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Oviedo
01-18-2012, 08:59 AM
Change is coming boys and girls! Since we are significantly over the salary cap, there are some very difficult decision that have to be made in the off season and as I have mentioned before we will see a "Generational Change" take place. The core player that took us to three Supper Bowls while winning two are going to have to be phased out: Aaron Smith=Gone, James farrior=Gone, Casey Hampton=Gone, Hines Ward=Gone, Foote=Gone, Bmac=Gone, etc.

This is likely to change the balance of power in the AFC North in the short term and the key question is: Do we bite the bullet and make a big change in one year or to we hang on to players with diminishing skills? Do we hope we get a little more out of them or do we cut them all and start fresh potentially taking one step back with the hope we can take two steps forward.

IMO I think we need to just accept it and make the big cuts and get right salary cap wise and thrust some of these young players into the line up to see what we have. The Ravens sort of did that last year and got into the AFC Championship game. maybe it is a case of the old adage: "Bad news doesn't get better with age."

Your thoughts: Radical surgery or minor pin pricks? Which gets us back on top soonest?

Just as importnat as to whether the organization can manage this transition, will the fans be able to handle it if we struggle???????

Slapstick
01-18-2012, 09:14 AM
Why would the Steelers struggle?

Most of the players you listed were only marginal contributors on the field by the end of the year...

The Steelers biggest loss would be in the intangibles (ie. veteran leadership), but I'm sure someone else will step up to fill that void...

The Steelers will make the necessary cuts to get under the cap, but they won't blow up a 12-4 team...

feltdizz
01-18-2012, 09:57 AM
Why would the Steelers struggle?

Most of the players you listed were only marginal contributors on the field by the end of the year...

The Steelers biggest loss would be in the intangibles (ie. veteran leadership), but I'm sure someone else will step up to fill that void...

The Steelers will make the necessary cuts to get under the cap, but they won't blow up a 12-4 team...

:Agree

our unit's improved when the old heads went down IMO.

Mister Pittsburgh
01-18-2012, 10:19 AM
Why would the Steelers struggle?

Most of the players you listed were only marginal contributors on the field by the end of the year...

The Steelers biggest loss would be in the intangibles (ie. veteran leadership), but I'm sure someone else will step up to fill that void...

The Steelers will make the necessary cuts to get under the cap, but they won't blow up a 12-4 team...

:Agree

our unit's improved when the old heads went down IMO.

Which units are you referring to? Just curious.

feltdizz
01-18-2012, 10:37 AM
Why would the Steelers struggle?

Most of the players you listed were only marginal contributors on the field by the end of the year...

The Steelers biggest loss would be in the intangibles (ie. veteran leadership), but I'm sure someone else will step up to fill that void...

The Steelers will make the necessary cuts to get under the cap, but they won't blow up a 12-4 team...

:Agree

our unit's improved when the old heads went down IMO.

Which units are you referring to? Just curious.

DL(Smith, Hoke, etc) I think the DL was solid in the playoff game given the lack of depth

WR (Hines being replaced)

DB's(McFadden) whether people want to admit it or not Gay is an improvement over McFadden and Keenan Lewis filled in nicely too.

ST's.. OUr kick coverage, punt coverage and kick return all improved IMO.

phillyesq
01-18-2012, 10:56 AM
IMO I think we need to just accept it and make the big cuts and get right salary cap wise and thrust some of these young players into the line up to see what we have. The Ravens sort of did that last year and got into the AFC Championship game. maybe it is a case of the old adage: "Bad news doesn't get better with age."

Your thoughts: Radical surgery or minor pin pricks? Which gets us back on top soonest?

Just as importnat as to whether the organization can manage this transition, will the fans be able to handle it if we struggle???????

I think you did a good job of pointing out a major decision for the Steelers - do they drop all of the veterans this year, or split the process over a few years?

