PDA

View Full Version : Is our linebacking core right now a weakness?


Steelers5895
04-16-2012, 09:14 PM
Another thread got me looking at our LB corps. Since the 70's its been a strength, I am wondering now if its no longer a strength or is it a weakness.

Here is why:

1- Harrison's age
2- When we lost our starting OLBs last year we had no one who could step in and do anything. I didnt expect to get production like the starters but the fillers were non-exisistant.
3- Timmons has yet to live up to his first round expectations
4- Is Woodley's non-impact injury a start of something or a fluke?
5- No clear cut starter on the inside next to Timmons
6- No depth inside.

Not brewing with confidence but I am sure the front office will address this.

NSMaster56
04-16-2012, 09:18 PM
No.

Steelersfan87
04-16-2012, 09:26 PM
Another thread got me looking at our LB corps. Since the 70's its been a strength, I am wondering now if its no longer a strength or is it a weakness.

Here is why:

1- Harrison's age
2- When we lost our starting OLBs last year we had no one who could step in and do anything. I didnt expect to get production like the starters but the fillers were non-exisistant.
3- Timmons has yet to live up to his first round expectations
4- Is Woodley's non-impact injury a start of something or a fluke?
5- No clear cut starter on the inside next to Timmons
6- No depth inside.

Not brewing with confidence but I am sure the front office will address this.

1. Harrison's age is a concern, yes, but he also had a late start to his NFL career, and he takes very good care of his body. It is conceivable that he has another 4 solid years in him.
2. Jason Worilds was injured and Chris Carter wasn't ready. The instability of the defensive line did not help either.
3. We've gone through this one before, and your claim that he does not make "impact"/"splash" plays was already demonstrably refuted by pointing out that in his one full, healthy season as a starter at inside linebacker, the only player that had more was Harrison on the entire team.
4. It's far, far, far more likely a fluke than the start of a trend. Injury paranoia is getting ridiculous.
5. That's what training camp is for. The only reason that Foote is not necessarily the clear cut starter is simply because the coaching staff believes in Sylvester's potential.
6. There's still Mortty Ivy, and whomever doesn't start between Foote and Sylvester will be the other backup. That is perfectly sound depth, yet it is still highly likely that they will add to this in the draft.

I do not even remotely share your skepticism for the reasons cited above.

tanda10506
04-16-2012, 09:27 PM
Another thread got me looking at our LB corps. Since the 70's its been a strength, I am wondering now if its no longer a strength or is it a weakness.

Here is why:

1- Harrison's age
2- When we lost our starting OLBs last year we had no one who could step in and do anything. I didnt expect to get production like the starters but the fillers were non-exisistant.
3- Timmons has yet to live up to his first round expectations
4- Is Woodley's non-impact injury a start of something or a fluke?
5- No clear cut starter on the inside next to Timmons
6- No depth inside.

Not brewing with confidence but I am sure the front office will address this.

1. Wont be an issue this year
2. Not true, Worilds played pretty well backing up both Woodley and Harrison
3. I disagree, Timmons is one of the better ILB's in the league, he had a lot of responsibility this year
4. Everybody get's hurt sometimes
5. Foote will do fine
6. True

Bottom line, LB is still one of our strongest spots, we have the best two OLB in the league and Timmons, come on!

Curtain_of_Steel
04-16-2012, 09:32 PM
Seriously? Weakness?

If Woodley still has hammy issues than it could be a problem, as they can double team Hairrison. So to me it comes down to Woodleys health determining how strong we are next year.

tony hipchest
04-16-2012, 09:43 PM
no... :coffee:

Riddle_Of_Steel
04-16-2012, 09:53 PM
1. Harrison's age is a concern, yes, but he also had a late start to his NFL career, and he takes very good care of his body. It is conceivable that he has another 4 solid years in him.

I "take good care of my body"-- I am 35, and I feel a difference between when I was 25 and being 35, and I am not doing OTAs, practice reps, drills, and actually playing the games. Did you see Harrison this year? A bad back is a common enough problem for those of us that are in the twighlight years of an NFL career.... I think Harrison is 35 now-- you think he is going to be playing until he is 39 really?!?!

2. Jason Worilds was injured and Chris Carter wasn't ready. The instability of the defensive line did not help either.

Worilds was NOT injured until later in the season. Other than that, he has yet to impress when on the field. Has he even notched a single sack yet? Chris Carter looked descent, but is still untested.

3. We've gone through this one before, and your claim that he does not make "impact"/"splash" plays was already demonstrably refuted by pointing out that in his one full, healthy season as a starter at inside linebacker, the only player that had more was Harrison on the entire team.

I must have missed that thread too-- I have yet to see Timmons make any splash plays in the 3 or 4 years I have been watching him-- unless you consider gettting beaten repeatedly by tight ends and bowled over by opposing runningbacks a "splash play". When he was moved to the outside (which is his native position-- we converted him to ILB), he became even more invisible.

4. It's far, far, far more likely a fluke than the start of a trend. Injury paranoia is getting ridiculous.

Maybe.

6. There's still Mortty Ivy, and whomever doesn't start between Foote and Sylvester will be the other backup. That is perfectly sound depth, yet it is still highly likely that they will add to this in the draft.

Mortty who? Undrafted no-name is what our linebacker corps is going to be held up by?

