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GBMelBlount
08-14-2008, 05:30 AM
It's Hartwig's turn to be center of attention

LATROBE - In an ideal world, Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin would have already settled on a starting center, giving the offensive line nearly a month to play together as a unit.

As Tomlin has quickly learned in his year-plus as an NFL head coach, reality isn't always ideal.

"I'd like to have it solved yesterday," Tomlin said of the battle between incumbent Sean Mahan and newcomer Justin Hartwig. "But you don't always get what you want. We'll have clarity, certainly, when we do make that decision."

Mahan, who started every game last season, got the nod in a 16-10 preseason victory over Philadelphia. The Steelers were disappointed with Mahan's play last season, particularly late in the year. But they were happy with how he competed against the Eagles.

In the Steelers' second preseason game against Buffalo in Toronto tonight, Hartwig will work with the first unit. Hartwig was signed in the offseason after being released by Carolina.

The Steelers would like a starter in place by their third preseason game next week in Minnesota because the regulars usually play more.

"It's running its course," Tomlin said of the center competition. "We're going to continue to sort those things out and, hopefully, the answers become clearer to us. That's what we're going into the game looking at, the quality of the play, the cohesion of the unit. The sooner we get the starting five together, the better."

Tomlin also will be auditioning punters in tonight's game. Paul Ernster and Mitch Berger, signed Sunday, will get an equal shot at replacing Daniel Sepulveda, who suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament on the first day of training camp.

"We're going to punt those guys for the next three weeks and pit one versus the other and see who comes out on top," Tomlin said. "It is our intent to punt both of those guys in all three of these remaining games."

Quarterback Byron Leftwich, signed when Charlie Batch suffered a broken right collarbone against the Eagles, will make his Steelers debut, despite being in camp less than a week.

Leftwich will follow starter Ben Roethlisberger in the game. Thankfully for Leftwich, who has had just three practices and one walk through with the Steelers this week, quarterbacks coach Kenny Anderson held the same position in Jacksonville when Leftwich was a rookie there in 2003.

"I have a guy who coached me all those years and he can translate (plays) for me," Leftwich said. "We had the same plays on some of these plays, just the communication and interpretation of it is different. He can translate it for me and that way I can get it right now, especially so early, trying to rush and learn everything. I'm trying to learn fast. To have a guy like that who you have a relationship with, and have a lot of respect for, it helps me out."

This is the third preseason game the Steelers will play in Canada. They defeated New England, 30-14, in Montreal in 1990, and the New York Giants, 17-13, in Montreal in 1969. ... Tomlin owns a 5-1 record in preseason games. ... The Steelers are 5-1 against Buffalo in the preseason, including a 20-0 win in 2001.

By F. Dale Lolley, Staff writer

dlolley@observer-reporter.com

http://www.observer-reporter.com/OR/Story/08-14-Steelers-Bills-preview

Elvis
08-14-2008, 06:40 AM
In all due time this will be over with and Hartwig will be our starter. But I can honestly say that Mahan seemed to do pretty good vs that quick Eagles defense.
:tt02:

HometownGal
08-14-2008, 08:01 AM
So which is it?

Scott Brown of the Tribune Review's article last week stated:

"We're not listening to the fans," Zierlein said. "Sean did fine for us last year."


This week, the author of this article states:

The Steelers were disappointed with Mahan's play last season, particularly late in the year.

:noidea::noidea:

Whether it is Hartwig or Mahan who wins that starting job, I actually feel sorry for, as whoever it is will be under that itty bitty cyber microscope whenever the line as a unit doesn't play well. :doh:

I will be behind whichever gentleman gets the job. :tt02:

Lord Stiller
08-14-2008, 08:27 AM
:crying01: but it's not Mahan's fault :crying01: He has a weight problem :crying01: his teammates played bad which made him look bad :crying01: just give the guy a chance :crying01::crying01::crying01:














j/k Mahan sucks, go Hartwig!

HometownGal
08-14-2008, 08:34 AM
j/k Mahan sucks, go Hartwig!

I was wondering when the "Mahan SUCKS" was coming. LOL!

Wow LS - you are a hater! You haven't seen either guy in TC and have seen very little of Hartwig in action thus far. :doh:

Lord Stiller
08-14-2008, 09:32 AM
Wow LS - you are a hater! You haven't seen either guy in TC and have seen very little of Hartwig in action thus far. :doh:

seeing 17 games of Mahan getting dominated last year makes me cheer for any Center not named Mahan

jblovein
08-14-2008, 10:01 AM
Eagles are 4-3. Mahan has tough time with 3-4 when the big NTs are hammering him.

