to fully heal).

I'd start my grandmother over Scott at LT.

-- Aaron Smith back at left defensive end, or do you prefer either Ziggy Hood or Cameron Heyward. This has a Part B to it, because you can offer up any combination of those three.

Rotate Hood & Heyward. Smith has been a negative in this D.

-- Casey Hampton back at nose tackle or should we see more of Chris Hoke.

Hoke was getting it done yesterday. He was really getting the D going. He needs more snaps -- and that's no surprise because Hampton is getting up there...

-- James Harrison back at outside linebacker in several weeks or Lawrence Timmons.

Bouchette found someone's crack stash :lol:

Shoe
10-10-2011, 10:10 PM
Here are your choices. Think of it as the revival of You Are Mike Tomlin:

-- Rashard Mendenhall returns as a starter, or do you stay with Isaac Redman (or, if you prefer, Jonathan Dwyer).

Start Redman. He's running hard. Mendy can sit until he proves that he's hungry.

-- Mewelde Moore returns as a backup or are you dressing Dwyer now.

Dwyer didn't do anything special on his big run -- just followed an excellent block by Legs (we'll talk about that later ;)). I like Moore better here. He's been solid.

-- Chris Kemoeatu back at left guard or do you prefer Doug Legursky.

Legs, without hesitation. Kemo is good at seek n destroy on pulls, but is absolutely clueless in pass protection. Legs is a bit of a dropoff in run protection, but his mental strength in pass protection more than makes up for this.

-- Max Starks at left tackle or Jonathan Scott (this one lready is answered but the ruse was they wanted Scott's ankle to fully heal).

I'd start my grandmother over Scott at LT.

-- Aaron Smith back at left defensive end, or do you prefer either Ziggy Hood or Cameron Heyward. This has a Part B to it, because you can offer up any combination of those three.

Rotate Hood & Heyward. Smith has been a negative in this D.

-- Casey Hampton back at nose tackle or should we see more of Chris Hoke.

Hoke was getting it done yesterday. He was really getting the D going. He needs more snaps -- and that's no surprise because Hampton is getting up there...

-- James Harrison back at outside linebacker in several weeks or Lawrence Timmons.

Bouchette found someone's crack stash :lol:



1) Your grandma plays LT?

2) When Harrison heals (his eye), look out. His back will have gotten some quiet time to heal up.

3) Hoke plays with more fire than Hampton. Hampton can come in on short-yardage.

4) The key-est issue IMO is the DE situation. Obviously, Aaron Smith isn't "Aaron Smith" anymore. That being the case, I think the best situation is to rotate him for Hood (the starter), just keep Hood fresh. But I do think it's valuable to give Smith consistent reps. I think he will work into better shape as the season wears on (if he's not given a full workload though... very important). As old guys get on, they can not give a whole season anymore. But they can give you spurts of their old selves. That's what I really thought for example, they should have done with Brett Favre. Let him sit the first month or so, just sit. Then, let him come in.

In Smith's case, keeping him involved will be key coming December/January. (And for the record, I think come playoff time... if they do do this, they need to take advantage of him and play him more in the playoffs.)

feltdizz
10-10-2011, 11:08 PM
If we make the playoffs with Aaron Smith as the back up then he needs to stay the back up. Let it go... the Smith we remember isn't going to show up. He is old, on his last go round and to be honest this was a sympathy season. Given his history and his kids condition I can't blame them for giving him one more chance to get after it but it's not there. If we haven't seen it by now we aren't going to see it.

Do you really want to give Aaron more time in the playoff so he can maybe get half a sack if he's lucky? It's not like Aaron is a game changer at this point in his career. He isn't going to give you anything the young guys can give you and he will probably give you less given his past injuries and age.

It's noble but somewhat sad to keep reading about fans holding onto "one more splash play from Aaron" so they can say it was worth it bringing him back but lets be honest... he could probably be more effective as a DE coach the rest of the season. There may come a time this year where we start questioning if we are hindering the legacy of Aaron by watching him get tossed around by the young heads.

I remember hearing Cope in the booth a year or 2 before he died and they let him call a few plays. The game was so fast Cope couldn't form a sentence or get a guys name out of his mouth. You could feel the pain in the air because the guys in the booth respected Cope and didn't want to snatch the mic from him but they wanted to.

It's not that bad but this season kind of reminds me of that day because we have guys on our team who we respect but they need to go.

steeler_george
10-11-2011, 01:32 PM
Let Rashard Mendenhall heal then bring him back to see what he can do with the recarnated OL before crying out for Redman. Mendenhall is a proven back we all thought he would be one of the top RB in the league this year, there is no way where he is burnt out just yet.


