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Prosdo
07-16-2007, 06:05 AM
Steelers '07 preview
By Gerry Dulac
For Sporting News
July 14, 2007

Mike Tomlin likes to describe himself as a man who has to be measured, a competitor who enjoys "what Sunday brings." Make no mistake: He will be measured quickly in his new role as coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers and not just because the man he is replacing approached iconic status in the NFL.

Tomlin inherits a team that retains most of the key players from its 2005 Super Bowl season, including a marquee quarterback, a 1,000-yard rusher and one of the most disruptive defensive players in the NFL.

"There's a winner, there's a loser," Tomlin says. "You get measured against your peers. You compete, you move on."


Tomlin, a first-time head coach, is the same age (34) as Bill Cowher was when he became coach of the Steelers – a coincidence fans hope means something. Like Cowher, Tomlin also inherits a team that did not make the playoffs the previous season.

But Tomlin, who was the defensive coordinator for Minnesota in '06, will not be short on talent. His priority will be to get his players to forget last season and get back on track for another AFC North title. The Steelers finished 8-8 but only because they won six of their final eight games.

GAME PLAN

Offense: The team will miss coordinator Ken Whisenhunt, who brought the running game back to Pittsburgh and introduced a sense of balance to the offense. The promotion of wide receivers coach Bruce Arians to the role likely will mean additional production from the passing game and more reliance on quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. Arians wants to condense the playbook to allow Roethlisberger and the receivers more time to work on specific plays.

Defense: Tomlin, a 4-3 kind of guy, will continue using the 3-4 front in '07, though he'll inject more Cover 2 in the secondary and use less one-on-one isolation with the cornerbacks. There also will be fewer blitzes from the linebackers and, Tomlin hopes, more pressure from the line.

SPOTLIGHT PLAYERS

QB Ben Roethlisberger: The Steelers will go only as far as Roethlisberger takes them. After a glorious '04 debut in which he led the Steelers to a 13-0 start and a '05 encore in which he became the youngest quarterback to win a Super Bowl, Roethlisberger came crashing to the ground. He came back from a preseason motorcycle accident and a preseason appendectomy to throw a league-high 23 interceptions last season. He was sacked 46 times and generally looked confused when opponents began playing lots of Cover 2 and Cover 3 defenses. Roethlisberger was tentative and uneasy in the pocket and was reluctant to run. The team hired ex-Bengals star Ken Anderson as the new quarterbacks coach to help Roethlisberger with his mechanics and confidence. The talent still is there.

C Sean Mahan: The Steelers will play this season without longtime center Jeff Hartings, who retired. He will be replaced by Sean Mahan, the team's key pickup on the free-agent market. Mahan, a converted guard from Tampa Bay, is athletic enough to replace Hartings but must improve his technique and toughness to handle some of the mammoth nose tackles in the AFC North. If Mahan staggers, look for 2006 pick Marvin Philip to get a shot.

OLB Clark Haggans: With Joey Porter leaving via free agency, responsibility will fall on Haggans, the left outside linebacker, to generate more pressure on opposing quarterbacks. Haggans had fewer sacks last season because tackles started forcing him to the inside, where he isn't as effective. Look for LaMarr Woodley in a lot of third-down situations and in a natural rotation with Haggans.

SS Troy Polamalu; FS Anthony Smith: The strength of this secondary is Polamalu, maybe the most disruptive defensive player in the league, and Smith, a star in the making. Polamalu is the focal point of the defense, a player who hits like a linebacker and covers the field like a free safety. Coordinator Dick LeBeau gives Polamalu free rein, using him all over the field to confuse and harass quarterbacks. Smith, the team's second pick in '06, has all the tools to be an impact player – athleticism, instincts and ball reaction. He also is a big hitter and, like Polamalu, a difference-maker.

VINNIE IYER'S TAKE

Roethlisberger won't be all out of sorts again, but the defense might be with some secondary concerns and Tomlin's potential schematic adjustments.
Prediction: 7-9 (third in the AFC North).

