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Thread: 2007 should be remembered as the year the Steelers rediscovered their franchise qb

          
   
   
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  1. #1
    The Absolute Truth Koopa's Avatar
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    2007 should be remembered as the year the Steelers rediscovered their franchise qb

    Had the Steelers not won their first division title in three years with a new coach, had they not earned a playoff game at home, had they not improved by two games over 2006, the past season would have been a success for one reason:

    The return of Big Ben Roethlisberger.

    After the 2006 season, doubts swirled around Roethlisberger and whether he could ever return to the form of his first two pro seasons. He was the first quarterback in NFL history to compile a 13-0 starting record in one season, and became the youngest quarterback to win a Super Bowl.

    His third season turned disastrous in many ways, on and off the field. Not only did Roethlisberger fall from rising star, but he also fell hard. He was downgraded in many evaluations, to as low as ninth among NFL quarterbacks by Peter King of Sports Illustrated before the start of the season.

    Roethlisberger returned in a big way under a new head coach, offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. He eclipsed Terry Bradshaw's record with 32 touchdown passes, third most in the NFL; cut his interceptions by more than half with 11; had the second-best passer rating in the league at 104.1, breaking his own team record; and made his first Pro Bowl.

    He did all this while under siege much of the season from a pass rush that sacked him 47 times, second most for a Steelers quarterback.

    Perhaps management still was optimistic about its quarterback one year ago, but the Steelers have every reason to believe today that he will remain among the NFL's elite for a long time to come.

    The next-best thing about 2007 was the sense the Steelers picked a good coach. Mike Tomlin might have made all the right moves and impressed everyone in his interviews last year, but until he went through a full season on the job, the Steelers could not be sure what kind of head coach they had. He passed that test while walking through potential land mines that included resentment by some players that Cowher left and Ken Whisenhunt and Russ Grimm were passed over for that job, by the release of popular teammate Joey Porter, the acrimony over Alan Faneca's contract status and the questions surrounding Roethlisberger.

    Tomlin made some rookie coaching mistakes but nothing major. For example, he challenged seven officials' calls and only two were reversed by instant replay. Going for a 2-point conversion from the 12 in the playoff game against the Jaguars also was a debatable call.

    The main problems this season were a lack of big plays from the No. 1-ranked defense in yards allowed, a lack of big stops by that defense at the end of games, and an offensive line that rarely gave Roethlisberger much time to throw and did not get the kind of consistent push to generate a good short-yardage ground game.

    The Steelers' 11 interceptions tied with Houston for the fewest in the league. One reason they did not have more interceptions was that they concentrated on not allowing deep passes, which they accomplished for the most part.

    Last year, football operations boss Kevin Colbert said one of the goals would be to improve their pass rush, yet their sack total dropped from 39 to 36.

    LaMarr Woodley should help that. He showed how good he can be as a pass rusher with six sacks, including two in the playoff game, in a limited role as a rookie. He will move into Clark Haggans' job at left outside linebacker next season.

    Their other prized rookie linebacker, first-rounder Lawrence Timmons, will compete with Larry Foote to start at the "mack" position inside. Although they said Timmons was an outside linebacker after they drafted him, his future is inside.

    They also need another big defensive lineman, not so they can switch to the 4-3, but because Aaron Smith turns 32 in April and they need to groom someone and rotate him into the line on both sides. Casey Hampton also turns 31 before the start of next season and his backup, Chris Hoke, turns 32 in April. Their top backup end is Travis Kirschke, who will be 34.

    The Steelers have no plans to switch to a 4-3 defense, even though that's what Mike Tomlin had coached previously. Their outside linebackers are not suited for that defense, for one thing. For another, they were happy with their defensive play this season -- except for the end of four games.

    That would include losses to Jacksonville in which the Jaguars had late drives to win twice at Heinz Field. The others came at Denver and at the New York Jets.

    There were two changes in the starting offensive line last season and there will be more in 2008. First, All-Pro guard Alan Faneca will leave as a free agent and perhaps tackle Max Starks will join him. The Steelers won't make Faneca the kind of offer that will bring him back. They should make one to Starks before free agency begins in March, sign him and return him to his old job as the starting right tackle.

    Next, move right guard Kendall Simmons to center. Sean Mahan, in his first season as the Steelers' center, was overpowered by nose tackles and that had a domino effect on the line. Mahan can compete to start at one of the guard spots and, at the least, serve as the top backup at center and guard.

    Right tackle Willie Colon had his ups and downs because he has shorter arms than most tackles, which often prevents him from keeping the big pass rushers off him. He belongs at guard, so put him at Simmons' old spot.

    That leaves left guard, where Mahan, Chris Kemoeatu and either a draft pick or free agent can compete.

    Good linemen are hard to find in free agency and, when available, are often cost prohibitive, especially when there's a franchise quarterback to sign. That's another reason for them to sign Starks, even though he won't come cheaply.

