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Old 05-22-2010, 03:17 PM   #1
polamalubeast
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Default Quarterback Is Not Lone Issue for Steelers

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/23/sp...rssnyt&emc=rss


Quarterback Is Not Lone Issue for Steelers
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Published: May 21, 2010


PITTSBURGH (AP) — The Steelers find themselves in an unprecedented situation, preparing for a season that will open without their suspended star, Ben Roethlisberger. If that were their only problem, perhaps the Steelers’ off-season would not seem so hectic, unsettled or disrupted, but it is not



There are numerous concerns on both sides of the ball as the Steelers go through a month’s worth of spring practices, and not all of them are likely to be resolved by the time training camp arrives. Or when the season starts, either. Or by the return of Roethlisberger from a six-game suspension that has disturbed nearly every aspect of the Steelers’ preparation.

They are auditioning three quarterbacks for a starting job at a time when nearly every N.F.L. team has that settled. Receivers are not working with the man who will throw them the ball most of the time.

Santonio Holmes’s departure thinned the Steelers’ depth at wide receiver and eliminated their most productive downfield threat. Mike Wallace was an effective No. 3 receiver as a rookie and significantly improved the Steelers’ speed. But as Hines Ward said, there is a big difference trying to get open on every down — as Wallace now must do — as opposed to doing so once or twice a series.

“We’ve got plenty of time for that to sort itself out,” Coach Mike Tomlin said.

Willie Parker, a three-time 1,000-yard running back, is gone, too, though injuries cost him the starting job last season.

His absence leaves the Steelers without a proven backup to Rashard Mendenhall, who has not gone a whole season as the No. 1 back.

“I think he is capable of a lot more, to be quite honest,” Tomlin said.

Although Mewelde Moore has been a capable fill-in runner at times, Jonathan Dwyer might be one of the N.F.L.’s most valuable sixth-round draft picks if he can make an immediate contribution.

Another concern is a secondary that repeatedly failed to slow opposing passing games in the fourth quarter. The Steelers lost six games last season in which they failed to hold late leads.

To address that, the Steelers brought back the former starting cornerback Bryant McFadden, but he was traded by Arizona because he caused a near-identical problem there.

There is also the problem of protecting Roethlisberger — or, for the first month of the season, protecting Byron Leftwich, Dennis Dixon or Charlie Batch.

The Steelers’ pass protection concerns are not likely to go away when Roethlisberger returns, or because they drafted lineman Maurkice Pouncey in the first round. Their 50 sacks allowed last season were second in the N.F.L. to Green Bay’s 51.

The offense is looking much different, and not only because Roethlisberger is barred from taking part in their workouts.

The offensive coordinator Bruce Arians is showing off more two-back looks than usual, an apparent response to the team president Art Rooney II’s proclamation that the running game — especially near the goal line — must be better. Last season, the fullback role was effectively filled by tight ends.

The Steelers might not have had so many blown leads, especially during their season-altering five-game losing streak late last season, if they had run the ball better near the goal line during their 9-7 season. Their only reliable goal-line runner was Gary Russell, and they let him go without explanation.

There is the age factor, too, another worry as the Steelers prepare for a season in which nearly all of their key defensive starters will be 30 or older. They were not the same defensively last season after safety Troy Polamalu and defensive end Aaron Smith were hurt, And no off-season preparation can prevent disruptive injuries, especially to the oldest and most-experienced players on a team.

“I’m not a fortune teller,” Ward said. “I don’t know how the season’s going to go. That’s what is uneasy, the uncertainty.”
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Old 05-22-2010, 03:38 PM   #2
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Default Re: Quarterback Is Not Lone Issue for Steelers

Old dogs

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Old 05-22-2010, 04:27 PM   #3
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Default Re: Quarterback Is Not Lone Issue for Steelers

Maybe the uncertainty is a blessing in disguise. Most everybody thought last year was going to be a cakewalk, with an easy schedule and nearly an entire roster returning following a a superbowl win. Facing some major challenges this year may just be what the football gods ordered to get these guys to put forth 200% effort from day one. We just may surprise alot of people.
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"We're not going to turn our backs on him," Ward said. "We're going to treat him like our brother. We're going to accept him back and be very supportive of him and help him get through this. In this locker room, he's still our quarterback."
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Old 05-22-2010, 05:13 PM   #4
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Default Re: Quarterback Is Not Lone Issue for Steelers

Not worried about preseason BS. We will play well enough to win 12. The SB window is closing and last year taught these guys that we need to win NOW!!! You're right stillers4me it is a blessing in disguise.
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Old 05-22-2010, 05:35 PM   #5
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Default Re: Quarterback Is Not Lone Issue for Steelers

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Not worried about preseason BS. We will play well enough to win 12. The SB window is closing and last year taught these guys that we need to win NOW!!! You're right stillers4me it is a blessing in disguise.
I dont think our super bowl window is closing at all.matter of fact the only time it has been closed was the 80's
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Old 05-22-2010, 10:45 PM   #6
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Default Re: Quarterback Is Not Lone Issue for Steelers

Ohh the sky's falling !!
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Old 05-23-2010, 12:56 AM   #7
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Default Re: Quarterback Is Not Lone Issue for Steelers

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Originally Posted by stillers4me View Post
Maybe the uncertainty is a blessing in disguise. Most everybody thought last year was going to be a cakewalk, with an easy schedule and nearly an entire roster returning following a a superbowl win. Facing some major challenges this year may just be what the football gods ordered to get these guys to put forth 200% effort from day one. We just may surprise alot of people.
I agree completely. They seem to play better when they have a chip on their shoulder and something to prove. I might just be looking at this season through my Black-and-Gold colored glasses, but I also think we're going to surprise a lot of people.
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Old 05-23-2010, 03:08 PM   #8
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Default Re: Quarterback Is Not Lone Issue for Steelers

Last year, it looked like the Steelers had very few questions at this time of the year. At the end of the year, the questions were so many that you couldn't count them all.

It's only May, we may have many answers already on the roster. Nothing is accomplished in May.
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Old 05-23-2010, 04:12 PM   #9
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Default Re: Quarterback Is Not Lone Issue for Steelers

Shaky offensive line? Check

Shaky secondary? (actually almost same secondary). Check

Seems similar to sb 43. And If u remember, that season we didn't really know what we had with ben yet. He was a good qb, but we just weren't sure if he really was what he turned out to be.
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