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Stlrs4Life
03-26-2007, 06:02 AM
Tomlin believes Porter is replaceable

Monday, March 26, 2007
By Ed Bouchette, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette



PHOENIX -- No Joey Porter? No problem. The new man in charge has high hopes for the linebackers who will form the backbone of his new defense next season.
"We're going to get great outside linebacker play," Steelers coach Mike Tomlin predicted yesterday.
Some of the Steelers' best players on defense have played outside linebacker in the past generation since the team switched to a 3-4 defense from the old Steel Curtain days.
Players such as Mike Merriweather, Greg Lloyd, Chad Brown, Kevin Greene, Jason Gildon, Porter and others have dominated defensive play in Pittsburgh over two decades.
Tomlin does not see a reason why that should change after the Steelers released Porter, whose 60 sacks rank fourth on their career list.
"Can we identify who's going to be the playmaker at this point? No," Tomlin said. "Are we concerned about that? Really, no. That's the nature of football. Whoever we replace Joey with, the fans and the people who are concerned and have a stake in it will learn to love those guys and appreciate those guys for who they are. I know that's going to be a fact."
They already know the linebacker Tomlin expects to replace Porter.
"I have an idea of what I think James Harrison is capable of and I think it's going to be more than enough," Tomlin said of the Steelers' top backup on the outside the past three seasons.
Harrison, who was on the street when the Steelers signed him before the start of their 2004 training camp only because Clark Haggans had a broken hand, has done well as a backup and during his eight starts.
But can he play every down, every game?
"He'll answer those questions inside the white lines," Tomlin said. "I'm in Minnesota last year and everyone's talking about how miserable our linebacker corps was and how we had no chance to put together a solid defense because of our linebackers. And those guys went out there and played rock-solid football."
Tomlin, on the job for two months, said he loves the speculation surrounding not only who will succeed Porter at outside linebacker but all other debates about his team.
"I love those questions. It provides good talk this time of year, the speculation. It gives people something to worry about, and you appreciate that. You hope they enjoy it, but at the same time the wheels keep turning."
He said he wasn't surprised by the reaction -- some of it negative from his players -- to Porter's release, and the three-time Pro Bowl linebacker's subsequently signing a five-year contract in Miami that included a $12 million signing bonus.
"I've been a part of that since I've been in this league. What chair you sit in doesn't really matter. I've always mentally put myself in the chair that I sit in now.
"I've been part of some unique situations as an assistant coach. I was a part of the Jon Gruden/Keyshawn Johnson situation. I was a part of Warren Sapp leaving in free agency. I was a part of releasing John Lynch and things of that nature. "It's all a rerun to me, it really is, and the reactions that go with it. Yes, I'm the head coach now but it's nothing I haven't seen before. Change is part of this business, it's going to happen. Sometimes it's going to be more unpleasant than others, but it's the nature of what we do."

BlackGold4vr
03-26-2007, 07:14 AM
Great post. It is obvious that Tomlin thought Porter was replaceable or he would still be here. We have already beat this topic to death. Do I think James Harrison can play? Of course I do. Harrison can be a downright nasty defensive player. The biggest question mark that remains unanswered with the departure of Joey is who will be the emotional and vocal leader? That question won't get answered until the team faces a little adversity and we see who steps up. We'll see......

:towelwave:

steelcurtaingal
03-26-2007, 07:53 AM
he is replaceable, but he never will be forgotten. i think our defense will be jsut as good noiw as it was last year and hopefully better:pray: . by the way, nice sig, blackgold!

BlitzburghRockCity
03-26-2007, 08:43 AM
Sounds like damage control to me. Making sure he lets everyone know that releasing a player like Joey is not going to be a problem, we'll see.

The main question does indeed remain as to who will be the identity of the team in the locker room and on the field, who will take over as the go to emotional leader. Should be fun to see !

Ambridge
03-26-2007, 08:51 AM
Change is part of this business, it's going to happen. Sometimes it's going to be more unpleasant than others, but it's the nature of what we do."


At least Tomlin isn't clueless about the effects of releasing good/popular players from the roster and I'm guessing he's aware of the "Change Factor" that comes with him since he's the new Sherriff in town.

jayson_wv
03-26-2007, 09:46 AM
Sounds like damage control to me. Making sure he lets everyone know that releasing a player like Joey is not going to be a problem, we'll see.

The main question does indeed remain as to who will be the identity of the team in the locker room and on the field, who will take over as the go to emotional leader. Should be fun to see !

absolute agreement.

BlacknGold Bleeder
03-26-2007, 10:46 AM
Well he said all the right things... Just have to wait and see how it plays out...

floodcitygirl
03-26-2007, 10:56 AM
Thanks for posting this Dom. :bigthumb: As TG said...time's gonna tell. I guess we'll all be finding out together.

Black@Gold Forever32
03-26-2007, 01:53 PM
I don't need Tomlin to tell me Joey Porter is replaceable. Hell all the LB's that have come and gone in the Bill Cowher era can tell me that. The 3-4 defense is designed to make the LB's stars (especially the OLB's). I still think the Steelers need to upgrade their OLB. There is no depth and Clark Haggans is ok but OLB in the 3-4 have to dominate. As for James Harrison who knows what he can do for a full season? I like Harrison but this will be his first season as a fulltime starter.

