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Old 08-31-2005, 11:01 AM   #1
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Default Reality Check

Guys... I love the Steelers as much as all of you do. I live and die with the Black and Gold. But I really don't see a good year coming up. The RB situation is atrocious for a team that relies on the run as the Steelers do. Duce and Jerome will be back but I fear they will both remain susceptible to injury at the drop of a hat. Willie Parker is a servicible NFL RB but he is not the workhorse that the Steelers need. Verron Haynes... situational back at best. Noah Herron... why are you guys so high on this kid? His best position is fullback... and we know the kind of carries the fullback gets in the NFL. Hell, bring in Clarett... Hines and Jerome should be able to tame the character problems. If not, release him. Give him a contract based on incentives like the Broncos did and take a chance.

Let's address the QB position. Ben has been bad...period. I know its preseason but he looks the same as he did down the stretch last year. He looks like he finally realizes that he is a 2nd year QB and that this NFL thing really isn't as easy as he thought it was. He is slow to recognize defenses and is a QB that MUST have a strong running game to succeed... which sadly he does not have at this time. Defenses are going to blitz the hell out of him. 2004 was Ben's year on the surface... but Jerome Bettis and the defense was OZ behind the curtain, pulling all the strings that really made it a great year. The Steelers won 8 games with a victory margin of 5 points or less. Ben was not the savior. Numbers 43, 51, 55, 50, etc... those guys are the real saviors.

WR - Hines and a bunch of nothing. And Hines is a good #2 guy... He is the not the leader of an NFL WR corps from a sheer talent perspective. Yeah, he's a great locker room presense... but no TD's are scored in the locker room.

Ok... you guys can flame me... but I see 9-7, maybe 8-8. They have to play Indy, New England, Minnesota, San Diego...all potential division champs. Cincinnati is better, Baltimore is better... Indy is a beast with a better defense and still all the offense in the world. The Pats are still... well, the Pats. I love OUR Steelers. I just don't think they're as good as we want them to be or even as good as we might think they are... and I don't like it one bit.
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Old 08-31-2005, 11:12 AM   #2
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Default Re: Reality Check

I dont like reality checks,,, tomorrow gas prices will be 12 cents a gallon, I'll develope huge muscles overnight. My bank account will triple itself and the Steelers will be on their way to Detroit!!!!!!!!

YOU MUST BELIEVE!!!!
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Old 08-31-2005, 11:26 AM   #3
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Default Re: Reality Check

1. As long as the O-line stays healthy, I'm not overly concerned about the RB situation at this point.

2. Hines Ward isn't a #2 guy, he's a #1 guy. He was the #1 guy when Plax was here. If you don't think he's talented enough to be the #1 WR, you haven't been watching the same Hines Ward I've been watching over the years. Some people like to play up Hines' heart, which is fine, but don't downgrade his talent when you do so. You don't have to be 6'4" to be a #1 WR in the NFL.

3. Cincy is not better than us. Look at their defense. I'll say it again, if you can't stop the run in this division, you're going to have problems. The Ravens are a threat, but let's not hand them the division title just because they added Samari Rolle.
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Old 08-31-2005, 11:44 AM   #4
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Default Re: Reality Check

I said Cincy was better... not better than us. Everybody's got an opinion on Ward... mine is not as glowing as others. To each his own.
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Old 08-31-2005, 11:48 AM   #5
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Default Re: Reality Check

I agree with the fact that we have gotten off to a rocky start, but I still think this team will win the division. No doubt Ben needs to work the kinks out. Jerome and Duce are up in the air, but they should be back soon. The D is still the same D. I'm not giving up yet.
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Old 08-31-2005, 11:55 AM   #6
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Default Re: Reality Check

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Everybody's got an opinion on Ward... mine is not as glowing as others. To each his own.
That's fine. But what don't you like about Ward's game? Just curious.
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Old 08-31-2005, 12:09 PM   #7
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Default Re: Reality Check