FALL FORECAST

The Steelers still have most of the players from their '05 Super Bowl team along with such promising youngsters as Holmes and Smith. But it all comes down to Roethlisberger. If he plays like he did in '05, the Steelers are championship contenders. If Roethlisberger plays like he did in '06, the team will fight for wild-card scraps.

Gerry Dulac covers the Steelers for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and Sporting News.




Link: http://sports.yahoo.com/nfl/news?slug=ys-07nflpreview_steelers&prov=yhoo&type=lgns


Ummm.... 7-9? I see this team atleast getting 9 or 10 wins lol

Stairwayto7
07-16-2007, 07:40 AM
7-9 ???????????

I don`t see it.

Our defense will be fine. And Ben should be 100% this season, I hope. 12-4!

Not sure about Tomlin yet? I am optomistic, but cautious! I like the 3-4, and it seems to me that this will be the last year for it, which means its probably Lebeau last season also.

SteelerSal
07-16-2007, 10:01 AM
Not sure about Tomlin yet? I am optomistic, but cautious! I like the 3-4, and it seems to me that this will be the last year for it, which means its probably Lebeau last season also.

Yeah sad to say it I agree with you. The next couple of seasons we are gonna see alot of changes with both players and coaching staff.

Oh and as far as the 7-9 prediction.... I love it!!! Our STEELERS always prove the idiots, I mean, experts wrong when they count us out.:bigthumb:

Stairwayto7
07-16-2007, 10:09 AM
Yeah sad to say it I agree with you. The next couple of seasons we are gonna see alot of changes with both players and coaching staff.

Oh and as far as the 7-9 prediction.... I love it!!! Our STEELERS always prove the idiots, I mean, experts wrong when they count us out.:bigthumb:

We play better when everyone counts us out

AZ_Steeler
07-16-2007, 01:04 PM
I hope that guy doesn't get paid for the piece of crap article he wrote! :cursin: 7-9 :wtf: is he thinking! I think these guys should be required to do some research on the teams before actually trying to make an educated assumption on how the Steelers season will play out.

Stairwayto7
07-16-2007, 01:09 PM
Great point AZ, he sucks

DIESELMAN
07-16-2007, 01:22 PM
The team will miss coordinator Ken Whisenhunt

No we won't, he didn't do anything Arians can't do. Plus the fact that Arians is simplifying the playbook will only help Ben with his confidence and his game.

SteelerSal
07-16-2007, 01:24 PM
Most of these goobers who make the preseason predictions never played football at any level. Most of them don't know the difference between a mouth piece and a jock strap.

For example; http://assets.espn.go.com/media/motion/2007/0527/hu_070526nfl_johnclayton1v_thumbnail_big.jpg was'nt he one of the Ram's "Fearsome Foursome"?:lol:

lagers
07-16-2007, 01:26 PM
turnovers...turnovers...turnovers. We either win 8 games or 12 games. It depends on Big Ben. The ILBs are getting old also. We couldn't smell Baltimore last year. They crushed us. Beat Baltimore and win the division.

TEEMONT
07-16-2007, 01:27 PM
Hey, lets not all be homers. 7-9 on a team that has a brand new coach, a few digruntled superstars, and a QB who may or may not be the franchise.

7-9 is not out of the question. Not this year. It's all on our O-line.

SteelerSal
07-16-2007, 01:39 PM
Hey, lets not all be homers. 7-9 on a team that has a brand new coach, a few digruntled superstars, and a QB who may or may not be the franchise.

7-9 is not out of the question. Not this year. It's all on our O-line.

Last season we beat ourselves and had a Superbowl hangover.
Agree with you on a major change with Tomlin and the only disgruntled star would be Feneca, who will still play his *** off for his future with another team.
7-9 is not out of the question for the Bungles, Browns or Ratbirds but as for us, call me a homer, we will win the division.:bigthumb:
As for Ben, if we keep balanced, he wont have to be a franchise QB just the same role player that he was his first two seasons.

introyitrust
07-16-2007, 01:40 PM
Hey, lets not all be homers. 7-9 on a team that has a brand new coach, a few digruntled superstars, and a QB who may or may not be the franchise.

7-9 is not out of the question. Not this year. It's all on our O-line.

