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mesaSteeler
09-07-2009, 12:04 AM
Harris: Tomlin delivers mixed messages
http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/steelers/s_641932.html#
By John Harris
TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Monday, September 7, 2009

This isn't about the Steelers releasing Anthony Madison, a 27-year-old cornerback who was a corner in name only but the heart and soul of the special teams.

One-dimensional NFL players no matter how much they bring to the team in their specialized area are living on borrowed time if they weren't drafted or recommended personally by the head coach. Especially if they're scheduled to earn $1.01 million just for playing special teams.

No, this is about coach Mike Tomlin speaking with a forked tongue about the importance of special teams.

You can earn a job just by playing on special teams, Tomlin tells his players.

He forgot to tell them: Only don't make too much money.

Madison and others such as Donovan Woods and Carey Davis believed Tomlin's hype. Last year, they helped turn what had been a poor special-teams unit into one of the best in the league. Madison led the Steelers with 25 special-teams tackles.

No matter. All three were released Friday. On Sunday, the Steelers signed Woods to the practice squad.

Madison's biggest problem was that he became too good and too expensive.

After he signed as a restricted free agent, it seemed like a great story. Not only can you make an NFL roster strictly because of special teams, you can also be paid a decent wage.

Then again, maybe not.

Madison's release wasn't about his ability to play special teams. This was a money issue. So, Madison had to go.

Madison's departure means that rookie cornerbacks Keenan Lewis and Joe Burnett, the Steelers' third- and fifth-round picks, will be pressed into special teams action.

But if Lewis and Burnett were so good on special teams, why weren't they playing with the first unit during preseason instead of Madison?

Madison wasn't drafted and was on the roster when Tomlin arrived. Lewis and Burnett are draft picks from Tomlin's era. If they do well, he looks good.

So far, Lewis has been somewhat of a disappointment. A big corner whom defensive backs coach Ray Horton said is similar to starter Ike Taylor, Lewis was beaten for so many long pass plays during training camp mostly by fellow rookie Mike Wallace that he should have been nicknamed Highway 20 (his uniform number).

Based on early returns, it appears that Lewis had as much business going in the third round as did former linebacker Bruce Davis, last year's third-round pick who was also released Friday.

Davis was one of Tomlin's guys who didn't pan out. By releasing Madison because of his contract, the Steelers could be setting a bad precedent.

John Harris can be reached at jharris@tribweb.com or 412-481-5432.

X-Terminator
09-07-2009, 12:21 AM
What a crap article. No player should be making a million bucks just to play special teams, no matter how good they are. Besides, they still have Keyaron Fox and Patrick Bailey, and I'm sure Frank Summers will be playing special teams as well. And I see that Madison as of yet has not hooked on with another team. If he does, I will guaran-damn-tee you he will not make a million bucks.

JackHammer
09-07-2009, 12:35 AM
What a crap article. No player should be making a million bucks just to play special teams, no matter how good they are. Besides, they still have Keyaron Fox and Patrick Bailey, and I'm sure Frank Summers will be playing special teams as well. And I see that Madison as of yet has not hooked on with another team. If he does, I will guaran-damn-tee you he will not make a million bucks.

Even outside of that entire debate, WTF does he want Tomlin to do? We have to a cap to fit under and positional needs as well. Sometimes you have to cut a specialist for a position player that can play ST's. That's just the way it is.

RoethlisBURGHer
09-07-2009, 12:52 AM
Crap article.

You have 53 roster spots and around 80 guys in camp.

Every year a team can draft up to possibly 10 players. Every team would like to sign every player they draft and then place that player on the 53 man roster. Draft picks are considered more valuable than undrafted free agents. So when you have to choose between a drafted player and a UDFA (current or former), if it's close you take the player you drafted.

Madison was good, but he couldn't play on the defense, at least not without quite a few injuries to the guys in front of him. Wallace and Burnett both could be very good players at their positions.

Not to mention the Steelers placed Stefan Logan on the 53 man roster, and he's almost strictly a return specialist. So he takes a spot to basically play only special teams.

Not to mention Jeff Reed at kicker, Daniel Sepulveda at punter, and Greg Warren at long snapper...that's a total of four players for just special teams.

The Steelers still need backups for 22 positions on offense and defense, guys who can actually play a lick of football at those positions. For a three deep at each position, you would need a roster of 66....but Tomlin had to choose 53.

Anthony Madison was signed and made the team originally because of his special teams. It was with the hope that he could develop into at least a defensive back who can play in the quarter defense. He never did.

It wasn't a lie from Tomlin, he speaks with no "forked tongue". You can make a roster with special teams play, but you stick for a long period of time by developing into a player who can be used in ways other than special teams.

