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mesaSteeler
05-20-2012, 09:01 AM
Starks awaits another chance in NFL
Mark Kaboly
Tribune-Review Sports reporter Mark Kaboly can be reached via e-mail or at
http://triblive.com/sports/steelers/1820967-85/starks-steelers-camp-ready-tackle-adams-training-week-acl-offensive
Starting off

Here are the Steelers’ current left tackle options:

Player Age Ht Wt G GS

Max Starks* 30 6-8 345 107 79

Jonathan Scott 29 6-6 310 59 29

Trai Essex 29 6-4 324 75 28

Mike Adams 22 6-7 323 0 0

* — Unrestricted free agent

By Mark Kaboly
Tribune-Review

Published: Saturday, May 19, 2012, 12:30 a.m.
Updated: Saturday, May 19, 2012

When the Steelers decided to move Willie Colon to left guard and keep Marcus Gilbert at right tackle, the one person they didn’t have in mind to fill the void at left tackle was Max Starks.

The veteran free agent has yet to be contacted by the Steelers, seemingly further solidifying the team’s intentions of giving rookie second-round pick Mike Adams every opportunity of winning the left tackle job in training camp.

“I have not had contact with management or anybody like that,” Starks said Friday while on his way to rehab his surgically repaired knee in Phoenix. “I guess eventually I will hear something from them … or maybe not.”

The Steelers seem intent on revamping their offensive line, even if that means doing something they rarely do: Start rookie offensive linemen.

The Steelers have started a rookie up front to open the season three times since the 1970 merger — Tom Ricketts in 1989, Marvel Smith in 2000 and Maurkice Pouncey in 2010.

They could have two — Adams and first-round pick David DeCastro — in the starting lineup Week 1 in Denver.

The Steelers plan to have Adams, Jonathan Scott and Trai Essex battle for the starting left tackle spot during camp.

“As for myself, I don’t see (me being a part of that battle) unless there is something I don’t know,” Starks said.

Starks likely won’t be ready for the start of training camp anyway.

It’s been about four months since Dr. James Bradley repaired the ACL Starks tore in his right knee during the wild-card playoff loss to Denver.

“I am pretty good, actually,” Starks said. “I am starting lateral work movement with my ACL, and everything is moving along nicely.”

Starks has a follow-up visit with Bradley soon during which he will get a better grasp on how far along he is. An ACL tear typically carries a nine-month recovery. With that time frame, Starks would be ready close to opening week.

“It would be pushing it to be in training camp,” Starks said. “It is not unfeasible. Athletes push it to be ready in six months, but my mindset is to be ready to play by Week 1. That’s a realistic goal for me.”

If Adams doesn’t catch on quickly, the Steelers could call on Starks like they did last season.

Starks was cut two days before training camp in a salary dump. After struggling up front during the first month, the Steelers signed Starks heading into Week 5. Starks started the remaining nine games at left tackle and played well.

Starks doesn’t know whether, if called upon again, he could replicate last season’s performance, mostly because of having a new offensive coordinator in Todd Haley.

“I would need a week or so to get the plays down and the terminology,” Starks said. “It would be a different situation even coming back to the Steelers. I just want to get healthy and play for somebody. I have the mindset of rehabbing and make sure my knee is in the best possible shape and be ready to go when someone calls.”

As for the Steelers making that call?

“If the situation arises, it is something that I would definitely be interested in,” Starks said.

Mark Kaboly is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at mkaboly@tribweb.com.

steelbelieve
05-21-2012, 09:38 AM
Starks awaits another chance in NFL
Mark Kaboly
Tribune-Review Sports reporter Mark Kaboly can be reached via e-mail or at
http://triblive.com/sports/steelers/1820967-85/starks-steelers-camp-ready-tackle-adams-training-week-acl-offensive
Starting off

Here are the Steelers’ current left tackle options:

Player Age Ht Wt G GS

Max Starks* 30 6-8 345 107 79

Jonathan Scott 29 6-6 310 59 29

Trai Essex 29 6-4 324 75 28

Mike Adams 22 6-7 323 0 0

* — Unrestricted free agent

By Mark Kaboly
Tribune-Review

Published: Saturday, May 19, 2012, 12:30 a.m.
Updated: Saturday, May 19, 2012

When the Steelers decided to move Willie Colon to left guard and keep Marcus Gilbert at right tackle, the one person they didn’t have in mind to fill the void at left tackle was Max Starks.

The veteran free agent has yet to be contacted by the Steelers, seemingly further solidifying the team’s intentions of giving rookie second-round pick Mike Adams every opportunity of winning the left tackle job in training camp.

“I have not had contact with management or anybody like that,” Starks said Friday while on his way to rehab his surgically repaired knee in Phoenix. “I guess eventually I will hear something from them … or maybe not.”

