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Old 03-01-2009, 07:57 AM   #1
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Default Steelers making right moves with free-agents

Steelers making right moves with free-agents

February 28, 11:48 PM
by Matt Pawlikowski, Pittsburgh Sports Examiner
http://www.examiner.com/x-2703-Pitts...ith-freeagents

PITTSBURGH - Those out there questioning the Steelers moves thus far in free-agency, have to remember one thing.

It's the Steelers way, and over the years it has worked.

In this the year of change, the Steelers have made very little. They have watched ridiculous contracts such as Albert Haynesworth and Nnamdi Asomugha get signed.They have watched as their marquee free agents, such as Nate Washington and Bryant McFadden have been shopping their talents elsewhere.

But unlike other teams, they have not delved in free-agency and tried to woo an upper echelon free-agent to the Steel City. As a matter of fact the biggest name they have acquired since Kevin Colbert took the helm as Steelers director of football operations was James Farrior back in 2002.

Instead, the Steelers started with their most pressing need; the offensive line and worked on bringing back their own.

"There is less risk involved signing your own (players)," Steelers director of football operations said. "Even if you sign them early, as opposed to signing a free agent, You've seen them, you've worked with them and know what they can do."

So in what many felt was a surprise move, the team decided to make left tackle Max Starks their franchise player. Only once before had the team used this tag, with safety Carnell Lake.

Finding a top caliber O-Lineman in free-agency can be expensive, and the left tackle comes at a premium. Considering Starks play last year (He allowed just four sacks) and the fact he was one of the top players left on the market, the team made the tender.

Granted Starks is not a top tier left tackle like Jordan Gross who re-signed with his Panthers ( 6 years, $60 million; $35 million guaranteed) or even Vernon Carey who re-signed with the Dolphins (6 years, $42 million). But Starks is big at 6-foot-8, 340 pounds, and has started in two Super Bowls. He is also young at 28.

The franchise tender of $8.451 million may also have something to do with the fact the team likes continuity. That was also evident as two players who have been injury prone were left out of future plans. Kendall Simmons was released on Thursday and Marvel Smith not offered any tender.

The team also made a high tender to right tackle Willie Colon, meaning if someone else decides to sign him, the Steelers will get a first round pick in return.

Next up, was the signing of right guard Chris Kemeoatu on Friday. Thought to be heading to the Jets, he basically took over Simmons contract, a five year deal worth $20 million.

While it may be questioned by fans and some media as to why they would want to keep the same line together that they had last year, it makes sense, because the Steelers finally have continuity at a position that has been lacking it the past three years.
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Old 03-01-2009, 10:00 AM   #2
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Default Re: Steelers making right moves with free-agents

Sorry, but I disagree with this author.

He says its the pittsburgh way, but if paying overpriced free agents to keep them from moving to another team was our way.........guys like Joey Porter, Alan Faneca, Levon Kirkland, Wayne Gandy, John Jackson, Earl Holmes, Hardy Nickerson, Rod Woodson, etc. would never have left.

The only difference with those guys is the Steelers had young replacements ready to step in and take over. The Steelers have no young stars in the making on the O line...........that is not "the Steelers way".
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Old 03-01-2009, 10:21 AM   #3
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Default Re: Steelers making right moves with free-agents

I blame alot of the sacks and bad Oline play on Ben. He tries so hard to make plays and when he scrambles around the line has to try and stay with him and they dont know which way he is going. That creates holding calls. I dont agree with tagging Max 2 years in a row but he is young and played good during last season. Signing Kemo to a long deal means he is gonna only get better. 1 year starting with a 2 differant LT can be difficult. Anyone who has played o line will tell you if guys are in and out of the lineup you dont get to know their tendencies and that is very important.
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Old 03-01-2009, 11:14 AM   #4
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Default Re: Steelers making right moves with free-agents

This O-Line helped get them a ring so for me that gives them another year to show what they can do as a WORKING unit. They can't say they are not comfortable with one another they have had pretty much a full season together.

I really think 2009 is going to be even better. Just about everyone is coming back and the young talent continues to improve and learn the system.
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Old 03-01-2009, 11:20 AM   #5
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Default Re: Steelers making right moves with free-agents

Quote:
Originally Posted by El-Gonzo Jackson View Post
Sorry, but I disagree with this author.

He says its the pittsburgh way, but if paying overpriced free agents to keep them from moving to another team was our way.........guys like Joey Porter, Alan Faneca, Levon Kirkland, Wayne Gandy, John Jackson, Earl Holmes, Hardy Nickerson, Rod Woodson, etc. would never have left.

