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07-21-2007, 11:25 PM
Steelers philosophically different
By John Harris
TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Sunday, July 22, 2007

The Steelers may have hired a new coach, but the team is essentially the same.

The 2007 Steelers will resemble the 2006 Steelers, with coach Mike Tomlin being the biggest difference.

But delve deeper, and Tomlin's Steelers won't have much in common with Bill Cowher's Steelers. Philosophically, these Steelers aren't the same.

Some players will be utilized in different ways. They will be asked to do new things.

This year, the Steelers offense will feature the same quarterback, the same running back, the same wide receivers and much of the same offensive line as last year.

But expect those players to be utilized so differently that they may actually resemble new players.

Take quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, for instance.

This year, thanks to first-year offensive coordinator Bruce Arians, Roethlisberger will be less of a system quarterback and more of a take-charge quarterback. Not only will he receive the opportunity to make offensive line calls for the first time as a pro -- a move that will involve him more play-calling -- he should have the chance to pass more on first down.

It's a move that could improve Roethlisberger's numbers, helping him become a more confident passer, since he will be put in position to make more throws when the defense is geared toward stopping the run.

So, instead of Roethlisberger throwing a career-high 23 interceptions as he did in 2006, he's likely to have more success this season -- more like he did in 2005, when the Steelers won the Super Bowl.

Willie Parker remains the starter at running back, but that position won't be his exclusively. He'll still receive the majority of the carries, but the Steelers purposely acquired two other running backs who may not have Parker's breakaway speed but do a few things differently.

Najeh Davenport is bigger than Parker and a superior receiver out of the backfield. He has the ability to replace Verron Haynes as the third-down back, if Haynes doesn't bounce back from a serious knee injury.

Former Pitt star Kevan Barlow is a better runner inside the tackles than Parker. Moreover, he has experience as a starter.

Barlow may not be good enough to replace Parker on the depth chart, but he's good enough to make Parker look over his shoulder and not become complacent.

At receiver, veteran Hines Ward will line up at times in the slot, opening the door for youngsters Santonio Holmes and Nate Washington to use their speed and athleticism to make big plays.

Third-round draft pick Matt Spaeth gives Roethlisberger another big target with speed at tight end.

The offensive line is in transition. Marvel Smith and Alan Faneca are the only mainstays, at left tackle and left guard, respectively.

That means the other three positions -- center, right tackle and right guard -- are wide open. And not even left guard is a sure thing, given that Faneca is likely entering his last season with the Steelers.

Tomlin will likely audition other players at that position for the future.

Defensively, the Steelers don't figure to change much.

Technically, they're still a 3-4 team

However, versatile defensive end Brett Keisel may rise from his three-point stance every now and then and play linebacker during passing downs. And the Steelers may break with tradition and rest veteran outside linebackers Clark Haggans and James Harrison, replacing them with rookies Lawrence Timmons and LaMarr Woodley.

The idea is that infusing the lineup with youth isn't a bad thing, especially if those young players can rush the passer while gaining valuable experience. And especially if one of those young players, possibly Timmons, has the versatility to drop back and play a rover position, a la safety Troy Polamalu, allowing Polamalu to create havoc elsewhere on the field.

What makes Tomlin's Steelers different? Everything.

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/s_518394.html

Black@Gold Forever32
07-22-2007, 12:04 AM
Very nice read....I agree with alot in that article.......

The Duke
07-22-2007, 12:19 AM
Great read, the team really seems different, especially Ben, he has matured to possibly even be a leader now.

Preacher
07-22-2007, 12:33 AM
Former Pitt star Kevan Barlow is a better runner inside the tackles than Parker. Moreover, he has experience as a starter.


WHAT?!?!??!


I love this stuff... Parker actually is GREAT up the middle.. because his speed and size allows him to hit holes that would LONG FILL before Bettis could get there.. . Then, 7-10 yards down field, he angles out and speeds down the field. I really wish people would watch the kid before they write about him.

The Duke
07-22-2007, 12:51 AM
WHAT?!?!??!


I love this stuff... Parker actually is GREAT up the middle.. because his speed and size allows him to hit holes that would LONG FILL before Bettis could get there.. . Then, 7-10 yards down field, he angles out and speeds down the field. I really wish people would watch the kid before they write about him.

I was surprised by that too. Kevan Barlow was a good runner on the inside, like 3 seasons ago when he was still kinda good, Willie is amazing on the inside and on the outside, if the line block him well he's gone. I would like to see Barlow carrying the workload willie does

Preacher
07-22-2007, 01:04 AM
I was surprised by that too. Kevan Barlow was a good runner on the inside, like 3 seasons ago when he was still kinda good, Willie is amazing on the inside and on the outside, if the line block him well he's gone. I would like to see Barlow carrying the workload willie does


I do wish he will come back.... It sure would be nice to have a player that can shut down the game in the 4th quarter.

Galax Steeler
07-22-2007, 06:07 AM
I don't see how barlow is a better runner inside the tackels.I can't remeber which game it was last year but willie went threw a little hole and it closed up as he went threw it.

xXTheSteelKingsXx
07-22-2007, 10:25 AM
I don't see how barlow is a better runner inside the tackels.I can't remeber which game it was last year but willie went threw a little hole and it closed up as he went threw it.

I believe it was the Browns game when he went for 200 some yards.

steelpride12
07-22-2007, 11:22 AM
Great read.... and i like what the plans are for this year!

SalukiSteelers
07-22-2007, 12:29 PM
Great read, my butt! John Harris is a hack. He says one thing in the lede about the Steelers being the same and then in the last sentence of the column he says everything is totally different. I honestly don't understand how this guy writes for a newspaper in a city. He's got small-town talent. This column is about as brutal as his column on how the Pirates would've been better with Bonds. Really? Thanks for the thoughts, Captain Obvious.