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Old 10-25-2006, 02:45 AM   #1
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Default Steelers Notebook: Cowher considering changes in starting lineup

Steelers Notebook: Cowher considering changes in starting lineup
Wednesday, October 25, 2006

By Ed Bouchette, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Injuries have compelled coach Bill Cowher to make several changes in his starting lineup in the past two games. He may make more this week based on merit.

Cowher will decide whether to replace two starters, one on offense and one on defense, when the Steelers play the Raiders in Oakland Sunday. He is considering replacing Kendall Simmons at right guard with Chris Kemoeatu, and starting Bryant McFadden at right cornerback in place of Deshea Townsend.

Kemoeatu and McFadden are second-year players who started for the two injured veterans recently.

Kemoeatu started against Kansas City and then split time with Simmons Sunday in Atlanta.

McFadden started the past two games, although Townsend played in dime defenses.

Simmons had a heel injury and Townsend a hamstring injury but neither is listed on the injury report this week.

Cowher might consider the 344-pound Kemoeatu a better matchup than the 315-pound Simmons against the bigger defensive linemen of the Raiders.

"We'll see how it goes," Cowher said. "Both of those guys played well and I haven't made a clear-cut decision at this point. Obviously Chris is a bigger guy and Kendall can get to the second level quicker than Chris can. They both have strengths where one's a little stronger than the other guy, but they're both good players."

Cowher said McFadden played "OK, but we'll see how that goes this week."


Injury list


Steelers: Linebacker James Harrison (ankle) is out. Safety Mike Logan (hamstring) and wide receiver Willie Reid (foot) are doubtful. Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (concussion), wide receiver Cedrick Wilson (groin), linebacker Clark Haggans (ankle), linebacker Joe Porter (hamstring) and nose tackle Casey Hampton (hamstring) are questionable. Safety Tyrone Carter (shoulder), wide receiver Santonio Holmes (toe) and fullback Dan Kreider (ankle) are probable.


Hidden identity


Cowher often has talked about how it takes at least a handful of games before a team earns an identity. Asked at his news conference yesterday if his 2006 Steelers had acquired an identity, Cowher responded, "If there's an identity, it's not a good one right now. I would not identify a bad identity. I would hope that would change."


No regrets on timeouts


Had the Steelers had a timeout remaining Sunday, the final eight seconds of regulation would not have been automatically run out as required after the false start called against receiver Nate Washington at Atlanta's 33.

Cowher lost one timeout in the second half when he unsuccessfully challenged a 1-yard touchdown run by Warrick Dunn, then used his final two timeouts trying to "ice" Atlanta's kickers on field-goal attempts. The last one came with 30 seconds left before 46-year-old Morten Andersen, the NFL's second-leading career scorer, tried a 52-yard field goal.

The coach said he had no regrets.

"No, not really. There are always calls you want to come back, but the utilization of timeouts? No. You could say maybe keep the second one after the first one. And then after the second one, I called it again.

"I was really glad when I saw them bringing Morten back on. I was really glad I called it because I thought he was out of his range, for sure."

Cowher began his coaching career in charge of special teams. Does he believe that icing the kicker works?

"It did this time. I don't know. We probably cut it a little close. But I think that's the best effect."


Saints game later


The NFL changed the time of the Steelers' game against New Orleans at Heinz Field on Nov. 12. Kickoff now will be at 4:15 p.m., instead of 1 p.m. It will be broadcast on Fox.

The league also announced that it had moved the Chicago Bears-New York Giants game that Sunday afternoon to 8:15 p.m. at night, the first move in the new flexible schedule that allows the NFL to switch afternoon games to Sunday night to be shown on NBC-TV.

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/06298/732664-66.stm
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Old 10-25-2006, 05:28 AM   #2
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Default Re: Steelers Notebook: Cowher considering changes in starting lineup

It's no brainer to replace Simmons with Kemo. I had high hopes for B-Mac this year but he's been a little shaky. Still the best young CB prospect we have to replace Deshea at this time though.
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Old 10-25-2006, 06:13 AM   #3
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Cool Re: Steelers Notebook: Cowher considering changes in starting lineup

You know.. it in my opinion was not that bad of a deal that McFadden had replaced Deshea but I also think that McFadden is still a year away from really being a starter.. so I think that Deshea should still be the starter there for the rest of this year anyway.. Keomateau should be the man at RG and that should be FINAL...
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Old 10-25-2006, 06:37 AM   #4
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Default Re: Steelers Notebook: Cowher considering changes in starting lineup

Quote:
Cowher might consider the 344-pound Kemoeatu a better matchup than the 315-pound Simmons against the bigger defensive linemen of the Raiders.