    Marvel Smith not only will be OK after back surgery in December, but it also should help him next season. It was minor as back surgeries go and repaired the disk problem that was causing him so much pain. Trai Essex played well as his replacement in two games and should be their top backup.

    Even all that might not correct the problems in the line. It would involve four more changes in the starting lineup, although one of them would put Starks back where he should have stayed this past season.

    It's hard to determine if Willie Parker, the NFL's leading rusher heading into the final two games, will be the same after his fibula was broken. Parker relies on speed and quickness and no one can say how a broken leg will change that until he's out there running again.

    The Steelers changed their approach to the running game by abandoning their power attack for a more finesse approach that sometimes worked and sometimes did not. They won't pass up a good running back if they can find one.

    Of course, they need to improve their special teams, and not just on kickoff coverage. They need a good return man, unless Willie Reid finally can handle that job. It should not be as difficult to cover kicks as they made it out to be this year.

    And, they need a good, solid draft -- particularly in both lines. They shouldn't throw away good draft picks on punters and backup tight ends. Spending a seventh-rounder to get a return man wasn't a bad idea; spending it on one whose best performances came three years ago was the bad idea.

    The Steelers have paid little attention to their offensive and defensive lines in the drafts recently, and that has to change this April.

    The case can be made that the Steelers should still be playing this weekend, but it would be hard to make one for them beating New England in a rematch.

    This season might not be remembered as another failure in the playoffs at home, but for two more important ingredients -- a good start to the Mike Tomlin era and reclaiming the franchise quarterback.
    http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/08010/848102-66.stm


    the article was good until this fag ed started talking about the oline, **** simmons, he's a bum at guard and he'll be an even bigger bum at center, why the **** would he want him at center?? (oh wait this is the same gay writer that protested d-sep in favor of barr, seriously why does the post gazette keep this faggot around???) anyway, it's almost as bad as mahan starting again....... if simmons is starting at center and mahan at guard, put a fork in teh season.....browns will win the division and we'll struggle to win 8 games......... this oline needs to be overhauled, starks is a bum at right tackle, he should only get time at left, like 32 keeps saying, smith needs to go back to teh right side, and colon does need to go to guard, but **** having that keomatu or wtfever trying to start, he's never showed anything, we need fresh blood............ and he's still brings up the 6th round pick that we gave up for d-sep, who the **** was there that would've made the team??? colbert can't draft for ****, so no point in having late day 2 draft picks anyway lol........****, talking about the line and reading ed bitchette work makes me want to punch an hour old infant
    Last edited by Koopa; 01-10-2008 at 01:15 AM.
    "SA, it's more than a FEVER it's an ADDICTION" -BlacknGold Bleeder

  2. #2

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    Damn Koopa...since this was an article you posted, I thought you may have actually enjoyed it. lol

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    SA's #1 Pirates Fan Tetris Champion Black@Gold Forever32's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Koopa View Post
    http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/08010/848102-66.stm


    the article was good until this fag ed started talking about the oline, **** simmons, he's a bum at guard and he'll be an even bigger bum at center, why the **** would he want him at center?? (oh wait this is the same gay writer that protested d-sep in favor of barr, seriously why does the post gazette keep this faggot around???) anyway, it's almost as bad as mahan starting again....... if simmons is starting at center and mahan at guard, put a fork in teh season.....browns will win the division and we'll struggle to win 8 games......... this oline needs to be overhauled, starks is a bum at right tackle, he should only get time at left, like 32 keeps saying, smith needs to go back to teh right side, and colon does need to go to guard, but **** having that keomatu or wtfever trying to start, he's never showed anything, we need fresh blood............ and he's still brings up the 6th round pick that we gave up for d-sep, who the **** was there that would've made the team??? colbert can't draft for shiat, so no point in having late day 2 draft picks anyway lol........****, talking about the line and reading ed bitchette work makes me want to punch an hour old infant
    Dude....old Ed can't let the D-Sep thing go can he?.....What a douche... Let it go already Ed.........I don't want Simmons at center and I don't want Starks at RT......I don't why Ed is making this difficult to understand....The Steelers have really never had that franchise LT....They have had good LTs throughout the years...With this draft being so deep of OTs talent especially OTs that can play LT if the Steelers don't draft one I might jump off a bridge...lol

    Plus I would take Simmons over Mahan at Center but at this point I would take you Koopa over Mahan at center....But still the center position needs upgraded badly.....If the Steelers feel that Faneca can play center and if they can get him without paying him a King's Ransom then so be it...I just want Mahan out of the lineup....But signing Faneca isn't likely so this team better draft a center...I like a certain guy in this draft but really like I said earlier any center will do...Anybody has to be an upgrade over Mahan...

    I think this team has plenty of potential OGs....Simmons won't be cut so he will man one of the OG spots...Put Willie Colon at the other OG spot.....