I don't think Ward is a WR that can change a game or take a game over in the Terrell Owens or Chad Johnson mold. Granted, he's in an offense that is decidedly run first and that hinders his stature somewhat. The best way I can put it is that he's a "team" WR... blocking... making the possesion 1st down catch, etc. He's just not a threat to score at any moment... he will not command the double team like Plax did when he was on his game and he cannot stretch the field consistently to open up the run. In short... I like Ward... I just don't think he's a #1. I think Tommy Maddox was good for him... I don't think Ben is the type of QB that will get him the 12 and 10 TD's like 2002 and 2003. I guess for me it comes down to the money. I wouldn't pay Hines #1 money unless he proves he can be a game-breaker at the WR position that the Steelers sorely need. I can find 10 rookies in camp to be blocking WRs.
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Old 08-31-2005, 12:58 PM   #8
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Default Re: Reality Check

I still expect this to be a good team but alot of people are expecting a superbowl this year and to be honest this isnt even close to a superbowl team right now. I'm not saying that cant change, but until they get a passing game that can stand on its on two legs I think they will have trouble with the better teams in the league this year.
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Old 08-31-2005, 01:04 PM   #9
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Default Re: Reality Check

I agree things are not looking so good, but they are not looking any worse than last year when we were coming off a 6 and 10 record..... things turned out pretty good. I understand we could go 8 and 8, or even worse. It is the NFL and anything can happen.... teams go from good to bad, and from bad to good every season. I would just rather think positive.

I agree with what you said about Ben and Ward, but I disagree with how you veiw the RB position. I think it sucks that Duce is hurt again.... I wanted to see him get the bulk of the carries this year. The loss of Bettis is not a big deal to me, considering he told the coaches he wanted a limited role. I think Willie could be a gamebreaker and I am looking forward to seeing him get a chance.... I agree that there could be some durability issues with him playing every down. I also think that Verron Haynes could be an every down back in this league, and maybe a starter on a few teams. I have seen nothing but good things when he gets the ball. He runs hard, good vision, shifty, good hands, good acceleration. I would not be suprised if he competes for a starting job with someone next year, since this is likely his last in Pittsburgh.

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Noah Herron... why are you guys so high on this kid? His best position is fullback... and we know the kind of carries the fullback gets in the NFL. Hell, bring in Clarett...
Noah is not a FB, he is a RB, his best position is RB. They will teach him the FB position to justify giving him a roster spot in a crowded backfield, just as they did with Haynes. I didn't see or hear of him taking any snaps at FB, in camp or in the pre-season. I hope Noah makes the team.... I see him moving into Verrons role next season after he is gone. Herron is a very solid back. Don't be fooled by the fact he was selected in the 7th round. He was great in college..... He ran a very slow 40 which knocked him down, but I read somewhere that he had the fastest cone drill and the second fastest shuttle, which is exactly what the Steelers like. A big back who can accelerate and has good agility. He rused for 1.400 yards in the Big Ten. He was 14th in the Nation in rushing on a team that gets blown out, and is known for passing to get themselves back in the game. He might be a steal for a seveth round pick.

This is all he was able to accomplish his senior year.....

