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BlackGold4vr
08-20-2007, 11:33 PM
By Jim Wexell
SteelCityInsider.com
Posted Aug 20, 2007

PITTSBURGH – Mike Tomlin likes to say he has eight starting offensive linemen, but the five he wants to play in the opener took the field at Monday’s practice.

Considering their inconsistent play this preseason, the group might be dubbed “The Five Horses of the Apocalypse,” but for now they’re the Steelers’ 2007 starting offensive line. They are:

Left tackle – Marvel Smith.

Left guard – Alan Faneca.

Center – Sean Mahan.

Right guard – Kendall Simmons.

Right tackle – Willie Colon.

Sends chills, doesn’t it?

“We’re going to continue to watch these guys,” said Coach Mike Tomlin in what did not come off as a vote of confidence.

Tomlin said yesterday that long-time backup Chukky Okobi is one of his eight top players, but, according to two sources, second-year man Marvin Philip is making a strong surge of late. Philip could push Okobi off the roster by the end of camp.

Colon is the new right tackle after a game in which he alternated every two series with incumbent Max Starks. Colon said his game has improved of late.

“At the beginning of camp I was tight,” he said. “But after the Green Bay game I just said, hey, I’m going to let it out and whatever happens happens. So I’m seeing the whole picture. I’m not getting anxiety trying to attack everybody, so I feel pretty good.”

Simmons is the starting right guard, but Chris Kemoeatu has made – and is still making – a strong push. Kemoeatu has been hurt by having to play left guard in place of Alan Faneca all spring, and then again through a stretch of training camp when Faneca was hurt. After Kemoeatu took reps at left guard with the first team, he took reps at right guard with the second team and that stymied the development of rookie fifth-round pick Cameron Stephenson, who’s strictly a right guard.

Another question mark for the group is the backup spot at left tackle. Starks and Trai Essex performed poorly in their opportunities at the position. Undrafted rookie Jason Capizzi has impressed the coaching staff with his intelligence, size, strength and mobility, but is viewed as more of a practice squad candidate. But he’ll get an opportunity to improve that status in the next two weeks with what will be an increased workload.


Well, there it is! What do you think of these 5? I still hope Jason Capizzi makes the team and don't think he could do any worse that Essex or Starks at left tackle. Like the Colon choice and that wasn't a surprise. Not sure about Mahan. Haven't been impressed with him yet. He doesn't seem to get a good push on running plays and the center of the O-line is critical for successful runs. If a O-line is weak up the middle it allow defenses to blow up running plays in the backfield.

BlitzburghRockCity
08-20-2007, 11:44 PM
Well let's see..

Left tackle – Marvel Smith. - no brainer

Left guard – Alan Faneca. - same here, obvious choice

Center – Sean Mahan. With the compeition at Center seemingly inconsistent at best from everything we've seen I kind of thought Okobi was going to get the nod but apparently he sees something in Mahan right now. This would be the only position that I think there could be potential change at before the season starts

Right guard – Kendall Simmons. has had a really good camp and preseason hopefully he's getting back to form

Right tackle – Willie Colon.Starks is as good as gone next year, Colon has all the tools to be a solid tackle for us for years to come. He'll have some growing pains we have to live through but his upside is solid

DIESELMAN
08-21-2007, 12:24 AM
I think Mahan will come around and be a good addition to the OL. Now that we've finally got the 5, they can get used to each other in these next 2 games. We all already know thats one of the keys is knowing who will be next to each other on sundays. How they move, block, pull together, its got to be like a well oiled machine, everybody knowing each other tendencies, weaknesses and strengths.

BlitzburghRockCity
08-21-2007, 12:43 AM
You know Okobi has got to be upset; waiting all this time for his real chance to start and then he looses out.

BlacknGold Bleeder
08-21-2007, 12:51 AM
You know Chukky is pissed but there is nobody to blame but himself, and I don't think that one is over yet !! It's more important to get 5 working together !!:tt02:

Prosdo
08-21-2007, 12:55 AM
The left side of the line was a lock. I honestly thought Okobi had the center job. I'm so glad to see Willie Colon knocked Max Starks out of there.