Steelersfan87
04-16-2012, 10:08 PM
I "take good care of my body"-- I am 35, and I feel a difference between when I was 25 and being 35, and I am not doing OTAs, practice reps, drills, and actually playing the games. Did you see Harrison this year? A bad back is a common enough problem for those of us that are in the twighlight years of an NFL career.... I think Harrison is 35 now-- you think he is going to be playing until he is 39 really?!?!

Harrison is 33. Did you watch his play after he returned from his eye injury? He was as strong as ever.

Worilds was NOT injured until later in the season. Other than that, he has yet to impress when on the field. Has he even notched a single sack yet? Chris Carter looked descent, but is still untested.

Wow, are you actually blatantly incorrectly stating facts? Worilds was injured during weeks 5-8 while Harrison was out. You know...the reason that Timmons was starting instead of Worilds. Yes, Worilds has sacks. Maybe you should watch more closely.

I must have missed that thread too-- I have yet to see Timmons make any splash plays in the 3 or 4 years I have been watching him-- unless you consider gettting beaten repeatedly by tight ends and bowled over by opposing runningbacks a "splash play". When he was moved to the outside (which is his native position-- we converted him to ILB), he became even more invisible.

I feel bad for you that you have not seen him make any splash plays, because that must mean that you have not watched many Steelers games.

Maybe.

Probably.

Mortty who? Undrafted no-name is what our linebacker corps is going to be held up by?

People were throwing fits when he didn't make the 53 last pre-season. He has as much potential as plenty of other 8th or 9th string linebackers on other teams.

tony hipchest
04-16-2012, 10:43 PM
in general, steelerfans are the most knowledgable group of fans out there.

in this thread?

not so much.

worilds pretty much came out the gate sacking qb's in the latter part of his rookie season when he finally got a chance to see the field.

i love it how when LB's such as lewis and fletcher are still making pro-bowls, steelerfans are already kicking the dirt on harrison. :rolleyes:

Dalarin
04-16-2012, 11:37 PM
Riddle: Junior Seau played until he was 42 and he started for the chargers day 1.

Fire Arians
04-16-2012, 11:48 PM
our starting 4 are solid. worilds is pretty good for what i've seen so far. jury is out on sylvester.

I'll say no. It's not a weakness if you can say all your starters are solid. Now to offensive line...

i wouldn't sleep on ivy just because he's undrafted. our last undrafted backer that saw starting time was... james harrison. I'd say he turned out pretty good?

Kingmagyar
04-17-2012, 07:30 AM
Right now is our Starting LB crew a weakness? No.

Will it be someday soon? Absolutely Yes.

The Steelers looking at so many OLB prospects in pre-draft visits tells me they are not happy with who is behind Harrison and Woodley and why would they be? As a coach we use to hate around here Brian Billick said recently about a player's potential, "Your potential is going to get me fired." Potential is nothing. Show me a flash on the field, show me a flash in a preseason game.

Believe me the Steelers don't sit around and say Sylvester is ready to go, or Morty Ivy will be back this year problem solved. They will draft a ILB and OLB in this year's draft because Foote and Harrison are old and Sylvester and Worilds haven't proven anything yet.

Perhaps another question would be, "Will the Steelers' linebackers be a weakness after the draft?"

Steelersfan87
04-17-2012, 01:20 PM
Following the bye week, Jason Worilds started 5 of the last 6 games. He had 3 sacks, a forced fumble, and 27 tackles in those games. Including a 9 tackle, 2 sack, 1 forced fumble games against the Browns. That's more than just potential.

Steelers5895
04-17-2012, 03:35 PM
Some very good points. I think I have concerns with Harrison's health. back surgery, was injured for most of 2010, eye injury in 2011. Worlids was ok but couldnt stay on the field. We have too many "ifs" for potential starters and back ups.

IF Timmons lives up to his 1.15 draft bill
IF we can draft someone to replace Farrior
IF Sylvestor can beat out Foote
IF Harrison can stary healthy
IF it was just a fluke injury for Woodley
IF Worlids continues to progress

All teams have IFS, but do they have them at a position once considered the strength? I do not feel our LB corps is a team strength.

Steelers5895
04-17-2012, 03:36 PM
I "take good care of my body"-- I am 35, and I feel a difference between when I was 25 and being 35, and I am not doing OTAs, practice reps, drills, and actually playing the games. Did you see Harrison this year? A bad back is a common enough problem for those of us that are in the twighlight years of an NFL career.... I think Harrison is 35 now-- you think he is going to be playing until he is 39 really?!?!



Worilds was NOT injured until later in the season. Other than that, he has yet to impress when on the field. Has he even notched a single sack yet? Chris Carter looked descent, but is still untested.



I must have missed that thread too-- I have yet to see Timmons make any splash plays in the 3 or 4 years I have been watching him-- unless you consider gettting beaten repeatedly by tight ends and bowled over by opposing runningbacks a "splash play". When he was moved to the outside (which is his native position-- we converted him to ILB), he became even more invisible.



Maybe.



Mortty who? Undrafted no-name is what our linebacker corps is going to be held up by?

Glad I am not alone with seeing the reality of this and our players.

tony hipchest
04-17-2012, 03:46 PM
Glad I am not alone with seeing the reality of this and our players.

:rofl:

yeah, because james harrison IS 35 years old.

Sixburgher
04-17-2012, 03:54 PM
Glad I am not alone with seeing the reality of this and our players.

Why do you post your thread titles in the form of questions instead of declarative statements when it's fairly obvious coming in you've already got your mind made up on the topic and nobody's going to change it? Not only that, but when the vast majority of respondents disagree with you, you get pissy about it. I'm failing to see the point here.