Madison was the victim of a numbers game and the game of football it's self.

spyboots
09-07-2009, 01:55 AM
Crap article.

You have 53 roster spots and around 80 guys in camp.

Every year a team can draft up to possibly 10 players. Every team would like to sign every player they draft and then place that player on the 53 man roster. Draft picks are considered more valuable than undrafted free agents. So when you have to choose between a drafted player and a UDFA (current or former), if it's close you take the player you drafted.

Madison was good, but he couldn't play on the defense, at least not without quite a few injuries to the guys in front of him. Wallace and Burnett both could be very good players at their positions.

Not to mention the Steelers placed Stefan Logan on the 53 man roster, and he's almost strictly a return specialist. So he takes a spot to basically play only special teams.

Not to mention Jeff Reed at kicker, Daniel Sepulveda at punter, and Greg Warren at long snapper...that's a total of four players for just special teams.

The Steelers still need backups for 22 positions on offense and defense, guys who can actually play a lick of football at those positions. For a three deep at each position, you would need a roster of 66....but Tomlin had to choose 53.

Anthony Madison was signed and made the team originally because of his special teams. It was with the hope that he could develop into at least a defensive back who can play in the quarter defense. He never did.

It wasn't a lie from Tomlin, he speaks with no "forked tongue". You can make a roster with special teams play, but you stick for a long period of time by developing into a player who can be used in ways other than special teams.

Madison was the victim of a numbers game and the game of football it's self.


Very well stated! You should email this to him.

Tone's Toes
09-07-2009, 03:06 AM
Saying Keenan Lewis had no business being a 3rd rounder and praising Wallace? I understand praising Wallace, but didn't the experts also say that Wallace, like Lewis, had no business being a 3rd round pick? He was a 4th-5th round talent according to the experts and look how wrong they look about that right now.

I haven't noticed Keenan Lewis much in the preseason and I don't think that's a bad thing. I do see what the Steelers saw in him size/speed etc. I thought he played really well against Carolina and I haven't noticed QB's picking on him anywhere near as much as Joe Burnett.

Harris was at camp, though and I'll believe him when he says Lewis struggled in some drills at camp etc. but who cares? He's a rookie. Ike Taylor struggled so much early in his career that he got put on waivers and he panned out okay.

Steelers & I
09-07-2009, 03:20 AM
Davis was one of Tomlin's guys who didn't pan out. By releasing Madison because of his contract, the Steelers could be setting a bad precedent.

Note to Harris: Take a look around Bud, pick up a newspaper and read it, watch the evening news, something, ANYTHING! The ENTIRE corporate world is making cuts and saving money wherever and however they can. At least the Steelers aren't cutting jobs, they're simply replacing a few employees with lower paid employees. And you say that's setting a bad precedent? Keep it real Bud or your employer may be replacing you.

SteelC7
09-07-2009, 03:29 AM
why should u make money if ur one dimensional? first of all we didnt have one of the best special teams units, we had bad specials teams, well have better this year with logan and others

Preacher
09-07-2009, 04:36 AM
What I REALLY don't like about the article is the subtle hint that this move was actually made because Madison was a Cowher guy and Lewis is a Tomlin guy.

Nice "journalism"

steel striker
09-07-2009, 07:18 AM
I think this happens on just about every team. You have a special teamer who you hope can excel at another position but, just does not pan out.

solardave
09-07-2009, 07:20 AM
I agree with everything said except for Logan being just a return specialist.. I think they will use him for reverses and trick plays.

HometownGal
09-07-2009, 08:02 AM
I usually enjoy John Harris' thoughts and articles, but this one smells like :poop:. Tomlin speaking with a "forked tongue"? C'mon man, be real! Tomlin wanted to build depth at key positions and that is exactly what he did by keeping the players he did. Logan will be used primarily as a KR/PR, which is a vital role imho. Yes Madison did a great job on ST's but Tomlin felt he was expendable and that is good enough for me.

desertsteel
09-07-2009, 09:03 AM
Harris is a moron. I sent him an email, saying as much. blah blah blah!

What NFL team did this bozo work for evaluating talent?

mmalone
09-07-2009, 10:17 AM
What a crap article. No player should be making a million bucks just to play special teams, no matter how good they are. Besides, they still have Keyaron Fox and Patrick Bailey, and I'm sure Frank Summers will be playing special teams as well. And I see that Madison as of yet has not hooked on with another team. If he does, I will guaran-damn-tee you he will not make a million bucks.


your right, this article has no common sense to it at all.

it goes against the whole purpose of player development.

madison didnt develop into a CB bye bye.

davis didnt perfrom as a stud FB bye bye

logan will be in the special teams coverage this year too.

if he stops returning balls well, bye bye...

same for summers if he cant block the top pros.. he will be with davis next year.