BlackGold4vr
08-21-2007, 01:12 AM
The left side of the line was a lock. I honestly thought Okobi had the center job. I'm so glad to see Willie Colon knocked Max Starks out of there.

:plus1:

Hartings > Mahan - For now I consider that position a downgrade.

Starks < Colon - Big upgrade in performance and "nastiness" attitude.

Other 3 positions are unchanged from last years line. I also think Capizzi would be a better option to back-up Smith at LT than Essex or Starks. With Faneca leaving next year there is no doubt that the O-line should be priority number #1 in next years draft. If we have the great season we anticipate having we would be picking in the portion of the 1st round where lineman are generally picked. IMO we are dangerously thin at O-line. The back-ups will more than likely be the scrubs that none of us like.

Koopa
08-21-2007, 01:20 AM
with mahan starting it's gonna be a down season, he ****ing sucks, i'm not saying that cause i like okobi, i could care less about okobi, i just like that pic of him sticking the middle finger with the superbowl ring on it lol, there's a reason we got mahan on the cheap, it's because he ****ing sucks at life lol, he is gonna be our down fall this season, he's gonna suck *** so bad he'll be replaced by week 4.........

Prosdo
08-21-2007, 01:25 AM
Faneca leaving next year there is no doubt that the O-line should be priority number #1 in next years draft.

That's for sure. I may not like Faneca's attitude, but he is good at what he does. I see us drafting for the O-line and looking into FA a good bit. I just don't think the Rooney's and Faneca will work something out.

AZ_Steeler
08-21-2007, 01:58 AM
This weekend will be their first test then as a unit. Let's hope we some changes and a glimpse of what is to come in the regular season.

Mike Tomlin
08-21-2007, 04:52 AM
Mahan will better working beside guys like Simmons and Faneca. You can't slack with guys on either side of you working hard, one of which is a multi-pro bowler. I think once they get together they'll say little stuff like in this situation Jeff used to do this or he did that. All in all I think they'll mold him into a good center.

K Train
08-21-2007, 07:58 AM
lol no **** mahan is a downgrade from hartings, hartings was a badass lol

Mahan should do fine now that we have one unit working together and we can get something going, if not, its gonna be like playing with 4 olineman and were gonna suck.

lol at phillips pushing okobi off the roster

strong D
08-21-2007, 09:02 AM
i would kinda like to see phillips a little more

TEEMONT
08-21-2007, 10:02 AM
Hartings wasn't that good the last few years. I kinda thoght he hould have retired the year we won the SB.

I don't think Mahan is going to be that bad for us, he plays like Hartings did when he was younger, and seems to be more athletic. He has those O-Line intangibles down (cheating without getting caught), and those are things that are really hard to teach. I would personally rather see chukki in there, bc he has that nastiness that Mahan seems to lack, but, once again, I am sure the coaches are smarter than all of us, no matter how much Koopa would want to think otherwise.

This line is serviceable, but next year, we need to do some digging in the FA market, b/c there isn't much potential for it to get better.

DBR96A
08-21-2007, 11:25 AM
HYPOTHETICAL 2008 STARTING OFFENSIVE LINE

LT - Marvel Smith
LG - Sean Mahan
C - [DRAFT PICK]
RG - Kendall Simmons/[DRAFT PICK]*
RT - Willie Colon

* - If we re-sign Simmons, then Simmons would be the starter. If not, then we draft another guard.

What do you guys think?

TEEMONT
08-21-2007, 12:09 PM
I think the 2007 season hasn't even started yet.

I know I referenced next season, but mainly b/c this line isn't going to be at all the same next year.