NSMaster56
04-17-2012, 09:01 PM
Just because the LB's are not (on paper) as elite as in years past, it does not make it a weakness.

OL is a weakness. It can, has been and will continue to be exploited to the disadvantage of the Steelers

However, nearly 1/2 the league would kill to have the Steelers LB corps.

tanda10506
04-17-2012, 09:19 PM
Following the bye week, Jason Worilds started 5 of the last 6 games. He had 3 sacks, a forced fumble, and 27 tackles in those games. Including a 9 tackle, 2 sack, 1 forced fumble games against the Browns. That's more than just potential.

This^. Worilds will replace Harrison when he retires.

Woodley and Timmons have a lot of years left, not even close to retiring. There's no way we will have LB issues any time soon, and we will likely pick up a LB or two in the draft this year, so no worries.

fujirama24
04-17-2012, 10:13 PM
Another thread got me looking at our LB corps. Since the 70's its been a strength, I am wondering now if its no longer a strength or is it a weakness.

Here is why:

1- Harrison's age
2- When we lost our starting OLBs last year we had no one who could step in and do anything. I didnt expect to get production like the starters but the fillers were non-exisistant.
3- Timmons has yet to live up to his first round expectations
4- Is Woodley's non-impact injury a start of something or a fluke?
5- No clear cut starter on the inside next to Timmons
6- No depth inside.

Not brewing with confidence but I am sure the front office will address this.

I don't see it. You have Timmons and Woodley in there prime. Harrison still has 3-5 years left. Foote is not that bad. Stevenson is just unproven not sure he can be the man but you have to give him a chance. Worilds played last year with a bunch of injuries so this year should be better. And I really liked what I saw in Carter. I think in a couple of years he will be suprising alot of people. Yes we need another ILB but I don't think we need to take one in the first round.

pancake
04-18-2012, 06:06 PM
No...

EbonySteel86
04-18-2012, 06:16 PM
Riddle: Junior Seau played until he was 42 and he started for the chargers day 1.

Junior Seau is not human, he's a Terminator T-100 model I believe.

EbonySteel86
04-18-2012, 06:22 PM
Once Ziggy and Hayward get in the flow of things, you'll see the LBs making alot more plays.

Steelers5895
04-18-2012, 06:59 PM
Why do you post your thread titles in the form of questions instead of declarative statements when it's fairly obvious coming in you've already got your mind made up on the topic and nobody's going to change it? Not only that, but when the vast majority of respondents disagree with you, you get pissy about it. I'm failing to see the point here.

pissy? its called retorting. what i find comical is the way steeler fans look at all their players with rose colored glasses.

i weed out responses like yours which add nothing and take what actual fans say and continue the debate,

Steelersfan87
04-18-2012, 07:46 PM
I think the replies have been far more realistic than your pessimistic outlook.

steeltheone
04-18-2012, 08:13 PM
Im not sure the coaches are sold on sylvester or he would have played last year.
Money will probably exile Harrison before age.
Foote is very average but steady.
Woodley and Timmons are entering their prime. Not in it yet.
Worilds seems to be ok...Not seen anything special yet.

NSMaster56
04-18-2012, 08:52 PM
Money will probably exile Harrison before age.

And when that happens, the Cardinals will surely swoop in and sign him.

cbrunn
04-18-2012, 09:16 PM
i forget who said it ...but how is it a weekness when more then 1/2 the teams in the league would trade there LBs for the Steelers LBs ... come on ppl ...

i know the end of an era of Farrior, Hampton, and these guys got a lot of fans unsteady ...but the reality is the Organization has been preparing for this Turnover in the D...

How bad guys like Worilds and them are ...but they played a lot last year and we still had the #1 Def. in the league ... come on ppl some times fans get spoiled and if they see a little bit of a drop off they start to panic ...

Worilds is solid and has potential ...
Sly has tons of potential and lost 20lbs i think he said
Carter has a ton of pass rushing potential
and Timmons was worth the 1st roundpick ... I'm not going to give a whole bunch of stats ... but i think i would rather take the coaches words over some over reacted fans

Steelers5895
04-18-2012, 09:29 PM
i forget who said it ...but how is it a weekness when more then 1/2 the teams in the league would trade there LBs for the Steelers LBs ... come on ppl ...

i know the end of an era of Farrior, Hampton, and these guys got a lot of fans unsteady ...but the reality is the Organization has been preparing for this Turnover in the D...

How bad guys like Worilds and them are ...but they played a lot last year and we still had the #1 Def. in the league ... come on ppl some times fans get spoiled and if they see a little bit of a drop off they start to panic ...

Worilds is solid and has potential ...
Sly has tons of potential and lost 20lbs i think he said
Carter has a ton of pass rushing potential
and Timmons was worth the 1st roundpick ... I'm not going to give a whole bunch of stats ... but i think i would rather take the coaches words over some over reacted fans

who is your source to say that half the league would want our linebackers? thats just an unrealistic comment. carter showed potential? he didnt come within 5 yards of the qb. inh fact in his short stint he led the league in getting his face planted into the ground.

just because we want to believe something doesnt make it true. Sylvestor has tons of potential? tons?

wera176
04-18-2012, 09:48 PM
Ok, so okay according to this forum: Our DL was a weakness, old, slow, lazy, and depleted by injuries. Add to that our defensive backfield is not so hot either and the only reason they did so well statistically was because teams didn't have to pass against us because they could run at will. And oh yeah, our linebackers are also a weakness. Who does that leave out? No, that covers it, our entire defense is old, slow, depleted and a weakness.