I agree, face it going into last season if we read experts saying we would go 8-8 and miss the playoffs we would be bitching and saying they knew nothing about football since we were coming off a Superbowl victory and most of our players and coaching staff were returning.
The fact is that you never now what's going to happen, whether its injuries, costly turnovers, poor special teams play, etc.
So take this prediction with a grain of salt. Hope for the best and be realistic.

Black@Gold Forever32
07-16-2007, 01:54 PM
I think the talent is there for this team to be a very good football team....But I also don't think the play-offs are a lock for this team....

There is alot of questions that remain for the Steelers......The biggest being the OLine and if they can play up to their potential......Plus Ben has to bounce back strong.......

The pass rush on defense must improve also......It was inconsistent last year with Joey Porter.....Now Joey is gone and we have rookies that will be counted on to produce from the start........Also James Harrison must prove he can play a full season as a starter......

The only thing I'm sure the special teams will be much improved....With Tomlin paying so much attention to special teams and with the drafting of Sep I expect to see vast improvement on special teams..

Now don't get me wrong I think this team will make the play-offs this year....I think the Oline and Ben will bounce strong.......I think the Steelers offense has the potential to be one of the best in the NFL.....

As for the defense....It all comes down to the pass rush....Hopefully Harrison goes on to have a 10+sack season......Plus I hope we see a hybrid defense most of the season with players like Keisel moving around constantly creating confusion for QBs....

manofsteel
07-16-2007, 02:00 PM
7Our bad year was 8 8 and I tell you 7-9 is out of the question. Good pressure from D, Sharp pass plays, and a dominant O line will win enough games

DIESELMAN
07-16-2007, 02:07 PM
You guys might as well throw in key injuries as well. We do have a lot of issues this year but nothin that can't and won't be resolved. One refreshing thing is a different attitude, lots of players , including our system was getting stagnant under Cowher. With Tomlin's new attitude and a refreshed committment to winning, Ben learning and growing up last year, we got a chance at the division. Whether we go 0-16 o 16-0 the terrible towel will be waving at my house. :cope: :cope:

strong D
07-16-2007, 06:00 PM
turnovers...turnovers...turnovers. We either win 8 games or 12 games. It depends on Big Ben. The ILBs are getting old also. We couldn't smell Baltimore last year. They crushed us. Beat Baltimore and win the division.

Foote is not that old and Farrior is still one of the top 5-10 ILB in the NFL he is a great 3-4 ILB

Koopa
07-16-2007, 08:23 PM
lol @ this fool overlooking okobi, mahan hasn't done **** to prove he's the starter, just cause he contract suggest he is it doesn't mean he is, he still has to win that spot and okobi hasn't proven he can't handle the job....... damn i can't wait for real football to start, **** training camp lets start the damn season already lol

BlacknGold Bleeder
07-17-2007, 01:46 AM
7-9 ? Nope I don't see that :nono: I think the O line has to play better that's one of the biggest things. I also wouldn't rule out Chukky just yet, they have kept him around for a reason. We'll have to wait and see how well Arians does his second time around at O.C., he didn't exactly tear up the league last time. I also wouldn't write off Lebeau either, it ain't like Tomlin is gonna be HC and Defensive Coordinator...:2cents:

Koopa
07-17-2007, 02:32 AM
that's another thing i hate, all these "experts" keep saying tomlin is gonna change just because that's what he coached in minny and what was thought to him in tampa.......... he ain't stupid, he knows the talent he has is set for a 3-4, and this talent we have ain't scrubs and ain't going nowhere for a few seasons, and dick wouldn't have been brought back if he was gonna make a switch anytime soon, sure we'll see more of a hybrid type defense, but the base of our defense will be the 3-4 and i don't think that will change for quite awhile

SteelerSteve
07-17-2007, 02:46 AM
7-9? like teemont mentioned its not out of the question, hell anythings not out of the question. We could go 15-1 again, anythings possible. Roethlisberger is still young and hasn't touched his full potential yet, and from what ive seen the sky is the limit. Plus even if we do switch to 4-3, I wouldn't go as far as to say this is Lebeau's last season. Just because the 3-4 is what we use now doesn't mean he cant run the 4-3:2cents: