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Thread: Chadman's 2013 Off-Season Analysis Thread...

  1. #21
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    2012 SEASON REVIEW- DEFENSIVE LINE

    The DL is one area that has received a bit of critisism this season, despite the Steelers lofty NFL Defensive ranking of "Number 1". We must keep in mind that this is a unit that suffered no change for so many years- in fact, the DL only suffered it's first significant change under Tomlin's rule last season when Aaron Smith & Chris Hoke moved on. Before that there has been little, or no change to the players going back to the Cowher-era. So to suffer a few growing pains is expected, as well as still having to deal with the transitioning out of the remaining older players as they become less effective. All in all, it was a commendable season by the DL, but that does not mean it doesn't need to improve- it does, and quickly.

    DE BRETT KEISEL: (Under Contract)
    16 games started, 26 tackles 20 assists, 4.5 sacks, 0 INT's, 0 FF's 1 FR, 1 PD, 0 TD's

    Keisel is getting older, but provided steady play once again to the DL. There was no significant downturn in his game, but at the same time, no significant improvement- which is to be expected for a guy who is 34 years old. His eventual replacement is already on the roster, but his play has not necessitated him being removed from the starting role. He'll be back next season most likely, but we might see him lose some snaps to Heyward over the course of the season.

    DE ZIGGY HOOD: (Under Contract)
    16 games started, 25 tackles 17 assists, 3 sacks, 0 INT's, 0 FF's 2 FR's, 3 PD's, 0 TD's.

    Ziggy's first season as the designated starter, not Aaron Smith's fill-in, and produced a season similar to what Keisel gave us. There are some who want to see more from a former 1st round draft pick- but Chadman is not sure that is fair, as his role will never really give him the 'stats' to justify a 1st round selection. There were still occasions where Hood was being pushed around, and he'll need to continue to get better at leverage, but he's a solid starter on a DL that was, statistically, #1 this season- not a bad effort.

    NT CASEY HAMPTON: (FA)
    16 games started, 11 tackles 15 assists, 0 sacks, 0 INT's, 0 FF's 0 FR's, 0 PD's, 0 TD's

    Casey is starting to really show his age. Seemed to take him a long time to get into the season & early on was showing significant depreciation in his play. Things got a bit better as the season went on, but he is unlikely to be able to be counted on in the future, and he enters the off season as a FA. Chances are, we may have seen the last of Casey as a Steeler- we should remember him as that dominant bull he was in his prime, the perfect 3-4 NT.

    DE CAMERON HEYWARD: (Under Contract)
    0 games started, 13 tackles 7 assists, 1.5 sacks, 0 INT's, 0 FF's 0 FR's, 0 PD's, 0 TD's

    Heyward will be Keisel's eventual sucessor, but right now he isn't a force on the DL. He needs a good off season & then come in & be part of a DE rotation. Physically, he should be the prototype 3-4 DE, and his college career suggests he's a guy that can be disruptive. The Steelers will need him to step it up next season in order to take this defense from 'good' to 'great'.

    NT STEVE MCLENDON: (RFA)
    0 games started, 4 tackles 3 assists, 2 sacks, 0 INT's, 1 FF 0 FR's, 0 PD's, 0 TD's.

    McLendon is being counted on to be the next Steeler NT. He has shown some glimpses of being a player, but they are not frequent enough to go into next season feeling super confident if he is the starter. Needs to be stronger against the run to man the middle of the 3-4. He might be more the situational guy than a true starter, but he'll be back- of that, Chadman is sure.

    DE AL WOODS: (Under Contract)

    Woods is a useful back-up that has been brought back a few times. Not great, not terrible, but cost effective.

    NT ALEMEDA TA'AMU: (Under Contract)

    This guy COULD be the future at NT. Has the physical tools to be the guy- but that court case coming up is the elephant in the room. Concerningly, his college career was never as dominant as it should have been for a guy his size.

    NT HEBRON FANGUPO: (Under Contract)

    Brought in very late & signed to a 4 year contract. Is that a sign? Older rookie (28 years old) that played good, at times, in college. Should, at the worst, push Ta'amu in camp.

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  2. #22
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    2012 SEASON REVIEW- LINEBACKERS

    The 'stars' of the Steelers show are the LB's- and the money trail leading to them proves the importance placed on them. There is no doubt that, collectivelly, this group did not live up to the wage bill in 2012. There are a numbers of factors that could be to blame- injury, age, poor DL play or they could simply be not as good as advertised. Whatever the reason, for the Steelers to be dominant on Defense- these guys will need to make an impact, as a whole, next season.

