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83-Steelers-43
04-22-2007, 09:39 AM
Notebook: Steelers' Tomlin praises Porter's successor

By Scott Brown
TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Sunday, April 22, 2007

He didn't exactly say, "Joey who?"

Steelers defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau did strongly endorse the player that is expected to replace Joey Porter at right outside linebacker.

"I don't expect us to miss a beat with James Harrison in there at the outside 'backer," LeBeau said Saturday at Steelers minicamp. "Any games that he's played our defense has not missed a beat, and he's always been a contributing factor to that, so I have every confidence in the world in him."

Harrison has been a solid reserve and a superb special teams player for the Steelers, and the 6-foot, 242-pounder has the nasty disposition that is required of a linebacker.

"He's not Joey Porter," veteran inside linebacker James Farrior said, "but he's a great player. We're not expecting any kind of dropoff. He's going to do good things out there."

One thing the Steelers have to like about Harrison: The fourth-year veteran is not assuming anything, including replacing the departed Porter.

That is not surprising, considering Harrison was cut several times by the Steelers -- he was released by other teams as well -- prior to the 2004 season.

LeBeau, for one, doesn't seem to have any doubts about Harrison not only winning the starting job but playing at a high level at Porter's old position.

"I think he'll do a great job there," LeBeau said.

No double-duty yet

Sean Mahan has played exclusively at guard during the first two days of minicamp, but he is still expected to compete for the starting job at center.

Mahan, the Steelers' only significant free-agent signing this year, has not lined up at center simply because the Steelers want to avoid system overload.

"At some point we'll cross-train him," Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said. "There's going to be some position flexibility with him. That's part of what attracted us to him."

Mahan started 28 games at guard the previous two seasons for the Buccaneers but made eight starts at center for Tampa Bay in 2004.

Chukky Okobi has been playing center with the first team, but Mahan also could see some action at the position today and certainly will line up there when the Steelers hold another minicamp May 11-13.

Sidelined ... sort of

Punter Chris Gardocki spent the first two days of minicamp as more of a coach than anything else.

The 17-year veteran hasn't done any kicking because he has what Tomlin called a minor back problem.

Gardocki, Tomlin said, has been helping Mike Barr, who is the only other punter on the Steelers' roster.

"We know what (Gardocki) can do," Tomlin said. "He's been there, done that."

Gardocki's hold on his job appears to be tenuous.

The Steelers made a contract offer to restricted free agent Andy Lee last month, but the 49ers matched it. They could take a punter late in next week's NFL draft or sign an undrafted free agent to compete with Gardocki and Barr.

Extra points

Tomlin hasn't ruled out the Steelers re-signing running back Verron Haynes, who suffered a season-ending knee injury last October in a game at Oakland. Haynes had been the Steelers' third-down back before tearing his ACL. The Steelers released him last month. ... The Steelers conclude minicamp today. They will hold a morning practice at their South Side facility.

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/steelers/s_503995.html

GBMelBlount
04-22-2007, 09:03 PM
Do you think we'll lose much going from Joey to Harrison?

Indy_Steelers
04-22-2007, 10:04 PM
I will be sure to mention this good article to James Harrison when I see him on Draft Day.

WWIIOwheelz
04-22-2007, 10:12 PM
From a position player standpoint, no. From a leadership standpoint, no question.

I'm concerned about the vacuum being created from a leadership standpoint on the defensive side of the ball. Porter was all of it for a number of years, and say what you will, a team needs that guy as a spark plug. I've read the talk of Hamp stepping up, and I believe he can, but he isn't a linebacker or someone who can fire up the secondary, I don't think.

I'm nervous about all of this, all of a sudden. :) Pre-draft jitters, thinking about all the post-season stuff, new HC. I've seen a reluctance by Steeler fans you run into out & about to talk football at all, whereas in years past, you would be. People are nervous, just like me, I'm thinking.

tony hipchest
04-22-2007, 10:24 PM
Do you think we'll lose much going from Joey to Harrison?we never did in the past, and he filled in fine for haggans also. i gotta go with tomlin and lebeau on this one.

im sure there would be the same skeptics if it were a younger mike vrabel stepping in for porter.

and leadership is overrated. tomlin is the new defensive leader.