Remind me where they finished the season?

Jeez people, are you watching the same games I am? Do you watch any other games other than the Steelers and see what they are doing/playing like? sigh....

tony hipchest
04-18-2012, 11:33 PM
pissy? its called retorting. what i find comical is the way steeler fans look at all their players with rose colored glasses.

i weed out responses like yours which add nothing and take what actual fans say and continue the debate,



:huh: what debate?

over 20+ responses have pretty much proven there is NO debate, just like in your wacky "timmons is a bust" thread.

you might wanna think twice before you continue to talk shit about the majority of steelerfans (and indirectly insulting everybody who REALLY knows football), troll. its called trolling, not "retorting". :troll:

thats what i find comical. :wave:

cbrunn
04-19-2012, 06:18 AM
who is your source to say that half the league would want our linebackers? thats just an unrealistic comment. carter showed potential? he didnt come within 5 yards of the qb. inh fact in his short stint he led the league in getting his face planted into the ground.

just because we want to believe something doesnt make it true. Sylvestor has tons of potential? tons?

It was somebody in this thread ... and ok lets break this down in lamen terms ...

Harrison = top 5 at his position ...ok lets say top 10 or heck top 16 since that would be half the league
Woodly= top 5 at his position ... ok lets say top 10 or heck top 16 since that would be half the league
Timmons= top 5 at his position ... ok lets say top 10 or heck top 16 since that would be half the league

that's 3 out of the 4 that are arguably top 5 and easy top 10 at their position ...

Now the other guys are unproven like Worilds, Carter (who was a rookie last year) , and Sly ... hmmmm how many teams have proven people as their backups ??

like i said i know the end of an era is hard for some fans ...but the REALITY IS THEY HAVE BEEN PREPARING FOR THIS TURNOVER IN DEFENSE ...

relax everybody loves Colbert and how he's a great GM and drafts so well late ... so stop questioning him and let these guys show you ... untill they actually get a chance you don't know what you got ... and Worilds was what i believe a 2nd year player and Carter a rookie , and Worilds played decent last year ...

Sixburgher
04-19-2012, 06:33 AM
pissy? its called retorting. what i find comical is the way steeler fans look at all their players with rose colored glasses.

i weed out responses like yours which add nothing and take what actual fans say and continue the debate,

And what I find comical are know it alls like you who in actuality don't know jack shit.

MDSteel15
04-19-2012, 06:39 AM
Let's make this simple because I only read the title and know this is going nowhere. The only thing weak about our LBs in the quality in depth behind the starters! 3 of the best starting LBs in the league plus Foote, followed by a whole lot of inexperience.... :hatsoff:

Steelers5895
04-19-2012, 06:34 PM
hey, i call it like I see it. I have seen Harrison start to break down since his POY season. No established depth behind him. I am hoping Woodleys injury is a fluke because if it isnt, who is rushing the passer? Carter? Worilds? Timmons has not been great, he has been good at times but I can sum his career up as underachieving. The other ILB is Foote who could not beat out a slow, old Farrior but now he is part of the strength?

So, its a long season, if one or heaven forbid both OLBs go down, we have no one to fill in. We have no clear cut replacement for Farrior and no depth.

Ok, if its not a weakness, fine, BUT IT IS NOT A STRENGTH ANYMORE!!!!!!!

Come on guys, you guys fall in love with anyone in a Steeler uniform not named Kordell Stewart.

And Tony Hipchest, how about something other than rabble rousing from you.

NSMaster56
04-19-2012, 08:22 PM
hey, i call it like I see it... if its not a weakness, fine, BUT IT IS NOT A STRENGTH ANYMORE!!!!!!!

Name 8 teams with a better LB corps.

If you can't, then the Steelers are in the top 25% of the league in that department, ergo it is still a strength.

If you want to talk about whether or not it's a 'strength' relative to point-in-time X, we could all say that the LB corps was not a 'strength' compared to the 70's LB corps.

Point is, even though LB corps is getting older as you say, the sky is not falling.

Steelers5895
04-19-2012, 08:52 PM
Name 8 teams with a better LB corps.

If you can't, then the Steelers are in the top 25% of the league in that department, ergo it is still a strength.

If you want to talk about whether or not it's a 'strength' relative to point-in-time X, we could all say that the LB corps was not a 'strength' compared to the 70's LB corps.

Point is, even though LB corps is getting older as you say, the sky is not falling.

just because our LB corps may be in the top 1/3 of the league doesnt mean its OUR strength. we are a super bowl contender so why would we compare our LB corp to the Browns? when we look at our LB corps as is now, it is not a strength.

Team strengths- QB, WR, DL
Weakness (in order)- kicking game, OL
On the Fence- LB, DB, RB

If no one steps in for Farrior and one of our OLB goes down for more than 4 games and Timmons continues to dissapoint...the LB spot is a weakness. If the OLBs stay healthy, Timmons plays like he did in 2010 or better and one of the younfg guys (sylvestor or Worlids) step up our LB corps could be a strength. Too bad none of the above give me much confidence that will happen.

I like our DL, McClendon looked awesome, Hampton may have a year left, Keisel is solid and our youth of Hood and Heyward showed they can get in the backfield.