HometownGal
08-14-2008, 10:10 AM
seeing 17 games of Mahan getting dominated last year makes me cheer for any Center not named Mahan

That's what I've been trying to get across to you - he WASN'T dominated in 17 games last season. If you get the opportunity to watch some of the Steelers games from last season, pay particular attention to not only Mahan, but the left side of the line.

Steeldude
08-14-2008, 10:34 AM
I actually feel sorry for, as whoever it is will be under that itty bitty cyber microscope whenever the line as a unit doesn't play well.


which is unfair beause colon and simmons were just as bad(or at fault) as mahan. even faneca's play was less than stellar.

i was never impressed with simmons since he was drafted. i feel colon is better served as a G than a T.

IMO, there was plenty of blame to go around.

El-Gonzo Jackson
08-14-2008, 12:32 PM
So which is it?

Scott Brown of the Tribune Review's article last week stated:


This week, the author of this article states:



:noidea::noidea:

Whether it is Hartwig or Mahan who wins that starting job, I actually feel sorry for, as whoever it is will be under that itty bitty cyber microscope whenever the line as a unit doesn't play well. :doh:

I will be behind whichever gentleman gets the job. :tt02:

Honestly HTG, it appears that you sympathize with Mahan and are somewhat blinded by your sympathy for how he has been "scapegoated" as you say.

Do you really thing that Zeirline is gonna come out and say that Mahan played below expectations and that is why they brought in Hartwig, who started for the Titans in the AFC championship game in 2003???? Coaches dont throw guys under the bus, especially if they are still coaching them. Coach Z still remains tight lipped on the Faneca deal when it appears he was undermined by the disgruntled all pro.

Honestly, Mahan was a weak link last season, so to was Smith because of his back, Faneca because of contract distractions and Colon because of inexperience.

I hope the best guy wins, but the fact of the matter is that there is nothing in Mahan's history to show that he was anything more than a backup O lineman playing on a weak Tampa O line. Hartwig played C in some pretty good O lines in Tenn, but was supplanted by Kevin Mawae, then in Carolina until injuries and Ryan Khalil pushed him out.

I expect Hartwig to win the position if healthy and hold it for a couple seasons until either Stapleton or a '09 draft pick supplants him in the future.

As for the Scapegoat cries.....its the Pittsburgh Steelers remember?? Kordell Stewart, Bill Cowher, Willie Parker, Duce Staley, Plaxico Burress, Tommy Maddox, all got scapegoated by the fans at one point.

fansince'76
08-14-2008, 12:40 PM
Honestly HTG, it appears that you sympathize with Mahan and are somewhat blinded by your sympathy for how he has been "scapegoated" as you say.

Or it could have something to do with the simple and indisputable fact that Mahan got the lion's share, by a wide margin, of the criticism for the OL's overall poor play on this board last season.

tunes4life
08-14-2008, 12:48 PM
Honestly, Mahan was a weak link last season, so to was Smith because of his back, Faneca because of contract distractions and Colon because of inexperience.

I hope the best guy wins, but the fact of the matter is that there is nothing in Mahan's history to show that he was anything more than a backup O lineman playing on a weak Tampa O line. Hartwig played C in some pretty good O lines in Tenn, but was supplanted by Kevin Mawae, then in Carolina until injuries and Ryan Khalil pushed him out.

I expect Hartwig to win the position if healthy and hold it for a couple seasons until either Stapleton or a '09 draft pick supplants him in the future.


It's like you read my mind! STOP THAT! :tap:

HometownGal
08-14-2008, 02:15 PM
Honestly HTG, it appears that you sympathize with Mahan and are somewhat blinded by your sympathy for how he has been "scapegoated" as you say.

Do you really thing that Zeirline is gonna come out and say that Mahan played below expectations and that is why they brought in Hartwig, who started for the Titans in the AFC championship game in 2003???? Coaches dont throw guys under the bus, especially if they are still coaching them. Coach Z still remains tight lipped on the Faneca deal when it appears he was undermined by the disgruntled all pro.

Honestly, Mahan was a weak link last season, so to was Smith because of his back, Faneca because of contract distractions and Colon because of inexperience.

I hope the best guy wins, but the fact of the matter is that there is nothing in Mahan's history to show that he was anything more than a backup O lineman playing on a weak Tampa O line. Hartwig played C in some pretty good O lines in Tenn, but was supplanted by Kevin Mawae, then in Carolina until injuries and Ryan Khalil pushed him out.

I expect Hartwig to win the position if healthy and hold it for a couple seasons until either Stapleton or a '09 draft pick supplants him in the future.

As for the Scapegoat cries.....its the Pittsburgh Steelers remember?? Kordell Stewart, Bill Cowher, Willie Parker, Duce Staley, Plaxico Burress, Tommy Maddox, all got scapegoated by the fans at one point.