The Steelers seem intent on revamping their offensive line, even if that means doing something they rarely do: Start rookie offensive linemen.

The Steelers have started a rookie up front to open the season three times since the 1970 merger — Tom Ricketts in 1989, Marvel Smith in 2000 and Maurkice Pouncey in 2010.

They could have two — Adams and first-round pick David DeCastro — in the starting lineup Week 1 in Denver.

The Steelers plan to have Adams, Jonathan Scott and Trai Essex battle for the starting left tackle spot during camp.

“As for myself, I don’t see (me being a part of that battle) unless there is something I don’t know,” Starks said.

Starks likely won’t be ready for the start of training camp anyway.

It’s been about four months since Dr. James Bradley repaired the ACL Starks tore in his right knee during the wild-card playoff loss to Denver.

“I am pretty good, actually,” Starks said. “I am starting lateral work movement with my ACL, and everything is moving along nicely.”

Starks has a follow-up visit with Bradley soon during which he will get a better grasp on how far along he is. An ACL tear typically carries a nine-month recovery. With that time frame, Starks would be ready close to opening week.

“It would be pushing it to be in training camp,” Starks said. “It is not unfeasible. Athletes push it to be ready in six months, but my mindset is to be ready to play by Week 1. That’s a realistic goal for me.”

If Adams doesn’t catch on quickly, the Steelers could call on Starks like they did last season.

Starks was cut two days before training camp in a salary dump. After struggling up front during the first month, the Steelers signed Starks heading into Week 5. Starks started the remaining nine games at left tackle and played well.

Starks doesn’t know whether, if called upon again, he could replicate last season’s performance, mostly because of having a new offensive coordinator in Todd Haley.

“I would need a week or so to get the plays down and the terminology,” Starks said. “It would be a different situation even coming back to the Steelers. I just want to get healthy and play for somebody. I have the mindset of rehabbing and make sure my knee is in the best possible shape and be ready to go when someone calls.”

As for the Steelers making that call?

“If the situation arises, it is something that I would definitely be interested in,” Starks said.

Mark Kaboly is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at mkaboly@tribweb.com.

The Steelers are lucky to have a guy of Stark's quality out there and probably available should Scott, Essex or Adams not make the grade. Even if one of them stand out, they have an additional back up option at a critical position.

truesteelerfan
05-21-2012, 02:52 PM
Why on earth would we keep Scott over Starks? The only 2 reasons I can come up with are rate of pay, and Stark's recent surgery - BUT - has Scott shown anything at all worthy of keeping a roster spot? I think not - and to combine that with how Starks solidified our line last season, I feel he should at least be given an invitation to camp to earn a spot if his knee can handle it.

Fire Arians
05-21-2012, 03:49 PM
Why on earth would we keep Scott over Starks? The only 2 reasons I can come up with are rate of pay, and Stark's recent surgery - BUT - has Scott shown anything at all worthy of keeping a roster spot? I think not - and to combine that with how Starks solidified our line last season, I feel he should at least be given an invitation to camp to earn a spot if his knee can handle it.

he said himself the knee doesn't feel ready for camp. what's to lose with keeping scott in camp?

nobody hates scott more than me, but im sure he will be cut before the season starts.

TheVet
05-21-2012, 04:08 PM
It's not a pay rate issue; Starks will be available at veteran minimum salary if the Steelers become desperate due to injuries or other circumstances. The issues are the recent surgery, the fact that Starks is on the downside of his career, and the ready availability of other players at that talent level. And of course, there's the raising of the bar on the OL, and the youth movement.

Yes, Starks was better than Scott last year, but the Steelers are looking for general improvement in the OL. Neither Starks or Scott are attractive options, but at least we're talking about depth here. We'll have to see what they have in mind; the OT backup situation looks scary.

But the first step was to establish a powerful starting five.

Steelersfan87
05-21-2012, 10:22 PM
If Starks is healthy by the end of training camp, at veteran minimum, then he absolutely is an "attractive option" as the third tackle. It still remains to be seen what they envision for Ramon Foster. I do hope that they intend to give him some reps at the tackle spots.

mikeyg
05-22-2012, 04:52 AM
VERY risky starting 2 OL that are rookies - especially one being at LT

Desperate times require desperate measures and that is where we find ourselves. To put it another way - "poor planning on your part does not constitue an emergency on mine" - but that is what occurred - poor planning has lead to this drastic move.

MDSteel15
05-22-2012, 06:18 AM
I say they have him on speed dial for as soon as his knee is 100%! He wants to be here and is getting in decent shape to prove it...