NSMaster56
04-19-2012, 09:03 PM
just because our LB corps may be in the top 1/3 of the league doesnt mean its OUR strength. we are a super bowl contender so why would we compare our LB corp to the Browns? when we look at our LB corps as is now, it is not a strength.

If the Steelers are doing something better than 66-75% (or more) of the league, it's a strength.

It's pretty much the definition.

tony hipchest
04-19-2012, 09:43 PM
Come on guys, you guys fall in love with anyone in a Steeler uniform not named Kordell Stewart.

And Tony Hipchest, how about something other than rabble rousing from you.

how about you STFU. hows that?

see, i call em like i see em too, and the value and "insight" you bring to this board is quickly diminishing.

case in point-



I like our DL, McClendon looked awesome, .

you see an old and slow (basically calling him ineffective) james farrior, but somewhere saw an "awesome" mcclendon?

he showed some potential, just like worilds, carter, and sylvester.

your posts are a joke. it seems like you fall in love with the takes of an idiot.

:popcorn:

El-Gonzo Jackson
04-20-2012, 10:10 AM
Let's make this simple because I only read the title and know this is going nowhere. The only thing weak about our LBs in the quality in depth behind the starters! 3 of the best starting LBs in the league plus Foote, followed by a whole lot of inexperience.... :hatsoff:

Great post.


Woodley, Timmons, Harrison are all solid and above average. Foote is on the decline and behind them are a bunch of young and unproven guys. I have hope for Carter and Worilds, but honestly think they are both equal despite one being a 2nd round pick and another being a 5th rounder.

steelfury02
04-20-2012, 01:45 PM
If I may just add the following thoughts:

-Everyone wants the defense to perform at 2008 levels every single season

-That 08' defense is arguably the best defense since the Steel Curtain days

-If we even sniff 60-70% of that 08' level of successful we have a SB-ready defense because the Steeler pedigree has been that much higher for that much longer. Steeler standards on defense is that much higher than even the Ravens who 2nd to us because of their short history - sure the Packers or Giants of the world will have a great year in terms of being opportunistic but no one has this much consistency and high level of play on defense that the Steelers have had for the past 40 years.

-This is a period of transition and old favorites die hard. This to me, is the first true, true test of the Tomlin regime's ability to essentially reload. Yes, there has been a drop off in a pure "dominance" sense from the defense - but injuries and age have caught up - and 12-4 from the old dogs one last time isn't anything to bat an eye at. We'll get younger and we'll creep back to where we need to be as always.

Last thing - question: Does anyone here believe Ben will retire without another ring? Its gonna happen at least 1 more time just relax I say.

FrancoLambert
04-20-2012, 04:35 PM
Weakness...definitely not.
Concerns.....plenty.
Age of Harrison, not deep at ILB, Woodley's health, Timmons' plateau (?), Foote's age.
Worilds seems OK, but it's time to show marked improvement.
Sylvester still a big ?, hasn't played enough downs to get a real feel for him.
There are legitimate concerns about this group.

Steelersfan87
04-20-2012, 04:44 PM
I think "concerns" should be ignored until at least after the draft. For a team that builds primarily through the draft, it's kind of unfair to judge them before they've had the opportunity to address their roster.

Steelers5895
04-21-2012, 08:57 AM
my point was right now its a major concern and how ther steelers draft will decide if they feel the same way. guess we will find out.

Steelers5895
04-21-2012, 08:58 AM
how about you STFU. hows that?

see, i call em like i see em too, and the value and "insight" you bring to this board is quickly diminishing.

case in point-



you see an old and slow (basically calling him ineffective) james farrior, but somewhere saw an "awesome" mcclendon?

he showed some potential, just like worilds, carter, and sylvester.

your posts are a joke. it seems like you fall in love with the takes of an idiot.

:popcorn:

rabble...rabble...rabble!!!

Steelersfan87
04-21-2012, 03:49 PM
my point was right now its a major concern and how ther steelers draft will decide if they feel the same way. guess we will find out.

You can't cast it as a "major" concern. That's ridiculous. They have 4 starters, all of whom have started for years in the system, and 4 backups, including some with starting experience. A major concern would be if they have like 5 LBs and 2 with starting experience.

Steelers5895
04-22-2012, 09:49 AM
You can't cast it as a "major" concern. That's ridiculous. They have 4 starters, all of whom have started for years in the system, and 4 backups, including some with starting experience. A major concern would be if they have like 5 LBs and 2 with starting experience.

every team has starters but no defense depends on EXCEPTIONAL play from all of their starting linebackers for their defense to succeed. Not sure I see it from the inside LBS and an aging Harrison is a concern with no back up outside.

Hawaii 5-0
04-24-2012, 03:02 PM
Drafting a LB is imperative for Steelers

Posted: Monday, April 23, 2012
By Jim Wexell For HeraldStandard.com


The lifeblood of the Pittsburgh Steelers failed them last year.

Their group of linebackers, the heart of their 3-4 defense, had one of its worst statistical seasons in decades.

Injuries played a part. So did age. James Harrison and LaMarr Woodley saw double-digit sack streaks stopped when they — hurting and hurt, respectively — finished with 9 sacks apiece.

James Farrior had only 2 sacks and was released. Lawrence Timmons was moved outside and back inside and had only 2 sacks. Backups Jason Worilds and Larry Foote had 3 and 1½ sacks.

The defense accounted for only 35 sacks, lowest since the 2003 defense had 35 and the 1990 defense had 34.

Worse was the scant number of “splash plays,” as coach Mike Tomlin likes to call them.

