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  1. #1
    BlitzburghRockCity's Avatar
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    Steelers embracing transition period

    http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pitt.../s_499580.html

    PHOENIX -- The Steelers may have a new head coach in Mike Tomlin and players who have to get used to a new system and a new way of doing things. But they are hardly bracing for a season in which the team takes a step back because it is adjusting to the kind of change that is rare for the organization.

    "There's no reason for us to say we're not going to be a contender this year," Steelers president Art Rooney II said Sunday at the NFL owners' meeting. "We look at it as a team that's obviously one season removed from winning a Super Bowl and a team that has won a lot of games over the last three years.

    "There will be a transition. Teams have gone through that before and been successful, so we're keeping our expectations high. I think Mike feels the same way."

    Fans who also attach lofty expectations to the Steelers are no doubt a little anxious and not just because the team has a new head coach for the first time since 1992.


    The Steelers have added little in the way of free agency -- offensive lineman Sean Mahan is the team's only noteworthy signing to this point -- and did not address the need they have at linebacker.

    If the Steelers have been too quiet for fans' liking, Rooney said, that is because they are following the philosophy they have had the last couple of years and concentrating on re-signing their own players.

    Progress on that front, Rooney admitted, has been slow.

    The team agreed to a contract extension with defensive end Aaron Smith last month, but there are a number of players going into the final year of their contract that the Steelers are still talking to about a long-term deal.

    The most notable in that group are guard Alan Faneca and safety Troy Polamalu.

    Faneca did not show up last week for the start of offseason conditioning at the Steelers' South Side practice facility, fueling speculation about his long-term future with the team.

    Rooney said that the Steelers and Faneca "still got a way to go" in terms of a contract extension, but he added that the perennial Pro Bowler's absence from the workouts, which are not mandatory, did not concern him.

    "From what I recall, he has typically not made it to the early part of the offseason workout program," Rooney said.

    The Steelers will hold the first of two mini-camps April 19-22 (a second one will take place May 10-13). When asked if he expects Faneca to take part in next month's mini-camp, Rooney said, "I think we expect him to make it."

    One factor that may have complicated negotiations between Faneca and the Steelers is the kind of money guards have been fetching during the free-agent signing period.

    Eric Steinbach and Derrick Dockery signed seven-year deals for $49.5 million and $49 million, respectively, and neither one has played in a Pro Bowl.

    Rooney said getting deals done with Faneca and Polamalu are top priorities for the Steelers.

    Other players entering the final year of their contract include offensive tackle Max Starks, outside linebacker Clark Haggans and guard Kendall Simmons.

    "There's a pretty good list of guys that we've got to look at between now and the end of training camp," Rooney said. "Right now, we're not going to give up on anybody, but it's fair that it will be hard to sign all of them between now and the end of next season."
    This is definitely a high expecation year around here, we don't want to hear any of that rebuilding or transition crap. We're used to winning and we have a a ton of talent on this roster and on paper there's no reason we shouldn't be in the playoffs again. We do have a lot of work to do and alot of unanswered questions but overall the Steeler Nation will not stand for a sub par year. The pressure is on Tomlin because he is ultimately responsible for the team we field and how we perform.

  2. #2
    AZ_Steeler's Avatar
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    Transition sucks! We all hate hearing that word!!! It sounds promising though to hear Troy is one of their main concerns to get resigned... I personally could care less about Faneca's contract just because of the other recent signings. I don't see the Steelers dishing out that kind of cash for a player but that's just my opinion.

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    BlitzburghRockCity's Avatar
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    It's not out of the realm of possibility to get all these guys under contract this year, especially since we don't have much to deal with it terms of already expired players contracts now so we're in a good position to get a lot accomplished this offseason.

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    SA's #1 Pirates Fan Tetris Champion Black@Gold Forever32's Avatar
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    Yea Top I understand there is a ton of talent on this team (especially on the offense). But I won't be mad if the Steelers miss the play-offs. I'm willing to cut Tomlin some slack. I think this team can make the play-offs no doubt but thats if all the players buy into what Tomlin is selling.

    Plus improvements by the Oline and Big Ben are big keys in this team returning to the play-offs. Of course the lack of pass rush is a big concern to me on defense. But I'm hoping maybe the offense carries the team this year. I think they can while the defense goes through some adjustments.

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    BlitzburghRockCity's Avatar
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    If we get our Pass Rush back to form and our OL back to form this team is capable of damn near anything in 2007.

    However if our OL stinks that means our offense will stink and if our Pass rush stinks then our defense will stink and our offense will stink because they're not moving the ball because they have no blocking and the defense is on the field all day because they can't stop anybody. It's all a trickle down effect directly correlated to those 2 positions being rectified in 2007.

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    Tthat's for sure Top Gun. Those afre my main concerns, before the Transition concern.

    I'm A "Champion"

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