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83-Steelers-43
07-22-2007, 12:09 AM
Five pressing topics
The site remains the same as the previous 40 years, at Saint Vincent College in Latrobe, but the atmosphere for the Steelers will be markedly different as they report to training camp tomorrow under new head coach Mike Tomlin. Here are five of the more pressing topics as they go to work:

Sunday, July 22, 2007

By Ed Bouchette, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

THE NEW COACH

Any time a team hires a new head coach, it's a notable turn of events. When the Steelers do it, the earth moves. Tomlin is their third head coach in 39 seasons and the way he approaches his job inevitably will be compared to his predecessor, Bill Cowher.

Tomlin has scheduled a remarkable 15 twice-daily practices. While nearly half of those are for special teams only, it shows this training camp will be no walkthrough. The new coach has impressed many who have dealt with him, from front office to fellow coaches, players, media and even fans. Now he really gets to show in public and before big crowds in Latrobe how he conducts himself in practices and as a head coach. The scrutiny will be everywhere for a coach taking over a team that was reigning Super Bowl champions a year ago.

THE QUARTERBACK

Will the real Ben Roethlisberger please stand up? Coaches are convinced their quarterback is the player of 2004 and 2005 and not the one who led the NFL with 23 interceptions last season. They've shown it by giving him more responsibility -- he will make the blocking protection changes at the line -- and open up the offense more for him.

Roethlisberger had excuses for his lowered performance last season -- his motorcycle accident in June, his appendectomy 10 days before the regular season started and his concussion in October. To his credit, he refused to accept them, but everyone else hopes those truly were the reasons.

Virtually every team revolves around its quarterback and his performance means more to wins and losses than at any other position. No quarterback in the history of the game had such a fast start as Roethlisberger in his first two seasons. It's no coincidence the Steelers' success followed, nor that they slinked to 8-8 last year when his performance fell off.

THE OFFENSIVE LINE

Three of the five starting jobs are up for grabs and a fourth starter does not want to be here. It's not life as usual for the Steelers, who have fielded consistently strong offensive lines through the years. Jeff Hartings' retirement left a hole at center that likely will be filled either by newcomer Sean Mahan, their only big signing in free agency, or longtime heir apparent Chukky Okobi.

Guard Kendall Simmons and tackle Max Starks each faces stiff competition for his job on the right side. Chris Kemoeatu is pressing Simmons, although line coach Larry Zierlein said Simmons had a great spring. Willie Colon is making a run at Starks.

The left side is more stable even though six-time Pro Bowl guard Alan Faneca apparently will play his 10th and final season with the Steelers because of a contract impasse. Marvel Smith has been an underrated left tackle for a number of years.

THE PASS RUSH

The team's 39 sacks were tied for the third lowest in Bill Cowher's 15 seasons as coach. While sacks do not always register the effectiveness of a pass rush, Kevin Colbert, their director of football operations, said they must improve in that area.

The pressure did not come from traditional forces in a 3-4 defense, the outside linebackers, but rather from their two starting ends. Aaron Smith and Brett Keisel combined for 44 quarterback pressures, compared to the 18 generated by Joey Porter and Clark Haggans.

Toward improving the pass rush, Keisel will move around in the defense and not stay put at right end. The Steelers made linebackers their top two draft picks and second choice LaMarr Woodley seems ticketed for a spot as a rusher on the left side in their pass defenses. James Harrison also could pick up the slack for the departed Porter on the right side.

THE "NEW" OFFENSE

The Steelers abandoned the ground game in 2003 to disastrous results and a 6-10 record. They ran more than anyone in the NFL the next two seasons and it helped produce a 15-1 record in 2004 and a Super Bowl the following season.

So why the move more toward a spread offense in 2007? The makeup of the team, for one thing. New coordinator Bruce Arians believes he has the quarterback and the receivers -- counting tight ends -- to open up things on offense. He will have Roethlisberger operate under center at times on first and second downs with four wide receivers and one back. That alignment should spread the defense and allow running back Willie Parker to hit bigger gaps and for the Steelers not to be as predictable on early downs.

