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Thread: Bringing back Hampton is Steelers' top priority...

  1. #1

    Bringing back Hampton is Steelers' top priority...

    http://blog.triblive.com/view-from-the- ... ox+Blog%29

    by Scott Brown

    I had a chance talk to Steelers president Art Rooney II today for 20 minutes at the team's practice facility.

    While he trotted out the company line of not talking about contract negotiations, Rooney II made it pretty clear that the Steelers will sign coach Mike Tomlin to a new deal at some point during the offseason.

    He also said the bringing back Pro Bowl nose tackle Casey Hampton is the Steelers' top priority when it comes to their own players that are free agents.

    What follows is an excerpt from the exclusive Q&A with Rooney II.

    Did you push for Mike Tomlin to make changes to his coaching staff and to cut ties with offensive coordinator Bruce Arians?

    “Certainly we do sit down after every season and try and identify whether there are things we can do better and areas that we can improve on and talking about the coaching staff is always part of that conversation. Mike came in and said he thought we should make some changes and I certainly agreed with him. I never went to Mike and asked him to consider firing B.A., and that wasn’t on his agenda so that’s something that never came up, was never discussed. We are making some changes and there are things we certainly need to improve on so we’ve talked about all those kinds of things but we did not discuss firing B.A.”

    What are your thoughts on the running game?

    “We need to be better at running the football. We were not consistently good at running the football this year, and I think that was a problem, and it’s certainly something that traditionally has been one of the foundations of the team and we need to get back to that. We need to be able to run the ball to be successful. Some of or troubles in the red zone this year, I think, can be traced to that and some of our troubles holding leads this year can be traced to that. It’s an area of our offense our game that we need to be better at and more consistent at than we were this year.”

    Where else does the team need to improve?

    “Obviously, we have to reduce the number of sacks. Fifty sacks is not an acceptable number. It’s not good for Ben (Roethlisberger) to get hit that many times and it’s too many negative plays for the offense. On the other side of the ball, defensively, we gave up too many fourth-quarter leads. Those are things we’ve got to look at and get better at.”

    Can the team get Ben to do a better job of avoiding sacks given the way he plays the game?

    “Ben I think is a player who has very high aspirations for himself and for his career and for the team, so I’m sure he recognizes that 50 sacks is not an acceptable number, that he’s got to do his part in reducing them. But that’s been said during the course of the season. The offensive line’s got to do its part, receivers have to recognize the blitz, Ben’s go to get them the ball. All of those pieces have to fit together. Ben as the leader of the offense has to be able to help pull all of those pieces together and I’m sure he will. He’s someone I know wants to continue to improve and wants to get better and be considered one of the top quarterbacks in the league. I expect he’ll be working hard to get better like everyone else.”

    If no CBA is reached between the players and owners before the beginning of March and the salary cap goes away will that put the Steelers at a competitive disadvantage?

    “Let’s put it this way. In the long-term, I expect us to have a salary cap and this year will kind of be a one-year situation that we’ll get through. Without getting into details, I think overall we have to have a system that works for the National Football League and for all of the teams in the league. What we’ve had over the last decade or more in our collective bargaining agreement and our revenue sharing system I think has all worked well. We’ve got to find the right system and the right adjustments going forward to continue being successful.”

    What is the focus of the Steelers right now?

    “At this point, certainly the priority is putting the staff together and finding the best people we can find for our coaching staff, and I think we’re well under way in that regard. Once we get that sort of concluded we’ll turn our attention to getting ready for the draft and getting ready to deal with the various contract situations. It’s a jigsaw puzzle and you kind of have to put all of the pieces in place. Hopefully by the time you’ve hit May and completed the draft you’re happy that you have most of the pieces in place and you start working on grooming the team for the season.”
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  2. #2
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    Re: Bringing back Hampton is Steelers' top priority...

    "We need to be better at running the football. We were not consistently good at running the football this year, and I think that was a problem, and it’s certainly something that traditionally has been one of the foundations of the team and we need to get back to that. We need to be able to run the ball to be successful. Some of or troubles in the red zone this year, I think, can be traced to that and some of our troubles holding leads this year can be traced to that. It’s an area of our offense our game that we need to be better at and more consistent at than we were this year"

    "Obviously, we have to reduce the number of sacks. Fifty sacks is not an acceptable number"

    Put RB & OL on your draft lists people....
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  3. #3
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    Re: Bringing back Hampton is Steelers' top priority...