To quantify “splash plays,” add interceptions and forced fumbles, and by that measurement last year’s Steelers linebackers made only 6 “splash plays.”

That measure was the worst in the 13 seasons Dick LeBeau has spent on the Steelers’ defensive staff.

In defenses LeBeau has coached here (three seasons secondary; 10 seasons coordinator), the top six linebackers have never had less than 12 interceptions and forced fumbles.

The previous 3-4 defenses pale when comparing sacks and/or “splash plays” to the LeBeau-era 3-4s, but only one other time has a group of 3-4 Steelers linebackers made only six “splash plays” — and that was in the strike-shortened 1987 season (Cole, Hinkle, Little, Merriweather).

The Steelers began playing the 3-4 defense in 1982.

Perhaps this all helps us better understand why the Steelers are looking so intently at linebackers this draft season.

Whether they’re looking to replace Farrior, or moving Worilds inside, or searching for the 34-year-old Harrison’s eventual replacement, or whether they’re merely reacting to statistical evidence, the Steelers are making no secret about their interest.

These are the main outside linebacker candidates:

Nick Perry (6-2.6, 271, 4.58) — No one his size at the combine was as fast, but a 4.66 20-yard shuttle does not indicate a smooth transition from DE to OLB. The two best Pac-12 OTs said at the combine that Perry is the real deal.

Whitney Mercilus (6-3.5, 254, 4.68) — Should be nicknamed “Ming” by now. Mercilus was outstanding against Penn State and Ohio State. Similar in size and style to Joey Porter, but the redshirt junior had only one good year.

Courtney Upshaw (6-1.5, 272, 4.79) — Alabama cross between Harrison and Woodley has even more trouble than Woodley cutting weight.

Shea McClellin (6-3.3, 260, 4.66) — Those who subscribe to KEI theory (strength + jump numbers = explosiveness) won’t like this Boise Stater, but the DE can get downfield to cover. Also, wouldn’t shut up about his hero Mike Vrabel at the combine.

Andre Branch (6-4.2, 259, 4.69) — Steelers had him in for a visit, but peg this Clemson DE as a too-late first-rounder/too-early second-rounder.

Bruce Irvin (6-3, 245, 4.44) — Former WVU 3-3 backup DE had the best agility times of every front-seven player at the combine (and all but one safety in each category). The downside is he’s been in jail and was arrested again recently for a minor disturbance. Steelers scouts can dream, though.

Olivier Vernon (6-2.1, 261, 4.77) — True junior DE sat out six games for “impermissible benefits” last season at Miami. Right age and position for the Steelers.

Cam Johnson (6-3.4, 268, 4.81) — Steelers also had this Virginia pass-rusher in for a visit. Reminiscent on the field of Clark Haggans, without the heart.

And here are the inside linebackers:

Luke Kuechly (6-3.2, 242, 4.61) — Don’t know whether he’s the next Jack Lambert or the next Jack Ham. Best instincts I’ve seen from a college linebacker in years.

Donta Hightower (6-2.2, 265, 4.64) — Big, fast, intimidating, intelligent leader would fit right into Farrior’s “buck,” or playcalling, position.

Lavonte David (6-0.5, 233, 4.59) — Nebraska captain should last into early second round, or could be Tomlin curveball in first.

Mychal Kendricks (5-11.1, 239, 4.46) — Cal MLB put up top times and jumps at the combine, but will likely be overdrafted. Reportedly struggled at the combine whiteboard.

James-Michael Johnson (6-1.1, 241, 4.66) — If Hightower’s not there in the first, wait for this MLB from Nevada ...

Demario Davis (6-2, 235, 4.56) - ... or this MLB from Arkansas State in the middle rounds. Followers of aforementioned KEI theory call Davis the second most explosive athlete behind Nick Perry. Stood up Cordy Glenn twice at the Senior Bowl to tackle RBs.

Ronnell Lewis (6-1.6, 253, 4.67) — Like Irvin, Lewis was a backup 3-3 DE for a coach who didn’t know how to use him. A true junior, Lewis is a fearsome special-teams killer. But where to play him?

Nigel Bradham (6-1.7, 241, 4.59) — Was shown around Florida State campus during his recruiting visit by Timmons. Would have to play “mack” and move Timmons to the more cerebral “buck,” but for whatever reason the Steelers are teaching Timmons to play OLB instead of the captain’s position.

Travis Lewis (6-1.3, 246, 4.77) — Overhyped since his freshman year at Oklahoma, this Larry Foote clone could be underrated by now.

Danny Trevathan (6-0.2, 237) — No one else likes this small, slow and ultra-productive Kentucky overachiever. But would not surprise me if he becomes a solid starter in the league.

Pittsburgh Steelers’ Value Board

First Round — Luke Kuechly, Boston College; Dont’a Hightower, Alabama; Nick Perry, USC.

Second Round — Lavonte David, Nebraska.

Third Round — James-Michael Johnson, Nevada; Olivier Vernon, Miami.

Fourth Round — Demario Davis, Arkansas State; Nigel Bradham, Florida State; Bobby Wagner, Utah State.

Fifth Round — Miles Burris, San Diego State; Kyle Wilber, Wake Forest; Travis Lewis, Oklahoma.

