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Old 01-06-2010, 05:42 AM   #1
mesaSteeler
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Default Pittsburgh Steelers Team Report

Pittsburgh Steelers Team Report
http://www.usatoday.com/sports/footb...lers/notes.htm

Pittsburgh coach Mike Tomlin and his superiors have many decisions to make in the offseason and the first likely will come on his coaching staff.

There has been front-office discontent with several of Tomlin's coaches and this could represent the first conflict between them and their third-year coach over who comes and who goes.

The first change under the watch of Tomlin comes with the retirement of quarterbacks coach Ken Anderson. Anderson, a Hall of Fame semifinalist this year, spent the past three seasons with the Steelers.

The dispute centers on offensive coordinator Bruce Arians, line coach Larry Zierlein and both special teams coaches, Bob Ligashesky and Amos Jones. Tomlin wants to keep his staff together for a fourth straight season. Whether he is able to convince his bosses of that will test his strength in the organization.

The front-office wanted him to make a couple of changes after his first season, 2007, but Tomlin fought to keep all of his coaches and he has had the same staff all three of his seasons in Pittsburgh.

Change certainly will come in the lineup, especially on defense where age has overtaken some areas.

Here are the ages in 2010 of some of the Steelers starters and top subs: nose tackle Casey Hampton, 33; defensive end Brett Keisel, 32; defensive end Aaron Smith, 34; linebacker James Farrior, 35; linebacker James Harrison, 32; cornerback Ike Taylor, 30; free safety Ryan Clark, 31, safety Tyrone Carter, 34; cornerback Deshea Townsend, 35; defensive end Travis Kirschke, 36; nose tackle Chris Hoke, 34; defensive end Nick Eason, 30.

NOTES, QUOTES

The Steelers' list of 2010 opponents is set. They play home games against the New York Jets, Oakland, New England, Carolina, Atlanta, Cincinnati, Cleveland and Baltimore. They'll play road games against Tennessee, Miami, Buffalo, Tampa Bay, New Orleans, Cincinnati, Cleveland and Baltimore.

RB Willie Parker, who just finished the last season of his current contract, sounded like a man who no longer will play in Pittsburgh.

"If that's the last you see of Willie Parker, first and foremost I want to thank the organization and the fans for embracing me and letting me come in and do what I did, knowing the college career I had, based on not much."

STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL

PLAYER NOTES

WR Hines Ward said he has no plans to retire after registering his second straight 1,000-yard season and sixth of his career.

FS Ryan Clark's third interception of the season tied him for the team lead with SS Troy Polamalu, who played only five games.

QB Ben Roethlisberger's 26 touchdown passes rank second in his six-year career. He set the team record with 32 in 2007.

LB Lawrence Timmons, the team's top draft pick in 2007, had a career-high seven sacks from the inside position.

LB James Farrior again led the Steelers in tackles but there is some speculation he may not be asked back after his play suffered in the second half of the season.

REPORT CARD VS. DOLPHINS

PASSING OFFENSE: B-plus Ben Roethlisberger had a 128.6 passer rating after completing 18 of 27 for 220 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions. However, he was sacked three times, and Santonio Holmes tried a pass that was intercepted to prevent a likely score. Roethlisberger also scrambled away from pressure for one of his most effective days doing that, running four times for 17 yards and picking up two first downs.

RUSHING OFFENSE: A The Steelers had their most productive day running with 202 yards and a 5.6-yard average. Rashard Mendenhall had 94 yards on 20 carries with a long of 36 and Willie Parker had his second-best day of the season with 91 yards on 12 tries with a long of 34. They did not have a rushing touchdown, however, and finished with only 10 on the season.

PASS DEFENSE: C On the face of it, the statistics looked good with the Dolphins quarterbacks going 20 of 30 for 223 yards, three interceptions, three sacks and a passer rating of only 71.3. However, Miami had to dig into its second and third quarterbacks because of injuries and the Steelers pass defense leaked in the fourth quarter when the Dolphins scored twice with third-stringer Tyler Thigpen at the controls.

RUSH DEFENSE: B Collectively, Miami had only 99 yards on 25 carries for a 4-yard average. The Dolphins, though, were effective at times and scored once on a 16-yard run by Brian Hartline that looked ridiculously easy around end. The Steelers have had trouble stopping the run over the last month of the season.

SPECIAL TEAMS: A No area of the team improved more, or had more to improve, than the Steelers' special teams, and they did so over the past three games. Stefan Logan had his best day returning with an average of 20.5 yards on two punts and 27.7 yards on three kickoffs. Jeff Reed made all three of his field goal tries, providing the winning margin, and there were no returns against them of note.

COACHING: C Once again, the Steelers' defense collapsed in the fourth quarter, although this time they had a big enough lead to prevent the meltdown that has occurred so often this season. They had problems in the red zone on offense despite scoring 30 points, and the call for Santonio Holmes to throw on first down from the Miami 41 one play after a Dolphins turnover was atrocious, especially after it failed in practice all week.
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