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Thread: Going forward at Center

  1. #11
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    pouncey is fragile and only decent when healthy.
    i would resign velasco at center and move pouncey to LG.
    Let beachum and adams fight it out at LT and gilbert at RT
    Last edited by squidkid; 12-02-2013 at 11:13 AM.

  2. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by squidkid View Post
    pouncey is fragile and only decent when healthy.
    i would resign velasco at center and move pouncey to LG.
    Let beachum and adams fight it out at LT and gilbert at RT
    This assumes that Velasco, coming off an achilles injury, will be healthy at some point next year. Who knows if or when he will be healthy.

  3. #13
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    Stretch run for Steelers will help shape future

    By Ed Bouchette / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

    Injuries have taken a toll on a second consecutive season for the Steelers. They also have prompted some individual subplots that could have far-reaching effects.

    The most significant is the emergence of linebacker Jason Worilds after a calf injury to LaMarr Woodley, but it does not end there. The loss of center Fernando Velasco to an Achilles injury, the continued foot problem that keeps out defensive end Brett Keisel and even an early minor injury to cornerback Cortez Allen could affect jobs and shape the roster for 2014.

    Start with Worilds:

    He had the best game of his career in Thursday night's 22-20 loss at Baltimore. He had 2 sacks, 10 tackles, 3 quarterback hurries and 1 forced fumble. He has five sacks in the past five games and leads the team with six, one more than Woodley.

    Worilds has done some of his best work from the left side filling in for Woodley, who has missed the past three games with a calf injury. With rookie Jarvis Jones drafted in the first round to play the right side, Worilds is making his case for the Steelers to re-sign him or for him to go elsewhere to be a starter when he becomes an unrestricted free agent in March.

    If the Steelers do go hard after Worilds, they almost surely would have to move Woodley one way or another. He will be 30 next year and is set to make $8 million in salary and count for $13.5 million against the salary cap.

    Velasco's injury is devastating for him now and for landing a fat free-agent contract. It will hurt the Steelers' cause now but could help them next season. He was a godsend for them after three-time Pro Bowl center Maurkice Pouncey was lost for the season with a knee injury on the opening series of the season against Tennessee.

    Velasco also has a one-year contract with the Steelers and was working on finding his fortune as a free agent in March after playing so well. But now he is damaged goods and it's unlikely another team will throw good money at him, hoping he would recover quickly enough and return to form for 2014.

    Velasco's best course of action could be to sign another one-year contract with the Steelers and serve as their top backup at center and guard for 2014, then try his luck as a free agent in 2015. He would be a luxury the Steelers did not have this season, a strong backup to the three inside line positions.

    Keisel left Thursday's game because of his planter fasciitis foot injury that kept him out of the two previous games. Keisel turns 36 near the start of next season and his contract is up in March. This probably was going to be his final season anyway, but the foot injury may confirm that for the Steelers, who made no attempt to extend his contract this year.

    If Keisel goes, who takes his place? Cameron Heyward would start, but would the Steelers try to re-sign Ziggy Hood, who also can become an unrestricted free agent in March? Would they go with Al Woods at defensive end or rookie Nick Williams, a seventh-round draft choice on injured reserve? Rookie Brian Arnfelt also has been on their practice squad all season.

    Like Hood and Worilds, cornerback Keenan Lewis received no offer for an extension from the Steelers nor one before he became an unrestricted free agent in March, so he signed with New Orleans. The Steelers did not try to keep him because they thought Allen was more than an adequate replacement as their starting left cornerback.

    Allen started the opener, missed the next two games with an injury, returned to start two more games and then lost his starting job to William Gay, who was re-signed to play in their substitution pass defenses.

    They have deemed Gay the better cornerback and he is signed for the next two years. Allen has one more year to go on his rookie contract, a time when they often extend contracts for good, young players. But Allen finds himself in the same category as Lewis in 2011, playing in sub-packages. Coincidentally, Lewis that season also played behind Gay and moved up in 2012 to start after Gay signed with Arizona as a free agent (after receiving no offer from the Steelers).

    So while the Steelers' playoff hopes have dimmed considerably, there remains intrigue in the final quarter of the season and beyond.

    http://www.post-gazette.com/sports/s...#ixzz2mJJ4Cjea
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  4. #14
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    Pouncey is fragile and Velasco is on IR.... not sure why people are acting as though Velasco will be ready next year. He JUST went down.

  5. #15
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    Like Hood and Worilds, cornerback Keenan Lewis received no offer for an extension from the Steelers nor one before he became an unrestricted free agent in March, so he signed with New Orleans. The Steelers did not try to keep him because they thought Allen was more than an adequate replacement as their starting left cornerback.

    Allen started the opener, missed the next two games with an injury, returned to start two more games and then lost his starting job to William Gay, who was re-signed to play in their substitution pass defenses.

    They have deemed Gay the better cornerback and he is signed for the next two years. Allen has one more year to go on his rookie contract, a time when they often extend contracts for good, young players. But Allen finds himself in the same category as Lewis in 2011, playing in sub-packages. Coincidentally, Lewis that season also played behind Gay and moved up in 2012 to start after Gay signed with Arizona as a free agent (after receiving no offer from the Steelers).

