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mesaSteeler
01-03-2009, 11:08 AM
Bires: Starks contrast
http://www.timesonline.com/articles/2009/01/02/sports/steelers/doc495ef3132241c557389747.txt
By Mike Bires
Times Sports Staff

Published: Saturday, January 3, 2009 12:10 AM EST

PITTSBURGH --- As it turns out, it’s Max Starks who’s getting the last laugh.

No longer is he the butt of jokes. No longer is being called the $7 million back-up. No longer is he getting criticized for losing his starting job to a product of NCAA Division 1-AA football.

“Isn’t it funny how people have quit talking about all that?” Starks said.

Now that Starks is a significant contributor to the Steelers’ Super Bowl hopes, his not-so-distant past seems like ancient history.

He’s the big, bad Florida Gator who earned the starting job at right tackle in 2005 only to lose it last year to Willie Colon, who played college football at Hofstra.

He’s the guy who the Steelers curiously tagged as a “transition” player during the off-season, and thus is earning a base salary of $6.895 million (that’s the average salary of the 10 highest-paid linemen in 2006).

In terms of base salary, Starks is the highest-paid Steeler this year.

Starks’ salary is roughly $6.450 million more than Colon is making this year, and Colon is the man who beat Starks out in training camp the past two years.

But because of Marvel Smith’s chronically sore back, Starks has resurrected his career. He’s started the last 11 games at left tackle on a 12-4 team that’s earned the AFC’s No. 2 seed.

“Max has done a solid job,” coach Mike Tomlin said. “You know what goes with playing left tackle in this league. The challenges are many week in and week out. He stood up well for us and gave us the kind of production that we need to win games.”

It’s not that Starks, a 6-foot-8, 345-pound behemoth, is playing all-star caliber football. But like Tomlin suggested, he’s holding his own. None of the Steelers’ other four starters on the offensive line are premier players.

At times this season, center Justin Hartwig, left guard Chris Kemoeatu, right guard Darnell Stapleton, Colon and Starks have played well. But all five starters have been inconsistent at times, too.

When you look at the Steelers’ struggles as the NFL’s 22nd-rated offense, it all starts up front.

But on the bright side, the O-line at least seems to be getting better, even if the progress is minimal.

“We’re so much better as an offensive line now,” Starks said. “Now we’re playing with so much more confidence. It’s chemistry. We’ve had 11 games together now, and we’re developing the chemistry all good offensive lines need. We’re peaking at the right time.”

The Steelers can only hope that their O-line is peaking. Next week, they resume their chase for the Super Bowl. Even though the Steelers boast the NFL’s top-ranked defense, they’ll need the offense to hold up its end of the bargain.

That means the offensive line must open holes for Willie Parker and Mewelde Moore, and protect banged-up quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.

As a left tackle who typically faces an opponent’s best pass rusher, Starks knows that he’s under the most pressure.

And if Starks fares well in the postseason, he could land a lucrative, multi-year contract in March. Like Smith and Kemoeatu, Starks is an unrestricted free agent. He wants to stay in Pittsburgh, but he may command the kind of money the Steelers are unwilling to pay.

So despite the uncertainty he faced when this season began, Starks can be one of the biggest winners if the Steelers go deep into the playoffs.

lilyoder6
01-03-2009, 11:54 AM
thats a good post....

and him wanting to stay in pittsburgh.. thats nice.. but he'll be asking for some cash this off-season

MasterOfPuppets
01-03-2009, 11:57 AM
me thinks they're riding just a little too high on that browns game..... sorry, but one game against a crappy team hardly shows improvement......i refuse to even sip the koolaid. :popcorn:

El-Gonzo Jackson
01-03-2009, 12:21 PM
me thinks they're riding just a little too high on that browns game..... sorry, but one game against a crappy team hardly shows improvement......i refuse to even sip the koolaid. :popcorn:

I too am reluctant to sip the koolaid, but am at least holding a cup of it. I have been critical of what I see technically wrong with Starks and believe that a 5year pro should have corrected those flaws......but he hasnt.

Starks has played well, but only well enough to rate him as an average lineman. Its what I expect our LT to be doing, but with some lapses. If somebody wants to pay him too much to play LT in the league, I say we let him walk. I have a bad feeling that we will see the Steelers pay him and once he gets some security in a contract he will get lazy and his play slip.......much like Kendall Simmons did.

