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Thread: Makeover complete, Steelers ready for resurgence

  1. #1
    Hall of Famer SteelCrazy's Avatar
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    Makeover complete, Steelers ready for resurgence



    PITTSBURGH (AP) — The faces Ike Taylor grew so accustomed to seeing line up alongside him over the past decade have disappeared.


    Ryan Clark? Gone. Ditto Brett Keisel. And LaMarr Woodley. Larry Foote too.

    All Pittsburgh Steelers veterans with Super Bowl rings.

    All now are a part of the team’s past after another offseason purge, part of the inevitable churn from which no franchise — not even the one with more Lombardi Trophies than any other — is immune.

    Of the 90 players who will report to Saint Vincent College on Friday when the Steelers open training camp, only seven stood on the field in Tampa on that cool February night five years ago when Pittsburgh beat the Arizona Cardinals for its sixth championship.

    The 34-year-old Taylor knows he may be part of the next wave out the door. He’s just trying to keep it propped open as long as he can, even if it means the longtime court jester has suddenly become one of the de-facto elder statesmen.

    “There are a whole lot of new faces,” the cornerback said with a laugh. “That’s a good and bad thing. It’s a good thing that I am still here. I’ll give a shout out to everybody who left. But football is football. Football, you have to understand as a player, is a business.”

    And business wasn’t so hot for the Steelers in 2013. Only a resurgent 6-2 second half allowed Pittsburgh to avoid its first losing season since 2003. The Steelers haven’t missed the playoffs three consecutive years this millennium. To keep that streak alive, they spent the long winter and spring giving the defense a needed jolt of speed and youth.

    The early returns are promising. Cornerback William Gay likened practice during organized team activities to a track meet. One in which the defense that finished 13th in the league in yards allowed last year did less chasing and more catching.

    “These boys are running,’” Taylor said. “When you look at it on the field and you actually play with them, you can see that they are running.”

    Perhaps, all the way back to the postseason. Here’s what to look for as Pittsburgh begins its 47th summer at Saint Vincent.

    SLIM SHAZIER: Rookie linebacker Ryan Shazier runs like a safety and hits as if he’s a linebacker. The Steelers can deal with the 6-foot-1, 237-pound Shazier’s relative lack of size if it means he can move sideline to sideline as quickly as he did in three standout years at Ohio State. On a defense where youngsters typically only start when necessary, Shazier could be the exception as the Steelers search for someone to replace Foote.

    LOADED BACKFIELD: Le’Veon Bell put together the best rookie season by a Steelers running back since Franco Harris in 1972, with 1,259 yards from scrimmage. He’ll have plenty of help this fall from beefy LeGarrette Blount, who signed after spending last year in New England and rookie Dri Archer, whose 4.27 40-yard dash time at the draft combine has offensive coordinator Todd Haley dreaming of ways to use him.

    OUT OF THIS WORILDS: Pittsburgh liked enough of what it saw from outside linebacker Jason Worilds and his team-high eight sacks in 2013 to hand him the transitional player tag and cut ties with the oft-injured Woodley. Worilds and the Steelers, however, have not yet agreed to a long-term deal and the 26-year-old missed most of the offseason workouts because of a nagging leg injury.

    NO HUDDLE HYPE: The Steelers rallied from a miserable 2-6 start in 2013 thanks in large part to an uptick in offensive production due to an increased reliance on the no-huddle.

    Expect quarterback Ben Roethlisberger to be given even more freedom in 2014. Pittsburgh averaged 28 points a game during its 6-2 run to close 2013. Roethlisberger expects the offense to be even more productive with the addition of wide receiver Lance Moore and the potential of 6-foot-4 rookie wideout Martavis Bryant, who gives Roethlisberger the big red zone target he’s lacked since Plaxico Burress left town the first time nearly a decade ago.

