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Old 02-17-2009, 06:33 AM   #1
mesaSteeler
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Default Pittsburgh Steelers Team Report - USA Today

Pittsburgh Steelers Team Report

Pittsburgh has a large group of potential unrestricted free agents, including four in their offensive line, and they will try to sign some of them before Feb. 27.

"We haven't made any definitive offers or decisions on any of our guys at this point," said director of football operations Kevin Colbert said. "But it's safe to say that we will try to keep as many of our own guys as possible, fully understanding that it may not be possible and may have to go outside, either through free agency or obviously through the draft to replace some guys we potentially could lose."

High on their list are cornerback Bryant McFadden and their offensive tackles. Marvel Smith, Max Starks and Trai Essex all can be UFAs, while Willie Colon would be an RFA. Those are their top four tackles and they have no one with experience behind them. They'd like to sign two of those three UFA tackles.

Starting left guard Chris Kemoeatu also will be a UFA after one year as a starter, replacing Alan Faneca, who left as a UFA last year.

The offensive line did not perform well in 2008 but it also was a line in transition with two starters injured most of the season, Smith and right guard Kendall Simmons, a new center in Justin Hartwig, and two new guards in Kemoeatu and Simmons' replacement, Darnell Stapleton.

Simmons will return so Kemoeatu is not a must-sign.

"It's unusual to have that many guys be hitting the market at the same time," Colbert said. "If we could, we wouldn't have that many coming into free agency at the same time but circumstances just dictated that's where it ended up this time. You don't like to have that many guys at one position so that's a little unnerving but we should be able to work through it."

The Steelers ground game ranked 23rd in 2008, their second-lowest since they joined the AFC in 1970, and they had season-long troubles scoring near the goal-line. Ben Roethlisberger was sacked 46 times, second-most of any quarterback in the league.

Colbert excused the line for all of that because of injuries and Roethlisberger's style of play.

"That being said, we also have to try to continue to improve in that area," Colbert said. "I'm sure he doesn't like taking hits at the expense of making big plays that result in Super Bowl victories. But he is who he is, and it's our job to try to keep that talent around him and to keep improving it."

NOTES, QUOTES

PK Jeff Reed was cited for disorderly conduct and criminal mischief after Pittsburgh police said the Steelers kicker threw a temper tantrum at a convenience store because the restroom didn't have any towels. The citation carries a maximum fine of $300 and 90 days in jail.

Arizona coach Ken Whisenhunt never asked for permission to talk to Steelers linebackers coach Keith Butler about becoming the Cardinals defensive coordinator. A radio station in Phoenix reported he had received permission. (Must be one of the "sources" of that tool Mike Florio of profootballtalk. - mesa)

LB Larry Foote may be around for 2009 after all. There was speculation the Steelers might ask Foote to take a pay cut from his $2.885 million salary, but sources said he would not. It does not appear they will release him, though, the way they did Joey Porter in 2007.

"Any player who is a starter and still a contributor it would be hard to make any kind of adjustments," Kevin Colbert said.

The Steelers are negotiating heavily with one of their players and he's not a potential UFA this year. LB James Harrison, the NFL's defensive player of the year, has one year left on a bargain-like deal he signed in 2006 as a backup. He earned $1.2 million last year and would make $1.4 million this year.

"I think the Steelers and I are on the same page," said agent Bill Parise. "We don't think there will be any issues. My goal and, I think, theirs is the same. We know what we need to do and we'll both go about the business of trying to get it done."

The Steelers won't admit it but they made a mistake when they gave OT Max Starks the transition tag last year. It was a mistake right up until the fifth game, left tackle Marvel Smith's last because of a back problem. Starks stepped in and did a nice job all the way through the Super Bowl.

"As it turned out we were very happy that we had Max available when he was needed," Kevin Colbert said. "We were fortunate that he was still here because it gave us an experienced guy who had played as a starter in the playoffs and in the Super Bowl."