    OLB JAMES HARRISON: (Under Contract)
    13 games started, 49 tackles 21 assists, 6 sacks, 0 INT's, 2 FF's 0 FR's, 0 PD's, 0 TD's.

    Missing games, and then having to find game speed to catch up to the rest of the team, put Harrison behind from the start. Most will agree that as the year went on, he became more effective- so his conditioning certainly played it's part. On the downside, at 35, injuries & the time it takes to get back from them, will increase. He isn't going to get better. And at some point, he'll have a production drop-off similar in the way Farrior dropped off, or Hampton last season. It'll be sooner than later. At $10m or thereabouts against the Cap- the Steelers need to work out if that is money well spent. He's a strong candidate for outright cutting, a pay cut, or a restructure- although a restructure will likely bite the organisation down the track.

    OLB LAMARR WOODLEY: (Under Contract)
    13 games started, 27 tackles 11 assists, 4 sacks, 1 INT, 1 FF 1 FR, 1 PD, 0 TD's.

    Woodley missed the same amount of time as Harrison, and was equally slow getting back into game-shape. Worse, actually. Not enough tackles, not enough sacks for a guy that earns upward of $10m a year. He's a naturally large man, so losing a little weight & focussing on getting lighter & faster might suit. It might also help with his recurring hamstring injuries (although from memory- he was hit with them through college too). At his best, he's a very good pass rusher. The Steelers pay him to be at his best. Unlike Harrison, time is on Woodley's side at 28. A very strong candidate for a contract restructure.

    ILB LAWRENCE TIMMONS: (Under Contract)
    16 games started, 75 tackles 31 assists, 6 sacks, 3 INT's, 2 FF's 1 FR, 5 PD's, 1 TD.

    Timmons went about giving the Steelers his best year in 2012. Was quietly excellent on an underperforming team & looks to be becoming all that he was drafted to be- an impact player on the inside. Still makes a few errors, particularly in the areas of over-chasing & finds himself behind guys too often. Would be interesting to see what he can produce once the NT situation is sorted out. Very well paid in around the $10m area, so he's paid to produce. Another strong candidate for a restructure.

    ILB LARRY FOOTE: (FA)
    16 games started, 75 tackles 38 assists, 4 sacks, 0 INT's, 2 FF's 2 FR's, 2 PD's, 0 TD's.

    Even more quietly than Timmons- Foote also had a good year. If the Steelers got this sort of production inside at all times, the interior of the Defense would be very sound. Obviously Foote is an older player, and the Steelers might need to think about the direction at ILB even if they re-sign him. Adds some leadership to a young group. Steelers would be well served bringing him back another year to help transition a younger player into the starting role. As has been pointed out- Foote did have some trouble on occasion stopping RB's- clearly evidenced against the Raiders as McFadden drove him backwards (holding Foote's facemask, one must add).

    OLB JASON WORILDS: (Under Contract)
    3 games started, 18 tackles 4 assists, 5 sacks, 0 INT's, 0 FF's 0 FR's, 2 PD's, 0 TD's.

    Filled in a bit more this season than in the past due to injuries and wasn't terrible. 5 sacks says that he was relatively successful going after the QB. The transition from Harrison to Worilds may not be far away depending on Harrison's contract situation. Chadman is not as worried about Worilds playing as some. He looks halfway decent trying to get to the QB. If the DL can collapse the pocket better, if Woodley or Harrison can stay fit opposite him, then Worilds might surprise a few. Athletically, he tested very similarly to the Steelers most athletic LB- Lawrence Timmons- at the Combine.

    OLB CHRIS CARTER: (Under Contract)
    3 games started, 2 tackles 3 assists, 0 Sacks, 0 INT's, 0 FF's 0 FR's, 1 PD, 0 TD's.

    Carter got some early gametime & did nothing to prove he's ready for a higher role. No significant impact on the field. He could be pushed in TC if the Steelers look towards a new OLB in the Draft.

    OLB ADRIAN ROBINSON: (Under Contract)

    Looked decent in TC & could, if he improves on that, push Chris Carter next off-season.

    ILB BRANDON JOHNSON: (FA)

    If Foote leaves, and the Steelers feel they need a vet for insurance, do not be surprised if Johnson is brought back.

    ILB STEVENSON SYLVESTER: (Under Contract)

    Time is running out for Sylvester to make an impact. Pretty decent on ST's, but that opening at ILB will only last so long. Must have a strong TC.

    ILB SEAN SPENCE: (Under Contract)

    Looked very promising in what we saw, and his college career suggests that there are 'splash plays' in him. 3rd round pick last year means the team are invested in him to a degree- they'll want to see what they can get out of him. That injury was ugly..