    HEALTHY LINE: Who knows what 2013 would have looked like in Pittsburgh if center Maurkice Pouncey hadn’t torn up his right knee eight plays into the season? It took the line weeks to stabilize, and by then it was too late. Pouncey is healthy and happy after signing a contract extension in June. His return buoys a group of youngsters — including rapidly improving guard David DeCastro — that was one of the better units in the league by the end of last year even with Pouncey on the sideline in sweatpants.

    [url]http://newpittsburghcourieronline.com/2014/07/23/makeover-complete-steelers-ready-for-resurgence/[/url]
    2017 Mock

    1. T.J Watt, OLB/DE, Wisconsin - will be a huge mistake if available and we pass

    2. Obi Melifonwu, S, Connecticut

    3. Kevin King, CB, Washington

    3. Adam Shaheen, TE, Ashland

    4. Trey Hendrickson, DE, Florida Atlantic

    5. Josh Reynolds, WR, Texas A&M

    6. Barry Sanders, RB, Oklahoma State (How can you go wrong with that name, however the sample size is so small that his dad may be better even in his 50's)

    7. Alec Torgersen, QB, Pennsylvania

  2. #2
    Legend
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    11-5 in 2014
    1. Charles Harris-OLB, Missouri
    2. Rasul Douglas-CB, West Virginia
    3. Chris Godwin-WR, Penn State
    4. John Johnson-S, Boston College
    5. James Conner-RB, Pitt
    6. Nazair Jones-DT, North Carolina
    7. Garrett Sickels, DE/OLB, Penn State

  3. #3
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    16-0
    27-9 superbowl victory over the 49ers

  4. #4
    Backup raycafan's Avatar
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    I'm thinking 12 and 4, I just like the look of how the Steeler schedule works out. Bye week and home game opponents just looks to align with the stars. I am hoping they can come out and pick up from where they left last season. I am really pumped up, this has been a long July with no real news.

  5. #5
    Backup raycafan's Avatar
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    I'm thinking 12 and 4, I just like the look of how the Steeler schedule works out. Bye week and home game opponents just looks to align with the stars. I am hoping they can come out and pick up from where they left last season. I am really pumped up, this has been a long July with no real news.

  6. #6
    Starter The Man of Steel's Avatar
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    My only concern going into 2014 is the substandard guys manning the cornerback positions. Otherwise there's plenty of reason for optimism.

  7. #7
    Legend Shawn's Avatar
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    My biggest concern this season isn't the #2 WR, it's Worilds. Can that guy ever stay healthy? We have no real depth. Without Worilds starting getting pressure on the QB could be tough. And we all know what happens when the Steelers can get pressure.
    1. Carl Lawson-DE/OLB Auburn
    2. Marcus Williams-FS Utah
    3 Jake Butt-TE Michigan
    3B. Raekwon McMillan-ILB tOSU
    4. Ahkello Witherspoon-CB Colorado
    5. Eddie Vanderdoes-DT/DE UCLA
    6. Josh Malone-WR Tennessee
    7. Tarik "The Human Joystick" Cohen-RB/WR/PR, NCA+T

  8. #8
    Legend RuthlessBurgher's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Oviedo View Post
    11-5 in 2014
    That's been my prediction as well. Should be enough to win the AFC North. Maybe 10-6 from Cincy, 9-7 from Baltimore, and 7-9 from Cleveland.


    Ruthless 2017 Mock Draft:
    1.30 ILB Zach Cunningham 6'3" 234 Vanderbilt
    2.62 OLB Jordan Willis 6'4" 255 Kansas State
    3.94 CB Sidney Jones 6'0" 186 Washington
    3.105c DE Tanoh Kpassagnon 6'7" 289 Villanova
    4.135 CB Howard Wilson 6'1" 184 Houston
    5.173 FS John Johnson 6'1" 205 Boston College
    6.213 TE Michael Roberts 6'4" 270 Toledo
    7.248 RB Elijah Hood 6'0" 232 North Carolina

    2015 MNF Executive Champion!

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