QUOTE TO NOTE: "I see five of them every day when I do go to work. I know what they look like. I'm just glad that I can do my part in terms of contributing to that trophy case." - Coach Mike Tomlin, on winning his first Lombardi Trophy.

STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL

TEAM NEEDS/OFFSEASON STRATEGY

The Steelers are negotiating with linebacker James Harrison, the NFL defensive player of the year, to extend his contract that has one season to go. They have not started negotiating with their free agents yet, but will do so shortly.

Among those UFAs they would like to keep are CB Bryant McFadden, WR Nate Washington, OT Max Starks, G Chris Kemoeatu, T Marvel Smith and T Trai Essex.

TOP THREE TEAM NEEDS

1. Offensive linemen: They have five free agents in their line, four UFAs and one RFA, including their top four tackles. And the line was not good to begin with.

2. Defensive linemen: Their starting three are strong, but they're all over 30, as are five of their top six defensive linemen. They need some youth.

3. Defensive backs: Depth at safety and cornerback are an issue, and they could use someone to push for a starting job at corner, especially if they lose Bryant McFadden to free agency.

MEDICAL WATCH: WR Hines Ward had shoulder "clean-up" surgery this week and should be ready for 2009.

Other possible surgeries are pending. RB Rashard Mendenhall's broken shoulder has healed and he's in the process of adding weights to his lifting routing. G Kendall Simmons (Achilles tendon tear) and punter Daniel Sepulveda (ACL tear) are rehabbing.

QB Charlie Batch (broken collarbone) long ago healed.

FRANCHISE PLAYER: None.

TRANSITION PLAYER: None.

UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS

QB Charlie Batch wants to return as Ben Roethlisberger's backup. The team wants him back.

P Mitch Berger was terrible and will not receive an offer because Daniel Sepulveda will return from injury.

CB Fernando Bryant was signed for depth during the season, his 10th, and likely will not re-sign.

OT Trai Essex served as the top backup at tackle and guard and could start if he stays and Max Starks and Marvel Smith leave.

LB Keyaron Fox was a valuable special teams player they would like to re-sign.

LB Andre Frazier played mostly on special teams and would be a low priority.

G Chris Kemoeatu was so-so in his first season as a starter. They would like to keep him but won't break the bank.

QB Byron Leftwich did a nice job and is now ready to compete somewhere else to start.

CB Bryant McFadden started on the left side. One of their top priorities to re-sign but his price might be too steep.

OT Marvel Smith, their longtime starter on the left side, played only the first five games and then had his second back surgery in one calendar year. He should receive an offer before FA begins.

DE Orpheus Roye completed his 13th season by mainly being inactive on game day and he likely will not be re-signed.

OT Max Starks replaced Smith and did a nice job. Former two-year starter on the right. He'll receive a decent offer but may look elsewhere.

WR Nate Washington was their main deep threat during the season and No. 3 receiver who would be hard to replace.

RESTRICTED FREE AGENTS

OT Willie Colon, their starter on the right the past two seasons will receive a high tender.

LB Arnold Harrison was on injured reserve with a torn ACL, and also is a low priority but might re-sign.

CB Anthony Madison was one of their best special teams players and they will issue him a tender.

FB Sean McHugh, listed as a tight end, became more valuable as a blocker in the backfield as the season proceeded.

S Anthony Smith was inactive for the post-season but could receive low tender as a third-round pick.

EXCLUSIVE RIGHTS FREE AGENTS

TE Jon Dekker was on injured reserve.

OT Jason Capizzi was on 53-man roster late in the season and will be kept.

G Jeremy Parquet was a backup who played little. He might not be tendered.

PLAYERS RE-SIGNED: None.

PLAYERS ACQUIRED

RB Stefan Logan: FA CFL; terms unknown.

WR Brandon Williams: FA; terms unknown.

PLAYERS LOST: None.