I really liked the effort of Dweyer, he needs to prove himself more. With Mendy back to heal, he should get more. But Moore is a proven vet that comes up big in crunch time. May be keep in the future his role will expand

Again let Kemo heal, maybe his play this year has to due playing with nagging injuries.

I like Foster at RG, he is not spectacular, but solid, and his big frame is a plus. Keep LEg in the reserve role and let him give breathers to both the Guards during the game.

More of Hoke 50-50 of the snaps with Hampton. Hampton's play may of suffered since he was lined up with A. Smith.




Start A. Smith out of respect but as the game goes on let Hood have the majority of the snaps, with a few downs of Heyward rotating in for Kiesel. WE NEED TO BE HEALTHY AND FRESH deep in the season.

_SteeL_CurtaiN_
10-11-2011, 03:25 PM
This talk of benching Hampton is silly, the man is having his knees served up to any and all linemen who can't hang with him. This is the reason we are getting gashed by that stinkin stretch play. Take out the NT and surprisingly there are gaps, I agree Hoke did a very good job on Sunday but the Snack is in need of some help from his counter parts on the offensive side of the ball. If other teams are going to violate this unspoken rule then they need to get some in return, only after other teams guys get a few "chops" to the knees will it stop. Casey is a frickin load in the middle he doesn't have to do anything but take up space and command a double team and that he does OHHHHHH so well.

Either way this depth is a nice problem to have...

hawaiiansteel
10-11-2011, 05:50 PM
After further review …

October 11th, 2011
By Mark Kaboly


* Isaac Redman runs hard, there’s no denying that.

But to suggest that he should start instead of Rashard Mendenhall is totally ludicrous.

Grading the Starters

Ben Roethlisberger – A (Was close to perfect)
Isaac Redman – B (Ran hard)
David Johnson – A (Nice FB blocking, plus he caught a TD)
Mike Wallace – A (Makes a play every game)
Hines Ward – A (Still has some left)
Antonio Brown – C (Needs to be more consistent)
Heath Miller – B (Can do it all)
Doug Legursky – B (Is a tough guy)
Max Starks – B+ (Can’t ask for anything more)
Ramon Foster – B- (Gave up a sack)
Maurkice Pouncey – A (Was tremendous)
Marcus Gilbert – C (Needs to stay healthy)

Chris Hoke – A (Best game of his career)
Ziggy Hood – B (More comfortable on left side)
Brett Keisel – A (Was very disruptive)
LaMarr Woodley – A (Seemed interested)
James Farrior – A (Led team in tackles)
Lawrence Timmons – B- (Didn’t seem comfortable)
Larry Foote – C (Nothing spectacular, nothing bad)
Ike Taylor – A (Shutting everybody down)
William Gay – B (May have found his niche)
Keenan Lewis – B (Showing confidence)
Troy Polamalu – A (Amazing)
Ryan Clark – B- (Had better games)

http://blog.triblive.com/steel-mill/201 ... FQ.twitter (http://blog.triblive.com/steel-mill/2011/10/11/after-further-review-8/#.TpS0UpAk8FQ.twitter)

Djfan
10-11-2011, 07:01 PM
Here are your choices. Think of it as the revival of You Are Mike Tomlin:

-- Rashard Mendenhall returns as a starter, or do you stay with Isaac Redman (or, if you prefer, Jonathan Dwyer).
Red and DJ to start, switch Red with Mendy quite a bit.

-- Mewelde Moore returns as a backup or are you dressing Dwyer now.
I could go either way on this.

-- Chris Kemoeatu back at left guard or do you prefer Doug Legursky.
50/50

-- And if you put Kemo back at left guard, do you go with Ramon Foster or Legursky at right guard.
See above

-- Max Starks at left tackle or Jonathan Scott (this one lready is answered but the ruse was they wanted Scott's ankle to fully heal).
Based on Sunday, I pick Starks


-- Aaron Smith back at left defensive end, or do you prefer either Ziggy Hood or Cameron Heyward. This has a Part B to it, because you can offer up any combination of those three.
Ziggy or Heyward. A Smith as back up this year only. Last year was supposed to
be his last year in my world.


-- Casey Hampton back at nose tackle or should we see more of Chris Hoke.
50/50. I haven't seen enough of a bad Casey to pull him
yet, but want to see more Hoke, as the future comes quickly.

-- James Harrison back at outside linebacker in several weeks or Lawrence Timmons.
Both start in usual places, but switch it up situationally to
keep the opponents honest.