Preacher
04-22-2007, 10:34 PM
From a position player standpoint, no. From a leadership standpoint, no question.

I'm concerned about the vacuum being created from a leadership standpoint on the defensive side of the ball. Porter was all of it for a number of years, and say what you will, a team needs that guy as a spark plug. I've read the talk of Hamp stepping up, and I believe he can, but he isn't a linebacker or someone who can fire up the secondary, I don't think.

I'm nervous about all of this, all of a sudden. :) Pre-draft jitters, thinking about all the post-season stuff, new HC. I've seen a reluctance by Steeler fans you run into out & about to talk football at all, whereas in years past, you would be. People are nervous, just like me, I'm thinking.

Thank you... that is one of the smarter posts about losing Joey Porter. I am not as worried as you seem about the loss of leadership. I think we have enough people that can step up and lead.

But great post.

jjpro11
04-23-2007, 12:22 AM
im more worried about our short-medium range pass defense. joey was good in coverage, and we were still soft against short routes.

Preacher
04-23-2007, 02:25 AM
im more worried about our short-medium range pass defense. joey was good in coverage, and we were still soft against short routes.

I agree with you on that...

but the problem there is the scheme itself. The CB's have a larger area of responsibility in the zone-blitz system then other cb's in a cover-two or other typical defensive system. As a result, they have to actually sit off the receivers and not get tied up until they can read the play.. .much like a linebacker not in a blitz situation. The problem with that is that a QB can take advantage of it, take a three step drop and start hitting quick slants... quick posts.. quick inside slot routes... and there is NOTHING we can do about it... until we adapt the scheming.

I have said it before and I will say it again... I love the zone-blitz, but my fear is that it has been around too long, and team are starting to figure out how to break it down.

stillers4me
04-23-2007, 05:30 AM
My hubby and I will be getting Harrison's autograph on draft day here in Cinci!!! We were at the sports bar on Saturday where he'll be next Saturday and they said they got the picture of James Harrison bodyslamming that Brown's fan for the autograph!! :banana: It will look lovely framed in our computer room!!!

HometownGal
04-23-2007, 06:24 AM
I think we are going to be just fine with Harrison. I'm with Tony on this one - I'm going with Lebeau's and Tomlin's instincts here. :thumbsup:

Steel Pit
04-24-2007, 12:43 AM
We won't miss a beat with Harrison in there, in fact I think that he's an upgrade over Porter's play last season. With "VERY LIMITED OPPORTUNITIES", Harrison had some great plays.

Some of you have mentioned that the Steelers will miss Porter's leadership. Well, I haven't missed a Steelers game in many years so I know that I've watched "at least" as many games as any one of you......so, with that being said I ask myself,

What is it that I'm missing? What is it that many of you are witnessing during the telecast of the games that I'm "just not seeing"? What "televised actions" by Porter indicated that he was playing a leadership role? I'm very observant during the games so I would be suprised if anyone could pinpoint "a televised action" that indicated Porter's leadership role.

I seldom recall seeing him speaking to his teammates. I most often recall seeing him yapping at the opposing players. Is that leadership?

tony hipchest
04-24-2007, 12:51 AM
What is it that I'm missing? What is it that many of you are witnessing during the telecast of the games that I'm "just not seeing"? What "televised actions" by Porter indicated that he was playing a leadership role? I'm very observant during the games so I would be suprised if anyone could pinpoint "a televised action" that indicated Porter's leadership role.

?

youre probably missing what goes on in the locker room, on the practice field, and on the sidelines.

but since you watch it on tv, i might as well disregard what all his teammates say about him who actually do more than watch from a couch. :rolleyes:

Steel Pit
04-24-2007, 04:53 AM
youre probably missing what goes on in the locker room, on the practice field, and on the sidelines.

but since you watch it on tv, i might as well disregard what all his teammates say about him who actually do more than watch from a couch. :rolleyes:

Well in this forum I'm not replying to "player comments" on Porter's leadership abilities.

Yes I watch from a couch, sometimes from the stands, as the rest of you do. I read many quotes from Steelers players commenting on their teammates and 99% of the time the comments are positive as is to be expected when a player is speaking of a teammate. Unless of course that player is Terrell Owens.

