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Old 04-17-2009, 06:06 AM   #1
Galax Steeler
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Default Staying together a key for the line

Offensive tackle Willie Colon didn’t have to be back in Pittsburgh working out until the team starts OTA’s (organized team activities) today, but that hasn’t stopped him from hitting the weight room the last few weeks.

Most of the starters have been given a little reprieve, not having to report as early as the younger players because of the long season. But Colon wanted to get a jump on things so that he is ready to go full tilt today.

“I have been working out, but trying to take it easy,” said Colon, shortly after a workout at the team’s practice facility. “I am easing myself back into it. I am not getting over anxious. I want to keep my body in shape and be ready when it’s time to go.”

Colon, who was a restricted free agent and signed a one-year tender this year, knows how important the offseason is for the line, which saw a lot of changes last year. Among those changes were a new center in Justin Hartwig and two new guards in Chris Kemoeatu and Darnell Stapleton. Stapleton took over for Kendall Simmons, who was injured early in the season and waived after the season ended.

There were some adjustments to be made and developing chemistry was a big key with the in-season changes.

“That was important,” said Colon. “For the most part it was all five of us being on the same page. We had to ask Darnell to step up mid-way. Justin had to get used to the system. It was Chris’ first year. We had to move Max once Marvel went down on the left. There were a lot of obstacles along the way. The biggest thing we learned was we were able to stay together, not listen to anybody else and get it done.”

Another change was Max Starks returning to the starting lineup at left tackle after Marvel Smith was sidelined with a back injury. Smith has since signed with the San Francisco 49ers after the free agent was not offered a contract.

“It was extremely hard to not only lose Kendall, but also Marvel,” said Colon. “He was our left tackle, he was Ben’s (Roethlisberger) blind side and had been there for so long, a key anchor on the line. To lose him at a part of the year when we started to catch momentum was really tough. That’s what quality depth is all about. To have Max and Trai (Essex) and guys who can step up and perform is big. Max did a great job this year.”

One thing the line has working for them going into 2009 is the same group that started in Super Bowl XLIII will be back, plus other veterans, despite several of them being free agents at the end of the season. Colon signed his tender, Kemoeatu re-signed, Starks was designated the franchise player and Essex also re-signed.

“I think that was the most important thing this year,” said Colon. “It gives you more momentum to go back next year and get it done. The only new faces will probably be young faces.”

With all of the new faces on the line last year, Colon quickly found himself one of the veterans there, despite it being only his second season starting.

“It was weird to see guys look around and see who is going to lead,” said Colon. “I try to not lead by talking, but by actions. I thought I did a fair job of that this year. I think the experience Justin had being with the Titans when they were in the playoffs and being with Carolina, he brought a lot of professional wisdom and he helped us out with some of the things he has been through. We were able to anchor down and get it done.”

Hartwig helped them work on the chemistry by having the offensive linemen get together on a regular basis to have dinner and watch film in the evenings. For a group so new to each other, it was perfect.

“The biggest thing for us all season was us being on the same page,” said Colon. “Doing those film sessions and being together, thinking what a guy thinks, seeing how a guy sees things, how can I adjust? For Darnell and I it was about being on the same page. A lot of times when you do that you know each other without even talking. Some of the great lines do things without communicating. They just know. I think that’s what we are on the verge of becoming. Little things like that help you get to that along the way.”

The line took their share of heat last year after Roethlisberger was sacked 46 times during the regular season, but they also heard words of praise in the moments after the team won the Super Bowl when Roethlisberger gave them a shout out in front of a full stadium and national television audience.

“He loves us, we love him back,” said Colon of the relationship the line has with him. “He understands we get a lot of undue criticism. It is what it is. We don’t complain. At first we were upset about it. We were taking so much heat. But if you give up as many sacks as you do and don’t run the ball effectively, you are going to get that criticism.

“We adjusted. We appreciated the shout out and we are Super Bowl champs.”

http://news.steelers.com/article/104436/
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Old 04-17-2009, 11:13 AM   #2
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Default Re: Staying together a key for the line

Its actually going to be nice to have the same Oline returning entact.

Ben has won two different SBs with two entirely different Olines, and he did with different Receivers, different running backs, different head coach, and different Offensive Coordinator.

But he's no good...right? That's what the "experts" say.

I can't wait to see how he does after winning his 2nd, with the same receivers minus 1 coming back, with the same O-line, with an improved running game with Mendy healthy, and with a new target in Sweed.

And the Returning 10 starters from Defense as well.

We are going to beat the living crap out of folks this year, and its going to start up front!
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Old 04-17-2009, 11:37 AM   #3
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Default Re: Staying together a key for the line

Remember, the FO is a bunch of idiots who have no idea how to draft or evaluate talent. So this line staying together is obviously a huge mistake, and we will go 0-16 next year, and then the Rooney will sell the team.
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Old 04-17-2009, 11:37 AM   #4
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Default Re: Staying together a key for the line

If Mendenhall or Moore end up taking most of the snaps, our sacks should go down by about half. So hopefully we'll see some major improvement from the line this year, or at least they'll appear to be better. Really hope the staff doesn't decide to grind out another year with no running game.

Either way, I worry about the right side, because it's still pretty makeshift. I don't remember exactly what it was called, but there was a very good site that broke down our running plays and showed that we tended to get 4-plus yards running to the left behind Starks and Kemo, but in the low 3's when running to the right behind Colon and Stapleton. So we could use some work there regardless.
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Old 04-17-2009, 12:18 PM   #5
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Default Re: Staying together a key for the line

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Originally Posted by revefsreleets View Post
Remember, the FO is a bunch of idiots who have no idea how to draft or evaluate talent. So this line staying together is obviously a huge mistake, and we will go 0-16 next year, and then the Rooney will sell the team.


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Old 04-17-2009, 12:21 PM   #6
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Default Re: Staying together a key for the line

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Either way, I worry about the right side, because it's still pretty makeshift. I don't remember exactly what it was called, but there was a very good site that broke down our running plays and showed that we tended to get 4-plus yards running to the left behind Starks and Kemo, but in the low 3's when running to the right behind Colon and Stapleton. So we could use some work there regardless.
our bread and butter play has always been the "g-power" running behind faneca.

some drop off is to be expected when you lose faneca, jerome, and kreider.

2 hall of famers, one of which was possibly the best guard of all time, and the other who is a huge top 5 rusher (all time).
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Old 04-17-2009, 12:41 PM   #7
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Default Re: Staying together a key for the line

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our bread and butter play has always been the "g-power" running behind faneca.

some drop off is to be expected when you lose faneca, jerome, and kreider.

2 hall of famers, one of which was possibly the best guard of all time, and the other who is a huge top 5 rusher (all time).
Wasn't that the play that Willie got the NFL record Super Bowl Rushing TD on?

Funny he doesn't have the longest TD in SB history anymore...that would be James Harrison!

Also we lost Hartings at Center. That was a Huge Loss.
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Old 04-17-2009, 01:04 PM   #8
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Default Re: Staying together a key for the line

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Funny he doesn't have the longest TD in SB history anymore...that would be James Harrison!
I think they both would stay in the record book because one play was the longest from scrimmage, and the other was simply the longest play.

Reguardless, we kick ass and don't care to know your name.

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Old 04-17-2009, 01:27 PM   #9
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Default Re: Staying together a key for the line

the steelers just break records evrytime the are in a SB
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Old 04-17-2009, 06:10 PM   #10
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Default Re: Staying together a key for the line

Now these guys need to find a secluded gym and be gym rats there......Like Webby and the 70's line did in the basement of the Red Bull inn........Just the line and they will be the best brothers in the world.......
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