19ward86
01-03-2009, 12:22 PM
i garuntee that the steelers draft a LT with the first pick. hopefully they trade marvel smith to get some extra picks. he is too injury prone to give him 4 or 5 mil a yr.

MasterOfPuppets
01-03-2009, 12:34 PM
i garuntee that the steelers draft a LT with the first pick. hopefully they trade marvel smith to get some extra picks. he is too injury prone to give him 4 or 5 mil a yr.you can't trade a free agent.

tony hipchest
01-03-2009, 12:39 PM
4 mil for a healthy smith is dirt cheap. i just want some consistancy on the line.

starks- 1st year lt for steelers
kemoeatu- 1st year starting guard for steelers
hartwig- 1st year with steelers
stapelton- 1st year starting guard
colon- 2nd year starter.

i hold on to hope that the line can continue the jelling process into the playoffs, even though its so late in "the game".

MasterOfPuppets
01-03-2009, 12:39 PM
c'mon... not even a lil koolaid?:wink02:nope...but i suggest the author of the article drink a nice cup of stfu...... it bothers me that these guys act like we don't know what were seeing when watching games.

mesaSteeler
01-03-2009, 01:16 PM
I suspect the decision to resign him will be his value vs what we can repalce him with . We will not have a high draft pick unless we trade up. All the first round worthy lineman picks may be gone by the time we draft as they were last year. If we can't replace him with something better we may have to resign him. Left Tackles do no grow on trees and finding a good free agent one will be difficult and expensive.

truesteelerfan
01-03-2009, 01:29 PM
Its foolish to even consider making an offer for Smith this offseason. Didn't he have surgery last off season that was supposed to cure his back woes? I liked the guy when he's healthy, but if we pay him even a mil, its most likely going to be a mil sitting on the sideline and taking up a roster spot until he goes on the IR. He was good, but his body just can't take football anymore, we need to find his permanent replacement...is it Starks? Maybe, but I just can't see the reason to give money to someone who can't stay healthy.

Fire Haley
01-03-2009, 01:37 PM
Saw this on a draft forum - don't know how accurate it tis, take it for what it's worth...

Sacks given up by NFL LT's
29 Dec 08

1. Ryan Clady, Denver, 0.5 sack
2. Michael Roos, Tennessee, 1 sack PRO BOWLER
3-T. Tony Ugoh, Indianapolis, 2 sacks* (Started 11)
3-T. Tra Thomas, Philadelphia, 2 sacks
3-T. Jared Gaither, Baltimore, 2 sacks* (He missed first quarter of Philadelphia game because of a shoulder injury)
7. Jake Long, Miami, 2.5 sacks
8-T. Marcus McNeill, San Diego, 3 sacks* (13 games)
8-T. Chris Samuels, Washington, 3 sacks* (Only appeared in 12 games)
8-T. Jordan Gross, Carolina, 3 sacks* (Missed 1 game) PRO BOWLER
8-T. Jammal Brown, New Orleans, 3 sacks* (Missed 1 game)
8-T. Todd Weiner, Atlanta, 3 sacks* (Started 10 games and appeared in 15)
13-T. Joe Thomas, Cleveland, 3.5 sacks PRO BOWLER
13-T. Walter Jones, Seattle, 3.5 sacks* (12 games) PRO BOWLER
15-T. D'Brickashaw Ferguson, NY Jets, 4 sacks
15-T. Bryant McKinnie, Minnesota, 4 sacks* (11 games)
15-T. Max Starks, Pittsburgh, 4 sacks* (10 starts)
18. Brandon Albert, Kansas City, 4.5 sacks* (Missed 1 game)
19. Levi Jones, Cincinnati, 5.5 sacks* (10 games)
20. Mike Gandy, Arizona, 6.25 sacks
21-T. Chad Clifton, Green Bay, 6.5 sacks* (missed 1 game)
21-T. David Diehl, NY Giants, 6.5 sacks
23. Flozell Adams, Dallas, 7.25 PRO BOWLER
24-T. Khalif Barnes, Jacksonville, 7.5 sacks
24-T. Matt Light, New England, 7.5 sacks
24-T. Kwame Harris, 7.5 sacks* (Started 11, appeared in 13)
27. Donald Penn, Tampa Bay, 8 sacks
28. Joe Staley, San Francisco, 8.5 sacks
29. Jeff Backus, Detroit, 9.25 sacks
30. John St. Clair, Chicago, 9.75 sacks
T-31. Duane Brown, Houston, 11.5 sacks
T-31. Jason Peters, Buffalo, 11.5 sacks* PRO BOWLER (13 games)

