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mesaSteeler
05-27-2012, 09:42 AM
On the Steelers: Guard duty not a hassle for Colon
May 27, 2012 12:28 am
http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/sports/steelers/on-the-steelers-guard-duty-not-a-hassle-for-colon-637780/
By Ray Fittipaldo / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

For years, Steelers offensive lineman Willie Colon heard the chatter about a position change. And, even though former offensive coordinator Bruce Arians repeatedly shot down the speculation, Colon knew someday he would be making the switch from right tackle to guard.

"I knew it was coming," Colon said. "You hear it enough, it's coming from somewhere."

Sure enough, after Arians was relieved of his duties and the team drafted highly regarded tackle prospect Mike Adams from Ohio State with their second pick last month, Colon received the phone call from new offensive coordinator Todd Haley.

Effective immediately, Colon was starting at left guard.

"[The speculation] was always that I was a good tackle; they just figured I'd be a great guard," said Colon, a fourth-round draft pick from Hofstra in 2006. "I was never against it. All I asked was that if it happened, it happened now and not in August. They honored that."

This is the first time Colon has played guard at any level. He was strictly a tackle in high school and college and for his first six seasons as a professional. Not only is Colon moving from the right side of the line to the left, where different footwork is involved, but guards have to possess a more complete knowledge of the offense.

Tackles usually block defensive ends by themselves, or with assists from tight ends or fullbacks. They don't have to know much about the intricacies of the line's interior play. As a guard, Colon must have an ability to read linebackers and safeties. He must know what his center and the other guard are doing on every play because they work together on combination blocks. He'll have to react much more quickly and make more split-second decisions because he is playing closer to the ball.

Colon was able to work out the kinks in the first week of organized team activities last week. After each practice, he put in extra work with veteran lineman Trai Essex, who has played tackle, guard and center in the league over the past eight years.

"Physically, it won't be a problem," Essex said of Colon. "He already is a road-grader. That's his forte. That's who he is.

"The mental part will be challenging. This is a crucial time for him, and he's taking advantage of it. When he knows what he's doing, he moves anyone out of there. He'll be an asset to our offensive line at guard."

Colon also has been leaning heavily on All-Pro center Maurkice Pouncey.

"Pouncey is a genius when it comes to the Xs and Os," Colon said. "Obviously, he's a stud on the field. I try to learn from him as fast as I can. He'll tell me different things on and off the field to help me pick it up faster. It's all about jelling. This is what OTAs are all about.

"When August comes, we're not having this conversation. We're just hitting the ground running. It's a great time for us to learn and get better."

Colon hasn't played much in recent seasons. He injured a triceps in the opener against Baltimore last year and was placed on injured reserve. In '10, he missed the entire season with an Achilles tendon injury.

Here's how much has changed in that time: The last time he played a full season, he was the young guy on a veteran line. Now. he'll be the elder statesman on a young line loaded with high draft picks.

Pouncey is entering his third season. First-round pick David DeCastro is expected to nail down the starting job at right guard in training camp. Marcus Gilbert is entering his second season after becoming the starting right tackle last season, and Adams is the likely starter at left tackle, unless Essex beats him out.

"I'm not a fan of what could be or potential," Colon said. "We have to be able to jell together and work together and do what we have to do to be a great line. We obviously have the potential, but, if we don't get it done, it doesn't mean anything."

Ray Fittipaldo: rfittipaldo@post-gazette.com and Twitter @rayfitt1.
First Published May 27, 2012 12:00 am

mesaSteeler
05-27-2012, 10:01 AM
Pouncey says Colon can be great at guard
May, 25, 2012
http://espn.go.com/blog/afcnorth
By Jamison Hensley | ESPN.com

The Steelers' Willie Colon isn't taking the move from tackle to guard personally. In his mind, the team sees him as a good tackle who can be a great guard.

Pro Bowl center Maurkice Pouncey feels the same way and thinks Colon will thrive at his new spot at left guard.

"He’ll probably be one of the best guards in the league right now," Pouncey told The Fan in Pittsburgh, via SportsRadioInterviews.com. "He’s working really hard on his technique right now, he’s a big guy to move guys out of there, and I’m happy he’s right there next to me.”

It's the right move because it gets the Steelers' best five linemen on the field at once. Plus, there is an advantage of having a veteran like Colon next to rookie second-round pick Mike Adams. With Colon's experience at tackle, he can be a mentor for Adams, who is expected to start at left tackle.

