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mesaSteeler
03-01-2009, 07:57 AM
Steelers making right moves with free-agents

February 28, 11:48 PM
by Matt Pawlikowski, Pittsburgh Sports Examiner
http://www.examiner.com/x-2703-Pittsburgh-Sports-Examiner~y2009m2d28-Steelers-making-right-moves-with-freeagents

PITTSBURGH - Those out there questioning the Steelers moves thus far in free-agency, have to remember one thing.

It's the Steelers way, and over the years it has worked.

In this the year of change, the Steelers have made very little. They have watched ridiculous contracts such as Albert Haynesworth and Nnamdi Asomugha get signed.They have watched as their marquee free agents, such as Nate Washington and Bryant McFadden have been shopping their talents elsewhere.

But unlike other teams, they have not delved in free-agency and tried to woo an upper echelon free-agent to the Steel City. As a matter of fact the biggest name they have acquired since Kevin Colbert took the helm as Steelers director of football operations was James Farrior back in 2002.

Instead, the Steelers started with their most pressing need; the offensive line and worked on bringing back their own.

"There is less risk involved signing your own (players)," Steelers director of football operations said. "Even if you sign them early, as opposed to signing a free agent, You've seen them, you've worked with them and know what they can do."

So in what many felt was a surprise move, the team decided to make left tackle Max Starks their franchise player. Only once before had the team used this tag, with safety Carnell Lake.

Finding a top caliber O-Lineman in free-agency can be expensive, and the left tackle comes at a premium. Considering Starks play last year (He allowed just four sacks) and the fact he was one of the top players left on the market, the team made the tender.

Granted Starks is not a top tier left tackle like Jordan Gross who re-signed with his Panthers ( 6 years, $60 million; $35 million guaranteed) or even Vernon Carey who re-signed with the Dolphins (6 years, $42 million). But Starks is big at 6-foot-8, 340 pounds, and has started in two Super Bowls. He is also young at 28.

The franchise tender of $8.451 million may also have something to do with the fact the team likes continuity. That was also evident as two players who have been injury prone were left out of future plans. Kendall Simmons was released on Thursday and Marvel Smith not offered any tender.

The team also made a high tender to right tackle Willie Colon, meaning if someone else decides to sign him, the Steelers will get a first round pick in return.

Next up, was the signing of right guard Chris Kemeoatu on Friday. Thought to be heading to the Jets, he basically took over Simmons contract, a five year deal worth $20 million.

While it may be questioned by fans and some media as to why they would want to keep the same line together that they had last year, it makes sense, because the Steelers finally have continuity at a position that has been lacking it the past three years.

El-Gonzo Jackson
03-01-2009, 10:00 AM
Sorry, but I disagree with this author.

He says its the pittsburgh way, but if paying overpriced free agents to keep them from moving to another team was our way.........guys like Joey Porter, Alan Faneca, Levon Kirkland, Wayne Gandy, John Jackson, Earl Holmes, Hardy Nickerson, Rod Woodson, etc. would never have left.

The only difference with those guys is the Steelers had young replacements ready to step in and take over. The Steelers have no young stars in the making on the O line...........that is not "the Steelers way".

KeiselPower99
03-01-2009, 10:21 AM
I blame alot of the sacks and bad Oline play on Ben. He tries so hard to make plays and when he scrambles around the line has to try and stay with him and they dont know which way he is going. That creates holding calls. I dont agree with tagging Max 2 years in a row but he is young and played good during last season. Signing Kemo to a long deal means he is gonna only get better. 1 year starting with a 2 differant LT can be difficult. Anyone who has played o line will tell you if guys are in and out of the lineup you dont get to know their tendencies and that is very important.

Steelerfreak58
03-01-2009, 11:14 AM
This O-Line helped get them a ring so for me that gives them another year to show what they can do as a WORKING unit. They can't say they are not comfortable with one another they have had pretty much a full season together.

I really think 2009 is going to be even better. Just about everyone is coming back and the young talent continues to improve and learn the system.

Shoes
03-01-2009, 11:20 AM
Sorry, but I disagree with this author.

He says its the pittsburgh way, but if paying overpriced free agents to keep them from moving to another team was our way.........guys like Joey Porter, Alan Faneca, Levon Kirkland, Wayne Gandy, John Jackson, Earl Holmes, Hardy Nickerson, Rod Woodson, etc. would never have left.

The only difference with those guys is the Steelers had young replacements ready to step in and take over. The Steelers have no young stars in the making on the O line...........that is not "the Steelers way".

