Tag Archives: Nate Washington
Rashard Mendenhall and Limas Sweed continue to disappoint Steeler Nation as well as their coaches. Let's start with
the 2008 1st round pick standout from Illinois, Rashard Mendenhall. Last season, Mendenhall's rookie season was cut short when Baltimore Ravens, Ray Lewis laid a crushing hit on the rookie, fracturing his should and ending his season in the process. This year, Mendenhall has seen very limited playing time with Willie Parker as the primary back and Mewelde Moore seeing the majority of 3rd down duties. To top matters off, Mendenhall was basically benched by head coach Mike Tomlin because he wasn't satisfied with the running back's preparation going into Sunday's division showdown with the Cincinnati Bengals. It was reported that Tomlin requires his players to take a written test leading up to each game to determine how well each player knows their assignments. Likewise, it's an indicator of how well each player prepares for an upcoming game. Shame on Mendenhall. He should be embarrassed to let his more veteran teammates down. What type of work ethic does this show about Mendenhall? With the amount of money that 1st round picks are making, and knowing he's probably the future running back of the Pittsburgh Steelers, you would think he would make more of a conscience effort to help his team win.
Now for the 2008 2nd round pick from Texas, Limas Sweed. Also a great athlete and standout during his college days,
the 6-4 220 pound receiver has a great combination of size and speed and a rare ability to beat defenses and get open down the field. So, what's the problem you may ask? The guy can't catch the ball. He reminds me of Nate Washington in the early part of his career but worse. He dropped a touchdown pass during the AFC Championship Game (AFCCG) which would have clinched the game. Now, he drops a touchdown pass that inevitably costs the Steelers the game in their second straight loss of the year against the Bengals. In Sweed's defense, his drop wasn't the primary reason for the Steelers losing against the Bengals (it was actually poor defense and coaching) but still. When is this guy going to learn to hold onto the ball? Coach Mike Tomlin threatened him this week by saying that he better catch the next pass thrown his way or he'll be demoted to the 5th wide receiver. What a disappointment he has been this year. It was thought that Sweed would fill in nicely as the number 3 wide receiver with the departure of Nate Washington. With Sweed's combination of size and speed, fans were hoping to see that "big target" that Big Ben has been wishing for. Instead, we see a guy that was already replaced by rookie Mike Wallace as the number 3 wide receiver. Regardless if Sweed keeps his number 4 wide receiver spot, he won't see many passes thrown his way at all this season unless he regains that number 3 spot.
The 2008 Steelers draft class is looking like the poorest caliber of players in recent memory. Let's hope that changes in the very near future.
Discuss at the Planet Steelers Forum
1. Steelers Cap Space
2. Thoughts on Steelers Free Agent Transactions
3. Will the Steelers get another veteran WR to replace Nate Washington
4. Why the Steelers like last years Offensive Line?
5. Why the Steelers must draft Defensive Lineman?
6. Why Bryant McFadden won’t be a Steeler?
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Nate Washington Signs with Tennessee Titans
Former Steelers wide receiver, Nate Washington has signed with the Tennessee Titans for a 6 years, 27 million dollar payday. 9 million of that money is guaranteed.
Nate Washington has seen incredible growth over the past several years and was a solid contributor the past two years. He especially came up with a few first down plays on the road to the Steelers 6th Super Bowl victory.
Washington was an undrafted free agent from the tiny division 3 school, Tiffin in 2005. Washington showed flashes of his speed and deep threat ability when given the opportunity. He possesses great straight-line speed that opposing secondaries must respect. In fact, Jeff Fisher said exactly that when asked about the signing of Washington. He notes that he worried about Washington's speed when facing the Steelers and now other teams will now other opponents will have to worry.
This was an expected move by the Steelers front office especially with 2nd year pro from Texas, Limas Sweed pushing for playing time next year. Sweed will be the Steelers #3 wide receiver next year behind both Hines Ward and Super Bowl MVP Santonio Holmes. Dallas Baker will likely be the #4 wide out. Sweed, like Washigton, also posses' great speed combined with a bigger frame at 6-4 and 200+ pounds. While Sweed needs to improve on his concentration and game awareness, he has the potential to be a game changing wide out and a solid deep threat for opposing defenses with an ability to make the big play.
Bryant McFadden, the Steelers starting cornerback (opposite of Ike Taylor) became a free agent at 12:01 Friday, February 23rd. With the big market signings of Raiders CB Nnamdi Asomugha and Redskins CB Deangelo Hall, McFadden and high-profile agent Drew Rosenhaus may be looking for a pay day.
McFadden has been said to have visits scheduled with the Lions, Cardinals and possibly the Ravens. I also wouldn't be surprised to the see the Tampa Bay Buccaneers interested.
The Steelers would be very wise to sign McFadden. That would allow the Steelers to focus more exclusively on the offensive and defensives lines. They lack quality starters and depth on the offensive line. The defensive line has very little depth but a solid starting lineup. The entire defensive line is now over 30 years old and Casey Hampton is in the last year of his contract. Don't expect the Steelers front office to extend Hampton's contract which leaves a gaping hole at NT, leaving vacant one of the most important positions in the 3-4 defense.
The Steelers haven't fared well in the offseason thus far.
- The Steelers have been unable to lock down James Harrison for a long-term contract. In fact, his agent said that they're "not close".
- The Steelers franchised Max Starks. The FO has said that they plan on working out a long-term contract. Well, that's what they said last year when they slapped him with the transition tag. Starks made close to 7 million last year with the transition tag and now is scheduled to make close to 9 million this year due to the franchise tag. Wouldn't the Steelers see that it's financially more sound to sign him to a long term deal instead of paying him close to 16 million for 2 years?