DukieBoy
10-11-2011, 07:26 PM
Turn One-Trick-Pony Kemo into a lead-blocking FB for short yardage, since all he does well is go on theaggressive search and destroy run blocking and is a pylon when he has to go defensive to pass block.

And I definitely want to see more of Heyward.

And Hokie.

hawaiiansteel
10-11-2011, 09:13 PM
Tuesday with Tomlin

TUESDAY, OCTOBER 11, 2011
posted by Dale Lolley


The big news out of Tuesday's press conference was that Mike Tomlin only expects James Harrison to miss four weeks after having surgery to repair a broken orbital bone last week.

In fact, Tomlin wouldn't rule out Harrison returning sooner than that, saying if anyone could do so, Harrison would.

In other news, only Harrison and Aaron Smith have been declared out for Sunday's game against Jacksonville.

Mewelde Moore, Jason Worilds, Marcus Gilbert, Casey Hampton and Chris Kemoeatu are questionable.

Maurkice Pouncey, Cortez Allen, Rashard Mendenhall and Ben Roethlisberger are all expected to be available to play.

Interestingly enough, Tomlin didn't automatically declare Kemoeatu or Mendenhall the starters when they return, saying he would wait to see how they look in practice.

In addition, Tomlin said that William Gay and Keenan Lewis will continue to start ahead of Bryant McFadden.

"We're not going to fix it if it's not broken," Tomlin said.

The same goes for Lawrence Timmons at outside linebacker, even if Worilds is ready to go.

http://www.observer-reporter.com/or/sidelines/

flippy
10-11-2011, 09:26 PM
Backups - Kemo, BMac, Hampton, Smitty, Scott

Starters - Max, Hokie, Hood, Lewis, Legursky/Foster


The tough calls are Keisel/Heyward. Heyward looks so natural that he just needs to be on the field. But Keisel is still a stud and needs to be on the field. I wouldn't mind if Keisel turned back into a 3rd down pass rush specialist again. He was really spectacular getting pressure on 3rd down early in his career in this role behind Kimo. I'd hate to take him off the field on 1st and 2nd downs, but Heyward being a star is inevitable imho. And we need help with a pass rush spark on 3rd downs and Keisel could be the best for that role if we kept him rested.

The other toughie is Foote/Farrior over Sly. And if I was Tomlin, I'd give Sly a shot at OLB after seeing Timmons not succeed with his pass rush. And move Timmons back to the middle. Unless Tomlin's grand plan is to give Timmons a couple weeks out there on the outside to see if he can turn him into a stud OLB.

fordfixer
10-11-2011, 09:37 PM
Steeler subs looking "salty" according to Tomlin


By:WILL GRAVES | 10/11/11 11:00 AM
AP Sports Writer.


http://www.sfexaminer.com/sports/nfl/20 ... ing-tomlin (http://www.sfexaminer.com/sports/nfl/2011/10/steeler-subs-looking-salty-according-tomlin)

LaMarr Woodley heard it everywhere he turned after the Pittsburgh Steelers were mauled by Houston nine days ago. On TV. On the radio. In the paper. On the Internet.

The consensus was the same: The defending AFC champions were through.

No James Harrison. No Casey Hampton. No Bryant McFadden (again). No Rashard Mendenhall. They couldn't possibly resurrect their season with a group of nobodies, right?

"People were saying the Pittsburgh Steelers was banged up, and they didn't have any guys to fill the roles," Woodley said. "But we had guys that was ready to come in and play."

And play well.

Buoyed by familiar — and not so familiar — faces in familiar — and not so familiar — places the Steelers rolled by Tennessee 38-17 on Sunday and spent 60 minutes reminding the rest of the AFC why they went to the Super Bowl last year.

The Steelers did it with backup running backs Jonathan Dwyer and Issac Redman gashing Tennessee's defense for 156 yards. They did it with reserve cornerbacks William Gay and Keenan Lewis continuing their solid play in McFadden's absence. They did it with Lawrence Timmons disrupting things at outside linebacker while Harrison watched from the sideline with his right eye patched up after undergoing surgery last week.

They even did it with a left tackle (Max Starks) who hadn't played in nearly a year.

"We had a lot of guys filling in so we just got back to the basics, I think, on both sides of the ball," Woodley said. "And that really helped us out."

Lewis and Gay have played so well while McFadden nurses a lingering hamstring problem that coach Mike Tomlin is in no hurry to get McFadden back on the field.

"When those guys step up and are given an opportunity and play at a high level, than you are not going to fix it if it's not broken," Tomlin said.

