PDA

View Full Version : Ed: Steelers Swung, Missed on OLBs in First Round



Jooser
01-23-2013, 11:59 AM
From PPG:

Ed: Steelers Swung, Missed on OLBs in First Round


WEDNESDAY, 23 JANUARY 2013 09:09
WRITTEN BY ED BOUCHETTEhttp://plus.sites.post-gazette.com/templates/pg_twn/images/emailButton.png (http://plus.sites.post-gazette.com/index.php/component/mailto/?tmpl=component&link=9da7cef5fd2adde5403ac172bbba6ccdbd8ca8bc)


Good morning,

I’ve never heard of a coach switching game plans on a Friday after working all week to practice the game plan put in on Tuesday night, but now comes word from Tim Brown that Bill Callahan did just that before the Super Bowl 10 years ago in San Diego.

Brown said – and Jerry Rice seconded – that the Raiders decided the best way to beat Tampa Bay in Super Bowl XXXVII was to run on them, and they developed a game plan to do so. Then Friday, Callahan changed it and said they would switch to a game plan that would be pass-heavy, according to Brown.

Brown used the word “sabotage” and did everything but say Callahan threw the game.
There have been several reasons given for why Callahan might have changed the gameplan on the final day of practice before the Super Bowl, one being incompetent. But here’s one I haven’t seen: Perhaps the meddling owner, Al Davis, saw enough of that game plan in practices all week (there was not an extra week between the championships and the Super Bowl that year) and ordered Callahan to change it. Davis was famous for giving edicts to his coaches, who were often mere puppets on his string. Davis also loved the deep pass. It would be no stretch at all to think that Al Davis ordered Callahan to change his gameplan that Friday.

--- Onto some stuff:

--- Ray Lewis has been a wonderful football player for a very long time, but his theatrics and his praising God for having a plan that presumably was for the Ravens to win have been too much over the top this month. His final act has worn thin.

--- Only because I’ve been asked so often, I throw out an early possible draft pick for the Steelers three months from now: Linebacker Corey Lemonier, Auburn.

--- There is interest in Mike Wallace in Miami and they have reasons to dispel several myths about him:
http://miamiherald.typepad.com/dolphins_in_depth/2013/01/truth-about-a-couple-of-mike-wallace-myths.html (http://miamiherald.typepad.com/dolphins_in_depth/2013/01/truth-about-a-couple-of-mike-wallace-myths.html)

--- YOU: Know it’s early yet, but say the Ravens do go and win the SB. Do you think it likely the first game of the 2013 regular season would be Steelers at Ravens??
ME Maybe they would schedule that game against the other team in the division that made the playoffs, the Cincinnati Bengals!

--- YOU: Are any of our current CBs capable or shown the ability in the past of playing either of the safety positions, in the event of an emergency or even as a planned transition??
ME: Cortez Allen has the size at 6-1 and almost 200 pounds, but he’s too good at cornerback right now. Same with Keenan Lewis and Ike Taylor. Curtis Brown isn’t big enough. No, I don’t see any of them as possible safeties.

--- YOU: I read where Tom Shaw invited Woodley to train with him. Any word as to whether Woodley accepted?
ME: I haven’t heard, but I don’t think that means much that Shaw invited him.

--- YOU: I am angry that the Sporting News listed Plaxico Burress as one of the "25 Most Disgraced Athletes" As I see it, it happened in New York when his gun discharged in his leg harming him and nobody else. If this happened in Kentucky or even here in PA the focus would have been on his injury and not a crime. I think Bam Morris and Tim Worley would be more qualified for that list and maybe even other Steelers. I think Ryan Leaf should have been there.. Would love your thoughts on this.
ME: First of all, you should read those things for entertainment purposes only and not get all worked up about them. Same for the greatest 100 players or plays or miscues or moments of all time. It’s someone’s opinion. If you want to come up with your own, that would be as good a list as any. Burress went to jail for nearly two years for violating a law in New York City. He wasn’t in Kentucky. How would you have felt about him had that bullet struck someone else in the heart in that club instead of his leg?