One reason why Pouncey thinks Colon will excel at guard is his mentality.

“Willie’s got that dog in him," Pouncey said. "He’s a go-getter. He’s definitely going to go out out there and fight every play.”

El-Gonzo Jackson
05-27-2012, 01:54 PM
Odd how so many people speculated that a nasty blocker like Colon, who has shorter arms and height than you would like to see an OT have...........was not considered for guard sooner.

I mean, the crap he gets from fans about false starts at RT, is mostly caused by trying to get a jump on the speed rushers, because he was short with shorter arms. This is logically his best position to play at.

Steelersfan87
05-27-2012, 02:35 PM
I think it has more to do with circumstance than planning. He took over at RT because Starks got injured and then he just kept the job. Over the years he remained by far the best option at RT while he was healthy until this year. It's definitely not a coincidence that this is the year he finally gets moved.

There's also the fact that he never played guard before. I doubt he or the organization care much or pay much attention to what the fans say about his arm length. Then again, maybe his arms aren't so short after all (http://www.steelersdepot.com/2011/05/are-the-arms-of-willie-colon-shrinking/).

Fire Arians
05-27-2012, 02:45 PM
Odd how so many people speculated that a nasty blocker like Colon, who has shorter arms and height than you would like to see an OT have...........was not considered for guard sooner.

I mean, the crap he gets from fans about false starts at RT, is mostly caused by trying to get a jump on the speed rushers, because he was short with shorter arms. This is logically his best position to play at.

i'm sure he was considered for guard before, but he was out best option at RT. we never been deep when it came to the tackle position, not for as long as I could remember

El-Gonzo Jackson
05-27-2012, 06:35 PM
I think it has more to do with circumstance than planning. He took over at RT because Starks got injured and then he just kept the job. Over the years he remained by far the best option at RT while he was healthy until this year. It's definitely not a coincidence that this is the year he finally gets moved.

There's also the fact that he never played guard before. I doubt he or the organization care much or pay much attention to what the fans say about his arm length. Then again, maybe his arms aren't so short after all (http://www.steelersdepot.com/2011/05/are-the-arms-of-willie-colon-shrinking/).

Its not just arm length, but overall height and the ability to use that size to ride off speed rushers wide of your QB. Colon has always had the build that was better suited to OG than OT. Below is a scouting report of him from his draft year.

BIO: Three-year starter at offensive tackle named as both an All-Conference and All-America performer after his senior campaign.

POSITIVES: Wide-bodied blocker who plays with excellent fundamentals. Gets leverage on opponents, stays square and anchors at the point of attack. Effectively uses angles and outstanding positioning to seal blocks. Fights hard throughout the action and jolts opponents with good hand punch. Nasty, and gets movement from run blocks.

NEGATIVES: Not effective far off the line of scrimmage or in motion. Lacks top height and better off inside at guard.

ANALYSIS: A well-built lineman who has consistently improved, Colon performed well the past two seasons. A likely late-round choice, he could eventually develop into a starter at the next level.

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/football/2006/draft/players/47867.html

Steelersfan87
05-27-2012, 07:25 PM
So what was Flozell Adams' problem with false starts? Perhaps neither situation had much if anything to do with their respective heights. Maybe sometimes they just false started. Michael Oher's .02m taller than Colon and weighs about the same, yet I never heard any clamoring for him to move to guard. It's sort of unfortunate that Colon gets moved now, because in hindsight it will diminish his value at RT in the minds of many. He'll never have gotten the chance to play on an above average line at his natural position, and thus will never get the recognition for it. It will always be "why did it take them so long to move him to guard" as though he wasn't a good tackle. That's of course assuming that the transition is successful to begin with.

tony hipchest
05-27-2012, 08:03 PM
flozell was partially deaf, which means he couldnt always hear the cadence above the crowd noise. slight disadvantage..

Steelersfan87
05-27-2012, 10:15 PM
And what about everybody else that has ever false started? Too fat? Too skinny? Too many burritos for lunch? Or maybe they were just a little anxious? Maybe Colon didn't false start more than normal?

tony hipchest
05-28-2012, 02:23 AM
And what about everybody else that has ever false started? Too fat? Too skinny? Too many burritos for lunch? Or maybe they were just a little anxious? Maybe Colon didn't false start more than normal?