Appearances can be, and in this case are, deceiving, El Gonzo. I hold no sympathy for Mahan or any other professional athlete making millions of dollars unless they are physically injured or a tragedy strikes them or their families.

I would think if Zeirlein felt Mahan was such a liability on the line, he would have just kept mum but he didn't, did he? He said he played "fine" last season which tells me that he believes Mahan can compete fairly for the position. If Hartwig wins the position, so be it and I'll be just fine with that decision as he will have won the job fair and square, but at this point (without really seeing much of his play just yet), I see him as a castoff by the Panthers who is trying to win a starting job.

Believe me - I know all too well how Steelers fans choose their scapegoat of the season, as you have illustrated above. In his last season in the B&G, Bradshaw was unfairly scapegoated by Steelers fans and I found it horribly disgusting. Personally, I don't engage in that behavior simply because all I can do as a fan is base my opinions solely on what I'm seeing at TC, on the boob tube or live at a game, without really knowing the underlying factors and circumstances that the coaches are privy to.

Imho - Sean Mahan has been unfairly judged by Steelers fans as one of five cogs in a wheel called the Pittsburgh Steelers OL. You're not going to change your stance on this issue and neither am I, so we might as well just agree to disagree. Quite frankly, I've grown weary of discussing it. :banging:

I won't get to see the game tonight as I will be attending the Pirates game, Skyblast and the REO Speedwagon performance after the game, but I am going to record it on the DVR. If Hartwig plays better against the Bills than Mahan played against the Eagles, I'd say he has the edge and again - I'm OK with it.

GO STEELERS! :tt02:

Preacher
08-14-2008, 02:20 PM
Appearances can be, and in this case are, deceiving, El Gonzo. I hold no sympathy for Mahan or any other professional athlete making millions of dollars unless they are physically injured or a tragedy strikes them or their families.

I would think if Zeirlein felt Mahan was such a liability on the line, he would have just kept mum but he didn't, did he? He said he played "fine" last season which tells me that he believes Mahan can compete fairly for the position. If Hartwig wins the position, so be it and I'll be just fine with that decision as he will have won the job fair and square, but at this point (without really seeing much of his play just yet), I see him as a castoff by the Panthers who is trying to win a starting job.

Believe me - I know all too well how Steelers fans choose their scapegoat of the season, as you have illustrated above. In his last season in the B&G, Bradshaw was unfairly scapegoated by Steelers fans and I found it horribly disgusting. Personally, I don't engage in that behavior simply because all I can do as a fan is base my opinions solely on what I'm seeing at TC, on the boob tube or live at a game, without really knowing the underlying factors and circumstances that the coaches are privy to.

Imho - Sean Mahan has been unfairly judged by Steelers fans as one of five cogs in a wheel called the Pittsburgh Steelers OL. You're not going to change your stance on this issue and neither am I, so we might as well just agree to disagree. Quite frankly, I've grown weary of discussing it. :banging:

I won't get to see the game tonight as I will be attending the Pirates game, Skyblast and the REO Speedwagon performance after the game, but I am going to record it on the DVR. If Hartwig plays better against the Bills than Mahan played against the Eagles, I'd say he has the edge and again - I'm OK with it.

GO STEELERS! :tt02:


HTG--HTG----HTG.....


Except for Gonzo...

Reason just isn't going to work. You wasted all that time putting together a well-articulated post.

Why?

:chuckle:

El-Gonzo Jackson
08-14-2008, 02:21 PM
Or it could have something to do with the simple and indisputable fact that Mahan got the lion's share, by a wide margin, of the criticism for the OL's overall poor play on this board last season.

But is that really something new? Todd Fordham and Oliver Ross got the lions share of the blame in 2003 in a season where we went 6-10 and both of them were not great performers.

The fact is that of the poor performances on the line last season, most can be rationalized this way:

Smith- former pro bowler with back injury that resulted in poor performance
Faneca- best OG in the game who played not to get hurt in last year of contract
Colon- promising young OT, who's inexperience caught up with him
Simmons- signed new contract and played steady, but not great.
Mahan- 5th year pro, played G and C in Tampa. Historic weakness in Tampa was lack of strength and got handled by many large NT's that the Steelers faced.

The only guy of that starting 5 that doesnt look like he could overcome his shortcomings from last year is Mahan. If he hasnt found the weight room sufficiently in his 5 years as an NFL Pro....it stands to reason he still won't. He's gonna get his chance, but intuition says he is not so much being "scapegoated" by Steeler fans as being "revealed" as a poor signing by the Rookie Regime of Tomlin.

