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Old 05-12-2009, 06:11 AM   #1
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Default Age of defense not a worry heading into 2009

Pittsburgh Steeler report: Age of defense not a worry heading into 2009
May 12, 1:11 AM
Pittsburgh Sports Examiner

PITTSBURGH - A lot has been said recently about the age of the Steelers defense. Last year, it was the oldest in the league, and this year will be no different, unless some of the draft picks somehow break the starting lineup.

So should that be a worry? The answer is no, at least not for now.

A better way to put it into perspective is that they are like a fine wine, which gets better with age.

Take linebacker James Farrior for example. At age 34, he shows no sign of slowing down.

Farrior was drafted by the Jets with the first pick in 1997, but since coming to the Steelers in 2002, has made two Pro Bowls and is the defensive captain.

"I feel like coming to Pittsburgh was a rebirth for me. Itís allowed me to do a lot of things that I knew I could always do; be a playmaker and make plays in the NFL," Farrior said. ďI never doubted my ability, but it was just me getting the opportunity and getting a chance. I love it here and I think itís a perfect fit for me."

The Steelers defensive line also averages over 30 years of age. Aaron Smith, nose tackle Casey Hampton and end Brett Keisel are all over 30. Their backups Travis Kirschke and nose tackle Chris Hoke are nearing their mid 30's.

But Defensive line coach John Mitchell brought up a good point, when talking with the Tribune Review's John Harris following mini-camp last week.

"It has been written that I have a lot of guys who are getting old,'' Mitchell said. "I said this earlier, chronologically, they may be old, but when you look at these guys, Brett was here four years before he played. Aaron Smith was here two years before he played. Those guys, chronologically, are old, but football-wise, they are not.

"It makes my job very easy when you have guys like that here year in and year out. It's easy to coach them. They play well because they have been in this scheme a long time. If you look at some of the numbers from this past year, I think we played very well defensively.''

If there is a concern itís the fact, Keisel and Hampton are unrestricted free-agents after this year. But like Mitchell said, itís easy to plug holes when you have guys here year in and out, who know the scheme and are chomping at the mouth to get their shot.

Meaning mediocrity is not around the corner should one of them depart. Hoke proved he is a valuable player and when in a starting role, played very well. Kirschke did the same. The team also has time to work with first round pick Ziggy Hood, and with time he could develop into a very good player.

"I think the first thing you do when you come to Pittsburgh is you realize the tradition,' defensive end Aaron Smith said.ĒItís so engrained into the players how strong the defenses have been in the past that you just want to uphold that part of the tradition and be a part of that."

http://www.examiner.com/x-2703-Pitts...ding-into-2009
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Old 05-12-2009, 04:31 PM   #2
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Default Re: Age of defense not a worry heading into 2009

Cool story. I think they will probably keep picking up DL with early picks for the next couple of years. And Hood best be ready to play pretty soon because I have a feeling Hampton or Kiesel, if not both, will be gone after this season.
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Old 05-12-2009, 04:43 PM   #3
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Default Re: Age of defense not a worry heading into 2009

good story indeed... they proved last yr they weren't too old.. and they get to do it over again
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Old 05-12-2009, 05:45 PM   #4
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Default Re: Age of defense not a worry heading into 2009

I think it really works to our advantage that the 3-4 DL's job is mostly to be big and shove people around, not so much end rushes or chasing down the more mobile quarterbacks. Otherwise age would be a factor a lot more quickly and we'd be in trouble. But that's what we've got outside linebackers for instead.
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Old 05-12-2009, 06:04 PM   #5
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Default Re: Age of defense not a worry heading into 2009

Aaron Smith rules... One of the most irreplaceable of all Steelers & an all-time great. That guy deserves every superlative there is bestowed upon him. I hope he's able to play beyond his contract which ends in 2012.
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Old 05-12-2009, 06:55 PM   #6
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Default Re: Age of defense not a worry heading into 2009

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Aaron Smith rules... One of the most irreplaceable of all Steelers & an all-time great. That guy deserves every superlative there is bestowed upon him. I hope he's able to play beyond his contract which ends in 2012.
I thought that Aaron Smith has only 2 years remaining on his contract?? That means we would need to draft another replacement for him in the 2010 draft.....assuming Keisel isnt signed and somehow Hampton is extended.

I guess I am really hoping that we can develop Hood and RaShon Harris to be the replacement ends by 2012 and then either extend Hampton this year or otherwise gotta look for a NT in the draft this year.
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Old 05-12-2009, 07:35 PM   #7
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Default Re: Age of defense not a worry heading into 2009

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I thought that Aaron Smith has only 2 years remaining on his contract?? That means we would need to draft another replacement for him in the 2010 draft.....assuming Keisel isnt signed and somehow Hampton is extended.
On February 27, 2007, they resigned him to a 5 year, $25 million contract.

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I guess I am really hoping that we can develop Hood and RaShon Harris to be the replacement ends by 2012 and then either extend Hampton this year or otherwise gotta look for a NT in the draft this year.
I'd hoping for that too. But I hope Smith stays around even in a backup role. I'm kinda ghey for the guy
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Old 05-12-2009, 08:30 PM   #8
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Default Re: Age of defense not a worry heading into 2009

Where is that wotneee (spelling?) he likes the older guys..... I think?
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Old 05-13-2009, 05:11 AM   #9
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Default Re: Age of defense not a worry heading into 2009

We all know that the defensive line is getting old. We will have to start replacing them but as long as they performe let them have at it.
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Old 05-13-2009, 08:30 AM   #10
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Default Re: Age of defense not a worry heading into 2009

I would expect a good year from Hampton as he is in the last year of his contract and has eased up on the "snackage" if I'm not mistaken.....
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