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Old 08-19-2007, 11:04 PM   #1
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Default Between the Lines: Ed Bouchette

Between the lines: A Steelers postgame analysis by Ed Bouchette
Steelers 12 Redskins 10

Monday, August 20, 2007

Had the Steelers' 12-10 victory Saturday night against Washington on the road happened in the regular season, it would have been a nice, fourth-quarter comeback for them.

As it stands, many of those leading that comeback won't be on the 53-man roster. A coach usually says something good about his team when it comes from behind, even during a preseason game, and Mike Tomlin complied.

"We stayed in the fight. We found a way to finish this football game," Tomlin said.

Perhaps, but those he needs to win games for him in the regular season were all on the bench ?? Ben Roethlisberger, Willie Parker, Hines Ward, Santonio Holmes, Heath Miller, etc., etc.

What does it matter, other than to the individuals involved trying to catch on even with a practice squad, that the third and fourth teams outscored the Redskins' third and fourth teams in the fourth quarter?

Tomlin was bluntly critical in other areas after the game in which his first-team offense scored three points in a half of play and his first-team defense allowed the Redskins to convert 7 of 10 third downs.

Here are some of the ups, downs and sideways from Saturday night's game:

The Breakdown:

Ben Roethlisberger's stats looked reasonable -- he was 8 of 12 for 87 yards. But he overthrew an open Santonio Holmes in the end zone, and with a first down at the Redskins' 9, he could not deliver them into the end zone on six plays. Granted, Roethlisberger wasn't getting the best protection either. "I would like to see him perform better," Tomlin said.

Santonio Holmes continued to show he can become a game-breaking wide receiver. He caught two more passes for 51 yards to go with the one of 49 he snatched the previous week against Green Bay. He has six receptions for a 24.7-yard average in three preseason games.

Punter Daniel Sepulveda keeps making Kevin Colbert look good for spending draft choices in the fourth and sixth rounds on him. The rookie punted four times for an average of 50 yards, 48.5 net. After a so-so first game, he has averaged 49.9 yards gross with only 15 total yards returned on nine punts in the past two games. He has come close to having one blocked in each of the past two games, though.

Rookie tight end Matt Spaeth, a third-round draft choice, is still searching for his first reception. That might not be a big deal because veteran tight end Heath Miller caught his first pass Saturday night, for just 3 yards, although Roethlisberger looked his way more times than that. Miller at 6 feet 5 and Spaeth at 6-7 were to be terrors teaming up in the red zone. Perhaps the Steelers are holding back that part of the offense in which they throw more to the tight end; either that or the promise belongs with the one where the check is in the mail.

Verron Haynes ran hard Saturday night, driving some tacklers backward as he gained 30 yards on seven carries (4.3-yard average) and catching two passes for 15 yards. He also did his thing pass blocking, as usual. It seemed as if the coaches wanted to give him a long look in a game as he tries to save his spot on the team after major knee surgery in November. He passed the test Saturday night, but with young backs Carey Davis and Gary Russell making strong bids, his spot remains unsecured.

Offensive line: The team has only one left tackle, Marvel Smith. It has been determined that Max Starks cannot be the backup there, and Trai Essex looked lost there Saturday night. Alan Faneca might not like it, but if Smith is hurt, he's probably the only one who can capably handle moving out there.

Alan Faneca: Perhaps the Steelers should try one more time with Faneca to extend his contract. It does not appear they will, but he's their best offensive lineman and they've now seen what could happen if Smith gets hurt. Faneca is only 30 and he's rarely injured. He could remain a dominant guard for the next five years. He's their most decorated guard in history and probably the second-best left tackle on their team. Maybe things have been said on either side that weren't quite diplomatic, but the Rooneys have a way of putting those behind them and convincing a player to do so as well. Maybe Roethlisberger and Willie Parker should be the ones pushing for an extension for Faneca.

Brett Keisel's hit on quarterback Jason Campbell deservedly drew a flag because the Kimo von Oelhoffen rule added in 2006 expressly prohibits hitting the quarterback low. (It appeared he hit him above the knee.) Of course, defenders can't hit him high, either, because that's consider head-hunting. It's the new strike zone in football, from the shoulders to above the knees. Jack Lambert, nearly 30 years ago, suggested outfitting the quarterbacks in dresses. The NFL should consider outfitting them in flags instead, one on each side of the belt. Pull it and they're down.