WHAAAA!

no need to act like a douchebag.

dont ask the question if you cant handle the answer, capiche?

So what was Flozell Adams' problem with false starts?

Steelersfan87
05-28-2012, 02:38 AM
1) He wasn't always partially deaf. 2) He was only partially deaf in his right ear, and he played RT with the Steelers. I'm not acting like a douchebag. I'm just pointing out the absurdity of the whole "Colon isn't tall enough or have long enough arms to play tackle even though he started for 3 consecutive years and was ranked as among the best at his position and never even played guard before in his life" argument. He didn't false start more than normal.

El-Gonzo Jackson
05-28-2012, 09:54 AM
And what about everybody else that has ever false started? Too fat? Too skinny? Too many burritos for lunch? Or maybe they were just a little anxious? Maybe Colon didn't false start more than normal?

When an OT puts his hand in the dirt.....and knows that the guy across from him is faster than him and can get to the edge quicker....then that OT tries to get off the ball as quick as possible and sometimes anticipates the count.

If the OT is 6'7" with long arms, vs an OT that is 6'3" with short arms...then the guy with the height and reach advantage can cover more ground and get to the edge easier than the shorter lineman. He can also cover any inside counter move with a power step much better due to that long wingspan and size.

If you have put you hand in the dirt as an O lineman at any level of football, you probably have run across that situation and can attest to a time that a guy was gonna beat you with speed to the outside...and you got caught leaning.

El-Gonzo Jackson
05-28-2012, 09:59 AM
1) He wasn't always partially deaf. 2) He was only partially deaf in his right ear, and he played RT with the Steelers. I'm not acting like a douchebag. I'm just pointing out the absurdity of the whole "Colon isn't tall enough or have long enough arms to play tackle even though he started for 3 consecutive years and was ranked as among the best at his position and never even played guard before in his life" argument. He didn't false start more than normal.

My point isnt that he isnt tall enough or have the arm length to play OT. Its that given his substantially less than ideal size for the position, he has to hustle more than anybody else playing RT in the NFL and those were some of the reasons for his false start penalties.

Alan Faneca played OT in highschool, he played OT in the NFL in emergency situation. Its not that he can't play there, but rather that his better position was OG and Colon's better position too has likely been OG. Instead we stuck guys like Essex and Legursky there, when we could have put Essex or even Tony Hills at RT instead of Colon long ago.

tony hipchest
05-28-2012, 01:35 PM
1) He wasn't always partially deaf. 2) He was only partially deaf in his right ear, and he played RT with the Steelers. I'm not acting like a douchebag. I'm just pointing out the absurdity of the whole "Colon isn't tall enough or have long enough arms to play tackle even though he started for 3 consecutive years and was ranked as among the best at his position and never even played guard before in his life" argument. He didn't false start more than normal.

Adams was drafted in the second round of the 1998 NFL Draft by the Dallas Cowboys. He was originally expected to go much higher, but questions about his partially right deaf ear and his athletic abilitiy, made teams weary of his potential value.

:hunch: just sayin.... (if you believe wiki as a cited source.)

just about every player in the nfl has limitations in one way or another, whether it be physically, mentally, or a lack of heart and drive. there is nothing wrong with steelerfans pointing out our own teams limitations, admitting and accepting it, and discussing them. our players are still more gifted in regards to the game than 99% of the rest of people on earth.

i understand the steelers cant have the perfect prototypical player at every single position. i applaud the coaches who try to get the most out of what they have. :applaudit:

Steelersfan87
05-28-2012, 09:10 PM
My point isnt that he isnt tall enough or have the arm length to play OT. Its that given his substantially less than ideal size for the position, he has to hustle more than anybody else playing RT in the NFL and those were some of the reasons for his false start penalties.

Alan Faneca played OT in highschool, he played OT in the NFL in emergency situation. Its not that he can't play there, but rather that his better position was OG and Colon's better position too has likely been OG. Instead we stuck guys like Essex and Legursky there, when we could have put Essex or even Tony Hills at RT instead of Colon long ago.

