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View Full Version : Media is starting to wake up a bit: Prediction: 2nd


WWIIOwheelz
07-23-2007, 02:21 PM
Ron Borges needs to keep an eye on this guy at MSNBC! (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/19831579/)

STEELERS SEASON PREVIEW
By Don Pierson
MSNBC contributor


This is Mike Tomlin's training camp. The Pittsburgh Steelers change head coaches so infrequently that no other storyline will carry as much weight as Tomlin following Bill Cowher.

Most Steelers believe change is good. Pro Bowl guard Alan Faneca is an exception, unhappy that former assistants Ken Whisenhunt or Russ Grimm didn't get the job and dissatisfied with his contract. But Tomlin already has made a good impression on the majority of Steelers, starting with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.

New offensive coordinator Bruce Arians, last year's receivers coach, is streamlining the playbook. Old defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau is creatively working with Tomlin as the two mesh their different 3-4 and 4-3 philosophies.

So much was made of Cowher's exit that the Steelers' slide from Super Bowl champs to a pedestrian 8-8 season got lost in the shuffle. Tomlin is left with a bit of rebuilding job in an AFC North division with only one patsy, the Cleveland Browns.

Tomlin must tweak most position groups except quarterback, where Roethlisberger must re-invent himself after a poor third-year showing in the wake of his motorcycle accident and appendectomy.

To start, Tomlin must replace veteran center Jeff Hartings with either Chukky Okobi or newcomer Sean Mahan. He must decide whether second-year offensive tackle Willie Colon is ready to challenge for a starting job somewhere on the line and he must make sure Faneca is ready.

Second-year receiver Santonio Holmes is ready to join Hines Ward and give Roethlisberger the best 1-2 threats the Steelers have had since Plaxico Burress left. Arians likes tight ends and drafted Matt Spaeth to join Heath Miller.

After failing to adequately replace Jerome Bettis at running back, the Steelers are giving journeyman Kevan Barlow a chance to complement Willie Parker, unless holdover Najeh Davenport can finally develop into a more reliable option.

Letting Joey Porter go to Miami followed a Steeler tradition of cutting ties with linebackers close to their prime. Porter led the team in sacks with seven and is only 30, but the Steelers always seem to find replacements. Top draft choice Lawrence Timmons will get plenty of action if he can stay healthier than he did in mini-camps.

The Steelers are hoping to deploy Brett Keisel in new ways because he has the versatility to rush the passer and drop into coverage. The Steelers once had a player like that in Mike Vrabel, but let him get away to New England.

Special teams will be emphasized by Tomlin and new special teams coach Bob Ligashesky after the team finished among the worst in the league. The team made punter Daniel Sepvuleda a fourth-round draft pick, but getting rid of Chris Gardocki is a gamble. In a 16-year career, Gardocki never had a punt blocked. [I'll pretend he didn't make that last comment. *tic*]

Hotseat
Roethlisberger won a Super Bowl in his second season, but the Steelers won that game more in spite of him than because of him, so he has some work ahead. Tomlin has been impressed by Roethlisberger's work so far and Roethlisberger appears prepared to re-dedicate himself after the death of his college coach, Terry Hoeppner, from brain cancer. "He's kind of a ball junkie. I didn't know that about him, but he is talking about football on a day-to-day basis. He is really into it and I was very pleased with him," Tomlin said after spring practices. Arians will allow Roethlisberger to use more no-huddle formations, which should keep his attention.

Overheard
LeBeau always has been an innovator, so anything he and Tomlin cook up together on defense is likely to turn heads. Both want to become more unpredictable, so look for more players than just safety Troy Polamalu to be jumping around pre-snap to confuse offenses. Tomlin likes versatility as well as unpredictability, so cornerback Deshea Townsend has worked at safety and others have switched positions. Second-round draft pick LaMarr Woodley is a linebacker/pass rusher "tweener" who will help replace Porter. Cornerback Ike Taylor appears to have won his job back after losing it under Cowher. The free safety job should be decided in camp between Anthony Smith and Ryan Clark. Smith replaced Clark for the last four games after Clark got hurt.

Outlook
With games against Cleveland, Buffalo, San Francisco and Arizona in September, Tomlin has a chance for a fast start to what promises to be a long career. The Rooney family is patient anyway, but their decision to pick Tomlin over in-house candidates Whisenhunt and Grimm provides Tomlin with extra security. Players who don't buy into his program will be replaced.

Prediction
Second.

Livinginthe past
07-23-2007, 02:42 PM
See predictions and power rankings are great idea after all! :toofunny:

WWIIOwheelz
07-23-2007, 03:02 PM
:D

It's nice to see one writer who hasn't written the Steelers off because of the changing of the guard. Au contraire, he seems to recognize what we in Pittsburgh are really excited about, namely the long overdue changes to the approach on the offensive side of the ball. It's fun to think about.

I tentatively foresee the same in the division, but I'll be honest.... I think the Ravens will have a hard time being as good as they were last season. They are one missed blocking assignment from mediocrity.

The Duke
07-23-2007, 03:11 PM
He should have chosen us to win the division :banging:
But really, this seems like a nice prediction.

Preacher
07-23-2007, 03:19 PM
See predictions and power rankings are great idea after all! :toofunny:

:rolleyes:

He was just pointing out a decently written article

Livinginthe past
07-23-2007, 03:37 PM
:rolleyes:

He was just pointing out a decently written article

Hope you aint charging too much to be his spokesman :wink02:

SteelCityMan786
07-23-2007, 03:49 PM
See predictions and power rankings are great idea after all! :toofunny:

They're great for when you get to bust on the people who doubt you.