You may be right Tony, who's to say? We certainly don't possess an all access pass to Steelers football so we really don't know what goes on behind closed doors.

I do know this. I can sit on my couch and watch the Baltimore Ravens and THERE IS ABSOLUTELY NO DOUBT that Ray Lewis is THE leader of that football team. I can watch the Indianapolis Colts and realize in a jiffy that Peyton Manning is THE leader of that football team. When watching the Cincinnati Bengals is doesn't take any more than a 5th grader to recognize that Carson Palmer is THE leader of that football team. Do you get my drift? I didn't see those leadership qualities in Porter. If you saw it then you have far better vision than I.
As a matter of fact I haven't seen the aforementioned leadership qualities in a Steelers player since Greg Lloyd.

It's amazing what one can learn while sitting on his couch watching NFL football.

coachspeak33
04-24-2007, 07:54 AM
First of all quit talking about sitting on the couch and watching football...YOUR MAKING WORK SUCK EVEN MORE!!!! HA

In all seriousness, however, For anyone to say that we are a better football team without Joey Porter is crazy....Maybe you need a bettter TV with a clearer picture...Maybe you need to invest in an HD monitor....I suggest the Panasonic 42" Plasma....Maybe its not your TV maybe its your couch...Go out and buy yourself one that feels more comfy...But please do not get on here and say our defense is BETTER w/out Peezy.

Now you can make the case that we will adjust to life w/out him and still have a stingy D...thats fine...but better????Come on.

Peezy was a guy who played the run extremely well...his coverage skills as an OLB probably hover between elite and above average...which is more than I can say for any other OLB currently on our roster...Sure he was the recipient of several "gift sacks" due to Lebeau's zone blitzes....but pass rushing is only a portion of what he brought to the table.

Peezy's devoted all of his yrs in the league to the Steelers organization...he celebrated and got genuinely excited for his teammates successes...he accepted responsibility for his teams failures....what more do you want from a leader???

Steel Pit
04-25-2007, 12:52 AM
First of all quit talking about sitting on the couch and watching football...YOUR MAKING WORK SUCK EVEN MORE!!!! HA

In all seriousness, however, For anyone to say that we are a better football team without Joey Porter is crazy....Maybe you need a bettter TV with a clearer picture...Maybe you need to invest in an HD monitor....I suggest the Panasonic 42" Plasma....Maybe its not your TV maybe its your couch...Go out and buy yourself one that feels more comfy...But please do not get on here and say our defense is BETTER w/out Peezy.

Now you can make the case that we will adjust to life w/out him and still have a stingy D...thats fine...but better????Come on.

Peezy was a guy who played the run extremely well...his coverage skills as an OLB probably hover between elite and above average...which is more than I can say for any other OLB currently on our roster...Sure he was the recipient of several "gift sacks" due to Lebeau's zone blitzes....but pass rushing is only a portion of what he brought to the table.

Peezy's devoted all of his yrs in the league to the Steelers organization...he celebrated and got genuinely excited for his teammates successes...he accepted responsibility for his teams failures....what more do you want from a leader???

I enjoy your posts Coachspeek but please don't get on here and quote me as saying that "Our defense is BETTER w/out Peezy." I said that Harrison will be an upgrade over Porter's play LAST SEASON. Porter, along with many other Steelers players, basically stunk last season. In my opinion Harrison will certainly play better ball than Porter played last season. If you disagree then you disagree. You won't change my opinion and I won't try to sway yours.

Is that saying that we will be BETTER without Peezy? Not even close. I was speaking of 2 players, not the entire defense. That's simply being positive about the Steelers ability to fill the void of a starting OLB who left via free agency.

I'm not one to sit around and whine about a departed Steelers player. Move on! Who cares? I'm all about supporting the current Steelers players. I couldn't care any less about the departed players and I will ALWAYS give the incumbent player higher praise than the departed player.

