View Full Version : Steelers, Bucs have nothing to lose

11-30-2006, 12:43 AM
Steelers, Bucs have nothing to lose

By Mike Prisuta
Thursday, November 30, 2006

Bill Cowher and Jon Gruden are in agreement that Sunday's Steelers-Buccaneers game ought to be coached as if it means something, even if it means nothing.

"No, no, no, we're going to try to win the game," Gruden insisted this week in Tampa when the subject of taking a look at youngsters was broached.

Cowher will do the same, maintaining that "times like this have a way of defining who you are."

Actually, that's already taken place.

The Bucs are a 3-8 football team; the standings say so.

The Steelers, for this season at least, are 4-7.

About the only thing left to salvage from a season that got completely away from the Steelers shortly after Matt Stover kicked off Sunday in Baltimore can be gleaned from the down-the-stretch performance of youngsters who are still in the process of showing the Steelers what they can become.

They should have all the information they're ever going to need about center Jeff Hartings. Nothing that happens between Sunday and the Dec. 31 regular-season finale in Cincinnati should make Hartings any less of a candidate for retirement or make the $3.6 million he's scheduled to earn in 2007 any less of a financial burden for the organization.

That being the case, shouldn't Chukky Okobi get another start at center before the season ends?

And shouldn't Kendall Simmons get one at center, where he dabbled in training camp?

The Steelers also have to know whether they'll be prepared to offer linebacker Joey Porter the contract extension he'll be demanding, and how badly that situation is destined to end, particularly after Cowher makes it official that he's not coming back to coach the 2007 season.

A little playing time for James Harrison now might ease the transition later (at least until Michigan's Alan Branch arrives in the first round of April's draft, and Brett Keisel evolves from undersized defensive end to oversized outside linebacker).

At cornerback, the future is clearly Ike Taylor and Bryant McFadden (at least until Pitt's Darrelle Revis arrives in the first round of April's draft). That being the case, the Steelers ought to line them up that way and employ Deshea Townsend as the No. 3 corner the rest of the way.

At wide receiver, No. 1 pick Santonio Holmes works with the first-team offense occasionally and as the No. 4 wide receiver regularly. Presumably, the Steelers drafted Holmes to be something more than their fourth wide receiver. Hines Ward's injury affords them a perfect opportunity to see if they were right about Holmes and to see what kind of fit he'd be with the first team (at least until USC's Dwayne Jarrett arrives in the first round of April's draft).

Cowher can plug Nate Washington into Ward's spot if he prefers, but is Washington ever going to be a No. 1 or No. 2 receiver here?

The point is, there's much to sort out between now and the beginning of the offseason and even next season.

The Steelers will need all the information they can get heading into free agency and the draft.

Maintaining the status quo adheres to the organizational philosophy in such instances. But doing it that way is one of the reasons the Steelers are languishing among the also-rans at 4-7.

"You're going to play the best players that give you the best chance to win week to week," Cowher insisted.

The argument for re-evaluating that thought process isn't to make changes for the sake of change, it's that at 4-7 at least a few of those players appear, in retrospect, to have been misidentified.


11-30-2006, 07:31 AM
How about we just go out there, regardless of who is playing, play Steelers football, and WIN!

11-30-2006, 05:53 PM
Sure glad Mike Prusuta doesn't coach the Steelers.

tony hipchest
11-30-2006, 06:15 PM
i do agree with holmes replacing ward. but porter is healthy, a pro bowler and gets paid to PLAY. no way should he be benched.

11-30-2006, 06:52 PM
How about we just go out there, regardless of who is playing, play Steelers football, and WIN!

:tt02: I am completely with you on this one Brother! :cheers:

11-30-2006, 10:17 PM
How about we just go out there, regardless of who is playing, play Steelers football, and WIN!

Agreed. I'm not down with tanking the rest of the season just to try to get a higher draft pick, as I've seen some folks suggest.

12-01-2006, 06:46 PM
it was realyl annoying how he seems to think tat we have approximately 4 1st round draft picks.

the number of wins you have does not equal the number of first rounders you get.

12-02-2006, 01:40 AM
Never give up on a season just for draft picks. Take the wins as they come and take the picks as they come...1st round or not. :helmet:

12-02-2006, 01:44 AM
Never give up on a season just for draft picks.

Nope, the draft is simply too much of a crapshoot. Example: Ryan Leaf - 1st round pick, Joe Montana - 3rd round pick, Tom Brady - 6th round pick. 'Nuff said. Never mind the little matter of the pride factor.

12-02-2006, 09:22 AM
Sure glad Mike Prusuta doesn't coach the Steelers.:iagree: Just what I was thinking.