http://walterfootball.com/forum/showthread.php?t=7358

OneForTheToe
01-03-2009, 02:00 PM
I have a passive feeling regarding Max. I wouldn't mind if they let him go. I wouldn't mind if he stayed. Come to think about it, that is how I feel about the whole o'line. Although, if you replace everybody at the same time, as some have suggested, I think you get even a bigger clusterf**k. Kemo might have a bigger upside than Max because I think he could turn into a monster run blocker.

I wouldn't put all your money on the Steelers drafting a tackle in the first round. Guards and centers can sometimes play right away out of college. Tackles, on the other hand, usually take a year or two to develop. The Steelers have rebuit their o'line often in the last 20 years or so by slelecting guards and centers (Benden Stai, Dawson and Faneca to name a few) . In addition, they seem willing to pursue the "middle of the road" free agent tackle (Wayne Gandy).

lilyoder6
01-03-2009, 02:26 PM
hahaha jason peters allow the most sacks but is going to the pro bowl

Busforever
01-03-2009, 04:48 PM
I see Max Starks as a decent LT on pass protection. But i'm not convinced of his blocking abilities when it comes to run. I often see him behind or late.

paw-n-maul-u
01-03-2009, 06:05 PM
Yeah, I'm not sippin the Koolaid either. I'll hold a cup as well, but I feel after the playoffs I'll want to poor it out and just drink a lot of beer to forget about it.

If we free up Starks, Smith's, Simmons, and possibly either parker or footes contract ... that is a lot of money to rebuild the line

lilyoder6
01-03-2009, 06:12 PM
smith should be done.. simmons is coming off an achilles injury..

MasterOfPuppets
01-03-2009, 06:18 PM
hahaha jason peters allow the most sacks but is going to the pro bowlyeah not to mention, i don't recall buffalo having a great running game......:coffee:

markymarc
01-03-2009, 09:07 PM
No way in hell do I want Starks protecting Ben's blind side after the 2008 season. Let some other team pay big money for Starks services. The OL is bad and in order to fix that you have to make changes. Not going to fix the OL if you keep the same players going into 2009. Also, last year a lot of teams made a run for OL players in the first round of the draft. I don't see that happening 2 years straight, plus this year should be much deeper for talent on OL players.

Pi Kapp Steeler
01-03-2009, 09:22 PM
No way in hell do I want Starks protecting Ben's blind side after the 2008 season. Let some other team pay big money for Starks services. The OL is bad and in order to fix that you have to make changes. Not going to fix the OL if you keep the same players going into 2009. Also, last year a lot of teams made a run for OL players in the first round of the draft. I don't see that happening 2 years straight, plus this year should be much deeper for talent on OL players.


I agree he sucks as our blind side Tackle, hes too big and slow to block the pass rush. But what if he was on the Strong side.

Possible Oline next year

LT - Tony Hills
LG- Chris Kemoeatu
C- Justin Hartwig
RG- Duke Robinson(First round pick from Oklahoma)
RT- Max Starks

I think with a juggernaut like starks and robinson on the right side and with a tight end and a FULLBACK our passing game and running game would be a whole lot better.

MJ5150
01-04-2009, 03:05 AM
Good to see a Gator turn it around! Nice job Max.

That said, he is overpaid. We can't keep him around for that kind of dough.