El-Gonzo Jackson
08-14-2008, 02:24 PM
It's like you read my mind! STOP THAT! :tap:

Sorry, but my psychic powers are no good for anything else useful.......like reading lotto numbers. DAMN YOU FRONTAL LOBE!!! .:banging:

El-Gonzo Jackson
08-14-2008, 02:36 PM
I would think if Zeirlein felt Mahan was such a liability on the line, he would have just kept mum but he didn't, did he? He said he played "fine" last season which tells me that he believes Mahan can compete fairly for the position.
GO STEELERS! :tt02:

Personally, I have never coached Pro O-linemen. I have coached H.S. O linemen and taken a few sport psychology courses.

My experiences are that if you have a guy not playing well, it doesnt do you any good to call him out and berate him....you encourage him and tell him what he is doing well, then point out "areas for improvement", then work on them to try and get better. The tactic is to get their attention by positive reinforcement, then bring out the negative. If you lead with the negative.....they will ignore you and not listen to the positive.

Example ....HTG, I really appreciate your reporting from camp, knowledge of the steelers and insight into the game. However, I think you are giving Mahan too much credit as an O lineman. He's just not that good.

Opposite- HTG, you give Mahan too much credit as an O lineman, he's just not that good. Thanks for the great work on the board, report from camp and your insight into the Steelers and football is great.

If another coach, parent, player says to me, in front of the center, as an O line coach that we need to upgrade my Center, I say "he's doing fine.....we just need to work on a few things". I get his back and work on them.

Problem in the NFL is a coach in the 2nd year of a 3 year deal doesnt have time to "work on things" with his center....so they bring in another one for competition.


BEST thing is,,,,we all find out more tonight.!! Have a great night, HTG.

Preacher
08-14-2008, 02:42 PM
BEST thing is,,,,we all find out more tonight.!! Have a great night, HTG.

And that... really, is the final word on this for now.

Hopefully Hartwig comes out and simply destroys the defense. Though on the Bill's boards, they are saying that the D won't be much of a measuring stick.

Still, I hope Hartwig does destroy them.. and do it again next week.

If not, oh well. may the best player win the spot.

I gotta say that is one thing I like about Tomlin over Cowher. Cowher had his favorites. The Vets played, even if they shouldn't have at times.

SteelMember
08-14-2008, 02:49 PM
And that... really, is the final word on this for now.

Hopefully Hartwig comes out and simply destroys the defense. Though on the Bill's boards, they are saying that the D won't be much of a measuring stick.

Still, I hope Hartwig does destroy them.. and do it again next week.

If not, oh well. may the best player win the spot.

I gotta say that is one thing I like about Tomlin over Cowher. Cowher had his favorites. The Vets played, even if they shouldn't have at times.

Amen.

Now let's kick some Bill butt. :tt03:

Alva Lord
08-14-2008, 03:54 PM
The Bills passing game is very suspect. They've got very good receivers, but Trent Edwards struggled last week. Marshawn Lynch is legit. Their defense was helped a lot with the signing of Marcus Stroud.

In the end, the Steelers should do well against them.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v458/MBlaster1/Silverbacksig540.jpg

Galax Steeler
08-15-2008, 03:32 AM
I didn't think Hartwig looked to bad last night he had a penalty early in the game but looked ok to me.

Preacher
08-15-2008, 04:03 AM
I didn't think Hartwig looked to bad last night he had a penalty early in the game but looked ok to me.

He and Mahan, over the last two games, rate out about equal.

Hartwig has the ability to get out to the second level, which impressed me... but I saw him lose a couple blocks which didn't impress me.

Mahan didn't seem to lose any blocks, but I didn't see much second level blocking from him.

six in one, half a dozen in the other.

Blitzburgh_Fever
08-15-2008, 04:28 AM
He and Mahan, over the last two games, rate out about equal.

Hartwig has the ability to get out to the second level, which impressed me... but I saw him lose a couple blocks which didn't impress me.

Mahan didn't seem to lose any blocks, but I didn't see much second level blocking from him.

six in one, half a dozen in the other.

Pretty much, the important thing is neither looked especially bad.

The play where Mendenhall got a rushing TD was sweet...big ole Max Starks pushing through!

Alva Lord
08-15-2008, 07:42 AM
Hartwig did not impress last night.

El-Gonzo Jackson
08-15-2008, 09:10 AM
He and Mahan, over the last two games, rate out about equal.

Hartwig has the ability to get out to the second level, which impressed me... but I saw him lose a couple blocks which didn't impress me.

Mahan didn't seem to lose any blocks, but I didn't see much second level blocking from him.

six in one, half a dozen in the other.

I agree Preach....but pretty much 7 of one, 5 of the other. Hartwig's ability to get to the LB's, pull around on wide running plays and seemingly natural athleticism has him slightly ahead of Mahan in my mind.

I think this shows us that C needs to be considered in the 09 draft. Mack or Luigs will need to be considered.