I agree and lets face it without our D we would not have a 6th ring. We have to get some young blood in the draft

lilyoder6
03-01-2009, 11:23 AM
Sorry, but I disagree with this author.

He says its the pittsburgh way, but if paying overpriced free agents to keep them from moving to another team was our way.........guys like Joey Porter, Alan Faneca, Levon Kirkland, Wayne Gandy, John Jackson, Earl Holmes, Hardy Nickerson, Rod Woodson, etc. would never have left.

The only difference with those guys is the Steelers had young replacements ready to step in and take over. The Steelers have no young stars in the making on the O line...........that is not "the Steelers way".

and thats why they had to do what they did this FA with the o-line.. they had no replacements AT ALL and they thought it better for now to keep these guys while they do find there replacements thru the draft instead of getting new ppl who don't know the system yet

stillers4me
03-01-2009, 11:25 AM
My gut tells me that when the FA and the draft is over, we will have acquired the "glue" for the O line. It's hard to argue with how they came together to win a Superbowl, nor am I forgetting about the incredible play from the defense that held us up until the O line found it's way (just in time). We just need that "oomph" factor.

Be patient, and trust in the FO.

I'm more worried about our ability to get it into the endzone on 3rd and goal. We left way too many points on the field this year and it must be addressed.

El-Gonzo Jackson
03-01-2009, 12:04 PM
. Signing Kemo to a long deal means he is gonna only get better. 1 year starting with a 2 differant LT can be difficult. Anyone who has played o line will tell you if guys are in and out of the lineup you dont get to know their tendencies and that is very important.

Bill Walsh used to say ...."take the 1 year wonders for what they did before the 1 year.....not what you hope they will do after it". I gotta say I trust the opinion of Bill Walsh and would not have given Kemo a contract after 1 year.

I have played O-line. I have coached O-line. and I have attended coaching clinics where professional O line coaches taught us drills and techniques. KNOWING AN OPPONENTS TENDENCIES IS FAR LESS IMPORTANT THAN KNOWING YOUR OWN TECHNIQUE AND REFINING IT!!!!!!

You sound like you speak from experience on the O line??? Can you tell me a time where you were able to block a guy better because you "know his tendencies"??

-Kemo is 26 years old and should know he has to block thru the whistle, not to the whistle.
- He needs to know that he cant give up on defenders,
- he has to get low and use his hands on Colts defenders that he outweighs by 80 lbs so they dont stuff him on the goal line.
-he needs to know to watch for the blitzing LB that sacks Ben instead of double teaming the guy over Hartwig (which he does).

The Steelers overpaid an average OG because they had drafted nobody to succeed him in the past 5 years other than Cameron Stevenson from Rutgers, who they cut in TC.

El-Gonzo Jackson
03-01-2009, 12:09 PM
and thats why they had to do what they did this FA with the o-line.. they had no replacements AT ALL and they thought it better for now to keep these guys while they do find there replacements thru the draft instead of getting new ppl who don't know the system yet

I agree with you. I just dont agree with the philosophy of overpaying average talent because you didnt plan ahead. I think there is no way to correct old mistakes but to start doing the right thing.......right now.

They may do that in this years draft and things might change. We still have 2 months to see how it shakes out.

Charley Casserly made a great point that Albert Haynesworth 2 best seasons were in contract years and the NFL teams question his motivation. I have the same concern of Starks motivation and that has always been the scouting report on him. We will see if he is a 1 year wonder when they extend his deal.

Football Freek
03-01-2009, 12:36 PM
I agree the FO made the right decisions. They now have stability going into TC. They can focus on drafting BPA/OL depth without being forced to going OL early and often wtihout having to trade down losing additional draft picks. Plus the draft is always a gamble. No one is a "gaurantee." The Steelers don't gamble and they definately don't over reach outside the organization.

The OL is servicable. Continuity will help clear up mental mistakes. Quicker releases by BB will make them look like PBers. Draft a Guard and Tackle to shore up depth and we'll be right back in the playoffs.

:tt:

Steel_Bus_24
03-01-2009, 01:41 PM
Ya know I can almost live with the way those guys pass block.

Ben isn't the easiest QB to protect....................however their god awful run blocking is inexcusable and it'll drive me insane if we stink it up again in 09

How many times were we beaten back like pansies last year in short yardage situations???

They were manhandled by the Titans who were without Van den Bosch and Haynesworth and We struggled against the Bengals 3rd and 4th string D-line


Maybe it won't happen in 09 or 10 but Ben is slowly being beaten to death back there

We need to be able to pound the rock and take the pressure off of Ben.....or his career will be over in less than 4 years

I'll pull my hair out if we don't make some moves to get some quality OL on Draft day.

steelerdave1969
03-01-2009, 03:44 PM
Sorry, but I disagree with this author.

