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ebsteelers 08-05-2011 07:40 AM

Labriola on the linebackers
 
http://www.steelers.com/news/article...4-bdff9cee8f0c

Labriola on the linebackers
By Bob Labriola - Steelers Digest

Posted 20 hours ago

a a (The following is part of a position-by-position analysis of the Steelers roster at the start of training camp.)

LINEBACKERS
The only possible question concerning the Steelers’ starters here is whether they represent the best group in the NFL. The Steelers have been using a 3-4 defense for over a generation now, and these starters – James Harrison, James Farrior, Lawrence Timmons, LaMarr Woodley – might be the best quartet in franchise history. A case can be made for the Greg Lloyd, Chad Brown, Levon Kirkland, Kevin Greene foursome, but you get the idea.

Behind the starters is where it gets interesting, and that’s precisely the way Coach Mike Tomlin likes it.

The lone savvy veteran in the mix is Larry Foote, who left as an unrestricted free agent after starting on two Super Bowl champions here and was brought back one year later because of what he contributed to those teams.

Jason Worilds and Stevenson Sylvester are a couple of second-year pros whose primary contributions last season were on special teams. They also are a couple of second-year pros who will be expected to do more than only that this season. There is particular hope for Worilds as a position player, but his learning of the complex outside linebacker spot was retarded by the absence of an offseason. But he is talented, and the coaching staff will push him hard this summer.

Chris Carter, a fifth-round pick from Fresno State, is typical in that he was an undersized pass-rushing defensive end in college, and he’ll get a chance to show he has enough to stick on the roster and learn. But the reality for Carter, as well as the others stacked on the depth chart here, is that special teams will have a significant impact on the awarding of the final few roster spots. In that respect, the absence of Keyaron Fox creates an obvious opening. The special teams captain last year, Fox was an unrestricted free agent who had not been brought back to the team as of Aug. 1. If he is re-added to the mix, that could mean one fewer spot for a young guy.

Maybe the most intriguing undrafted rookie in this camp is inside linebacker Mario Harvey. At 6-foot, 250 pounds, Harvey was a tackling machine at Marshall. Now it’s not that unusual for a middle linebacker to make a lot of tackles, or at least get credited with making a lot of tackles, but Harvey also made plays on defense. He rolled up 20 sacks, and as a senior he had seven passes defensed. The Steelers brought Harvey to Pittsburgh for a pre-draft visit, but didn’t end up selecting him.

Chris Ellis spent a part of 2010 on the Steelers practice squad, Baraka Atkins, Chris McCoy and Mortty Ivy all were free agents signed to futures contracts back in January, and Erik Clanton is another undrafted rookie.

The Steelers kept eight linebackers last season, and that has been the way they’ve entered most regular seasons recently.




if we keep 8 linebackers, i think foote is the odd man out, if we keep 9 then Harvey and Foote are both in

Rick5895 08-05-2011 08:19 AM

Re: Labriola on the linebackers
 
I am glad Fox is gone, took way too many needless penalties last season after plays. Harvey from marshall is very intriguing, I really like our depth here and Carter and Harvey can play special teams then that will help us greatly.

ebsteelers 08-05-2011 08:25 AM

Re: Labriola on the linebackers
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Rick5895 (Post 934525)
I am glad Fox is gone, took way too many needless penalties last season after plays. Harvey from marshall is very intriguing, I really like our depth here and Carter and Harvey can play special teams then that will help us greatly.

agreed, what kind of special teams captain gets a 15 yard penalty on the final drive of the super bowl...

Yes, I really hope Carter and Harvey stick for a year or 2 on special teams and maybe see some time. get some youth and depth in the backer core is always a good thing

Steelersfan87 08-05-2011 11:18 AM

Re: Labriola on the linebackers
 
There's no way Harvey makes the roster if they carry 8 linebackers, which is what I expect they will do. Chris Carter will be the 8th linebacker carried because he's an outside linebacker (and a draft pick) and he has the speed and quickness for special teams. I expect that they will cross their fingers and stick Harvey on the practice squad. The only way I see them going with 9 LBs is if they decide to carry only 5 WR, because I think they feel they need to carry 3 players this year that can play nose with both Hampton and Hoke way up there in age, and that will probably be down to Steve McClendon and Anthony Gray.

MDSteel15 08-05-2011 12:53 PM

Re: Labriola on the linebackers
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by ebsteelers (Post 934514)


if we keep 8 linebackers, i think foote is the odd man out, if we keep 9 then Harvey and Foote are both in

You're crazy! :drink:

Ruffneck525 08-05-2011 01:21 PM

Re: Labriola on the linebackers
 
Foote stays regardless he will be the new St captain replacing Mr penalty Fox.

Fox was great 2 years ago but last year was a penalty machine on ST.

Fire Arians 08-05-2011 01:35 PM

Re: Labriola on the linebackers
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Ruffneck525 (Post 934562)
Foote stays regardless he will be the new St captain replacing Mr penalty Fox.

Fox was great 2 years ago but last year was a penalty machine on ST.

iuno man. sure he stunk it up last year but I like key fox and thought he was solid for the most part during his tenure with the steelers

kirklandrules 08-05-2011 01:56 PM

Re: Labriola on the linebackers
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Dodens Grav (Post 934547)
There's no way Harvey makes the roster if they carry 8 linebackers, which is what I expect they will do. Chris Carter will be the 8th linebacker carried because he's an outside linebacker (and a draft pick) and he has the speed and quickness for special teams. I expect that they will cross their fingers and stick Harvey on the practice squad. The only way I see them going with 9 LBs is if they decide to carry only 5 WR, because I think they feel they need to carry 3 players this year that can play nose with both Hampton and Hoke way up there in age, and that will probably be down to Steve McClendon and Anthony Gray.

Agree that Harvey is going to be the odd man out, unless these young guns start to force Foote out the door. I just don't see them with 9 LBs. You bring up a good point on the status of NT. I thought McClendon is an excellent d-lineman, but he really isn't built like a 3-4 NT. Thought he belong out at DE. But DE is starting to look a little crowded even though Eason is gone. Didn't the Steelers carry 5 DEs last year? This year that would most likely be Keisel, Hood, Smith, Heyward .. and I think #5 Sunny Harris. But you're right, it most likely comes down to who the Steelers keep as their #3 NT/practice squad guy (McClendon or Gray).

pancake 08-05-2011 04:00 PM

Re: Labriola on the linebackers
 
Too early to tell, but I'm not sure they keep 9 LB'ers...


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