The Steelers need to draft some LB's thats for sure. If Tomlin/Colbert draft a former DE and turn them into an OLB (which the Steelers are famous for doing) they must hit a homerun. No Alonzo Jacksons.lol

steelcurtaingal
03-26-2007, 01:59 PM
Thanks for posting this Dom. :bigthumb: As TG said...time's gonna tell. I guess we'll all be finding out together.

who else wants all questions answered (which would mean the season to start)?

I DO!!!!!!!!!!!!!

BlitzburghRockCity
03-26-2007, 01:59 PM
I don't need Tomlin to tell me Joey Porter is replaceable. Hell all the LB's that have come and gone in the Bill Cowher era can tell me that. The 3-4 defense is designed to make the LB's stars (especially the OLB's). I still think the Steelers need to upgrade their OLB. There is no depth and Clark Haggans is ok but OLB in the 3-4 have to dominate. As for James Harrison who knows what he can do for a full season? I like Harrison but this will be his first season as a fulltime starter.

The Steelers need to draft some LB's thats for sure. If Tomlin/Colbert draft a former DE and turn them into an OLB (which the Steelers are famous for doing) they must hit a homerun. No Alonzo Jacksons.lol


:plus1:

For the first time in a LONG time Im actually a bit worried about our current group as it stands now. Hopefully after the draft and once training camp starts that will change but right now we're looking at 2 starters, one of whom hasn't been healthy all year since he started basically and the other is inconsistent at best.

If we ever needed a homerun hit in the draft it's this year at DE/LB. Really we need homeruns in every pick on Day 1 and as many possible on day 2 because at this point there's no telling who we may not be able to resign.

Black@Gold Forever32
03-26-2007, 02:10 PM
:plus1:

For the first time in a LONG time Im actually a bit worried about our current group as it stands now. Hopefully after the draft and once training camp starts that will change but right now we're looking at 2 starters, one of whom hasn't been healthy all year since he started basically and the other is inconsistent at best.

If we ever needed a homerun hit in the draft it's this year at DE/LB. Really we need homeruns in every pick on Day 1 and as many possible on day 2 because at this point there's no telling who we may not be able to resign.

Dude I'm so worried about the pass rush as it stands right now. I thought the pass rush was inconsistent last year with Joey Porter.:bluelol: To me thats the biggest question about this team right now is the pass rush. So injecting youth at the OLB spot is very important.

The Steelers should also think about drafting an ILB also. Not alot of youth or depth at ILB also. There is Rian Wallace but he is still so much an unknown. Hopefully Tomlin gives him a chance to see if he can contribute as a potential starter or solid backup at the NFL level.

introyitrust
03-26-2007, 02:12 PM
Of course Porter is replaceable.
Actually i think there are only a select few NFL players that aren't replaceable (Brady, Manning, Urlacher, Polamalu, Champ Bailey, Tomlinson, etc.). Now it is very important that Harrison or who ever we have take Peezy's OLB spot plays well and to the level expected of a starting linebacker (especially a Steelers' linebacker) but with that said Porter is replaceable.

steelcurtaingal
03-26-2007, 02:14 PM
Dude I'm so worried about the pass rush as it stands right now. I thought the pass rush was inconsistent last year with Joey Porter.:bluelol: To me thats the biggest question about this team right now is the pass rush. So injecting youth at the OLB spot is very important.

The Steelers should also think about drafting an ILB also. Not alot of youth or depth at ILB also. There is Rian Wallace but he is still so much an unknown. Hopefully Tomlin gives him a chance to see if he can contribute as a potential starter or solid backup at the NFL level.

im concerned about our team as a whole, not jsut in the LB position. but i stand to reason that we have went through changes before, and came out just fine. i have faith we will do so here.

BlitzburghRockCity
03-26-2007, 02:21 PM
Dude I'm so worried about the pass rush as it stands right now. I thought the pass rush was inconsistent last year with Joey Porter.:bluelol: To me thats the biggest question about this team right now is the pass rush. So injecting youth at the OLB spot is very important.

The Steelers should also think about drafting an ILB also. Not alot of youth or depth at ILB also. There is Rian Wallace but he is still so much an unknown. Hopefully Tomlin gives him a chance to see if he can contribute as a potential starter or solid backup at the NFL level.

That's a good point about Wallace. When he did get the little playing time that he has under his belt he seemed to show alot of positives so Im hoping he gets a chance to show his stuff soon. Farrior is getting up there alittle bit now but he's still productive and I like Larry Foote so hopefully Wallace is able to fit into the plans too.