--- YOU: I know you're not a fan of draft talk this early in the year, and neither am I -
This is not a player specific question - It's more of a position specific question.
Let's say Harrison refuses to take a paycut and is cut, and they lose Wallace to free agency -
Sitting at 17, they have a choice between a stud OLB and a stud WR (say they have them rated 1a and 1b on their board). Who do they take? I guess I should just have asked "which position is more important to the Steelers - OLB or WR"? And could they draft a DE and convert him to DE a la Woodley?
ME: They’ve been drafting defensive ends and converting them to outside linebackers for 30 years. It’s almost the only way to get a 3-4 outside linebacker. I would say the stud OLB would be far more preferable to the stud WR at No. 17. Here comes the interesting part: The Steelers have not drafted someone on the first round to play outside linebacker in the past 21 years. The last time they did so, it was a disaster picking defensive end Huey Richardson of Florida No. 1 in 1991. Since that time, they have drafted four wide receivers on the first round and two tight ends. They also failed miserably drafting another defensive end to play outside linebacker when they took Aaron Jones of Eastern Kentucky No. 1 in 1988. The only outside linebacker the Steelers drafted on the first round who had any success since Chuck Noll took over as coach in 1969 until now was Robin Cole in 1977.

SidSmythe
01-23-2013, 12:37 PM
wasn't Robin Cole a 4-3 outside LB??

supersteeler
01-23-2013, 01:02 PM
I have a suspicion that the Steelers might draft a safety in round one, and try to get other positions filled that they need after that round.
The age of both Troy &Ryan have a lot to do with it. Whoever the safety is he won't start and be limited to special teams, but he could get playing time if an injury occurs.

My preference is LG OR NT, but my name isn't Colbert. I just figure if you get better at the LOS first, the team will get better as a whole.
I would like to see them dominate in one area, for me, Warmack,Pouncey& DeCastro would dominate the interior of our O-line and I bet our run game improves Immensely.

steelz09
01-23-2013, 01:17 PM
I have a suspicion that the Steelers might draft a safety in round one, and try to get other positions filled that they need after that round.
The age of both Troy &Ryan have a lot to do with it. Whoever the safety is he won't start and be limited to special teams, but he could get playing time if an injury occurs.

My preference is LG OR NT, but my name isn't Colbert. I just figure if you get better at the LOS first, the team will get better as a whole.
I would like to see them dominate in one area, for me, Warmack,Pouncey& DeCastro would dominate the interior of our O-line and I bet our run game improves Immensely.

This team needs a lot but I see ILB and S as the top 2 needs. Even though a round 1 safety may not start, he will see A LOT of playing time in nickle and dime situations. It's also likely that Clark and/or Polamalu will be hurt at some point next season.... it's just reality.

NW Steeler
01-23-2013, 01:25 PM
I agree with you Super in that we need to be strong on the lines, but I just cant see them spending another #1 on the OL this year. I guess if someone like Warmack falls like DeCastro did last year, then they almost have to consider it. But they have invested 2 #1's and 2 #2's in the line just recently. They have to start building for the future on D and we obviously have needs at WR and TE too. I think this is the year that they will truly take the BPA almost regardless of position.

supersteeler
01-23-2013, 01:41 PM
I agree with you Super in that we need to be strong on the lines, but I just cant see them spending another #1 on the OL this year. I guess if someone like Warmack falls like DeCastro did last year, then they almost have to consider it. But they have invested 2 #1's and 2 #2's in the line just recently. They have to start building for the future on D and we obviously have needs at WR and TE too. I think this is the year that they will truly take the BPA almost regardless of position.

Its all likelyhood that will be the case. I also agree with steelz09 that safety is a need position, Its just that I prefer to dominate parts of our team little by little until the entire team is dominate.


