A look ahead at some postition battles.......
Back-up QB-- (Tommy Maddox vs. Charlie Batch)
- I think Maddox will probably win this battle, and I would feel more comfortable with him behind center than Batch, if Ben got injured.
Right Tackle-- (Max Starks vs. Barret Brooks vs Trai Essex)
- I am sure the coaching staff would like to see Starks step up and be the starter. He has the size and potential to be great. The only knock on him was his aggressiveness in run blocking. I would bet Grimm fixed that........Brooks is more comfortable on the left side, and Essex is a project moving from NCAA Guard to NFL Tackle. A guy to watch is Josh Burr a second year Tackle from South Dakota who has been on our Practice-Squad. He is 6-9 325.
Right Guard-- (Kendall Simmons vs. Chris Kemoeatu)
- I know Simmons is our guy, but if he struggles, or has any lingering health issues, Chris Kemoeatu will get some consideration. This guy was a devistating blocker in college, and I would bet he will be ready for the NFL. Dont let the fact he was selected in the sixth round fool you. I think he will be good.
Split-End-- (Antwaan Randle-El vs. Cedrick Wilson vs. Fred Gibson)
- I am sure El will start the season at the X spot opposite Ward. Mostly due to his knowlege of the offense, and his performance when Plax went down. I think the coaching staff would like to see Wilson step into this role because of his speed, and based on the size of his free-agent contract. It is more than #3 WR's usually make. By the end of the season (maybe sooner) Gibson could work his way into the picture. He has the height/speed combo we would prefer at that position, and is a definite deep-threat with big-play capabilities.
Slot-Receiver-- (Antwaan Randle-El vs. Cedrick Wilson vs. Zamir Cobb)
- The battle for Split-End will determine who starts in the Slot. I would rather see El in the Slot. I think that is a great fit for El's skills, and what he bring to the table. I am sure Zamir Cobb will again impress the coaches and receive consideration. If he makes the team, he may get some snaps in the Slot.
Tight-End-- (Jerame Tuman vs. Heath Miller)
- Although Miller is ready to start I would bet Cowher brings him along slowly, and Tuman starts the season at TE. Tuman is probably the better blocker, and a very servicable TE in th NFL. I hope by mid-season Miller has convinced the coaches he is ready to be an every-down player. His pass-catching, play-making ability, and up-side in general out-weigh what Tuman has to offer. It is said Matt Kranchick has gained weight and is "ready" for the NFL. He may get some balls thrown his way.
Running-Back-- (Duce Staley vs. Jerome Bettis)
- Duce will likely start, and Bettis will be used in goaline and short-yardage situations. In the event of another Staley injury the coaches will again call on #36 to tote the rock.
Third-Down Back-- (Verron Haynes vs. Willie Parker)
- Haynes has been good in this role, but I know the coaches want to get Willie Parker more touches. I think they will both be used here. Haynes may not be back in 2006 so Parker warrants more consideration.
Right Defensive End-- (Kimo von Oelhoffen vs. Chris Hoke)
- With the return of Casey Hampton at DT. I think the coaching staff will let Hoke compete with Kimo at DE. The right-side DE in our 3-4, is similar to the DT position in a 4-3 because you usually have outside pressure from a LB. Kimo will be pushed by Hoke, Brett Keisel, and Travis Kirschke. Keisel is a better fit on the left-side.
Left-Outside Linebacker-- (Clark Haggans vs. James Harrison)
- I know Haggans has the big contract, but how could the coaches ignore Harrision's play last season. Harrison stepped in and looked great on the outside. They have to consider him a possible starter.
Left Cornerback-- (Willie Williams vs. Ricardo Coclough vs. Bryant McFadden)
- Someone has to start opposite Deshea Townsend, and I think it will be Williams to start the season. Williams was solid last year, but the starter in the future will likely be Coclough. I hope he is a full-time starter by mid-season. McFadden will likely play in the Nickel or Dime defense. He is an aggressive run stopper, but will need to work on his cover skills before he plays every down. Ike Taylor keeps dropping on the depth chart, and may not see the feild this season.
Nickelback & Dimeback-- (Willie Williams vs. Ricardo Coclough vs. Bryant McFadden vs. Ike Taylor)
- The battle for the starting Cornerback position will determine who plays in the Nickel and Dime defenses. I think Willie Williams is very solid in the nickel, and I would like to see one of the younger guys start. Mike Logan or Russell Stuvaints may get some consideration in the Nickel or Dime defense.
Free Safety-- (Chris Hope vs. Tyrone Carter vs. Mike Logan)
- I dont think anyone, including the coaches are convinced that Hope is the man at FS. He will probably start and continue to improve, but if not he will be challanged by Tyrone Carter. Carter was an All-American at Minnissota, and won the Jim Thorpe award. His NFL career has been plagued by injury, but he has been healthy as a Steeler, and the coaches like what they see. With a good camp and pre-season Mike Logan or Russell Stuvaints may get some consideration at FS or in the Dime defense.
Last edited by BB2W; 05-01-2005 at 06:17 PM.