Ok, so it's time to think about next year... who/what/where should the Steelers be targetting for next year?
Clearly Gay has been pretty bad; a good CB would be nice. Both Ryan Clark and Casey Hampton are up for free agency, but I haven't heard anything about either of them.
On the offensive side, I see no reason to change any of the skill positions, though Willie Parker is up for free agency as well. The OLine has been pretty bad, not just on pass protection but on creating holes. Willie Colon is up for free agency, and we could use some serious help there.
So, CB, possibly Safety, and OLine seem like they should be the targets for the draft.
Anyone have thoughts/comments on Steeler goals for the offseason, and/or any players we should be targetting for the draft?
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[quote]Always play the players who will get you the most points[/quote]
I don't know what team you've been watching this year if you think the O-Line has been pretty bad...they've actually been quite good for a large majority of the season. They've given been plenty of time nearly every play, he just holds the ball longer than 90% of all QBs do so they have to block for longer and when we've tried to run, there have been holes and our OL is fine. The biggest thing in getting an OL playing at a high level is continuity...so we should keep what we have and let them continue to develop I think. Offensive Line is NOT something I want to see us address as much in the early rounds this year.
While CB was a concern and we could see a draft pick there possibly in the 1st or 2nd, I think that we may not make a lot of moves there. Gay is athletic and still pretty young and we have 2 CBs we just drafted last year in the mid rounds which I think could make an impact next year...remember, we always draft guys on defense thinking a couple years down the road. Woodley and Timmons didn't even really make a big impact at all their rookie seasons and are now both huge contributors on defense. I wouldn't be surprised if we didn't make a big move for a CB in the early rounds.
I think that the most likely positions we target in the draft are at Safety, along the Defensive Line, and possibly an ILB. I don't think we need to touch anything on offense as far as personnel goes...I like the weapons we have and all that and I don't think we need to change much there. This should be a defensive focused draft for us. For me...I would be absolutely ecstatic if we managed to land someone like Rolando McClain from Alabama at LB...he would be a fantastic successor for Farrior in the middle and just has outstanding intangibles that we love from our players (I don't think it'll happen though...he probably wont fall that far). Outside of that, I could see us taking a NT as Hampton is a FA (although we could franchise him) and he has never really gotten along with Tomlin too well as he doesn't like his work ethic so much. We're okay at DE but NT will be a concern and then our Safety depth is pretty poor as we NEED to resign Clark and Carter is a FA. Our lack of solid safety depth killed us this season.
I'm not complaining about the sacks, but the only holes I saw were when defenses were so suprised we tried to run the ball that they stumbled on their own feet. Obviously, that's not completely fair, but (and I can't find stats for this) it seemed that, in obvious running situations, our ability to make holes and move piles was pretty lacking. Your other comment seems to blaim Arians for the lack of running -- it seemed to me he was making an offense work with what he had, which was an OLine whose run-blocking was pretty weak.
Best... fantasy advice... EVER. :D
[quote]Always play the players who will get you the most points[/quote]
Cooner wrote:I'm not complaining about the sacks, but the only holes I saw were when defenses were so suprised we tried to run the ball that they stumbled on their own feet. Obviously, that's not completely fair, but (and I can't find stats for this) it seemed that, in obvious running situations, our ability to make holes and move piles was pretty lacking. Your other comment seems to blaim Arians for the lack of running -- it seemed to me he was making an offense work with what he had, which was an OLine whose run-blocking was pretty weak.
I blame Arians for lack of innovation. When they lined up in a run formation, they ran. When they lined up in a pass formation, they passed. Some of the routes dreamed up out of trips formation was pretty effective, but his play calling was predictable. I would say he gave up on the run early in the season, but that would seem to indicate he put any stock in the run in the first place. Did he purposely turn Ben into a 4000 yard QB, or did he just not have confidence in the Oline's ability to open holes?
I'll agree with you on the Oline. Holes were few and far between. But I don't think it's the place to look at first. Unless a stud Olinemen falls in their laps, the defensive secondary needs retooling. Get some fresh blood CBs who know how to work zone coverage and get Clark signed, along with some 2nd string safeties who can come in and not totally blow the game.
I would certainly give more of the blame to the playcalling than to the O-Line itself...especially as a pass protecting group they did an outstanding job and in run blocking, it's tough to tell all the time because when the entire stadium knows you're going to run, it's much tougher to do so on a consistent basis. If you notice though, we still were able to run effectively against all but the top defenses when we really focused on doing so and even Willie Parker was running more effectively near the end of the season because of it. Arians is a horrific play-caller and I think you're giving him FAR too much credit by saying he just did what he had to with what he had...he simply was far too quick to abandon the run and even games where we were running it very effectively, he simply refused to stick with it. I'd love to see how effective our offense could be with the weapons we have under a competent OC.
I really don't know how many times we saw Arians bailed out by Ben's brilliance on offense and his ability to create extraordinary plays far more often than most all other players in this league are able to. With nearly any other QB in this league playing under Arians, it would be so obviously more apparent just how inept and predictable his play-calling is.
I would put the Offensive Line VERY far down our list of needs this off season...we need help in the Secondary, we need to get someone at NT for the future, and we need more LB depth. Our defense has to be our focus this off season.
Regardless of whether anyone thinks the offensive line is a weakness or not, it won't be addressed heavily in the draft. The front office and coaches seem convinced that they have the right group of players in place up front. I'm inclined to agree with that in pass protection, and I'm inclined to give them another chance in opening up holes in the running game, because as you guys have said, they may be suffering from bad play-calling. The Steelers might nab an interior guy in the mid rounds like they did with Kraig Urbik last year, but other than that, they'll stick with the guys they have.