CantStop85
07-23-2007, 03:52 PM
Hope you aint charging too much to be his spokesman :wink02:

*Waits for the comment* "I always thought Don Pierson was a great sportswriter." :wink02:

stillers4me
07-23-2007, 05:24 PM
Players who don't buy into his program will be replaced.

Not mentioning any names.........:whistle:

Edman
07-23-2007, 06:28 PM
Praise or Hate, I do not take the predictions too seriously.

The Steelers will compete this year, and so will the Bengals. The Browns mortgaged their future on two rookies, Romeo is on the hot seat, and they're in the AFC North. Not good odds. They did improve however. Do not sleep on them.

The Ravens, what can I say? They're sketchy underachievers who have a nasty habit in getting overconfident, falling for their own hype, and failing under Billick. They won the North last year, so they're still the team to beat. Hopefully the Steelers will wake up after the embarrassments last year and stick it to them.

xXTheSteelKingsXx
07-23-2007, 07:06 PM
I dont see why Big Ben is on the "Hotseat". I mean its not like he just had his third poor season. He will bounce back and have a better season.

The Duke
07-23-2007, 07:12 PM
Special teams will be emphasized by Tomlin and new special teams coach Bob Ligashesky after the team finished among the worst in the league. The team made punter Daniel Sepvuleda a fourth-round draft pick, but getting rid of Chris Gardocki is a gamble. In a 16-year career, Gardocki never had a punt blocked. [I'll pretend he didn't make that last comment. *tic*]

And the no punts blocked praise continue even though he's not on the team anymore :dang:. A gamble would have been staying with gardocki.

steelpride12
07-23-2007, 07:48 PM
i still wanted to be under the radar :(

cornsteeler
07-23-2007, 08:06 PM
Did anyone else catch the Townsend working at safety bit? Is this true? Did he get time at safey in spring practices? Not a bad idea, if the coaches are sure of Ike, McFadden, and Ricardo.

I also hope he's right about Tomlin having a long and succesful career, I wish Tomlin the best.

tony hipchest
07-23-2007, 09:32 PM
Did anyone else catch the Townsend working at safety bit? Is this true? Did he get time at safey in spring practices? Not a bad idea, if the coaches are sure of Ike, McFadden, and Ricardo.

I also hope he's right about Tomlin having a long and succesful career, I wish Tomlin the best.word is all the safeties and corners have been switched altogether for several drills. the patriots used this in 2001 against the rams in the sb.

the thinking was to use the stronger safeties on the outside to press/jam the wr's and funnel them inside to the better cover corners who were playing in the safeties spot.


it worked.

fansince'76
07-23-2007, 09:40 PM
See predictions and power rankings are great idea after all! :toofunny:

Naw, they're still haters! They only ranked us as finishing 2nd, dammit! :toofunny:

Atlanta Dan
07-23-2007, 09:46 PM
Nice read - Pierson notes at the end of the article that the schedule provides the opportunity for a fast start.

Anything less than 4-1 before the bye will be a disappointment to me (and definitely cause me to revisit my prediction of a 10-6 record).

Preacher
07-24-2007, 12:46 AM
Nice read - Pierson notes at the end of the article that the schedule provides the opportunity for a fast start.

Anything less than 4-1 before the bye will be a disappointment to me (and definitely cause me to revisit my prediction of a 10-6 record).

I'd have to say 3-2...

They are just historically slow starters... but again, that was under Cowher, so who knows?

Livinginthe past
07-24-2007, 06:21 AM
Naw, they're still haters! They only ranked us as finishing 2nd, dammit! :toofunny:

Ha ha.

:thumbsup:

lamberts-lost-tooth
07-24-2007, 06:45 AM
Nice read...I notice that most publications dont judge each team by the same standards...For instance...the Bengals and Ravens Front O-lines have both lost more starters from last year than the Steelers, but you rarely hear of it.

SteelerWatch
07-24-2007, 06:49 AM
And the no punts blocked praise continue even though he's not on the team anymore :dang:. A gamble would have been staying with gardocki.

Just wait until Sepulveda lines up for his first punt. It's going to be a Gardocki-fest in the booth. But once Dan has a chance to clean some poor returner's clock, Gardocki will be a distant memory in the 'Burgh.

Preacher
07-24-2007, 12:08 PM
Just wait until Sepulveda lines up for his first punt. It's going to be a Gardocki-fest in the booth. But once Dan has a chance to clean some poor returner's clock, Gardocki will be a distant memory in the 'Burgh.

Wait until we get a punt blocked... It will go on for days.

If we lose from it, people in this forum will rip on the organization for getting rid of Gardocki.

fansince'76
07-24-2007, 12:11 PM
Just wait until Sepulveda lines up for his first punt. It's going to be a Gardocki-fest in the booth. But once Dan has a chance to clean some poor returner's clock, Gardocki will be a distant memory in the 'Burgh.

I'd settle for punts with hang times of over .7 seconds and that actually travel further than 30 yards.

Jman
07-24-2007, 12:21 PM
Wait until we get a punt blocked... It will go on for days.

If we lose from it, people in this forum will rip on the organization for getting rid of Gardocki.

How true this is. :banging:

SteelerWatch
07-24-2007, 12:43 PM
Its the great part, and the bad part, of being a Steelers fan: we're never satisfied. If it wasn't for that doggone dynasty, we wouldn't have such a high bar against which to measure our team each year.

D*mn you, Lambert!