- Willie Colon was tendered a 1st round pick. Are the Steelers planning on signing Colon long-term? Will he be playing guard or tackle?
- The Steelers haven't extended LaMarr Woodley or Heath Miller
- The Steelers are very thin at offensive line and haven't signed ANYONE. Kemo is returning but Essex remains unsigned, and Simmons was cut. This leaves the Steelers with an empty slot at guard and the other guard as Darnell Stapleton who struggled at times last season. A look towards the future (2010 season) indicates that Justin Hartwig, Willie Colon, and Max Starks will all be UFA next season. That could possibly mean that the entire offensive line could contain new starters in one year.
- Nate Washington is expected to sign with the Detroit Lions for #2 wide receiver money.
|Steelers 2008 Salaries|
The Steelers offense needs to be at the top of their game today versus the Ravens. The key to the Steelers is easy. They need to convert on critical third downs and do not, under any circumstances, turn the ball over. If the Steelers don't turn the ball over, I believe they win this game. The Titans should have won last week against the Ravens, but turnovers was the deciding factor.
I expect the Steelers to open up the game in a spread offense. The Steelers should spread the Baltimore Ravens defense out with 4 and 5 wide receivers. The Ravens secondary is a bit beat up with Rolle out so this could result in Nate Washington having a big game. This will neutralize the Ravens' heavy blitzing and make a tough defense respect the Steelers passing game. The Steelers offense should not play conservative and tight. This will play right into the Ravens defensive plans which will make this game a much closer game than what it could be. Heath Miller and Mewelde Moore should pose significant receiving threats to the Ravens. Also, the offensive line will be a huge matchup against the Ravens imposing defensive front. The Steelers offensive line played their best game against the San Diego Chargers a week ago, but the Ravens are a much better and more aggressive defense. If Hartwig, Colon, Starks and company can keep Big Ben clean then the Steelers should be successful at Heinz Field today.
The #1 Steelers defense must play opportunistic football today at Heinz Field. The Steelers are relatively healthy today and will pose a huge challenge to the Baltimore's rookie QB, Joe Flacco. Dick Lebeau will try to confuse Flacco will different defensive looks. Per ESPN, the Steelers defense are going into this game with over 100 defensive plays at their disposal. The Steelers defense must shut down the Ravens running attack early and often. This will put the game on Joe "cool" shoulders which is exactly what the Steelers want. If McClain and Ray Rice have success running the football, the Steelers could be in for a long frustrating day.
Expect Troy Polamalu to be all over the field again today. Troy will start things off supporting the run defense as being an 'extra' in the box. Then, he'll drop back into a zone on obvious passing downs. Also, it is absolutely critical that LaMarr Woodley and James Harrison can get to Flacco today. Last game, the Steelers had trouble getting to the quarterback without sending more defenders than what the Ravens could block. This could expose our secondary and Flacco has the offensive line and the strong arm to make the Steelers defense pay for their mistakes. It is very important that the Steelers pass rush is at their best today. This will make Flacco make quick and possible poor decisions which could result in turnovers. Turnovers which will hopefully result in points in favor of the Steelers.
Turnovers is the name of today's game. If the Steelers o-line can protect Big Ben and give Willie Parker some room to run then I expect the Steelers to be victorious. If not, the Steelers could be in for a long and disappointing afternoon. The same goes for the Ravens, if the Steelers can stop the run, and get to Flacco early and often then the Steelers will have an excellent chance of winning today's game. I am going to be optimistic in this prediction but I feel the Steelers win: 27-17.
Offensive Player Of The Game: Hines Ward
Defensive Player Of The Game: LaMarr Woodley
Troy Polamalu, the normally quiet All-Pro safety let his voice be heard when he openly criticized the NFL in its recent influx of unwarranted fines to teammates including fines to Hines Ward. Steelers players James Harrison, LaMarr Woodley, and Nate Washington have all received fines by the NFL in the past 2 games.
Troy Polamalu voiced his opinion when he said "I think regarding the evolution of football, it's becoming more and more flag football, two-hand touch," Polamalu said. "We've really lost the essence of what real American football is about. I think it's probably all about money. They're not really concerned about safety."
I agree with Polamalu that the NFL is overreacting on some of these fines and suspensions for illegal hits. Big hits is something that the NFL even promotes and makes money from. They fine the player which makes money for the NFL then the NFL consolidates these type of hits and sell them on DVD as highlight reels. Seems a little ironic to us. Seems like the NFL does care more about money than they do than the players as Mark Schlereth of ESPN indicates:
Troy Polamalu continues to say that ex-players such as Dick Butkus, Ronnie Lott, Jack Tatum wouldn't be able to play in today's NFL:
"When you see guys like Dick Butkus, the Ronnie Lotts, the Jack Tatums, these guys really went after people. Now, they couldn't survive in this type of game. They wouldn't have enough money. They'd be paying fines all the time and they'd be suspended for a year after they do it two games in a row. It's kind of ridiculous."
He's right, its a whole different game now than what it used to be. Now, some can say that the players in today's NFL are biggest and faster than ever before. It's true and proven, they're bigger, faster, and stronger. But you can also make the arguement that the equipment, medical procedures/medicine are better and more protective than ever before. Additionally, players such as QB's and WR's are protected in today's game.
However, a similar argument can be made for players in prior years of the NFL. In the past, the NFL players were much more aggressive. A linebacker could basically "clothesline" a receiver coming across the middle or actually "hit" a quarterback without being penalized. These actions were acceptable and the equipment wasn't nearly as advanced as it is now to protect players. These type of actions today results in a fine or suspention.
It seems like numerous people and media outlets agree with Polamalu's analysis of today's NFL. For more details on Polamalu's comments please refer to ESPN's article: