Ed: Steelers Swung, Missed on OLBs in First Round
WEDNESDAY, 23 JANUARY 2013 09:09
WRITTEN BY ED BOUCHETTE
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:
--- 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.