I still don't understand why you really think it would have been such a great idea to move Colon before now and stick some scrub like Tony Hills or Essex (who was much worse 2 and 3 years ago) at RT to move Colon to a position that he's never played in his entire life. Just because his frame might be more prototypical for a guard doesn't mean he would be a better guard than a tackle. Guard and tackle are different positions with different responsibilities, which I'm sure I don't have to elaborate, so it's never safe to project a player successfully moving from one to another.

@tony: I did not know that. I recalled reading when the Steelers signed Adams that the hearing thing was recent. But he was still false starting 2 seasons ago on the right side anyway.

tony hipchest
05-28-2012, 09:39 PM
whether its his right ear or left ear, they are only 6 inches apart and 2 ears are better than one in a crowded noisy stadium no matter hwich side you line up on.

just like one can still see with one eye, they lose all depth perception. its a significant disadvantage. with that being said, i was shits and giggles to land flozell for a single year. he was key to getting to another SB. i was shits and giggles to getting starks back last year for dirt cheap. he helped preserve us a 12-4 season. i have been shits and giggles to have colon as an OL.

but i can understand why he may be a better prospect at guard. fact of the matter is, we've had holes at guard (legursky, foster, kemo etc. replacing faneca) just like the much worse hills and essex on the outside.

urbick was a FO fail, and perhaps if we moved colon inside earlier we mightve saved that pick, drafted another OT or found out hills can play after a few years of work. :hunch:

either way, i love colons attitude and think his transition to the inside will be a smooth one. if he stays healthy i will go out on a limb and predict he makes one more pro bowl at guard that he has at RT (his time is limited, cause im thinking decastro may be a mainstay in the proverbial hawaii, for years to come)

El-Gonzo Jackson
05-29-2012, 09:23 AM
I still don't understand why you really think it would have been such a great idea to move Colon before now and stick some scrub like Tony Hills or Essex (who was much worse 2 and 3 years ago) at RT to move Colon to a position that he's never played in his entire life. Just because his frame might be more prototypical for a guard doesn't mean he would be a better guard than a tackle. Guard and tackle are different positions with different responsibilities, which I'm sure I don't have to elaborate, so it's never safe to project a player successfully moving from one to another.

@tony: I did not know that. I recalled reading when the Steelers signed Adams that the hearing thing was recent. But he was still false starting 2 seasons ago on the right side anyway.

Trai Essex is a natural OT. He played there at Northwestern, he has the size, he filled in well when Starks was injured vs the Colts and JaX as I remember, not allowing a sack by Freeney.

The RT spot is much easier than the LT spot and instead of shuffling guys like Darnell Stapleton, Legursky, Essex and whoever we could at RG, why not put a guy like Colon there who would instantly improve the interior, then put a guy like Essex or even Hills who are better suited to play OT at RT? You say that Hills is a scrub, but he had the size and decent footwork to play OT and at RT, I would say that he would have been no worse than Oliver Ross was.

You say that OG and OT are different positons and dont need to elaborate. They are, but I feel I need to elaborate. I played O line back in the day, I have coached it for over a decade and still attend clinics and glean info from the AFCA (American Football Coaches Assoc) Fundamentals of O line play are the same at all positions, the demands are somewhat different from inside to outsde and a zone block vs a power man system. Colon is a mauler that lacks height and arm length, but competes like no other at the position and has decent athleticism. IDEAL interior lineman. RT is a spot where you can put a guy that is a good run blocker but a bit heavier of feet than a LT, but with size to handle pass rushers. (Tony Pashos, Gosder Cherilus, Jeff Otah come to mind).

The false starts are not a function of inability to count, or bad hearing, or lack of IQ. Its leaning because they guy across from you is quicker and you know it. I still play recreational football on the O line and it happens to me.

While so many fans were hacking on Colon for false starts and saying he sucks, I was breaking down his play on film and touted him as our best O lineman, several years ago on this forum. He's a superb effort guy, with size and skills better suited to interior line. He's gonna be great there and I am so happy the move is being made.

Oh, if you want to hack me for being just some highschool football coach, please do...its been done here before. But, I like to think that by attending coaching clinics, seeking out info from guys like Golden Pat Ruel or lineman that played for Joe Tiller, and breaking down games on DVR, that I am a bit more passionate about O line skills and technique than the average football fan from an O line standpoint.

Steelersfan87
05-29-2012, 01:51 PM
I don't understand why you keep mentioning Colon's arm length when Marcus Gilbert's arms are shorter. And I still firmly, firmly believe that Essex or Legursky or Foster at RG and Colon at RT has been more successful over the last few seasons of Colon being healthy than would have been Colon at RG and Essex or Hills at RT.