"We'll see how it goes," Cowher said. "Both of those guys played well and I haven't made a clear-cut decision at this point. Obviously Chris is a bigger guy and Kendall can get to the second level quicker than Chris can. They both have strengths where one's a little stronger than the other guy, but they're both good players."

Cowher said McFadden played "OK, but we'll see how that goes this week."
Cowher states that Kendall's strength (based upon this quote) is getting to the second level quickly. It is hard to get to the second level when the defender has shoved Simmons into the backfield! Parker's fumble was caused by the defender Simmons was supposedly blocking, if you call being 4 yards into the backfield blocking. I think one of the reasons for our success against KC was Kemo just stuffed his guy and pummeled him into submission.

McFadden is doing ok and is bigger, stronger, and faster than Townsend, but his skill level is not quite there yet. We may see more PI penalties with him in there, but I agree that he will be a much better player than Deshea in time.
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Old 10-25-2006, 06:56 AM   #5
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Default Re: Steelers Notebook: Cowher considering changes in starting lineup

I'd also have to say that Townsend is a better open-field tackler than B-Mac.
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Old 10-25-2006, 07:37 AM   #6
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Default Re: Steelers Notebook: Cowher considering changes in starting lineup

Playing younger players is often the first sign of building for the future at the expense of the present. Given their current circumstances, it is time for some changes.

I thought McFadden would replace Townsend at the start of the season and have no doubt he will do so in 2007; Townsend has been burned often enough that it might as well be now.

As for Simmons, forgetting the play on the Parker fumble was the latest in a series of screw-ups and Grimm/Cowher apparently have had it. If Kendall owns a house in Pittsburgh he should start looking for who to list it with.
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Old 10-25-2006, 07:42 AM   #7
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Default Re: Steelers Notebook: Cowher considering changes in starting lineup

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Originally Posted by Infamix View Post
I'd also have to say that Townsend is a better open-field tackler than B-Mac.
At this point in time, yes. Overall, though, I believe with a little more game time under his belt, BMac is going to far surpass Townsend's abilities and become an enormous asset to that secondary.

No debate necessary - Kemo should definitely be starting at RG from here on out. He's a brute!
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Old 10-25-2006, 09:06 AM   #8
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Default Re: Steelers Notebook: Cowher considering changes in starting lineup

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Originally Posted by jbattenhouse View Post
Cowher states that Kendall's strength (based upon this quote) is getting to the second level quickly. It is hard to get to the second level when the defender has shoved Simmons into the backfield! Parker's fumble was caused by the defender Simmons was supposedly blocking, if you call being 4 yards into the backfield blocking. I think one of the reasons for our success against KC was Kemo just stuffed his guy and pummeled him into submission.

McFadden is doing ok and is bigger, stronger, and faster than Townsend, but his skill level is not quite there yet. We may see more PI penalties with him in there, but I agree that he will be a much better player than Deshea in time.
I agree, I don't care how quickly you are getting to the 2nd level, it doesn't matter if your useless on the first level. Simmons isn't going to be blocking on the "2nd level" every play. I would rather Kemo, take a fraction of a second longer to get there (which would let the play develop a little bit more anyways) and then hammer the LB, than Simmons get there fast, and let the LB hammer Willie.
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Old 10-25-2006, 10:44 AM   #9
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Default Re: Steelers Notebook: Cowher considering changes in starting lineup

With the way that Chris dominated during the Chiefs game...and now that I see Deshea getting burnt in his limited dime defense playing time....you have to think that this is past due.

On that note..what happened to Deshea...he is a shadow of the player he was last year. If I see him "one arm" one more reciever I am going to put my foot through the TV!!!
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Old 10-25-2006, 02:14 PM   #10
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Default Re: Steelers Notebook: Cowher considering changes in starting lineup

I don't think it matters much who we play at the CB position, they are going to have a tough time. Reason, Ike Taylor. He commands so much respect from the QB that they throw the other may most of the time. What this means is that Towsend or Mac is going to have more passes to defend, and the law of avg's say that you're going to miss some of the throws. It does matter who is better at being beat on a play, but comes right back with the short memory and stays aggressive.
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