    So while the Steelers' playoff hopes have dimmed considerably, there remains intrigue in the final quarter of the season and beyond.
    Ike Taylor is no sure thing to return next year given his performance, age, and large cap number. 2014 is the last year of his deal, and is scheduled to make a base salary of $7 million. Our starting corners next year could be Cortez Allen and William Gay, with no other promising corners on the roster (I expect an early and a late pick to be used on corners, since Curtis Brown is a special teamer, Terry Hawthorne didn't make it out of training camp, DeMarcus Van Dyke and Josh Victorian are gone, and Antwan Blake and Isaiah Green are just guys). I also don't expect Ryan Clark to be back, so our starting safeties could be Troy Polamalu and Will Allen, with Shamarko Thomas functioning as a slot corner in the nickel, and Robert Golden as the extra safety in the dime allowing Troy to move up into his quasi-LB role.


    1.15 WR Mike Evans, Texas A&M
    2.46 TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Washington
    3.97c CB Philip Gaines, Rice
    4.118 ILB Shayne Skov, Stanford
    5.157 OT James Hurst, North Carolina
    5.173c RB Jerrick McKinnon, Georgia Southern
    6.192 CB Walt Aikens, Liberty
    6.215c DE Deandre Coleman, California
    7.230 NT Zack Kerr, Delaware

  6. #16
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    New Steelers center Wallace will make first start

    By Ray Fittipaldo / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

    New Steelers center Cody Wallace is nearing the end of his sixth season in the NFL. He has been on six teams and has played a total of 58 snaps in his professional career.

    On Sunday, he will make his first NFL start.

    "It's been a long time," Wallace said after practice Monday. "I've always prepared with that hope in mind. For me, I'm not going to look at it differently than other games. Now, after warm-ups, I know I won't be getting cold, so that will be exciting."

    Leave it to an offensive lineman to lighten the mood in a difficult circumstance. Wallace is the team's third center this season, and he's assuming the role with his team in a must-win situation for the final four games of the season.

    It's not an ideal situation, but his teammates are confident that Wallace is ready for the challenge.

    "It's time to show what he can do," veteran guard Ramon Foster said. "He's been in the league for a while. This will be his first start. He's starving for this and you can tell by the way he's working. He has prepared for this moment."

    "He comes to work every day and he busts his tail," right tackle Marcus Gilbert said. "Knowing he was the second-string center, he always came to practice with the mentality that he was trying to get that starting job. He's on top of everything, asking question in meetings even though he was the second guy. He was that type of guy who strived for the best. That's what we're looking to get from him, to get the best out of him."

    Wallace, drafted out of Texas A&M in the fourth round of the 2008 draft by the San Francisco 49ers, is stepping in for Fernando Velasco, who suffered an Achilles injury in the fourth quarter of a loss Thursday night to the Baltimore Ravens. Velasco was signed in September after Maurkice Pouncey was lost for the season with a knee injury in the opener against the Tennessee Titans.

    Velasco had less than a week to prepare for his first game, and Foster and others had to guide him through his first few games by helping him with line calls and other nuances of the offense on the fly.

    Wallace has been with the team all season, so it won't be about getting him up to speed mentally as much as getting him up to the actual speed of an NFL game. He only has been in 15 of them and until this season he almost never saw the field.

    Forty of his 58 career snaps have come this season. He played 38 snaps at guard in the Oakland Raiders game and played two snaps at center against the Ravens after Velasco was injured.

    "The good thing about it is Cody has been here so he knows the system," Foster said. "He just has to get game speed going. As far as knowing what to do and how to do it, he's on top of it."

    The Steelers might be dealing with more than a new center Sunday against the Miami Dolphins. Left tackle Kelvin Beachum also was injured against the Ravens and his status this week is not yet known. He was seen limping across the parking lot Monday at the Steelers practice facility while his teammates practiced.

    Former starter Mike Adams, who replaced Beachum against the Ravens, also was injured late in the Ravens game. That prompted the Steelers to sign veteran Rashad Butler on Saturday, but Butler abruptly left the team Monday without participating in a practice. The Steelers said it was for personal reasons.

    Guy Whimper would be in line to start Sunday if Beachum and Adams do not improve. Whimper has played right tackle and both guard positions in games this season but his first exposure to left tackle came against the Ravens when he played the final five snaps of the game.

    Gilbert said there had not yet been any discussion with the coaches about moving him to left tackle this week if Beachum cannot play.

    If there is a positive to be drawn from the situation it's that putting together a game plan with a patchwork offensive line is nothing new to the Steelers. They have been dealing with injury-riddled lines for most of the past four seasons.

    "Injuries are going to happen," Gilbert said. "You can't control it. You have to get the guys behind you ready to play. We took a lot of ownership out there in practice today getting these guys ready, pushing them to go harder and finish."

    http://www.post-gazette.com/sports/s...#ixzz2mP8cJHS2

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