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Thread: Harris: Copying of Steelers continues

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    Legend hawaiiansteel's Avatar
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    Harris: Copying of Steelers continues

    Harris: Copying of Steelers continues

    By John Harris, PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW
    Saturday, February 6, 2010



    The Buffalo Bills paid the Steelers a significant compliment this week.

    Making longtime Steelers employee Doug Whaley their assistant general manager was a stroke a genius for a franchise seeking to emulate one of the NFL's most successful organizations.

    If the Bills couldn't hire Steelers director of football operations Kevin Colbert, then who better to steal away than Colbert's right-hand man?

    Whaley was a part of two Super Bowl teams and brings a wealth of scouting and personnel knowledge to the Bills, who haven't gone to the playoffs since 1999.

    The Upper St. Clair and Pitt product is Buffalo's second major hire with Steelers connections since the end of the regular season.

    After failing to woo former Steelers coach Bill Cowher, the Bills settled on former Steelers offensive coordinator Chan Gailey as their new coach. Cowher recommended Gailey for the Steelers' coaching vacancy when he left following the 2006 season, and he did the same in regards to the Buffalo job.

    Buffalo owner Ralph Wilson's decision to hire Gailey and Whaley is the second-hand smoke the Bills wanted, hoping something good will rub off from their Steelers' connections.

    Buffalo, which has been a 4-3 defensive team since 2001, is switching to a 3-4 scheme, a Steelers trademark. The Bills are moving former Penn State standout Aaron Maybin from end to outside linebacker, but their defense lacks a prototypical nose tackle in the middle.

    Given Whaley's ties to the Steelers and the fact that Casey Hampton is an unrestricted free agent, could Hampton end up in Buffalo if the Steelers fail to re-sign him?

    There are other free agents who played with the Steelers in 2009 who could help Buffalo's defensive transition, players such as free safety Ryan Clark, strong safety Tyrone Carter and defensive end Nick Eason. They were all scouted by Whaley, whose responsibilities with the Steelers included evaluating pro players, including Clark, Carter and Eason.

    The 3-4 defense is complicated, and it takes years to learn for players not familiar with the system. Bringing in personnel familiar with the 3-4 can accelerate the learning process and make the transition easier.

    Buffalo is the latest team to attempt to emulate the Steelers.

    Washington hired long-time Steelers defensive assistant Lou Spanos as its linebackers coach. Spanos will be reunited with new defensive coordinator Jim Haslett the two worked together with the Steelers.

    And like Buffalo, Washington is making the switch to the 3-4 next season.

    If Clark, Carter and Eason don't re-sign with the Steelers, Washington could be another potential destination.

    The NFL is a copycat league. In 2009, 13 teams played the 3-4 as their base defense. Buffalo and Washington will increase that total to 15.

    The top five defenses in the NFL this season in terms of points allowed played a 3-4 scheme. Buffalo was the only team in the AFC East that didn't play a 3-4.

    Another team in the AFC East took a stab at a Steelers coach without success. Miami wanted Steelers linebackers coach Keith Butler as its new defensive coordinator. It would have been a promotion for Butler, who received permission from his bosses to interview with the Dolphins.

    Butler, however, decided to remain with the Steelers. As the likely successor to defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau when he retires, Butler rebuffed Miami's advances.

    Butler's decision made sense. He didn't go for the quick buck. He chose patience over instant gratification.

    After all, why should Butler leave to coach a team attempting to be like the Steelers, when he can stick around and coach the real thing?

    His decision is a compliment that trumps the rest.

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    Legend RuthlessBurgher's Avatar
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    Re: Harris: Copying of Steelers continues

    Buffalo is emulating the Steelers by hiring Chan Gailey and Doug Whaley.

    Next thing you know, they will sign Duce Staley and try to trade for Patrick Bailey.

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    Legend hawaiiansteel's Avatar
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    Re: Harris: Copying of Steelers continues

    Quote Originally Posted by RuthlessBurgher
    Buffalo is emulating the Steelers by hiring Chan Gailey and Doug Whaley.

    Next thing you know, they will sign Duce Staley and try to trade for Patrick Bailey.


