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mesaSteeler
11-10-2010, 08:47 AM
Starks Reportedly May Be Lost for Season; A Major Blow for Steelers
Posted on November 10, 2010 by ted
Steelers Lounge

With an aging Pittsburgh team starting to lose key players due to injuries, a promising 2010 season thus far is beginning to look a lot more like 2007 and 2009, and that should scare the dickens out of Steeler fans.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette is reporting that Max Starks’ neck injury is much more serious than initially thought and the veteran starting left tackle may be lost for the season. This would mark the second starting offensive tackle Pittsburgh has lost this year, since Willie Colon tore his Achilles right before training camp.

At best Starks is an average NFL starting left tackle, a position where most teams place their best offensive lineman. The problem is that the fall-off behind him on the Pittsburgh roster is precipitous. The Steelers have only three options to replace Starks if he is indeed lost for the season and none engender much hope that this team will win a seventh Super Bowl title.

The first option and the most likely for this Sunday’s game against New England is to insert veteran, journeyman Jonathan Scott at left tackle. Scott has seen action at both tackle spots this fall. While his play has been inconsistent, it has been much better than anticipated after Scott yielded 8.5 sacks in 8 starts last year for Buffalo and signed with Pittsburgh for a non-guaranteed, veteran’s minimum contract after receiving no other free-agent offers.

Pittsburgh will likely have to give Scott a lot of help against certain opponents, including outright double-teams, chips by Heath Miller and Hines Ward that will further slown down a receiving corps that has struggled to get open on hot reads, and utilize far more plays that keep a running back on the left side beside quarterback Ben Roethlisberger on passing downs.

However, if the Scott experiment at left tackle proves disastrous, Pittsburgh may opt to flip Scott to right tackle and move Flozell Adams from the rightside to left tackle, a position where he was a 5-time Pro-Bowl selection for the Cowboys, including as recently as 2008.

Adams has clearly lost a step or two since his prime. His signing was the best the Steelers could do to replace Colon and his transition to right tackle has been far from flawless. However, considering the circumstances, he was a great signee by the Steelers and he may still be better at left tackle due to his familiarity with the position.

The final of three realistic options for Pittsburgh would be to move starting right guard Trai Essex to left tackle, a position where Essex saw action and some spot starting duty earlier in his career. Doug Legursky, who started four games at right guard while Essex was sidelined this year, would return to the starting lineup. However, this is the least likely option, since Essex was not very good at left tackle when he was younger, lighter and quicker, and Legursky was unimpressive as a starter at right guard this fall.

This injury is particularly frustrating because Pittsburgh’s lack of depth at offensive tackle is self-created due to a drafting philosophy of taking the best player available that has paid off very well for certain positions. However, the Steelers are the only team among 32 NFL franchises that did not draft an offensive tackle prospect in the first two rounds of the NFL Draft over the last decade (2001-10).

It is true that teams often reach for tackle prospects due to the importance of the position and thus too many of these picks end up busts. But when everybody is reaching for players at a specific position, you have to eventually reach as well or you end up with a situation like Pittsburgh currently finds itself at tackle.

Some thought the Steelers reached somewhat the last time it actually took an offensive tackle in the first two rounds, tabbing undersized Marvel Smith from Arizona State early in the second round of the 2000 NFL Draft. Smith turned out to be arguably the Steelers’ best offensive tackle over the last 20 years. You can expect Pittsburgh to finally reach for an offensive tackle in the first two rounds of a 2011 NFL Draft that appears weak at that spot compared to recent years.

Unfortunately, that reactive decision will not help the Steelers’ predicament right now. All we can hope for now is that Scott goes from being a mildly pleasant surprise as a reserve tackle to shocking scouts of 31 other franchises by emerging as a quality starting left tackle in a league that places more value on this position than any other.

TRH
11-10-2010, 11:45 AM
It's now coming back to bite us.
As much as i like most of the players we did draft.....my thought's at the time was that we REALLY needed a stud O-Lineman of some type, because ours wasn't impressive over the last couple years. When we kept passing i was thinking "damn, this will no doubt come back to haunt us...." Most analysts at the time as well were saying how much we needed an O-Lineman.
It's like we have no offensive line....but hey, "lets take another linebacker..."
Thank god we at least took Pouncey last year.

Rick5895
11-10-2010, 12:10 PM
Max WAS placed on I/R. We activated Chris Scott from the PUP list

mesaSteeler
11-10-2010, 12:11 PM
It's now coming back to bite us.
As much as i like most of the players we did draft.....my thought's at the time was that we REALLY needed a stud O-Lineman of some type, because ours wasn't impressive over the last couple years. When we kept passing i was thinking "damn, this will no doubt come back to haunt us...." Most analysts at the time as well were saying how much we needed an O-Lineman.
It's like we have no offensive line....but hey, "lets take another linebacker..."
Thank god we at least took Pouncey last year.

I agree. It's to bad Kraig Urbik turned out to be a third round bust.

Fire Haley
11-10-2010, 12:23 PM
Somebody call the Las Vegas Locomotives - Jason Capizzi is our only hope.

mesaSteeler
11-10-2010, 12:32 PM
Somebody call the Las Vegas Locomotives - Jason Capizzi is our only hope.

:rofl::rofl::rofl: It may come down to that if we get any more injuries.

Fire Arians
11-10-2010, 12:58 PM
honestly nobody expects to lose 2 of both starting tackles in a season, it's just bad luck in this scenario

Fire Haley
11-10-2010, 01:01 PM
we got some good news

KFFL - Steelers | Maurkice Pouncey should be fine for Week 10
Wed, 10 Nov 2010 07:01:36 -0800

Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin said C Maurkice Pouncey (tibia) should be fine to play in Week 10 after suffering a bruised tibia in Week 9

markymarc
11-10-2010, 08:20 PM
Well they list Chris Scott as a tackle. I wonder if they would line him up as a tackle or have him play guard. We should have plenty of beef on the interior on Sunday night with Pouncey, Foster and Essex.

MasterOfPuppets
11-10-2010, 08:33 PM
essex was the back up tackle for a few years and played fairly well when called upon. i can't help but think he'd be a better choice than scott. :doh:

markymarc
11-10-2010, 08:36 PM
essex was the back up tackle for a few years and played fairly well when called upon. i can't help but think he'd be a better choice than scott. :doh:

Actually I like your thinking. I thought Essex played well when he had to start at left tackle for us. Personally I would rather see Essex at left tackle and then have Legursky at right guard.