The Lakelander
09-07-2009, 10:28 AM
I figured Madison was on his way out and was met with some strong assertions here that he'd make the team. Our punt coverage is what takes a small hit. Our kick coverage should be intact.

I'm not sure who the main gunners are going to be on punt coverage?

I felt Joe Burnett played his way off this team with some horrendous tackling against Carolina. This kid needs time.

SunshineMan21
09-07-2009, 11:27 AM
Crap article.

You have 53 roster spots and around 80 guys in camp.

Every year a team can draft up to possibly 10 players. Every team would like to sign every player they draft and then place that player on the 53 man roster. Draft picks are considered more valuable than undrafted free agents. So when you have to choose between a drafted player and a UDFA (current or former), if it's close you take the player you drafted.

Madison was good, but he couldn't play on the defense, at least not without quite a few injuries to the guys in front of him. Wallace and Burnett both could be very good players at their positions.

Not to mention the Steelers placed Stefan Logan on the 53 man roster, and he's almost strictly a return specialist. So he takes a spot to basically play only special teams.

Not to mention Jeff Reed at kicker, Daniel Sepulveda at punter, and Greg Warren at long snapper...that's a total of four players for just special teams.

The Steelers still need backups for 22 positions on offense and defense, guys who can actually play a lick of football at those positions. For a three deep at each position, you would need a roster of 66....but Tomlin had to choose 53.

Anthony Madison was signed and made the team originally because of his special teams. It was with the hope that he could develop into at least a defensive back who can play in the quarter defense. He never did.

It wasn't a lie from Tomlin, he speaks with no "forked tongue". You can make a roster with special teams play, but you stick for a long period of time by developing into a player who can be used in ways other than special teams.

Madison was the victim of a numbers game and the game of football it's self.

Agreed! Especially when we kept guys like Keyaron Fox, Patrick Bailey, Frank Summers, and such who are expected to be ST aces.

And didn't Burnett block a FG in the last preseason game? I don't think cutting Madison had to do with us not valuing ST . . . he just made a bunch of money and Tomlin judged there were younger guys who could do what he did.

SteelTalons
09-07-2009, 12:46 PM
Note to Harris:

ST's play might get you dressed every Sunday. But its a two-way street, if your a one trick pony on special teams with virtually no use anywhere else on the team, or unlikely to be used.

Then your not gonna have a leg to stand on when some guy comes in that adds much needed depth. And is able to play special teams also.

ST's is just one piece of the puzzle. Its good for surviving the cut and getting on 53man but its not enough alone to get you a long-term career in Pittsburgh.

BigBenFn7
09-07-2009, 01:23 PM
Someone should tell this guy that this is the Steelers and this is what they've ALWAYS done. They're penny-pinchers but they do it with talent in mind also. It hasn't hurt them in the past and this isn't going to hurt them.

This makes me think this writer has an issue with Tomlin because this cut is more of a Steeler ownership strategy rather than a new thing happening because of Tomlin.

GridironWarrior
09-07-2009, 01:26 PM
I told you guys Lewis was stinking it up. Where's that poster who said he was the future at FS?

lamberts-lost-tooth
09-07-2009, 01:49 PM
I usually enjoy John Harris' thoughts and articles, but this one smells like :poop:. Tomlin speaking with a "forked tongue"? C'mon man, be real! Tomlin wanted to build depth at key positions and that is exactly what he did by keeping the players he did. Logan will be used primarily as a KR/PR, which is a vital role imho. Yes Madison did a great job on ST's but Tomlin felt he was expendable and that is good enough for me.

Exactly...I was as big a fan as anyone of what Madison brought to this team, and even thought we might keep him... But the reality of the situation is that Tomlin saw someone else who can play "gunner" on ST's and most likely would contribute more on offense or defense.

Mundy seems to have that type of mentality and I wouldnt be surprised to see him take the ST slot once manned by Madison.

lamberts-lost-tooth
09-07-2009, 01:51 PM
I told you guys Lewis was stinking it up. Where's that poster who said he was the future at FS?

Wasnt me..but c'mon...do you really want to make an "I told you so" post? :doh:

markymarc
09-07-2009, 07:48 PM
This is simply a horrible write up by John Harris. Listen we get it Harris you like Madison. But don't kid yourself because the ONLY thing Madison could do for the Steelers is play special teams. We now have our specials team only player in Patrick Bailey. Plus Keenan Lewis and Joe Burnett can play both CB and on special teams. Finally, how can you criticize Tomlin when we now have a special teams demon in Stefan Logan.

Maybe he can do a follow up in a few weeks once Logan lights it up in the return game.