Seventh Round — Danny Trevathan, Kentucky; Sammy Brown, Houston; Adrian Robinson, Temple; Jerrell Harris, Alabama.

http://www.heraldstandard.com/sports/steelers/drafting-a-lb-is-imperative-for-steelers/article_028f4552-b004-5a88-b30b-a7a3c33d9604.html

steelerchad
04-24-2012, 04:28 PM
1. Harrison's age is a concern, yes, but he also had a late start to his NFL career, and he takes very good care of his body. It is conceivable that he has another 4 solid years in him.
2. Jason Worilds was injured and Chris Carter wasn't ready. The instability of the defensive line did not help either.
3. We've gone through this one before, and your claim that he does not make "impact"/"splash" plays was already demonstrably refuted by pointing out that in his one full, healthy season as a starter at inside linebacker, the only player that had more was Harrison on the entire team.
4. It's far, far, far more likely a fluke than the start of a trend. Injury paranoia is getting ridiculous.
5. That's what training camp is for. The only reason that Foote is not necessarily the clear cut starter is simply because the coaching staff believes in Sylvester's potential.
6. There's still Mortty Ivy, and whomever doesn't start between Foote and Sylvester will be the other backup. That is perfectly sound depth, yet it is still highly likely that they will add to this in the draft.

I do not even remotely share your skepticism for the reasons cited above.

Comon dude. Harrison won't have 4 productive years. He won't even be in the NFL in 4 years. He'll be 34 next month. With back issues last year, I'm willing to bet he's not a Steeler in 2013. LBer's just don't last until age 37. Just because he hasn't started all these years, doesn't mean it hasn't taken the toll on the body. Camp, drills, off season workouts, special teams all take the same toll. Just because he wasn't a starter doesn't mean he has much less wear and tear on him.

Farrior was pretty much done 2 years ago, he needed to go. Timmons has underperformed from his draft position, but is solid. Woodley's great and we are vacant at the other ILB. LB is definately a need at this point and we need to address it in the draft. Doesn't mean somebody can't step up, but the Worilds pick is looking great now. I think he'll be a player this year. I'd like to see him be able to play ILB, but Woodley or Harrison will likely need some rest or injury relief at some point.

Steelersfan87
04-24-2012, 05:22 PM
I said that it's conceivable, not that it's likely. I'm confident that he'll start at least two more seasons. His back issues are more or less behind him. He played much better when he returned from his head injury than in the first four games. The rest obviously helped his back issue, and he should be the healthiest he's been in a few seasons this year.

Two years ago was one of Farrior's best seasons. Perhaps you should look up his statistics. Foote is a capable starter, but obviously not a long-term answer.

Steelers5895
04-24-2012, 07:46 PM
Drafting a LB is imperative for Steelers

Posted: Monday, April 23, 2012
By Jim Wexell For HeraldStandard.com


The lifeblood of the Pittsburgh Steelers failed them last year.

Their group of linebackers, the heart of their 3-4 defense, had one of its worst statistical seasons in decades.

Injuries played a part. So did age. James Harrison and LaMarr Woodley saw double-digit sack streaks stopped when they — hurting and hurt, respectively — finished with 9 sacks apiece.

James Farrior had only 2 sacks and was released. Lawrence Timmons was moved outside and back inside and had only 2 sacks. Backups Jason Worilds and Larry Foote had 3 and 1½ sacks.

The defense accounted for only 35 sacks, lowest since the 2003 defense had 35 and the 1990 defense had 34.

Worse was the scant number of “splash plays,” as coach Mike Tomlin likes to call them.

To quantify “splash plays,” add interceptions and forced fumbles, and by that measurement last year’s Steelers linebackers made only 6 “splash plays.”

That measure was the worst in the 13 seasons Dick LeBeau has spent on the Steelers’ defensive staff.

In defenses LeBeau has coached here (three seasons secondary; 10 seasons coordinator), the top six linebackers have never had less than 12 interceptions and forced fumbles.

The previous 3-4 defenses pale when comparing sacks and/or “splash plays” to the LeBeau-era 3-4s, but only one other time has a group of 3-4 Steelers linebackers made only six “splash plays” — and that was in the strike-shortened 1987 season (Cole, Hinkle, Little, Merriweather).

The Steelers began playing the 3-4 defense in 1982.

Perhaps this all helps us better understand why the Steelers are looking so intently at linebackers this draft season.

Whether they’re looking to replace Farrior, or moving Worilds inside, or searching for the 34-year-old Harrison’s eventual replacement, or whether they’re merely reacting to statistical evidence, the Steelers are making no secret about their interest.

These are the main outside linebacker candidates:

Nick Perry (6-2.6, 271, 4.58) — No one his size at the combine was as fast, but a 4.66 20-yard shuttle does not indicate a smooth transition from DE to OLB. The two best Pac-12 OTs said at the combine that Perry is the real deal.

Whitney Mercilus (6-3.5, 254, 4.68) — Should be nicknamed “Ming” by now. Mercilus was outstanding against Penn State and Ohio State. Similar in size and style to Joey Porter, but the redshirt junior had only one good year.

Courtney Upshaw (6-1.5, 272, 4.79) — Alabama cross between Harrison and Woodley has even more trouble than Woodley cutting weight.

Shea McClellin (6-3.3, 260, 4.66) — Those who subscribe to KEI theory (strength + jump numbers = explosiveness) won’t like this Boise Stater, but the DE can get downfield to cover. Also, wouldn’t shut up about his hero Mike Vrabel at the combine.

Andre Branch (6-4.2, 259, 4.69) — Steelers had him in for a visit, but peg this Clemson DE as a too-late first-rounder/too-early second-rounder.