    Hopefully the Bills sign Tyrone Carter so we're not tempted to bring him back.

    I'm sure the Bills would make a run at Casey Hampton if we don't franchise him and allow him to hit the free-agent market.

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    Re: Harris: Copying of Steelers continues

    Quote Originally Posted by hawaiiansteel
    Quote Originally Posted by RuthlessBurgher
    Buffalo is emulating the Steelers by hiring Chan Gailey and Doug Whaley.

    Next thing you know, they will sign Duce Staley and try to trade for Patrick Bailey.


    Hopefully the Bills sign Tyrone Carter so we're not tempted to bring him back.

    I'm sure the Bills would make a run at Casey Hampton if we don't franchise him and allow him to hit the free-agent market.
    Sorry...they don't fit the rhyme scheme.

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    Legend hawaiiansteel's Avatar
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    Re: Harris: Copying of Steelers continues

    Quote Originally Posted by RuthlessBurgher
    Quote Originally Posted by hawaiiansteel
    Quote Originally Posted by RuthlessBurgher
    Buffalo is emulating the Steelers by hiring Chan Gailey and Doug Whaley.

    Next thing you know, they will sign Duce Staley and try to trade for Patrick Bailey.


    Hopefully the Bills sign Tyrone Carter so we're not tempted to bring him back.

    I'm sure the Bills would make a run at Casey Hampton if we don't franchise him and allow him to hit the free-agent market.
    Sorry...they don't fit the rhyme scheme.

    my bad, let me re-phrase that...


    "hopefully the Bills sign Tyrone Carter so we don't bring him back
    and if we don't franchise Casey the Bills will try to sign Big Snack."

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    Re: Harris: Copying of Steelers continues

    who did we "copy" when we first went from 4-3 to 3-4?

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    Hall of Famer Mister Pittsburgh's Avatar
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    Re: Harris: Copying of Steelers continues

    Sucks that half of the league now runs the 3-4. It was such an advantage in the draft, and that teams had to specifically gameplan to play the Steelers before. Now teams will prep to play the 3-4 every other game and half the teams will practice against their own 3-4 defense.

    Almost makes more sense to go back to the 4-3 as it would be so much easier to evaluate college players to project their jump the NFL as most kids play the 4-3 in college. Not as much of a learning curve so young draftees could contribute right away pretty much instead of taking the 2 years to learn the 3-4.
    @_Hellgrammite

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    Legend hawaiiansteel's Avatar
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    Re: Harris: Copying of Steelers continues

    Quote Originally Posted by Mister Pittsburgh
    Sucks that half of the league now runs the 3-4. It was such an advantage in the draft, and that teams had to specifically gameplan to play the Steelers before. Now teams will prep to play the 3-4 every other game and half the teams will practice against their own 3-4 defense.

    Almost makes more sense to go back to the 4-3 as it would be so much easier to evaluate college players to project their jump the NFL as most kids play the 4-3 in college. Not as much of a learning curve so young draftees could contribute right away pretty much instead of taking the 2 years to learn the 3-4.

    not gonna happen as long as D*ick LeBeau is our defensive coordinator...

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    Re: Harris: Copying of Steelers continues

    The Bills have gone back and forth a few times. They try it, it doesn't work so they fire their coaches and the new coaches bring in the 4-3. They try it, it doesn't work so they fire their coaches and the new coaches bring in the 3-4.

    LatherRinseRepeat....

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    Re: Harris: Copying of Steelers continues

    Another team looking for a NT?

    Anyone who thinks that we'll definitely be able to get a NT, better rethink that.

    Williams
    Cody
    Troup
    Thomas

    Those four guys will all be in big demand.
    1 Mike Evans WR Texas A&M
    2 Stephen Tuitt DE Notre Dame
    3c Keith McGill CB Utah
    4 Ross Cockrell CB Duke
    5 Jordan Zumwalt ILB UCLA
    5c Anton Exum S Va Tech
    6 Trey Millard FB/TE Oklahoma
    7 Cody Latimer WR Indiana
    7c DeAnthony Thomas RB Oregon

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