GoBenGo
08-21-2007, 12:37 PM
I think we have an awful lot of talent and size. I have not been impressed with the output so far. These guys should be opening holes. It,imo, seems like a lot of linemen make the tackles on our backs. If FW is able to hit the secondary unmolested , oooooooooooh, imagine, maybe even a 75yd td run!
With the quality of our backs, and the quality of our line, on paper looks like a scary good running team. But they do not dominate like that. Media says that it is because we don't have Bus-type back. Well when you have been blocking as the oline has- no holes- I imagine a pounding back would be essential.
The tools are there, now, we just need to use the hammer as a hammer, and not as a saw.

OK I'm off my soap box. realized after all this I refer to Steelers as "we".
I did this not as a member of the greatest team in the NFL, but as a member of the greatest entity to exist: Steeler Nation REPRESENT

Captcoolhand
08-21-2007, 12:56 PM
I see 1 of 2 things happening this season. Ben is going to brake the record for the most rushing yards for a QB(for the Steelers) or he's going to get sacked a hell of alot more than last year.:2cents:
I'm glad to hear that Philips has been pushing hard for more time. I never liked chucky and thought he was a waste of space when they resigned him last year to another contract.:stirpot:

BlitzburghRockCity
08-21-2007, 01:28 PM
It's safe to say that next years line will change again because Faneca won't be here and Simmons may not be either so the 2008 draft should be filled with OL because we're going to need them.

K Train
08-21-2007, 01:40 PM
its true that hartings was manhandled last year, and he needed to go, i just hope mahan picks up the position good over the next few weeks.

i think its really ****ing awesome that all our dreams came through and little willie colon from the bronx punked out mammoth 3 year starter starks lol

K Train
08-21-2007, 01:41 PM
Good news tough, we have 6 preseason games to get situated....i say six because cleveland is willies playground lol

Black@Gold Forever32
08-21-2007, 04:33 PM
Hartings wasn't that good the last few years. I kinda thoght he hould have retired the year we won the SB.

I don't think Mahan is going to be that bad for us, he plays like Hartings did when he was younger, and seems to be more athletic. He has those O-Line intangibles down (cheating without getting caught), and those are things that are really hard to teach. I would personally rather see chukki in there, bc he has that nastiness that Mahan seems to lack, but, once again, I am sure the coaches are smarter than all of us, no matter how much Koopa would want to think otherwise.

This line is serviceable, but next year, we need to do some digging in the FA market, b/c there isn't much potential for it to get better.

I agree with you on Hartings Teemont.....I thought he should have retired after the Super Bowl also....In his defense though the man played on only one good knee the last three years he played in the NFL...lol

I'm just glad Tomlin has picked his five and is going to stick with them now....Let those five hogs get in sync with each other....

TEEMONT
08-21-2007, 04:36 PM
I agree with you on Hartings Teemont.....I thought he should have retired after the Super Bowl also....In his defense though the man played on only one good knee the last three years he played in the NFL...lol

I'm just glad Tomlin has picked his five and is going to stick with them now....Let those five hogs get in sync with each other....

yeah I know he played on one good knee....but he probably shouldnt have been playing....we would have been better off with Chukki in there last year.

Black@Gold Forever32
08-21-2007, 04:51 PM
yeah I know he played on one good knee....but he probably shouldnt have been playing....we would have been better off with Chukki in there last year.

Oh I agree the Steelers would have been better with Okobi in there last year...I just give Jeff credit for trying to play...Its hard for athletes to call it quits when they love playing so much....

Stlrs4Life
08-21-2007, 05:29 PM
Steelers' offensive line comes into focus

Tuesday, August 21, 2007
By Ed Bouchette, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

The Steelers' search for an offensive line has entered the bonus round and may well be settled.
Mike Tomlin said he is closer to deciding on his starting line, yet with the most important preseason game coming up for starters, he already may have picked one.
After admittedly going over the video from the game Saturday night at Washington "with a fine-tooth comb," Tomlin's starting offensive line yesterday could be the one that opens the season in Cleveland Sept. 9.
From left to right they are tackle Marvel Smith, guard Alan Faneca, center Sean Mahan, guard Kendall Simmons and tackle Willie Colon.