Find this article at:
http://www.usatoday.com/sports/footb...ome.htm?csp=34
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Old 02-17-2009, 07:22 AM   #2
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Default Re: Pittsburgh Steelers Team Report - USA Today

Quote:
—OT Trai Essex served as the top backup at tackle and guard and could start if he stays and Max Starks and Marvel Smith leave.
colon, and a guy who couldn't beat out colon...both starting .... ....
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Old 02-17-2009, 09:14 AM   #3
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Default Re: Pittsburgh Steelers Team Report - USA Today

I don't see why the Steelers would put any priority on re-signing Marvel Smith or Willie Colon. Smith is getting old and two back surgeries in 1 year should make him a HUGE question mark. Willie "False Start" Colon? Where do I start with him...?

Both were starters last season? BFD. That line was just about as dreadful as this year's. Didn't they let up even more sacks in '07-'08?
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Old 02-17-2009, 09:25 AM   #4
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Default Re: Pittsburgh Steelers Team Report - USA Today

i can't even begin to speculate who is coming and who is going. i just know that they are going to have to keep Harrison and hopefully keep McFadden and Washington and Foote. those 4 would be primo choices to resign just for the fact that they contribute to the team a lot more often than not.

soooo...sign them. do what you do. make it happen. =)

-- it's not like they'll listen to me anyways. i told them years ago to keep Tommy Maddox in and he'll take us to the Super Bowl. *sigh* we all know how that turned out. where is that guy anyways!? =)
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Old 02-17-2009, 09:33 AM   #5
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Default Re: Pittsburgh Steelers Team Report - USA Today

I am just hoping that McFadden and Harrison get long term deals, and that every pick on draft day has an OL or DL next to their name!
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Old 02-17-2009, 09:37 AM   #6
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Default Re: Pittsburgh Steelers Team Report - USA Today

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Originally Posted by SteelCityKing View Post
-- it's not like they'll listen to me anyways. i told them years ago to keep Tommy Maddox in and he'll take us to the Super Bowl. *sigh* we all know how that turned out. where is that guy anyways!? =)
Actually, had it not been for the Academy Award winning performance of that asstard Nedney, Maddox would have taken that team to the AFCC in 2002. Granted, he only had that one stellar season, but I'll always appreciate him for that.

Quote:
OT Willie Colon, their starter on the right the past two seasons will receive a high tender.
That is all.

I've said it before on this board - I think Kemo is a diamond in the rough. I wouldn't "break the bank" to keep him either, but I think he would stick around and have another chance at his second SB ring with a decent tender by the Steelers.

Quote:
QB Charlie Batch wants to return as Ben Roethlisberger's backup. The team wants him back.
Bring him back in some other capacity (coach, asst. coach) but not as Ben's backup, please???? I love the guy, but his better days have long passed him by imho.
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Old 02-17-2009, 10:18 AM   #7
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Default Re: Pittsburgh Steelers Team Report - USA Today

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Originally Posted by SteelCityKing View Post
-- it's not like they'll listen to me anyways. i told them years ago to keep Tommy Maddox in and he'll take us to the Super Bowl. *sigh* we all know how that turned out. where is that guy anyways!? =)
selling insurance or cars i think
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Old 02-17-2009, 11:32 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by mesaSteeler View Post

Simmons will return so Kemoeatu is not a must-sign.

Doesnt this guy know that Simmons career is over because of his injury?.
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Old 02-17-2009, 05:00 PM   #9
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Default Re: Pittsburgh Steelers Team Report - USA Today

Colbert excused the line for all of that because of injuries and Roethlisberger's style of play.

Really? Does he think Ben likes having to run for his life (maybe he does)...but its not a good plan. Roethlisberger's style of play was developed because of the LACK of an offensive line!
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Old 02-18-2009, 10:04 PM   #10
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Default Re: Pittsburgh Steelers Team Report - USA Today

CB Bryant McFadden started on the left side. I Seen Ike On THe Left Side SUmtimes 2 Who Is Our Best Cornerback Mcfadden Or Ike?
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