Bruce Irvin (6-3, 245, 4.44) — Former WVU 3-3 backup DE had the best agility times of every front-seven player at the combine (and all but one safety in each category). The downside is he’s been in jail and was arrested again recently for a minor disturbance. Steelers scouts can dream, though.

Olivier Vernon (6-2.1, 261, 4.77) — True junior DE sat out six games for “impermissible benefits” last season at Miami. Right age and position for the Steelers.

Cam Johnson (6-3.4, 268, 4.81) — Steelers also had this Virginia pass-rusher in for a visit. Reminiscent on the field of Clark Haggans, without the heart.

And here are the inside linebackers:

Luke Kuechly (6-3.2, 242, 4.61) — Don’t know whether he’s the next Jack Lambert or the next Jack Ham. Best instincts I’ve seen from a college linebacker in years.

Donta Hightower (6-2.2, 265, 4.64) — Big, fast, intimidating, intelligent leader would fit right into Farrior’s “buck,” or playcalling, position.

Lavonte David (6-0.5, 233, 4.59) — Nebraska captain should last into early second round, or could be Tomlin curveball in first.

Mychal Kendricks (5-11.1, 239, 4.46) — Cal MLB put up top times and jumps at the combine, but will likely be overdrafted. Reportedly struggled at the combine whiteboard.

James-Michael Johnson (6-1.1, 241, 4.66) — If Hightower’s not there in the first, wait for this MLB from Nevada ...

Demario Davis (6-2, 235, 4.56) - ... or this MLB from Arkansas State in the middle rounds. Followers of aforementioned KEI theory call Davis the second most explosive athlete behind Nick Perry. Stood up Cordy Glenn twice at the Senior Bowl to tackle RBs.

Ronnell Lewis (6-1.6, 253, 4.67) — Like Irvin, Lewis was a backup 3-3 DE for a coach who didn’t know how to use him. A true junior, Lewis is a fearsome special-teams killer. But where to play him?

Nigel Bradham (6-1.7, 241, 4.59) — Was shown around Florida State campus during his recruiting visit by Timmons. Would have to play “mack” and move Timmons to the more cerebral “buck,” but for whatever reason the Steelers are teaching Timmons to play OLB instead of the captain’s position.

Travis Lewis (6-1.3, 246, 4.77) — Overhyped since his freshman year at Oklahoma, this Larry Foote clone could be underrated by now.

Danny Trevathan (6-0.2, 237) — No one else likes this small, slow and ultra-productive Kentucky overachiever. But would not surprise me if he becomes a solid starter in the league.

Pittsburgh Steelers’ Value Board

First Round — Luke Kuechly, Boston College; Dont’a Hightower, Alabama; Nick Perry, USC.

Second Round — Lavonte David, Nebraska.

Third Round — James-Michael Johnson, Nevada; Olivier Vernon, Miami.

Fourth Round — Demario Davis, Arkansas State; Nigel Bradham, Florida State; Bobby Wagner, Utah State.

Fifth Round — Miles Burris, San Diego State; Kyle Wilber, Wake Forest; Travis Lewis, Oklahoma.

Seventh Round — Danny Trevathan, Kentucky; Sammy Brown, Houston; Adrian Robinson, Temple; Jerrell Harris, Alabama.

http://www.heraldstandard.com/sports/steelers/drafting-a-lb-is-imperative-for-steelers/article_028f4552-b004-5a88-b30b-a7a3c33d9604.html

I guess I am not the troll you guys think I am

steelerchad
04-26-2012, 09:07 AM
[QUOTE=Dodens Grav;1007334]I said that it's conceivable, not that it's likely. I'm confident that he'll start at least two more seasons. His back issues are more or less behind him. He played much better when he returned from his head injury than in the first four games. The rest obviously helped his back issue, and he should be the healthiest he's been in a few seasons this year.

Two years ago was one of Farrior's best seasons. Perhaps you should look up his statistics. Foote is a capable starter, but obviously not a long-term answer.[/QUOTE



B.S.
Farrior lost a step a couple of years ago and it was evident. His stats look pretty much the same his entire career. Being a 3-4 inside backer, the system is made for the ILB to get all the tackles and the OLB to get all the sacks. Stats certainly don't say it was one of his best seasons either. All I know, is since 2009 he has been avg. at best and an absolute liability in pass coverage. He got worked trying to cover any back or TE all year and it cost us big time. Anybody who watched the games knows that.

Foote- He's nothing more than a band aid. Our system is set up to have our linebackers wreak havoc and I'm not confident they can do that with the current troops. Hope I'm wrong, but we need a difference maker in the middle. Timmons has the athletic ability, but has under performed to this point. He was a top 15 pick and hasn't lived up to that potential yet. Maybe this year.

tony hipchest
04-26-2012, 11:05 AM
I guess I am not the troll you guys think I am

you have not guessed wisely, grasshoppa.

what wexell describes is an aberation, a fluke, something that strangely happens to a team once every 30 years. their lack of production in sacks and "splash" plays was a statistical anomoly than any other team would have difficulty duplicating if they tried.

it is not indicative of our entire LB corps being a weakness, and certainly no reason for knee jerk reaction or a sense of panic to set in.

FWIW jim wexell advocates selecting Lavonte David, Nebraska captain, in the 2nd round.

we are adding 10 picks to the team. it doesnt mean that the 10 positions those players play are all areas of weakness. we have to fill out a roster.