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Old 01-02-2013, 02:31 PM   #1
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Default Kovacevic: Lucky '13 for Steelers? Why not?

http://triblive.com/sports/dejankova...#axzz2GTIxqsih


Kovacevic: Lucky ’13 for Steelers? Why not?

By Dejan Kovacevic

Published: Tuesday, January 1, 2013, 10:20 p.m.
Updated 16 hours ago

In the spirit of the new year, when a half-empty glass turns half-full with the tick of a clock, when unused two-point plays represent hope for the future rather than rockhead moves of the past, even an 8-8 season for the Steelers can be cast in a positive light.

Can‘t it?

No?

OK, then, I‘ll try instead — in the spirit, of course — to conjure up 13 good thoughts for the franchise going into 2013 …

• Heath Miller.

(Hey, this is easy!)

• You will love Steve McLendon — and not just because he seemed to make a splash play in half of the, oh, two or three snaps he‘d get at nose tackle each game.

You‘ll also love the fire of a kid who, when I asked him Sunday to describe his style, replied: “My unique style is built from three guys: I want to be powerful and strong like Casey Hampton. I want to be smart like Chris Hoke. And I want to be elusive and quick like Jay Ratliff.”

That‘s Dallas‘ star nose tackle.

“Get those guys together, and that‘s Steve McLendon.”

• Dan Rooney is back.

He‘s 80 now, and the ship is still Art II‘s to steer. But if all the old man‘s presence achieves is avoiding another case of the team president picking offensive coordinators, that‘ll be plenty.

No matter your feelings on Bruce Arians or Todd Haley, it‘s hard to dispute that the dumping of the former was the front office‘s most un-Steelers-like move in quite some time. (BOOOOOOOO! Dejan's an AIR-HEAD luver! BOOOOOOOO!)

• Might have been a mere snapshot, but it was nice to see Haley and Ben Roethlisberger walk off Heinz Field together after the game Sunday, chatting and laughing all the way into the locker room.

I‘ve expressed doubts about whether they‘ll ever bond over the “Rosetta Stone” playbook, but the next visible sign of snarl between them will be the first.

• Lawrence Timmons.

If you don‘t know, then you haven‘t been watching.

• The Steelers appear to be $12 million over the salary cap for 2013, which sounds ominous. But remember that Omar Kahn, the Steelers‘ cap wizard who someday will heal the ozone layer in search of greater challenges, took on a similar task in 2011 and still scrounged up enough loose change to sign LaMarr Woodley, Troy Polamalu and Timmons.

This won‘t be a big deal. One prominent guy will go — I‘m guessing Hampton — but others will simply take cuts or defer.

After which, Omar can begin confiscating aerosol cans.

• Signing Keenan Lewis is paramount, and I‘ll be surprised if it doesn‘t get done. I know he‘s making some noise now, but he loves where he is.

If it doesn‘t happen, though, it shouldn‘t escape notice that Cortez Allen was terrific in covering for Ike Taylor. His five takeaways in the final two games accounted for a quarter of the team‘s season total.

“I am extremely blessed to make that happen,” Allen said.

Same can be said for the Steelers at a vital position.

• The Bengals are the new AFC North power?

Please.

• Eventually, the Steelers have to quit messing around with Max Starks, don‘t they?

Every summer, it‘s the same drama as to whether he‘ll be back. Roethlisberger dons a No. 78 jersey in Latrobe, Starks passes a physical, signs for the minimum, suits up in the nick of time and steadily holds down left tackle — the toughest job in football — game after game.

Starks pointed to his grass-stained socks Sunday and said, “I saved a piece of Heinz Field, just in case I do go.”

No reason for that to happen.

• Stop messing around with Ramon Foster, too.Every summer, he‘s the backup at both guard positions, at least until others drop around him and he starts all year long. Yeah, i know a first-round pick went into David DeCastro and that Willie Colon can move mountains with a pink finger when healthy, but the latter hasn't made it through any of the past three seasons. Durability counts.Foster and Starks have two things in common, one being that they were the only linemen to avoid parentheses after their last names and the other being they're about to try the open market.I know this one isn't likely but felt compelled to ask, anyway. “It‘s possible,” Foster said Sunday with a grin, “because Maurkice Pouncey has generously offered to give up some of his pay to keep me.”That apparently was news to the All-Pro center at the next stall: “I did what?”

• James Harrison will be kept, which is right, but maybe someone will challenge him to be much more of a leader than he‘s been known to be.

If nothing else, ask him to belligerently impose his rigid workout regimen on Woodley.

• Mike Tomlin.

See Timmons explanation above.