-Mike

El-Gonzo Jackson
01-04-2009, 11:05 AM
I was thinking about how our LT stacks up against others in the AFC and came to the conclusion that there are only 2 guys that I would take Starks over right now. Here is the list of the current LT's

Matt Light- NE
Jake Long-MIA
D'Brickashaw Ferguson-NYJ
Jason Peters-BUF
Levi Jones- CIN
Joe Thomas-CLE
Jared Gathier- BAL
Michael Roos- TEN
Khalif Barnes-JAX
Tony Ugoh-IND
Duane Brown-HOU
Ryan Clady-DEN
Marcus McNeil- SD
Kwame Harris- OAK
Brandon Albert- KC

I honestly think if I could pick a LT to play next week instead of Starks, that I would pick any of the above except for Duane Brown and Kwame Harris. I think any of the rest are better than Starks. Do we really need to settle for the 14th best LT in the conference???

lilyoder6
01-04-2009, 11:32 AM
was thinking about how our LT stacks up against others in the AFC and came to the conclusion that there are only 2-3 guys that I would take Starks over right now. Here is the list of the current LT's

Matt Light- NE
Jake Long-MIA
D'Brickashaw Ferguson-NYJ
Jason Peters-BUF
Levi Jones- CIN
Joe Thomas-CLE
Jared Gathier- BAL
Michael Roos- TEN
Khalif Barnes-JAX
Tony Ugoh-IND
Duane Brown-HOU
Ryan Clady-DEN
Marcus McNeil- SD
Kwame Harris- OAK
Brandon Albert- KC

I honestly think if I could pick a LT to play next week instead of Starks, that I would pick any of the above except for Duane Brown and Kwame Harris. I think any of the rest are better than Starks. Do we really need to settle for the 14th best LT in the conference???

this post doesn't make sense to me... i will bold what i'm talking about...

so at the beginning it was 2-3 players and by the time u fininshed it was evryone except for t platers?

El-Gonzo Jackson
01-04-2009, 12:07 PM
this post doesn't make sense to me... i will bold what i'm talking about...

so at the beginning it was 2-3 players and by the time u fininshed it was evryone except for t platers?

Read your own hilight. I would only take Starks over 2-3 other LT's in the AFC.(Jury was out on D'Brick) and the last line says I would take anybody on the list, as opposed to Starks, over the 2 hilighted.

Basically there are 13 other starting LT's in the AFC that I would prefer to have over Starks and don't want the Steelers to extend him a contract to play LT.

tony hipchest
01-04-2009, 12:19 PM
Read your own hilight. I would only take Starks over 2-3 other LT's in the AFC.(Jury was out on D'Brick) and the last line says I would take anybody on the list, as opposed to Starks, over the 2 hilighted.

Basically there are 13 other starting LT's in the AFC that I would prefer to have over Starks and don't want the Steelers to extend him a contract to play LT.do you think signing j. gross would have an added x-factor of cohesion being that him and hartwig played together, or was that too long ago and being in a new system would negate that?

we can probably afford him with the cap going to 123 mil, but the list of free agents we have in 09 is even more brutal than the ones we have for this season.

El-Gonzo Jackson
01-04-2009, 12:59 PM
do you think signing j. gross would have an added x-factor of cohesion being that him and hartwig played together, or was that too long ago and being in a new system would negate that?

we can probably afford him with the cap going to 123 mil, but the list of free agents we have in 09 is even more brutal than the ones we have for this season.

I dont think that Gross and Hartwig would have had some chemistry with Kemo playing in between them. You kind of have to get used to the guys on either side of you. I also dont think the Steelers are gonna go out and sign the #1 FA left tackle on the market.....its not their style.

With the 7 OT's drafted in the 1st round last season, I think its most likely that the Steelers will grab a veteran that is supplanted by one of those guys to fill the gap for a season or 2. They will then draft a successor at LT or maybe still believe that Tony Hills can do the job.

Steelers will stay the course. Develop talent from within, draft well, look for bargains in free agency(including Starks, Smith, St. Clair, Stinchcomb, Tra Thomas, Khalif Barnes, Vernon Carey, etc.)

HometownGal
01-04-2009, 03:04 PM
http://i2.ebayimg.com/01/s/06/43/4d/d7_2.JPG

lilyoder6
01-04-2009, 03:10 PM
ohhhhhhh.. i see now

markymarc
01-05-2009, 07:11 AM
Steelers will stay the course. Develop talent from within, draft well, look for bargains in free agency(including Starks, Smith, St. Clair, Stinchcomb, Tra Thomas, Khalif Barnes, Vernon Carey, etc.)

I would like to pick up Khalif Barnes for LT and then Jason Brown from the Rats to play LG. Then we draft OL in the first couple rounds. No way do I want Starks back.