    ILB MARSHALL MCFADDEN: (Under Contract)

    Was in TC last year & has been signed to come back this year. It could be that the team is not finished evaluating him yet, or that they gave him specific instructions on what is needed from him before cutting him loose. With questions on most ILB's on the roster- he's not out of the mix. Yet.

    ILB BRIAN ROLLE: (Under Contract)

    Signed recently. He'll be given a shot to make the squad, and you never know. Had some playing time at the Eagles & wasn't horrendous. Only young, so with some luck, he might make TC interesting.

    OLB KION WILSON: (Under Contract)

    Signed recently, and like Rolle, will have an opportunity in TC. Perhaps a longer shot than Rolle, but if he needs inspiration on what it takes to make the roster, he'd be well served following Adrian Robinson around.

    There is a lot of uncertainty at LB this season, particularly in regards to ILB depth. Plenty of young guys coming to camp to compete, but this might not stop the Steelers from looking at the Draft for another option both inside or outside.
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  3. #23
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    Really nice breakdown Chadman. Very good insight into our front 7.

  4. #24
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    2012 SEASON REVIEW- DEFENSIVE BACKS

    Not enough Turnovers. That is what you think when you think of Steelers DB's. And fair enough- there isn't enough. This is not, despite having one of the most dynamic footballers in the game, a "Big Play" unit. It is, however, a solid unit- and potentially on the improve. There were some very promising signs in 2012, as well as a couple of alarm bells.

    SS TROY POLAMALU: (Under Contract)
    7 games started, 29 tackles 5 assists, 1 sack, 1 INT, 0 FF's 0 FR's, 3 PD's, 0 TD's.

    Simply the best player on the Steelers Defense. When fit. Those 2 words are used more & more in conjunction with Troy Polamalu. Always seems to have some kind of injury niggle, and is now on the wrong side of 30. There is still some football left in Troy, but we need to see 13+ games out of him a season at least. Losing such a vital member of the team can prove season-destroying. Costing nearly $10m against the cap, he 'might' be a chance at a restructure- or a salary reduction.

    FS RYAN CLARK: (Under Contract)
    15 games started, 74 tackles 28 assists, 0 sacks, 2 INT's, 2 FF's 1 FR, 7 PD's, 0 TD's.

    Clark would have claims, along with Timmons, for the Defensive MVP for the Steelers in 2012. He was stellar, playing both the pass & run well. He's not a 'great' pass defender, but he's savvy. He found himself around the ball alot in 2012. His tackle numbers are possibly a little higher than you want to see- most likely contributed to failings on the DL. If the DL improves, which improves the LB's- then Clark might not have to be called on as a run defender quite as often in 2013. Probably what we'd consider our onfield general. Very aggressive & sets the tone. However... 34 years old & $4.5m against the cap is starting to look burdensome. Another 'might' get a restructure, but age might dictate that it doesn't happen.

    CB IKE TAYLOR: (Under Contract)
    12 games started, 25 tackles 7 assists, 1 INT, 0 FF's 0 FR's, 13 PD's, 0 TD's.

    Almost unbelievably- Ike missed gametime in 2012. When he did play, he was once again very sound, if not spectacular. There were a couple of concerning signs in 2012- particularly the P.I. calls on him early as faster WR's were getting past him- Santonio Holmes was giving him fits. Couple that with what happened in Denver the previous season (nobody say Tebow) & we might just be seeing the decline of Ike- which is understandable of a 33 year old CB. It's not talked about much- but if there was a surprise roster cut- it could be Ike & his large salary. In fact, it might even be the 'right time' to make that call, based on younger players on this roster.

    CB KEENAN LEWIS: (FA)
    16 games started, 54 tackles 15 assists, 0 INT's, 1 FF 0 FR's, 23 PD's, 0 TD's.

    Lewis had his breakout season in 2012, and along with Timmons & Clark, he could argue he was the Steelers best Defensive player. Unlike previous seasons Lewis never looked flustered or out of place. He made plays on the ball (23 PD's) without ever creating a genuine 'splash play' (0 Ints). He looked.... like Ike looks. Solid. He's an UFA, and quite honestly- will command some genuine money. He has said he wants to return to Pittsburgh, he fits the system, he's an up-and-coming player. There's a lot to like about Lewis.

    CB CORTEZ ALLEN: (Under Contract)
    3 games started, 38 tackles 9 assists, 2 INT's, 3 FF's 1 FR, 10 PD's, 0 TD's.