El-Gonzo Jackson
05-30-2012, 09:43 AM
Colon didnt goto the NFL combine, nor did he goto any All-star games, so I have never seen an official measurement of his arms. They just look short for an OT. Marcus Gilbert was measured at 33.5", Mike Adams at 34" at the NFL combine. I cant compare a documented arm length, but the look shorter than Adams or Gilbert to me.

I think Colon would have done a better job of handling interior linemen that the Steelers play against, instead of Legursky, Essex and all the other guys we tried there until Foster got some time. Easier to put a guy like Essex that plays high at OT rather than push him inside to guard IMO. Even Tony Hills had good size and feet for RT, and he could handle speed better than Colon, but not a bull rush IMO.

TheVet
05-30-2012, 10:06 AM
And I still firmly, firmly believe that Essex or Legursky or Foster at RG and Colon at RT has been more successful over the last few seasons of Colon being healthy than would have been Colon at RG and Essex or Hills at RT.

We'll never know, but you just used the words "successful" to describe a Steelers OL configuration over the last few seasons. Seriously, that's just not an applicable word.

Colon has been an OK tackle, but the question is whether he could be a much better contributor at guard. If that's the case, then we missed the opportunity to field some strength at one other OL position other than C. As for who would have played tackle, there are plenty of available linemen floating around the periphery of the NFL, from journeymen to young studs looking for a chance. It's not as if it would be difficult for a bottom-feeder OL to upgrade.

And obviously, if other members of the coaching staff felt that Colon was misplaced at OT, and Arians was the lone holdout, that pretty much seals the argument for me.

tony hipchest
05-30-2012, 10:12 AM
“320 lbs of Educated Big Nasty”
By Craig Wolfley On May 29, 2012

http://craigwolfley.com/2012/05/1467/

The Steelers have finally moved Willie Colon to guard. After seven years in the league, i think Willie has been expecting this move for a while as it seems Willie and i have talked about a possible move to guard ever since he came to the Burgh.

I chatted up the “320lbs of educated Big Nasty” when he came to the Light of Life “Walk For the Homeless.” He was very enthusiastic about the move to guard and the prospects of lining up next to his good bud Maurkice Pouncey.

It was great, first of all having Willie on board as a special guest at the walk because unlike his on-field demeanor, he is very fan-friendly. Secondly, Willie has always held a special spot in my heart because he plays the game like it was meant to be played. Big Willie asks no quarter and gives no quarter.

Too, let it be known that i’ve always secretly rooted for the under-sized guys. The frustration that i used to feel from post-workout interviews with scouts in my senior year at Syracuse University after they would casually mention, ”If you were just an inch or two taller…”

But yes i do like the move, however deep down my gullet isn’t totally convinced that it’s a done deal.

Prior to back-to-back season ending injuries Colon was heading for Hawaii in my most humble opinion. Despite his lack of heigth and arm-length, Willie had learned to time his grappling-punch correctly and combined with excellent footwork, he’d position himself to use his low center of gravity to frustrate would-be sackers.

Willie was never a classic punch and move guy in the tradition of Larry Brown, Jon Kolb and Tunch Ilkin. Colon pass protected like a guard playing tackle. He used his quick feet on his kick-step (notice i said quick, not fast-there is a difference) to mirror and ultimately force a pass-rusher to come to him at a bad angle.

It’s kind’a like King Leonidas and his Spartan warriors forcing the superior Persian army to battle at the “Hot Gates” of Thermopylae. The Persians couldn’t do what they do best because the Spartans and their Phalanx battle formation along with a narrow passage way forced the Persians into close-quarter-combat. So the Persians had to pay the price and go right down the middle.

That’s how Willie survives on the edge in pass pro. Quick feet that keep him in a postion of power, not biting on the trickeration tactics (head and body fakes, stagger-sprint footwork etc.) that a superior athlete might throw at him out on the edge, but patiently biding his time mirroring his opponents movements until the taller, faster, better athlete HAD to come into the Hot Gates of Willie and his massively muscled upper body. And that meant they had to fight their way through the center of Colon, not the edge.