ON 3.........Dominate!

Oviedo
01-23-2013, 03:27 PM
Maybe they haven't been successful because the required 2 year conversion process is too high risk? Not surprising that Cole was a success. Wasn't he a 4-3 OLB drafted to play 4-3 OLB. What a radical idea that was!

phillyesq
01-23-2013, 03:32 PM
Maybe they haven't been successful because the required 2 year conversion process is too high risk? Not surprising that Cole was a success. Wasn't he a 4-3 OLB drafted to play 4-3 OLB. What a radical idea that was!

Tom Ricketts and Jamain Stephens were also busts (though Tom is reputed to be a heck of a church softball player according to a friend of mine). Perhaps we should avoid offensive lineman in the first round as well.

lloydroid
01-23-2013, 03:57 PM
Tom Ricketts and Jamain Stephens were also busts (though Tom is reputed to be a heck of a church softball player according to a friend of mine). Perhaps we should avoid offensive lineman in the first round as well.

Faneca was surely a hit. Pouncy seems like he is. We will see on DeCastro but I think he is going to work out. You can't FAIL much worse than Jermain Stephens. We need to kind of find out if Gilbert has some kind of birth defect on both feet in order to realize how high to prioritize more OL drafting. They are also insane if they don't bring back Starks. Starks is our MOST consistent player on the OL, and this just in: The OL stinks WITH him. How bad will it be without him? Very bad.

NW Steeler
01-23-2013, 05:20 PM
I think most of us would agree that not bringing back Starks is insane.

phillyesq
01-24-2013, 08:40 PM
I think most of us would agree that not bringing back Starks is insane.

Seemingly all of us but the FO.

AkronSteel
01-25-2013, 02:55 AM
I don't think Starks will be back because I believe he will get a nice offer somewhere else that the Steelers won't match. This is a huge offseason for Gilbert and Adams and I would expect to see both improved come July. We have to remember these kids are still pretty young and developing. Tomlin always says the biggest offseason for players is the one between year 1 and 2. For Gilbert it's pretty much offseason two because of the lockout. I expect our starting OL to be.

LT: Adams/Gilbert
LG: Colon
C: Pouncey
RG: DeCastro
RT: Adams/Gilbert

NorthCoast
01-26-2013, 12:08 PM
Maybe they haven't been successful because the required 2 year conversion process is too high risk? Not surprising that Cole was a success. Wasn't he a 4-3 OLB drafted to play 4-3 OLB. What a radical idea that was!


According to one NFL scout this week, in any given draft there are perhaps only 1 or 2 "can't miss" 3-4 OLBs. It's already been announced that a number of teams are switching to the 3-4 next season. The scout said that there simply isn't enough 3-4 OLB talent emerging from the college ranks. Thus teams using a 3-4 are forced to take DEs and move them. He went on to say that this process of moving from DE to OLB "automatically makes the pick a risk" and can longer be considered a 'can't miss'. The best chance a team has to minimize the risk in switching is a period of learning. He went on to say that picking a conversion project only makes sense for later rounds, not the first or second.
Given where the Steelers have had to draft, it should not be surprising they have 'missed' on some of these picks.

Oviedo
01-26-2013, 02:07 PM
According to one NFL scout this week, in any given draft there are perhaps only 1 or 2 "can't miss" 3-4 OLBs. It's already been announced that a number of teams are switching to the 3-4 next season. The scout said that there simply isn't enough 3-4 OLB talent emerging from the college ranks. Thus teams using a 3-4 are forced to take DEs and move them. He went on to say that this process of moving from DE to OLB "automatically makes the pick a risk" and can longer be considered a 'can't miss'. The best chance a team has to minimize the risk in switching is a period of learning. He went on to say that picking a conversion project only makes sense for later rounds, not the first or second.
Given where the Steelers have had to draft, it should not be surprising they have 'missed' on some of these picks.