He‘s a good coach who had a lousy year. Happens.

• They‘re the Steelers.

They‘ve had seven losing seasons in 40 years.

The only one this century, 2003, was followed by a 15-1 gem the very next winter and the Lombardi the year after that.

Anyone really want to bet against a bounce-back?

Did I even mention the QB?
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Old 01-02-2013, 02:38 PM   #2
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Default Re: Kovacevic: Lucky '13 for Steelers? Why not?

Seems like every year we have low expectations we do something special. Remember 2008? Schedule came out and I am sure many of us looked at that and thought we'll be lucky to make the playoffs with that. We went out and won the SB. Ben misses a fourth of 2010. And we nearly win the whole damn thing again. Now, I think we need a few things next season. One, we need to stop playing down our competition. I don't expect to win like the Patriots do against weaker opponents but I would like convincing wins against weaker teams. Two, we need a good draft. And three I think we need a little luck on the injury front. We've been bit with the injury bug real bad the past couple years and while that does not excuse lackluster play, I truly think if the team just had some luck on the injury front, they would be in the playoffs right now and would have won a playoff game last year. Anyhow. Sick of the whining about Arians getting canned. It was the right move then and it is now. Arians deserves credit for the job he's done in Indy but he also had one of the most impressive QB prospects in a long time to work with and was playing the schedule of a last place team too. Anyhow, got a good feeling about '13.
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Old 01-02-2013, 02:44 PM   #3
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Default Re: Kovacevic: Lucky '13 for Steelers? Why not?

They're the Steelers is good enough. We never, ever stay down for long. Remember, we got a 3rd place schedule next year.
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Old 01-02-2013, 03:12 PM   #4
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Default Re: Kovacevic: Lucky '13 for Steelers? Why not?

Better not have too much optimism, though. People will come into this thread and bash the shit out of Tomlin and Ben, reminding us how bad our team and coaching staff is. Also how overrated Roethlisberger is and ask questions like "Why can't he be like Brady!!!1!".
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Old 01-02-2013, 03:15 PM   #5
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Default Re: Kovacevic: Lucky '13 for Steelers? Why not?

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Better not have too much optimism, though. People will come into this thread and bash the shit out of Tomlin and Ben, reminding us how bad our team and coaching staff is. Also how overrated Roethlisberger is and ask questions like "Why can't he be like Brady!!!1!".
No, first they'll say how Ben has to be "reined in" and only play game manager in the ball-control offense. Only then when Ben can't bail the Steelers out from their stupidity will they say how Brady and Manning are so much better (because those teams only use their QBs in the last 2 minutes too ).
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Old 01-02-2013, 03:21 PM   #6
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Default Re: Kovacevic: Lucky '13 for Steelers? Why not?

OMG HALEY SUX TOMLIN SUX GET RID OF BEN WE SUCK!!!!!!1



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Old 01-02-2013, 04:01 PM   #7
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Default Re: Kovacevic: Lucky '13 for Steelers? Why not?

The Steelers were 8-8 this year because they lost 5 games by a FG in the games final seconds. If they only lose 3 games in the final play they are 10-6 and division champions. They absolutely must finish games better and that falls mostly on the coaching staff.
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Old 01-02-2013, 04:11 PM   #8
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Default Re: Kovacevic: Lucky '13 for Steelers? Why not?

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The Steelers were 8-8 this year because they lost 5 games by a FG in the games final seconds. If they only lose 3 games in the final play they are 10-6 and division champions.They absolutely must finish games better and that falls mostly on the coaching staff.
Good idea, let's blame Haley for the bad snap in the Cincy game.
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Old 01-02-2013, 04:28 PM   #9
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Default Re: Kovacevic: Lucky '13 for Steelers? Why not?

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Good idea, let's blame Haley for the bad snap in the Cincy game.
What I meant was that trying 54 yd FG's not once but in 2 games, not knowing when to go for 2, not taking a knee on your own 10 yd. line with 40 seconds left, trying fake FG's etc. has to stop. I'm not calling for Tomlin to get fired or anything like that, but he and his staff has to improve their in game decisions or we'll be 8-8 again.
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Old 01-02-2013, 04:30 PM   #10
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Default Re: Kovacevic: Lucky '13 for Steelers? Why not?

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What I meant was that trying 54 yd FG's not once but in 2 games, not knowing when to go for 2, not taking a knee on your own 10 yd. line with 40 seconds left, trying fake FG's etc. has to stop. I'm not calling for Tomlin to get fired or anything like that, but he and his staff has to improve their in game decisions or we'll be 8-8 again.
True, but Ben made some bad ideas as well. The whole team needs to work this offseason.
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