I think the Steelers should reload rather than completely retool. In other words, although I acknowledge that the Steelers are going to make a lot of changes, I think they should retain at least some of the veterans.

At a business function, I had dinner with a former offensive tackle the other night. I'm not going to identify the players or the teams, but he spent a good chunk of time in the NFL and played with some HOFers. He told a story of how his team brought in a veteran QB from another team. At the first meeting discussing the new offense, the first play put in was a simple run that could go either left or right, one that the QB had executed hundres of times in games. The new QB listened attentively and took many pages of notes, which shocked the OT and the rest of the lockerroom. The level of preparation and dedication shown by the QB had an impact on the entire team.

Why do I share this story? I think that much of the Steelers success derives from the fact that they have maintained continuity and a core of veteran leaders over the years. Change is coming, and it is inevitable, but there is also a benefit to the team to having guys who know how to prepare to win a championship.

We'd all like to see a young ILB. Wouldn't it be nice if that player had a year of learning with Farrior and Foote? If a new safety had a year or two of learning with Clark? On offense, I think a veteran in the WR room with the young guys would be great.

There will certainly be changes. For the first time in over a decade, Aaron Smith and Chris Hoke will almost certainly not be at camp. Hampton is a question mark. Cutting some guys (McFadden, Allen, probably Battle) is almost a foregone conclusion.

I'd like to see the Steelers keep a few of the veterans around. If he comes at a reduced price, I'd like Hampton back. Same with Ward and one of Farrior or Foote, again at a reduced price.

Change needs to come, and I'm going to miss a lot of guys who were integral to a few championships. But I think a few veteran leaders, especially veterans making one last push for a ring, could be a huge asset to the team, even if they shift from a starting role to a reserve or time share role.

feltdizz
01-18-2012, 11:05 AM
The problem though is just about every year we can make a push for another ring and that tends to keep vets around who can't get it done.

We have a few guys who are finished... and by that I mean if we don't keep them there is a 99% chance they retire.

Look at Baltimore last year... we said they were finished when they got rid of some key vets and they improved.

As long as we keep the staff in place and the FO in place we will be fine. We can't live in fear of losing leadership from guys who can't get it done on the field.

That being said I think Hampton returns at a reduced rate and Hines may stick around but I wouldn't count on it.

phillyesq
01-18-2012, 03:39 PM
The problem though is just about every year we can make a push for another ring and that tends to keep vets around who can't get it done.

We have a few guys who are finished... and by that I mean if we don't keep them there is a 99% chance they retire.

Look at Baltimore last year... we said they were finished when they got rid of some key vets and they improved.

As long as we keep the staff in place and the FO in place we will be fine. We can't live in fear of losing leadership from guys who can't get it done on the field.

That being said I think Hampton returns at a reduced rate and Hines may stick around but I wouldn't count on it.

I wasn't suggeting that the Steelers should keep the whole group. I suggested Hampton, one of Foote/Farrior and Ward, all at reduced rates. Foote and Farrior can still be effective -- I'd like to see a young hitter worked in with them, and like I said, I'd like to see the vets I suggested transititioned to a Bettis role.

Oviedo
01-18-2012, 04:11 PM
The problem though is just about every year we can make a push for another ring and that tends to keep vets around who can't get it done.

We have a few guys who are finished... and by that I mean if we don't keep them there is a 99% chance they retire.

Look at Baltimore last year... we said they were finished when they got rid of some key vets and they improved.

As long as we keep the staff in place and the FO in place we will be fine. We can't live in fear of losing leadership from guys who can't get it done on the field.

That being said I think Hampton returns at a reduced rate and Hines may stick around but I wouldn't count on it.

I wasn't suggeting that the Steelers should keep the whole group. I suggested Hampton, one of Foote/Farrior and Ward, all at reduced rates. Foote and Farrior can still be effective -- I'd like to see a young hitter worked in with them, and like I said, I'd like to see the vets I suggested transititioned to a Bettis role.