BlackGold4vr
03-26-2007, 02:24 PM
Who knows about the new guy they just signed? Florida State normally has very talented players. The guy was hurt and that took him out of the picture for a couple years but he might just be a beast in camp this year. I have heard some people call him training camp fodder, but you never know! He probably knows that this might be the only shot he gets so he might tear things up in camp. In my years as a Marine Corps Recruiter I learned that you can never judge a man's heart by what is on the outside. Meaning I saw plenty of studs who I thought would breeze through Parris Island, wash-out and conversely there were some who I thought wouldn't make it and they breezed through the training. I am not comparing Marine Corps bootcamp to playing in the NFL, but making a suggestion to never cast judgements on how much heart you think a person has or doesn't have. Marcello may surprise us all! :yesnod:

Black@Gold Forever32
03-26-2007, 02:29 PM
im concerned about our team as a whole, not jsut in the LB position. but i stand to reason that we have went through changes before, and came out just fine. i have faith we will do so here.

I'm not so worried about the offense. I think this offense has the potential to be one of the best in the NFL. Just as long as the OLine plays better then last year and Big Ben bounces back strong I would expect the Steelers offense to make some serious noise. We all know Willie Parker is one of the best RB's in the NFL now. The combo of Ward and Holmes at WR is going to be even better this year. Plus Nate Washington made strides as well. We have an all-pro talent at TE (all he needs is the ball thrown to him more).

As for the defense. The Dline is one of the best in the NFL and I don't think the secondary is as bad as some think. You would have to think Anthony Smith will be much better this with a year of NFL experience under his belt. So I expect Troy and Anthony to become one of the best safety combos in the NFL this year. As for Ike Taylor and Bryant McFadden I think they could be very good corners in the NFL and I think Tomlin will help them greatly.

Which leads back to the LB's. Its the most important position for the 3-4 defense to fully max its potential. You need LB's that dominate and make plays. Which looking at this current group is good but not dominating in my eyes. Now maybe James Harrions comes in and nets 12 sacks and grabs 4 INT's. But right now who knows since he has never started full time. But thats the production the Steelers need from the OLB is double digit sack to go along with some INT's. Plus causing fumbles.

But even if James Harrison has the kind of year the Steelers still some youth at OLB. Plus it wouldn't hurt to inject some youth into the ILB as well.

I would go on about the special teams but I already wrote a novel.lol

Black@Gold Forever32
03-26-2007, 02:33 PM
That's a good point about Wallace. When he did get the little playing time that he has under his belt he seemed to show alot of positives so Im hoping he gets a chance to show his stuff soon. Farrior is getting up there alittle bit now but he's still productive and I like Larry Foote so hopefully Wallace is able to fit into the plans too.

Both Farrior or Foote are solid ILB. I have no problems with them. But it would be nice to rotate another LB in there as well to keep Farrior and Foote fresh. Thats what I never understood about Cowher last year why he didn't give a guy like Rian Wallace more playing time to see if this guy is worth keeping around.

BlackGold4vr
03-26-2007, 02:37 PM
Since there is still a distinct possibility that the Steelers could draft Adam Carriker (although many on this site don't want to hear that). Would be interesting to see what kinda damage Brett Keisel could do from the OLB position. He says he likes playing LB and he is a big strong horse with a motor that don't stop. And Carriker is also a beast! All of these questions will be answered soon enough. After the draft is over we will have a good idea of the possible line-up variations that Tomlin will have to play with. :banana:

Black@Gold Forever32
03-26-2007, 02:38 PM
Who knows about the new guy they just signed? Florida State normally has very talented players. The guy was hurt and that took him out of the picture for a couple years but he might just be a beast in camp this year. I have heard some people call him training camp fodder, but you never know! He probably knows that this might be the only shot he gets so he might tear things up in camp. In my years as a Marine Corps Recruiter I learned that you can never judge a man's heart by what is on the outside. Meaning I saw plenty of studs who I thought would breeze through Parris Island, wash-out and conversely there were some who I thought wouldn't make it and they breezed through the training. I am not comparing Marine Corps bootcamp to playing in the NFL, but making a suggestion to never cast judgements on how much heart you think a person has or doesn't have. Marcello may surprise us all! :yesnod:

Well players like Donnie Shell, Rod Smith and Willie Parker are examples of players that were not drafted but still went to star at the NFL level should prove to never doubt any player.

But I'm not counting on Church to become a star but I sure hope he does. I will be rooting for him to make the team. I like long shots and Church is a long shot at this point. I would be happy if he becomes a very good special teams player on the coverage units and a solid backup.

Black@Gold Forever32
03-26-2007, 02:41 PM
Since there is still a distinct possibility that the Steelers could draft Adam Carriker (although many on this site don't want to hear that). Would be interesting to see what kinda damage Brett Keisel could do from the OLB position. He says he likes playing LB and he is a big strong horse with a motor that don't stop. And Carriker is also a beast! All of these questions will be answered soon enough. After the draft is over we will have a good idea of the possible line-up variations that Tomlin will have to play with. :banana:

This is a very good point about Keisel. I think he is a perfect hybrid player. A guy that could play both 4-3 and 3-4 with no problem. I wouldn't question his coverage ability from the OLB spot. But I sure would love to see him rush the QB from the OLB spot.:bluelol:

Stairwayto7
03-26-2007, 02:55 PM
Tomlin better hope that he is right! We are known for a linebackers, this goes way back to Andy Russell. He better be right!