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Old 02-17-2007, 07:02 AM   #1
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Default Steelers' Porter deserves to come back

Steelers' Porter deserves to come back

By John Harris
TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Saturday, February 17, 2007


Joey Porter is a player who elicits varying emotions from Steelers fans. He has a big mouth, plus he had a bad year, the argument goes. He loves to talk, but he usually backs it up.

A so-called bad year still resulted in Porter racking up a team-high seven sacks. Playing in two fewer games than the previous season because of a hamstring injury -- he also was coming off offseason knee surgery -- Porter had three more tackles but 3 1/2 fewer sacks in 2006.

Love him or hate him, Porter remains a defensive presence and is the Steelers' best outside linebacker.

Of course, with new coach Mike Tomlin, the roster is subject to change. But getting rid of Porter for change's sake is not the solution.

There aren't too many linebackers who can play the run, rush the passer and sprint stride for stride with a running back or tight end. Porter can. He's also great in the locker room and has a firm understanding of his role in the defense. However, it's a defense that could undergo major changes in personnel as well as in terms of scheme.

Porter's sacks were down in 2006. That's not a good sign for a linebacker who relies on his speed and quickness.

Porter also isn't getting any younger. He turns 30 on March 22, 16 days after he's due to receive a $1 million roster bonus.

NFL teams are more likely to pay for a player approaching his upside than one who could be nearing his downside. That could be why the Steelers haven't given Porter the new deal he asked for last season after they won Super Bowl XL.

Normally, the Steelers like to re-sign their core players one year early. That was the case last season with cornerback Ike Taylor, and it will likely be the case this offseason with safety Troy Polamalu and guard Alan Faneca.

Porter, who is entering the final year of a contract that will pay him $4 million in 2007, can make a valid argument. He's an all-around linebacker whose game shouldn't be based solely on sacks.

In addition to leading the team in sacks, Porter was third in quarterback hurries (12), seventh in passes defensed (five) and had two interceptions, returning one for a touchdown.

"In our system, you're going to be asked to do everything," Porter said in November. "You're going to have to cover. You're going to have to play man-to-man with the tight end. You're going to have to know how to do a vertical drop. You're going to have to know how to do zone schemes. When I'm doing all that stuff, you can't be asking for sacks. I'm playing the scheme.

"If I don't get too many sacks, (critics) are going to say I had a bad year. I don't look at it that way."

The Steelers might. So don't be surprised if Porter is released if it's believed his skills are in decline, and he's no longer deserving of the big bucks.

If the Steelers do pay Porter's roster bonus next month, it means management is committed to him for at least one more season at a salary cap hit of $6.1 million. That's a lot of cash and a reassuring commitment to Porter.

Porter badly wants an extension, but the Steelers could be dangling a carrot in the form of a new contract if he delivers in 2007. A lot of players have a productive year during the season in which their contract ends.

The Steelers as currently constructed have one or two more seasons to make a serious championship run before making some major changes. Unless the Steelers sign an accomplished veteran linebacker in free agency, Porter deserves to remain a big part of that nucleus.

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pitt.../s_493675.html
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Old 02-17-2007, 07:39 AM   #2
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Default Re: Steelers' Porter deserves to come back

Agree with the concluding paragraph that this group has one more year left before the major rebuilding starts in 2008.

For that reason, I think Porter comes back since no replacement is around. After that, I see Porter clearly gone in 2008.

If you follow the rationale of the article that a major rebuilding starts soon & you do not pay big $ for players on the downslope of their career, I also do not regard it as any sure thing that the Steelers will pay Faneca what he can command on the open market in 2008.
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Old 02-17-2007, 07:55 AM   #3
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Default Re: Steelers' Porter deserves to come back

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Agree with the concluding paragraph that this group has one more year left before the major rebuilding starts in 2008.

For that reason, I think Porter comes back since no replacement is around. After that, I see Porter clearly gone in 2008.