2004: Consensus All-Big Ten selection .. Named to second-team All-Big Ten by coaches and media, and first-team by Collegefootballnews.com and Rivals.com ... Invited to play in the 2005 Senior Bowl ... Team Co-MVP ... Named the Big Ten's Back of the Year by the Chicago Tribune ... NU's leading rusher and third-leading receiver ... Second-leading rusher in Big Ten and 14th nationally with a 115.1 ypg average ... Finished with the fifth-best single-season rushing total (1,381) in school history ... Scored at least one TD in 10 games (tying single-season school mark) and at least one in seven of last eight games (all against Big Ten teams) ... Gave NU its eighth 1,000-yard rusher in the last 10 years when he surpassed the 1,000-yard mark in the second half of the Penn State game ... Ranked sixth nationally among running backs in cbssportsline.com RB ranking -- a ranking that is computed on player statistics and strength of schedule ... Scored the Wildcats' game-winning touchdown in either overtime or the final seconds of the fourth quarter in NU's first four Big Ten wins ... Had three other games of 90 or more rushing yards ... Averaged 4.7 ypc or better in eight of 12 games ... Ran for 156 yards (6.8 ypc) and added 36 receiving yards at Michigan ... Scored a touchdown on a season-long 68-yard scamper ... Rushed for 82 yards and totaled 132 all-purpose yards vs. Purdue .. His 11th TD of the year (10th rushing TD) came with 38 seconds left to beat Purdue for the first time since 1996, 13-10 ... Registered a 109-yard rushing performance (5.7 ypc) at Wisconsin and became the first player to rush for more than 100 yards on the Badgers this year (first to do it since Iowa's Fred Russell did it in 2003) ... Scored a TD on a 14-yard scamper against the Badgers ... Also added 34 receiving yards ... Also turned in the best opposing rushing effort on Penn State with 175 yards (30 carries) ... Was knocked out of the Penn State game early with a slight concussion, but came back to run for 161 yards on 26 carries after the injury ... Tallied his game-winning TD vs. the Nittany Lions early in the fourth quarter ... Had a career-best rushing performance vs. Indiana: 197 yards (29 carries) and three TD's ... Also had 41 receiving yards (on a career-high five catches) for a career-best 238 all-purpose yards ... Totaled 125 all-purpose yards (113 rushing, his sixth career 100-yard game) and three touchdowns, including the game-winning OT score vs. Ohio State ... Registered a career-most 33 carries vs. the Buckeyes ... His first score of the game came on a 14-yard TD pass ... Scored on a 1-yard run in OT to give NU its first victory over OSU since 1971, and its first in Evanston since 1958 ... Suffered a mild concussion vs. Arizona State, but came back to be the game's leading rusher (85 yards) vs. Kansas ... Notched a 100-yard game (105 yards) vs. Arizona State ... Also scored a rushing TD of the year vs. the Sun Devils ... Averaged a game-best 7.1 ypc and totaled 78 rushing yards at Minnesota ... Also had 44 receiving yards on four catches vs. the Gophers ... Totaled 94 yards (on 28 carries) and scored a couple TD's in season-opener at TCU ... Had TD runs of 2 and 16 yards ... Also caught four passes for 39 yards vs. the Frogs ... Racked up 97 rushing yards, two touchdowns and 38 receiving yards vs. Illinois ... Totaled 125 all-purpose yards vs. Hawaii (90 rushing, 35 receiving) ... Ranked first on team with an all-purpose average of 144.3 ypg (second in Big Ten and 21st nationally).
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Old 08-31-2005, 01:52 PM   #10
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Quote:
I don't think Ward is a WR that can change a game or take a game over in the Terrell Owens or Chad Johnson mold. Granted, he's in an offense that is decidedly run first and that hinders his stature somewhat. The best way I can put it is that he's a "team" WR... blocking... making the possesion 1st down catch, etc. He's just not a threat to score at any moment... he will not command the double team like Plax did when he was on his game and he cannot stretch the field consistently to open up the run. In short... I like Ward... I just don't think he's a #1. I think Tommy Maddox was good for him... I don't think Ben is the type of QB that will get him the 12 and 10 TD's like 2002 and 2003. I guess for me it comes down to the money. I wouldn't pay Hines #1 money unless he proves he can be a game-breaker at the WR position that the Steelers sorely need. I can find 10 rookies in camp to be blocking WRs.
I think this is a bit unfair, because how many NFL WRs are in the "Terrell Owens or Chad Johnson mold?" Moss, TO, Holt, Chad Johnson, Marvin Harrison, and maybe Andre Johnson in the near future. Very few NFL teams have that kind of WR.

I think he's far more than a blocking WR. He often breaks big gains, and how many WRs fight for extra yardage (and get it) like Hines does? None. Countless times I've seen Hines fight through a tackle to pick up five or six extra yards. Harrison and Moss are great, but they have never fought for yardage the way Hines has.

And the man catches just about everything that's thrown at him. Hines caught 75% of all balls thrown to him last year. That includes bad throws, defended balls, everything. That's phenomenal, and it's better than any of the premier WRs I listed above. (Source: Pro Football Prospectus 2005)

(Brief aside: If anyone out there doesn't have Pro Football Prospectus 2005, I strongly recommend picking it up. It renders all preview magazines obsolete. It has a bunch of new stats and measurables, and there's a lot of non-traditional thinking. If you're interested you can check out Football Outsiders, the site behind Prospectus and all this new-fangledness.)

But anyway, the point about Hines not stretching the field is taken. But that's why we got Cedrick Wilson, right? I won't get into that, though, because that's a different post all together...

...As is the money. I think you're correct in worrying about giving Hines a big new deal, but I'm just trying to talk about his on-field play, which has always been stellar.
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