You capture the essence of why I have been arguing that we need to consider movingback to the 4-3. The talent pool we almost exclusively fished in ten years ago is too crowded with too many teams looking for the same types of players. There is no longer a margin of error with these "conversion projects." because we can't get as many as we use too. We can be far more successful getting players to come in and play the positions they have always played and more importnatly that they have been scouted playing than hoping a reeducation and retraining program has worked in a couple of years.

Slapstick
01-26-2013, 02:33 PM
You capture the essence of why I have been arguing that we need to consider movingback to the 4-3. The talent pool we almost exclusively fished in ten years ago is too crowded with too many teams looking for the same types of players. There is no longer a margin of error with these "conversion projects." because we can't get as many as we use too. We can be far more successful getting players to come in and play the positions they have always played and more importnatly that they have been scouted playing than hoping a reeducation and retraining program has worked in a couple of years.

The funny thing is, there are people who watch the NFL who seem to think that there are more 3-4 type players available in the draft than there are 4-3 type players...mostly due to the proliferation of spead and read-option offenses in the college ranks...

The fact is that the best defenses in the NFL use the scheme that best fit the players...while the 49ers and the Ravens use 3-4 variations, the Seahawks and the Bears used 4-3 variations...

While you may disagree with LeBeau's philosophy, I trust that he will use the scheme that best fits the player on his roster, whether that is the 3-4 or the 4-3...

Running a 4-3 wouldn't have made James Harrison, Troy Polamalu or LaMarr Woodley any healthier this past season...schemes can help prevent scoring and keep yardage totals low, but playmakers need to be healthy to make splash plays, regardless of scheme...

BURGH86STEEL
01-26-2013, 08:13 PM
You capture the essence of why I have been arguing that we need to consider movingback to the 4-3. The talent pool we almost exclusively fished in ten years ago is too crowded with too many teams looking for the same types of players. There is no longer a margin of error with these "conversion projects." because we can't get as many as we use too. We can be far more successful getting players to come in and play the positions they have always played and more importnatly that they have been scouted playing than hoping a reeducation and retraining program has worked in a couple of years.
Probably half the teams in the league run the 4-3 and half run the 3-4. It might be more difficult to find pass rushers for the 4-3 then it is to find pass rushers that fit the 3-4 defense. Regardless of the scheme, they will faces the same issues getting premium pass rushers for whatever defense they decide to employ. Teams that run the 3-4 have more flexibility defending the pass and getting to the QB over teams that run the 4-3. Unless the Steelers can get their hands on a couple of dominant edge pass rushers I don't see them converting to the 4-3 defense.

supersteeler
01-26-2013, 08:57 PM
Just a possibility we all are jumping to conclusions on Starks, that if he leaves we're in trouble. We don't know how Gilbert will play or Adams when they compete for that LT spot.
Did any of us see those two play there yet for several games? Yeah, they may not be that good early on but with playing time I would like to think they will get better and who knows, we may end up not regretting Starks leaving.
It would be nice to keep Max but they are going to another direction with the young guys thats why they were drafted, Starks knows his days are numbered he even said it.



The key for that line is staying healthy, then you get some continuity and most likely better O-line play. We have Beachum in the mix too and they still might sign Legs. Legursky can backup both Beachum if he gets the LG spot and Pouncey so he has some value and I thought he plays center decent.

These young guys are trying to get a foothold here and build their position to where they can excel I think they will be hungry for that opportunity and the focus strong.

NorthCoast
01-27-2013, 09:28 AM
Just a possibility we all are jumping to conclusions on Starks, that if he leaves we're in trouble. We don't know how Gilbert will play or Adams when they compete for that LT spot.
Did any of us see those two play there yet for several games? Yeah, they may not be that good early on but with playing time I would like to think they will get better and who knows, we may end up not regretting Starks leaving.
It would be nice to keep Max but they are going to another direction with the young guys thats why they were drafted, Starks knows his days are numbered he even said it.