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/07203/803455-66.stm

xXTheSteelKingsXx
07-22-2007, 12:19 AM
Great read 83 and I think that we'll be fine in most of these areas but the o-line is what really concerns me. Hopefully Kemoeato and Colon will push the right side of the line to preform better and we can find a suitable replacement for Hartings at center. Other than that I think we have a good coaching staff and a new corp of young talent on the defensive side of the ball.:tt02:

83-Steelers-43
07-22-2007, 12:20 AM
The Tribs five......

Five issues Steelers must address
By John Harris
TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Sunday, July 22, 2007

Five questions the Steelers need to answer in training camp:

1. Will quarterback Ben Roethlisberger return to the form of his Super Bowl season?

Considering he isn't coming off a horrific motorcycle accident this offseason, Big Ben is already ahead of the game. His mind is clear, he's gained back some of the weight that he lost, and he's excited about a new-look offense featuring multiple receiver sets on first down. The key is Roethlisberger's development in his ability to read defenses. He attempted 201 more passes last season than in 2005, but he had only one more touchdown pass with 14 more interceptions.

2. Can James Harrison effectively replace Joey Porter at right outside linebacker?

Porter was a three-down player who was strong against the run and the pass. The Steelers only need Harrison to be effective for the first two downs. Expect Harrison to be replaced on passing downs, leaving him fresher against the run. The big difference between Porter and Harrison is the Steelers will try not to ask Harrison to do too much.

3. Will the offensive line become a more consistent unit?

Roethlisberger was sacked 46 times in 2006, but some of those sacks were due to the fact the Steelers were playing catch-up. Still, Willie Parker had a Pro Bowl season running behind that same offensive line. Considering there could be as many as two new starters (at center and right tackle), this a line in transition and is going to take time to jell.

4. Will Pro Bowl guard Alan Faneca allow unhappiness over his contract situation to affect his performance?

Above all else, Faneca is a pro. Whatever negative feelings he may have about his contract won't hamper his play on the field. While he isn't expected to re-sign with the Steelers, he's still a football player, and he needs to show he can perform at a high level so he can receive a big contract from another team.

5. Will cornerback Ike Taylor reward coach Mike Tomlin's faith in him?

Taylor has been working like a maniac, trying to put 2006 behind him. He's excited about working with Tomlin, who's known for developing defensive backs and for his attention to detail. Physically, Taylor is fine. If he can eliminate some of the mental mistakes he made last season, he could have a banner year.

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/s_518397.html

Preacher
07-22-2007, 12:29 AM
Thanks 83

Good read...

Man this camp is going to be fun to watch and listen too!!

The Duke
07-22-2007, 01:34 AM
Ike's working like a maniac, good for him, as long as he eliminates those mental mistakes he can shutdown any receiver on the field, can't wait to see him back in 2005 shape

Preacher
07-22-2007, 01:35 AM
Ike's working like a maniac, good for him, as long as he eliminates those mental mistakes he can shutdown any receiver on the field, can't wait to see him back in 2005 shape

I sure hope so.

RoethlisBURGHer
07-22-2007, 01:48 AM
I cannot wait.Is it Monday yet?(never thought I'd say that)

Bouchette's 5:

1. Mike Tomlin already got the team's attention in mini-camp and the OTA sessions.The fact that he got Faneca to rejoin mini-amp practices speaks volumes about him,IMHO.He'll have this team ready not only to play,but to kick ass.

2. The real Big Ben will step up.He'll end up being the Comeback Player of the Year and make the Pro Bowl.He will throw 27 TD's and 9 INT's.

3. The o-line is the biggest concern on the team.They played a large role in Ben's struggles last year because he was pressured and sacked so much.I think the fact that none of them are truly gauranteed a starting spot with Cowher gone will have the 5 guys that Tomlin chooses to block for Ben and Willie will play to the best of thier ability.I gaurantee one starter from last year will lose his job in training camp...that'll open everyone's eyes.