El-Gonzo Jackson
05-22-2012, 08:05 AM
I dont see the obsession with Starks that many have here. Maybe he gets in shape and agrees to veteran miniumum, but I dont see why a guy is going to come back and make $1million for a season when Jon Scott is making $2mil and Colon around $4mil after his restructure.

People keep talking about Starks as veteran insurance, but I think he would want in the neighbourhood of $2-3million a season at least.

MDSteel15
05-22-2012, 01:13 PM
Hopefully they bring him in and get rid of Scott! He's never proved he can handle it and is taking up space on cap...

Hawaii 5-0
05-22-2012, 01:35 PM
Kaboly did add via Twitter that unrestricted free agent tackle Max Starks was at the Steelers facility getting his knee checked out by the trainers as he has been in town for the charity golf tournament that he helps put on that took place on Monday. Starks said last week that he likely would not be ready by the start of training camp and that he has yet to hear from the Steelers organization in regard to him being re-signed in the future.

http://network.yardbarker.com/nfl/ar...t_ota/10848545

Steelersfan87
05-22-2012, 02:56 PM
I dont see the obsession with Starks that many have here. Maybe he gets in shape and agrees to veteran miniumum, but I dont see why a guy is going to come back and make $1million for a season when Jon Scott is making $2mil and Colon around $4mil after his restructure.

People keep talking about Starks as veteran insurance, but I think he would want in the neighbourhood of $2-3million a season at least.

I wouldn't call it an obsession. I would also say that part of it stems from the people that were glad to see him gone. When two sides disagree, it makes both sides seem louder and more intense. I think it's basically this: when, not if, but when one of the starting tackles goes down, whether it's for a series or for 5 games, it would be preferable to see Starks come off the bench than Jonathan Scott.

As far as what Starks wants, obviously that remains to be seen, but he really doesn't have much leverage. That and saving $1.5M by cutting Scott make the scenario of Starks' return more plausible.

TheVet
05-22-2012, 04:01 PM
The Max Starks obsession seems very real to me. Max gets more discussion here than the majority of Steelers who are actually on the roster. That's a lot of attention for a post-surgery veteran on the downside of an OK career. The obsession is probably rooted in how he filled a crucial hole during the emergency last season, after being reclaimed from the discard pile. Obviously, we are all appreciative of that.

There does seem to be a disagreement between two sides, but they're not the two sides that Doddens mentions. It's not pro-Starks vs. anti-Starks, or Starks vs. Jonathan Scott. Most would agree that a healthy Starks would be preferred over Scott.

The real disagreement seems to be whether either Starks or Scott fits in on our new OL, where the bar is being raised significantly, and younger players with promise are being recruited. Some believe that with an NFL-caliber line or even better, players like J Scott and Starks are for very deep depth. If guys like that see significant time, then things haven't gone well with the Colon transition, Adams' development, depth recruitment, and/or injuries. There are others who simply don't believe that the bar needs to be that high, and that the Starks/Scott level is sufficient.

My own opinion is that with the arrival of an effective Offensive Coordinator and an NFL-caliber OL, we should be able to cover for a single weakness, whether it's the concern that we all share at OT, or bad circumstances at C or OG. Hopefully things will work out well this year. The Steelers have made an awesome investment to resurrect our offense.

Hawaii 5-0
05-22-2012, 04:13 PM
I can only speak for myself, but Max Starks comes to mind whenever I think of the possibility of a rookie who was inconsistent in college and only did 19 reps at 220 at the Combine protecting Ben's blind side or even worse Jonathan "Rollerskates" Scott or Trai "The Human Turnstile" Essex being the starting LT.

IMO, Max Starks is a far better option for next season than any of the other alternatives currently on our roster.

Steelersfan87
05-22-2012, 05:47 PM
Starks is a good option to be the first off the bench for a lot of teams I'm sure. Most players that are good enough to start usually do...on other teams. So when teams have great players as backups, they're usually not backups for too long. Look at the Patriots. Last year they draft Nate Solder and this year Matt Light retires. I wonder how many 3rd tackles around the league, quite honestly, are as good as Starks. However, I'm not going to pretend to be an expert on other teams' OT depth. It's also not like the line is completely different. Colon is still there, Gilbert is still there, Pouncey is still there. Foster, Legursky, and Essex are still there. Sean Kugler is still the offensive line coach. All of them will be adjusting to a new blocking scheme and verbiage together.

It would be interesting to see some kind of comparative analysis of offensive line depth league-wide. I'm assuming there's a reason that we generally don't know their names...

Hawaii 5-0
05-26-2012, 02:13 PM
Free agent Max Starks expects to be cleared around camp time

Posted by Evan Silva on May 26, 2012

http://nbcprofootballtalk.files.wordpress.com/2012/05/max-starks-pic.jpg?w=250

The Steelers signed free agent tackle Max Starks off the street in early October of last season, and he solidified Pittsburgh’s left tackle position before a torn ACL ended his season in January. Starks has been rehabbing this spring, and he wants to keep playing football.

