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Old 02-21-2009, 12:46 AM   #1
mesaSteeler
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Default Steelers Team Report

http://sports.yahoo.com/nfl/news?slu...pe=team_report
Steelers Team Report

Yahoo! Sports 14 hours, 8 minutes ago

Inside Slant

Pittsburgh enters the 2009 season the same way it entered 2008. The Steelers need linemen, on both sides of the ball.

Mike Tomlin declared one year ago that they needed to get bigger and better on both sides, and they did neither. They drafted offensive tackle Tony Hills in the fourth round and that was that. They did sign center Justin Hartwig as a free agent, and he was an improvement.

They did not draft a defensive lineman, and they’re getting old there with five of their top six over 30. They will get old fast in that line if something isn’t done soon and without a good line, their outstanding linebackers will not look as good as they do now.

“Yeah, you want to add some young talent if you can at any position, but defensive line is probably one of the older positions on our team,” said Kevin Colbert, Pittsburgh’s director of football operations.

Defensive end Aaron Smith will be 33 in two months, nose tackle Casey Hampton turns 32 before the season and end Brett Keisel 31.

And while quarterback Ben Roethlisberger kept boosting his offensive line publicly throughout the season, he needs better protection than he’s gotten. Roethlisberger has been sacked 139 times in the past three seasons and while some of those happen because of his style, poor blocking also is a factor.

They will receive a boost with the return of starting guard Kendall Simmons, who left after four games with a torn Achilles tendon. But the have four unrestricted free agents to go with restricted free-agent tackle Willie Colon. They’re not likely to improve vastly overnight, but keeping at least two free agents such as guard Chris Kemoeatu and tackle Max Starks will help with their consistency as a line, and allow them to add some building blocks through the draft.

They took a big step toward that when they put the franchise tag on Starks on Thursday. Starks will earn $8,451,000 in salary for the 2009 season. Starks was named a transition player by the Steelers last season and guaranteed $6.9 million, but he did not become a starter until Smith left the fifth game with back problems. Starks started every game after that.

There is still concern about their line as they try to keep a few before they can become free agents.

“You can say that because of the number of sacks but again the ultimate result you can’t argue with,” Colbert said. “So, sure, you’re going to look at it critically and say, ‘OK what can we do to get better?’ However, in the back of your mind you’re always going to think even though Area A or Area B may not be where you want it to be when you put it together collectively, it worked.

“Now again, you have to be honest about it and the sacks are something they’ve been here, that’s part of how we operate. And part of that is because we have a great quarterback who makes game-winning decisions or performances by not always being by the book. That’s who he is. That being said, we also have to try to continue to improve in that area. 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

• The Steelers placed the franchise tag on OT Max Starks, a move that will keep him from entering free agency unless another team is willing to give up two first-round draft picks to sign him. He is guaranteed $8,451,000 in salary for the 2009 season. Starks was named a transition player by the Steelers last season and guaranteed $6.9 million, but he did not become a starter until Marvel Smith left the fifth game with back problems. Starks started every game after that.

• LB coach Keith Butler spoke by phone with Arizona coach Ken Whisenhunt about becoming the Cardinals’ defensive coordinator, but it did not work out. Butler had recent hip surgery and that likely limited his availability.

• Mike Tomlin’s coaching staff will return for a third straight season without a change. There have been no additions or subtractions since Tomlin put together his first staff in 2007.

• Tomlin is due for a contract extension. He signed a four-year, $10 million contract in 2007 and the Steelers traditionally negotiate an extension with their head coaches when they still have two years left.

• Charities are making money all over the place for Santonio Holmes’ Super Bowl-winning TD catch. The NFL fined him $10,000 for celebrating that catch, money that goes to charity. And an auction of the Reebok black and gold gloves he wore while making the reception brought in $70,200 to the Sickle Cell Disease Association of America.

Quote To Note: “If you have one of the better guards in the league, you try to keep him.”—Ken Vierra, Chris Kemoeatu’s agent, on expected negotiations with the Steelers before he can become a UFA Feb. 27.

Strategy And Personnel

DE Jordan Reffett was signed. Reffett (6-4, 292), an undrafted rookie from Washington, spent training camp with the Steelers and two weeks on their practice squad in October.

FRANCHISE PLAYER: OT Max Starks: Tendered at $8.451M.

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.

• 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.
Updated 14 hours, 8 minutes ago


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Old 02-21-2009, 01:44 AM   #2
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Default Re: Steelers Team Report

Does the coaches pay go into to the salary cap?
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Old 02-21-2009, 01:51 AM   #3
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Does the coaches pay go into to the salary cap?
No it does not.
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Old 02-21-2009, 02:19 AM   #4
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Default Re: Steelers Team Report

OT Trai Essex • LB Keyaron Fox WR Nate Washington • OT Willie Colon, • CB Anthony Madison • FB Sean McHugh, • OT Jason Capizzi QB Charlie Batch

i hope we resign or tender the above for sure!


G Chris Kemoeatu CB Bryant McFadden

would be nice to keep the above but i dont think it will happen

there are rumbles some folks are looking at false start willie tender him for a 2nd or 3rd round tender
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Old 02-21-2009, 06:34 AM   #5
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Default Re: Steelers Team Report

I think we will keep Kemoeatu but I see McFadden being gone.
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Old 02-21-2009, 09:33 AM   #6
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Default Re: Steelers Team Report

i love the qoute by chris k's agent.

if u have 1 of the better guards in the league, u try and keep him....


hahahahaha... i highly doubt that chris is 1 of the better guards in the league
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Old 02-21-2009, 04:27 PM   #7
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Default Re: Steelers Team Report

If there's one thing we learned this year it's that the O-line's cohesion is more important than individual talent (mostly).

They were better than the sum of their parts with Ben running around and rolling the pocket.
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Old 02-21-2009, 05:15 PM   #8
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Default Re: Steelers Team Report

Nice to hear that Berger (P) will be gone ... he was absolutely horrendous ...too bad Leftwhich will be gone, but Charlie Batch is good back-up these days.
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Old 02-21-2009, 05:46 PM   #9
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Nice to hear that Berger (P) will be gone ... he was absolutely horrendous ...too bad Leftwhich will be gone, but Charlie Batch is good back-up these days.
i am kinda sad that mitch will be gone next yr.. i knew that he WAS going to be gone b/c of dan.. but oh well
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Old 02-21-2009, 06:00 PM   #10
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Default Re: Steelers Team Report

Quote:
Originally Posted by devilsdancefloor View Post
OT Trai Essex • LB Keyaron Fox WR Nate Washington • OT Willie Colon, • CB Anthony Madison • FB Sean McHugh, • OT Jason Capizzi QB Charlie Batch

i hope we resign or tender the above for sure!

Other than Colon and Batch, I agree with your list of "keepers".

Quote:
G Chris Kemoeatu CB Bryant McFadden

would be nice to keep the above but i dont think it will happen

there are rumbles some folks are looking at false start willie tender him for a 2nd or 3rd round tender
I think they'll come to terms with Kemo but B-Mac is as good as gone, sadly.
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