The only difference with those guys is the Steelers had young replacements ready to step in and take over. The Steelers have no young stars in the making on the O line...........that is not "the Steelers way".
I agree and lets face it without our D we would not have a 6th ring. We have to get some young blood in the draft
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Old 03-01-2009, 11:23 AM   #6
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Default Re: Steelers making right moves with free-agents

Quote:
Originally Posted by El-Gonzo Jackson View Post
Sorry, but I disagree with this author.

He says its the pittsburgh way, but if paying overpriced free agents to keep them from moving to another team was our way.........guys like Joey Porter, Alan Faneca, Levon Kirkland, Wayne Gandy, John Jackson, Earl Holmes, Hardy Nickerson, Rod Woodson, etc. would never have left.

The only difference with those guys is the Steelers had young replacements ready to step in and take over. The Steelers have no young stars in the making on the O line...........that is not "the Steelers way".
and thats why they had to do what they did this FA with the o-line.. they had no replacements AT ALL and they thought it better for now to keep these guys while they do find there replacements thru the draft instead of getting new ppl who don't know the system yet
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Old 03-01-2009, 11:25 AM   #7
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Default Re: Steelers making right moves with free-agents

My gut tells me that when the FA and the draft is over, we will have acquired the "glue" for the O line. It's hard to argue with how they came together to win a Superbowl, nor am I forgetting about the incredible play from the defense that held us up until the O line found it's way (just in time). We just need that "oomph" factor.

Be patient, and trust in the FO.

I'm more worried about our ability to get it into the endzone on 3rd and goal. We left way too many points on the field this year and it must be addressed.
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Old 03-01-2009, 12:04 PM   #8
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Default Re: Steelers making right moves with free-agents

Quote:
Originally Posted by KeiselPower99 View Post
. Signing Kemo to a long deal means he is gonna only get better. 1 year starting with a 2 differant LT can be difficult. Anyone who has played o line will tell you if guys are in and out of the lineup you dont get to know their tendencies and that is very important.
Bill Walsh used to say ...."take the 1 year wonders for what they did before the 1 year.....not what you hope they will do after it". I gotta say I trust the opinion of Bill Walsh and would not have given Kemo a contract after 1 year.

I have played O-line. I have coached O-line. and I have attended coaching clinics where professional O line coaches taught us drills and techniques. KNOWING AN OPPONENTS TENDENCIES IS FAR LESS IMPORTANT THAN KNOWING YOUR OWN TECHNIQUE AND REFINING IT!!!!!!

You sound like you speak from experience on the O line??? Can you tell me a time where you were able to block a guy better because you "know his tendencies"??

-Kemo is 26 years old and should know he has to block thru the whistle, not to the whistle.
- He needs to know that he cant give up on defenders,
- he has to get low and use his hands on Colts defenders that he outweighs by 80 lbs so they dont stuff him on the goal line.
-he needs to know to watch for the blitzing LB that sacks Ben instead of double teaming the guy over Hartwig (which he does).

The Steelers overpaid an average OG because they had drafted nobody to succeed him in the past 5 years other than Cameron Stevenson from Rutgers, who they cut in TC.
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Old 03-01-2009, 12:09 PM   #9
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Default Re: Steelers making right moves with free-agents

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Originally Posted by lilyoder6 View Post
and thats why they had to do what they did this FA with the o-line.. they had no replacements AT ALL and they thought it better for now to keep these guys while they do find there replacements thru the draft instead of getting new ppl who don't know the system yet
I agree with you. I just dont agree with the philosophy of overpaying average talent because you didnt plan ahead. I think there is no way to correct old mistakes but to start doing the right thing.......right now.

They may do that in this years draft and things might change. We still have 2 months to see how it shakes out.

Charley Casserly made a great point that Albert Haynesworth 2 best seasons were in contract years and the NFL teams question his motivation. I have the same concern of Starks motivation and that has always been the scouting report on him. We will see if he is a 1 year wonder when they extend his deal.
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Old 03-01-2009, 12:36 PM   #10
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Default Re: Steelers making right moves with free-agents

I agree the FO made the right decisions. They now have stability going into TC. They can focus on drafting BPA/OL depth without being forced to going OL early and often wtihout having to trade down losing additional draft picks. Plus the draft is always a gamble. No one is a "gaurantee." The Steelers don't gamble and they definately don't over reach outside the organization.

The OL is servicable. Continuity will help clear up mental mistakes. Quicker releases by BB will make them look like PBers. Draft a Guard and Tackle to shore up depth and we'll be right back in the playoffs.

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