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Old 07-20-2005, 11:21 AM   #11
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Default Re: USA Today Player Ratings

2005 player ratings: Running backs
By Matt Pitzer, Sports Weekly
In a time of increasingly liberalized passing rules, running backs easily get overlooked. But this also has emerged as a time of nearly unmatched prosperity for running backs. While the NFL's all-time leading rusher, Emmitt Smith, retired this offseason, Nos. 4 and 5 on the list ?Curtis Martin and Jerome Bettis? are still going strong.

Running Backs

Setting sun

Jerome Bettis' resurgent 2004, in which he had at least 100 yards in each of the six games he started and scored a career-high 13 TDs, convinced him to return to Pittsburgh. The 33-year-old Bettis, the fifth all-time leading rusher, could retire after this season, his 13th.

Under the radar

Pittsburgh's Duce Staley has a strong start in 2004 with an average of 101 yards in his first seven games before being derailed by a hamstring injury and overshadowed by Bettis. If Staley got through a season healthy, his value would be clear.

Fullbacks

On the rise

As the Steelers' offense becomes more physical and more ground-oriented, some credit has to go to Dan Kreider, one of the game's best lead blockers. The Steelers don't ask him to do much else and have little reason to do so.


Link: http://www.usatoday.com/sports/footb...ng-backs_x.htm


It is nice to see Dan Kreider get some attention. He plays very well and never really gets much media attention.


2005 player ratings: Kickers and punters
By Howard Balzer, Sports Weekly
Sure, they're often the punchline of locker room jokes, but ask any member of the Patriots how valuable Adam Vinatieri is. The New England kicker has hit the game-winning field goal during all three of the team's Super Bowl wins, two of the kicks coming on the game's final play. Punters can be just as valuable, albeit less noticeable, as teams vie for precious field position game in and game out. The Sports Xchange sorted kickers and punters into six categories: Elite, A Notch Below, Rock Solid, On the Rise, On the Rebound and Setting Sun.

Rock soild

Jeff Reed has become clockwork for Pittsburgh and should be their kicker for years to come. He was 28-for-33 in 2004 (84.8%) and was perfect on two attempts from 50 yards or longer.

Last edited by Prosdo; 07-20-2005 at 11:25 AM.
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Old 07-20-2005, 11:34 AM   #12
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Default Re: USA Today Player Ratings

Nice spot on the article Prosdo. Looks like the Steelers getting plenty of deserved props for an excellent season.
One of the ratings struck me as strange though - Dwight Freeney as the 2nd best DE - I believe this guy can be bullied in the run game to the point of being a liability and the main reason his sack-stats are so good is that the offences he faces are forever being forced into must pass play-calls due to the Colts O racking up plenty of points.
It must be alot easier to pass rush the QB if there is very little chance he is going to run the ball.

ITS PIG-SKIN BABY!

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Old 07-20-2005, 11:41 AM   #13
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Default Re: USA Today Player Ratings

Thanks Living. The Steelers are getting a good bit of recognition in these articles. Always nice to see. I will post the wide receivers and quarterback issues when they come out.
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Old 07-20-2005, 04:41 PM   #14
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Default Re: USA Today Player Ratings

It's nice to see Jeff Reed up there. I will admit I had some concerns about him at the beginning of the season last year, but towards the end my faith grew in him!!!
I'm glad to see Bettis getting the recognition he deserves. I am so sick of hearing how washed up he is...but he was able to rush for over 100 yrds. in every start last year...the wheels on the Bus continue to go round and round-even though this year...he will be taking a step back and it will be Duce's turn to prove he has it!!!
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Old 07-22-2005, 02:26 PM   #15
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Default Re: USA Today Player Ratings

12-4 is attainable. Anything beyond that is gravy. We have a solid team that knows how to fight through tragedy
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Old 07-27-2005, 03:47 PM   #16
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Default Re: USA Today Player Ratings

2005 player ratings: Wide receivers
By Howard Balzer, Sports Weekly
The NFL's golden age of passing continued last season with 24 1,000-yard receivers. By comparison, there were 18 1,000-yard running backs. Of those 24, eight are among the top 25 wide receivers or top 15 tight ends ? the sixth part of our 2005 NFL player ratings series, developed by The Sports Xchange for Sports Weekly. Players are sorted into six categories: Elite, A Notch Below, Rock Solid, On the Rise, On the Rebound and Setting Sun.

A notch below

Pittsburgh's Hines Ward (1,004 yards) is another guy who produces on a consistent basis, and he does it on a team where the running game clearly comes first. Ward has had some big statistical years anyway, thus it's almost scary to wonder what he could do in a more pass-oriented offense. Chances are, we'll never know, but that won't stop him from being one of the NFL's best.

Rest of the article: http://www.usatoday.com/sports/footb...eceivers_x.htm


I guess in a way I can understand this rating, but I would kind of think he would go under the solid category.

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Old 08-03-2005, 12:45 PM   #17
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Default Re: USA Today Player Ratings

2005 player ratings: Quarterbacks
By Matt Pitzer, USA TODAY Sports Weekly
Try as some teams might to get around it, the NFL is all about the quarterback, the game's most glamorous ? and well-paid ? position. Find a great one and you win. That dictum has resulted in quarterbacks being taken No. 1 overall in seven of the past eight drafts and it being perhaps the most scrutinized position in sports. Here is a look at the best quarterbacks ? the seventh part of our 2005 NFL player ratings series, developed by The Sports Xchange for Sports Weekly.

On the rise

Pittsburgh's Ben Roethlisberger set a rookie record by going 13-0 as the starter last year and faces pressure to do even better and get the Steelers into the Super Bowl. Pittsburgh helped Roethlisberger by averaging 38.6 rushes a game in 2004, more than five more than any other team. Defenses will be set up to stop the run more this season, and Roethlisberger will have to be more of a threat with his arm.

Link: http://www.usatoday.com/sports/footb...terbacks_x.htm
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Old 08-04-2005, 11:32 AM   #18
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Default Re: USA Today Player Ratings

I think in terms of Ward...it is a good rating. He is not one of those recievers that defenses spend extra time working on how to stop him. He is a great reciever and very valuable to our system, but I think if he were some where else...he would not be as big of a factor!
I'm glad to see that Ben was listed "On the Rise" He does have some things to prove this year. But everyone is constinately talking about the run and defenses are going to be trying to stop it. Well is this anything new??? We have been pounding the ball for years, and every once in a while we get shut down...but in 16 games last year...it worked!
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