To play in this style takes a certain amount of bravado, guts and determination, not to mention a “willingness to ruthlessness.” One has to be supremely confident in his abilities to throwdown with anybody physically, rather than to out-superior a man with technique.

If you like to watch boxing, look how few boxers like to sit in the pocket and have at it. Rather than throwing down in a phone booth, most prefer to stay on the outside where it’s not quite so brutal.

You only have to spend a single afternoon up at training camp and listen to Steelers defensive line guru John Mitchell and count how many times he barks at his players to fight through the edge of a man in one-on-one pass rush, not the center to realize how key this concept is.

As far as run-blocking goes, the hamhocks on Colon are so wide you could “Show the 2011 and the 2012 highlight films” simultaneously on his keester. But that is where ground’n pound power emanates. Because Willie is “Vertically challenged,” and has that low base, he can get under and up, a rising blow if you will, which was a Charles Henry Noll staple in run-blocking.

Under and up is nothing more than a basic centuries old Sumo wrestling concept of how you up-root a man and move him from “A to B against his will.” (Legendary Pitt line coach Joe Moore). Anything else ends up looking like fat-guys square dancing.

All said and done, this group has the capabilities on paper to be the best Steelers line we have seen for quite some time. It will be interesting to see how rookie Mike Adams handles the left tackle duties. If he’s not starter capable this year, then we may see Marcus Gilbert have a shot at the LT. If that would happen, then maybe the LG spot isn’t set in stone for Willie….then again, Max Starks is still out there too.

Can’t say for sure yet. My gullet isn’t talking, just rumbling.

wolfley is one of the best steelers bloggers out there and him and tunch's X & O's analysis and steelers insight is unsurpassed.

seems to be pretty much echoing what gonzo has been saying.

El-Gonzo Jackson
05-30-2012, 11:48 AM
Thanks for the link Tony, that's a great read and awesome description of how Colon pass protects out on the edge. He's a battler and I have always said that he works the hardest and has the best motor on the O line.

O line junkies like me love this stuff. No where is some good Bob Wylie blogging??

tony hipchest
05-30-2012, 12:06 PM
O line junkies like me love this stuff. No where is some good Bob Wylie blogging??he just had the COOL clinic about 2 weeks ago, and has been a weekly guest with pat and tim on sirius for about a month now.

whats cool is they'll have wylie on and then the next day have a defensive coord on (last week it was the new bucs coach) to discuss how to combat and counteract the offensive philosophies.

kirwan uses these discussions to formulate the pieces he writes for his CBS blog. he's currently working on the importance of the defensive triangle up the middle (DT-MLB-DT in a 4-3 & buck-NT-mack ina 3-4) that should be on line today- EDIT:

'Inside triangle' key to every team's 1st- and 2nd-down success on D

http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/story/19195136/inside-triangle-key-to-every-teams-1st-and-2nddown-success-on-d

Things change every year, and after looking at the whole league here are my top five inside triangle groups from the 3-4 and the 4-3 defenses in no particular order.

3-4 inside triangles
49ers: Patrick Willis, NaVorro Bowman, Isaac Sopaga
Ravens: Ray Lewis, Jameel McClain, Terrence Cody
Patriots: Jerod Mayo, Brandon Spikes, Vince Wilfork
Cowboys: Sean Lee, Dan Connor, Jay Ratliff
Steelers: Lawrence Timmons, Larry Foote, Casey Hampton
4-3 inside triangles
Bears: Brian Urlacher, Matt Toeaina, Henry Melton
Eagles: DeMeco Ryans, Cullen Jenkins, Mike Patterson
Bills: Kelvin Sheppard, Marcel Dareus, Kyle Williams
Lions: Stephen Tulloch, Ndamukong Suh, Corey Williams
Jaguars: Paul Posluszny, Tyson Alualu, Terrence Knighton

If you're still looking for evidence supporting the inside triangle's importance, consider this from an NFL offensive coordinator: "If I can isolate the inside three on early downs, we always have a good chance to beat that team. We will run right at a bad inside triangle and away from a good one."