The key for that line is staying healthy, then you get some continuity and most likely better O-line play. We have Beachum in the mix too and they still might sign Legs. Legursky can backup both Beachum if he gets the LG spot and Pouncey so he has some value and I thought he plays center decent.

These young guys are trying to get a foothold here and build their position to where they can excel I think they will be hungry for that opportunity and the focus strong.

....thread hijacker....

supersteeler
01-27-2013, 09:43 AM
....thread hijacker....

Really?

I think most of us would agree that not bringing back Starks is insane.

I was responding to your statement about starks, so where do you get thread hijacker?

phillyesq
01-27-2013, 03:13 PM
Probably half the teams in the league run the 4-3 and half run the 3-4. It might be more difficult to find pass rushers for the 4-3 then it is to find pass rushers that fit the 3-4 defense. Regardless of the scheme, they will faces the same issues getting premium pass rushers for whatever defense they decide to employ. Teams that run the 3-4 have more flexibility defending the pass and getting to the QB over teams that run the 4-3. Unless the Steelers can get their hands on a couple of dominant edge pass rushers I don't see them converting to the 4-3 defense.

Salaries bear out that 4-3 DEs are more rare than 3-4 OLBs. I believe that the franchise tag for DEs is higher than any position other than QB; it is certainly higher than the tag for linebackers.

Slapstick
01-28-2013, 10:08 AM
Salaries bear out that 4-3 DEs are more rare than 3-4 OLBs. I believe that the franchise tag for DEs is higher than any position other than QB; it is certainly higher than the tag for linebackers.

Given the proliferation of 3-4 defenses, with still more on the way, I expect that to change...

Oviedo
01-28-2013, 10:58 AM
Salaries bear out that 4-3 DEs are more rare than 3-4 OLBs. I believe that the franchise tag for DEs is higher than any position other than QB; it is certainly higher than the tag for linebackers.

However, you discount the fact that when you have a greater talent pool of players coming out of the college ranks ready to play sooner you can avoid needing to "tag" players. Simple supply and demand. It is easier to get a college DE ready to play in the NFL than a college DE who is a multi-year conversion project to OLB.

I dare say that our own experience with the few successful OLB conversions would indicate we had to overpay to keep Woodley and Harrison and their performance no longer matches their contracts but because of the "risk" and time required to groom replacements we have placed ourselves at a disadvantage so we had no choice.

phillyesq
01-28-2013, 12:24 PM
However, you discount the fact that when you have a greater talent pool of players coming out of the college ranks ready to play sooner you can avoid needing to "tag" players. Simple supply and demand. It is easier to get a college DE ready to play in the NFL than a college DE who is a multi-year conversion project to OLB.

I dare say that our own experience with the few successful OLB conversions would indicate we had to overpay to keep Woodley and Harrison and their performance no longer matches their contracts but because of the "risk" and time required to groom replacements we have placed ourselves at a disadvantage so we had no choice.

I discount the assertion that there is a greater talent pool of 4-3 DEs because there is no empirical evidence to support that assertion. First, it is difficult to find a DE with the explosiveness to rush the passer and the ability to stand up against the run. Second, many "natural" 4-3 DEs still take 2-3 years to adjust to the NFL game. I've broken down the successes of first round DEs and OLBs over the past few years previously and don't have the time to do it again, but basically, there is no support for your assertion that DEs contribute more quickly than do OLBs.

The tag number demonstrates the value of a position; not the need to tag. We'd all agree that QBs are the most rare and, thus, most valuable. Correspondingly, QBs have the highest tag values, while kickers and punters have the lowest.

To say that Woodley was overpayed is questionable; based on his performance to that point, it was a market value deal. Much less than Ware or Mario Williams received. Harrison was coming off of a DPOY season; those aren't the kind of guys you want to let walk. And a large part of the Steelers model is premised on retaining home grown talent.