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Thread: Shazier needs to start, and Steelers need to keep playing rookies

  1. #1
    Hall of Famer SteelCrazy's Avatar
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    Shazier needs to start, and Steelers need to keep playing rookies

    By Chris Mueller Special to The Times | 0 comments




    Ryan Shazier is already the starter.

    At least, that’s what the Steelers have led me to believe after one day of OTAs. The first round pick from Ohio State lined up at inside linebacker with the rest of the starters, and, by all accounts, went through a perfectly fine day of shorts-and-helmets football.

    I know, this isn’t exactly a newsflash. Nor is it likely exciting to many of you.

    It is different, though. And it is good.

    The time-honored tradition of Steelers rookies, specifically those on defense, needing to learn in a mostly passive way for a full season is finally going away. And not a moment too soon, either.

    If you haven’t noticed it, you haven’t been paying nearly close enough attention. The Steelers’ defense, once an outfit that struck legitimate fear in the hearts of everyone this side of Tom Brady, has been in significant decline.

    At times the numbers have masked it, but keen observers know that this has not been the fearsome, turnover-forcing Steelers defense of recent vintage. Lately the defense has looked slower, older and mostly devoid of playmakers. Playmakers and speed.

    One of the reasons for that is the steep learning curve that fans and media alike hear so much about. It is accepted as an article of faith that LeBeau’s defense is so complex that only experienced players can properly execute it.

    If this defense was pulling its weight, if it was forcing plenty of turnovers and if it appeared to be the kind of disruptive force that drove the Steelers to so many wins, this would be fine. No one would complain about older, slower veterans plying their trade.

    It isn’t, and it hasn’t been. The time is right for new blood to be thrown into the fire right away and asked to learn on the fly. Shazier being installed as the starter, even on the first day of OTAs, would seem to suggest that the team understands the necessity of speed.

    This is not to suggest that Shazier will be perfect right away. That’s doubtful. But learning his position with the rest of the starters will only help speed up his development. Luke Fickell, his position coach at Ohio State, said that one of Shazier’s best qualities is his ability to play at full speed even when forced to “think” the game.

    That ability will serve him well with the Steelers. And even if he doesn’t know all of his assignments right away, he’ll learn soon enough, and fans will at least get to watch a fast, athletic and young player get a shot.

    Not a second-year player who worked his way into 11 passable starts as a rookie last year, like Vince Williams. Not a veteran like Larry Foote, a step or two slow but steeped in knowledge of scheme. No, they’ll watch a player go through some growing pains but also likely fly around and make plays.

    Hopefully Stephon Tuitt, the exciting defensive line prospect from Notre Dame, gets the same chance as Shazier. Hopefully this new trend holds.

    Pro football is a young man’s game, and regardless of scheme, it is a game decided by player execution, not coaching brilliance. The Seahawks, a team that didn’t disguise its defensive intentions all that much, won the Super Bowl by being faster, more physical and more dynamic on defense than everyone else.

    Those qualities -- ferocity, speed, power -- are all most readily associated with younger players.

    Ryan Shazier is inexperienced, but he is fast, young and has the potential to be dynamic. He’s new blood, getting a chance right away, not having to complete his apprenticeship.

    If the Steelers want their defense to return to its previous form, players like Shazier need to become the rule, not the exception.

    Chris Mueller is a co-host of the Starkey & Mueller Show weekdays from 3-7 p.m. on 93.7 The Fan.

    http://www.timesonline.com/columnist...66ded3876.html

  2. #2
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    I think this will show that rookies CAN play early on. They do it all over the NFL. If the defense needs simplified or streamlined then do it to enhance the opportunitites for success.

    It's not like the defense has been fooling anyone in the NFL the past three years anyway as we have seen sacks and turnovers decrease to historic lows and big plays by the oppornents increase. Seems we have been only fooling ourseleves with the complexity.
    Playing Fantasy Football does not qualify you to be the in the front office or on the coaching staff of the Pittsburgh Steelers. They are professionals and you are not!