Tomlin called McFadden "pretty close to healthy" but has been impressed with the way Lewis and Gay have helped Pittsburgh shore up its pass defense. The Steelers ranked fourth in the league in passing yards allowed (174 yards per game) and are first in the NFL in yards per attempt (5.6).

"We have some guys who have answered the call ... and have showed us that they are capable of playing salty football," Tomlin said. "So those are good issues."

Not all the reserves will keep their jobs on Sunday when the Steelers (3-2) face reeling Jacksonville (1-4).

Mendenhall is expected to return against the Jaguars, though Tomlin stressed Mendenhall's workload won't be determined until he sees how the hamstring responds.

If he has to split carries, it's likely Redman would get the first crack. He ran for 49 yards against the Titans and was a valuable blocker, helping quarterback Ben Roethlisberger throw for five touchdowns.

Tomlin was "pleased but not surprised" by Redman's contributions. Dwyer's play was a little more intriguing. He ran for 107 yards and did some of the little things that Tomlin loves. He had two tackles on special teams and looked comfortable picking up blitzes when staying in to block.

"He is growing in all areas, and that is what is going to be required for him to continue to move forward and retain his helmet as some of those guys who are injured get healthy," Tomlin said.

While the starting backfield should be in place, the offensive line remains in flux. Chris Kemoeatu, who sat out last week with a knee injury, is questionable. If he can't go, then Doug Legursky and Ramon Foster likely will start at guards. Right tackle Marcus Gilbert (shoulder) is iffy with a left shoulder injury, meaning Jonathan Scott would get the nod if the rookie can't go.

Center Maurkice Pouncey is fine after sustaining a contusion on his right knee and Starks will be thrown right back out there. He appeared to not miss a beat against the Titans, getting the start five days after re-signing with his old club. Starks hadn't played in a game in 11 months when his 2010 season was cut short by a neck injury and he was cut before training camp in a salary cap purge.

"It's really amazing what Max did this week, to basically come off his couch, work three days in practice and then start an NFL game, you have to take your cap off to him," Foster said.

It was like that all over the field against the Titans. Timmons looked at home at outside linebacker while filling in for Harrison, who likely will be out a month while recovering from surgery to repair a fractured right orbital bone.

Timmons collected a handful of tackles and had little trouble moving around at the end of the game to let reserve Chris Carter get some playing time.

"We value position flexibility," Tomlin said. "Lawrence has done it before. We expect him to do it, and do it well. It was a good start. He is going to have a few more weeks there, and we expect him to continue to improve."


Read more at the San Francisco Examiner: http://www.sfexaminer.com/sports/nfl/20 ... z1aWkNcrCJ (http://www.sfexaminer.com/sports/nfl/2011/10/steeler-subs-looking-salty-according-tomlin#ixzz1aWkNcrCJ)

hawaiiansteel
10-12-2011, 01:45 AM
Steelers corner McFadden close to returning

By Scott Brown, PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Wednesday, October 12, 2011


Steelers cornerback Bryant McFadden is getting closer to full strength after missing three games because of a balky hamstring. The veteran cornerback will still have some work to do even after he is all the way back from the injury, which has hampered him since early August.

Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said Tuesday that William Gay will remain the starter at cornerback opposite Ike Taylor, while Keenan Lewis will continue to serve as the nickel back. That leaves McFadden, who started the regular-season opener but played sparingly last Sunday, as the odd man out — for now.

"We like what (Gay and Lewis) have done," Tomlin said. "We're not going to fix it if it's not broken. B-Mac has done a nice job of working while waiting for his opportunity to re-insert (himself) back into the rotation, and to me those are all good issues to have."

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsbu ... z1aXFslHNh (http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/steelers/s_761379.html#ixzz1aXFslHNh)

RuthlessBurgher
10-12-2011, 01:59 PM
-- Rashard Mendenhall returns as a starter, or do you stay with Isaac Redman (or, if you prefer, Jonathan Dwyer).

MENDENHALL. He's the more complete RB. Although Redman has earned more playing time. Not an even split or anything...perhaps something like 8-12 touches per game for Redman compared to 20 or so for Mendenhall.

-- Mewelde Moore returns as a backup or are you dressing Dwyer now.

MOORE. The third down back has to be able to block and catch passes out of the backfield. This game gave us no insight into whether Dwyer possesses those skill sets.

-- Chris Kemoeatu back at left guard or do you prefer Doug Legursky.

KEMOEATU. I prefer Legursky as the primary interior backup at C/G, and occasional Bronko FB in short yardage packages.

-- And if you put Kemo back at left guard, do you go with Ramon Foster or Legursky at right guard.