If you follow the rationale of the article that a major rebuilding starts soon & you do not pay big $ for players on the downslope of their career, I also do not regard it as any sure thing that the Steelers will pay Faneca what he can command on the open market in 2008.
I agree completely. Many want to cut Porter and that's all fine and dandy if we had the depth. That's not he case. Let Porter play out his last year, draft a OLB this year, let him learn and plug him in after Porter's gone.
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Old 02-17-2007, 10:55 AM   #4
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Default Re: Steelers' Porter deserves to come back

bashing porters "declining skills", underachieving play, and old age seems to be a pretty en vogue thing these days. yet if he were to play for basement prices like vrabel or bruschi people would say how great he is. its really a money issue.

after all he is younger than bruschi, vrabel, and the same age as colvin, and more productive than all 3 of them. yet you dont see the patriots want to dump any of those guys for lack of production. in fact, you see them looking to add guys like seau and brown to the group.
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Old 02-17-2007, 12:25 PM   #5
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Default Re: Steelers' Porter deserves to come back

I agree Porter should and MUST stay IMO, as the article said HE is our best OLB. We must and probably will draft for depth and the future. After this year who knows, but who can we bring in as a FA that will play better in our schemes for less money.

And as they say contract years are always the best years, so Porter should have a good year if he stays healthy.
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Old 02-17-2007, 04:03 PM   #6
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Default Re: Steelers' Porter deserves to come back

Well, it even siad on the news that Porter's future is unsure. At this point, I want him to stay, but like any other opinion this could change. I mean, he I think he should stay because he could help with younger LB and keep helping the team as well. And it really sucks that last season didn't go so well, because that made alot of people on the team look bad, and that in turn might make some people's views on him change.

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Old 02-18-2007, 01:54 AM   #7
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Default Re: Steelers' Porter deserves to come back

you have to look the pros and cons

CONS: age, salary, inconsistency, average to below average play

PROS: cutting him saves a little over 5 mil in cap room, finding a LB to match porter's productivity will be easy


if people think porter is the steelers best LB then we are worse off then ever.
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Old 02-18-2007, 02:09 AM   #8
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Default Re: Steelers' Porter deserves to come back

anybody remember gildon??? awesome outside lber till he got his fat contract at about 30.....
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Old 02-18-2007, 10:09 AM   #9
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Cool Re: Steelers' Porter deserves to come back

This is what I posted in the "DUCE STALEY - 2.3mil against the Cap" thread:



.........................I still like Porter. Let's see what he brings this season and then decide from there.

Look at it this way; Ben did not produce much this year, neither did Ward, or Heath, or many others. Are we ready to abandon them all just because of one bad season? Sure he's aging, but he gets the defense fired up. He intimidates the opposing QB's. He DOES bring something of value to the table.

Let's see what he actually brings this season.......if it is nothing, bench him as a backup, give others a shot, and simply let him go when his contract expires at the end of this season.
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Old 02-18-2007, 11:19 AM   #10
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Default Re: Steelers' Porter deserves to come back

Quote:
Originally Posted by ?teeldude View Post
you have to look the pros and cons

CONS: age, salary, inconsistency, average to below average play

PROS: cutting him saves a little over 5 mil in cap room, finding a LB to match porter's productivity will be easy


if people think porter is the steelers best LB then we are worse off then ever.
Porter inconsistency comes from teams who plan to stop him. Porter is constantly double and tripped teamed at times. Porter constantly plays at a high level, if the other team lets there guard down for a min, that QB is his. The whole team in general had a bad season. Porter is that up lift on defense before games, during games. Ya we could cut him but it would not be a good move to me. And you think finding a LBer to match Porters Strength, Speed, Coverage Skills, Blitzing Skills is easy you might want to rethink there, its not that simple. You ask any team out there what they have to do to plan each game and the main factor in there offensive scheme is to stop Porter.

We will draft LBers, and watch the type of LBers they draft because it will give you a ideal if were going to move away from the 3-4 in the upcoming years. 2008-2009 will be the big years for the defense in change far as contracts, let goes, new faces, ones we have grooming getting starting positions. And Porter most likely gone after this season if he does not come to a contract agreement for lesser money then what he probably wants.
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