In my opinion, they need to find someone who can eventually (sooner rather than later) become a full-time replacement for James Farrior. Farrior was missing tackles left and right all season, and in my opinion, he's starting to decline. Whether they want to do this through the draft or just assume that Keyaron Fox can do it, they still need to find another inside linebacker.
They also need to figure out the nose tackle situation. If they can't re-sign Casey Hampton, they'll need to draft or sign a big body. Hampton's play hasn't seen a sharp drop-off yet, so his loss wouldn't be something to shrug off, and 3-4 nose tackles don't just pop up out of nowhere. I don't think that Chris Hoke is an adequate long term or even short term solution if they decide to let Hampton walk in free agency, and Ziggy Hood isn't big enough. My guess is that they let Hampton walk (unless they can sign him to a relatively cheap, definitely short-term deal) and draft someone with the intention of starting him by mid-season at the latest.
The secondary is where the biggest question marks are. Ryan Clark is a free agent, and while I think he's better than anyone the Steelers could find to replace him, they may not find him worth the money they'd have to pay him to keep him. He's definitely not a safety to build an entire defense around like Polamalu. They may just let Clark walk and have Ryan Mundy or, ick, Tyrone Carter (PLEASE NO) replace him while drafting someone at the same time. I'm not quite sure if they'd be willing to use the franchise tag on Clark or not. It may not even be available for him if they can't come to an agreement with Jeff Reed.
It's tough to say what the Steelers will want to do at cornerback. On the one hand, everyone besides Ike Taylor turned in sub-par performances this year. On the other hand, all of their corners besides Deshea Townsend are young (Gay is a third or fourth year player, and his backups were both rookies), and they may want to give them another chance before spending a high draft pick on a corner. IMO, unless someone falls farther than they should, the Steelers won't spend a first day pick at cornerback.
The Steelers are more than set at the skill positions on offense. Don't expect anything more than a late round flier there, if anything.
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Anyone you guys have on your "wish list" for us in the draft? I know I would love if we somehow found a way to snag Rolando McClain from Alabama...I wouldn't be terribly opposed to one of the NTs available early there or even someone like Taylor Mays from USC as a hard hitting safety compliment to Polamalu either.
From what I've heard we can probably get Hampton back at a decent price as he's 33 years old and it's clear his production is not the same it once was. I think we'll end up re-signing him for a few years and we'll start finding our replacement in the middle there too. I think no matter if we draft a safety or not we need to have getting Clark back a huge priority...he's a great compliment to Polamalu.
At CB we have Townsend and Gay both as FAs...I'm thinking Townsend is done as he's pretty old and we resign Gay as I have a hard time believing he'll ask for too much money given how he was abused last year.
What might have been January 12th, 2010 I have no problem with Green Bay cornerback Charles Woodson winning the AP NFL Defensive Player of the Year award.
What is a head scratcher: Woodson winning in a landslide considering that an argument can be made that he is not even be the best cornerback in the NFL.
That honor may belong to Darrelle Revis.
The former Aliquippa High and Pitt star got half the votes (14) that Woodson did for the award that Steelers outside linebacker James Harrison won last year. That is at best an oversight and at worst an injustice considering the season Revis had for the New York Jets.
He completely shut down premier and pedigreed wide receivers all season. And the sporting world owes Revis a collective thank you card for twice exposing Chad Ochocinco as the silly sideshow that the Bengals caricature/wide receiver has become.
What is interesting when it comes to Revis is what may have been had the Jets not stolen him with the 14th overall pick in the 2007 NFL draft — one slot ahead of the Steelers.
There is no guarantee that Steelers would have taken Revis over Lawrence Timmons even if they would have had a choice between the two.
Remember that Timmons’ selection came before the Steelers knew whether Harrison could replace Joey Porter — and when they still had the expendable Clark Haggans at the other outside linebacker spot.
The Steelers had such a need at outside linebacker that they used their first two picks in the 2007 draft on them.
Still, the Steelers have done remarkably well in the first round of the draft under director of football operations Kevin Colbert. And given the extra homework they would have done on Revis since he is a local product, it is fairly safe to assume they would have made the right call if given the choice between Revis and Timmons.
Imagine what the Steelers’ defense would be with Revis, a true shutdown corner, who you know, can actually catch.
They could have kept the steady Larry Foote, who is a better fit at inside linebacker than Timmons even though the latter is more athletic and arguably the Steelers’ hardest hitter. And they wouldn’t go into this year’s draft needing to address cornerback in the early rounds of it.
In the end, the Steelers didn’t get the chance to take Revis, and maybe that is a good thing. Had they taken Timmons over Revis they might have looked as bad as the Raiders, Buccaneers, Dolphins and Texans.
Those teams took JaMarcus Russell, Gaines Adams, Ted Ginn Jr. and Amobi Okoye before the Jets traded up to select Revis.
The question is if we can get a guy who will be a true "#1" corner where we're going to be drafting...I don't know if we will or not and I don't want us to reach for a guy if its not there. While I want our secondary to improve and especially at CB, we MUST remember that we do draft a couple years ahead generally so we have yet to see how our CBs we drafted last year will be in their 2nd year...remember that even Woodley and Timmons weren't huge impact guys in their rookie seasons and played a more central role in their 2nd seasons.