I think Hines does have value because the WRs are so young they essentially need "adult supervision" especially with Mike Wallace dealing with a pending contract for the first time in his career. Hines could keep his head on straight and maybe deflate Antonio Brown's if he comes back with a big ego.

Hampton I think they can let go. He is essentially a two down player anyway. I thin if we draft a young NT early and with McLendon we can hold down the middle.

Farrior and Foote I think need to go too. IMO both have lost enough that they are liabilities in a league where our opponents are passing more and more.

I understand the leadership argument, but young leaders aren't going to step up as long as these veterans are there. Time to see if the puppies can hunt too!!!!!!

hawaiiansteel
01-18-2012, 04:42 PM
Rooney: Steelers don’t want to “tear things apart”

Posted by Gregg Rosenthal on January 17, 2012

Steelers club president Art Rooney recognizes this will be a challenging offseason.

The team has salary cap issues and a number of veterans that cost more than they are worth. Their aging defense needs to be re-tooled.

Rooney told Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh-Post Gazette the Steelers will not “tear things apart” and start over from scratch.

“Obviously, we have some decisions to make with certain players and their contracts,” Rooney said.

Let’s run through a few of them.

Hines Ward: Rooney has already spoken with Ward about his future. Ward will likely have to take a pay cut just for a chance to stay.

Chris Hoke and Aaron Smith, defensive linemen: Local reports indicate Hoke will retire. Smith also seems likely to retire if the Steelers don’t bring him back. Both players are free agents. Smith has meant so much to the team, the Steelers could offer him a low-cost one-year deal to see how he looks in camp.

Casey Hampton, nose tackle: He’s due almost $5 million and is coming off an ACL injury at age 35. Hampton is a candidate to get released if he won’t take a pay cut.

Ryan Clark, safety: The 32-year-old is still playing at a high level and relatively affordable at $3 million. We’d expect him to be back.

James Farrior, linebacker: Farrior is due a reasonable sum of $2.825 million. Still, Farrior is 37 years old. If the Steelers want to get younger and faster, moving on from Farrior wouldn’t be a surprise.

Larry Foote, linebacker: He’s due $3 million, which may be too much for the role he plays on the team. Perhaps the Steelers could keep Farrior and dump Foote.

Brett Keisel, defensive end: He played far too well in 2011 to consider cutting him at a salary under $3 million, even if he’s coming off a serious groin injury. His beard also provides far-reaching intangible benefits.

Chris Kemoeatu and Johnathan Scott, offensive line: Here are some relatively easy cuts. We’d be shocked if the Steelers kept Kemoeatu at $2.4 million or Scott at $2.2 million.

Bryant McFadden, cornerback: He’s no longer a starter, so he’s probably no longer worth keeping at $2.5 million.

We don’t think the Steelers will consider cutting a bigger name like James Harrison. The rest of their salary numbers are manageable.

Pittsburgh needs to trim the fat, though, so they can start to re-sign players like Mike Wallace. Rooney called Wallace’s next contract a priority.

http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/20 ... ngs-apart/ (http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2012/01/17/rooney-steelers-dont-want-to-tear-things-apart/)

RuthlessBurgher
01-18-2012, 07:40 PM
Chris Hoke and Aaron Smith, defensive linemen: Local reports indicate Hoke will retire. Smith also seems likely to retire if the Steelers don’t bring him back. Both players are free agents. Smith has meant so much to the team, the Steelers could offer him a low-cost one-year deal to see how he looks in camp.

I don't think Aaron Smith is a free agent. His contract was originally due to expire at the end of the 2011 season, but a year ago, in order to make his cap number more manageable, I believe they extended his contract by another year in order to restructure.

phillyesq
01-18-2012, 07:56 PM
Chris Hoke and Aaron Smith, defensive linemen: Local reports indicate Hoke will retire. Smith also seems likely to retire if the Steelers don’t bring him back. Both players are free agents. Smith has meant so much to the team, the Steelers could offer him a low-cost one-year deal to see how he looks in camp.