"We're getting extremely close," Tomlin said. "We are going to continue to watch those guys. What we're doing with our offensive line is based on the fact that we feel we have eight guys that are capable starters. We are not looking for five. We have eight."
Tomlin called practices yesterday and today as bonuses because teams normally have three practices when they play Sunday as the Steelers do this week.
Before practice yesterday, Mahan acknowledged that whoever ran with the first team most likely would start against the Philadelphia Eagles Sunday night.
"They haven't really told us yet for sure, but I'd assume [that]," Mahan said.
"We're getting down to the point where we're going to come up with the makeup of the line."
Tomlin listed the other three "starters" as center Chukky Okobi, guard Chris Kemoeatu and incumbent starting right tackle Max Starks, and mentioned them on the same plateau as Mahan, Simmons and Colon.
"It's a compliment to them and what they are capable of," Tomlin said.
"We are going to leave no stone unturned in allowing those guys to have the opportunity to compete. They are competing their butts off. It's coming to the end. We are aware of that. It's taking shape."

Tomlin did not mention tackle/guard Trai Essex among the eight. Essex started for the injured Smith Saturday, but Smith returned to practice yesterday.
With the starters expected to play into the third quarter against the Eagles, then hardly at all against the Carolina Panthers in Charlotte Aug. 30, it generally is a rule that whoever starts the next-to-last preseason game has been anointed a starter for the regular season.
There are exceptions, of course. In a famous case, Chuck Noll started incumbent Cornell Gowdy at strong safety in every preseason game in 1989. He released Gowdy with the final cuts and inserted a rookie as his starter, Carnell Lake.
An offensive line, though, generally needs time together to learn each other's moves, idiosyncrasies and preferences.
"Obviously, you want to be out there and grow a rapport with these guys, but that's never my call," Colon said.
"I just try to go out there and be efficient and try to play hard to the wire."
If indeed the starting line yesterday remains the starting line Sept. 9, two of those who lost out could claim that circumstances beyond their control cost them jobs.
Starks, who started at right tackle during their Super Bowl year and again last season, has moved between right and left tackle this summer. He said he is far from bitter about it.
"What's fair and what isn't fair? We had injuries, so it forced us to have to shuffle some guys around. Our offensive coordinator thought of me enough to say, 'Hey Max, we trust you, let's play left tackle.' I have to look at it as a positive because they had enough faith in me to put me over there.''
The normally conversational Okobi declined to talk yesterday, a stance he first took last week after his oblique muscle was injured in practice. He returned to practice yesterday with the second team.
Okobi has a $2 million salary this season and Starks $1.8 million. The Steelers usually do not pay their backup linemen that much, but they apparently are prepared to do so this season if they do not start.
"I just want to hear the decision and be done with it and move on from it," Starks said. "Wherever I'm suppose to be I'll be. That's the best way to look at it."



http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/07233/810972-66.stm

USMCVET
08-21-2007, 06:22 PM
I'm comfortable with the line-up for this year.

I can see 1 or 2 high picks in next years draft.

BRICKTOWN BEAST
08-21-2007, 07:17 PM
This is how I wanted it to happen actually. I like Mahan and Colon thats awesome hes a hungry player and the leaves Cappizi for backup and Keamatu for Faneca next year. and maybe Capizzi can become a starter one day.

SteelerFan87
08-21-2007, 09:44 PM
Oh God, Mahan at Center? What part of his inability to properly snap the ball to Ben in the Redskins game did Tomlin think was worthy of starting?

It's always hard to judge O-linemen, because the only time you really notice them is when the screw up. I noticed Mahan alot in that last game.

BlitzburghRockCity
08-22-2007, 06:14 AM
One good thing from all this musical lineman stuff that's been going on since the OTA's is that people like Essex, Kemoeatu, and Colon have gotten a lot of experience running with the normal starters like Faneca & Smith and just got more playing time in general running with the whole first team than they normally would.