  3. #3
    Hall of Famer SteelCrazy's Avatar
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    while I do some what agree with you it has to be complex or why else would Troy be playing up like a LB on most downs Vince Williams is playing?

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    The Steelers play rookies. How much playing time rookies get depends on how they well perform in practice and game situations. People seem to think it's only learning how to play within the Steelers defense. Rookies must adapt to the speed and complexity of the offenses they face. Another factor in the equation is how well do the veteran players perform that are ahead of the rookies on the depth chart.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by SteelCrazy View Post
    By Chris Mueller Special to The Times | 0 comments




    Ryan Shazier is already the starter.

    At least, that’s what the Steelers have led me to believe after one day of OTAs. The first round pick from Ohio State lined up at inside linebacker with the rest of the starters, and, by all accounts, went through a perfectly fine day of shorts-and-helmets football.

    I know, this isn’t exactly a newsflash. Nor is it likely exciting to many of you.

    It is different, though. And it is good.

    The time-honored tradition of Steelers rookies, specifically those on defense, needing to learn in a mostly passive way for a full season is finally going away. And not a moment too soon, either.

    If you haven’t noticed it, you haven’t been paying nearly close enough attention. The Steelers’ defense, once an outfit that struck legitimate fear in the hearts of everyone this side of Tom Brady, has been in significant decline.

    At times the numbers have masked it, but keen observers know that this has not been the fearsome, turnover-forcing Steelers defense of recent vintage. Lately the defense has looked slower, older and mostly devoid of playmakers. Playmakers and speed.

    One of the reasons for that is the steep learning curve that fans and media alike hear so much about. It is accepted as an article of faith that LeBeau’s defense is so complex that only experienced players can properly execute it.

    If this defense was pulling its weight, if it was forcing plenty of turnovers and if it appeared to be the kind of disruptive force that drove the Steelers to so many wins, this would be fine. No one would complain about older, slower veterans plying their trade.

    It isn’t, and it hasn’t been. The time is right for new blood to be thrown into the fire right away and asked to learn on the fly. Shazier being installed as the starter, even on the first day of OTAs, would seem to suggest that the team understands the necessity of speed.

    This is not to suggest that Shazier will be perfect right away. That’s doubtful. But learning his position with the rest of the starters will only help speed up his development. Luke Fickell, his position coach at Ohio State, said that one of Shazier’s best qualities is his ability to play at full speed even when forced to “think” the game.

    That ability will serve him well with the Steelers. And even if he doesn’t know all of his assignments right away, he’ll learn soon enough, and fans will at least get to watch a fast, athletic and young player get a shot.

    Not a second-year player who worked his way into 11 passable starts as a rookie last year, like Vince Williams. Not a veteran like Larry Foote, a step or two slow but steeped in knowledge of scheme. No, they’ll watch a player go through some growing pains but also likely fly around and make plays.

    Hopefully Stephon Tuitt, the exciting defensive line prospect from Notre Dame, gets the same chance as Shazier. Hopefully this new trend holds.

    Pro football is a young man’s game, and regardless of scheme, it is a game decided by player execution, not coaching brilliance. The Seahawks, a team that didn’t disguise its defensive intentions all that much, won the Super Bowl by being faster, more physical and more dynamic on defense than everyone else.

    Those qualities -- ferocity, speed, power -- are all most readily associated with younger players.

    Ryan Shazier is inexperienced, but he is fast, young and has the potential to be dynamic. He’s new blood, getting a chance right away, not having to complete his apprenticeship.

    If the Steelers want their defense to return to its previous form, players like Shazier need to become the rule, not the exception.

    Chris Mueller is a co-host of the Starkey & Mueller Show weekdays from 3-7 p.m. on 93.7 The Fan.

    http://www.timesonline.com/columnist...66ded3876.html
    This is ridiculous. So you know why rookies did not start on defense? It WAS elite. Since DL returned who on this roster would have made the team better starting as a rookie? Maybe Hayward? But we did not know a very young Ziggy could do. That is ONE GUY.