I don't think Aaron Smith is a free agent. His contract was originally due to expire at the end of the 2011 season, but a year ago, in order to make his cap number more manageable, I believe they extended his contract by another year in order to restructure.

As usual, Ruthless, you are correct.

Chadman
01-19-2012, 12:15 AM
The standard is the standard!

pittpete
01-19-2012, 11:29 AM
Farrior and Foote I think need to go too. IMO both have lost enough that they are liabilities in a league where our opponents are passing more and more.

While I agree with the passing statement who are we left with?
Timmons, Sly and Ivy?
IMO Farrior is and should be done.His heart is there but his legs are gone.
Foote could restrucure and stay as a backup and spot starter.

Oviedo
01-19-2012, 11:40 AM
Farrior and Foote I think need to go too. IMO both have lost enough that they are liabilities in a league where our opponents are passing more and more.

While I agree with the passing statement who are we left with?
Timmons, Sly and Ivy?
IMO Farrior is and should be done.His heart is there but his legs are gone.
Foote could restrucure and stay as a backup and spot starter.

Unless we get a veteran FA, Sly is the guy. No way a rookie, even if drafted in the 1st Round, gets into the starting line up as long as LeBeau is running the show.

It just gets back to we have to see what these young guys have. Sly may be the real deal but we won't know playing him less than 20 downs a season and having him run down on special teams.

Steelgal
01-19-2012, 11:47 AM
Farrior and Foote I think need to go too. IMO both have lost enough that they are liabilities in a league where our opponents are passing more and more.

While I agree with the passing statement who are we left with?
Timmons, Sly and Ivy?
IMO Farrior is and should be done.His heart is there but his legs are gone.
Foote could restrucure and stay as a backup and spot starter.

I think if Farrior split playing time he would be far more effective. while he's still in excellent shape for his age, he's play has diminished over the past few seasons. For the amount of money he's getting paid, which I don't think is a lot, he would do very well to play 1/2 the snaps and give the defensive calls to someone else.

hawaiiansteel
01-19-2012, 07:52 PM
Changes lie ahead for Steelers

By F. Dale Lolley, Staff writer dlolley@observer-reporter.com
Jan. 17, 2012


PITTSBURGH - Too old and too slow became the Steelers' rallying cry in the 2011 season.

In the end, however, parts of NFL Network analyst Warren Sapp's early-season description of the Steelers rang true.

The Steelers weren't done, as Sapp wrongly offered following a 35-7 loss at Baltimore in the regular season opener. After all, they went 12-4 and led the NFL in total defense and points allowed.

But age certainly played a factor in the Steelers' demise as injuries derailed a once-promising season after they recovered from that beating in Baltimore.

The Steelers lost nine players to season-ending injuries during the regular season and would have been without three more last Saturday in New England - defensive linemen Brett Keisel and Casey Hampton and left tackle Max Starks - had they beaten Denver in the opening round of the playoffs instead of losing.

Four players placed on injured reserve - defensive end Aaron Smith, right tackle Willie Colon, running back Rashard Mendenhall and punter Daniel Sepulveda - were starters, testing the depth greatly.

"We don't live in that world," head coach Mike Tomlin said when asked if the injuries helped finish the Steelers off.

"We don't make excuses in regard to injuries."

Tomlin might not want to make excuses, but there is little doubt the Steelers were affected by injuries.

And that's where the age issue comes in.

Pittsburgh starters missed 60 games because of injuries during the regular season. Older players tend to get hurt more often and take longer to recover.

Getting younger, particularly on defense, will continue to be a priority in the offseason. The team must figure out a way to get stronger up the middle, on offense and defense.

The Steelers are more than $20 million over the projected 2012 salary cap and need to trim some salaries moving forward.

For the offense, getting younger won't be an issue. Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who will turn 30 this offseason, was often the oldest player on the field as the Steelers phased out wide receiver Hines Ward.