    Almost quietly, Allen developed into an NFL CB along with Lewis in 2012. On top of that- he displayed something most Steelers CB's haven't displayed- the ability to create turnovers. The Steelers are very good at identifying players that need contract extensions before they hit the FA market. Allen could very well be one of those. His rapid development, coupled with Lewis and his success in 2012, might make Ike Taylor expendable. This guy looks the goods.

    CB CURTIS BROWN: (Under Contract)
    0 games started, 9 tackles 1 assist, 0 sacks, 0 INT's, 0 FF's 0 FR's, 2 PD's, 0 TD's.

    Considering Brown & Allen were drafted at the same time, their development could not be more chalk and cheese. Brown is nearly a non-entity at this point & could be replaced by younger players. Needs to have a big TC. Pretty good on ST's, however.

    CB JOSH VICTORIAN: (Under Contract)
    1 game started, 9 tackles 0 assists, 0 sacks, 0 INT's, 0 FF's 0 FR's, 2 PD's, 0 TD's.

    Was signed during the season & worked his way onto the field. Ok- this guy is not going to be a starter. But he might add value as a 4th CB. Showed some pluck, but was beaten too often when on the field. A work in progress.

    SS WILL ALLEN: (FA)
    7 games started, 16 tackles 15 assists, 0 sacks, 0 INT's, 1 FF 0 FR's, 3 PD's, 0 TD's

    Allen stepped in at SS after Troy went down & Mundy stunk it all up. He provided solid play, and the Defense performed pretty well when he played. He's never going to threaten as a long term option, however, and the Steelers might need to look to move on. He's a FA, but unlikely to be overly popular & could be brought back if needed.

    FS RYAN MUNDY: (FA)
    3 games started, 20 tackles 4 assists, 0 sacks, 0 INT's, 0 FF's 1 FR, 2 PD's, 0 TD's.

    Ryan Mundy has never become a genuine option for the Steelers at either SS or FS & enters 2013 as a FA. Chadman thinks it very unlikely, after seeing him replaced by Will Allen, that he'll return to the Steelers.

    CB DEMARCUS VAN DYKE: (ERFA)

    The Steelers snared Van Dyke early in the season. Very athletic & fast, played ok on ST's. Will be back in TC & has a chance to show what he can do. Not the worst hope.

    CB ISAIAH GREEN: (Under Contract)

    Will come into TC to complete for that last CB spot.

    FS DAMON CROMARTIE-SMITH: (Under Contract)

    Like Marshall McFadden (ILB), was in TC last season & cut late. Now brought back for another TC. Obviously the FO sees something there. Might get a long look at replacing Mundy.

    FS ROBERT GOLDEN: (Under Contract)

    Was brought in during TC & looked reasonably decent. Like Cropmartie-Smith, he'll get a genuine shot at making the roster.

    CB JUSTIN KING: (FA)

    Absolutely no hope of coming back. Trust Chadman on this.

    There is a lot to like about the Steelers CB's- Lewis, Allen & Victorian are a solid group, and youngsters Van Dyke & Brown are not hopeless. Added to that is the vet in Ike Taylor, and you can see that this group could be very good. Of course, if Lewis leaves- things start to look less rosey. There might be a draft addition at CB, depending on the roster moves leading up to Draft day.

    Safety, however, is starting to look a little shakey. Troy & Clark are obviously good, but getting old. Allen & Mundy are not the answer & are likely gone. They can't rely on Cromartie-Smith & Golden being the future. At least 1 young Safety could/should/will be added, and potentially a high round draft pick at that. Maybe 2 Safeties.

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  5. #25
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    2012 SEASON REVIEW- SPECIAL TEAMS

    We now get to move on to the non-footballing componant of the season...

    PK SHAUN SUISHAM: (Under Contract)
    28 FG 31 Attempts (90.3%), 34 XTRA PT's 34 Attempts (100%)

    Hard to be critical on Suisham in 2012. He went from team goat to solid contributor & will be back in 2013.

    P DREW BUTLER: (Under Contract)
    77 Punts 3,374 Yards (43.8 YPK)

    The rookie was up & down & might be expected to be challenged in TC. that said- he wasn't dreaful, and doesn't cost the house.

    LS GREG WARREN: (FA)

    Solid LS, but has been overpaid in the past. Will likely come back because what is the market for a LS anyway?


    Not the worst group the Steelers have ever put on the field. The real issues are in kick coverage & the return game. More impact will be needed in those areas.
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  6. #26
    Good read Chadman. A few things that I would say here.