FOSTER. More beef than Legursky. Not quite sure why he lost the RG job in the first place (doesn't seem like anyone else has performed well enough there to deserve to take it from him).

-- Max Starks at left tackle or Jonathan Scott (this one lready is answered but the ruse was they wanted Scott's ankle to fully heal).

STARKS. Jon Scott is a solid swing tackle backup. He is miscast as a guy you can rely on as an every week starter, particular if he's the guy responsible for protecting Ben's blind side.

-- Aaron Smith back at left defensive end, or do you prefer either Ziggy Hood or Cameron Heyward. This has a Part B to it, because you can offer up any combination of those three.

HOOD. I'd like to see Keisel and Ziggy get two thirds of the snaps at DE, with Heyward and Smitty replacing them for the remaining third.

-- Casey Hampton back at nose tackle or should we see more of Chris Hoke.

HAMPTON. Similarly, I'd use Casey two thirds of the time, with Hoke the other third. Hood-Hampton-Keisel as a starting DL and Smith-Hoke-Heyward as a backup DL is pretty strong overall (and that's not even including McLendon, who may have a future with this team in a Hoke-like role).

-- James Harrison back at outside linebacker in several weeks or Lawrence Timmons.

HARRISON. This isn't even a question. In fact, I would consider moving Timmons back to ILB next to Farrior when Worilds is ready (Foote did essentially nothing against Tennessee).

feltdizz
10-12-2011, 03:14 PM
Honestly... besides James Harrison I don't think we need to change anything.

hawaiiansteel
10-14-2011, 03:11 AM
Mendenhall, Kemoeatu not guaranteed starting spots

By F. Dale Lolley, Staff writer dlolley@observer-reporter.com
10/12/2011


PITTSBURGH - There used to be an adage in sports that you don't lose your starting job because of an injury.

But Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin believes in rewarding players for what they've done lately, not what they've done in the past.

That's why Tomlin stopped short of handing starting jobs back to running back Rashard Mendenhall and left guard Chris Kemoeatu Tuesday, though both players are expected to return to practice this week as the Steelers (3-2) prepare to host the Jacksonville Jaguars (1-4) Sunday at Heinz Field.

Part of the reason for Tomlin's reluctance to make any declarations is because the replacements for those players performed so well last Sunday in Pittsburgh's 38-17 win over Tennessee.

Starting at left guard in place of Kemoeatu, Doug Legursky had a solid day blocking, helping open holes for running backs Isaac Redman and Jonathan Dwyer, who were subbing for Mendenhall. The Steelers gained a season-high 174 yards rushing.

"We're going to let the week determine that," said Tomlin when asked if Mendenhall or Kemoeatu would return to the starting lineup.

Tomlin has already shown he's not afraid to bench a starter if the backup is performing well. Cornerback Bryant McFadden hasn't played since the opening week of the season after suffering a hamstring injury. McFadden practiced the last three weeks and was active Sunday. Tomlin, however, is sticking with a rotation of Ike Taylor, William Gay and Keenan Lewis as the top three cornerbacks.

"We have liked what the other guys have done in the interim, talking about William Gay and Keenan Lewis," said Tomlin. "Such is life in the NFL. When those guys step up and are given an opportunity and play at a high level, then you're not going to fix (what's) not broken."

One player Tomlin is saving a starting spot for is linebacker James Harrison.

Harrison had surgery on a fractured orbital bone last week, and Tomlin said the linebacker is expected to return in four weeks.

"But every man's different, particularly guys who are wired like James," said Tomlin. "We'll leave a seat on the bus for him, if you know what I mean."

The Steelers inserted Larry Foote at inside linebacker, sliding Lawrence Timmons to the outside, and Tomlin was pleased with the results as Tennessee's Chris Johnson was limited to 51 yards on 14 carries.

"I thought he did some nice things, particularly against the run," Tomlin said of Timmons. "He did a few more things than we even anticipated. He moved around late in the game, allowing (rookie) Chris Carter to do the simplest assignment when he was rotating.

"Lawrence has done it before. We expect him to do it, and do it well. It was a good start. He is going to have a few more weeks there, and we expect him to continue to improve."

Odds and end zones

Tomlin said that only Harrison and defensive lineman Aaron Smith (foot) will not play Sunday. ... Nose tackle Casey Hampton (shoulder), running back Mewelde Moore (ankle), linebacker Jason Worilds (quad), cornerback Cortez Allen (ankle) and right tackle Marcus Gilbert (shoulder) are listed as questionable.

http://www.observer-reporter.com/or/spo ... guaranteed (http://www.observer-reporter.com/or/sports11/10-12-2011-Steelers-starters-not-guaranteed)