In fact, by season's end, the Steelers were starting the youngest offense in the AFC.

In his 14th season, Ward surpassed 12,000 career yards and 1,000 career receptions, but was seldom a factor in the second half.

Ward would like to return for a 15th season, but with a salary cap figure of $4.6 million in 2012, he'll have to take a pay cut to do so.

Neither the Steelers nor Ward want to see the

franchises' all-time leading receiver finish his career in another uniform.

Ward also doesn't want his Pittsburgh career to end with the overtime loss at Denver.

"To end it like that in overtime, to go 12-4 and have it come down to an overtime loss the way it did is sad," Ward said. "This will stick with us as one of the worst games we ever lost. I thought last year losing the Super Bowl (was tough), but this is fresh in our minds."

The Steelers must also figure out why an offense that had a Pro Bowl quarterback and two Pro Bowl receivers in Mike Wallace and Antonio Brown often struggled so greatly to score touchdowns.

Roethlisberger readily admitted throughout the season that an offense he felt had the potential to be the best since he joined the team in 2004 never reached its potential.

"It's always disappointing (when) offensively you feel like you can do so much more and you don't do it," Roethlisberger said.

But Wallace and Brown rarely made big impacts at the same time. Wallace did most of his damage in the first half of the season as Brown dominated the second half.

"We feel like we have great potential to be a really good offense," Roethlisberger said. "We can be great, we just have to put the work in during the offseason. A lot of that's going to fall on me. We're young. We have to try to stay healthy and see what happens."

Defensively, a number of old standards might have played their final game in Pittsburgh.

Hampton suffered a partially torn ACL in the loss to Denver. Given his previous issues controlling his weight, the 34-year-old nose tackle could balloon if he is unable to work out because of the injury.

Hampton counts just over $8 million against the 2012 salary cap and the team could realize savings of nearly $6 million by releasing him. He is also a candidate to restructure his deal.

Defensive end Aaron Smith missed 12 games, ending yet another season on injured reserve. At 35, he's likely to announce his retirement, saving the team $2.1 million in cap space. Reserve nose tackle Chris Hoke is also expected to retire, though he is scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent.

And inside linebacker James Farrior, the defensive captain, split time with Larry Foote in 2011. Farrior, 37, counts $3.825 million against the 2012 cap and will like need to take a pay cut to return.

Others who could find themselves on the chopping block include guard Chris Kemoeatu ($2.4 million in savings), offensive tackle Jonathan Scott ($2.2 million) and cornerback Bryant McFadden ($2.5 million).

The Steelers need to save as much money as possible because a number of key players are heading into restricted free agency. Offers must be tendered or they lose the first right of refusal and forfeit any compensation if they sign elsewhere.

Wallace, offensive linemen Ramon Foster and Doug Legursky, cornerback Keenan Lewis and safety Ryan Mundy fall into this group. The Steelers would like to have all five back.

To receive compensation equal in that of the round in which the player was selected, the cost is $1.26 million. To receive a second-round pick as compensation, the tender is $1.92 million, while a first-round tender is $2.74 million.

Wallace and Lewis were third-round picks, while Mundy was a sixth-round selection. Foster and Legursky, the team's preferred starting guards, were undrafted.

The team's unrestricted free agents include quarterbacks Charlie Batch, Byron Leftwich and Dennis Dixon, wide receiver Jerricho Cotchery, offensive linemen Trai Essex and Starks, Sepulveda, cornerback William Gay and running back Mewelde Moore.

The Steelers would like Cotchery to return and would be open to bringing back Gay, Starks, Batch or Leftwich, but likely won't have the money to get into bidding wars for their services.

"There will be some changes," said Tomlin. "We will see where this all takes us."

http://www.observer-reporter.com/or/spo ... eason-wrap (http://www.observer-reporter.com/or/sports11/01-15-2012-Steelers-season-wrap)