    He is, at his best, the most talented RB on the roster & he has several years of results on his resume to back that up.
    This bothers me. If we have a roster full of running backs, and RM is the best, then we need to improve drastically. IMO he is at best in the 15-20 range of NFL backs and OL issues aside, he is not good enough.

    Willie shifted to LG (at last!) and looked pretty good there.
    I would break down his contributions a bit further. Colon looked very strong as a run blocker when he wasn't getting flagged. He was not great in pass pro, and draws too many drive killing penalties. Obviously, we must understand that he is playing a new position, but these are the same traits that he has always had. Add his propensity to get injured for long periods of time and I can see Colon as a June 1 cut.

    Maurkice is easily the best OL player on the roster.
    I'm certainly no OL expert, but I just don't understand this. Even the rushing numbers bear out that we run weakest up the middle, and that is primarily using big backs with little outside speed. Maybe it is just me, and flame away, but I think that Pouncey is the most overrated player on the Steelers roster - by both Steeler fans and outsiders. I don't see the pro bowler in him, and would hold Starks' performance the last couple of years over his in an instant.

  7. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by steeler_fan_in_t.o. View Post
    Good read Chadman. A few things that I would say here.



    This bothers me. If we have a roster full of running backs, and RM is the best, then we need to improve drastically. IMO he is at best in the 15-20 range of NFL backs and OL issues aside, he is not good enough.



    I would break down his contributions a bit further. Colon looked very strong as a run blocker when he wasn't getting flagged. He was not great in pass pro, and draws too many drive killing penalties. Obviously, we must understand that he is playing a new position, but these are the same traits that he has always had. Add his propensity to get injured for long periods of time and I can see Colon as a June 1 cut.



    I'm certainly no OL expert, but I just don't understand this. Even the rushing numbers bear out that we run weakest up the middle, and that is primarily using big backs with little outside speed. Maybe it is just me, and flame away, but I think that Pouncey is the most overrated player on the Steelers roster - by both Steeler fans and outsiders. I don't see the pro bowler in him, and would hold Starks' performance the last couple of years over his in an instant.
    Can't disagree with much of what you said. Yes, the running game needs to improve. How much of that is on the RB's & how much is on the OL is open to discussion- probably close to a 50-50 split as to who needs to up their game most. Mendenhall will be moving on, so regardless of whether you like or dislike Mendy, he won't be our concern next season. Neither will Rainey, it turns out. Chadman thinks the Steelers will give Dwyer & Redman alot of carries next season, but look for a change of pace, 3rd down type RB to be added somewhere. Not sure they'll necessarily draft a RB high though.

    Colon has always been a much better run blocker than pass blocker. And agreed, he still gives too many penalties. Couple that with his injuries & his cap cost... there are reason's he's a potential cap cut. That said, as far as dominating at the LOS, he's the best Steeler for that. Is it enough?

    Pouncey needs to up his game, particularly the physicality of his game. It's not like he's a rookie anymore. The whole OL needs to get nastier- including Pouncey.

    The running game stats could be a little decieving- while the average is significantly lower, the amount runs between the tackles is much higher than the runs outside the tackles, which could skew the figures slightly. That said- the running game needs to get better between the tackles, no doubt about it.
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  8. #28
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    2013 SALARY CAP SITUATION

    Let's now start looking at a few of the issues the Steelers face this offseason. Obviously the first one to tackle will be the Salary Cap. Reports now say that the Cap 'should' sit at $121m.

    Currently the Steelers have 37 players on contract for next season with a Cap cost of $129m, roughly $8m over the cap. On top of this, there is close to $450k worth of 'dead money' to account for.

    The Steelers have 5 RFA's & 2 ERFA's, and it's safe to assume all 7 will get tendered offers. According to a 'site that cannot be named', the total of these offers, if we give simply the 'low' offers is at $7.75m.

    So, if we tender only at the lowest level, the Steelers will have 42 players on the books & be roughly $16m over the cap.

    Sounds bad, huh?

    That's not even contemplating FA's..


    How will the Steelers sort this out?
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  9. #29
    Quote Originally Posted by Chadman View Post
    2012 SEASON REVIEW- DEFENSIVE BACKS

    CB JUSTIN KING: (FA)

    Absolutely no hope of coming back. Trust Chadman on this.

    Time to change the (F/A) to (Under Contract):

    http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/...hanges-670606/

    In other news, the Steelers did sign one of their own free agents. Cornerback Justin King of Monroeville, Gateway High School and Penn State, signed a contract for his veteran minimum.

  10. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by Slapstick View Post
    Time to change the (F/A) to (Under Contract):

    http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/...hanges-670606/
    Then again- don't trust Chadman on this one!
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