    Last year we had two rookie starters and those were THE WORST performances we have seen at those positions since DLs return.

    We WILL wind up starting one or quite possibly two rookies this year again. All that tells me is that the defense ain't very good. Bad defenses tend to start rookies.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Captain Lemming View Post
    This is ridiculous. So you know why rookies did not start on defense? It WAS elite. Since DL returned who on this roster would have made the team better starting as a rookie? Maybe Hayward? But we did not know a very young Ziggy could do. That is ONE GUY.

    Last year we had two rookie starters and those were THE WORST performances we have seen at those positions since DLs return.

    We WILL wind up starting one or quite possibly two rookies this year again. All that tells me is that the defense ain't very good. Bad defenses tend to start rookies.
    Thank you, it will be interesting to see how many rookies the Seahawks trot out there this year on defense or the 49ers. The answer is probably zero in both cases, unless, of course, there are injuries or suspensions for misdeeds, barring those scenarios neither defense will be putting a rookie on the field. It's only expected in Pittsburgh and only after D1ck Lebeau has been ridiculed for being senile and having the game pass him by.

    Pappy


    1.15) Ryan Shazier - ILB/OLB
    2.46) Stephon Tuitt - DE
    3.97) Dri Archer - RB
    4.118 ) Martavis Bryant - WR
    5.157) Shaquille Richardson - CB
    6.173) Wesley Johnson - OT
    6.192) Jordan Zumwalt - ILB
    7.215) Daniel McCullers - DT
    7.230) Rob Blanchflower - TE

    "Before you can win a game, you have to not lose it." -- Chuck Noll

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    Quote Originally Posted by papillon View Post
    Thank you, it will be interesting to see how many rookies the Seahawks trot out there this year on defense or the 49ers. The answer is probably zero in both cases, unless, of course, there are injuries or suspensions for misdeeds, barring those scenarios neither defense will be putting a rookie on the field. It's only expected in Pittsburgh and only after D1ck Lebeau has been ridiculed for being senile and having the game pass him by.

    Pappy
    Playing Fantasy Football does not qualify you to be the in the front office or on the coaching staff of the Pittsburgh Steelers. They are professionals and you are not!
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  8. #8
    Hall of Famer ikestops85's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Discipline of Steel View Post
    Playing Fantasy Football does not qualify you to be the in the front office or on the coaching staff of the Pittsburgh Steelers. They are professionals and you are not!
    I think the same can be said of everyone on here.
    <a href=http://seahawknationblog.com/files/2011/02/roger-goodell.jpg target=_blank>http://seahawknationblog.com/files/2...er-goodell.jpg</a>

  9. #9
    Legend papillon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Discipline of Steel View Post
    Playing Fantasy Football does not qualify you to be the in the front office or on the coaching staff of the Pittsburgh Steelers. They are professionals and you are not!
    Umm, you'll have to help me understand how I was acting like a GM or coach and I've never played FF. All I stated was, that, what may be the top 2 defenses in the league probably aren't going to start any rookies this year, which was the scenario a few years back for the Steelers, they had a top 5 defense, so starting rookies probably wasn't going to happen.

    Pappy


    1.15) Ryan Shazier - ILB/OLB
    2.46) Stephon Tuitt - DE
    3.97) Dri Archer - RB
    4.118 ) Martavis Bryant - WR
    5.157) Shaquille Richardson - CB
    6.173) Wesley Johnson - OT
    6.192) Jordan Zumwalt - ILB
    7.215) Daniel McCullers - DT
    7.230) Rob Blanchflower - TE

    "Before you can win a game, you have to not lose it." -- Chuck Noll

  10. #10
    Legend RuthlessBurgher's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by papillon View Post
    Umm, you'll have to help me understand how I was acting like a GM or coach and I've never played FF. All I stated was, that, what may be the top 2 defenses in the league probably aren't going to start any rookies this year, which was the scenario a few years back for the Steelers, they had a top 5 defense, so starting rookies probably wasn't going to happen.

    Pappy
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