Fire Arians
05-30-2012, 12:11 PM
i just hope for once our o-line can stay healthy for the season. these last 2 seasons have been downright frustrating, and it got to the point where i'd be surprised if we didn't have an o-line player injured after a game

El-Gonzo Jackson
05-30-2012, 12:35 PM
he just had the COOL clinic about 2 weeks ago, and has been a weekly guest with pat and tim on sirius for about a month now.

whats cool is they'll have wylie on and then the next day have a defensive coord on (last week it was the new bucs coach) to discuss how to combat and counteract the offensive philosophies.

kirwan uses these discussions to formulate the pieces he writes for his CBS blog. he's currently working on the importance of the defensive triangle up the middle (DT-MLB-DT in a 4-3 & buck-NT-mack ina 3-4) that should be on line today- EDIT:

'Inside triangle' key to every team's 1st- and 2nd-down success on D

http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/story/19195136/inside-triangle-key-to-every-teams-1st-and-2nddown-success-on-d

Things change every year, and after looking at the whole league here are my top five inside triangle groups from the 3-4 and the 4-3 defenses in no particular order.

3-4 inside triangles
49ers: Patrick Willis, NaVorro Bowman, Isaac Sopaga
Ravens: Ray Lewis, Jameel McClain, Terrence Cody
Patriots: Jerod Mayo, Brandon Spikes, Vince Wilfork
Cowboys: Sean Lee, Dan Connor, Jay Ratliff
Steelers: Lawrence Timmons, Larry Foote, Casey Hampton
4-3 inside triangles
Bears: Brian Urlacher, Matt Toeaina, Henry Melton
Eagles: DeMeco Ryans, Cullen Jenkins, Mike Patterson
Bills: Kelvin Sheppard, Marcel Dareus, Kyle Williams
Lions: Stephen Tulloch, Ndamukong Suh, Corey Williams
Jaguars: Paul Posluszny, Tyson Alualu, Terrence Knighton

If you're still looking for evidence supporting the inside triangle's importance, consider this from an NFL offensive coordinator: "If I can isolate the inside three on early downs, we always have a good chance to beat that team. We will run right at a bad inside triangle and away from a good one."

That is GREAT!! I posted elsewhere that last year Ryan Clark had more tackles and our ILB's had less and a weaker run defense. The premise was with injuries to Hampton, Farrior and also Timmons moving around that the Steelers were weak up the middle and got run on more.

Seems like that is what Pat is saying with his assessment of the triangles. Some posters didnt think we needed a NT or ILB, but this further reinforces my belief that we did need to fortify those positions.

I honestly could not be more pleased that we spent our first 4 picks on Linemen and a LB. Despite the glory boys getting the attention and big money.........winning football always starts up front.

tony hipchest
05-30-2012, 01:10 PM
That is GREAT!! I posted elsewhere that last year Ryan Clark had more tackles and our ILB's had less and a weaker run defense. The premise was with injuries to Hampton, Farrior and also Timmons moving around that the Steelers were weak up the middle and got run on more.

Seems like that is what Pat is saying with his assessment of the triangles. Some posters didnt think we needed a NT or ILB, but this further reinforces my belief that we did need to fortify those positions.

I honestly could not be more pleased that we spent our first 4 picks on Linemen and a LB. Despite the glory boys getting the attention and big money.........winning football always starts up front.pretty much exactly what he is saying.



We hear coaches say "it all starts up front." when describing what a good football team looks like. That's not entirely accurate because what coaches really mean is "it starts up front inside."

It doesn't matter if your favorite team is in a 3-4 or a 4-3 defense there is an inside triangle that is the foundation of the defense and if it isn't rock solid the rest of the package will crumble.



The inside triangles look like this:
The 3-4 inside triangle: Two inside linebackers and the nose tackle.

The 4-3 inside triangle: Two defensive tackles and the middle linebacker.

There are different philosophies about the inside triangle with all fronts. Two 4-3 coaches may build entirely different inside triangles. Same for any two 3-4 coaches.

For example:
Shade 4-3 inside triangle front: A DT on the outside shoulder of a guard, a nose tackle on a side of the center and the MLB in a gap.

Base 4-3 inside traingle front: But both defensive tackles over the guards and the MLB over the center.

It changes from team to team. The Eagles' 4-3 inside triangle is based on quickness with Cullen Jenkins and Mike Patterson at defensive tackle and DeMeco Ryans at the MLB. The Buffalo Bills have a combination of quickness and thickness with Marcel Dareus and Kyle Williams at DT, plus big middle linebacker Kelvin Sheppard. The Giants have a big thick inside group with Linval Joseph (6-foot-4, 328 pounds) and Chris Canty (6-7, 310) in front of a number of different middle linebackers who are hard to reach for would-be blockers.