    Quote Originally Posted by Chadman
    "We need to be better at running the football. We were not consistently good at running the football this year, and I think that was a problem, and it’s certainly something that traditionally has been one of the foundations of the team and we need to get back to that. We need to be able to run the ball to be successful. Some of or troubles in the red zone this year, I think, can be traced to that and some of our troubles holding leads this year can be traced to that. It’s an area of our offense our game that we need to be better at and more consistent at than we were this year"

    "Obviously, we have to reduce the number of sacks. Fifty sacks is not an acceptable number"

    Put RB & OL on your draft lists people....
    I would have felt better if he said:
    BRUCE and I have talked and we are scrapping the EMPTY backfield set. Rashard is much better utilized in the backfield than flanked out where he won't see the ball. Teams crowd the LOS when we go empty backfield and almost half our sacks given up this year were when we went empty backfield. As a matter of fact, Ben rarely got his eyes downfield b/c the pressure came so quickly. This has to stop and Bruce has agreed.
    Here We Go Steelers, Here We Go...
    Here We Go Steelers, Here We Go...
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  4. #4

    Re: Bringing back Hampton is Steelers' top priority...

    Quote Originally Posted by SidSmythe

    I would have felt better if he said:
    BRUCE and I have talked and we are scrapping the EMPTY backfield set. Rashard is much better utilized in the backfield than flanked out where he won't see the ball. Teams crowd the LOS when we go empty backfield and almost half our sacks given up this year were when we went empty backfield. As a matter of fact, Ben rarely got his eyes downfield b/c the pressure came so quickly. This has to stop and Bruce has agreed.


  5. #5
    Legend RuthlessBurgher's Avatar
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    Re: Bringing back Hampton is Steelers' top priority...

    What would be the cost to extend Hampton?

    At his age, we likely would not want to go for any more than 3 years (he'll want 4 and we'll want 2, so we'll compromise at 3).

    Perhaps something along the lines of 3 years, $18 million ($6 million of which is guaranteed)?

  6. #6

    Re: Bringing back Hampton is Steelers' top priority...

    Quote Originally Posted by RuthlessBurgher
    What would be the cost to extend Hampton?

    At his age, we likely would not want to go for any more than 3 years (he'll want 4 and we'll want 2, so we'll compromise at 3).

    Perhaps something along the lines of 3 years, $18 million ($6 million of which is guaranteed)?
    Throw in a $10,000 Dunkin' Donuts gift certificate, and I'll betcha that would get it done.

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    Legend RuthlessBurgher's Avatar
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    Re: Bringing back Hampton is Steelers' top priority...

    Quote Originally Posted by BradshawsHairdresser
    Quote Originally Posted by RuthlessBurgher
    What would be the cost to extend Hampton?

    At his age, we likely would not want to go for any more than 3 years (he'll want 4 and we'll want 2, so we'll compromise at 3).

    Perhaps something along the lines of 3 years, $18 million ($6 million of which is guaranteed)?
    Throw in a $10,000 Dunkin' Donuts gift certificate, and I'll betcha that would get it done.
    Dude prefers Krispy Kreme.

  8. #8
    Hall of Famer Mister Pittsburgh's Avatar
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    Re: Bringing back Hampton is Steelers' top priority...

    If they sign Hampton for longer than 2 years, they are going to need to add a geriatric ward to the lockeroom. They can build special showers for Hampton, Farrior, Deshea, Carter, Hoke, Kirshke, and the Dr. Dick Lebeau.
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  9. #9
    Legend RuthlessBurgher's Avatar
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    Re: Bringing back Hampton is Steelers' top priority...

    Quote Originally Posted by Mister Pittsburgh
    If they sign Hampton for longer than 2 years, they are going to need to add a geriatric ward to the lockeroom. They can build special showers for Hampton, Farrior, Deshea, Carter, Hoke, Kirshke, and the Dr. bad word Lebeau.
    Carter, Deshea, and Kirschke are likely gone after this season. They are all unrestricted free agents and are currently 33, 34, and 35 years old, respectively.

    Logic would tell you that guys as big as Hampton would have their bodies break down earlier than most. However, when all you have to do is be big and occupy blockers in the run game, you can last a long time. Ted Washington played 17 seasons. Sam Adams played 14 seasons. Casey Hampton is 32 with 9 years under his belt.