Just for the record, my most-recent comments relating to Porter were that I didn't view him as a team leader. Say what you want to about my vision, television, couch etc... If you saw him as a team leader then BRAVO BABY! Here's to you :cheers: I DIDN'T SEE IT THAT WAY.

coachspeak33
04-25-2007, 07:47 AM
I enjoy your posts Coachspeek but please don't get on here and quote me as saying that "Our defense is BETTER w/out Peezy." I said that Harrison will be an upgrade over Porter's play LAST SEASON. Porter, along with many other Steelers players, basically stunk last season. In my opinion Harrison will certainly play better ball than Porter played last season. If you disagree then you disagree. You won't change my opinion and I won't try to sway yours.

Is that saying that we will be BETTER without Peezy? Not even close. I was speaking of 2 players, not the entire defense. That's simply being positive about the Steelers ability to fill the void of a starting OLB who left via free agency.

I'm not one to sit around and whine about a departed Steelers player. Move on! Who cares? I'm all about supporting the current Steelers players. I couldn't care any less about the departed players and I will ALWAYS give the incumbent player higher praise than the departed player.

Just for the record, my most-recent comments relating to Porter were that I didn't view him as a team leader. Say what you want to about my vision, television, couch etc... If you saw him as a team leader then BRAVO BABY! Here's to you :cheers: I DIDN'T SEE IT THAT WAY.

Fair enough....One thing I think we can agree on is the Steelers ability to replace departed starters....especially LB's...If Penn St. is Linebacker U....then the Steelers organization should begin advertising as a Linebacker Graduate School....they sure can develope em cant they!!!!:tt02: :tt02: :tt02:

Edman
04-25-2007, 10:02 AM
I appreciate what Joey did for the Steelers. But last year he was hardly a force.

Unlike some, I'm not expecting "Joey Porter" out of James Harrison, I'm expecting "James Harrison" out of James Harrison. I want him to be his own special breed of Steeler LB, not a servicable Joey Porter replacement. 'He's not Joey Porter' Well, of course he isn't. He's James Harrison.

Steelerstrength
04-25-2007, 11:27 AM
From what I've read, Silverback will be his own style of nasty LB this coming season, and then some! Personally I'm looking for plenty of bone-jarring hits from a very hungry beast! Am I excited? Hell yes!

Peezy was my favorite player on the team. I loved the trash talking, and the scenes of "Let's Ride on Three!" in the locker room! Nobody better than Peezy at hyped-up motivation! Those basic techniques work well in a business of mean & nasty! I will miss him, and continue to be a fan, when they aren't playing my Steelers!

The leadership role will have time to develop, but who will fill that spot? We shall see.

I can't wait to watch & witness our new team on the field. Desire, Determination, and Discipline!

DACEB
04-25-2007, 11:55 AM
I can't wait to watch & witness our new team on the field. Desire, Determination, and Discipline!

yea baby!! :tt02:

ben2hines=6
04-25-2007, 03:32 PM
i do believe most dont realize that porter only had 7 sacks last year and was totally taken outta games last year by decent tackles......harrison will step in and do the job...yea the leadership will hurt a little but a guy nobody talks about is farrior....he's a smart and very tough guy who almost won defensive mvp a couple years ago and unlike porter he doesnt let his emotion or his pride stand in the way of doin his job......the most that will be hurt on the field from porters departure is the depth at lb....but hey, maybe we'll get to see a little more of arnold harrison too

Steel Pit
04-26-2007, 01:23 AM
Fair enough....One thing I think we can agree on is the Steelers ability to replace departed starters....especially LB's...If Penn St. is Linebacker U....then the Steelers organization should begin advertising as a Linebacker Graduate School....they sure can develope em cant they!!!!:tt02: :tt02: :tt02:


Speaking of Penn State linebackers, I would surely like to see us grab 1, if not both, of the Penn State linebackers in this years draft. That would immediately solve our linebacker depth problem while securing future dominance at the position.

coachspeak33
04-26-2007, 07:51 AM
Speaking of Penn State linebackers, I would surely like to see us grab 1, if not both, of the Penn State linebackers in this years draft. That would immediately solve our linebacker depth problem while securing future dominance at the position.

Poz just seems like agreat fit...

Great wrok ethic....student of the game....versatile....he would be considered by myself as a wonderful pick of both value and need.