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/07232/810755-66.stm
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Old 08-19-2007, 11:24 PM   #2
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Default Re: Between the Lines: Ed Bouchette

Quote:
Jack Lambert, nearly 30 years ago, suggested outfitting the quarterbacks in dresses. The NFL should consider outfitting them in flags instead, one on each side of the belt. Pull it and they're down.
As soon as someone like Brady or Manning goes down with a season-ending injury, this is probably the next step.
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Old 08-19-2007, 11:49 PM   #3
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Default Re: Between the Lines: Ed Bouchette

At least we know there might be one quarterbaCk with a certain nfL franchisE who might not try to aVoid thE ruLe requiring qb's to weAr a skirt. Now it woulDn't be right for me to mention that team So out of a respect and decorum, I won't come out and say anything.
Of course, not that there is anything wrong with that.

I do think such a rule Quite natUarlly would be rIdiculed by fans and players would be subject to iNsensitive juveNile humor.

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Old 08-20-2007, 01:16 AM   #4
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Default Re: Between the Lines: Ed Bouchette

A couple things...

One.. Great point by Bouchette on the TE's. It could be that they just didn't want to put it on tape.

I hope that is true.

2. I was one of those who was (and is) telling Fanaca to not let the door hit him on the way out.

However, If Okobi doesn't make it... and we can also drop Starks... maybe we can come back with an offer... won't be top 5, or maybe even 10. But come back with a decent offer, with most of the money guaranteed over the next 3 or 4 years. See if he takes it.

3. ONE for the...

Great post!!
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Old 08-20-2007, 03:51 AM   #5
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Default Re: Between the Lines: Ed Bouchette

I like what the punter is doing so far only 15 toatal return yards on 9 punts.
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Old 08-20-2007, 07:06 AM   #6
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Default Re: Between the Lines: Ed Bouchette

Seems to be wishful thinking on signing Faneca - for whatever reason the Steelers have Faneca valued at a less than top 10 guard. Either his skills are regarded as having dropped significantly or the Steelers figure Ben is going to break the salary cap bank and few other top players can be signed.

O-line dysfunction appears to have become the official late training camp theme for the media.
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Old 08-20-2007, 03:06 PM   #7
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Default Re: Between the Lines: Ed Bouchette

I'm getting worried about Spaeth. No receptions at all! Hope we didn't waste a pick there. At least last years 3rd round pick is no waste
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Old 08-20-2007, 03:24 PM   #8
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Default Re: Between the Lines: Ed Bouchette

Hmm...I may be the only one on the board thinking this, but the line hurts without Alan Faneca. Maybe some folks here don't like his attitude. That's ok, you don't have to. What you do have to admit is that the man has played great during the time here. Was he great last year? He was o-k. Slightly above average than most in the league. Great? No. I will not say he was great. The truth is, he does a good job and is rarely hurt. Glad to see Ed giving it where it's due. I give Ed some props for exposing the issue with Faneca. That he does provide depth and back-up help for Marvel (if he gets hurt). Smith hasn't had too many problems, so we'll see. Depending on how the line works out this year, it could be a blessing in disguise, or disaster the next few years.
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Old 08-20-2007, 03:29 PM   #9
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Default Re: Between the Lines: Ed Bouchette

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Originally Posted by Jman View Post
Hmm...I may be the only one on the board thinking this, but the line hurts without Alan Faneca. Maybe some folks here don't like his attitude. That's ok, you don't have to. What you do have to admit is that the man has played great during the time here. Was he great last year? He was o-k. Slightly above average than most in the league. Great? No. I will not say he was great. The truth is, he does a good job and is rarely hurt. Glad to see Ed giving it where it's due. I give Ed some props for exposing the issue with Faneca. That he does provide depth and back-up help for Marvel (if he gets hurt). Smith hasn't had too many problems, so we'll see. Depending on how the line works out this year, it could be a blessing in disguise, or disaster the next few years.
I agree with you, and also it doesn't seem like we got great depth in the line, hopefully our 1st round next year is a good o lineman who is ready to start, cause if not we'll be in problems. But let's see if the problems continue during the regular season, if they do we won't get far, and if they don't well thanks for everything faneca
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Old 08-20-2007, 03:32 PM   #10
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Default Re: Between the Lines: Ed Bouchette

I don't put the weight of the entire line on Faneca's shoulders. There's 4 others besides him.

I would love to see the Steelers pick up a guard who could play either side in the 1st round. Next year's picks need to be some O-line players, IMO.
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