The shade look usually requires quick One-Gap players who penetrate while the base look has bigger defensive tackles controlling the line of scrimmage.

Even the 3-4 teams will have different ways of playing the inside triangle. A team like Dallas with Jay Ratliff and his great quickness on the nose may slant him and play more One-Gap while Pittsburgh with Casey Hampton is going to make teams double Hampton because they Two-Gap him. While there are multiple ways to play the inside triangle, you better stop the run.


definitely suggests with hampton and farrior nearing an end the steelers better think twice about replacing them with some average slapdicks. im confident w/in 3 years spence and taamu will both be above average.

add that to our guards and center and we should be some sick ass maulers!

Steelersfan87
05-30-2012, 08:05 PM
We'll never know, but you just used the words "successful" to describe a Steelers OL configuration over the last few seasons. Seriously, that's just not an applicable word.

Colon has been an OK tackle, but the question is whether he could be a much better contributor at guard. If that's the case, then we missed the opportunity to field some strength at one other OL position other than C. As for who would have played tackle, there are plenty of available linemen floating around the periphery of the NFL, from journeymen to young studs looking for a chance. It's not as if it would be difficult for a bottom-feeder OL to upgrade.

"More successful" is a relative term. I think Foster/Colon is a more successful pairing than Colon/Essex, or Colon/Scott, or Colon/Hills. Or I could say less unsuccessful for your benefit.

A lot of people disagree with you about Colon being an "OK tackle". When you have sites listing you as among the best at your position, you're probably a little better than "OK". I honestly don't think Colon can be a much better guard than tackle, if at all better, if you can factor out the fact that the entire line should be better, and Ben is supposedly changing his game, making the entire line look better anyway. :thumbsup:

Colon didnt goto the NFL combine, nor did he goto any All-star games, so I have never seen an official measurement of his arms. They just look short for an OT. Marcus Gilbert was measured at 33.5", Mike Adams at 34" at the NFL combine. I cant compare a documented arm length, but the look shorter than Adams or Gilbert to me.

I think Colon would have done a better job of handling interior linemen that the Steelers play against, instead of Legursky, Essex and all the other guys we tried there until Foster got some time. Easier to put a guy like Essex that plays high at OT rather than push him inside to guard IMO. Even Tony Hills had good size and feet for RT, and he could handle speed better than Colon, but not a bull rush IMO.

I posted a link on the first page that has Jim Wexell stating Colon's arms are 34", which was 1/4th of an inch shorter than the average length for tackles at the 2011 combine. Marcus Gilbert's arms are 33 1/2". So my point was that there's no reason to complain about Colon's arm length if you're fine with Gilbert's arm length. You know, since Colon's arms are longer. :flap:

Yes, Colon most likely would have done better than Legursky or whoever, but whoever took over at RT would have done much worse, and either way it's speculation, but I believe Colon/Essex or Colon/Hills would have been worse than Legursky/Colon, Essex/Colon, or Foster/Colon. You obviously think the opposite, but there's no way we'll ever know. Luckily the Steelers have a new guy that can play RT despite his midget-length arms. :chuckle:

tony hipchest
05-30-2012, 09:04 PM
I posted a link on the first page that has Jim Wexell stating Colon's arms are 34", which was 1/4th of an inch shorter than the average length for tackles at the 2011 combine. Marcus Gilbert's arms are 33 1/2". So my point was that there's no reason to complain about Colon's arm length if you're fine with Gilbert's arm length. You know, since Colon's arms are longer. :flap:

:who took the measurement? colons agent before he hit free agency? i love the job jim wexell and dave bryan do, but i gotta go with the experts on this one.

i'll take the eyeball test of wofley, kirwan, and ryan (and even gonzo) over some shady measurements an agent takes any day.

you dont believe everything drew rosenhaus (for example) has to say, do you?

like youre linked article states, colon DOES have relatively long arms considering his height.

but then again, so does a midget. :doh:

Steelersfan87
05-30-2012, 10:21 PM
Okay, regardless of that, GIlbert's arms are 3/4ths of an inch shorter than the average tackle at the 2011 NFL draft, yet I've never heard anybody complain about HIS arms. By the way, you cite tweets all the time, yet I can't cite what I did? Come on now. :p