He says its the pittsburgh way, but if paying overpriced free agents to keep them from moving to another team was our way.........guys like Joey Porter, Alan Faneca, Levon Kirkland, Wayne Gandy, John Jackson, Earl Holmes, Hardy Nickerson, Rod Woodson, etc. would never have left.

The only difference with those guys is the Steelers had young replacements ready to step in and take over. The Steelers have no young stars in the making on the O line...........that is not "the Steelers way".

Agreed 100%

If you dont have the backup players that are there and ready you must keep what you got until you can get what you need

DACEB
03-02-2009, 08:23 AM
By Jim Wexell
SteelCityInsider.com

Wow, it sure is easy being the world champions. Everyone in town loves you and loves your decisions, particularly for doing the easy and the obvious.
To make my point, that the Steelers simply did the obvious and the expected, let’s go back and take this so-called brilliant bit of strategy apart piece by piece:

Feb. 19: Max Starks was franchised for $8.5 million and drew gasps from those who thought a Bertrand Berry was something you shouldn’t eat in the wilds. That may be true, but he’s the Cards’ best pass rusher and was virtually worthless in the Super Bowl, thanks to Starks and his slow feet. That’s right, it was the slow feet that put Starks on the bench last year, even though the front office realized that his solid techniques overcome those feet against all but the very best (and the Steelers have James Harrison anyway) and gave him the transition tag. The Steelers thought they could sign Starks long-term then, but he was a backup at the time and wasn’t too interested in making that job description long term. This time, the Steelers believe they can sign Starks long-term, and now the coaching staff has to get behind that thinking after being so wrong last year.

Of course, with the more ordinary Vern Carey signing a long-term deal the same day for $7M per year, Starks’ cap number won’t come down very much with a long-term deal. In fact, even Jon Stink-bomb was rumored to be on the verge of making $7.5M per year. That deal never materialized, but it underscores the reason why the Steelers made the logical move with Starks: There aren’t any left tackles out there, Marvel Smith can’t bend over, and Tony Hills is still decades away from grandfathering someone who might be able to step into a preseason game and not get the QB killed.

Feb. 26: Willie Colon, a restricted free agent, was given a first-round tender by the Steelers and, if he’s not extended, will earn $2.2 million this year. This only drew slight agitation from those who believe the Steelers should’ve given Colon the second-round tender. Either way, this was an easy move to make, considering Colon is at least the equal of Carey at right tackle, and probably better at guard – just in case there’s “a developing crisis.”

Later, that same day: Kendall Simmons is released a few weeks short of the one-year anniversary of signing Colbert’s biggest mistake of a contract. Simmons has been the weak link on the line for years, yet, any astute talent judge would tell you that he was a better player than his replacement, Darnell Stapleton, and that consensus was underscored by Stapleton’s poor Super Bowl performance. Darnell Dockett, the Cards’ left DT, had three sacks and the Steelers’ pathetic short-yardage game became a joke on the “live mike” feeds from Mike Tomlin. The problem with putting Simmons back in the lineup next season is that the injury-prone guard has not recovered from his Achilles’ injury. So his release was not only expected, it spared fans a training-camp competition between he and Stapleton and forces – one can only hope – the Steelers to bolster their anemic interior on draft day.

Feb. 27: Chris Kemoeatu, the left guard who has needed every bit of his four seasons to learn enough of the offense to compete on every other snap, took less than $4M in bonus money on a five-year contract to come back with the team. The move may have relieved the alarmists in the media, but no one was more relieved than Kemoeatu himself, who won’t have to attempt to learn another offense. His repeated calls back to the Steelers, after they had dropped out of the bidding, are being described as “loyalty.” Ha. That bonus is so sparse the Steelers can release him after one year and not take a loss.

So it’s being said that the Steelers averted a crisis at the guard position, when in reality the team had very little at the position anyway. Averting a crisis? No, a crisis is something Ben Roethlisberger undertakes every time he drops back to pass.

Of course, that strategy won them a ring, so, no, it’s not all that bad. But can we at least hold down the “Steelers are genius” talk until draft day? That’s when they’d better do something concrete about the interior of their offensive line.

http://pit.scout.com/2/843088.html

I'm still holding out hope that Hills comes into camp healthy, big and strong. It would be nice to see him take over the RT spot and move Colon inside. Then they could just draft our future center.