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August 9th, 2014, 7:30pmET

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Old 08-14-2008, 05:30 AM   #1
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Default Hartwig To Be Center Of Attention

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It's Hartwig's turn to be center of attention

LATROBE - In an ideal world, Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin would have already settled on a starting center, giving the offensive line nearly a month to play together as a unit.

As Tomlin has quickly learned in his year-plus as an NFL head coach, reality isn't always ideal.

"I'd like to have it solved yesterday," Tomlin said of the battle between incumbent Sean Mahan and newcomer Justin Hartwig. "But you don't always get what you want. We'll have clarity, certainly, when we do make that decision."

Mahan, who started every game last season, got the nod in a 16-10 preseason victory over Philadelphia. The Steelers were disappointed with Mahan's play last season, particularly late in the year. But they were happy with how he competed against the Eagles.

In the Steelers' second preseason game against Buffalo in Toronto tonight, Hartwig will work with the first unit. Hartwig was signed in the offseason after being released by Carolina.

The Steelers would like a starter in place by their third preseason game next week in Minnesota because the regulars usually play more.

"It's running its course," Tomlin said of the center competition. "We're going to continue to sort those things out and, hopefully, the answers become clearer to us. That's what we're going into the game looking at, the quality of the play, the cohesion of the unit. The sooner we get the starting five together, the better."

Tomlin also will be auditioning punters in tonight's game. Paul Ernster and Mitch Berger, signed Sunday, will get an equal shot at replacing Daniel Sepulveda, who suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament on the first day of training camp.

"We're going to punt those guys for the next three weeks and pit one versus the other and see who comes out on top," Tomlin said. "It is our intent to punt both of those guys in all three of these remaining games."

Quarterback Byron Leftwich, signed when Charlie Batch suffered a broken right collarbone against the Eagles, will make his Steelers debut, despite being in camp less than a week.

Leftwich will follow starter Ben Roethlisberger in the game. Thankfully for Leftwich, who has had just three practices and one walk through with the Steelers this week, quarterbacks coach Kenny Anderson held the same position in Jacksonville when Leftwich was a rookie there in 2003.

"I have a guy who coached me all those years and he can translate (plays) for me," Leftwich said. "We had the same plays on some of these plays, just the communication and interpretation of it is different. He can translate it for me and that way I can get it right now, especially so early, trying to rush and learn everything. I'm trying to learn fast. To have a guy like that who you have a relationship with, and have a lot of respect for, it helps me out."

This is the third preseason game the Steelers will play in Canada. They defeated New England, 30-14, in Montreal in 1990, and the New York Giants, 17-13, in Montreal in 1969. ... Tomlin owns a 5-1 record in preseason games. ... The Steelers are 5-1 against Buffalo in the preseason, including a 20-0 win in 2001.
By F. Dale Lolley, Staff writer

dlolley@observer-reporter.com

http://www.observer-reporter.com/OR/...-Bills-preview
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Old 08-14-2008, 06:40 AM   #2
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Default Re: Hartwig To Be Center Of Attention

In all due time this will be over with and Hartwig will be our starter. But I can honestly say that Mahan seemed to do pretty good vs that quick Eagles defense.
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Old 08-14-2008, 08:01 AM   #3
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Default Re: Hartwig To Be Center Of Attention

So which is it?

Scott Brown of the Tribune Review's article last week stated:

Quote:
"We're not listening to the fans," Zierlein said. "Sean did fine for us last year."
This week, the author of this article states:

Quote:
The Steelers were disappointed with Mahan's play last season, particularly late in the year.


Whether it is Hartwig or Mahan who wins that starting job, I actually feel sorry for, as whoever it is will be under that itty bitty cyber microscope whenever the line as a unit doesn't play well.

I will be behind whichever gentleman gets the job.
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Old 08-14-2008, 08:27 AM   #4
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Default Re: Hartwig To Be Center Of Attention

but it's not Mahan's fault He has a weight problem his teammates played bad which made him look bad just give the guy a chance














j/k Mahan sucks, go Hartwig!
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Old 08-14-2008, 08:34 AM   #5
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Default Re: Hartwig To Be Center Of Attention

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j/k Mahan sucks, go Hartwig!
I was wondering when the "Mahan SUCKS" was coming. LOL!

Wow LS - you are a hater! You haven't seen either guy in TC and have seen very little of Hartwig in action thus far.
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Old 08-14-2008, 09:32 AM   #6
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Default Re: Hartwig To Be Center Of Attention

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Wow LS - you are a hater! You haven't seen either guy in TC and have seen very little of Hartwig in action thus far.
seeing 17 games of Mahan getting dominated last year makes me cheer for any Center not named Mahan
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Old 08-14-2008, 10:01 AM   #7
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Default Re: Hartwig To Be Center Of Attention

Eagles are 4-3. Mahan has tough time with 3-4 when the big NTs are hammering him.
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Old 08-14-2008, 10:10 AM   #8
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Default Re: Hartwig To Be Center Of Attention

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seeing 17 games of Mahan getting dominated last year makes me cheer for any Center not named Mahan
That's what I've been trying to get across to you - he WASN'T dominated in 17 games last season. If you get the opportunity to watch some of the Steelers games from last season, pay particular attention to not only Mahan, but the left side of the line.
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Old 08-14-2008, 10:34 AM   #9
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Default Re: Hartwig To Be Center Of Attention

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I actually feel sorry for, as whoever it is will be under that itty bitty cyber microscope whenever the line as a unit doesn't play well.

which is unfair beause colon and simmons were just as bad(or at fault) as mahan. even faneca's play was less than stellar.

i was never impressed with simmons since he was drafted. i feel colon is better served as a G than a T.

IMO, there was plenty of blame to go around.
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Old 08-14-2008, 12:32 PM   #10
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Default Re: Hartwig To Be Center Of Attention

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Originally Posted by HometownGal View Post
So which is it?

Scott Brown of the Tribune Review's article last week stated:


This week, the author of this article states:





Whether it is Hartwig or Mahan who wins that starting job, I actually feel sorry for, as whoever it is will be under that itty bitty cyber microscope whenever the line as a unit doesn't play well.

I will be behind whichever gentleman gets the job.
Honestly HTG, it appears that you sympathize with Mahan and are somewhat blinded by your sympathy for how he has been "scapegoated" as you say.

Do you really thing that Zeirline is gonna come out and say that Mahan played below expectations and that is why they brought in Hartwig, who started for the Titans in the AFC championship game in 2003???? Coaches dont throw guys under the bus, especially if they are still coaching them. Coach Z still remains tight lipped on the Faneca deal when it appears he was undermined by the disgruntled all pro.

Honestly, Mahan was a weak link last season, so to was Smith because of his back, Faneca because of contract distractions and Colon because of inexperience.

I hope the best guy wins, but the fact of the matter is that there is nothing in Mahan's history to show that he was anything more than a backup O lineman playing on a weak Tampa O line. Hartwig played C in some pretty good O lines in Tenn, but was supplanted by Kevin Mawae, then in Carolina until injuries and Ryan Khalil pushed him out.

I expect Hartwig to win the position if healthy and hold it for a couple seasons until either Stapleton or a '09 draft pick supplants him in the future.

As for the Scapegoat cries.....its the Pittsburgh Steelers remember?? Kordell Stewart, Bill Cowher, Willie Parker, Duce Staley, Plaxico Burress, Tommy Maddox, all got scapegoated by the fans at one point.
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