    So if I had my way I would have the OL look like this...

    LT-draft pick
    LG-Willie Colon
    C-draft pick
    RG-Kendall Simmons
    RT-Marvel Smith

    Ed acts like improving this OL is like finding a cure for cancer...lol

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    BlitzburghRockCity's Avatar
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    The one thing about Simmons at Center is that he's stoudt guy who can hold his ground pretty well. That's what you need at Center. Mahan isn't powerful enough to take on a nose tackle play in and play out. I don't think Kendall is the long term answer at Center for us but I think he could do as a temporary solution if this team doesn't draft one. You could make a case for every position on the line as being a priority but C should be at the top of it. At this point Marvel is going to come back and most likely start since his surgery wasn't a major issue so that's going to probably not make them draft a LT anymore as much of a priority. Things can always change but if that's the case then C is the definite priority.

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    Veteran Dee Mca's Avatar
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    I should know the answer to this but why is it we change what these guys natural positions are. Simmons was a Tackle at Auburn. He allowed only one quarterback sack his last three seasons and only three pressures in the last two. Yet we move him to guard. At Hofstra Colon was a Guard but we moved him to Tackle. Then with all our problems at tackle this year why not move Faneca out to tackle like he played in 02 or 03 most of the season? or resign and bring back as tackle maybe? Well age and money probably answers that question. Why on earth put Mahan at center? He hasn't played position since 04 , and that was only for 8 games and before that didn't play at center since his days at Norte Dame. Then my last ignorant question and I'm done. Why not give Warren a shot at center? Tried everything else. He was center in high school. Long snapper in college as well in pro's. He has the strength. Is it because of his size. Him only being 252 rest of line all over 300+.

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    SA's #1 Pirates Fan Tetris Champion Black@Gold Forever32's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TOP GUN View Post
    The one thing about Simmons at Center is that he's stoudt guy who can hold his ground pretty well. That's what you need at Center. Mahan isn't powerful enough to take on a nose tackle play in and play out. I don't think Kendall is the long term answer at Center for us but I think he could do as a temporary solution if this team doesn't draft one. You could make a case for every position on the line as being a priority but C should be at the top of it. At this point Marvel is going to come back and most likely start since his surgery wasn't a major issue so that's going to probably not make them draft a LT anymore as much of a priority. Things can always change but if that's the case then C is the definite priority.
    Simmons isn't that good of an OG so him at center is retarded...lol Plus I'm telling I'm tired of not having a franchise LT....Marvel Smith is good but he is better suited at RT.......Again this is the draft to make the move for a LT...lol Plus no centers are worth a first round grade........We can a good center even in round 3.......Always great value at center in the draft.......

  7. #7
    K Train's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Koopa View Post
    talking about the line and reading ed bitchette work makes me want to punch an hour old infant
    punching babies is my thing lol

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    BlitzburghRockCity's Avatar
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    I know but Im just telling ya this team is more than likely not going to make LT a key option on day 1 this year if Marvel is going to be healthy. Especially if the resign Starks the team will concentrate on Center and Guard and this years draft. I wouldn't bet my life on it because things can always change but if they can get Starks to resign and Marvel is ok that will probably change how they draft this year. We still need depth and Im not saying we don't need a franchise LT but Im just not sure they feel Marvel and Starks can't do the job next year. I would hope at the very least they get some good depth here to challenge the starters but at this point it's all up in the air.

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    SA's #1 Pirates Fan Tetris Champion Black@Gold Forever32's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TOP GUN View Post
    I know but Im just telling ya this team is more than likely not going to make LT a key option on day 1 this year if Marvel is going to be healthy. Especially if the resign Starks the team will concentrate on Center and Guard and this years draft. I wouldn't bet my life on it because things can always change but if they can get Starks to resign and Marvel is ok that will probably change how they draft this year. We still need depth and Im not saying we don't need a franchise LT but Im just not sure they feel Marvel and Starks can't do the job next year. I would hope at the very least they get some good depth here to challenge the starters but at this point it's all up in the air.
    Well even when the Steelers had a good OL in years 04 and 05 Ben was still sacked over 30 times a year....lol I can see that the Steelers never had a great OL at protecting its QB......I see teams like the Browns this year were Derek Anderson was only sacked 12 times and I would like to see that for Ben...Of course Ben will always take some sacks he shouldn't but still the Steelers need to build an OL that protects its *** off for its QB....That starts with a franchise LT and a badass center.....This team is loaded with potential OGs already....Simmons won't be cut and will man one of the OG spots....I think Colon slides to OG and Mahan will compete with him at the other OG spot.....

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    The Absolute Truth Koopa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by K Train View Post
    punching babies is my thing lol
    no you punch baby seals lol
    "SA, it's more than a FEVER it's an ADDICTION" -BlacknGold Bleeder

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