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Old 12-03-2008, 06:45 AM   #1
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Default Steelers' Starks paying dividends

Steelers' Starks paying dividends
By F. Dale Lolley, Staff writer
http://www.observer-reporter.com/OR/...s-Starks-Smith
dlolley@observer-reporter.com

PITTSBURGH - When the Steelers placed the transition tag on offensive tackle Max Starks, many wondered about the logic of spending nearly $7 million on a backup.

Turns out director of football operations Kevin Colbert knew what he was doing.

Left tackle Marvel Smith has missed the past seven games with a back injury and Starks has admirably filled in, helping the Steelers to a 5-2 record in those games.

With Smith scheduled to miss his eighth consecutive game Sunday against Dallas (8-4) at Heinz Field, the spotlight again will be on Starks.

He'll be matched against Dallas outside linebacker DeMarcus Ware, who leads the NFL with 15 sacks.

"Max has done a nice job. I think that he has been in for seven or so games for us at left tackle," said Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin. "For him, I think that a big measure of where he is will be how he competes and plays against a guy like DeMarcus Ware."

Ware had three sacks in a Thanksgiving Day victory over Seattle, and all three came against All-Pro left tackle Walter Jones. Ware did it despite not playing most of the fourth quarter after hyperextending his knee.

The Steelers (9-3) expect Ware to play.

"He is without question the best pass rusher that we have seen this year and probably will see," said Tomlin. "He is a special player."


The Steelers' offensive line has allowed 36 sacks this season, but just one in their past two games.

But the line will face perhaps its biggest test against Dallas' 3-4 defense. The Cowboys have 40 sacks this season, second in the league to Pittsburgh's 42.

Because Ware has one-third of those, the Steelers will pay close attention to him.

"He moves around in their base defense," said Tomlin. "He is primarily the open-side outside linebacker and Greg Ellis is the tight end-side outside linebacker. In their sub-package football, you will primarily see him on the offense's left side. They are capable of moving him around but he has done quite a bit of damage from the offense's left side."

While Starks played well in Smith's absence, Tomlin is hopeful Smith will be healthy enough to play at some point this season.

Smith missed four regular season games and the playoffs last season with a back problem that required surgery to remove part of his disc.

He was feeling better in the offseason and training camp, but has not played since an Oct. 5 win at Jacksonville. Smith experienced numbness in his toes and lower back pain, the same problem he had last year.

"Marvel is a veteran player; a high-quality person and player," said Tomlin, who added the team is not prepared to put Smith on injured reserve. "If we have an opportunity to get a contribution from him as we move forward, then we are going to try to pursue that if we can."

Copyright Observer Publishing Co.
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Old 12-03-2008, 08:06 AM   #2
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Default Re: Steelers' Starks paying dividends

Starks is going to have to on on his a-game on Sunday. Ware is just as good as Harrison.

Hopefully Arians and Tomlin use a TE to chip him and keep a RB in to help block.
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Old 12-04-2008, 05:55 AM   #3
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Default Re: Steelers' Starks paying dividends

Even with Starks starting at this point, there is no way you can tell me that Colbert was smart about the whole transition tag. Sorry not buying it. No question Starks will have to play at a very high level on Sunday because Ware is going to bring it.
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Old 12-04-2008, 09:30 AM   #4
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Default Re: Steelers' Starks paying dividends

No way. The FO has no clue what they are doing. Only the fans that post here actually know what's going on. Starks was a waste of money. Tomlin and Arians need fired. We nee to run the ball 80 times a game. Ben should ony pass two times a game, and those should be 1/2 step drops. Etc, etc, etc...
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Old 12-04-2008, 11:05 AM   #5
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Default Re: Steelers' Starks paying dividends

I agree it's good we have Starks around -- what with the injuries on the line and all -- but no way was it worth $7 million. For that amount of money, we could've gotten TWO free agent linemen who were at least decent.
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Old 12-04-2008, 11:10 AM   #6
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Default Re: Steelers' Starks paying dividends

I was a fan of letting Starks go and using that $$ to find another free agent OT, getting one in the draft, or a free agent D lineman.

He has played adequately in relief of Smith, but still hope we replace him in the offseason. Not as good of a run blocker as Smith and still struggles with speed rushers.

I still wish we had let him go and could have instead drafted Anthony Collins in the 3rd round and picked up Willie Anderson instead of the Ravens getting him. I'd be just as happy with Collins, Anderson or Essex at LT and have that $7mil to do something else.
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Old 12-05-2008, 06:10 AM   #7
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Default Re: Steelers' Starks paying dividends

Quote:
Originally Posted by El-Gonzo Jackson View Post
I was a fan of letting Starks go and using that $$ to find another free agent OT, getting one in the draft, or a free agent D lineman.
I am sure this will definitely happen in the off season.
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Old 12-05-2008, 08:18 AM   #8
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Default Re: Steelers' Starks paying dividends

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Originally Posted by markymarc View Post
I am sure this will definitely happen in the off season.
Dont count on it. I have a feeling the Steelers will offer Starks a contract and he will be around for another 4-5 mediocre seasons.
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Old 12-05-2008, 05:16 PM   #9
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Default Re: Steelers' Starks paying dividends

If we have a deep playoff run or (and I hate to even type these words) win the Super Bowl, the 7 million will be worth every penny.
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Old 12-05-2008, 07:51 PM   #10
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Default Re: Steelers' Starks paying dividends

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Dont count on it. I have a feeling the Steelers will offer Starks a contract and he will be around for another 4-5 mediocre seasons.
I just believe they are still bitter how the whole transition tag project worked out. Me personally I don't want Starks back. He is not the answer at LT. I could see the FO saving their money for players like Kemo, Essex and Colon.
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