4. The pass rush will improve.Harrison is a beast,Haggans is reliable,Smith and Keisel will both have big seasons like last year.Woodley will end up the QB's worst nightmare on passing downs,and will possibly end up replacing Haggans some point this year,infuriated the QB's even more.Timmons is a wild card,his injury has severley hampered his progress into becoming a 3-4 OLB.If he can heel up and show something in TC,he'll be a factor in the OLB rotation...if not he'll see most of his playing time in blowouts.

5. All our OC really did is remove plays that don't fit this Steelers team.We still have power runs in the playbook,not just 5 million of them.Some of those plays were from 1969,Chuck Noll's first year as head coach.The playbook was thicker than an Allegheny County phone book.It just got streamlined to fit the team better and some of the termonology changed,which is good because it was starting to look like Baltimore knew what everything meant.

The Tribs Five:

1. See above for Roethlisberger.

2. James Harrison has shown he can play when he gets on the field.I'll never forget his INT return against San Diego when he leaped over LT like Superman leaps over tall buildings.The defense never dropped off when he came in to replace Porter or Haggans,many times it seamed to improve.He won't be a 3 or 4 down OLB,but he'll definatly make some people wanna buy #92 jerseys.

3. See above for offensive line.

4. Faneca is pissed off and wants to show the front office what they will be missing when he leaves.This is the best thing to happen to our offensive line this year.Faneca will play his ass off,probally have one of the best seasons of his career.

5. Ike Taylor wasn't so much of a problem last year than people think.Our entire secondary was a mess.Troy,the lynchpin of the unit,was playing hurt a lot last year.Ike ended up covering two receivers a lot it looked like.Clark was out of position when Ike needed saftey help almost all year.The entire secondary was to blame,not just Ike.

Preacher
07-22-2007, 02:17 AM
Man..

I agree about Harrison.... Also agree about Faneca. I really think Smith will be the kicker on teh D, and if our Oline steps up... well...

Galax Steeler
07-22-2007, 08:21 AM
I have to agree with the preacher I think smith is going to be the darkhorse on the deffense.

Kaeg
07-22-2007, 09:15 AM
2. James Harrison has shown he can play when he gets on the field.I'll never forget his INT return against San Diego when he leaped over LT like Superman leaps over tall buildings.The defense never dropped off when he came in to replace Porter or Haggans,many times it seamed to improve.He won't be a 3 or 4 down OLB,but he'll definatly make some people wanna buy #92 jerseys.

Man, I remember that one. I think I became a Harrison fan after that play. :cya: Anyone have some kind of video for that so I can watch it again?

RoethlisBURGHer
07-22-2007, 11:23 AM
Man, I remember that one. I think I became a Harrison fan after that play. :cya: Anyone have some kind of video for that so I can watch it again?

I wish I did,it used to be on YTouTube but the NFL has a stick up it's collective ass and won't let us have clips on YouTube.

Me and my Grandpa just couldn't believe we saw that.I was like,"he did not jsut do what I think I just saw him do."My Grandpa just nodded his head yes.

83-Steelers-43
07-22-2007, 11:32 AM
Anyone have some kind of video for that so I can watch it again?

QGAXPu0v8x4

stillers4me
07-22-2007, 11:33 AM
Man, I remember that one. I think I became a Harrison fan after that play. :cya: Anyone have some kind of video for that so I can watch it again?

No video, but I do have an autographed picture of that play......Harrison is leaping in the air with the ball and LT is falling to the ground. Autograped by Silverback on draft day, 2007!! :jammin:

xXTheSteelKingsXx
07-22-2007, 11:33 AM
I love that vid. I cant get enough of Troy taking out Gates.

steelpride12
07-22-2007, 12:18 PM
Thanks for the great read 83, and lets hope everything works out great!

Preacher
07-22-2007, 11:48 PM
That is a GREAT vid.

For some reason, I didn't remember it! WOW...