    We can squeeze 3 more productive seasons out of him before putting him out to pasture (literally). After 3 more seasons, Casey will be the same age that Kirschke was this season, and he played reasonably well (he's no Aaron Smith, but then again no one is, but Travis did not embarass himself out there).

    Unlike some other positions, you can rotate d-lineman to keep them fresh. It makes sense to keep Hampton around. And unlike some other positions, it doesn't really matter all that much if Hampton loses a step with age. If Townsend loses a step, it's a problem. If Farrior loses a step, it's a problem. If Hampton loses a step...not so much. He never had much of a step in the first place (and doesn't really need one...even in his prime, he wasn't chasing down QB's from behind).

    He should be able to do what he does at for 3 more years at a reasonable level. Even at his age, how many NT's in the league are playing better than Hampton? You can say Ratliff in Dallas, but he is a penetrating NT in a different mold for a different scheme. You can say Haloti Ngata is a better player and everyone would agree, but Haloti doesn't line up on the nose in Baltimore...Kelly Gregg does. Maybe Aubrayo Franklin out in San Francisco, who is 29 and will likely be given the franchise tag by the Niners. Also Vince Wilfork in New England, but they still run somewhat of a hybrid scheme. Kris Jenkins is good in New York, but he has been in the league just as long as Hampton and is more injury-prone than Casey. Even on the downside of his career, he remains on par with those types of guys and not the dregs of the league.

    Nose tackle is a keystone position to the 3-4, and if we did not have a good one, then our defense could potentially look even worse than it did this past season. That is a good enough argument to warrant bringing Casey back on a reasonable short-term deal.

  10. #10
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    Re: Bringing back Hampton is Steelers' top priority...

    Quote Originally Posted by RuthlessBurgher
    Quote Originally Posted by Mister Pittsburgh
    If they sign Hampton for longer than 2 years, they are going to need to add a geriatric ward to the lockeroom. They can build special showers for Hampton, Farrior, Deshea, Carter, Hoke, Kirshke, and the Dr. bad word Lebeau.
    Carter, Deshea, and Kirschke are likely gone after this season. They are all unrestricted free agents and are currently 33, 34, and 35 years old, respectively.

    Logic would tell you that guys as big as Hampton would have their bodies break down earlier than most. However, when all you have to do is be big and occupy blockers in the run game, you can last a long time. Ted Washington played 17 seasons. Sam Adams played 14 seasons. Casey Hampton is 32 with 9 years under his belt.

    We can squeeze 3 more productive seasons out of him before putting him out to pasture (literally). After 3 more seasons, Casey will be the same age that Kirschke was this season, and he played reasonably well (he's no Aaron Smith, but then again no one is, but Travis did not embarass himself out there).

    Unlike some other positions, you can rotate d-lineman to keep them fresh. It makes sense to keep Hampton around. And unlike some other positions, it doesn't really matter all that much if Hampton loses a step with age. If Townsend loses a step, it's a problem. If Farrior loses a step, it's a problem. If Hampton loses a step...not so much. He never had much of a step in the first place (and doesn't really need one...even in his prime, he wasn't chasing down QB's from behind).

    He should be able to do what he does at for 3 more years at a reasonable level. Even at his age, how many NT's in the league are playing better than Hampton? You can say Ratliff in Dallas, but he is a penetrating NT in a different mold for a different scheme. You can say Haloti Ngata is a better player and everyone would agree, but Haloti doesn't line up on the nose in Baltimore...Kelly Gregg does. Maybe Aubrayo Franklin out in San Francisco, who is 29 and will likely be given the franchise tag by the Niners. Also Vince Wilfork in New England, but they still run somewhat of a hybrid scheme. Kris Jenkins is good in New York, but he has been in the league just as long as Hampton and is more injury-prone than Casey. Even on the downside of his career, he remains on par with those types of guys and not the dregs of the league.

    Nose tackle is a keystone position to the 3-4, and if we did not have a good one, then our defense could potentially look even worse than it did this past season. That is a good enough argument to warrant bringing Casey back on a reasonable short-term deal.
    Good points and I agree. Hampton probably has 2 or 3 good years left. Especially, since he is only a 2 down player. He might have 5 good years left with the way teams pass the ball.

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