Starks is currently an unrestricted free agent.

On Saturday, Starks informed ESPN’s Josina Anderson that he’s “just about two months away” from receiving medical clearance to resume football activities. Training camp starts in two months, so the timelines conveniently coincide.

Starks is only 30 years old and a capable starter when healthy. He could be on Steelers G.M. Kevin Colbert’s speed dial in case rookie Mike Adams struggles in August practices and preseason games.

Starks also has ties to the coaching staffs in Arizona and Indianapolis. He can play both left and right tackle.

http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2012/05/26/free-agent-max-starks-expects-to-be-cleared-around-camp-time/

Hawaii 5-0
05-29-2012, 01:30 PM
Steelers need to sign Max Starks…eventually

May 29, 2012
by The Sports Jags

http://img1.yardbarker.com/media/c/e/ceeb73556fee70057fcd922a5d690b428b832f07/related/bilde.jpg?stamp=1338298723

Ever since the draft, we’ve spent more time talking about the Steelers’ offensive line than we have talking about the Mike Wallace situation. Part of that is because we’re sick of the Mike Wallace situation but it’s mainly because even without a trade or a significant signing, the O-Line is going to look completely different form last year’s.

Maybe Willie Colon will be right and the Steelers will have one of the top two O-Lines in football next year, and maybe Colon will even stick around long enough to play in more than one game now that he’s on the interior. There are still a lot of questions with the line, especially at tackle, the position Colon abandoned by moving to guard at the coaches’ demand.

But one man could provide some answers at the tackle position who isn’t even on the roster…yet. If the Steelers sign Max Starks…again…when he’s healthy, he could sure up a tackle corps that might look good on paper but still hasn’t proved a damn thing yet.

Starks isn’t even on the team anymore but he was all over the Steelers’ facility during OTAs last week, and he said he should be medically cleared to get back to football activities in a couple of months, which means he should be ready to go right when the Steelers are getting ready to head to Latrobe for training camp. The Steelers should wait until he’s cleared and then sign him immediately before other teams start throwing bigger money at him.

http://www.mnvikingsblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/max-starks.jpg

He is coming off of a torn ACL but with today’s medicinal technology and the rehab programs designed for professional athletes, once an injury like that is fixed, it’s fixed for good when you’re talking about a lineman that doesn’t make cuts like backs and receivers do. As long as Max doesn’t get rolled up on, he should be just fine.

Right now, it looks like second-year man Marcus Gilbert is the starting right tackle and rookie Mike Adams is the starting left tackle. Thea leaves Trai Essex and Jonathan Scott as the backups for now. Trai has worked his ass off this offseason to cut weight and he looks like he could be a legit left tackle and should compete with Adams for the starting gig. But Scott shouldn’t even be employed…he’s a waste at this point. It’s kind of understandable that the Steelers are holding onto him since they have no other options at this point, but if they don’t sign Starks and cut Scott the moment Starks is cleared, someone needs to be slapped.

Left tackle is the most important position on the line and right now an unproven rookie has the job. What happens if Adams is ready, or what if Gilbert gets hurt or hits a sophomore slump OR god forbid, what if both happen? It’s not that far-fetched; look at the disarray the offensive line was in last year. But Starks has been pretty reliable his whole career, aside from a freak neck injury that limited him to seven games in 2010. He’s played in 107 games since he was drafted in ’04 by the Steelers and he’s started 79.

http://www2.pictures.zimbio.com/gi/Max+Starks+New+England+Patriots+v+Pittsburgh+9_a1E SXyMp2l.jpg

Starks could bring this whole line together, even if he is used as a backup. Just look at what he did to get back on the team last year; he went from like 400 pounds to 345 and was back at the starting spot by Week 5 and he looked just as good as he did when he won two Super Bowls with the Steelers. He has the size and ability to play the left or right side and other than maybe Colon, Ben Roethlisberger trusts Starks more than any other lineman on the team – probably because Starks has always been solid at protecting Ben’s blind side.

Plus, Starks would cost the Steelers a fraction of the price of Scott. Starks wants to be a Steeler – he’s said it publicly – and his cap hit last year was less than $500,000. Scott is the team’s highest priced tackle and comes with a cap hit of $2.7 mil (like I said, a waste).

Add Starks to the reserve list of linemen with Essex, Ramon Foster and Doug Legursky, and if the Steelers do have one of the best O-Lines like Colon predicted, they could also have one of the best backup lines. That’s one way to keep Ben on his feet.

http://www.yardbarker.com/nfl/articles/steelers_need_to_sign_max_starkseventually/10895882