View Full Version : Change is in order in wake of 2-6 start

11-08-2006, 09:47 AM

By Ed Bouchette, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Peter Diana, Post-Gazette
Coach Bill Cowher strongly suggests there will be some different faces in Losing too many games often means a loss of jobs, and that is what coach Bill Cowher suggested will happen when the Steelers take the field again Sunday against the New Orleans Saints.

"There could be some lineup changes," Cowher said without being prompted near the start of his weekly news conference yesterday, "but it will be something that won't be discussed. Some of those decisions could be game-day decisions, for obvious reasons."

Those reasons include a 2-6 record and individual performance, although Cowher said he won't make lineup changes merely to send his under-performing team a message.

"I don't send messages,'' Cowher said. "I deliver them. I try to talk to the team very openly. It's about accountability. I do things that are in the best interest of this football team to win a game.

"If changes are made, it's for that purpose only."

During his 15 seasons as the Steelers' coach, Cowher has been reluctant to make changes for change's sake during his team's down times.

Speculation centered on one possible change, that of starting flanker, especially in light of two comments Cowher made during his news conference.

Cedrick Wilson, who signed as a free agent last year, moved into the starting lineup this season after splitting time at flanker with Antwaan Randle El last season. Wilson has not scored a regular-season touchdown. Sunday, he caught a 35-yard pass from quarterback Ben Roethlisberger in the first period. He ran to the Denver 6, carrying the ball in one hand extended in front of him. Safety Sam Brandon knocked the ball loose and the Broncos recovered.

Wilson has been instructed many times to protect the ball better, and Cowher said he had no idea why he carried it that way Sunday.

"You need to ask him that question," Cowher said.

Wilson is third on the team with 21 receptions for 310 yards. Rookie Santonio Holmes has alternated with him every third series since the fourth game in San Diego. Holmes is second with 22 receptions for 323 yards and came in for some praise from his head coach yesterday.

"He's a young player, and I believe that Santonio Holmes is going to be a really good football player in this league," Cowher said, while acknowledging disappointment in his fumbles as a return man.

"In terms of a receiver and picking up this offense, I think he's gotten more comfortable and I think he'll continue to get better."

It's possible Cowher also could make a move at cornerback, promoting Bryant McFadden.

Max Starks did not play well at right tackle two games ago in Oakland, but Cowher expressed satisfaction with his play Sunday against Denver except for one sack he allowed.

"Outside of that, I thought Max played a much better game than the week before. The line in general did a good job. We got beat a couple of times, but that's a pretty good defensive line, too. We did a pretty good job for the most part."

There are not many other changes Cowher could make -- or would be willing to -- this week because of injuries. He might keep Holmes off punt and kickoff returns, but rookie Willie Reid was declared out again with a foot sprain, leaving only Wilson or Deshea Townsend as possible punt-returners. After Cowher benched Holmes, he inserted Wilson and had Ike Taylor take his place on kickoff returns.

I wish Reid would hurry up and get healthy because this "foot sprain" is definately more than what was initially diagnosed and we could really use him now.

McFadden is a definate good change and I think Chris K should be in for Simmons as well.

Cedric isnt a difference maker enough and/or he's not getting the ball enough so if Holmes can make more of a contribution then put him in opposite Hines. Let Washington & Cedric be the 3rd and 4th WR's.

House of Steel
11-08-2006, 10:13 AM
Great Points, Matt. I got a sense of a feeling that Cowher is getting sick of this all and finally about to change his attitude and get this team rolling. I hope I am right.

11-08-2006, 11:21 AM
Washington is a far better option than Wilson at this point. That fumble was a back-breaker especially after getting the yardage for a first on fourth down!

If I see Holmes returning another punt or kick off then I will know Cowher doesn't care about what happens this season... Santurnover Holmes is now his new name! Hurry up Reid, suck it up!!!

As for the corner situation... they just need to get up on the receiver and hit them at the line to disrupt their timing. Right now they ALL are giving a 10 yard cushion which leads to those quick outs that pick up 5-6 yards every time!