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Old 06-20-2009, 12:45 AM   #1
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Steelers Q&A
Scott Brown

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Hi folks,
There is a slight change to the Q&A format. Every week or two I will take the questions I get an answer them together as I have done below. Keep the questions coming!

Do you think the looming uncapped year in 2010 (if no CBA is reached) would be good or bad for the Steelers? It seems to me it might be to the Steelers' advantage to not have the NFLPA and the NFL come to a collective bargaining agreement, especially when you consider that players like Heath Miller and Willie Colon would be RFA instead of UFA. Plus the Steelers could franchise tag two players instead of one. It might be good to have two franchise tags given the large number of veteran free agents in 2010.

Randy Byrd of Erlnager, Ky.


The problem is that if the owners and players don't agree on a collective bargaining agreement (CBA), the former will almost certainly lock the latter out in 2011. And I don't think a work stoppage would be good for the NFL in any way and would alienate fans who would rightly wonder why a league that is awash in money can't agree on how to distribute the profits between the owners and players.

I do see your point about how the scrapping of the salary cap after this season wouldn't be all gloom and doom for the Steelers as some might suggest. A number of clauses were inserted into the last CBA designed to give both sides pause about opting out of it, including ones, as you mentioned, that would limit player movement as far as unrestricted free agency.

In the short run, yes, the demise of the salary cap might benefit the Steelers. But over the long run I think it would be bad and possibly disastrous for the Steelers and the NFL. Major League Baseball has shown how much of a gulf the absence of a salary cap can create between large- and small-market team -- and how much more difficult it is for the latter to compete in such a system.

I shudder to think of the Steelers trying to keep up with the deep-pocketed and impetuous owners who aren't kept in check by a salary check and can spend whatever they want on players.


Byron Leftwich, Bryant McFadden, Anthony Smith, Marvel Smith, Nate Washington were all signed away by other teams. While I make no claim that Anthony Smith will end up being a starter it is a possibility he will because the Packers don't have a legitimate safety. I also think Leftwich has a good shot at starting in Tampa. McFadden, Smith and Washington are all locks to start on their new teams.

What kind of compensation picks do you think we will get next year for giving up three to five players that will be starters on other teams? I was hoping we'd get at least a few third- and maybe even a second-round pick if we're really lucky. Just enough ammo to move up in the first round next year to get the top tier linemen on offense and defense.

Eric Nottelling of Kenosha, Wisc.


I apologize for the belated answer to what was a pre-NFL draft question but didn't want to forget about you. First, compensatory picks don't begin until after the third round so the Steelers would not get a second-round pick in 2010, even if all of the players you mentioned do well enough next season to make the Pro Bowl. Also, Anthony Smith will not be among the players the NFL evaluates when it awards compensatory picks relative to the Steelers since they did not make him an offer as a restricted free agent.

But, as you pointed out, the Steelers are in line to pick up their share of extra picks in next year's draft, and they could be good ones if Leftwich starts in Tampa (though he might only keep the position warm for first-round pick Josh Freeman), Washington does well in Tennessee and Marvel Smith overcomes the back problems that have plagued him the last couple of years.

I got several questions about why the Steelers didn't trade some of their picks in this year's draft for extra ones next year since they have a lot of established veterans and will be a tough team to make. Perhaps you have pointed out why they didn't try to load up on extra picks for next year since they could have quite a few coming their way as compensation for free agents lost.

Hi Scott,

My question concerns the Steelers' smash-mouth style of yesteryear. Ever since Arians became the offensive coordinator, the fullback position as we once knew it has become a thing of the past. Even Bettis needed a fullback to click. As Steelers fans we are used to seeing our Black and Gold make the other team black and blue. I'm afraid that we are turning into a finesse offense, which in a word is, offensive! I love the pick of Frank "the Tank" Summers. But since he was reluctant to be used as a fullback in college, I see him being used strictly as a short-yardage back, which we need, but unfortunately I see our offense remaining somewhat status quo with regards to passing first to set up the run. Do you think that Arians is on a short leash, and is only going to be given one more year to improve upon the running game and stop making this offense so ineffective in the red zone?

Mark Miller of Acworth, Ga.

Hi Mark,

Is this Willie Parker writing under an assumed name? Kidding, kidding. I'm not sure I'd say offensive coordinator Bruce Arians is on a short leash but I do think coach Mike Tomlin expects improvement out of the running game.

If that happens it will be because Parker stays healthy, Rashard Mendenhall provides a legitimate complement to Parker in the backfield and the offensive line plays better. It won't be because Arians has a change of heart, or a lobotomy, and goes with the kind of power running attack that you and many other Steelers fans would like to see.

I'll reserve judgment for one more season on whether Arians' philosophy is right for the Steelers. Despite the struggles of the running game in 2008, Parker was leading the NFL in rushing in 2007 before getting hurt in the next-to-last regular season game, so I'm not sure the return of the traditional fullback to the offense would be the cure-all that some seem to think it would be.

What is going on with player negotiations? I would have thought that they would have wrapped up some "no-brainers" like Heath Miller by now. I don't want to see Keisel, Hampton, Parker, Clark or any of those guys go after this year, but Miller would be the biggest disappointment for me to see wearing another team's uniform in 2010. Is trying to work out a long-term deal with Starks holding up the resigning process?


Doug Kershey of Parma Heights, Ohio

Patience, Doug, patience. The Steelers still have plenty of time to work out a long-term deal with Miller, and I expect the two sides will come to an agreement. Miller is a perfect fit for the Steelers and he wants to stay here. Even if the Steelers are unable to work out a deal with Miller before the start of the season, they have the option of using the franchise or transition tag on him. That would allow them to match any offer made to Miller and essentially buy more negotiating time.

I would be surprised if it comes to that as I think the Steelers recognize how valuable Miller is to them and as such will reward him with a long-term contract that reflects how critical he has been and will continue to be to their success.

As for Starks, I don't think his situation has any bearing on that of Miller. If anything, I'd guess the Steelers have moved beyond trying to get something done with Starks as it doesn't appear the two sides are close to a deal.
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Old 06-20-2009, 05:09 AM   #2
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Thanks for the read Mesa. I sure hope we load up a bunch of picks for next years draft.
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Old 06-20-2009, 05:56 AM   #3
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I really hope we get Miller signed, I too would hate to see him in another uniform!
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Old 06-20-2009, 05:34 PM   #4
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I really dislike Starks! I know that he is making a good business decision for himself but he is grossly over paid and If he were to cost us a player next year that we could have signed prior to this season (before they hit the open market and the price gets driven up) that would be a catastrophe! Sign Miller, Clark and maybe Hampton. Let Starks fat ass go!
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Old 06-20-2009, 06:49 PM   #5

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Sky is falling oh no!

Steelers generally keep who they want.

Their core players are kept intact and they don't overpay for role players.

LTs on the other hand aren't so easy to find.

Before we let that fat arse go maybe we should have a legitimate replacement. ;)

Last edited by slashsteel; 06-20-2009 at 08:10 PM.
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Old 06-20-2009, 06:59 PM   #6
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Starks me first attitude ticks me off too.

I'm hoping that a player off the practice squad or maybe a free agent left tackle will start playing lights out and we can use him to replace Starks.

Then after we cut Starks' worthless ass he gets signed by either the the Bugles or Clownies so our defense can abuse and humiliate him twice a year.

It's just a dream I have. Not likely I know but it would be nice.
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