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Old 01-21-2008, 03:25 AM   #1
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Default It's lack of business as usual for Steelers

It's lack of business as usual for Steelers
By Mark Madden
Published: Monday, January 21, 2008 12:35 AM EST


When Ben Roethlisberger announced his off-season wish list, he officially became one of you. Rather, one of yinz.

Roethlisberger can wish all he wants, but the Steelers are not going to re-sign Alan Faneca. They?re not going to add a big wide receiver of any pedigree unless he?s available in the draft. Yinzer Nation can wish all it wants, but the Steelers are not going to alter the way they do things.

That?s with one notable exception: Big Ben will get a contract extension that includes $32 million or so in guaranteed money. Much as they would like to, the Steelers can?t escape that facet of NFL reality. To keep the big-time quarterback, you?ve got to splash the big-time cash. I just hope a defibrillator is handy when Dan Rooney is handed the pen.

Otherwise, it will be lack of business as usual. The Steelers will build through the draft, and any free agents they sign will be marginal.

Kevin Colbert is a good general manager ? within the context of what the Steelers want him to do. Colbert shops at the dollar store. He gets an occasional good buy, like safety Ryan Clark.

The talk-show crowd is clamoring for the Steelers to yank 6-foot-4 Jacksonville receiver Ernest Wilford out of the free-agent pool. Despite a modest career and a modest 45 catches this season, however, Wilford will draw a fair amount of interest, and the Steelers won?t compete for him.

Adding a receiver would be a good idea. To maximize the investment in Roethlisberger, the Steelers need to maximize his weaponry, or at least upgrade it to average. Hines Ward is 32 and sidelined by wear-and-tear a bit more every year. Nate Washington drops darn near as many as he catches.

But if the Steelers get a receiver through free agency, it will be someone on Cedrick Wilson?s level. So why bother? They?ve already got Cedrick Wilson. Also, adding a receiver with tangible talent would just cause Ward ? the self-proclaimed leader of the wideouts ? to pop off about lack of respect, and how many times does he have to prove himself ... I just can?t go through that again.

Fact is, the logical thing for the Steelers to do would be to reinforce and realign their receiving corps with an eye toward Ward sliding to the No. 3 spot, to the slot. That role might prolong his career. At this point, less would be more for Ward. But why accept reasonable thinking when you can get what you want through whining, or the threat thereof? Ask any spoiled seventh-grade girl.

To maximize the investment in Roethlisberger, the Steelers also have to make sure he doesn?t die. Since Ben has cut down on motorcycle accidents, that leaves the offensive line to consider.

Colbert was recently quoted as saying that the offensive line is not necessarily a glaring need. That sounds absurd, but what else is Colbert supposed to say?

If Colbert says, ?Boy, our line stinks? ? what then? The Steelers aren?t going to replace the whole offensive line. Some of this season?s line is going to have to play next season, so perhaps it?s best to not drain them of the little bit of confidence they might yet happen to have. Colbert says what?s best for the team. If you ever bothered to think it through, you?d be happy about that.

That said, that line really does stink, and is losing its best player and leader besides. The Steelers broke their usual do-little free-agent policy by signing center Jeff Hartings in 2001. If an offensive lineman of Hartings? ilk is available ... wait a minute, one is. But the Steelers are letting Faneca go.

That said, I don?t blame the Steelers. Giving a guard big money just doesn?t make sense. Cleveland did that last off-season, giving Eric Steinbach a deal that included $17 million in guarantees.

I analyze the NFL via one basic tenet: If the Browns did it, it must be wrong.

There?s already a clamor for Roethlisberger to help the Steelers retain Faneca by giving the wayward guard some of his money. That clamor is exactly why Ben shouldn?t have opened his yap regarding the Faneca situation.

At any rate, it?s Roethlisberger?s responsibility to get his. Period. The Steelers are currently projected to be $18.61 million under the NFL salary cap next season. They have the money to keep Faneca with no help from Roethlisberger.

So, with this column mercifully wrapping up, it?s time to bunker in for the Steelers off-season. Aside from the necessities ? the draft and Roethlisberger?s contract extension ? absolutely nothing of any interest will occur. But that won?t stop the Steelers from being featured in some manufactured way on the front page of every local sports page, and in the opening moments of every local newscast.
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Old 01-21-2008, 03:50 AM   #2
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Default Re: It's lack of business as usual for Steelers

I could never really understand why people disliked Mark Madden so much...

Well... this article removes any questions.
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Old 01-21-2008, 09:01 AM   #3
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Default Re: It's lack of business as usual for Steelers

i also agree with the article

I'm not big on Wilford but would like to see them go after Bryant Johnson. And also a FA to play DE. The draft is loaded with offensive tackle so I hope we get a good one there
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Old 01-21-2008, 09:09 AM   #4
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Default Re: It's lack of business as usual for Steelers

Certainly no fan of Madden, but I also agree with the article for the most part.
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Old 01-21-2008, 09:53 AM   #5
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Default Re: It's lack of business as usual for Steelers

Hate to admit i agree with Madden, but aside from such typical jabs as Ben needing to stay out of accidents he makes good points - Steelers could not afford to re-sign Burress, but the need for a bigger WR after the OL gets taken care of is a definite priority
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Old 01-21-2008, 01:20 PM   #6
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Default Re: It's lack of business as usual for Steelers

Quote:
Originally Posted by lamberts-lost-tooth View Post
That said, I don?t blame the Steelers. Giving a guard big money just doesn?t make sense. Cleveland did that last off-season, giving Eric Steinbach a deal that included $17 million in guarantees.

I analyze the NFL via one basic tenet: If the Browns did it, it must be wrong.
umm to bad they were on the brink of the playoffs and had the same record as us... what does that make us? they're team turned around and they looked decent for most of the season.. (especially they're offense) so idk what this guy is talkin bout...
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Old 01-21-2008, 01:28 PM   #7
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Default Re: It's lack of business as usual for Steelers

I can't stomach Tubby Tuba but this was a very well written article (he must have had his daily ration of a case of Ho-Ho's - a full belly is a happy belly). I can't say I disagree with anything he says, though I really wouldn't mind seeing Wilford in a Steelers uniform next season.
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Old 01-21-2008, 01:43 PM   #8
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Default Re: It's lack of business as usual for Steelers

I don't have a problem with Madden at all. I listen to his post game show and I find him to be objective, but fair.
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Old 01-21-2008, 02:31 PM   #9
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Default Re: It's lack of business as usual for Steelers

Quote:
Originally Posted by Preacher View Post
I could never really understand why people disliked Mark Madden so much...

Well... this article removes any questions.


Well, usually his articles aren't this good. Madden is a huge blubbering idiot.
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Old 01-21-2008, 03:40 PM   #10
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Default Re: It's lack of business as usual for Steelers

wow....this is the first time i've ever read a madden article , without saying "what a moron" upon the conclussion. he was pretty spot on, with his opinions, with maybe the exception as this statement....
Quote:
Fact is, the logical thing for the Steelers to do would be to reinforce and realign their receiving corps with an eye toward Ward sliding to the No. 3 spot, to the slot. That role might prolong his career. At this point, less would be more for Ward. But why accept reasonable thinking when you can get what you want through whining, or the threat thereof? Ask any spoiled seventh-grade girl.
i'm not so sure hines would mind moving to the slot. with arians using more spread offense, the slot really doesn't lose much field time. in fact a lot of spread offenses utilize the slot as much or more than the 1 & 2. look at what welker has done in cheatville.plus moving ward around would give him better chances for mismatches, and seperation.
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