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Analyzing the Steelers by position for 2013
QB - Ben Roethlisberger is firmly entrenched as the starter (much to the dismay of some), but Byron Leftwich and Charlie Batch both need to go. Leftwich is too fragile, and Batch is too old. I'd like for the Steelers to re-sign Brian Hoyer to be the backup, and sign another free agent to be the #3 QB.
RB - This has to be the most maligned unit of the team. Rashard Mendenhall is easily the most talented of the RBs, but I question his attitude and dedication, which makes him expendable, especially considering many of the failures this season have come down to those two things. Jonathan Dwyer has the potential to be a good goal-line/short-yardage RB, but he needs to get in better shape. Isaac Redman has heart, but he's not physically gifted, lacking the size of Dwyer and the speed of Mendenhall. Chris Rainey only has potential as a Darren Sproles clone. I say keep Dwyer and Rainey; let the other two go, and draft a RB in the middle or late rounds.
WR - Million-dollar talents with 10-cent heads. Mike Wallace can go away, as far as I'm concerned, and Antonio Brown better get his shit back together. He's the player I'm most disappointed in this season. Jerricho Cotchery should be the #3 WR instead of Emmanuel Sanders. In Wallace's place, the Steelers should draft a tall, strong WR in the middle rounds who's not afraid of contact and not afraid to fight for the ball. And no "project" WRs either. The Steelers don't have the luxury of developing raw players anymore.
TE - Leave the TEs as they are, and let Leonard Pope and David Paulson duke it out for the starting job in Heath Miller's extended absence.
OL - Maurkice Pouncey and David DeCastro are entrenched as starters. Sorting out the T positions will be tough, though, because Max Starks has played well, and Marcus Gilbert has only started for about a season's worth of games, but Mike Adams has a lot of potential and played well for a rookie. I'd say start Adams at LT and Gilbert at RT, with Starks being the backup at both positions, and Kelvin Beachum being the backup at both T and G positions. Keep Ramon Foster as the starting LT, but draft a replacement for him. Cut WIllie Colon.
DL - Cut Casey Hampton and start Steve McLendon. Bring Alameda Ta'amu back to the roster on the condition that he gets professional help for his alcohol habit. Make Brett Keisel redo his contract, and demote him to back up Cameron Heyward. Draft another LDE to push Ziggy Hood.
LB - Sadly, I think this is the last we'll see of James Harrison. His body is slowly breaking down, and he'll be 35 next year, so I'd rather let him go now than risk keeping him a year too long. Besides, this will give Jason Worilds a chance to show what he's made of at ROLB. Lawrence Timmons and LaMarr Woodley are entrenched at their positions, but Woodley needs to take his job more seriously. At LILB, I'd like to see Sean Spence start. Cut Larry Foote. Draft for depth at all four LB positions, and use an early-round pick on either a LIL or a ROLB in case Spence or Worilds don't cut it.
CB - The top priority for the Steelers this off-season should be re-signing Keenan Lewis. I'd like to keep Ike Taylor for at least one more season, or two if Lewis leaves. I don't see the need for a CB because this is the only unit of the team with quality and depth. Even if Lewis leaves, then let's see what Josh Victorian and DeMarcus Van Dyke are made of.
S - The Steelers should draft a FS in the first round. Ryan Clark is solid, but he won't be around much longer, and Ryan Mundy isn't going to work. SS is fine for now, because Troy Polamalu is a few years younger than Clark, and Will Allen was acceptable as a backup. Don't worry about SS until 2014.
Coaches - I wonder if it's time to move on from Dick LeBeau. Yes, he's been great for the Steelers, but even the best coaches can get stale after a while, and he's been the defensive coordinator for nine seasons now. Andy Reid has gotten stale in Philadelphia, and even Chuck Noll lost his touch after a while. Furthermore, Keith Butler has been very patient, and teams have been trying to lure him away recently, so maybe it's time to promote him. I'm sure he's learned well.
As for Todd Haley, I want to see another season from him before I make a judgment. I like what he's done with the passing game, but he's kind of botched the running game, although I wonder how much of that is a function of the offensive line and RBs. Still, I believe he deserves some criticism for not choosing one RB and sticking with him. As for the play-calling in the last few weeks, it's been lousy, but I also wonder how much of it is because of Roethlisberger's shoulder/rib, and the desire to lean a bit more on the running game because of it. If he leaves, as some are guessing, then consider Norv Turner or Ken Whisenhunt if they're out of jobs.
Get the special teams situation fixed, period. Whoever's there now has to go. And I'm actually kind of glad that Sean Kugler is gone because he never seemed to live up to the hype. And the front office needs to fire a shot across Mike Tomlin's bow as well, considering this is the second time in six seasons that his team developed a habit of losing to the shit of the league, and he still botches certain situations during the game.
All in all, if there's going to be a youth movement, then it needs to be complete. No more time for those who aren't part of the team's long-term future. It's time to move on.